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.
MLB Split Report
After the first twenty or so games of the 2020 MLB season, I gave you a split report based on the small sample size. Small, yes, but the report served as a nice baseline for attacking this truncated season. Just like my girlfriend tells me, it’s not the size but how you use it… and she says I use it quite well. At this point, we have a bigger sample to utilize. Therefore, being two-thirds of the way from Opening Day to the end of this 60-game season, now is a good time to check back in with the top hitters vs. left/right-handed pitchers, and inversely, top pitchers vs. left/right-handed hitters. Here are the top ten in each category, and I’ll also take a look at the progression of home/road splits.
*Stats as of 9/4/20
Top Hitters vs. LHP
- Nelson Cruz (RH) – 17/43, 7 XBH, 6 HR, 11 RBI, 6:4 BB:K, .528 ISO, .472/.558/1.000/1.558
- Christian Yelich (LH) – 11/41, 8 XBH, 4 HR, 6 RBI, .457 ISO, .314/.415/.771/1.186
- Randal Grichuk (RH) – 15/42, 8 XBH, 4 HR, 9 RBI, .372 ISO, .375/.405/.775/1.180
- Charlie Blackmon (LH) – 23/51, 4 XBH, 1 HR, 9 RBI, 5:5 BB:K, .130 ISO, .500/.549/.630/1.179
- Rhys Hoskins (RH) – 11/44, 6 XBH, 2 HR, 6 RBI, 11:3 BB:K, .313 ISO, .344/.523/.656/1.179
- Trevor Story (RH) – 13/46, 5 XBH, 4 HR, 8 RBI, 8:8 BB:K, .368 ISO, .342/.457/.711/1.167
- Bryce Harper (LH) – 11/44, 6 XBH, 3 HR, 8 RBI, 8:12 BB:K, .353 ISO, .324/.465/.676/1.142
- José Ramírez (SW) – 12/40, 8 XBH, 4 HR, 8 RBI, .432 ISO, .324/.375/.757/1.132
- Brandon Lowe (LH) – 11/45, 7 XBH, 4 HR, 6 RBI, .405 ISO, .297/.422/.703/1.125
- Xander Bogaerts (RH) – 15/44, 6 XBH, 4 HR, 7 RBI, .341 ISO, .366/.409/.707/1.116
Min: 40 PA – Four of the ten from last report maintained their status (Blackmon, Story, Lowe and Bogaerts). Interestingly, two of the top four are lefties, as well as four out of the ten hitters listed with JRam the lone switch hitter. Nice to see him maintaining his hot ways from the second half of ‘19 rather than the chilly first half. Ultimate warm-weather hitter. Charlie Blackmon has been outstanding against the same side, but Yelich’s resurgence can be attributed to his success against left-handed hurlers. Some welcomed additions have been a pair of Phillies, Hoskins and Harper… the H & H Boys? Naw, that will never catch on, or will it? Philadelphia’s lineup has been hitting the ball all over (and out of) the yard, and these two men have been leading the charge.
Top Hitters vs. RHP
- Juan Soto (LH) – 24/84, 11 XBH, 7 HR, 16 RBI, 16:11 BB:K, .368 ISO, .353/.476/.721/1.197
- Robinson Canó (LH) – 27/68, 8 XBH, 5 HR, 14 RBI, 5:7 BB:K, .290 ISO, .435/.471/.726/1.196
- Mookie Betts (RH) – 36/121, 19 XBH, 12 HR, 26 RBI, .402 ISO, .336/.405/.738/1.143
- Ian Happ (SW) – 28/107, 18 XBH, 9 HR, 20 RBI, .411 ISO, .311/.421/.722/1.143
- Mitch Moreland (LH) – 21/78, 12 XBH, 8 HR, 19 RBI, .418 ISO, .313/.410/.731/1.142
- Clint Frazier (RH) – 14/52, 8 XBH, 4 HR, 12 RBI, .372 ISO, .326/.442/.698/1.140
- Corey Seager (LH) – 32/91, 15 XBH, 8 HR, 19 RBI, .360 ISO, .372/.407/.733/1.139
- Jason Heyward (LH) – 22/81, 10 XBH, 5 HR, 14 RBI, 14:13 BB:K, .338 ISO, .338/.457/.677/1.134
- Brad Miller (LH) – 21/78, 10 XBH, 4 HR, 18 RBI, 14:14 BB:K, .306 ISO, .339/.462/.645/1.107
- Jesse Winker (LH) – 26/96, 12 XBH, 8 HR, 14 RBI, .346 ISO, .321/.427/.667/1.094
Min: 50 PA – The only remaining member in this category may surprise you: Ian Happ. Matter of fact, he moves from 10th to fourth in OPS vs. the handedness as the only switch hitter on the list. The lefties have returned with a vengeance, along with an elite slugger in Los Angeles. Last report, that man was Mike Trout, and this go around, Betts has taken his place. No surprise, as these two sluggers are used to trading places back-and-forth on the leaderboards when Betts was in the AL. Glad to see some things never change. However, the surprise is Clint Frazier. With only 52 plate appearances, maybe he should have been omitted. On the contrary, his 1.140 OPS and eight extra-base hits were hard to ignore. As long as he’s seeing the lineup with other teammates on the mend, he should regularly be in your lineups.
Brad Miller has been red-hot and makes for a fine FAAB bid, according to my man, Vlad!
Top Pitchers vs. LHH
- Shane Bieber (RHP) – 28.1 IP, 0.95 ERA, .144/.194/.165, .167 wOBA
- Lance Lynn (RHP) – 33 IP, 2.18 ERA, .162/.220/.282, .221 wOBA
- Kyle Hendricks (RHP) – 30.2 IP, 2.64 ERA, .204/.216/.345, .233 wOBA
- Zac Gallen (RHP) – 26 IP, 1.04 ERA, .169/.253/.258, .234 wOBA
- Kenta Maeda (RHP) – 25.1 IP, 1.78 ERA, .174/.232/.304, .235 wOBA
- Dinelson Lamet (RHP) – 25.1 IP, 2.13 ERA, .146/.255/.258, .238 wOBA
- Yu Darvish (RHP) – 26.2 IP, 1.35 ERA, .208/.269/.281, .248 wOBA
- Lucas Giolito (RHP) – 31.2 IP, 3.98 ERA, .184/.268/.307, .257 wOBA
- Aaron Civale (RHP) – 26.2 IP, 3.04 ERA, .227/.260/.361, .264 wOBA
- Sonny Gray (RHP) – 25.2 IP, 3.51 ERA, .204/.295/.333, .280 wOBA
Min: 25 IP – Bieber continues his excellent season and strong claim to the Cy Young crown. So much so, his wOBA and slash line vs. left-handed hitters have gone down (.172 wOBA, .149/.200/.170 last report)! However, hold that chisel Mr. Engraver, as Lance Lynn is hot on his trail. He too has seen a drop in his batting average allowed (.170), on-base percentage (.250) and wOBA (.239) to the handedness. We saw the resurgence begin in 2018, but Lynn has reached another level this season. This chase will be one of the great stories heading down the stretch.
COOL FACT: Bieber recently completed his 50th inning of the season with 82 strikeouts, which according to the Elias Sports Bureau, is the most any pitcher has recorded through their first 50 innings of a season in MLB history.
Also noteworthy, left-handed hurlers don’t appear on our list – shows how much managers play matchups, as I would have had to keep the minimum at 12 IP (two more than last report) for a lefty to appear. Sonny Gray has maintained form through two-thirds of the season, and five years his junior, Zac Gallen, has surged since our last sample. I had the pleasure of interviewing Gallen, and he has the mental makeup to be successful for a long time! Darvish’s control of a complex pitch arsenal (rumored to throw TEN different pitches) has been simply remarkable. Despite trading Mike Clevinger, Cleveland is showing they are an SP factory, and Civale is living proof. Lastly, Maeda has been enjoying regular, steady starts for the Twins… free of the evil Dave Roberts hook!
Top Pitchers vs. RHH
- Clayton Kershaw (LHP) – 26 IP, 1.04 ERA, .170/.220/.309, .230 wOBA
- Max Fried (LHP) – 36.2 IP, 0.98 ERA, .188/.257/.266, .236 wOBA
- Marco Gonzales (LHP) – 32.1 IP, 3.06 ERA, .218/.236/.379, .261 wOBA
- Framber Valdez (LHP) – 33.1 IP, 2.43 ERA, .231/.285/.306, .264 wOBA
- Andrew Heaney (LHP) – 29.2 IP, 3.34 ERA, .204/.271/.343, .265 wOBA
- Dallas Keuchel (LHP) – 38 IP, 2.37 ERA, .243/.287/.318, .267 wOBA
- Aaron Nola (RHP) – 25 IP, 3.24 ERA, .215/.255/.376, .271 wOBA
- Julio Urías (LHP) – 26.1 IP, 2.39 ERA, .260/.300/.346, .284 wOBA
- Hyun Jin Ryu (LHP) – 36 IP, 2.75 ERA, .243/.304/.346, .287 wOBA
- Gerrit Cole (RHP) – 26.1 IP, 3.08 ERA, .222/.252/.434, .289 wOBA
Min: 25 IP – Kershaw has been turning back the clock this year, resembling the dominance he exuded in his heyday. No finer example of this by looking at his numbers versus right-handers as well as notching his 2,500th career strikeouts (see video below; 45-second mark is the record-breaker). Kershaw is getting the job done much differently these days, however. In 2008, his fastball velocity averaged 95mph. The mark in 2019, a touch below 90.5. Thus, the usage of his fastball has drastically decreased and dependency on his breaking stuff has kept the whiffs coming. The average velo is up so far this season – 91.7mph – and he has been a little more unhittable, again. Fried has maintained his status among the elite, which has been much needed for Atlanta. My boy Framber is the only other returning member, and his wOBA has decreased by .003.
Best Hitters (HOME)
- Manny Machado (RH) – 24/76, 15 XBH, 9 HR, 18 RBI, .500 ISO, .353/.421/.853/1.274
- Fernando Tatis Jr. (RH) – 23/78, 12 XBH, 8 HR, 14 RBI, .426 ISO, .338/.423/.765/1.188
- Joey Votto (LH) – 23/76, 9 XBH, 6 HR, 12 RBI, .333 ISO, .365/.474/.698/1.172
- Anthony Rendon (RH) – 21/89, 12 XBH, 6 HR, 14 RBI, .373 ISO, .313/.483/.687/1.170
- Rhys Hoskins (RH) – 20/90, 12 XBH, 4 HR, 13 RBI, .290 ISO, .290/.456/.580/1.035
Min: 75 PA – Tatis continues to rake and has been joined by his left side of the infield mate, Machado. PETCO Park is the fifth-most difficult park in which to hit (Park Factors: .904 R, .870 HR), making what these two men are doing even more remarkable. Rendon has been enjoying his new digs in southern California despite a negative park shift in terms of the home run (Nationals Park: 1.158, Angel Stadium: 1.053) and runs scored (NP: 1.096, AS: .975). Rhys Hoskins is a huge cause of the recent Phillies torrid ways, and he has been utilizing Citizens Bank Park’s friendly dimensions. He’s also crushing lefties (see above). Joey Votto has had more comebacks than Robert Downey Jr.
Best Hitters (AWAY)
- Juan Soto (LH) – 24/77, 12 XBH, 9 HR, 23 RBI, 11:8 BB:K, .462 ISO, .369/.468/.831/1.298
- José Abreu (RH) – 28/83, 15 XBH, 8 HR, 25 RBI, .403 ISO, .364/.410/.766/1.176
- Franmil Reyes (RH) – 29/87, 14 XBH, 7 HR, 19 RBI, .359 ISO, .372/.425/.731/1.156
- Trea Turner (RH) – 36/91, 12 XBH, 5 HR, 15 RBI, .271 ISO, .424/.451/.694/1.145
- Willy Adames (RH) – 14/32, 5 XBH, 1 HR, 7 RBI, .301 ISO, .384/.458/.685/1.143
Min: 75 PA – Soto’s second appearance in the split report illustrates his elite status. Hard to believe what this 21-year-old has accomplished already. Simply put, he murders baseballs, especially on the road and against righties. Abreu has virtually been on a season-long hot streak, although easier to do with just 60 games. Anybody have Willy Adames at .301 ISO on the road? Nope, I didn’t either. Tampa Bay’s shortstop is having himself quite the season.
Best Pitchers (HOME)
- Aaron Nola (RHP) – 34.1 IP, 1.57 ERA, .133/.182/.239, .186 wOBA
- Cristian Javier (RHP) – 25 IP, 1.80 ERA, .111/.191/.235, .193 wOBA
- Andrew Heaney (LHP) – 25.1 IP, 2.49 ERA, .191/.265/.225, .223 wOBA
- Kyle Hendricks (RHP) – 27.2 IP, 2.60 ERA, .198/.212/.317, .225 wOBA
- Jacob deGrom (RHP) – 29 IP, 1.86 ERA, .181/.239/.295, .236 wOBA
Min: 25 IP – Remember when I pointed out how Citizens Bank Park’s friendly dimensions have aided Hoskins? Well, Nola tosses those park factors right in the trash with his vicious 79mph hook. His curveball usage is up to 24% and plays well off his 93mph fastball and 85mph change. Kyle Hendricks is the hand up Mona Lisa’s skirt… you don’t see him coming. Cubs pitchers have benefitted from winds mostly blowing inward since the season takes part in late summer/fall. More than that, he has posted quality metrics. With his latest performance, Hendricks lowered his walk rate to 2.6 percent, which is the lowest mark among qualified pitchers in the NL. He has posted that minuscule rate while now leading the Majors in innings (58). #BabyMaddux
Best Pitchers (AWAY)
- Clayton Kershaw (LHP) – 25.2 IP, 0.70 ERA, .136/.165/.239, .175 wOBA
- Shane Bieber (RHP) – 40.2 IP, 1.11 ERA, .156/.207/.255, .205 wOBA
- Trevor Bauer (RHP) – 26.1 IP, 1.71 ERA, .143/.228/.275, .222 wOBA
- Hyun Jin Ryu (LHP) – 26.2 IP, 2.02 ERA, .179/.250/.263, .232 wOBA
- Zach Davies (RHP) – 27.2 IP, 3.25 ERA, .208/.259/.347, .263 wOBA
Min: 25 IP – Surprise, surprise, we have Kershaw leading another list. Ryu has been on the road all year for all intents and purposes; he’s been a true road warrior. Bauer has been great everywhere but especially good away from Great American Ball Park and its 1.186 HR park factor. Just like John Wick, I’m pretty sure he’s back – wow, did I just reference Keanu Reeves twice in consecutive paragraphs? It must be late, or maybe I’m itching to see Bill & Ted Face the Music!
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
In Week 8, we see teams get a bit of a breather, except if you are the Cardinals, Tigers, A’s, Rangers, Marlins and Phillies, who all have some games to be made up left. It’s imperative to pay attention to the schedule when setting your weekly lineups. The silver lining of postponements is our hitters will have many seven-game (or more) weeks down the stretch for the fantasy playoffs, as is the case this week.
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.
*No Rivalry Series this week, but we have Astros vs. Dodgers 2 and TROUT IN COORS, BEAUTIFUL TOGETHER!!!
TOP TWO-START PITCHERS
IN ORDER OF PREFERENCE
- Lance Lynn (LAA, OAK)
- Max Scherzer (TB, ATL)
- Mike Clevinger (COL, SF)
- Dinelson Lamet (COL, SF)
- Zack Wheeler (@NYM, @MIA)
- Zac Gallen (@SF, SEA)
- Kyle Hendricks (STL, @MIL)
- Hyun Jin Ryu (NYY, NYM)
- Kevin Gausman (ARI, @SD)
- Sixto Sánchez (@ATL, PHI)
- Cristian Javier (@OAK, @LAD)
- Zach Plesac (KC, @MIN)
- Tyler Mahle (@CHC, @STL)
- Ian Anderson (MIA, @WSH)
- Adrian Houser (@DET, CHC)
*You may notice below Charlie Morton (@WSH, BOS) is ranked ahead of Mahle, I. Anderson and Houser. As he works his pitch count up to normal levels after returning from IL, I wouldn’t recommend starting him yet. For this reason, he has been left off this list (on top of some challenging matchups).
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 7 – 13
Cleveland has traded away another elite arm from their rotation in Clevinger. One of the reasons why, Aaron Civale. Crafty 25-year-old Civale was highlighted in my split report above, where I pointed out just how tough he has been on left-handed hitters (3.04 ERA, .227/.260/.361, .264 wOBA). Overall, he has been excellent in 2020 and the strikeout numbers have been up (8.48 K/9, 23.4 K%, 31.3 O-Swing%). All of this after a career 21.7% K rate, yet he’s striking out batters nearly once per inning this season. Can it be sustained? Let’s look for the answers in his resume.
Civale’s strikeout rate is a good place to begin, and we’ll work backward for the causations. Yes, his rate is elevated by 1.7% above his career numbers dating back to 2016 rookie ball. Although, if we look a little closer and focus on his 2019 season – split between Double-A (five starts), Triple-A (eight starts) and MLB (10 starts) – his K rate was 22.3%. So, we are a little closer but still not equivalent to maintaining his 23.4% in 2020. When focusing on his eight 2019 starts in Triple-A, the mark was 26.1%. Are both numbers outliers from small sample sizes? The answer is yes, and we should expect regression to the mean. Yet, 22.3% is above average for the major leagues and possibility remains for improvement in the art of the strikeout. In case you were wondering, his K/9 is up from a career 7.80.
Another reason for the K spike is Civale’s increased ability to get hitters swinging at pitches outside the strike zone. O-swing rates indicate the percentage of pitches which fit this criterion. In 2019, the rate was 30.6% which makes this year’s mark up .7%. This is a mark he can sustain, and even improve upon, with his crafty pitch arsenal. In the following images provided by MLB Savant, you can see his full repertoire, pitch usage and where Civale’s stats rank amongst the rest of the league.
A big negative that stands out is the fastball velocity. Without regular heat, professional hitters will time you the more they see you. Civale does counterbalance velocity with spin rate, however, as his fastball mark ranks 70th. And just when you figure out the fastball, he drops Uncle Charlie. His curveball spin rate ranks in the 84th percentile! The Whiff percentage lies above the league mean, another positive sign.
Some Background… Civale was drafted in the third round of the 2016 draft, an investment for the Cleveland Indians. Scouts liked his maturity, pitch mix, and foresaw this MLB success. This Northeastern University product had a great year in 2017. In his ten starts for the Lake County Captains, Civale threw 57.0 innings and allowed 29 earned runs on 64 hits and five walks while striking out 53. His ERA ballooned up to 4.58, but his FIP (2.51) and xFIP (2.86) seemed to indicate Civale was better than his surface stats would indicate. Looking a little deeper, Aaron held an 8.37 K/9 rate paired with a minuscule 0.79 BB/9 rate. All numbers similar to recent trends, which may indicate how he learns league hitters, makes adjustments, and excels.
Soon after, Civale was promoted to Lynchburg and made 17 starts for the Hillcats. Across those 17 starts, Civale threw 107.2 innings while allowing just 31 earned runs, walking nine, and striking out 88. His K rate dropped slightly, but he still was walking less than a batter per game. His WHIP shrunk from 1.211 in Lake County to 0.975 in Lynchburg, his ERA was nearly cut in half (down to 2.59) and his FIP and xFIP remained solid (3.40 and 3.06, respectively). Based on these numbers and the levels pitched, the decrease in strikeouts was a byproduct of pitching coaches working on his pitch efficiencies. If you scroll through game logs, you can see an increase in innings pitched and a decrease in average pitch count to reach these deeper innings.
In conclusion, Aaron Civale is pitching slightly above his means in terms of the strikeout, but overall, he’s another example of quality Cleveland pitching. We could also be seeing the beginning of an elite career.
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.
Juan Soto (left elbow soreness) – Nationals scratched Soto from the lineup of Game 1 of their doubleheader against the Braves on 9/4 because of left elbow soreness. He also missed Game 2 of the twin bill, but an MRI “came out clean,” manager Dave Martinez said. “We’re going to give him a couple days,” Martinez said. “He’s pretty tender. It’s his throwing elbow, so we’re going to see how it feels tomorrow and then go from there. I’m assuming he’s going to need a couple days off.” Still out of the lineup as of 9/6, rest is what he’s getting. The Nats play a two-game set vs. Tampa Bay, followed by an off-day before four against divisional rival, Atlanta Braves. If the elbow is still barking early week, could see him held till 9/10.
Jose Altuve (right knee sprain) – Astros second baseman was placed on the 10-day injured list 9/5 as the club deals with the reality his sprain will need more than a day or two to heal. He’s eligible to return 9/14. Altuve injured the knee during a slide into third base. It’s the same knee that limited him the last two months of the 2018 season and required offseason surgery. Also for Houston, Lance McCullers Jr. was placed on the 10-day IL on 9/6 due to nerve irritation in his neck. Initially, the issue was viewed as a dead arm after he was lifted with 18 pitches delivered on 9/4. However, a much worse diagnosis was found. It’s unknown if he’ll be healthy after 10 days. Tough to hold McCullers given his performance this season and the uncertainty surrounding a potential return.
Anthony Santander (oblique) – Orioles placed Santander on the injured list with a right oblique strain that is expected to sideline him for at least several weeks, according to manager Brandon Hyde. With about three weeks of games remaining, it is “definitely a possibility” Santander may be out for the year, Hyde said. DJ Stewart should see the bulk of the playing time in right field in his absence.
Jorge Soler (oblique) – Soler had to exit Kansas City’s 5-3 loss to the White Sox on 9/6 in the fourth inning with right oblique soreness. He had already missed 9/3’s contest after being removed the prior game mid-way with the injury, and a swing in his first at-bat on 9/6 likely aggravated it. Manager Mike Matheny said after the game that Soler is day-to-day.
Your weekly Yankees IL Report – Gio Urshela and Jonathan Loaisiga were both placed on the 10-day injured list. Urshela is still dealing with a bone spur in his right elbow, while Loaisiga is sidelined by an unspecified non-COVID medical condition. On a positive note for New York, Gleyber Torres (left hamstring and quadriceps strains) was back in the lineup on 9/5 after being activated from the IL. He sat on 9/6, but there was no mention of a setback with Torres’ hamstring. Seems the Yankees are playing it safe and easing the 23-year-old back into action. Lastly, Giancarlo Stanton (left hamstring strain) is running at about 75 to 80 percent, according to Yankees manager, Aaron Boone, but there is still no set date for his return to the lineup.
Mitch Keller (strained left oblique) threw 35 pitches during live batting practice on 9/5, and manager Derek Shelton said the right-hander would throw a bullpen session in the coming days. Shelton said, if Keller feels healthy through the bullpen session, he’ll be on track to return to Pittsburgh’s starting rotation after that.
Niko Goodrum (running theme of the day, oblique) – Tigers placed Goodrum on the 10-day IL on 9/5, retroactive to 9/2, which means he could be eligible to return 9/12 against the White Sox. But with the oblique bothering the switch-hitting Goodrum on his left-handed swing, and the unpredictable nature of oblique injuries, Willi Castro could get the bulk of the playing time down the stretch regardless. If Goodrum returns, he might be limited to swinging right-handed.
Elieser Hernandez (right lat soreness) has been transferred to the 60-day injured list, ending his season. The issue is evidently bad enough for such a designation. Losing Hernandez, who was having a breakthrough season, is a blow to fantasy owners. In six starts, the 25-year-old right-hander went 1-0 with a 3.16 ERA, 34 strikeouts and just five walks in 25 2/3 innings.
Dallas Keuchel (lower-back stiffness) left his start on 9/6 as I was posting today’s article. If that’s all it is, Keuchel, Chicago and fantasy owners dodged a bullet it wasn’t an arm issue. He is day-to-day.
Finally, we have some scary stuff to review. Cardinals placed Kwang Hyun Kim on the 10-day injured list on 9/5, retroactive to 9/2. On Friday morning, Kim experienced abdominal pain on his right side and was sent immediately to the emergency room at a Chicago hospital. He was diagnosed with a kidney ailment and remained in the hospital until Saturday afternoon as the pain subsided. Luckily, a kidney blockage was discovered and he’s reportedly feeling much better. Kim is likely to pitch again this season. In a corresponding move, the Cardinals activated Andrew Miller (left shoulder soreness) from the 10-day injured list.
POV SPECIAL – TOP SP STREAMS OF THE WEEK
→ Jose Urquidy, RH HOU (@OAK; 78% owned) & Zach Eflin, RH PHI (BOS, @MIA; 67% 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 13, 2020
(Record, ERA / xFIP / SIERA)
Kyle Wright (RHP, ATL: 0-4, 8.05 / 5.99 / 6.70) @ Max Scherzer (RHP, WSH: 4-2, 3.40 / 3.46 / 3.50)
John Means (LHP, BAL: 1-3, 6.58 / 5.47 / 5.01) @ J.A. Happ (LHP, NYY: 1-2, 4.31 / 4.90 / 5.11)
Martín Pérez (LHP, BOS: 2-4, 4.40 / 5.65 / 5.88) @ Charlie Morton (RHP, TB: 1-2, 4.94 / 4.45 / 4.34)
Ramón Rosso (RHP, PHI: 0-1, 7.88 / 7.17 / 6.33) / Zach Eflin (RHP: 2-1, 4.58 / 3.23 / 3.39) @ Sixto Sánchez (RHP, MIA: 2-1, 1.80 / 3.04 / 3.06) / TBD (0-0, -.– / -.– / -.–) – 7 inning doubleheader
Chad Kuhl (RHP, PIT: 1-1, 3.38 / 5.11 / 5.27) @ Brad Keller (RHP, KC: 3-2, 2.60 / 4.29 / 4.87)
Alec Mills (RHP, CHC: 4-3, 4.74 / 4.75 / 4.92) @ Adrian Houser (RHP, MIL: 1-4, 5.48 / 3.85 / 4.16)
Triston McKenzie (RHP, CLE: 2-0, 2.57 / 3.29 / 3.12) @ Michael Pineda (RHP, MIN: 1-0, 2.77 / 3.99 / 4.06)
Spencer Turnbull (RHP, DET: 4-2, 3.32 / 5.07 / 5.63) @ Jonathan Stiever (RHP, CHW: 0-0, -.– / -.– / -.–)
Tyler Mahle (RHP, CIN: 1-2, 3.89 / 4.49 / 3.87) @ Carlos Martínez (RHP, STL: 0-2, 12.27 / 5.31 / 5.21)
Frankie Montas (RHP, OAK: 3-3, 5.73 / 5.00 / 5.01) @ Lance Lynn (RHP, TEX: 5-2, 2.52 / 4.40 / 4.10)
~Sometimes, it’s better to be lucky than good. In Lynn’s case, it has been a combination of both. Montas looked closer to form last time out, his second start in a row in Houston. I have zero problems if you throw him vs. the lowly Rangers offense. My sit is based on opposing pitcher and recent pitch count limits (hasn’t pitched above 79 in 3-of-4 recent starts). If it’s do or die, Globe Life Field has been pleasant for pitchers.
David Peterson (LHP, NYM: 4-1, 4.26 / 5.51 / 5.59) @ Hyun Jin Ryu (LHP, TOR: 3-1, 3.19 / 3.23 / 3.66)
Andrew Heaney (LHP, LAA: 3-3, 4.04 / 4.19 / 4.20) @ Ryan Castellani (RHP, COL: 1-2, 5.34 / 5.89 / 5.62)
Justin Dunn (RHP, SEA: 3-1, 4.09 / 6.31 / 6.09) @ Luke Weaver (RHP, ARI: 1-6, 7.12 / 5.17 / 4.51)
~Arizona’s offense has been a disappointment in 2020, traded away a key piece, and has averaged around four runs per game over the last week. Dunn has been running hot over past three starts, so most would start, but let’s look at his opponents: TEX, @LAA, TEX (rest of teams faced – @LAD, @TEX, LAA, @LAA). #Only2020 I’m actually a fan of Dunn and think he will become a semi-reliable fantasy starter, but one has to be picky on Sundays.
Johnny Cueto (RHP, SF: 2-0, 4.56 / 4.69 / 4.65) / Logan Webb (RHP: 2-3, 5.23 / 4.42 / 4.66) @ Mike Clevinger (RHP, SD: 2-2, 3.74 / 4.54 / 4.73) / Garrett Richards (RHP: 2-2, 4.50 / 4.27 / 4.56)
~Player who tested positive for SF has since tested negative, as has the rest of the traveling team in Slam Diego. The middle games of series were immediately PPD out of concern for COVID test results, but Sunday’s game was left open if circumstances allow. No word as of this writing, therefore, have Clevy in your lineup JIC. UPDATE: Giants, Padres to play doubleheader Sunday (9/13). Makes me like Clevy even more in 7-inning game.
Zack Greinke (RHP, HOU: 3-1, 3.27 / 3.78 / 3.89) @ LAD – TBD (0-0, -.– / -.– / -.–)
The socially distanced walk-off celebrations continue…