Fantasy Baseball Mailbag: 6/30/16
We're here to try and help you navigate the ever-changing landscape that is fantasy baseball. It's not easy to keep up with all of the day-to-day fluctuations, so it can help to have someone to bounce ideas off of. That's what our daily mailbag will look to do.
Feel free to shoot us any questions you may have throughout the day on Twitter, and then we'll try to answer as many as we can in the form of a post. If you prefer, you can also send an email to Jim.Sannes@FanDuel.com. These questions can be anything fantasy baseball related. That means daily fantasy baseball, season-long, dynasty, and everything else are all in play.
Obviously, we won't be able to get to all questions because there's a lot to cover. For additional questions, be sure to check out our new MLB DFS tools along with our daily and season-long projections, which should help out more times than not.
Now, enough of that. Let's dig into today's mailbag and see what's popping in the world of fantasy baseball.
@numberFire is this turnaround for Sonny Gray for real?
â€” Adam Faucheux (@Afaucheux70) June 30, 2016
This is a bit of a mixed bag because the answer is both yes and no. Yes, Sonny Gray is a usable season-long fantasy asset again; no, he is not the old Sonny we know and love yet.
We'll start with the positive because it does seem like that's outweighing his persisting issues. Prior to his trip to the disabled list, Gray's control was off the rails as he was walking 10.8% of the batters he faced, a hefty jump up from his mark of 7.1% last year. Over his past five starts, though, Gray has turned things around there by issuing only one walk in each outing, resulting in a 4.0% walk rate. With that type of walk rate, he's giving himself a lot more wiggle room for mistakes than he was before.
The downsides are that Gray still isn't getting many swings and misses, and he isn't able to limit hard contact the way he was in the past. Gray's 7.2% swinging-strike rate is actually lower than it was prior to his injury, and it's a far cry from the 9.7% mark he had in 2015. That dampens optimism that he'll be able to get back to his 20.3% strikeout rate from last year any time soon.
As far as the batted balls go, Gray has excelled here in the past, holding hitters to a 25.1% hard-hit rate last year, the 10th-best mark among all starters in the league. Gray's hard-hit rate in his past five starts is a frightening 37.1%, up from a mark of 32.9% prior to his injury. Until he gets that down, he won't be the old Sonny Gray again, so it's hard to fully say that the turnaround is for real.
For fantasy purposes, he pitches in a great pitcher's park, and the increased control should help him limit damage. You can use him in season-long, though the limited strikeouts take him out of DFS consideration. It's worth monitoring his peripherals going forward because it just doesn't seem like he's back up to snuff just yet.
@numberFire Choo or Rajai ROS? 6x6 with ops
â€” Duke Silver (@_Ron_Swanson) June 30, 2016
If Shin-Soo Choo is available in your league -- 10-team, 5-team, no teams, whatever -- please go amend that right now. No leadoff hitter in a park that friendly to offense should be on waivers ever. And, for me, that's what makes him an easy choice over Rajai Davis, who only bats leadoff every now and then.
When he has been healthy this year, Choo has been simply tremendous. His strikeout rate is down to 19.1%, his walk rate is up to 13.8%, and he's sporting a 45.8% hard-hit rate and 5.1% soft-hit rate. Those numbers are just filthy. His spot in the order will allow him to score runs, and his power will allow him to drive them in. This is all before we even discuss his stolen-base upside.
Choo has swiped four bags this season, already equaling last year's total in 559 fewer plate appearances. The Texas Rangers have been aggressive on the basepaths, and it's helping Choo shrink the gap in the one area where Davis may hold a slight advantage.
The other edge for Choo -- as Sports Illustrated's Michael Beller pointed out today -- is that he's hitting lefties better this year. Beller mentioned that all three of Choo's dingers have come with a southpaw on the bump, allowing the Rangers to keep Choo in the leadoff spot regardless of who their opponent is. It's hard to overstate the value of that, and you should doing whatever you can -- trade, pick-up, coup d'etat of the team that currently owns him -- to get this man on your roster right now.
Want to have your questions answered in our mailbox? Submit your questions by tweeting @numberFire, or send an email to Jim.Sannes@FanDuel.com.