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Nick Mariano


Featured Pros: Buy Low, Sell High
Fri, Jul 6
Featured Pros: Buy Low, Sell High
What one player are you trying to buy low and what type of player would you give up to get him?
Anthony Rendon's box score is starting to catch up to his sabermetric profile, but there's more potential there and public perception of him is modest at best. We can all agree his 25 HRs and .937 OPS was useful last year, right? Well, his line-drive and hard-hit rates are both up six percentage points from '17 and that fly-ball rate remains relatively static. His 91.7 mph average exit velocity is up nearly two ticks from last season and I'd be willing to trade a guy like Jose Abreu or Jose Berrios to acquire him.

What one player are you trying to sell high right now and who would you want in return?
I wager most of you can still get a haul for Gerrit Cole thanks to the human mind forging perceptions early in the season. His 1.43 ERA (2.00 SIERA!!) and ridiculous 35.6% K-BB% with just three HRs allowed over his first eight starts (56 2/3 IP) led many to lean into Cole as a potential top-five SP. He's still gone 5-1 over his last 10 outings (60 IP), but it's come with a 3.90 ERA, good-not-great 18.6% K-BB% and 11 HRs allowed. I'd flip Cole for his teammate Justin Verlander, perhaps Charlie Blackmon or Giancarlo Stanton from a pitcher-needy team, or even a 2-for-2 with Cole + Your Other Hitter for Improved Hitter + Aaron Nola.

Featured Pros: Under-the-Radar Waiver Pickups
Thu, Apr 26
Featured Pros: Under-the-Radar Waiver Pickups
What one hitter should fantasy owners look into picking up that is owned in less than 20% of Leagues?
Perhaps it's simply due to no one believing in regular playing time, but Franchy Cordero's upside is worth way more than 20% ownership. There can't possibly be that many Tyson Ross owners out there who are still mad at him for misplaying the fly ball that cost Ross his no-hit bid. Out of hitters with at least 30 batted balls in 2018, Cordero's 97 MPH average exit velocity is second only to Teoscar Hernandez. Oh, and Cordero's 29.4 MPH sprint speed is ninth-highest in the league. Elite power and speed make for a must-add for me.

What one starting pitcher should fantasy owners look into picking up that is owned in less than 20% of Leagues?
I'll go with Trevor Cahill here. It's easy to forget that before a shoulder strain in May last season, Cahill had a 3.27 ERA with a 60.2% ground-ball rate and 51 K's in 41 1/3 IP (11.1 K/9). He's up to his old tricks in 2018, already inducing grounders at a 60.7% clip with 14 strikeouts in 12 innings. His FIP, xFIP and SIERA are all under 3.00 through his first two starts, so I'm in.

Featured Pros: MLB Last-Round Fliers
Sun, Mar 18
Featured Pros: MLB Last-Round Fliers
What hitter should fantasy owners target with their last pick as a final-round flier?
Dustin Fowler made headlines in 2017 for the wrong reason, as the rookie ruptured his patellar tendon in the first inning of his Major League debut with NYY on an exposed power box at Guaranteed Rate Field. This overshadowed his hitting 13 homers and stealing 13 bases in 70 Triple-A games, which explains why he was called up! Now with Oakland, Fowler could find himself leading off when he plays, but Boog Powell may eat into his playing time more than folks would like. If the playing time presents itself, he could be a 15/15 threat with counting stats that come from atop the lineup.

What pitcher should fantasy owners target with their last pick as a final-round flier?
As always, "final round" is relative to your league size so I'll extend a bit and go with Chris Stratton: Curveballer Extraordinare. With pitcher-friendly AT&T Park as his home and Buster Posey serving as his batterymate, the stage is set for Stratton to unlock his RichHillian potential thanks to a curve that topped the spin-rate leaderboard at 3,105 RPM (min. 100 pitches). The 27-year-old made nine starts down the stretch last season, posting a 2.42 ERA with 43 K's in 44 2/3 innings. His 3.81 FIP in that time period sets a more reasonable expectation, and wouldn't you know it -- he's got a 3.86 ERA with 18 K's in 16 1/3 spring innings as of this writing. Stratton is out to give "spin class" a whole new meaning in 2018.

Featured Pros: Spring Training Bold Predictions
Tue, Feb 27
Featured Pros: Spring Training Bold Predictions
Please give us one bold fantasy prediction (player related) that you believe could happen by the end of Spring Training
At this point, I don't think it'll surprise anyone if Jake Arrieta signs with Washington or Greg Holland signs with St. Louis, let alone something like Gleyber Torres forcing his way onto the Opening Day lineup. I'll say that Michael Brantley's ADP shoots way up as Spring Training plays out and we get used to seeing him healthy again, with the five-tool 30-year-old leaving many wondering how he was being taken behind guys like Mark Trumbo or Jose Peraza. Runner-up is Willie Calhoun winning the LF job in Texas and getting usual rookie-buzz boost.

Early Overvalued Players
Thu, Feb 8
Early Overvalued Players
Which hitter in our consensus rankings is the most overvalued and why?
Starling Marte was shut down from the Dominican Winter League with an injured left hand and his team is "rebuilding" around him as he looks to bounce back from a sad 2017. Marte only mustered seven longballs in 339 PAs last season despite it being the year of the longball. I don't care if your year was thrown by a self-inflicted suspension, his .104 ISO was below Alcides Escobar's .107 mark and I can't forgive that. His saving grace was going 21-for-25 on the basepaths, but that doesn't make him a top-30 bat. Don't pay for the name.

Which pitcher in our consensus rankings is the most overvalued and why?
At the moment, I think Madison Bumgarner is being taken too early given how we haven't seen his arm truly return since his motorcycle accident. At least his fastball came back to averaging out around 91-92 MPH in September, but he also allowed six homers and a horrid 4.91 ERA in that month. His 4.38 FIP in the second half is too much for me to consider him this highly, though healthy Spring Training velocities and movement could force me to revisit this.

MLB Offseason Risers
Thu, Jan 11
MLB Offseason Risers
What pitcher that has changed teams will be impacted the most in fantasy due to their new home?
We don't have many candidates to go off yet, but I've got to say Tyler Chatwood intrigues me the most right now. I've taken to calling him "Road Warrior" because of his splits, as he posted a 3.49 ERA away from Coors Field last year compared to a 6.01 mark at home. In 2016, his 1.69 road ERA was absolutely incredible, but once again his 6.12 home ERA really hurt him. He's now away from all of those Coors starts and gets to have a strong Cubs team supporting him, making him well worth a flier.

What hitter that has changed teams will be impacted the most in fantasy due to their new home?
With Dee Gordon's stock already high, I'll go with Ian Kinsler. The 35-year-old veteran is coming off of a down year where he notched a career-low .725 OPS with a horrendous .244 BABIP. While that had its roots in more fly balls and fewer line drives, he hadn't seen his BABIP slip below .288 in either of his previous four seasons and I think he'll flourish in a steady role in front of Mike Trout, Justin Upton and Albert Pujols. Look for his usual 20 homers, 12-15 steals and a return to 100-plus runs alongside a bounceback in average.

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