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…
Ahh, the smell of the fresh-cut grass. Chalk lines are being drawn, and the pine tar can. . . You know what, screw this long-winded introduction, with the only purpose being to pad my word count so homie can get paid. If you followed my column last season, did you even read about Mans, Ray and I around the metaphorical campfire? Maybe the first time you read my MLB Weekly Preview, but no, you did not. That’s not what YOU paid for when you subscribed to FantasyGuru. So, no more long-winded intros, just the meat and potatoes. Come to the table, fam; dinner is served!
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. Plus, new this season: PITCH OR DITCH!
Scroll right to the part of the MLB Weekly Preview you need in just one click!
Below, you will find an interactive table of contents. Simply click on the section of the article you wanna read and boom.. presto… alakazam.
Mid-Season Waiver Wire Awards
Eligible Players: Drafted in < 30% of Fantrax leagues, had an NFBC ADP > 350 (6/1-7/23) and now are fiya!
TOP HITTER – Dominic Smith (1B/OF, NYM)
- Draft: 8% – ADP: 643.25 – Current Ownership: 77%
- 2020 Stats: 18 XBH, 7 HR, 24 RBI, .321/.406/.716/1.122, .395 ISO, .455 wOBA, 196 wRC+, 10.4 BB%, 18.8 K%
Ever since Yoenis Céspedes decided to opt-out for remainder of the 2020 season, Smith has received regular playing time and has been on a tear! Beforehand, even with semi-regular time on the field, he was laying the groundwork. Can he continue this torrid pace? Prob not, as the statistics are above career norms (i.e. .236 career ISO, which is still pretty darn good!). However, anything is possible with the short remainder of the season. All I know is, I had to consistently adjust his stats in an upward direction, transposing with each at-bat from initial documentation. A passionate and emotional season for Dom has both solidified his spot in the starting lineup as well as in our hearts.
RUNNER UP – Jesús Aguilar (1B, MIA)
- Draft: 29% – ADP: 378.66 – Current Ownership: 71%
- 2020 Stats: 9 XBH, 4 HR, 20 RBI, .280/.314/.462/.776, .183 ISO, .326 wOBA, 108 wRC+, 5.9 BB%, 17.6 K%
Speaking of storybook plot lines, this Cinderella Man has rejuvenated his career in Miami. With numbers not as eye-popping as Smith’s above, this doesn’t dwindle the remarkable nature of his season. Moreover, the stats listed above are right in line with his career averages and trends. A power-hitting righty who can be an extra-base hitting machine, Aguilar is still below his career .332 OBP mark. After being left for dead by the Rays, this 2018 All-Star for Milauwkee is back to form with still room to grow… for the Marlins and your fantasy rosters.
TOP PITCHER – Framber Valdez (SP/RP, HOU)
- Draft: 4% – ADP: 694.20 – Current Ownership: 74%
- 2020 Stats: 3-2, 2.35 / 2.83 / 3.23, 57.8 GB%, 3.28 GB/FB, 0.47 HR/9, 2.11 BB/9, 5.8 BB%, 9.39 K/9, 26 K%
Last season, Valdez carried a hefty 5.86 ERA with a 1.67 WHIP and 2.26 ABA in 70.2 innings pitched (8 GS). What’s been the difference this season? Better control (1.10 WHIP, 1.39 ABA) and command (26% K-rate, 5.8% BB-rate) than he had a year ago. In a little over half of the innings pitched as last year (38.1), Valdez is illustrating breakout potential with a 2.35 ERA. There should be some slight regression back towards his career mean, but with only 139 big-league innings, we may be witnessing the tip of the iceberg.
RUNNER UP – Randy Dobnak (SP/RP, MIN)
- Draft: 27% – ADP: 605.96 – Current Ownership: 43%
- 2020 Stats: 5-2, 3.12 / 4.29 / 4.64, 61.4 GB%, 2.92 GB/FB, 0.78 HR/9, 2.34 BB/9, 6.3 BB%, 4.41 K/9, 11.9 K%
Dobnak reminds me of a former fantasy favorite of mine, Brandon Webb. Doesn’t miss bats, but doesn’t give up fly balls either, a novel concept in this day and age. The HR/FB is up there (15.0%), but this is misleading based on how few fly balls he serves up and a more stellar (and indicative) HR/9 mark. Dobnak also doesn’t allow many free passes, which has helped keep his ERA down despite having a 42.5% hard-hit rate. His FIP and xFIP are identical yet elevated, indicating there is regression on the horizon. Still, remarkable numbers for a man who was driving for Uber before this season.
WILD CARD BITCHES – Jordan Romano (RP, TOR) / Jake Cronenworth (2B/1B/SS, SD)
- JR Draft: 1% – ADP: 750.53 – Current Ownership: 55%
- 2020 Stats: 2-1, 2 SV, 1.23 / 2.36 / 2.53, 58.1 GB%, 2.25 GB/FB, 1.23 HR/9, 3.07 BB/9, 8.8 BB%, 12.89 K/9, 36.8 K%
- JC Draft: 2% – ADP: 743.97 – Current Ownership: 66%
- 2020 Stats: 14 XBH, 3 HR, 15 RBI, .348/.408/.587/.995, .239 ISO, .418 wOBA, 168 wRC+, 9.7 BB%, 15.5 K%
As always, if there are any requests for information I can provide or a player/team you would like me to cover in this section of the MLB Weekly Preview, drop a line in our VIP Chat Room or hit me up on Twitter, @Rob_Povia.
MLB GAME BREAKDOWN GRID
As you can see in the grid above, 18 out of 30 teams play seven or more games this week, including FIVE teams who play eight games due to doubleheaders. Furthermore, 12 out of 30 are scheduled for fewer than seven. It’s imperative to pay attention to the schedule when setting your weekly lineups. Week 7 could see fewer games due to a positive COVID result out in Oakland – postponing A’s @ Astros on 8/30 – which could alter the schedules of Mariners, Padres and the aforementioned cheaters. The silver lining of postponements is our hitters will have many seven-game (or more) weeks down the stretch for the fantasy playoffs.
WEEKLY INTERLEAGUE OUTLOOK
For (at least) the 2020 season, every game will see a designated hitter with the universal DH rule. As a result, this section of the MLB Weekly Preview loses its regular functionality, but I felt compelled to continue documenting interleague series for informative purposes. #KnowledgeIsPower
What are your thoughts about the new universal DH rule? Should MLB consider adopting it on a permanent basis? Or is it merely fodder for the unusual 2020 season? Let us know your thoughts in the chat room or on Twitter, @FantasyGuruSite.
*Rivalry Series: Subway Series (rescheduled game), Citrus Series
TOP TWO-START PITCHERS
IN ORDER OF PREFERENCE
- Jacob deGrom (MIA, PHI)
- Shane Bieber (@KC, MIL)
- Gerrit Cole (TB, @BAL)
- Patrick Corbin (@PHI, @ATL)
- Lucas Giolito (@MIN, @KC)
- Aaron Nola (WSH, @NYM)
- Tyler Glasnow (@NYY, MIA)
- Sonny Gray (STL,
- Max Fried (@BOS, WSH)
- Sean Manaea (@SEA, SD)
- Julio Urías (ARI, COL)
- Germán Márquez (SD, COL)
- Dallas Keuchel (@MIN, @KC)
- Anthony DeSclafani (STL, @PIT)
- Masahiro Tanaka (TB, @BAL)
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 AUG 31 – SEPT 6
MLB WEEKLY PREVIEW | 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 you early in the week. Initially, there was NO MORE 10-DAY IL FOR PITCHERS, but then COVID-19 hit, and we are back to the 10-day for pitchers… understandably.
Leading off, your weekly Yankees IL Report: I’ve been considering a separate subsection for just the ill-fated Yankees. Well, here it is… Aaron Judge now heads back to the IL after reaggravating his right calf. Judge said he felt the 15 days he spent on the shelf were unnecessary, and many suspected it was purely precautionary. This stint will be for much longer, as reports say Judge could be out of the lineup again until the final week of the regular season. “Racing” into second base, Judge pulled up lame when he re-injured the soleus muscle of the calf and has been told to expect his rehab to take twice as long.
Not all bad news in the Bronx. DJ LeMahieu (left thumb sprain) was activated on 8/29 and looked good at the plate for the remainder of the weekend. He played third base in place of Gio Urshela, who is DTD with a bone spur in his right elbow. Urshela took ground balls over the weekend, and manager Aaron Boone said he believes Urshela could return to the lineup during Sunday’s doubleheader against the Mets (which he did). Also, Zack Britton (left hamstring strain) could be nearing his return as well.
Finally, Gleyber Torres (left hamstring & left quadriceps strains) continues to rehab and do his best to get back on the diamond. He took ground balls and hit indoors on Saturday. Boone said Torres is “doing really well, probably better than I would have anticipated,” but there is no set date for his return.
Ryan Yarbrough (left groin tightness) – Yarbrough became the 11th Rays pitcher to be placed on the injured list when the club put him on the 10-day IL. Before exiting his most recent start, Yarb pitched 6.2 innings in what I viewed as a return to form for the 28-year-old lefty. Previously, he had been struggling with a few four-run allowed performances, and now we know why. Tampa announced Yarbrough had been dealing with the issue over his past couple of starts… GREEEEEAT! Thanks for the heads up!! However, the club is optimistic he’ll be able to rejoin the rotation when eligible on 9/7. Pinky swear???
Justin Turner (left hamstring strain) exited LAD’s 6-2 loss on 8/28 after incurring the hamstring injury while swiping second base. Manager Dave Roberts said Turner has a low-grade strain and will be re-evaluated 9/1 after their off-day. “Best-case scenario is Turner will serve as DH against the Diamondbacks.”
Tyler Chatwood (right elbow discomfort) – Personally, I think Chatwood could be done for the season, especially with the limited time remaining. The 30-year-old spiked a pitch well in front of the plate and immediately called for the training staff to come onto the field. Chatwood doesn’t have a timeline for his return since medical testing needs to be done. He’ll be evaluated Monday. Look for Jose Quintana to rejoin the starting rotation after returning from his own injury woes and pitching out of the pen.
POV SPECIAL – TOP SP STREAM OF THE WEEK
→ Dane Dunning, RH CWS (@KC; 27% owned) – ChiSox have brought Dunning back from their alternate training site to start 8/30 versus the very same Royals team (5 IP, 0 H, 1 BB, 7 K!). Gio hits the 10-day IL with a groin injury, which clears Dunning for a longer stay then when he made his MLB debut (vs. DET: 4.1 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 1 BB, 7 K). Normally, I’d shy away from a pitcher seeing the same offense in consecutive starts, but Dunning is a top prospect and this is Kansas City we are talking about. Grab ’em & Start ’em!
For more streaming options on the mound AND at the plate, visit Vlad’s FAAB Values!
PITCH OR DITCH
The key to winning in daily fantasy baseball leagues is determining which starting pitcher should start in your lineup and who should sit on your bench. Or worse yet, which MLB hurler belongs in the land of The Walking Dead (aka waiver wire). Every day, I will update the article with the daily slate of men toeing the rubber. Recommended starts will be marked in Bold Green – sits will be marked in Bold Red – and the “fool’s gold” will be marked in Bold Yellow and should be cast to the waiver wire. Of course, the size of your league matters… that’s what she said! Come back on each day when pitchers are set in stone. If you play in leagues with daily roster locks, you’re going to wanna check back with the MLB Weekly Preview …on the daily!
Sunday, September 6, 2020
(Record, ERA / xFIP / SIERA)
Masahiro Tanaka (RHP, NYY: 1-1, 3.38 / 4.19 / 3.99) @ Asher Wojciechowski (RHP, BAL: 1-3, 5.17 / 5.01 / 4.74)
Patrick Corbin (LHP, WSH: 2-3, 3.79 / 3.98 / 4.29) @ Josh Tomlin (RHP, ATL: 1-2, 4.37 / 4.03 / 3.78)
Trevor Rogers (LHP, MIA: 1-0, 2.00 / 4.56 / 5.12) @ Tyler Glasnow (RHP, TB: 2-1, 4.24 / 2.56 / 3.03)
Brett Anderson (LHP, MIL: 2-2, 4.18 / 4.33 / 4.14) @ Shane Bieber (RHP, CLE: 6-0, 1.20 / 1.87 / 2.32)
Aaron Nola (RHP, PHI: 4-2, 2.45 / 2.62 / 3.02) @ Jacob deGrom (RHP, NYM: 2-1, 1.76 / 2.41 / 2.72)
Tejay Antone (RHP, CIN: 0-1, 2.66 / 3.70 / 3.40) @ Chad Kuhl (RHP, PIT: 1-1, 3.10 / 5.07 / 5.17)
Robbie Ray (LHP, TOR: 1-4, 7.34 / 6.15 / 5.60) @ Andrew Triggs (RHP, BOS: 0-2, 16.20 / 6.99 / 6.28)
Dallas Keuchel (LHP, CHW: 5-2, 2.42 / 3.79 / 4.38) @ Matt Harvey (RHP, KC: 0-2, 14.09 / 6.61 / 5.90)
Casey Mize (RHP, DET: 0-1, 6.75 / 4.62 / 4.07) @ Rich Hill (LHP, MIN: 1-1, 3.94 / 5.37 / 6.23)
Alex Young (LHP, ARI: 1-2, 4.50 / 4.57 / 4.35) @ Johnny Cueto (RHP, SF: 2-0, 4.75 / 4.74 / 4.62)
~Started Cueto first time around vs. ARI on 8/30. Skipping this turn purely out of hitter recency, despite the underachieving ways of the D’backs.
Framber Valdez (LHP, HOU: 3-2, 2.58 / 2.89 / 3.28) @ Jaime Barria (RHP, LAA: 0-0, 2.63 / 5.51 / 5.02)
Garrett Richards (RHP, SD: 1-2, 4.63 / 4.54 / 4.92) @ Mike Fiers (RHP, OAK: 4-1, 4.86 / 6.04 / 5.70)
Jordan Lyles (RHP, TEX: 1-3, 8.59 / 6.33 / 5.88) @ Justin Dunn (RHP, SEA: 2-1, 4.33 / 6.24 / 5.93)
~Is it a Kenny Rogers Play if the SP has been outstanding in his last two starts, throwing 12 scoreless innings with just two hits allowed against the Halos and these very same Rangers? You bet your ass when you see his xFIP & SIERA! Angels came in between so taking a shot here, plus Rangers are baaaad. If you don’t need this start, feel free to skip.
Dakota Hudson (RHP, STL: 1-2, 2.77 / 3.66 / 3.87) @ Jon Lester (LHP, CHC: 2-1, 5.11 / 5.37 / 4.99)
Ryan Castellani (RHP, COL: 1-2, 4.81 / 5.36 / 5.02) @ Julio Urías (LHP, LAD: 3-0, 3.27 / 4.62 / 4.59)
~Pro Tip: Leave Urías in your starting lineup up until gametime. If you need ’em, leave ’em. Otherwise, pull that ejector handle, Maverick!
The socially distanced walk-off celebrations continue…