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.
Ok, I’ve stated in my intro from the beginning of the year, no more long-winded stories. Just the facts, and maybe some jaded opinions. Yet, the end of every fantasy baseball season always makes me feel sentimental, and this shortened sprint of a season is no different. If anything, similar to the players who sacrificed and showed courage during uncertain times for sake of giving the baseball community an outlet America’s pastime can only provide, this season was even harder for us fantasy enthusiasts. Let’s call like it is, many regular “players” did not play fantasy baseball this year.
“Oh, it’s gonna be too hard… players will go on the IL left & right!”
“I disagree with sports being played, so I’m boycotting this year.”
“I’m gonna focus on fantasy football prep and come back strong next season.”
If you are still with us and reading this, congratulations on making it till the very end. That is an accomplishment unto itself, especially this year. However, the work is not done.
So, the story… coaches from the youth level on up can, and often do, shape a person into who they become in life. Instilling fundamental moral principles and motivations while instructing the game they love. If you ever played a sport, you know exactly what I mean. Two stand out for me: my high school football coach, John Mckenna, and my college baseball coach, Fred Hill (RIP Moose!). What did the two have in common? Coincidentally enough, both had the same mantra which was often repeated at practices, scrimmages, games, seasons, etc. “Start Strong, Finish Strong!”
These words have carried me through A LOT in life. Every time I feel weak, weary or overwhelmed, I repeat these words in my head. Matter of fact, I’m reciting them as I type these words for the final MLB weekly preview. I repeat them when I’m up at 3:24 am ET doing Pitch or Ditch. The mantra inspires me to be my very best. No matter what, being at my best – reaching my max potentiality – makes me feel like a winner. And what do winners do? They fucking win!
This brings me to the point. It is time to FINISH STRONG. We braved the elements, handled the postponements, and took advantage of the doubleheaders. We shuffled our rosters when players were suddenly unavailable. Now is not the time to stray from the mission and deviate off course. Despite the oddity and brevity of the season, the title of champion remains the same and the color of money stays true. Don’t let the NFL get your eye off the prize! You worked hard during this 60-game accelerated season, under the most challenging of circumstances, and now is the time to finish as strong as you started to lock up that championship. Fuck your Week 3 lineups… let’s gooooooooo!
The most important area of concentration this final week will lay upon starting pitching. We need to be on top of our SPs’ schedule till the very last second before the weekly lock of 4:10 PM ET when the Angels battle the Rangers. Or, if you participate in daily leagues or those hybrids which offer bi-weekly pitching moves, it will be necessary to keep tabs on teams who clinch one of the 16 playoff spots (smh… those who are proposing this to become the new permanent format need to go away). Scheduled starts will be shuffled around or even scratched to properly lineup rotations for said teams’ playoff run. Plan accordingly, and hopefully, my last breakdown of 2020 will help you do just that.
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, 20(!) out of 30 teams play seven or more games this week. Nationals, Cardinals, Brewers, Giants and Rockies play eight games due to COVID makeup doubleheaders. Unfortunately, Colorado’s eight are all on the road, but Chase Field and the more hitter-friendly Oracle Park will suffice. St. Louis will still have two games to make up, even after they play their eight (if necessary for playoff standing). Check with your league to see how these potential games will be handled. If needed, St. Louis will play the Tigers in a doubleheader next Monday, a la Game 163/164?
Furthermore, 10 out of 30 are scheduled for fewer than seven and the Twins only have five games remaining. Been preaching it all season, it’s imperative to pay attention to the schedule when setting your weekly lineups. The silver lining of postponements was our hitters would have many seven-game (or more) weeks down the stretch for the fantasy playoffs, and now is the time to maximize on this. Sit a struggling stud player or one who has fewer games scheduled/less ABs projected. In their place, start a secondary player with good pitching matchups and seven or more games. Just do it.
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: Show-Me Series (I-70), Crosstown Classic (to end the season), Freeway Series (to end the season), Battle of Boston (Boston Braves)
TOP TWO-START PITCHERS
IN ORDER OF PREFERENCE
- Shane Bieber (CHW,
- Jacob deGrom (TB, @WSH)
- Gerrit Cole (@TOR, MIA)
- Aaron Nola (@WSH, @TB)
- Brandon Woodruff (@CIN, @STL)
- Luis Castillo (MIL, @MIN)
- Dylan Bundy (TEX, @LAD)
- Framber Valdez (@SEA, @TEX)
- Dustin May (OAK, LAA)
- Aaron Civale (CHW, PIT)
- Marco Gonzales (HOU, @OAK)
- Germán Márquez (@CLE, CHC)
- Johnny Cueto (COL, SD)
- Dane Dunning (@CLE, CHC)
- Seth Lugo (TB, @WSH)
*Update: If Cincinnati is in playoff contention on last day of season, Trevor Bauer will once again pitch on three-days rest @MIN to complete the two-start week. Those in daily and biweekly pitcher change leagues need to stay on top of this. For those who set their weekly lineups on Monday, you undoubtedly had Bauer in for his start on 9/23 vs. MIL and may get a sweet gift on the last day of the season. UPDATE #2: Sonny Gray will step in for Bauer, who was moved to Game 1 of the Wild Card Series.
Bieber has been pushed to 9/23 against the White Sox to ensure he is rested for the start of the postseason. Sadly, he is left with a lone start to cap off what will be a Cy Young season. Consequently, Cal Quantrill makes the spot start and inherits the two starts.
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 SEPTEMBER 21 – 27
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.
The news swept down with a severe punch in the gut. What was initially feared when Justin Verlander first went down after an Opening Day start has now become a reality. For the first time in his 16-year career, Houston’s ace pitcher will undergo Tommy John surgery. He denied he was out longterm at first and it was “only” a forearm strain, but one month has become two, and now Verlander will miss a significant amount of time. “I’m confident that with a proper rehabilitation program and my unwavering commitment that this surgery will ultimately lengthen my career as opposed to shorten(ing) it,” Verlander said. He’ll be out of commission for 12-14-months.
Mike Yastrzemski (calf) remained out of the lineup 9/20 ever since an MRI revealed a mild right calf strain. While the injury is not expected to require an IL stint, Yastrzemski’s status for the next few days is up in the air. Continue to monitor and I’ll let you know if I read anything.
Mike Clevinger (bicep tightness) – Clevinger was scratched late for his start on 9/19 with tightness he had been feeling since his last start on 9/13. Thanks for letting us know! Does Anthony Lynn double as San Diego’s press secretary (in reference to Lynn surprisingly starting Justin Herbert on Sunday)? Chargers used to play there. Anyway, Padres could just be resting Clevs for the playoffs, but his next start remains up in the air for now. Luis Patiño filled in with the spot start, struggled, and was consequently optioned back to alternate site. Patiño’s day will come. This bodes well for Clevinger having one last tune-up for the postseason. He played catch on 9/20 and is slated to throw a bullpen during the off-day. How he feels after will go a long way.
Bryce Harper (back) – You better watch yourselves, Phillies. You are slowly entering Yankee and Blue Jay territory. Already without J.T Realmuto and Rhys Hoskins, now they may be without the services of Mr. Harper. The quaffed one pulled himself from the game on 9/20 after striking out. Manager Joe Girardi said Harper was dealing with some lower back stiffness, adding he wasn’t sure how the issue would affect Harper’s availability for the Phillies’ series against the Nationals. Again, continue to monitor. *Returned to lineup as DH 9/21
Teoscar Hernandez (oblique) returned from the IL four days ago. You knew this already. What’s remarkable is the length of his stay with what is generally a nagging and problematic injury/rehab. He spent the minimum time required and homered in his third game back (2 HRs overall). Talk about “Finishing Strong!” Teo has been a key cog for a Toronto team who sees themselves four games ahead in the second wild-card spot.
Nolan Arenado (shoulder) – After sitting out the Rockies’ 6-3 vicotry over the Dodgers, manager Bud Black said the star third baseman would undergo more tests on the shoulder and possibly be shut down for the remainder of the regular season. The club expects to receive more information 9/21. Arenado’s stinker of a season can be attributed to the A/C joint injury to his left shoulder.
Walker Buehler (blister) is scheduled to return to the mound for the Dodgers on 9/24 against the A’s in Los Angeles. The right-hander threw a 90-pitch simulated game at the club’s alternate training site at USC on Saturday, according to manager Dave Roberts.
POV SPECIAL – TOP SP STREAMS OF THE WEEK
→ Brady Singer, RHP KC (STL, DET – 61% owned) – While a different kind of BradyMania is running wild in Tampa Bay, Singer is the Brady I want to shine on my fantasy teams. Singer is one of the rookie pitcher success stories this season, along with Ian Anderson and, of course, Sixto Sánchez. All these young men had to learn on the job in 2020, and in the case of Sixto and Singer, they made the plunge from never pitching above Double-A.
Singer saw some initial success and was roughed up when the book was out on him. His ERA ballooned to a season-high 5.58 as of September 4th. The last two starts have shown why he was selected in the second round of the 2015 Amateur Draft (Blue Jays): 14 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 16 K, 2 W. These starts came in Cleveland and Detroit, and Singer will wrap up his season against the very same slumping Tigers. I haven’t been afraid of St. Louis all season, which makes this a sweet two-step.
In 90.2 Double-A innings for Northwest Arkansas Naturals, Singer posted an 8.44 K/9, .79 HR/9, 3.47 ERA, 3.57 xFIP, 4.21 SIERA and 1.24 WHIP. He has had a higher K% than the minors have indicated (23.3% MLB – 22.1% AA), so while that may regress in these two starts or over time, the mark is still impressive and he’s still young.
Honorable Mentions: Dean Kremer, RHP BAL (@BOS – 44% owned)
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 27, 2020
(Record, ERA / xFIP / SIERA)
For the final day of the MLB season, all games are scheduled for the 3pm / 12pm hour except DET @ KC (game time 1:05 / 10:05). Royals announced they had to move up the start time due to concerns about heavy rain in the forecast. Not even the last day can be normal #2020
Best of luck, everyone… now let’s take home that trophy!!!
Jordan Zimmermann (RHP, DET: 0-0, 9.64 / 3.58 / 4.39) @ Brady Singer (RHP, KC: 3-5, 4.40 / 4.15 / 4.38)
Adrian Morejon (LHP, SD: 2-2, 4.86 / 3.11 / 3.04) @ Drew Smyly (LHP, SF: 0-0, 3.38 / 2.75 / 3.14)
Chase De Jong* (RHP, HOU: 0-0, 14.73 / 6.86 / 6.01) @ Jordan Lyles (RHP, TEX: 1-6, 7.08 / 5.95 / 5.68)
→ Lyles vs. Astros: 3.75 ERA, 12 IP, 8 H, 5 R, 2 BB, 4 K (2020); 3.10 ERA in four career outings *Brandon Bielak’s expected to pitch the majority of the innings. Bielek owns a 5.60 SIERA on the year.
José Ureña (RHP, MIA: 0-3, 6.00 / 6.18 / 6.01) @ Clarke Schmidt (RHP, NYY: 0-0, 7.71 / 8.23 / 6.43 – two relief appearances)
Seth Lugo (RHP, NYM: 3-3, 3.82 / 2.70 / 3.02) @ Austin Voth (RHP, WSH: 1-5, 6.25 / 5.84 / 5.15)
Keegan Akin (LHP, BAL: 1-2, 3.57 / 3.72 / 3.65) @ Tanner Roark (RHP, TOR: 2-3, 7.01 / 5.66 / 5.23)
Kyle Freeland (LHP, COL: 2-2, 3.69 / 4.44 / 4.85) @ Madison Bumgarner (LHP, ARI: 0-4, 7.36 / 6.12 / 5.53)
→ Better mechanics for MadBum in highlights I saw
Patrick Sandoval (LHP, LAA: 1-4, 5.56 / -.– / -.–) @ LAD – TBD (0-0, -.– / -.– / -.–)
JT Brubaker (RHP, PIT: 1-3, 4.46 / 3.85 / 4.09) @ Cal Quantrill (RHP, CLE: 2-0, 2.17 / 4.18 / 3.86)
Marco Gonzales (LHP, SEA: 7-2, 3.06 / 4.17 / 3.88) @ Frankie Montas (RHP, OAK: 3-5, 6.32 / 4.76 / 4.77)
Sonny Gray (RHP, CIN: 5-3, 3.73 / 3.02 / 3.63) @ Rich Hill (LHP, MIN: 2-2, 3.27 / 4.89 / 5.07)
Aaron Nola (RHP, PHI: 5-4, 3.06 / 2.75 / 3.15) @ Josh Fleming (LHP, TB: 4-0, 3.42 / 3.85 / 3.86)
Nick Pivetta (RHP, BOS: 1-0, 9.28 / 5.23 / 4.28) @ Bryse Wilson (RHP, ATL: 1-0, 4.26 / 5.45 / 4.85)
Adbert Alzolay (RHP, CHC: 0-1, 3.31 / 3.99 / 4.54) @ Reynaldo López (RHP, CHW: 1-2, 4.68 / 6.06 / 5.46)
Brett Anderson (LHP, MIL: 4-3, 4.00 / 4.25 / 4.22) @ Austin Gomber (LHP, STL: 1-1, 1.80 / 4.63 / 4.71)
It has been a fantastic journey this season, serving you and writing about baseball. In the first MLB Weekly Preview of this truncated season, I told you about my passion for fantasy baseball, my first and one true love. I’ll be back next season to break down the numbers, offer expert analysis, and basically write jokes within the copy to purely make myself laugh out loud. I hope you did too, especially as you hoist your Championship trophy and collect your winnings. Till next season, be well my friends and. . .