In the following MLB weekly preview, we have a game breakdown for all 30 teams, pitching rankings and latest IL info to dominate Fantasy Baseball…
Jeff Mans and I were sitting around the metaphorical campfire, singing “Kumbaya” and talking about baseball, the future of the fantasy business and days of old. He reflected upon his Fantasy Alarm days and then, Eureka! Like a flash of lightning, the thought sprung from his mind… the MLB Weekly Preview. For those of you who have followed his work for years like myself, you know exactly the article of which I speak. A valuable preview that prepared us for our weekly conquests. A detailed dissection of the weekly matchups is a time-consuming undertaking and, with everything else on his plate as Elite Sports Network is booming, just not possible. But like all good leaders, he delegated the responsibility to me… and I don’t make it a habit of letting people down, Mans nor you, our loyal MLB subscriber.
In the following weekly preview, you will find a game breakdown for all 30 MLB teams (including Interleague play), two-start and overall pitching rankings and the latest IL information to help you dominate this week’s matchup and through the entirety of your seasonal league.
With the seven weekly previews that remain this season, I will be using this section of the article to answer YOUR fantasy baseball questions leading up to Championship week! Didn’t get your question submitted in time? Drop me a line on Twitter or throw out your questions in the Chat Room (see links below).
BirdFury – I have a possible trade to send Shohei Ohtani, Luis Urías and Kurt Suzuki for Mookie Betts & Wilson Ramos. Keeper league – Mookie will be too expensive to keep next year. Ohtani and Urias are on the cheap.
When BF first posed this question in the chat, my initial instinct said he’s giving up too much, especially with potential keepers Ohtani & Urias. Despite getting the best player in the deal, mortgaging your future to win now is not a move I would normally like to make unless the deal blew me away. Compounding this, dishing Ohtani is like trading two players for next season, although confirmation of Ohtani’s dual-position eligibility in BF’s league was never established. Assuming he is eligible at both DH and SP, this makes the deal even worse in my opinion. If only eligible at DH, the deal evens out a bit.
Ray Flowers made a great point in the chat, asking for the values of each player next season. What is “too expensive” for Mookie? Or how cheap are Ohtani and Urías? If there is even a remote chance BF could possibly keep Mookie, I would think about pulling the trigger, as he would be playing to win now and for the future.
Luis Urías is a future stud at middle infield. After a slow start, he is hitting .300 with a home run, 7 Ks and 3 BBs in last 10 games (30 ABs). If BF is deep enough at second base, Urías could be deemed expendable for this season. But again, mortgaging the future. Ramos (6/19, 2 HR, 4 RBI, 3 R last seven days) would be an upgrade over Suzuki but is far from consistent this season (.316 wOBA, 99 wRC+, .142 ISO). Ultimately, the decision lies in the comparison of Mookie (.283/.391/.494/.884, 106 R, 20 HR, 62 RBI, 12 SB) and Shohei (.278/.347/.536/.855, 37 R, 15 HR, 45 RBI, 9 SB). Is there a statistical advantage for Betts? Slight, except in the run department. Is it enough to pull the trigger? Not in my opinion. Initial instinct proves true… don’t make this deal.
MRM57 – Rank these WW replacements for Lourdes Gurriel (IL bound): Willy Adames, Miguel Cabrera, Kyle Seager, Ian Happ (6×6 H2H/OBP). Thx
- Miguel Cabrera
- Ian Happ
- Willy Adames
- Kyle Seager
Rankings based on my rest-of-season model and projected OBP.
Tpguerriero – Trade/Keeper question: 10 team roto league and we get 10 keepers each. Players are -1 round every year, and you can keep a guy 4 years max. Next year is going to be the last year I can keep Anthony Rendon (RD 21). Should I accept a trade for him for a late first-round pick?
As awesome as Rendon is – .314/.399/.605/1.004, 82 R, 25 HR, 90 RBI, 2 SB this season – gaining an additional first-round pick would be huuuuge, especially since he is nearing the end of his tenure on your team. Why not accept this trade? You are guaranteed to use that pick for an equal or greater player in this spot, and worst-case scenario, you could always draft Rendon and regain his services (I’m assuming there are no rules against this in your league). Also, much like Bryce Harper the year prior, I expect Rendon to be wearing a new uniform in 2020. He will also end his tenure with Washington as a UFA and inevitably test the free-agent waters since Nationals have shown a propensity to have a tight wallet. New scenery, especially after a player gets paid, always worries me in regard to regression.
andrew.colarullo – What’s going on with this Braves pen! I know they said Melancon is the closer, but he got rocked last night! Is he still worth picking up? Or is Luke Jackson maybe the guy again?
Andrew, I’m not even sure if the Braves or manager Brian Snitker know what’s going on with their pen. It has been a comedy of errors since Braves were unable to lure old friend Craig Kimbrel back to Atlanta. Newly acquired Shane Greene couldn’t get the job done, and as you indicated, neither did Mark Melancon. One rough appearance *shouldn’t* alter Snitker’s thinking, and I expect him to go back to Melancon for the next save chance. There has been no word as of yet if this line-of-thinking will change.
Jackson is their most talented reliever and does deserve the job in my opinion. However, with 18 career MLB saves, he is definitely wet behind the ears. Being in their playoff position and leading the NL East, tough to rely on a guy who is this inexperienced. He is 27-years-old so he does have the maturity to counteract his inexperience. What this situation looks like to me is a committee approach down the stretch. I would avoid altogether. Instead, look for Archie Bradley, Brandon Workman or even Seth Lugo on your waiver wire if you need relief help. Lugo is in a similar position as Jackson but has been lights-out, and the Mets’ confidence in Edwin Diaz seems to be waning by each rocky ninth inning.
Weekly Report Card
- Austin Meadows (6/22, 2 R, 2 XBH, HR, 3 RBI); Brian Anderson (10/25, 7 R, 6 XBH, 3 HR, 6 RBI, 3/6 BB/K); Nick Castellanos (12/30, 9 R, 8 XBH, 4 HR, 5 RBI); Paul Goldschmidt (7/23, 4 R, HR, 4 RBI, 1/4 BB/K)
- Jacob deGrom (12 IP, 9 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 15 K, W/ND) – Top Arm
- Jeff Samardzija (12 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 3 BB, 8 K, L/W) – Bold Strategy Cotton play
- Dinelson Lamet (12 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 7 BB, 19 K, W/ND) – Top SP Stream of the Week
Hard to be much more spot on with our hitters. Goldschmidt was beginning to show the Povia Cover Boy Jinx but rebounded very nicely on 8/11 with a 4-for-5 day. I previously wrote in this article series how Goldy is now a more talented version of Jay Bruce with his hot and cold streaks. Appears as though he may have avoided cold status, but pay close attention to his matchups this week before you deploy him. He did blast a two-run homer as one of his four hits on 8/11 so maybe he is lukewarm.
Pitching calls were equally as sound as the hitter advice. Lamet had a no-no going into the seventh in his first start, and he followed that spectacular showing with five solid innings in his second start before being yanked in sixth of a tie game. The Shark did not bite us, as he had a pretty stellar week overall (one gem and one serviceable start in the loss). deGrom had a short outing on 8/11 after 30+ pitches in a rough first inning led his pitch count to elevate over 100 by the fifth. Other arms topped him this week, but his *deGrominate* first start coupled with his strong K totals in both games did just fine.
Overall Letter Grade: A
MLB GAME BREAKDOWN GRID
WEEKLY INTERLEAGUE OUTLOOK
The Bay Bridge series highlights this week’s interleague schedule. The opening frame will see a battle of the Andersons, as Brett will face Shaun (no relation). Also no real pertinent fantasy impact other than the A’s losing the DH for two games. “I’m going to enjoy watching you die, Mr. Anderson.”
TOP TWO-START PITCHERS
IN ORDER OF PREFERENCE
- Gerrit Cole (@CHW, @OAK)
- Clayton Kershaw (@MIA, @ATL)
- Zack Greinke (@CHW, @OAK)
- Jack Flaherty (@KC, @CIN)
- Mike Clevinger (BOS, @NYY)
- Zack Wheeler (@ATL, @KC)
- Domingo German (BAL, CLE)
- Lance Lynn (@TOR, MIN)
- James Paxton (BAL, CLE)
- Matt Boyd (SEA, @TB)
- Eduardo Rodriguez (@CLE, BAL)
- Jose Quintana (@PHI, @PIT)
- Joey Lucchesi (TB, @PHI)
- Alex Wood (@WSH, STL)
- Zac Gallen (@COL, SF)
- FADE: Max Fried (NYM, LAD) – You might be saying to yourself, “Pov, are you an idiot?!” And I hear ya… the jury is still deliberating on this issue. Fried has had a nice string of starts, giving up three or fewer runs in six of eight games. Two of those games were against NYM as well, but that was a far different team than the one making a run for a Wild Card spot. They are red-hot, and I expect different results this time around; not only because they’re streaking, but the more a lineup sees a pitcher, more advantages go to the hitter. Oh, and I hear that Dodgers team is pretty good. I’m passing on Fried, and if you are ahead in your categories or sitting pretty at the top of your standings – which you should be with this weekly article – I suggest you do the same!
- LAST STAND: Jon Gray (ARI, MIA) – Gray has been a fucking headache all season long. He has probably disappointed me the most out of anybody in the industry. I made a bold prediction during Spring Training he would be in Cy Young contention, despite playing his home games in a hitter’s haven known as Coors Field. Boy, was I wrong! These starts are both in Colorado, but Arizona and Miami have scored the 10th and 14th fewest runs over the past seven days. I’ll go to the well one last time with Gray. If he fucks us, he’s officially dead to me.
For a detailed breakdown of more two-start pitchers who may be available on your waiver wire, check out Vlad’s FAAB Values!
STARTING PITCHER RANKINGS FOR AUGUST 12–18
MLB INJURED LIST REPORT
Besides names that may already be listed, here is the latest injury news on a few of your fantasy studs. I will update early in the week.
- Pair of Cubbies: Willson Contreras (strained right hamstring) & Craig Kimbrel (right knee inflammation) – By all reports, Contreras will miss four weeks with the strained hamstring. Cubs picked up Jonathan Lucroy off waivers from the Angels, and in his first game with the new club, he went three-for-five with a double and 2 RBI. If you’re hurting in the catcher position, I wouldn’t even think twice about scooping up Lucroy. He has been lost in the American League, but my gut says he will enjoy being back in the Senior Circuit. As for Kimbrel, his IL stint dates back to 8/4 and he is expected to join the Cubs in Philadelphia, Jesse Rogers of ESPN.com reports. Unlikely to be activated when first eligible 8/14, he will test the injured knee by tossing a bullpen, after which, a timetable for his return should become more clear.
- Nelson Cruz (left wrist) was placed on the 10-day injured list with a ruptured extensor carpi ulnaris (ECU) tendon on the outside part of his left wrist. Twins lose their hottest hitter at an inopportune time, but the good news is that all of the pain has already subsided and Twins are optimistic about a quick recovery. “The way it feels today is really good – it’s a miracle that it feels like that,” Cruz said. “I don’t have any pain, so maybe that’s what I needed. Just tear that tendon, and we’re good.” Cruz will see a specialist in New York on 8/12 to receive a second opinion, as the Twins decide on a recovery timeline for the slugger. The hope is he will recover in the minimum 10 days.
- David Price (wrist) was placed on the injured list 8/8 with the hopes of it being a short stint. He has already begun doing exercises to regain strength and range of motion in his wrist. Reports are he has been trying to persevere through the pain for three-four starts, which would explain why he has been taken to the woodshed recently (10.59 ERA and 2.18 WHIP in last four starts).
- Lourdes Gurriel (Grade 1 quadriceps strain) has no official timetable for a return after learning what was once believed to be merely a cramp was indeed a strain. The positive, though, it is only a mild strain or overstretching of the muscle. He is eligible to be activated 8/20 against the Dodgers. For a discussion on potential WW replacements, see my answer to MRM57 in MLB Mailbag above.
- Juan Soto (mild ankle strain) rolled his ankle on the bag after receiving a late stop sign from third-base coach Bob Henley. Soto petitioned to stay in the ballgame after coming up lame, but Washington erred on the side of caution. X-rays came back negative, and the Nats consider Soto day-to-day for now, pending additional tests.
POV SPECIAL – TOP SP STREAM OF THE WEEK
→ Trent Thornton, RH TOR (SEA) – It has been a roller coaster of a season for Thornton. After posting a 5.34 ERA and 1.48 WHIP, many former owners have cast him off to the depths of the waiver wire. What they may not have realized is he has 110 strikeouts vs. 47 walks (2.26 K/BB) in 114.2 innings. His other K stats: 8.61 K/9, 21.3% K-rate. The ERA is high, but a 4.90 FIP says some positive regression is in order. We saw that in his last start verse the mighty Yankees, giving up a single run in six innings of work and pitching masterfully. If he did this against New York, what will he do against Seattle? He won’t no-hit them (.273 BAA, .319 BABIP), but I can easily see seven innings of two-hit ball with zero runs allowed.
For more streaming options on the mound AND at the plate, visit Vlad’s FAAB Values!
Top Hitter BvP for the Week (minimum 20 ABs)
- Freddie Freeman vs. Zack Wheeler – 8/13 (12/24, 5 XBH, 2 HR, 6 RBI, 12/7 BB/K, .500/.649/.875/1.524)
- Matt Carpenter vs. Anthony DeSclafani – 8/17 (12/27, 6 XBH, 3 HR, 5 RBI, 7/7 BB/K, .444/.559/.926/1.485)
- Pablo Sandoval vs. Mike Leake – 8/16 (11/22, 4 XBH, 2 HR, 3 RBI, .500/.522/.864/1.385)
- Anthony Rendon vs. Alex Wood – 8/13 (12/21, HR, 2 RBI, 2/2 BB/K, .571/.609/.714/1.323)
- Charlie Blackmon vs. Robbie Ray – 8/14 (20/45, 7 XBH, 5 HR, 12 RBI, .444/.468/.844/1.313)
- Carlos Santana vs. CC Sabathia – 8/15 (11/22, 2 XBH, HR, 4 RBI, 2/1 BB/K, .500/.542/.682/1.223)
- Christian Yelich vs. Max Scherzer – 8/18 (7/20, 4 XBH, 2 HR, 3 RBI, .350/.409/.800/1.209)
- Francisco Lindor vs. Chris Sale – 8/13 (10/24, 2 XBH, HR, 3 RBI, .417/.440/.583/1.023)