Lost password?

Don't have an account?
Join the Best Live Fantasy Chat Community!


Receive free daily analysis


Already have an account? Log In


Forgot Password


Articles & Tools
Import Your Leagues
Daily Stats & Leaders
All Pitcher Matchups
Compare Any Players
Pickups & Streamers
Rookies & Call-Ups
News and Alerts

Real Deal or Impostor: Will Graveman, Bauer, and Cruz Sustain Their Performances?

With 2 weeks officially in the books, we can finally begin to consider 2015 performances, at least to a certain extent. The small sample size waters remain treacherous, but approximately 10% of a player's season should not be completely ignored either. Three players that are now looked at far differently than they were in the preseason are presented below, awaiting classification as either the "real deal" or "impostor." Let's begin.


Kendall Graveman, SP, OAK

A popular sleeper pick heading into the year, Graveman has done absolutely nothing to justify his sleeper status. Through 3 starts, he has posted a 1-2 record with a 6.94 ERA, 7.05 FIP, and 5.86 xFIP. Primary culprits for his failures are a dismal strikeout rate (4.63 K/9) and elevated walk rate (8 BB in 11.2 IP), adding up to a terrible 0.75 K/BB ratio. When hitters do not walk or strikeout, they have been hitting the ball hard - to the tune of a 23.3% line drive rate (league average is 21%).

On a per game basis, it is still difficult to find anything to like about Graveman's season thus far. His first start led to 3.1 IP and 7 ER, obviously bad. His second start against the Astros was better: 5.1 IP, 0 ER, 4 BB, and 3 K. That seems encouraging at first, but the Astros strike themselves out with startling regularity - how do you only have 3 Ks against them? How do you have a sub one K/BB against them? He got a W out of it, but it was not a great performance. His most recent start was weak: 3 IP, 2 ER, 3 BB, and 2 K. The alarming thing here is the length of the appearance - 2 ER should not have knocked him out so early. Nothing injury related has come out, so the evidence suggests that Oakland may be tiring of their struggling sinkerballer, preemptively yanking him before being forced to do so. If this is the case, his days in the rotation are numbered.

The greater mystery is why he was ever a sleeper in the first place. He has only 155 minor league innings, and they suggested that his K rate would be bad. He does not have a single plus offering according to Pitch f/x data(though it may be thrown off by the small sample). He has not allowed a crazy number of unlucky HR (2), and his elevated BABIP is explained by the line drive rate he allows. The only way this guy belongs anywhere near your fantasy team is if you stacked your lineup against him in a DFS format.

Verdict: Real Deal - he really is this bad.


Nelson Cruz, OF, SEA

Cruz has power. His 40 HR last year attest to this fact. The worry in the offseason was his change of address - from homer happy Camden Yards to Safeco Field, where offense historically goes to die - that may sap this one tool player of his one tool. Fantasy owners have seen this before - Brian Giles in Petco Park and Jason Bay at Citi Field are notable examples - and many legitimately worried Cruz may follow in their footsteps. 8 HR in two weeks later, Cruz seems to be all right.

Yet six of the eight bombs have come on the road, potentially leaving some to wonder whether Safeco may get into Cruz's head yet. Two is a far less imposing figure than eight, after all. Context, however, reveals that two is actually a solid figure, ridiculous road stats notwithstanding. Since the Mariners have played roughly a 50/50 split of home and away games, Cruz's two home HR can be extrapolated to four if he were to have played nothing but home games to this point in the season. That total would place him on par with first round sluggers like Giancarlo Stanton (three HR) and Edwin Encarnacion (four). That would still be a solid start.

Of course, Cruz really has eight dingers, and this fact will also help him. Historically, Cruz is a streaky player - a cold streak to start the campaign could have shattered his confidence and turned him into the second coming of Jason Bay. The scorching hot start will prevent this by proving beyond doubt that he can hit for power as a Mariner - he can tell himself that he is merely in a slump when things do go awry, that it will end eventually and he will hit for power again. Cruz will surely lose the .500 BABIP propping up his average and a few bombs to his roomier stadium, but he should still be good for 35 big flies. This one tool player has proven that his one tool remains sharp, and that makes him the...

Verdict: Real Deal


Trevor Bauer, SP, CLE

While most were fascinated by the fantasy prospects of Corey Kluber, Carlos Carrasco, and Danny Salazar; the more under the radar Bauer may have been the most intriguing member of the Cleveland rotation. He has a reputation of being unteachable, yet the position he stubbornly holds onto make a great deal of sense. Why should he give up offerings that can be effective weapons against major league hitters? Why should he strive to increase his groundball rate when balls in the air have lower BABIPs? His way is working very well thus far, as he has posted a 2-0 record with a miniscule 0.95 ERA, 2.02 FIP, 3.09 xFIP, and sexy 12.32 K/9. Since the advanced metrics support ace level production, he can be trusted to maintain his breakthrough, right?

His 5.21 BB/9 are a cause for concern, but he has managed to not allow them to hurt him thanks to a .211 BABIP against. That is a very low figure not suggested by some kind of super defense in Cleveland, so Bauer figures to allow more hits to drop through than he currently is, likely when his 40% IFFB% (career 9.8%) normalizes. That will make it harder to strand all of those walks, leading to a significant uptick in ERA. He is also yet to allow a HR this season, and he probably will at some point. Overall, luck seems to have played a significant role in Bauer's early season success.

It is possible that Bauer's improvement is the result of better pitch selection rather than merely good fortune, but this is not really the case according to Pitch f/x pitch values/100.

Pitch f/x pitch values/100 is an advanced metric that measures the effectiveness of each offering in a pitcher's repertoire, normalizing for how often each is thrown.

While it takes longer than three starts for the metric to stabilize, Bauer pitched enough in 2014 that last year's data should be applicable. Bauer has six different pitches, three of which are plus while the others are less effective. On the positive side of the ledger, Bauer has a 2 seam fastball (0.92 runs above average per 100 thrown), a cutter (0.29), and a curveball (0.80). Less effective are the four seamer (-0.47), the slider (-1.28), and the change (-1.97). Two of Bauer's better offerings, the 2 seamer and the cutter, are being used more frequently this year than last by a little more than 4% each. The curve, however, has fallen from 17% last year to just 5.7% this year. Since the curve is his second most effective pitch, using it more - not less - would explain an uptick in performance. Bauer's worst pitch, the change, is up 4.5%, while the weak slider is down 5%. Usage patterns stabilize quickly as the pitcher makes a conscious decision of what to throw for every pitch, and while Bauer has clearly tinkered with his selection it is not yet optimized according to publicly available data. Contact rate against Bauer has fallen 10% this year, but the sample is too small to rule out its being mere statistical noise. Since Bauer figures to allow more runs going forward, he must be labelled...

Verdict: Impostor, though he does have the talent to perform at his current pace if he can cut down the walks.


MLB & Fantasy Baseball Chat Room



Articles & Tools
Import Your Leagues
Daily Stats & Leaders
All Pitcher Matchups
Compare Any Players
Pickups & Streamers
Rookies & Call-Ups
News and Alerts


Mitchell Marner7 hours ago

Scores Hat Trick In Victory
Alex Lyon8 hours ago

Earns Third Consecutive Victory
Jeremy Swayman8 hours ago

Posts Shutout Against Sharks
Zach Charbonnet8 hours ago

Pete Carroll Believes Zach Charbonnet Has A Bruised Knee
CeeDee Lamb8 hours ago

Has Another Huge Game In Week 13
Kareem Hunt10 hours ago

Limited On Thursday
Matt McLain11 hours ago

Fully Healed
Shohei Ohtani11 hours ago

Wins Most Outstanding Designated Hitter Award
Chris Paul11 hours ago

To Be Re-Evaluated On Monday
Aaron Gordon11 hours ago

Listed As Questionable For Friday
Jamal Murray12 hours ago

Uncertain For Friday
Moses Moody12 hours ago

Shifts Into Starting Five
Grayson Allen12 hours ago

Removed From Injury Report
Devin Booker12 hours ago

Listed As Questionable For Friday
LaMelo Ball12 hours ago

To Be Re-Evaluated In One Week
Treylon Burks12 hours ago

Puts In Full Practice Thursday
Noah Brown13 hours ago

Limited Again Thursday
Kenneth Walker III13 hours ago

Officially Inactive In Week 13
LeBron James13 hours ago

A Game-Time Call Thursday
Kelly Olynyk13 hours ago

Jordan Clarkson, Kelly Olynyk Remain Questionable
Dorian Thompson-Robinson14 hours ago

Still In Concussion Protocol
Anthony Davis14 hours ago

Likely To Play Against Thunder
Amari Cooper14 hours ago

Back At Practice Thursday
Markelle Fultz14 hours ago

Wendell Carter Jr., Markelle Fultz Both Out Friday
Kelly Oubre14 hours ago

Jr. Aiming To Return Next Week
Jerry Jeudy14 hours ago

Marvin Mims Jr. Limited Thursday
Joel Embiid14 hours ago

Questionable Friday With Illness
Andrew Wiggins14 hours ago

Not Playing Against Clippers
Dallas Goedert14 hours ago

Trending In The Wrong Direction
Zach Hyman14 hours ago

Ready To Return On Thursday
Juuso Valimaki14 hours ago

Back For Coyotes On Thursday
Ilya Mikheyev15 hours ago

Good To Go Thursday
Dougie Hamilton15 hours ago

Won't Play On Thursday
Aaron Rodgers15 hours ago

Takes The Day Off
Radko Gudas15 hours ago

On Track To Return Thursday
Andrei Svechnikov15 hours ago

Expected Back On Thursday
Mark Kastelic15 hours ago

Ridly Greig Placed On Long-Term IR By Senators
Trey McBride15 hours ago

Limited On Thursday
Thomas Chabot16 hours ago

Activated Off Injured Reserve, Could Play Friday
Gabriel Vilardi16 hours ago

Activated Off Injured Reserve, Could Play Thursday
De'Von Achane16 hours ago

Limited Again Thursday
Kent Johnson16 hours ago

Recalled From AHL
DET16 hours ago

Patrick Kane Hoping For Season Debut In 7-10 Days
Tee Higgins16 hours ago

Plans To Play Monday Night
Tim Hardaway16 hours ago

Jr. Questionable With Back Spasms
Mark Giordano16 hours ago

Week-To-Week With Broken Finger
Trey Murphy16 hours ago

III Could Make Season Debut Friday
Bojan Bogdanovic16 hours ago

Downgraded To Out Thursday
Devin Booker16 hours ago

Up In The Air For Friday
Rashid Shaheed16 hours ago

Out For Second Straight Day
Chris Olave17 hours ago

Participating In Practice Again Thursday
Diontae Johnson17 hours ago

Out Sick Thursday
Paolo Banchero17 hours ago

Probable With Sprained Ankle
Keenan Allen17 hours ago

Working Off To The Side Thursday
Chris Godwin17 hours ago

Pops Up On Injury Report
Anthony Edwards17 hours ago

No Shootaround For Anthony Edwards Thursday
Dylan Cease17 hours ago

Cardinals Interested In Dylan Cease
Demario Douglas17 hours ago

Absent From Thursday's Practice
Joaquim Silva17 hours ago

Looking To Return To The Win Column
Clay Guida17 hours ago

Set For 36th UFC Fight
Kelvin Gastelum17 hours ago

Returns To Welterweight
Tyler Glasnow17 hours ago

Cubs Have Held Trade Talks On Tyler Glasnow
Marquise Brown18 hours ago

Still Not Practicing Thursday
Sean Brady18 hours ago

Looking To Rebound After First Career Loss
Deiveson Figueiredo18 hours ago

Moving Up To Bantamweight
Rob Font18 hours ago

Set For Third Fight Of 2023
Jaden Schwartz21 hours ago

Lands On Injured Reserve
Robby Fabbri21 hours ago

Tallies Two Points Against Rangers
Nick Martinez21 hours ago

Agrees To Two-Year Deal With Reds
Alexis Lafrenière21 hours ago

Alexis Lafreniere Delivers Two Assists
Jackson Chourio21 hours ago

Brewers Expected To Complete Record-Breaking Deal
Mike Matheson21 hours ago

Posts Two Assists In Wednesday's Win
Charlie Lindgren21 hours ago

Impresses With Win Over Kings
Shayne Gostisbehere21 hours ago

Exits Early On Wednesday
Jalen Smith22 hours ago

Out On Thursday, Will Be Re-Evaluated Next Week
Joey Wendle1 day ago

Agrees With Mets
Devin Williams2 days ago

Wins NL Reliever Of The Year Award
FĂ©lix Bautista2 days ago

Felix Bautista Named AL Reliever Of The Year
Luis Severino2 days ago

Mets, Luis Severino Finalizing One-Year Deal
Shohei Ohtani2 days ago

Expected To Sign Before End Of Winter Meetings
Dylan Cease2 days ago

Trade Talks For Dylan Cease Have Intensified
Randy Arozarena2 days ago

Being Shopped By Rays
Bo Bichette2 days ago

Likely Staying Put
Emilio Pagán2 days ago

Emilio Pagan Agrees To Two-Year Pact With Reds
Dylan Cease2 days ago

Dodgers "Among Most Aggressive" Teams For Dylan Cease
Shohei Ohtani2 days ago

Yoshinobu Yamamoto "Above All Other Options" For Giants
Juan Soto2 days ago

"Almost Certain To Be Traded"
Cody Bellinger2 days ago

Earns NL Comeback Player Of The Year Award
Liam Hendriks2 days ago

Earns AL Comeback Player Of The Year Award
Jackson Chourio3 days ago

Brewers Discussing Deal With Top Prospect Jackson Chourio




Rachaad White - Fantasy Football Rankings, Draft Sleepers, NFL Injury News

NFL DFS Week 13 Picks: Top DraftKings Plays for Daily Fantasy Include Brock Purdy, Rachaad White, Zack Moss, Tyreek Hill

Hello, RotoBallers, and fellow NFL DFS grinders. It's hard to believe that Thanksgiving is now in the rearview mirror and we are ready to embark on the Week 13 DraftKings Main Slate. As some of you might be falling out of the picture in your season-long leagues, DFS is a great way to stay plugged... Read More

Fantasy Football Start 'Em, Sit 'Em - Week 13 Matchups Analysis

Welcome back RotoBallers to our Week 13 matchups analysis and Start Em, Sit Em column for fantasy football. Last week started out with some lopsided Thanksgiving and Black Friday contests before the game of the week on Sunday between the Eagles and Bills. The schedule goes back to normal with just one Thursday matchup, but we... Read More

Ahmad Sauce Gardner - Fantasy Football

Week 13 IDP Start Em, Sit Em - Streamers and Fades for Fantasy Football Defensive Players

Perspective means a lot in sports, as in many areas of life. An example of this would be Shaquille Leonard. We mention him here frequently because he remains a legend in many IDP circles. Even this year he's been a pretty productive tackler, despite limited snaps and conflicts with his team/coaching staff. So, obviously a... Read More

Kenneth Walker III - Fantasy Football Rankings, Draft Sleepers, Waiver Wire Pickups

Fantasy Football Injury Reports For Week 13 (Thursday Updates): Kenneth Walker III, Travis Etienne, Chris Olave, De'Von Achane, Tee Higgins, and more

With Week 13 ready to get underway with the Cowboys vs. Seahawks on Thursday Night Football, fantasy managers are busy tracking injuries to their key fantasy studs. We have the latest notable injury updates as of Thursday, November 30, 2023. Fantasy football assets such as Kenneth Walker III, Travis Etienne, Chris Olave, and more have... Read More

Adam Thielen - Fantasy Football Rankings, Draft Sleepers, NFL DFS Picks

The King's Week 13 Lineup Rankings and Analysis (Premium Content)

Scott "The King" Engel issues his full Week 13 lineup rankings in PPR, Half-PPR, and Standard formats. He also includes insights on key players at each position, with chunks of relevant statistical indicators. Regular starting options are also included in the statistical highlights to show how well your best players might be performing. Much of... Read More

Aaron Donald - Fantasy Football Rankings, IDP Draft Sleepers, Defense (DST)

Week 13 Team Defense Rankings for Fantasy Football: Buccaneers DST, Chargers DST, Jaguars DST, Falcons DST, Rams DST

RotoBallers, Week 13 has arrived, and it's time to focus on setting those winning lineups. There are six teams on a bye, so there will be few options to stream this week. The Bears, Vikings, Bills, Ravens, Giants, and Raiders are off this week. For fantasy managers singing the bye week blues, we've got you... Read More

AJ Brown - Fantasy Football Rankings, Draft Sleepers, NFL Injury News

NFL Week 13 Power Rankings: Where Do All 32 NFL Teams Stand?

As we head into the fourth month of the NFL season, we are starting to get a better sense of who these 32 teams are. Injuries, inefficiencies, and mega-popstar distractions have impacted NFL teams in different ways through the league's first twelve weeks. On the other hand, there have been some major positive surprises and... Read More

Dak Prescott - Fantasy Football Rankings, Draft Sleepers, NFL Injury News

Seahawks vs. Cowboys TNF Start 'Em, Sit 'Em - Tony Pollard, Jake Ferguson, Geno Smith, DK Metcalf, Tyler Lockett, Zach Charbonnet, more

Thursday Night Football for Week 13 will be a tale of two teams headed in opposite directions. The Dallas Cowboys are winners of five of their last six games, and those five wins have come with an average margin of victory of 23.2 points. The Seattle Seahawks, on the other hand, have lost three of... Read More

Kyler Murray - Fantasy Football Rankings, NFL Injury News, DFS Lineup Picks

Fantasy Football Warning Signals for Week 13: Kyler Murray, Joe Mixon, and Drake London

Week 13 of the fantasy football season is underway and while we may have drafted certain players at a premium, it is okay to consider benching them despite their name value. We often hear the phrase "start your studs" and it is a tried and true method, especially earlier in the season. When injuries, tough... Read More

Russell Wilson - Fantasy Football Rankings, Draft Sleepers, NFL Injury News

Sneaky Starts, Pivot Plays, and Post-Waiver Pickups for Week 13 - Russell Wilson, Tyler Allgeier, Juwan Johnson, Jayden Reed, and More!

The byes are back. Wasn’t last week so nice -- where all you had to worry about was injuries? This week is a killer not just with six teams on bye, but with the high-quality fantasy options that the teams give us. You will not be able to use your Bills, Bears, Giants, Ravens, Raiders,... Read More

jaylen waddle fantasy football rankings news NFL DFS lineup picks

WR/CB Matchups to Target and Downgrade - Week 13 (2023)

Welcome to Week 13 of the WR/CB Matchups article. For those who are not familiar, this is a weekly series looking at fantasy football matchups for wide receivers versus the cornerbacks who are projected to cover them. During the past three seasons, I have tweaked my process to make the chart more user-friendly and predictive,... Read More

Bijan Robinson - Fantasy Football Rankings, NFL Rookies, Draft Sleepers

Rest of Season Half-PPR Rankings: Fantasy Football Top 200 for Week 13

December approaches and the fantasy football playoffs are on the horizon. Prepare for the championship push as best you can with our Week 13 fantasy football half-PPR rankings for the rest of 2023, as of November 30. Check where key players shifted, such as Bijan Robinson, Cooper Kupp, Zack Moss, and more. These half-PPR fantasy... Read More

Jessie Bates Atlanta Falcons Defense - Fantasy Football DST, Defense Streamers, Waiver Wire IDP

Top Fantasy Football D/ST Rankings (Weeks 13, 14, 15, 16) - Defense Streamers and Starts

If you stream defenses in fantasy football, you have come to the right place. This article will look at defenses to target in Week 13 and beyond. Interesting to note that Week 15 and Week 16 will be featured in the list below, which is the playoffs for most fantasy leagues. So, if you have... Read More