Fantasy Stars Week 24: Giants come up Pence

Giants RF Hunter Pence began the week going 0-4 against the Rockies, but had at least one hit and drove in at least one run in every other game. Indeed in all but two games he homered, winding up with 6 HR, 19 RBI, 8 runs scored, and a .448 average. In the shallow 5×5 Mixed League those numbers earned $80.99, easily the best week in fantasy baseball. While the Giants are far removed from the playoffs this year, the defending world champions did take 3 of 4 against the arch-rival Dodgers.
Ryan Zimmerman was the distant runner-up, as he hit .367 with 4 HR, 10 R, 5 RBI and 1 SB to earn $59.31. The top American League player (and pitcher) was Cleveland’s Ubaldo Jimenez, who fanned 18 while going 2-0 with a 0.59 ERA and 1.043 WHIP in 15.33 IP (worth $58.37).
Jose Altuve ($58.24 mixed) led the majors in SB with 4, to go along with a .444 average, 1 HR, 6 R, and 6 RBI. In the deeper AL-only leagues, those numbers make him the MVP, with a $49.10 RotoValue in the 4×4 AL Only, and a $44.77 RotoValue in the 5×5 AL Only. Jimenez’s week was worth “only” $33.49 in the 4×4 (7th best), and $37.10 in the 5×5, 5th best. Altuve was clearly worth more in the deeper single-league pools, but Jimenez had a slight edge in the shallow mixed league, because the mixed pool added more strong offensive performers than pitchers, and also the shallower league uses different a higher replacement level, which makes Jimenez stand out more.
The 5×5 AL Only runner-up , at $41.77, was Josh Donaldson, who matched Altuve’s .444 average, and had 2 HR, 8 R, 6 RBI, and 1 SB. Donaldson actually scored 2 more runs and hit one more HR than Altuve, but Altuve’s 3 SB and a better batting average more than made up that difference. Yes, while both Donaldson and Altuve hit .444, Altuve did so in 27 AB, while Donaldson had just 18 AB, so Altuve’s average was worth more. Donaldson’s week was worth $37.61 in the 4×4 AL Only, 4th best, as his league-leading runs scored total didn’t matter in that format. Asdrubal Cabrera ($41.38) had the second-best 4×4 week. He hit just .273, added 7 RBI, 1 SB, and a league-leading 4 HR. Not far behind was Altuve’s teammate, rookie Jonathan Villar ($40.09; .370, 1 HR, 4 RBI, 4 SB).
Jimenez was clearly the top AL pitcher in both single-league formats, but runner-up Clay Buchholz ($32.35) nearly earned as much in the 4×4 AL Only. Buchholz matched Jimenez’s two wins, and posted gaudier percentages, a 0.00 ERA and a 0.909 WHIP. But he pitched just 11 innings in those wins, so the RotoValue model put Jimenez on top. Effectively Jimenez matched Buchholz’s percentages, over 11 IP, and then added another 4.33 IP of a 2.08 ERA and 1.385 WHIP. While that WHIP is slightly worse than average, the ERA is much better, so Jimenez has a little more value. In the 5×5 AL Only, the Buchholz was still second, at $28.73, but much further behind, as he had just 9 Ks compared to Jimenez’s 18.
Scoring format also determined the order of top closers, with Ernesto Frieri ($20.79; 3 Sav, 0.750 WHIP, 0.00 ERA, 6 Ks) taking the top spot in the 5×5, ahead of Joaquin Benoit ($19.62; 3 Sav, 0.462 WHIP, 0.00 ERA, 3 Ks) and Greg Holland ($19.17; 3 Sav, 0.667 WHIP, 0.00 ERA, 5 Ks). In 4×4, Benoit earned $26.62 (relievers are worth relatively more in leagues where strikeouts don’t count) to edge out Mariano Rivera ($26.28; 1 Win, 2 Sav, 0.600 WHIP, 2.70 ERA, just 1 K), with Frieri ($24.71) ranking third.
While he hasn’t picked up enough saves or wins in any one calendar week to make a list of the top fantasy performers recently, Red Sox closer Koji Uehara has been literally unhittable since mid-August, as he’s thrown 12 consecutive perfect innings since, notching a win and 7 saves in the process, with 17 Ks. Even with just 1 win and 1 save this week, Uehara’s perfection was worth $23.12 in 4×4, and $18.82 in 5×5. The last batter to reach base against Uehara was Lyle Overbay, who doubled off him back on August 17th (but did not score).
In deeper NL-only formats, Pence clearly dominated, earning $72.97 in the 4×4 NL Only, and  $67.96 in the 5×5 NL Only. Zimmerman ($51.44) was runner-up in the 5×5, but much of his value came from a league-leading 10 runs scored, so he earned only $44.60 in the 4×4, 5th best. Chase Headley ($49.93) hit .364 with 3 HR, 7 RBI, and 2 SB to place a distant second.
Gerrit Cole was the most valuable NL-only pitcher, with 2 wins, 16 Ks, a 0.929 WHIP and a 0.64 ERA in 14 IP, earning $43.37 in the 4×4 NL Only, and $48.17 in the 5×5 NL OnlyKris Medlen ($38.22 in 4×4, $37.92 in 5×5) was a distant runner-up in both formats. While he also won twice, his peripheral numbers weren’t quite as good – 1.024 WHIP, 1.32 ERA, and 11 Ks. Cole’s teammate Mark Melancon racked up 5 saves in the week to rank as most valuable closer, earning $25.22 in the 4×4 format, and $22.00 in the 5×5, despite a mediocre 3.60 ERA and 1.200 WHIP. Usually ace relievers post extremely low percentage stats, which help a team despite their low innings totals.
Oh, and if you follow one or more teams closely, please consider taking part in Tom Tango’s 2013 Fans’ Scouting Report. Tango is collecting subjective opinions from fans that watch teams regularly to crowd-source defensive ratings.

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