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Tim McCullough

Baseball Prospectus
Featured Pros: Under-the-Radar Waiver Pickups
Fri, May 18
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?
David Dahl (OF/1B, Rockies) - Injuries have delayed Dahl's arrival in the majors and deprived fantasy owners a chance to see how his intriguing power/speed profile plays with consistent at bats against major league pitching. In limited playing time this season, Dahl has batted .293/.349/.500 with a pair of homers in 63 PA to date. The entire Rockies outfield is underperforming, leaving the door wide open for Dahl to snag more consistent playing time. He has the skill set to hit for both power and average, and he will contribute stolen bases as well, making him a potentially valuable fantasy asset. Pick him up now because his price will rise quickly once he starts playing every day, which could happen quickly if someone gets hurt. He's currently owned in just 16% of leagues.

What one starting pitcher should fantasy owners look into picking up that is owned in less than 20% of Leagues?
Steven Matz (SP, NY Mets) - Entering the 2018 season, there were major concerns about whether Matz could stay healthy and bounce back from an injury-riddled and generally awful 2017 season. Aside from some back stiffness, he has been healthy, and his current surface stats are mostly league average or a little better. His strikeout rate has rebounded nicely to 9.4 K/9IP but his walk rate is a bit of a concern at 4.1 BB/9IP. However, he is limiting hard contact to just 33.3% Hard% and his groundball rate of 50% is excellent. His swinging strike rate of 7.7% is slightly better than last year's 7.1% but his overall Contact rate of 79.9% is just slightly higher than his career best (79% in 2016). Overall, Matz has looked good so far, so he is worth adding in most fantasy leagues, but especially deeper leagues. Currently, he is owned in just 14% of leagues.

Featured Pros: Bold Predictions
Tue, Mar 27
Featured Pros: Bold Predictions
Please give us one fantasy related bold prediction with the season about to start that owners should keep in mind.
As pitching continues to become more and more specialized we're seeing fewer wins for starting pitchers and more wins distributed among relief pitchers. In 2016, 35 relievers won at least five games, a number that grew to 41 relievers in 2017. This season, we'll see more than 50 relievers win five or more games with five relievers cracking double-digits. Overall, relief pitchers are going to become much more relevant in fantasy leagues.

Featured Pros: Players You'll Regret not Drafting
Fri, Mar 23
Featured Pros: Players You'll Regret not Drafting
Please name one hitter ranked outside the top 50 in the expert consensus that owners will regret the most not drafting.
Jason Kipnis, 2B, Cleveland Indians (ADP #178 overall, #23 at 2B) - Kipnis had an injury-filled season in 2017 and was only able to play 90 games as a result. While his spring training statistics (6 HRs, 12 RBIs in 42 PA with a .429 BA) don't guarantee anything once the season starts, they clearly indicate that he is healthy and swinging the bat with authority. Like so many others, Kipnis has altered his swing to goose up his flyball rate, which ended up at a career-high 44.1 percent last season. A healthy Kipnis can produce 25-30 HRs and provide solid production across the board; a 20/20 season is not out of the question provided he can improve his BABIP closer to his career .314 mark. It wouldn't be surprising to see him end up among the Top 10 second basemen if he stays healthy.

Please name one starting pitcher ranked outside the top 25 in the expert consensus that owners will regret the most not drafting.
Michael Wacha, SP, St. Louis Cardinals (ADP #250 overall, #89 at SP) - Wacha put together a respectable, though unspectacular season in 2017 as far as his surface statistics are concerned. However, his skill metrics indicate that he is clearly capable of ace-like production. For example, his Hard Hit% (28% last year) and his 48 percent Groundball Rate illustrate his ability to limit hard contact and keep batted balls inside the park. If he continues to control the HR ball and raise his strikeout rate above a strikeout per inning, there is no reason he can't join the Top 25 pitchers in the game. At age 27, he's right smack in the middle of his prime production years. His floor is very stable and there are no limits to his upside. Draft him with confidence.

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
After a succession of poor outings in which he is hammered by the opposition, Shohei Ohtani admits that the ulnar collateral ligament sprain in his throwing elbow - for which he received a PRP injection last October - is flaring up and causing him pain. While his pitching has been awful, hit hitting has been awesome all spring; he's batting .350 with five home runs and 14 RBIs in 36 at-bats. The Angels, looking to protect their sizable investment in Ohtani, decide to shut him down as a pitcher and make him a full-time outfielder/DH to minimize the strain on his elbow and maximize his plate appearances. No more two-way Ohtani.

Featured Pros: Spring Training Watch
Fri, Feb 16
Featured Pros: Spring Training Watch
Name one hitter you'll be paying close attention to during spring training and why.
There were two Cody Bellingers last season. Most of the time he was Bellinger the masher, hitting home runs at a furious pace and batting .300 or better. But there were also times that he was Cody lite, striking out at a furious pace and batting .200 or less. Cody lite showed up for a 20 game stretch from mid-May to mid-June last year, on and off all summer and most notably during the Divisional playoffs (.214) and the World Series (.143). I am very curious to see which player shows up at spring training and how he performs could dictate where I rank (and draft) him this season.

Name one pitcher you'll be paying close attention to during spring training and why.
Last year, even though David Price was having elbow trouble right off the bat in spring training, I went ahead and drafted him thinking I could stash him and have a nice ace in the hole for the second half. He looked good when pitching out of the bullpen when he returned for the second time in mid-September. Neither the Red Sox nor fantasy owners need a $25M dollar (or high draft pick) reliever. I'll be watching Price pitch to see if he's really back to normal, that he's using his full arsenal of pitches and throwing without any discomfort. I'll also be monitoring the news from camp to see if there is even the slightest hint that the Red Sox are concerned.

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Tim McCullough

About


Tim has played and written about fantasy sports for more than 25 years. He is currently a Staff Writer for BaseballProspectus.com. Prior to that, he was the Managing Editor for RotoExperts.com from 2007 to 2018. Tim has won FSWA writing awards for both fantasy football (2010) and fantasy baseball (2017) and he's been published at Yahoo.com, USA Today.com, SI.com, both the electronic and print editions of the New York Post and the New York Daily News, in numerous magazines and he contributed to Benny Ricciardi's Ultimate Guide to Fantasy Baseball.


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