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Head-to-Head Hitter Streamers & Starts for Week 7

Welcome to the hitting streamers column for the week of 5/6 - 5/12. Whether you're looking to maximize the number of games played, exploit favorable matchups, or fill in for injured players, streaming hitters can be a fruitful strategy for those willing to put in a little work every week.

Keep in mind that this column highlights players owned in approximately 50% or fewer of Yahoo leagues who could present nice streaming options for the upcoming week. This applies to any league but specifically is geared toward head-to-head weekly leagues where matchups are more critical.

If the following names aren't available, don't hesitate to check our famous waiver wire pickups list to find some appealing alternatives. Let's get to it.

 

Bats to Stream and Start in Week 7

Seven-Game Weeks: BAL, DET, MIL, MIN, PHI, PIT

Only seven teams play seven games this week, when 16 played seven games a week ago. That means there are fewer volume options on waivers this week, so the ownership cutoff has been raised to 60% to help identify the best options, even if they're only available in shallow leagues. There will still be a healthy amount of deep league streamers this week as well.

 

Streamer of the Week

Dwight Smith Jr. (OF, BAL) – 58% Owned

Smith has quietly been a solid contributor this fantasy season, putting up an .816 OPS and .201 ISO through 145 PA. Smith has found success by leveling out his swing and getting more line drives, as his line drive rate is up 13% thus far. He also improved production on fastballs by lowering his launch angle four degrees, improving his xBA from .232 in 2018 to .334 this season. Smith can provide a little of everything for owners this week; he can hit for power, provide batting average, put up runs and RBI, and can throw in the occasional stolen base.

Baltimore has seven games this week, three in New York against the Yankees and four in Cleveland. Those matchups would’ve been more daunting at the beginning of the year, but injuries have ravaged both of those rotations. The Orioles avoid facing pitchers like James Paxton, Corey Kluber, and Mike Clevinger for Triple-A fill-in arms. They also face just one lefty this week, which is great news for Smith. With his matchups and early season improvements, Smith is in a great position to produce this week.

 

Behind the Plate

Mitch Garver (C, MIN) – 37% Owned

Jason Castro is currently dealing with an elbow injury, and Willians Astudillo is on the injured list, leaving Garver as the only healthy catcher on Minnesota’s roster. Maybe that will open Twins’ manager Rocco Baldelli’s eyes as to how good Garver’s been. Garver has a 1.147 OPS and .385 ISO in 71 PA, yet is still forced to split time with Jason Castro. It makes senses from a real baseball perspective, Castro is one of the best pitch framers in the league, but at the same time Garver has the highest wRC+ among catchers this season (min. 70 PA). So let the man hit. With the Twins other catchers on the mend, Garver will get his chance to prove his legitimacy this week, and makes for the perfect streaming catcher.

Also Consider: Grayson Greiner (C, DET) – 1% Owned, Francisco Cervelli (C, PIT) – 31% Owned

 

At the Corners

C.J. Cron (1B, MIN) – 19% Owned

The Twins draw three left-handed starters during their upcoming seven-game week, which means it’s time for Cron to shine. The powerful first baseman has a .959 OPS and .462 ISO against southpaws this season, and had a .930 OPS and .247 ISO against them in 2018. Cron has also cut his strikeout rate to 19.3% this season and upped his hard hit rate to 40.7%. He’s no one’s long term answer at first base, least of all the Twins, but this week is perfect to deploy a player like Cron. He’ll get enough volume and enough exposure against lefties to make it worthwhile.

Danny Santana (1B/2B/OF, TEX) – 31% Owned

First basemen with wheels are hard to come by, but Santana offers a unique skillset at his position. The 28-year-old utility man has taken over as the Rangers’ primary first baseman, and he’s swiped six bases with a .311 batting average and a .230 ISO. His track record would suggest that this is just a hot streak for Santana, and it may well be, but he’s made a few legitimate improvements at the plate. He’s increased his hard hit rate to 50%, and raised his average launch angle to 15.2 degrees, which has translated to a 27.8% line drive rate and .294 xBA. He’s also improved his contact rate by 7%, and for the first time in his career Danny Santana is an above average contact hitter. Texas only has a six-game week, but they’re scheduled to face one weak lefty (Danny Duffy) and get three games at home against right-handed starters, which should translate to production for Santana.

Update: With Ronald Guzman activated from the IL, Danny Santana has sat now in three of the last four games including against a right handed pitcher on Friday night. It's an interesting development to monitor.

Chris Davis (1B, BAL) – 1% Owned

Before you hit Alt-F4, hear me out on this one. Since busting his historically bad slump, Chris Davis is hitting .288 with an .870 OPS and .231 ISO. He cut his strikeout rate to a manageable (for him) 28.1%, and he’s increased his hard hit rate to 44.4%. Davis has recently moved up to fifth in Baltimore’s order, and he should be up for solid production with just one lefty on the slate this week for the Orioles. Look, I’m not telling you to sign Chris Davis to a seven-year, $161 million dollar contract, putting your cellar dweller team over the luxury tax, and then deferring payments so that Davis earns seven figures annually until the year 2037. That would be ridiculous; no one in their right minds would do that, least of an MLB front office. But, Davis is a perfectly viable one-week option given his matchups and recent performance. As a bonus, his name is so tainted in the fantasy baseball community that you won’t need to fight for him on waivers.

Also Consider: Jung Ho Kang (3B, PIT) – 7% Owned, Marwin Gonzalez (1B/2B/3B/SS/OF, MIN) – 24% Owned

 

Up the Middle

Niko Goodrum (1B/2B/3B/SS/OF, DET) – 31% Owned

Goodrum’s performance has been underwhelming as of late, but it’s hard to quit a quint-eligible player with his underlying peripherals. Goodrum is hitting just .226 with a .717 OPS, but he’s improved on just about everything. He’s cut his strikeout rate by 3%, upped his walk rate 5%, has a 43.6% hard hit rate, and a monster 32.1% line drive rate. His .625 BABIP on line drives is nearly 50 points lower than the league average, which is a big reason for the discrepancy in his xBA (.286) and actual BA (.226). With seven games ahead of him, now is the perfect time to pick up Goodrum up and see if his good performance can translate to results.

Cesar Hernandez (2B, PHI) – 55% Owned

Hernandez is hitting .303 with a 13% strikeout rate and .821 OPS this season, and yet is available in 45% of Yahoo leagues. Sure, he doesn’t provide much power, but with his chip-in steals and superb batting average Hernandez presents owners with a unique skillset that’s hard to find on waivers. The Phillies have seven home games this week, and Hernandez plays in basically every game, meaning he should have plenty of volume this week.

Also Consider: Asdrubal Cabrera (2B/3B/SS, TEX) – 49% Owned, Ronny Rodriguez (1B/2B/3B/SS, DET) – 10% Owned, Cole Tucker (SS, PIT) 4% Owned

 

In the Outfield

Jose Martinez (1B/OF, STL) – 57% Owned

Martinez continues to get regular playing time for St. Louis, and most importantly, he continues to hit. He has a .343/.387/.471 triple slash on the season, and his .346 xBA and .556 xSLG suggest Martinez could be even better. He’s an interesting stream this week because the Cardinals play three games in Texas. Outside of Coors Field, there is no ballpark I target players in more than Globe Life Park in Arlington. Not only is Globe Life an amazing hitter’s park, but the Rangers pitching staff has the third-highest ERA in the league at 5.20. Martinez should be able to produce plenty in six games this week, and playing in Texas has the added bonus of allowing him to DH, ensuring he won’t sit or be pulled for a defensive replacement.

Melky Cabrera (OF, PIT) – 5% Owned

Cabrera has been a pleasant surprise for Pittsburgh, putting up a .350/.387/.500 triple slash in 106 PA this season. Even at age 34 Cabrera is an excellent contact hitting, putting up an 86% contact rate and 12.3% strikeout rate this season. While Cabrera won’t maintain a .381 BABIP, his 27.6% line drive rate and 90.4 MPH average exit velocity will keep his batting average around the .300 mark. The Pirates have seven games in pitcher-friendly ballparks this week. They have three games in Arizona and four in San Diego, but that won’t affect Cabrera too much since he’s more of a singles hitter. He’s in the lineup virtually every day for Pittsburgh and should be a good volume play this week.

Also Consider: Odubel Herrera (OF, PHI) – 35% Owned, Dexter Fowler (OF, STL) – 3% Owned

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Two-Start Pitcher Streamers: Week 7

Well, seven weeks in and I'm already struggling to come up with a decent intro. I'm calling a mulligan on the intro this week and let's just get into the recap of the last two weeks.

Julio Teheran is the winner in Week 5 despite going 0-1 in his two starts. After allowing four runs over seven innings with eight strikeouts against the Padres, Teheran earned the quality start against the Marlins with four strikeouts over six shutout innings. In Week 6, Griffin Canning is leading the way with two runs allowed over 5 1/3 innings as he struck out seven en route to his first career win.

That being said, it doesn't take much to be better than the rest of the guys on my list last week, as the four of them combined to go 0-4 with an 11.29 ERA over 18 1/3 innings in their starts on Monday. Whoops. Well, there's nowhere to go but up for those guys, and there's nowhere to go but up with this week's list.

 

Week 7 Streamers - Under 50% Owned

Jerad Eickhoff, PHI - 49% owned

Probable opponents: vs MIL, vs COL

It's not surprising that when looking at the Phillies' rotation the two names almost everyone will focus on are Jake Arrieta and Aaron Nola. But Eickhoff has been putting up numbers comparable to Arrieta and Nola, and in some cases even better than what they're doing. Over four starts this year, Eickhoff has gone at least five innings while allowing four or fewer runs. With a pair of quality starts and a 2-1 record, Eickhoff is also tied with Nola for second in the rotation with a 9.3 K/9 over 30 innings. So yeah long story short, Eickhoff has been pretty good this year. Based on the fact he is just barely eligible for this week's list, it seems owners are catching on to this.

Eickhoff has always been a better pitcher at home throughout his career (3.32 ERA and 8.9 K/9 at home vs 4.16 ERA and 7.6 K/9 on the road), and this week he gets a pair of starts at Citizens Bank Park. At first glance, it seems like these might be some troublesome starts as the Brewers are averaging 4.7 runs per game over their last 10 games while the Rockies are averaging 6.5 runs per game over that same span. But both Milwaukee and Colorado have been playing significantly worse on the road than at home:

R/G AVG OBP SLG
MIL Home 5.3 .260 .334 .472
MIL Away 4.3 .225 .311 .386
COL Home 5.1 .268 .338 .472
COL Away 4.4 .217 .272 .384

Combine those home/road splits with the fact the Brewers are averaging 9.4 strikeouts over their last 10 games and the Rockies are averaging 8.6 strikeouts in that same span, and you're looking at a pair of potentially very nice matchups for Eickhoff. If he's still available in your league, make sure to pick him up this week.

Chris Bassitt, OAK - 43% owned

Probable opponents: @ SEA, @ DET

Bassitt has gotten off to a good start in Oakland this year with 22 strikeouts and a 2.12 ERA over three starts. He's thrown at least five innings in each start, allowing three or fewer runs while striking out at least six in each of his appearances. Granted it's a small sample size, but Bassitt also currently boasts a career-high 12 percent swinging strike rate, likely due to the fact he is getting batters to swing at more pitches out of the zone than last year (34.3 percent vs 27.2) and hitters are making less contact on those swings (66.2 percent vs 74.8).

Bassitt will get a couple starts on the road this week as he faces off against the slumping Seattle and Detroit offenses. Both the Mariners and Tigers are in the top 11 in the league in team strikeouts, and they are also averaging 10 strikeouts per game over their last 10 games. The Mariners are hitting .228 and averaging 3.9 runs while going 2-8 over their last 10 games. Meanwhile, Detroit is hitting .247 while averaging 4.2 runs over a 10-game stretch that has seen them go 4-6. The Tigers are also first in the majors with a 12.9 percent swinging strike rate, while the Mariners are tied for 11th with an 11.3 percent rate — both of which projects nicely for how Bassitt has been pitching.

Much like Eickhoff, Bassitt is a guy you might want to consider hanging onto after this week. But for now, Bassitt is definitely one of the top streaming options — if not THE top option — in Week 7.

 

Week 7 Streamers - Under 25% Owned

Kyle Gibson, MIN - 19% owned

Probable opponents: vs LAA, @ SEA

After a slow start to the season, Gibson has been pitching very well over his last few starts. In his most recent outing against Toronto, Gibson allowed one run on two hits and a walk while striking out a season-high 11 over six innings. That start improved Gibson to 3-1 over his last four appearances, as he has averaged six innings and seven strikeouts a start while posting a 2.25 ERA.

Like I mentioned with Bassitt, Seattle is in the midst of an offensive slump as he is projected to face them in his second start of the week. But his first start will come against the Angels, who are currently 6-4 over their last 10 games while hitting .260 and averaging 5.4 runs per game. That start against the Angels scares me a little bit, but Gibson is probably the best guy to pick up from the "Under 25% Owned" part of this week's column.

Reynaldo Lopez, CHW - 15% owned

Probable opponents: vs CLE, vs TOR

For owners in leagues that count quality starts, Lopez is the guy to take a close look at this week. He has earned the quality start in four of his eight outings this season, including his latest start where he held the Indians to three runs over six innings with two strikeouts. That start tied his season-low for strikeouts, but in his previous six starts he had been averaging just over seven strikeouts per game. 

Lopez will start off Week 7 with a rematch against the Indians, who are averaging 2.8 runs and eight strikeouts per game over their last 10 games. Then he'll take on a Toronto team which has been even worse than that over their last 10 games, averaging 2.2 runs and 10 strikeouts while hitting a paltry .191. Combine that with the fact Lopez has better splits at home since joining Chicago, and it looks like Lopez could be a very nice play this week.

Trent Thornton, TOR - 5% owned

Probable opponents: @ SFG, @ CHW

And now here's the risky play of the week. When it came time to look at two-start streamers owned in less than 25 percent of leagues, there were a lot of guys who had what looked like one pretty good projected start and one pretty ugly projected start. Ultimately Thornton won out for the last spot on this week's list despite being rocked for five runs over two innings in his latest start against the Twins. Over his three starts before the Minnesota outing, Thornton had posted a 9.0 K/9 with a 2.65 ERA while averaging nearly six innings per start.

Thornton will start off the week against San Francisco, who he has already faced off against this season. In that start, Thornton earned the loss after allowing four runs over five innings while striking out five. Now he'll face them again after a 10-game stretch that has seen the Giants averaging 6.2 runs while hitting .252. But after this challenge of a start, Thornton should have an easier outing when he takes on the White Sox, who are averaging 3.6 runs and 10.6 strikeouts while hitting .232 over their last 10 games. If Thornton can put together a start against the Giants similar to his earlier outing, he should be a pretty solid play this week if the other guys on this list have already been scooped up.

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Week 6 Starts & Sits - All Starting Pitcher Matchups

With over one month of the 2019 MLB season behind us, fantasy owners have a grip on how aggressive they must be with starting pitchers. Are you already way ahead or behind on projected innings in roto leagues or always losing strikeouts in your weekly H2H matchups? We here at RotoBaller set out to ease your decision-making with our weekly starting pitcher matchups and recommendations. In case you missed it, this is our sixth year now writing this weekly column, helping fantasy baseball managers pick the best pitchers weekly.

Below are the projected starting pitching matchups for Week 6, which will be updated as rotations are announced and tweaked. Injuries are claiming starters left and right, so this column will be continuously updated and adjusted for any postponements or rotation shuffles, reflecting official beat writer speculation for as many unconfirmed rotation slots as possible.

For every week of the fantasy baseball season, we look to analyze all of the projected starting pitcher matchups and put together our optimal lineups. Here at RotoBaller, we believe that it’s key to analyze every SP matchup, each and every week, to help determine which SPs to start/sit and identify some sneaky streams. Let's win some leagues!

 

SP Matchups & Start/Sit Recommendations

This weekly piece considers the pitcher’s opponents, their career stats against the opponent, some ballpark factors and historical splits. With all of this information, we then provide our start/sit recommendations for each starting pitcher matchup for the approaching week of fantasy baseball.

We'll now include a "Score" value that goes from 0-100, with 100 being a perfect start and zero being an easy sit. Setting 50 as the theoretical "Start/Sit" border, this should help you determine streamer candidates and read my confidence. This week introduces colors for the score values, as I really want the focus to be on those rather than the "Start" and "Sit" labels. Two-start pitchers have a gold background and are in italics. Now, time to jump to it!

 

This column was last updated on Sunday, May 5th, and will be updated daily as more rotations and starters are announced through May 12th.

 

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Points Leagues Waiver Wire Pickups: Week 6

Welcome to the RotoBaller waiver wire column which falls in-line with most fantasy “who should I pick up?” articles with a skew towards points leagues. Yes, there is positive correlation to standard 5x5 scoring but in our format, strikeouts, walks and non-homer extra-base hits are uniquely critical. In points leagues, specific categories matter less, and the accumulation of total stats is the ultimate objective.

We march into Week 6 of the 2019 baseball season and vigilance of the waiver wire becomes increasingly important as we enter May. The impact of one awful or great game is starting to become less meaningful as players gradually approach steady state.

Our points league waiver wire column will default to standard scoring and try to unearth three players under 50% ownership and three players under 25% ownership. For each group, we’ll identify an infielder, outfielder and pitcher. Let’s get hunting!

 

Points League Pickups to Consider

Howie Kendrick (2B/3B/OF, WSH)

9% Owned

Old reliable Howie Kendrick is back in our lives as a fantasy-relevant geezer. The 35-year-old is scorching to a .356/.423/.610 slash with four long balls and 25 runs-plus-RBI in only 71 plate appearances. With the recent ailments of Anthony Rendon (elbow), Kendrick is getting regular starts at the hot corner.

A glance at Kendrick’s peripherals indicates the numbers are durable. An elevated .354 BABIP is in line with his past two seasons and the Statcast expected numbers are better than his actual production. While some mean reversion is expected, Kendrick’s exit velocity (93.4 MPH) and launch angle (11.3 degrees) are up substantially to start the season. Lump in an excellent 0.80 BB/K and you get a versatile veteran that pleasantly reeks of big extra-base upside.

 

Chris Davis (1B, BAL)

2% Owned

This is not a joke. After starting the season as a poster child for futility, Chris Davis has gone 13-for-40 for a respectable .325 average. He’s added six extra-base hits including three homers. The perennial slugger has an xSLG (.442) that is 100 points higher than his current clip, providing a regression-based power source free off the waiver wire.

The abominable strikeout rate can’t go ignored in points leagues, but prior to his mid-2018 swoon, Davis had insulated the impact with a walk rate above 10%. The fact that he doesn’t play every day could be a positive, he’s a usable spot-starter that isn’t a risk to kill your fantasy return on a daily basis. If we look at Davis as a Joey Gallo-lite, things appear palatable. Trading whiffs for a shot at 25 homers and doubles apiece on a part-time basis is a reasonable compromise.

 

Franmil Reyes (OF, SD)

41% Owned

Franmil Reyes enters Week 6 with eight homers in 100 plate appearances. Excluding a brutal opening week where he crushed with only one hit to show in 16 at-bats, Reyes is hitting a solid .280. For a prodigious power hitter with underrated plate discipline, it makes me giddy as a San Diego-native to tout a beloved Padre for rational reasons.

Reyes is seventh in barrels per plate appearance (13%), 17th in exit velocity (93.5 MPH) and carries an elite xSLG of .653. Despite the swing-and-miss stereotype, Reyes has lowered his strikeout rate from 28% to 22%. With a .222 BABIP and the prevailing batted-ball profile, the extra-base hits will come. Playing time was a risk for Reyes entering the season, but he’s been holding the majority share of starts in right field. Beware of the Franimal.

 

Christin Stewart (OF, DET)

3% Owned

Outside of Motor City, Christin Stewart is likely an anonymous entity. Combined with a lengthy IL stint from a quad strain, Stewart’s ownership is essentially zero. In deeper leagues, that deserves to change. Before his injury, Stewart racked up five doubles, a triple and three homers in just 64 plate appearances.

Entering the season as the Tiger’s No. 8 prospect, Stewart mashed 81 homers through three minor league stops between 2016-2018. While the .222 average looks ugly, his expected stats suggest he should be closer to the .260 rate he posted in the minors. Combine that with the power profile and passable BB/K and you have a bonafide under-the-radar slugger. Stewart is expected back in the lineup in about a week, he feels like a rest-of-season sleeper.

 

Reynaldo Lopez (SP, CHW)

22% Owned

Reynaldo Lopez has been a polarizing fantasy topic and I’ve been on both the pro and con side. A 6.03 ERA and 1.69 WHIP claims there is no argument, but a tasty 27.1% strikeout rate suggests otherwise. With a matchup against Boston upcoming as of this writing, let’s take on the doubters in real time!

Lopez endured a rough three-start stretch to open the season but has rebounded admirably to surpass six innings in each of his last three outings with a 2.50 ERA. He held a pushover Tigers squad scoreless on April 28 with a mouthwatering 14 strikeouts. Lopez’ downtick in velocity is worrisome, but the theory is that normalizes with warmer temperatures. If he ratchets the walks down from 4.9 BB/9 and HR/FB from 14%, he should serve as a quality innings-eater with a strikeout kicker in any points league.

 

Anthony DeSclafani (SP, CIN)

18% Owned

Anthony Desclafani has been a turnstile on the waiver wire over his career when healthy but is making a case for full-time ownership. The 29-year-old has mixed four fantastic outings (0.79 ERA) with two mega-clunkers (10.80 ERA) but has lifted his strikeouts from a career 21% to a robust 28%.

In 2019, Desclafani has added a cutter to an already-diverse pitch portfolio to spectacular results. Although he’s only throwing it 7% of the time, he’s registering a 4.42 wFC/C. As icing on the cake, it’s led to positive pitch values across his entire arsenal. Desclafani is touching over 94 MPH on his heater and if the repertoire remains effective, he could enjoy a breakout season. With expected stats that support his current performance, he’s certainly worth a speculative pickup.

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Head-to-Head Hitter Streamers & Starts for Week 6

Welcome to the hitting streamers column for the week of 5/6 - 5/12. Whether you're looking to maximize the number of games played, exploit favorable matchups, or fill in for injured players, streaming hitters can be a fruitful strategy for those willing to put in a little work every week.

Keep in mind that this column highlights players owned in approximately 50% or fewer of Yahoo leagues who could present nice streaming options for the upcoming week. This applies to any league but specifically is geared toward head-to-head weekly leagues where matchups are more critical.

If the following names aren't available, don't hesitate to check our famous waiver wire pickups list to find some appealing alternatives. Let's get to it.

 

Bats to Stream and Start in Week 6

Seven-Game Weeks: ARI, ATL, CHC, CHW, CIN, CLE, DET, HOU, LAD, MIA, MIN, NYY, SEA, SF, STL, WSH

 

Streamer of the Week

Jose Martinez (1B/OF, STL): 50% Owned

The Cardinals are finally doing what fantasy owners have been hoping for since last season; they’re playing Martinez every day, defense be damned. Martinez is making it worth their while too with a .375/.414/.488 triple slash in 87 PA. Martinez is one of the safest sources of batting average in today’s game, as evidenced by his 29.2% line drive rate and .356 xBA.

His power has been a little lacking, but Martinez’s .520 xSLG and 89.9 MPH average exit velocity suggest he’s capable of providing more in the power department. It’s a wonder how Martinez is still available in half of Yahoo leagues, but he’s out there plenty. The Cardinals draw seven home games this week against Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, and Martinez is a great option for both series.

 

Behind the Plate

Robinson Chirinos (C, HOU): 39% Owned

Chirinos has quietly been solid at the dish this season, owning a .271/.369/.500 triple slash with three home runs in 85 PA. Houston also gets seven games this week, all at home against two weak pitching staffs in the Rangers and Royals. At least three of those games will come against lefties as well, which is great news for Chirinos since he has a career .838 OPS and .224 ISO versus southpaws. He should get between 4-5 starts this week, and is the top streaming option on waivers.

Also Consider: Welington Castillo (C, CWS): 36% Owned

 

At the Corners

Brandon Belt (1B/OF, SF): 17% Owned

The Giants have a bizarre seven-game week ahead. They have one game in Cincinnati thanks to a weekend wrap around series, then get three games in Coors Field, and then return home for three against the Reds. Belt will certainly benefit from games in Cincinnati and Colorado, as Oracle Park kills Belt's power. Belt’s 56.3% flyball rate and 25.3-degree average launch angle should play up in those road games, and he faces weak enough Reds’ pitching at home to make him worth a stream.

Ryon Healy (1B/3B, SEA): 35% Owned

Healy has cooled off after a hot start, but the slugger gets a great opportunity to turn things around this week. The Mariners have four lefties on the schedule and have seven games away from pitcher-friendly T-Mobile Park. Healy has been better against lefties in his career with a .772 OPS and .188 ISO all time. Healy also bumps up to sixth in the order against a left-handed starter, which will help him with run production and volume this week. He’s a low-end power bat in standard mixed leagues for the upcoming week.

Also Consider: Yonder Alonso (1B, CWS): 14% Owned

 

Up the Middle

Niko Goodrum (1B/2B/3B/SS/OF, DET): 37% Owned

Goodrum has been one of the lone bright spots for Detroit this season, posting an .816 OPS in 103 PA thus far. His surface stats don’t jump off the page, but a .296 xBA and .546 xSLG suggest room for even more production. Goodrum has also lowered his strikeout rate to 21.4%, upped his walk rate to 16.5%, and increased his average exit velocity to 90.4 MPH. These are the signs of true improvement at the plate, and Goodrum will get a chance to turn peripherals into production this week. He gets three home games against weak Angels’ pitching, and then gets four games in Minnesota. The only tough starter Detroit faces is Jose Berrios, and Goodrum gets a ballpark upgrade going from Detroit to Minnesota. He’s also a nice streamer in daily lineup leagues because he can play every position and his team has seven games.

Jose Peraza (2B/SS, CIN): 48% Owned

A week ago, Peraza looked like toast. He was hitting under .150 with awful plate discipline and 50% flyball rate. Everything was going wrong for him, and he was looking like a draft day bust. He’s been hot since then, however, hitting .318 with two steals and a home run. He’s also struck out just twice in that stretch, encompassing 23 PA. The Reds’ get a seven game this week, one at home against San Francisco, and then three in Oakland and three more in San Francisco. Those aren’t the best hitter’s parks, but with Peraza we’re hoping for singles and steals. He’s been dropped by a number of teams, meaning Peraza is out there in enough leagues where owners could get a legitimate impact stolen base player for the upcoming week.

Also Consider: Kolten Wong (2B, STL): 48% Owned, Jason Kipnis (2B/OF, CLE): 5% Owned, Daniel Descalso (1B/2B/3B, CHC): 4% Owned

 

In the Outfield

Kyle Schwarber (OF, CHC): 50% Owned

Schwarber had gotten off to a slow start, but he’s been heating up as of late. He’s currently riding a six-game hit streak, and Schwarber is hitting .421 over that stretch. The Cubs have a seven-game week ahead, and only have two lefties on their schedule, Caleb Smith and Gio Gonzalez. Schwarber was dropped in many leagues due to his early season struggles, but he’s turning things around and owners can grab a big time power bat for the upcoming week in half of Yahoo leagues.

Alex Verdugo (OF, LAD): 25% Owned

Verdugo has been crushing it as a part-time player this season, posting a .342/.368/.616 triple slash in 76 PA. His playing time should go up with A.J. Pollock being placed on the 10-day IL, and it’s good timing for Verdugo since the Dodgers get a seven-game week this week, with only two of those games coming against left-handed starters. Verdugo has been more than solid against lefties throughout his career anyway, owning a .830 OPS and .270 ISO all time. He’s one of the better options available in 75% of leagues or more this week.

Leonys Martin (OF, CLE): 3% Owned

Cleveland faces six right-handed starters this week, which is great news for a hitter like Martin. Martin has posted a .821 OPS and .234 ISO against right-handed pitching this year and has hit all five of his homers off righties. He hits in a prime position as well, second in Cleveland’s lineup between Francisco Lindor and Jose Ramirez. Martin is a sneaky player to add since he’s so widely available and will benefit from his platoon splits this week.

Also Consider: Kevin Pillar (OF, SF): 9% Owned, Leury Garcia (MI/OF, CWS): 13% Owned,  Carlos Gonzalez (OF, CLE): 4% Owned

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Two-Start Pitcher Streamers for Week 6

It's almost midnight on Thursday night as I finish rewriting this column after a power surge caused me to lose almost all of my work, but I'm happy as a clam after watching a Nicky Delmonico walk-off homer for my White Sox.

You know who else is happy as a clam? Owners who picked up Mike Minor for Week 4, as he was the clear winner from that week's column after going 1-1 with 17 strikeouts and a 3.46 ERA against Oakland and Seattle. Luke Weaver did well too (1-0, 12 strikeouts, 3.38 ERA) and Sonny Gray provided strikeouts but not much else (0-1, 14 strikeouts, 5.23 ERA). As for Spencer Turnbull and Erik Swanson...the less said the better. In Week 5, Adam Wainwright is leading the way so far after allowing two runs over 6 1/3 innings with five strikeouts to get the win over Washington.

Before another power surge hits and I lose everything for the second time, let's look at who you should pick up in Week 6.

 

Week 6 Streamers - Under 50% Owned

Vince Velasquez, PHI - 34% owned

Probable opponents: @ STL, @ KC

Velasquez is coming off his worst start of the season against one of the worst offenses in baseball in Detroit. He allowed three runs over 3 2/3 innings to earn his first loss of the season, but he continued to rack up the Ks as seven of the 11 outs he recorded came by way of strikeout. Prior to his outing against Detroit, Velasquez had gone at least five innings while allowing two or fewer runs over his first four starts, and he has now posted three consecutive starts with at least six strikeouts.

This week Velasquez will get a couple of road starts, beginning in St. Louis where the Cardinals have been averaging 4.3 runs per game with a .259 average over their last two series against Cincinnati and Washington. The Cardinals have been living off the singles though, as they own a .350 slugging percentage with only 14 of their 51 hits over the last two series going for extra bases. Meanwhile, Kansas City is hitting .242 with a .379 slugging percentage over their last two series against the Angels and Rays while averaging 4.8 runs per game.

The slate this week for Velasquez isn't ideal, but it's not a terrible schedule for him either. While they are fairly close, career splits show that Velasquez tends to pitch slightly better on the road. On top of that he should have a solid opportunity for strikeouts, as the Cardinals have averaged 8.3 strikeouts per game over their last two series while the Royals have averaged 7.2 per game. In a week that doesn't hold many great two-start streaming options, owners should consider rolling the dice on Velasquez.

Griffin Canning, LAA - 28% owned

Probable opponents: @ DET, @ BAL

I will fully admit that it might be a little too aggressive to have Canning on this list after he just made his major league debut this week. Prior to the start of the year, I didn't think there would be any way we'd see him up before the All-Star Break. All that being said, it's just too hard to pass up these starts against Detroit and Baltimore.

In his debut against Toronto, Canning allowed three runs over 4 1/3 innings while striking out six. That was against a Blue Jays squad that had gone 4-2 over the previous six games while averaging 4.5 runs and 8.8 strikeouts per game. Compare that to Detroit, which has gone 1-5 over their last six games while averaging 4.2 runs per game. Baltimore has also gone 1-5 over their last six games and they're averaging just 3.0 runs per game. Here's the kicker though: the Tigers and Orioles are striking out like crazy in that span. Detroit is averaging 12.3 strikeouts per game, while Baltimore is "only" averaging 10.3 per game.

I don't blame you if you're hesitant on going with a guy who hasn't even thrown five full innings in the majors. Canning could be the guy who wins the week for you, but he could also be the guy that blows up all of your numbers. You're not going to get much better of a slate for him though, and based on his 9.9 K/9 in the minors last year and his 9.6 K/9 over three starts at Triple-A this season, he's worth looking at as a high-risk, high-reward pitcher in Week 6.

 

Week 6 Streamers - Under 25% Owned

Jake Junis, KC - 11% owned

Probable opponents: @ HOU, vs PHI

Junis hasn't had a great season to date, but coming off back-to-back wins (albeit both coming against Tampa Bay) he could end up being a sneaky streaming option in Week 6. Junis has recorded at least six strikeouts in four of his seven starts this year, and he has thrown at least five innings in all but one of his outings. He'll start off the week in Houston, where the Astros have been in a bit of a slump over their last two series — hitting .222 while averaging 3.6 runs and 8.7 strikeouts per game. Junis will then take on the Phillies, who are averaging 5.0 runs per game over their last two series...against Miami and Detroit. Against some better pitching in New York and Colorado, the Phillies were averaging 3.0 runs and 9.9 strikeouts per game across those two series. 

Junis isn't going to put up amazing numbers this week, but he could provide just enough of a bump to make a difference in your team's final score. If Canning and Velasquez are already claimed in your league and you are a gambling man/woman, Junis could be a sneaky play this week.

Merrill Kelly, ARI - 11% owned

Probable opponents: @ TB, vs ATL

Kelly has been a little up-and-down this season, but overall he's been putting up good numbers. He's coming off back-to-back wins against the Yankees and the Pirates, and he has recorded at least five strikeouts in four of his last five outings. Now in Week 6 he's projected to start against Tampa Bay (nice) and Atlanta (not-so-nice). The Rays are hitting .213 while averaging 7.4 strikeouts per game over their last two series, but the Braves are hitting .260 while averaging 4.7 runs per game over their last two series. While that might be cause for some concern, it's worth pointing out that the Yankees are averaging 5.4 runs per game and hitting .287 over their last two series, and Kelly just held them to one run over 5 1/3 innings in his last start.

If you go with Kelly in Week 6, you're hoping his start against Atlanta will go similar to his outing against New York. Kelly shouldn't have too much trouble against Tampa Bay, and if things go well in Atlanta he could be a nice option in deeper leagues.

Felix Hernandez, SEA - 11% owned

Probable opponents: @ NYY, @ BOS

The ERA hasn't been great for Hernandez in 2019, but otherwise, he's been pitching fairly well. He's had four starts in a row with at least six innings pitched, and he's coming off back-to-back eight-strikeout performances. Now he'll be taking on the Yankees and the Red Sox this week. As I pointed out with Kelly, the Yankees have been heating up over their last two series, and the Red Sox have done the same by averaging 4.8 runs per game while hitting .252 in their last two series. So maybe I'm crazy but I actually think it's possible Hernandez could be a decent play this week. Small sample size obviously, but Hernandez's 8.3 K/9 this season is his highest mark since 2015. And along with that, Hernandez tends to pitch well against Boston and New York — both in 2018 as well as throughout his career. 

This might be the biggest stretch of a pick for this week's column. Even bigger than the guy who just made his major league debut this week. But I think Hernandez is the "home run swing" pick for Week 6— all or nothing. No guts, no glory. Hopefully, by this time next week, I'll be writing about how I made such a great pick in Hernandez. If not, well I guess I'll just razz on the Red Sox some more.

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Week 5 Starts & Sits - All Starting Pitcher Matchups

With roughly one month of the 2019 MLB season in the books, fantasy owners should have a sense of their team and needs relative to their leaguemates. Are you already way ahead or behind on projected innings in roto leagues or always losing strikeouts in your weekly H2H matchups? We here at RotoBaller set out to ease your decision-making with our weekly starting pitcher matchups and recommendations. In case you missed it, this is our sixth year now writing this weekly column, helping fantasy baseball managers pick the best pitchers weekly.

Below are the projected starting pitching matchups for Week 5, which will be updated as rotations are announced and tweaked. Injuries are claiming starters left and right, so this column will be continuously updated and adjusted for any postponements or rotation shuffles, reflecting official beat writer speculation for as many unconfirmed rotation slots as possible.

For every week of the fantasy baseball season, we look to analyze all of the projected starting pitcher matchups and put together our optimal lineups. Here at RotoBaller, we believe that it’s key to analyze every SP matchup, each and every week, to help determine which SPs to start/sit and identify some sneaky streams. Let's win some leagues!

 

SP Matchups & Start/Sit Recommendations

This weekly piece considers the pitcher’s opponents, their career stats against the opponent, some ballpark factors and historical splits. With all of this information, we then provide our start/sit recommendations for each starting pitcher matchup for the approaching week of fantasy baseball.

We'll now include a "Score" value that goes from 0-100, with 100 being a perfect start and zero being an easy sit. Setting 50 as the theoretical "Start/Sit" border, this should help you determine streamer candidates and read my confidence. This week introduces colors for the score values, as I really want the focus to be on those rather than the "Start" and "Sit" labels. Two-start pitchers have a gold background and are in italics. Now, time to jump to it!

This column was last updated on Saturday, May 4th, and will be updated daily as more rotations and starters are announced through May 5th.

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Two-Start Pitcher Streamers for Week 5

Happy Vlad Jr. Day everyone! The nationwide crisis is over and now is the time to analyze to death Guerrero's potential fantasy value. But not here. We're sticking to starting pitchers in this article.

So now for our weekly review of previous lists. Starting off with our Week 3 streamers...yeah that was kind of a bust. By far and away Mike Minor was the best pitcher in Week 3 with a seven-strikeout, complete-game shutout, but he ended up only making one start that week. Brandon Woodruff, Trevor Richards and Tyler Mahle all provided good strikeout value, but at the price of inflated ERAs. As for Week 4, Luke Weaver is leading the pack after earning the quality start and the win against the Pirates, allowing one run while striking out seven.  Sonny Gray also had a decent outing, striking out nine over 5 1/3 innings while allowing four runs.

With that being said, place your bets on when Guerrero will hit his first homer and then let's look at who to pick up for two starts in Week 5.

 

Week 5 Streamers - Under 50% Owned

Julio Teheran, ATL - 47% owned

Probable opponents: vs SDP, @ MIA

OK, yeah, Teheran's season line isn't very impressive with a 5.61 ERA and 1.636 WHIP over five starts. Neither is the fact he's allowed five or more runs in two of his last three starts. On the other hand, he has recorded six or more strikeouts in four of his five starts this year. And in Week 5 he'll be facing two of the worst offenses in the majors.

The Marlins' offense remains MIA (Ha, I'm so clever), averaging a league-worst 2.71 runs per game while their .215 team average is fourth-lowest in the majors. Meanwhile, San Diego's offense isn't faring much better, as they are averaging 3.36 runs per game (fourth-worst in the majors) with their .222 team average the fifth-worst mark in MLB. As if those weren't good enough signs for Teheran, the Padres and Marlins both rank among the top-five in the league in team strikeouts.

Outside of a couple bad outings, Teheran has been pretty solid this year. He's not going to get a much easier schedule than what he's projected for this week, so make sure you grab him in as many leagues as you can this week.

Jhoulys Chacin, MIL - 33% owned

Probable opponents: vs TBR, @ DET

The best way to look at Chacin in Week 5 is as the poor man's Teheran. Granted, four of his six starts this season have come against the Cardinals (No. 2 scoring offense) and the Dodgers (No. 4), and he did record a solid outing against the Reds (5 1/3 IP, 2 R, 6 K), but he hasn't been setting the world on fire in 2019. But this week he can provide some decent value in leagues where Teheran is already owned.

Tampa Bay is currently 15th in the league averaging 4.80 runs per game, and their .262 team average is tied for sixth-highest in the league. But the one thing they're doing better than hitting is striking out, as they are second in the majors with 251 strikeouts. If owners are willing to run with Chacin against the Rays, they should be rewarded with a nice start against the Detroit "Third-Worst Scoring Offense" Tigers. In their 23 games this season the Tigers have had only four games where they scored five or more runs, and they have record double-digit team strikeouts in almost half of their games.

Teheran is the guy to pick up this week, but if he's already owned then Chacin should be the next guy up to look at. Don't expect stellar numbers, but with his projected starts owners should be fairly confident in getting good-not-great numbers out of Chacin this week.

 

Week 5 Streamers - Under 25% Owned

Jeff Samardzija, SFG - 19% owned

Probable opponents: vs LAD, @ CIN

Kind of like Chacin, Samardzija has one nice start and one not so great start projected in Week 5. In Samardzija's case though, he faces an easier "bad" team and a tougher "good" team. The Dodgers are fourth in the majors with 5.54 runs per game  and third in the majors with an .831 team OPS. And while the Reds have a slightly higher scoring offense than the Tigers (3.48 runs per game), they are dead last in the majors with a .199 team average. 

In two of his last three starts, Samardzija has recorded seven strikeouts while posting a 2-1 record in that span. His start against the Dodgers will be good reason for owners to consider looking elsewhere, but that Cincinnati matchup looks promising. Consider Samardzija a high-risk, high-reward pitcher in Week 5.

Tanner Roark, CIN - 13% owned

Probable opponents: @ NYM, vs SFG

It's a shame Roark hasn't been getting better run support this season, because he's been a pretty decent pitcher. Roark has gone at least five innings in each of his last four starts while posting a 2.61 ERA over that span. He hasn't been putting up a ton of strikeouts (averaging 4.0 strikeouts per start), but he's been a solid low end streaming option. As is the running theme in this week's list, Roark has a promising start (vs San Francisco) and a troubling start (@ New York) in Week 5. The Mets are 10th in the league averaging 5.33 runs per game and ninth in the league with a .259 average, but they're also tied for eighth in the league with 227 team strikeouts. Meanwhile, the Giants are second worst in the majors in runs per game (3.12), average (.212) and OPS (.621).

If you're looking for someone that should keep your ERA reasonably low this week with the potential for decent strikeout value, Roark is your guy.

Adam Wainwright, STL - 9% owned

Probable opponents: @ WAS, @ CHC

If all else fails, owners can look to add Wainwright this week and see if he can continue his success against a couple of tougher matchups. Wainwright has recorded a quality start in three of his five outings this season while posting a 3.96 ERA with 22 strikeouts in 25 innings. In his two other starts however, Wainwright has failed to reach the fifth inning. He'll be facing two of the highest scoring offenses in baseball, but the Cubs and the Nationals have seen their scoring output drop in recent games. The Nationals have averaged 4.8 runs over their last five games, while the Cubs are averaging 4.2 runs and hitting .219 over their last five games.

It's possible Wainwright may be more risk than reward for most owners this week. But if you're in a quality starts league and you're willing to gamble against two potent offenses in the midst of a slump, Wainwright could provide just enough of a boost to give you the win in Week 5.

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Points Leagues Waiver Wire Pickups: Week 5

We march into Week 5 of the 2019 baseball season and vigilance of the waiver wire becomes increasingly important as we approach May. The impact of one awful or great game is starting to become less meaningful as players gradually approach steady state.

One luxury of Statcast data is the ability to compare actual with expected results. A key metric is the delta between weighted on-base average (wOBA) and expected weighted on-base average (xwOBA). Eventually, the numbers should be nearly identical. In 2018, the median variance for batters with over 500 plate appearances was just 0.002. In the early going, a wide difference could indicate initial results have been fluky, for better or worse.

Our points league waiver wire column will default to standard scoring and try to unearth three players under 50% ownership and three players under 25% ownership. For each group, we’ll identify an infielder, outfielder and pitcher. Let’s get hunting!

 

Points League Pickups to Consider

Niko Goodrum (1B/2B/3B/SS/OF, DET)

45% Owned

Based on his numbers last year (16 homers, 12 steals) and position eligibility alone, Niko Goodrum should be considered in any fantasy format. He’s off to a solid start in his first season as a full-time player and the results have been encouraging, slashing .247/.371/.438 with a pair of dingers and three stolen bags.

Goodrum’s xwOBA of .415 is a gap of -.062 against his wOBA (.353), with Statcast suggesting his average should be hovering closer to .300. He’s demonstrated the pop and speed are durable after 500 combined plate appearances between 2018 and 2019 while his walks are up (0.71 BB/K). Plus, he’s already contributed eight doubles. Goodrum fits anywhere on a fantasy lineup and is entrenched at cleanup on the Tigers. With a chance to test a 20/20 season, he should easily be owned in more than half of leagues.

 

Kendrys Morales (1B, OAK)

2% Owned

Using Goodrum’s xwOBA and wOBA variance as a baseline, the -.121 difference between Kendrys Morales’ metrics is a chasm. Morales currently owns the largest margin between actual and expected results, giving the veteran slugger plenty of forward-looking appeal in deeper leagues.

In 13 career seasons, Morales has surpassed 100 games seven times, cranking at least 20 jacks in each campaign. Morales has only one homer this season despite a crushing 54% hard-hit rate. If he continues pummeling the ball, the .204 BABIP is sure to creep closer to his .292 career norm. Throw in an excellent 0.90 BB/K rate, Morales is a bargain as a part-time fantasy asset with a reliable resume.

 

Harrison Bader (OF, STL)

33% Owned

Harrison Bader generated some offseason sleeper buzz, but his ownership has dipped after missing almost two weeks with an injured hamstring. Bader was activated from the IL on April 24 and will attempt to close the discrepancy between his .308 wOBA and .376 xwOBA.

It’s possible Bader fails to start every day due to his struggles with right-handers (.653 OPS), but his strong defense will likely allot him considerable opportunities. Bader smacked 12 homers and swiped 15 bags last season in 427 plate appearances and if he can raise his launch angle from a putrid 2.8 degrees to last year’s 12.5, the slugging numbers should follow. With his speed, Bader could be a doubles and triples machine now with healthy legs, enhancing his points league appeal.

 

Avisail Garcia (OF, TB)

16% Owned

Despite seasons with 18 and 19 home runs over the past two years, Avisail Garcia continues being an underrated power source for fantasy squads and deep leagues. Garcia has already gone yard four times this season and prevailing healthy trends in exit velocity and launch angle support a .360 xwOBA.

Through 91 plate appearances, Garcia is barreling a ridiculous 21% of balls which have translated into the aforementioned long balls and nine total extra-base hits. He’s batted between fourth and sixth in the order so should have sustained chances for run production. The knock on Garcia is his concerning strikeout rates (30%) but an uptick in walks from 5% to 7% should partially insulate that detraction. Extrapolated over a full season, Garcia has a legitimate shot at clearing the fence 25 times while racking up an additional 30 doubles, triples and 160 runs-plus-RBI.

 

Tyler Skaggs (SP, LAA)

36% Owned

The start of Tyler Skaggs’ season was delayed after just three starts with a sprained ankle. Returning this weekend, Skaggs will look to lower his wOBA of .367 closer to the more respectable xwOBA clip of .301. While Skaggs won’t blow batters away with a low-90s fastball, he’s succeeded throughout his career with a three-pitch mix highlighted by a killer curveball (8.1 wCH/C this season).

While no whiff artist, Skaggs holds a passable 9% SwStr% and a strikeout rate around 23%. He’s always demonstrated great control and has only issued two free passes in 15 innings for a 3% walk rate and 7.0 K/BB. If he handles the Royals on April 26 as this is being published, expect the ownership levels to spike.

 

Jerad Eickhoff (SP, PHI)

21% Owned

The key beneficiary of Nick Pivetta’s faceplant was Jerad Eickhoff, who assumed the starting position availed by Pivetta’s early-season implosion. He performed serviceably in his first start in challenging Coors Field, allowing four earned runs in six innings with eight strikeouts.

Eickhoff is no spring chicken at 28 years old, but he missed almost all of 2018 with a lingering lat injury. Having barely scratched 15 innings since his return last September, it’s fair to worry about his track record. The limited data supports promising metrics, with Eickhoff’s 2019 results suggesting paltry expected stats of .134 (average), .201 (slugging) and xwOBA (.198). Although he’ll likely have some innings limitations to work around, a 13% swinging strike rate always deserves fantasy attention.

Update: Eickhoff cruised past the Marlins on April 27, firing seven innings of scoreless ball, allowing just a hit, walk while striking out six. to pick up the victory.

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Head-to-Head Hitter Streamers & Starts for Week 5

Welcome to the hitting streamers column for the week of 4/29 - 5/5. Whether you're looking to maximize the number of games played, exploit favorable matchups, or fill in for injured players, streaming hitters can be a fruitful strategy for those willing to put in a little work every week.

Keep in mind that this column highlights players owned in approximately 50% or fewer of Yahoo leagues who could present nice streaming options for the upcoming week. This applies to any league but specifically is geared toward head-to-head weekly leagues where matchups are more critical.

If the following names aren't available, don't hesitate to check our famous waiver wire pickups list to find some appealing alternatives. Let's get to it.

 

Bats to Stream and Start in Week 5

Seven-Game Weeks: Atlanta Braves, Boston Red Sox, Chicago White Sox, Cincinnati Reds, Colorado Rockies, Kansas City Royals, Milwaukee Brewers, Minnesota Twins, New York Mets, San Diego Padres, St. Louis Cardinals, Tampa Bay Rays, Washington Nationals

 

Streamer of the Week

Jeff McNeil (2B/3B/OF, NYM) – 50% Owned

McNeil has been on a tear throughout the first month, owning a .363/.440/.488 triple slash in his first 91 PA. The return of Todd Frazier hasn’t affected McNeil’s playing time thus far, as McNeil has gotten playing time at second base and left field over the past few days. The Mets have shown willingness to shift Brandon Nimmo to centerfield and bench Juan Lagares, and they could outright bench Nimmo for McNeil considering how bad Nimmo has been this year. Regardless of how things shake out for the other Mets players, McNeil is going to play and could be in for a big week.

The Mets have seven games, four against Cincinnati and three in Milwaukee. Luis Castillo is the only tough pitcher the Mets face all week. They also get a big ballpark upgrade later in the week in Milwaukee. McNeil doesn’t have much power, but he has a 10% strikeout rate and 82% contact rate this season. That’s a recipe for lots of hits, runs, and RBI over a seven-game week. Between his high contact rate and multi-position eligibility, McNeil is the stream target of the week.

 

Behind the Plate

Welington Castillo (C, CWS) – 39% Owned

Castillo has been a consistent streaming choice for me over the past few weeks, and while it hasn’t fully worked out yet, Castillo is someone I’m willing to roll out there again this week for a couple of reasons. First, there aren’t many good free agent options at catcher, to begin with. Second, Castillo has a good track record of above-average hitting for a catcher. Third, he usually hits fifth or sixth in the order. And fourth, the White Sox have faced a lot of bad pitching and have been playing in hitter-friendly ballparks over the past few weeks. That’s true again this week, as the South Siders get seven home games, three against Baltimore and four against Boston. Castillo should play in at least four of those games and could play in more if the White Sox DH him. Even though he’s hitting just .178 this year, Castillo is still one of the better streaming options available at catcher.

Christian Vazquez (C, BOS) – 11% Owned

With Blake Swihart out of the picture, Vazquez should get the majority of playing time behind the plate for Boston. He’s hitting just .225 this season but has four home runs and a 90.2 MPH average exit velocity. Boston also has seven games this week, meaning Vazquez should be in line for 4-5 starts this week. Those games come against some weak pitching, as the Red Sox face Oakland three times at home and play four in Chicago against the White Sox. There isn’t a quality arm on the opposing schedule this week for Vazquez, making him a good deeper league option.

Also Consider: Tony Wolters (C, COL) - 1% Owned

 

At the Corners

Hunter Dozier (1B/3B, KC) – 51% Owned

It’s hard to believe that Dozier is just 51% owned after his power surge, but perhaps his recent back injury has scared owners away. Assuming he’s healthy by next week, Dozier is one of the best power streaming options out there. He’s got seven home runs and a .352 ISO through 86 PA, and the numbers back up his hot start. He’s got a 93.8 MPH average exit velocity along with a 17-degree average launch angle and .628 xSLG. What’s most encouraging is his 19.8% strikeout rate, as strikeouts have been the biggest hindrance to Dozier’s success throughout his career. Kansas City gets Tampa Bay four times at home this week and then travels to Detroit for three over the weekend. The matchups aren’t exactly easy, as he has to face the Tampa trio of Blake Snell, Charlie Morton, and Tyler Glasnow, but Dozier’s been good enough that he’s trustworthy even against starters of that caliber.

Mitch Moreland (1B, BOS) – 20% Owned

We’ve already been over the weak pitching Boston faces this week, but the matchups are especially good for Moreland, since Boston is slated to take on seven right-handed starters. Moreland has a .953 OPS and .393 ISO against right-handed pitching this season, and he hits third between Mookie Betts and J.D. Martinez when Boston faces a righty. This is about as good as it gets for a player like Moreland, and he’s a great sneaky add for this upcoming week.

Yandy Diaz (1B/3B, TB) – 52% Owned

Personally, I’ve been reluctant to buy Diaz as a legitimate breakout. For the last two seasons, the narrative on Diaz has been launch angle. He absolutely pulverizes the ball, and if he could just elevate it better, he’d be a superstar. Well, he has a .265 ISO and six home runs in 101 PA thus far, so clearly he’s elevating the ball more, right? Nope. Diaz’s 3.2-degree average launch angle is lower than his average launch angle from a year ago. He also has a 56.7% groundball rate, which is about his career average. There is also a near 150 point difference between his SLG (.542) and xSLG (.396). Why, then, am I recommending Diaz after completely under-cutting his early season performance? Volume. The Rays get seven games this week, and Diaz plays and hits near the top of the lineup every day. He still has good plate discipline with a 0.79 BB/K ratio, and he still crushes the ball with a 90.6 MPH average exit velocity. He should be good from a volume perspective, and we can hope his 30% HR/FB rate hangs on for one more week.

Also Consider: Ji-Man Choi (1B, TB) – 5% Owned, Eric Thames (1B/OF, MIL) – 4% Owned, Todd Frazier (3B, NYM) – 2% Owned, Ryan O’Hearn (1B, KC) – 3% Owned, Michael Chavis (3B, BOS) – 11% Owned

 

Up the Middle

Ryan McMahon (1B/2B/3B, COL) – 45% Owned

Any time the Rockies have a seven-game week it’s easy to get excited. While only three of their games are at Coors Field, they do play four in Milwaukee as well, so it’ll be hitter-friendly ballparks for McMahon all week. Colorado is also only slated to face one lefty this week, Robbie Ray, meaning McMahon should be in the lineup for six or possibly all seven games. The results haven’t fully been there for McMahon yet, but he’s shown excellent plate skills thus far with a 0.67 BB/K ratio in 60 PA. Everything is in place for him to succeed this week, and beyond streaming him, this could be the last chance to grab McMahon before he pops.

Brian Dozier (2B, WSH) – 51% Owned

Dozier got mass dropped after a rough start to the season, but he’s hit three home runs over the past week, which is hopefully indicative of a turnaround. Those familiar with Dozier know his hot streaks, as well as his cold streaks, can be the stuff of legend. Truth be told, the peripherals are pretty ugly with Dozier. He has a 53% groundball rate compared to an 8% line drive rate, his strikeout rate has risen to 28%, and his .210 xBA is the exact mark as 2018. So, why should we trust him as a streamer? His recent performance and strong track record are signs for hope, and Washington has a seven-game week ahead, including three games in hitter-friendly Philadelphia. Dozier is a high-risk, high-reward option at second this week, and for some owners, it’ll be worth throwing this dart.

Also Consider: Carter Kieboom (SS, WSH) – 20% Owned, Daniel Robertson (2B/3B/SS, TB) – 1% Owned

 

In the Outfield

Kevin Kiermaier (OF, TB) – 25% Owned

It’s rare to get a player with a decent power-speed combo as a streamer, but Kiermaier offers that very skill set and has a nice week ahead of him. The Rays start things off with four games in Kansas City, and then get three in Baltimore to finish the week. The strongest starter Kiermaier would face is Brad Keller, and the Rays only draw one lefty over the next week. Kiermaier has solid pop with a .214 ISO, and is in the 97th percentile for sprint speed, so he could be a good all-around contributor in categories leagues.

Jose Martinez (1B/OF, STL) – 41% Owned
Dexter Fowler (OF, STL) – 4% Owned

I’ve lumped these two together because who to stream depends on how the Cardinals use the pair over the weekend. With Harrison Bader off the IL, they can’t play both Martinez and Fowler every day. Fantasy owners would prefer Martinez, as he’s proven more capable with the bat over the past few years, but Martinez is an absolute butcher in the outfield. He’s already been worth -3 DRS in just 101 innings in the field. It would be nice if the Cardinals overlooked that, since Martinez has a .329 xBA and 24% line drive rate this year, but that’s no guarantee to happen. If Martinez gets the majority of starts over the next few days he’s definitely worth streaming this week.

Fowler wouldn’t be a bad streaming option in deeper leagues should the playing time go to him. Sure, he’s a boring overpaid veteran that blocks younger, superior talent thanks to his albatross contract and good clubhouse presence, but he’s slashing .310/.395/.423 on the year. He still has good plate discipline and would be best used in points or OBP formats. For a player owned in fewer than 5% of leagues, Fowler could provide a decent batting average and runs scored in 5x5 leagues as well.

Also Consider: Brandon Nimmo (OF, NYM) – 45% Owned, Jorge Soler (OF, KC) – 19% Owned, Avisail Garcia (OF, TB) – 16% Owned, Leury Garcia (MI/OF, CWS) – 8% Owned

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Week 4 Starts & Sits - All Starting Pitcher Matchups

We're now in "late April" and can start to talk ourselves into hot or cold starts being for real, including the juicy baseballs that are destroying pitchers! Welcome back everyone to our starts/sits column for Week 4. We here at RotoBaller set out to ease your decision-making with our weekly starting pitcher matchups and recommendations. In case you missed it, this is our sixth year now writing this weekly column, helping fantasy baseball managers pick the best pitchers weekly.

Below are the projected starting pitching matchups for Week 4, which will be updated as rotations are announced and tweaked. Injuries are claiming starters left and right, so this column will be continuously updated and adjusted for any postponements or rotation shuffles, reflecting official beat writer speculation for as many unconfirmed rotation slots as possible.

For every week of the fantasy baseball season, we look to analyze all of the projected starting pitcher matchups and put together our optimal lineups. Here at RotoBaller, we believe that it’s key to analyze every SP matchup, each and every week, to help determine which SPs to start/sit and identify some sneaky streams. Let's win some leagues!

 

SP Matchups & Start/Sit Recommendations

This weekly piece considers the pitcher’s opponents, their career stats against the opponent, some ballpark factors and historical splits. With all of this information, we then provide our start/sit recommendations for each starting pitcher matchup for the approaching week of fantasy baseball.

We'll now include a "Score" value that goes from 0-100, with 100 being a perfect start and zero being an easy sit. Setting 50 as the "Start/Sit" border, this should help you determine streamer candidates and add necessary context. Also, I've added a two-start pitcher table at the end that combines scores for you, with 100 being the general threshold (if 50 is for one start, 100 is for two). Individual games are listed in case one great and one poor matchup requires attention. We're also working on a spreadsheet that will show historical accuracy that will eventually be linked at the end of the article. Now, time to dive in!

 

This column was last updated on Saturday, April 27th, and will be updated daily as more rotations and starters are announced through April 28th.

PROBABLE PITCHERS - MONDAY (4/22/19)
GAME VISITING STARTER START/SIT SCORE HOME STARTER START/SIT SCORE
ARI@PIT Zack Godley | ARI SIT 47 Joe Musgrove | PIT START 52
CHW@BAL Manny Banuelos | CHW SIT 44 David Hess | BAL SIT 40
DET@BOS (PPD, 4/23) Matthew Boyd | DET START 51 Chris Sale | BOS START 60
KC@TB Brad Keller | KC SIT 46 Yonny Chirinos | TB START 50
MIL@STL Adrian Houser | MIL SIT 38 Jack Flaherty | STL START 52
MIN@HOU Jake Odorizzi | MIN SIT 43 Brad Peacock | HOU START 50
NYY@LAA J.A. Happ | NYY SIT 48 Matt Harvey | LAA SIT 42
PHI@NYM Jake Arrieta | PHI START 52 Steven Matz | NYM SIT 49
TEX@OAK Mike Minor | TEX START 52 Chris Bassitt | OAK SIT 44
WAS@COL Jeremy Hellickson | WAS SIT 36 Tyler Anderson | COL SIT 44
PROBABLE PITCHERS - TUESDAY (4/23/19)
GAME VISITING STARTER START/SIT SCORE HOME STARTER START/SIT SCORE
ARI@PIT Luke Weaver | ARI START 53 Trevor Williams | PIT START 54
ATL@CIN Kevin Gausman | ATL START 53 Sonny Gray | CIN SIT 49
CHW@BAL Ivan Nova | CHW SIT 46 Andrew Cashner | BAL SIT 43
DET@BOS Spencer Turnbull | DET SIT 46 Hector Velazquez | BOS SIT 44
KC@TB Homer Bailey | KC SIT 41 Ryne Stanek | TB SIT (Opener) 32
LAD@CHC Kenta Maeda | LAD START 54 Jose Quintana | CHC START 51
MIA@CLE Pablo Lopez | MIA START 53 Carlos Carrasco | CLE START 64
MIL@STL Zach Davies | MIL SIT 45 Daniel Poncedeleon | STL SIT 43
MIN@HOU Michael Pineda | MIN SIT 45 Wade Miley | HOU SIT 48
NYY@LAA Domingo German | NYY START 53 Chris Stratton | LAA SIT 43
PHI@NYM Zach Eflin | PHI START 53 Zack Wheeler | NYM START 52
SEA@SD Erik Swanson | SEA SIT 48 Nick Margevicius | SD SIT 45
SF@TOR Jeff Samardzija | SF START 51 Trent Thornton | TOR START 53
TEX@OAK Lance Lynn | TEX SIT 45 Frankie Montas | OAK START 53
WAS@COL Patrick Corbin | WAS START 55 Jeff Hoffman | COL SIT 45
PROBABLE PITCHERS - WEDNESDAY (4/24/19)
GAME VISITING STARTER START/SIT SCORE HOME STARTER START/SIT SCORE
ARI@PIT Merrill Kelly | ARI START 51 Jordan Lyles | PIT START 52
ATL@CIN Mike Soroka | ATL START 53 Tanner Roark | CIN SIT 46
CHW@BAL Ervin Santana | CHW SIT 48 John Means | BAL SIT 45
DET@BOS Tyson Ross | DET SIT 44 Eduardo Rodriguez | BOS START 54
KC@TB Jake Junis | KC SIT 46 Blake Snell | TB START 65
LAD@CHC Walker Buehler | LAD START 65 Cole Hamels | CHC START 52
MIA@CLE Sandy Alcantara | MIA START 52 Jefry Rodriguez | CLE SIT 45
MIL@STL Jhoulys Chacin | MIL SIT 48 Adam Wainwright | STL SIT 47
MIN@HOU Kohl Stewart | MIN SIT 33 Justin Verlander | HOU START 67
NYY@LAA CC Sabathia | NYY START 50 Felix Pena | LAA SIT 47
PHI@NYM Vince Velasquez | PHI SIT 49 Jason Vargas | NYM SIT 34
SEA@SD Felix Hernandez | SEA SIT 42 Chris Paddack | SD START 51
SF@TOR Drew Pomeranz | SF SIT 47 Clay Buchholz | TOR START 52
TEX@OAK Bullpen Game | TEX SIT N/A Aaron Brooks | OAK SIT 47
WAS@COL Anibal Sanchez | WAS SIT 45 German Marquez | COL START 52
PROBABLE PITCHERS - THURSDAY (4/25/19)
GAME VISITING STARTER START/SIT SCORE HOME STARTER START/SIT SCORE
ARI@PIT Zack Greinke | ARI START 64 Jameson Taillon | PIT START 55
ATL@CIN Julio Teheran | ATL START 51 Luis Castillo | CIN START 57
CLE@HOU Trevor Bauer | CLE START 64 Gerrit Cole | HOU START 68
DET@BOS Jordan Zimmermann | DET SIT 43 Rick Porcello | BOS START 51
LAD@CHC Ross Stripling | LAD START 51 Jon Lester | CHC SIT 48
MIA@PHI Caleb Smith | MIA START 52 Aaron Nola | PHI START 64
NYY@LAA Masahiro Tanaka | NYY START 56 Trevor Cahill | LAA SIT 48
TEX@SEA Taylor Hearn | TEX SIT 39 Marco Gonzales | SEA START 52
PROBABLE PITCHERS - FRIDAY (4/26/19)
GAME VISITING STARTER START/SIT SCORE HOME STARTER START/SIT SCORE
BAL@MIN Alex Cobb | BAL SIT 42 Martin Perez | MIN SIT 47
CHC@ARI Kyle Hendricks | CHC START 51 Robbie Ray | ARI START 51
CIN@STL Anthony DeSclafani | CIN SIT 48 Miles Mikolas | STL START 51
CLE@HOU Corey Kluber | CLE START 53 Collin McHugh | HOU START 58
COL@ATL Antonio Senzatela | COL SIT 45 Max Fried | ATL START 55
DET@CHW Daniel Norris | DET SIT 46 Carlos Rodon | CHW START 54
LAA@KC Tyler Skaggs | LAA SIT 49 Danny Duffy | KC SIT 46
MIA@PHI Jose Urena | MIA SIT 42 Jerad Eickhoff | PHI START 50
MIL@NYM Chase Anderson | MIL START 50 Jacob deGrom | NYM START 64
NYY@SF James Paxton | NYY START 69 Madison Bumgarner | SF START 58
OAK@TOR Mike Fiers | OAK START 52 Marcus Stroman | TOR SIT 48
PIT@LAD Chris Archer | PIT START 51 Hyun-Jin Ryu | LAD START 54
SD@WAS Matt Strahm | SD START 51 Max Scherzer | WAS START 65
TB@BOS PPD PPD N/A PPD PPD N/A
TEX@SEA Shelby Miller | TEX SIT 36 Yusei Kikuchi | SEA START 51
PROBABLE PITCHERS - SATURDAY (4/27/19)
GAME VISITING STARTER START/SIT SCORE HOME STARTER START/SIT SCORE
BAL@MIN Dan Straily | BAL SIT 44 Jose Berrios | MIN START 67
CHC@ARI Yu Darvish | CHC START 50 Zack Godley | ARI SIT 46
CIN@STL Tyler Mahle | CIN SIT 48 Dakota Hudson | STL SIT 44
CLE@HOU Shane Bieber | CLE SIT 49 Brad Peacock | HOU START 52
COL@ATL Jon Gray | COL START 52 Mike Foltynewicz| ATL SIT 48
DET@CHW PPD PPD N/A PPD PPD N/A
LAA@KC Jaime Barria | LAA SIT 47 Jorge Lopez | KC START 50
MIA@PHI Trevor Richards | MIA SIT 48 Jake Arrieta | PHI START 54
MIL@NYM Brandon Woodruff | MIL START 51 Noah Syndergaard | NYM START 55
NYY@SF J.A. Happ | NYY START 52 Derek Holland | SF START 53
OAK@TOR Brett Anderson | OAK START 50 Aaron Sanchez | TOR SIT 48
PIT@LAD Joe Musgrove | PIT START 53 Clayton Kershaw | LAD START 67
SD@WAS Eric Lauer | SD SIT 44 Stephen Strasburg | WAS START 64
TB@BOS Charlie Morton | TB START 54 David Price | BOS START 53
TEX@SEA Mike Minor | TEX SIT 48 Mike Leake | SEA SIT 47
PROBABLE PITCHERS - SUNDAY (4/28/19)
GAME VISITING STARTER START/SIT SCORE HOME STARTER START/SIT SCORE
BAL@MIN Dylan Bundy | BAL SIT 40 Kyle Gibson | MIN SIT 49
CHC@ARI Jose Quintana | CHC START 55 Luke Weaver | ARI START 53
CIN@STL Sonny Gray | CIN START 51 Jack Flaherty | STL START 53
CLE@HOU Carlos Carrasco | CLE START 55 Wade Miley | HOU START 52
COL@ATL Tyler Anderson | COL SIT 43 Kevin Gausman | ATL START 54
DET@CHW Matthew Boyd | DET START 56 Reynaldo Lopez | CHW SIT 47
LAA@KC Matt Harvey | LAA SIT 44 Homer Bailey | KC SIT 43
MIA@PHI Pablo Lopez | MIA SIT 49 Zach Eflin | PHI START 54
MIL@NYM Gio Gonzalez | MIL SIT 46 Steven Matz | NYM SIT 48
NYY@SF Domingo German | NYY START 65 Dereck Rodriguez | SF START 51
OAK@TOR Chris Bassitt | OAK SIT 43 Trent Thornton | TOR SIT 47
PIT@LAD Trevor Williams | PIT START 50 Rich Hill | LAD START 54
SD@WAS Joey Lucchesi | SD SIT 49 Jeremy Hellickson | WAS SIT 47
TB@BOS Tyler Glasnow | TB START 57 Chris Sale | BOS START 57
TEX@SEA Lance Lynn | TEX SIT 43 Erik Swanson | SEA SIT 48

 

Two-Start Pitcher Ranking for Week 4

PITCHER MATCHUPS TOTAL SCORE
Carlos Carrasco | CLE MIA (66), @HOU (55) 121
Domingo German | NYY @LAA (54), @SF (65) 119
Chris Sale | BOS DET (61), TB (56) 117
(Maeda removed) -- --
Matthew Boyd | DET @BOS (51), @CHW (58) 109
Joe Musgrove | PIT ARI (55), @LAD (53) 108
Kevin Gausman | ATL @CIN (54), COL (54) 108
Jake Arrieta | PHI @NYM (53), MIA (54) 107
Luke Weaver | ARI @PIT (54), CHC (53) 107
Zach Eflin | PHI @NYM (53), MIA (54) 107
Trevor Williams | PIT ARI (55), @LAD (51) 106
Brad Peacock | HOU MIN (51), CLE (55) 106
Jack Flaherty | STL MIL (52), CIN (53) 105
Jose Quintana | CHC LAD (50), @ARI (55) 105
(Skaggs removed) -- --
J.A. Happ | NYY @LAA (48), @SF (52) 100
Mike Minor | TEX @OAK (52), @HOU (48) 100
Wade Miley | HOU MIN (48), CLE (52) 100
Pablo Lopez | MIA @CLE (53), @PHI (47) 100
Sonny Gray | CIN ATL (49), @STL (51) 100
Brad Keller | KC LAA (52), @TB (46) 98
Steven Matz | NYM PHI (49), MIL (48) 97
Spencer Turnbull | DET @CHW (50), @BOS (45) 95
Zack Godley | ARI @PIT (45), CHC (48) 93
Erik Swanson | SEA @SD (45), TEX (48) 93
Lance Lynn | TEX @OAK (45), @SEA (43) 88
Chris Bassitt | OAK TEX (44), @TOR (42) 86
Matt Harvey | LAA NYY (42), KC (43) 85
Jeremy Hellickson | WAS @COL (36), SD (47) 83
(Hess removed) -- --

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Points Leagues Waiver Wire Pickups - Week 4

It’s Week 4 of RotoBaller’s points league waiver wire extravaganza and we’re back after a one-week hiatus to discuss the thrills of fantasy free agency.

If your teams are scuffling in the cellar after the opening weeks, it’s turnover time. By now the bottom of any squad is subject to intense scrutiny and available players at equal or higher value are certainly eager for deployment.

Our points league waiver wire column will default to standard scoring and try to unearth three players under 50% ownership and three players under 25% ownership. For each group, we’ll identify an infielder, outfielder and pitcher. Let’s get hunting!

 

Points League Pickups to Consider

Jorge Polanco (SS, MIN) – 39% Owned

A few surprises like Tim Anderson and Paul DeJong have found themselves in the top-15 shortstops this season. While Jorge Polanco hasn’t been as good, the ownership is well-below his upstart counterparts. Polanco’s gotten off to a sizzling .400/.464/.717 slash with three dingers and 16 runs-plus-RBI. Having sat just one game so far, Polanco is entrenched as the Twins number two hitter.

Polanco faded into anonymity after a PED suspension last season, but he’s still just 25 years old and has always demonstrated strong plate discipline. While his current pace isn’t sustainable, his barrel rates are up four times from his career average. An xwOBA of .424 will do just fine. Polanco is dependable for walks, minimal strikeouts and the uptick in launch angle and exit velocity should do wonders for his fantasy value if they prove durable.

Yonder Alonso (1B, CHW) – 16% Owned

While a different Alonso has taken the fantasy community by storm, Yonder Alonso has wallowed in obscurity. With just a .717 OPS to start the season, that’s deserved. But while Alonso has only 12 knocks this season, three have cleared the fence. Currently taking more walks (12) than strikeouts (11), a forthcoming power surge would make him a coveted points league asset.

As a predominant pull hitter, his low ground ball tendencies (70% fly ball and line drive rate) support his slugging abilities. Alonso has cranked over 20 homers in two straight years in limited duty and he’s currently mashing the ball at a career-high clip. The White Sox offense has been a positive development this season, and Alonso is positioned to benefit as a key run producer in the cleanup slot.

Shin-Soo Choo (OF, TEX) – 38% Owned

It’s taken four weeks, but the annual “Shin-soo Cho is underrated rant” has arrived. The 36-year-old has started his 15th major league campaign with 10 extra-base hits and a 1.046 OPS. Choo’s picked up the pace this past week, batting an even .500 since April 15.

Aside from two injury-plagued seasons, Choo has quietly recorded double-digit homers in every season since he became a full-time player in 2008. Over the past two seasons in Arlington, Choo has tallied 95 extra-base hits including 43 long balls. He’s also chipped in 18 steals at an efficient 82% success rate. Choo’s peripheral stats suggests his hot start will cool, but he should remain a dependable rotation outfielder who can get on base and has always pummeled right-handed pitching (.888 career OPS).

Dwight Smith (OF, BAL) – 16% Owned

With just 104 big league plate appearances to his credit prior to 2019, Dwight Smith has been a pleasant surprise for the Orioles, slashing .276/.317/.474 with three homers, three steals and 25 R+RBI in the early going. Consistently batting third, Smith holds intriguing run production potential along with some power-speed potential.

Buried in Toronto’s farm system, Smith’s trade to Baltimore in spring training paved his path to plate appearances. In seven minor league seasons, Smith smacked 59 homers and swiped 74 bags. Last season at Triple-A, he registered a serviceable .771 OPS and 0.83 BB/K. While the plate discipline hasn’t ported over to the majors and his .289 xwOBA suggests his current performance is a façade, Smith has demonstrated adequate hitting chops in the minors and cut down on strikeouts materially enough (36% to 15%) to merit some deep-league consideration.

Sonny Gray (SP, CIN) – 46% Owned

I thought I swore off Sonny Gray after touting him to disastrous repercussions last season, but we’re back to chasing that silver unicorn. Gray is off to a tremendous start, posting a 2.79 ERA, 0.93 WHIP and 10.2 K/9 in four starts. Encouragingly, his 2.59 FIP tells us something could be finally going right for the 29-year-old hurler.

Gray’s success could be credited to a slider this season that’s transformed from average to excellent. His wSL/C of 4.36 has favorably impacted his arsenal and generated more ground balls and a 29% strikeout rate. While his xwOBA (.271) sits over 50 points higher than his current wOBA, it remains materially below the .321 mark from 2018. While his track record makes him difficult to trust, Gray is back in the fantasy discussion and approved for use on April 23 against the Atlanta Braves.

Luke Weaver (SP, ARI) – 25% Owned

After a couple years in flux, Luke Weaver appears to have settled into a secure starter role in Arizona. He’s rewarded the club with a 3.92 ERA (2.91 FIP), 1.21 WHIP and 10.5 K/9 in four starts. With an attractive matchup upcoming on April 23 against the Pittsburgh Pirates, he’s firmly in the streamer conversation.

So far in 2019, Weaver has leaned on a cutter with a normalized pitch value of 4.04. Paired with a solid changeup, Weaver has upped his swinging strikes to 10%. On the Statcast side of the coin, his actual and expected numbers are currently inline, pointing towards season-long sustainability. Once a first-round pick and still only 25-years-old, Weaver might be making the case for a long-term home in Arizona and on fantasy rosters.

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Two-Start Pitcher Streamers for Week 4

We're four weeks into the season and the search for good pitching in Boston continues. Being a White Sox fan, I know I don't have much room to speak about bad pitching, but you have to look at the silver linings every now and then. Silver linings like how Chicago only has the fourth-worst ERA in the league compared to Boston's second-worst ranking.

Now that I have cemented my persona non grata status within the state of Massachusetts, let's look at how a couple of last week's two-start pitchers have done so far. Brandon Woodruff had a solid outing this week, allowing just two runs and falling one out short of a quality start. He did, however, earn the win while striking out six. Mike Minor put together a seven-strikeout, complete-game shutout against the Angels, but his start came one day later than expected and he wound up being a one-start pitcher for Week 3. Looking back at the final outcome of Week 2's list, the best performances came from Carlos Rodon (1-1, six earned runs, 14 strikeouts) and Derek Holland (1-1, five earned runs, 15 strikeouts).

Now that we've recapped the last two weeks, let's start getting ready for Week 4.

 

Week 4 Streamers - Under 50% Owned

Sonny Gray, CIN - 45% owned

Probable opponents: vs ATL, @ STL

Let's get one thing straight about Gray right off the bat: he has had some awful luck to start this season. Gray is 0-3 right now despite owning a 2.79 ERA, 0.931 WHIP and a 10.2 K/9. The most earned runs that Gray has allowed in a start so far is three — that coming in his most recent start against the Dodgers. You want to know how much run support Gray has gotten? Zero. Technically the Reds scored once while he was still in the game, but he was already out after taking a hit to his leg in the top of the inning, he just hadn't been officially replaced on the mound yet. Nitpicking aside, Gray has been pitching well this year and shouldn't be 0-3.

One can argue that Gray has been doing well against poor offenses, which is somewhat true. Gray has made two starts against Pittsburgh (3.69 runs per game, .235 team average) and one start against Miami (MLB-worst 2.53 runs per game, .216 team average). Now Gray will be facing Atlanta and St. Louis this week — the ninth and tenth-highest scoring teams in the majors. What should give owners some confidence in Gray this week is his last outing against the Dodgers. Los Angeles is second in the league averaging 6.1 runs per game while leading MLB with a .277 team average. Pitching against the Dodgers on Wednesday, Gray recorded a quality start with three runs allowed over six innings while striking out a season-high nine. Gray took the loss though because — once again — the Reds were unable to score while he was on the mound.

Atlanta poses a difficult match-up for Gray, but he could provide some nice value with his start against St. Louis as the Cardinals currently are tied for sixth-most batting strikeouts in the league with 174. Gray should be a nice streaming option in most leagues for Week 4, with a boost in his value in leagues that count quality starts instead of wins.

Mike Minor, TEX - 42% owned

Probable opponents: @ OAK, @ SEA

Let's try this again. Last week Minor made this list with what looked like a couple of good starts projected for him. Well he definitely delivered against the Angels, but that start came a day later than originally projected so owners only got the benefit of one outing from him. Whoops. Cut to one week later, and his ownership has jumped from 13 percent to 42 percent and he is back on this list. Over his last three starts, Minor has posted a minuscule 0.78 ERA with a 22.6 percent strikeout rate while opponents are batting just .167 against him.

One of the points in favor of Minor last week was that both of his starts would have been at home, with last year's splits showing he pitched better at home than on the road. This week Minor gets two road starts, including a start against current MLB-leader Seattle which has averaged 6.29 runs per game this season. Despite that, owners should still look to pick up Minor. Oakland will most likely end up being his most difficult start this week, as they have heated up to average six runs per game while hitting .262 over their last six games. Meanwhile, Seattle is in the midst of a six-game losing streak in which they're averaging 2.5 runs per game while hitting .175. On top of all this, both Seattle and Oakland are averaging at least 7.5 strikeouts per game in this span.

Oakland will likely be Minor's toughest start since his first start of the year against Chicago. But in spite of that he should be a strong play in most leagues this week. In fact, if Minor pitches well against Oakland, owners might want to consider keeping him around for a while instead of just dropping him back on waivers. Like I said last week, ride this hot streak while it lasts.

 

Week 4 Streamers - Under 25% Owned

Luke Weaver, ARI - 24% owned

Probable opponents: @ PIT, vs CHC

Weaver was saddled with the loss in his last week against San Diego despite recording his first quality start of 2019. Over 6 1/3 innings, Weaver allowed just two runs while striking out a season-high eight. How did he follow that up? Well on Thursday night Weaver earned win No. 1 of 2019 with five shutout innings against Atlanta while striking out nine. That's five shutout innings against a Braves team that had been averaging 5.8 runs per game over their previous eight games. So after posting a 6.75 ERA in his first two starts, Weaver has a 1.59 ERA over his last two starts to bring his season mark down to 3.92.

Looking to build off these last two starts, Weaver will take the mound against Pittsburgh in his next start. Despite holding a 5-3 record over their last eight games, the Pirates have struggled on offense with a .220 average while scoring 3.1 runs per game. Meanwhile, it's a similar story with the following start for Weaver, as he faces a Cubs team that — while 5-2 over their last seven games — have averaged 4.4 runs per game while hitting .237. Weaver should be a high-risk, high-reward play this week, as he could either put up another pair of low-scoring, high-strikeout outings, or he could end up being a slump-buster for Chicago and Pittsburgh.

Spencer Turnbull, DET - 4% owned

Probable opponents: @ BOS, @ CHW

If you decide to go with Turnbull in Week 4, don't expect to get any wins out of him. Turnbull is receiving no help from his team on offense, as the Tigers' 2.65 runs per game is the worst average in the American League, and their .203 team average is third-worst in the majors. If you're in a quality start league however, you might want to look at Turnbull as he has recorded quality starts in two of his four outings this year. In his last start on Wednesday, Turnbull allowed one unearned run over six innings while striking out five against Pittsburgh.

Sorry for yet another dig Boston fans, but who would have ever thought that we'd be looking at a pitcher owned in four percent of leagues as a viable streaming option against the defending World Series champs? Over their last seven games, Boston is averaging just 3.7 runs per game while batting .214 with a .646 OPS. Meanwhile, the White Sox are averaging four runs per game while hitting .242 over their last seven games. Turnbull might not end up with the top performance out of this week's list, but he should still provide above-average value and he is available in nearly every league. In particular, look to add Turnbull in quality start leagues.

Erik Swanson, SEA - 1% owned

Probable opponents: @ SDP, vs TEX

OK, Swanson may end up being the riskiest play this week. He just made his first career start on Wednesday, and while he took the loss against Cleveland he finished with one run allowed over six innings for a quality start. Swanson also struck out five in that start, to move his strikeout rate to 29 percent over two appearances this season. Looking at his work in the minors, Swanson seems like he could be a good boost in the strikeout department, as he posted a 10.3 K/9 over 121 2/3 innings in the minors in 2018, and in one start at Triple-A this season he tossed five shutout innings while striking out eight. 

In his second career start, Swanson is projected to take on the Padres who are currently hitting .220 while averaging 3.6 runs per game over their last seven games. San Diego is currently 13th in the majors in team strikeouts, and Swanson could get a slight boost pitching at Petco Park. He'll face a tougher challenge going toe-to-toe with Minor and the Rangers in his second start of the week. Texas is hitting .266 while averaging 6.4 runs per game amidst a seven-game stretch that has seen the team post a 5-2 record. If you're looking for another high-risk, high-reward pitcher this week and Weaver has already been picked up, then Swanson might be the guy for you.

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Head-to-Head Hitter Streamers & Starts Week 4

Welcome to the hitting streamers column for the week of 4/22 - 4/28. Whether you're looking to maximize the number of games played, exploit favorable matchups, or fill in for injured players, streaming hitters can be a fruitful strategy for those willing to put in a little work every week.

Keep in mind that this column highlights players owned in fewer than 50% of Yahoo leagues who could present nice streaming options for the upcoming week. This applies to any league but specifically is geared toward head-to-head weekly leagues where matchups are more critical.

If the following names aren't available, don't hesitate to check our famous waiver wire pickups list to find some appealing alternatives. Let's get to it.

 

Bats to Stream and Start in Week 4

Seven-Game Weeks: Arizona Diamondbacks, Boston Red Sox, Detroit Tigers, Houston Astros, Los Angels Angels, New York Yankees, Philadelphia Phillies, Pittsburgh Pirates, Texas Rangers

 

Streamer of the Week

Clint Frazier (OF, NYY) – 29% Owned

Frazier was given an every day job due to mounting injuries in New York, and has taken advantage of the opportunity. He is hitting .333 with a .622 SLG and has popped four home runs in 49 PA. The Yankees have a seven-game week, and draw five subpar right-handed starters over those seven games.

Their four-game set in Los Angeles against the Angels is especially enticing because it’s in a hitter-friendly ballpark against a few rough starting pitchers. The three-game series in San Francisco afterward is a little less appealing since the ballpark is bad for left-handed hitters and San Francisco is projected to use two lefties, but Frazier isn’t sitting against lefties and is on a roll right now. Sometimes the best streaming hitters are simply the hottest ones, and it helps that Frazier gets seven games this week on top of that.

 

Behind the Plate

Welington Castillo (C, CWS) – 40% Owned

Castillo has gotten off to a tough start this season, owning a .129 AVG and .600 OPS in 41 PA thus far. There are a few glimmers of hope here, mainly an 8:9 BB:K ratio and a 41% hard hit rate. The White Sox get three games in Baltimore and three games at home against Detroit, which means plenty of bad pitching for Castillo to feast on in hitter-friendly ballparks. It’s hard to find a decent catcher on waivers, but Castillo has a solid track record and good enough underlying numbers to make him a streaming option.

Also Consider: Jonathan Lucroy (C, LAA) - 19% Owned, Austin Romine (C, NYY – 2% Owned

 

At the Corners

Niko Goodrum (1B/2B/3B/SS/OF DET) – 45% Owned

Goodrum is the type of player fantasy owners should love to stream; he can provide power and speed, and he’s eligible at every position. Even though the results haven’t totally been there for Goodrum with his .265 AVG and one home run in 58 PA, there is a lot to like in this profile. Goodrum has cut his strikeout rate to 22.4% and nearly doubled his walk rate up to 15.5%.

He’s also crushing the baseball with an average exit velocity of 92.7 MPH and a 55.6% hard-hit rate. Statcast loves what Goodrum is doing, as he has a .315 xBA and .608 xSLG. This could be week where these batted ball numbers turn into better results, as he gets four games in Boston and three games in Chicago against the White Sox. He’ll be playing in more hitter-friendly ballparks against some struggling pitchers. This is a case where we’ll trust the skills and hope the results come.

Ryan Zimmerman (1B, WAS) – 13% Owned

It hasn’t been a good start for Zimmerman, but things could be looking up this week as Washington has three games in Coors Field and four games against left-handed starters. For his career, Zimmerman has a .917 OPS and .215 ISO against left-handed pitching. Even with Zimmerman’s .184 AVG, he has an 8:9 BB:K ratio and a 46.3% hard hit rate on the year, so there are indicators that Zimmerman could turn it around. With Coors Field and a lefty-heavy week, Zimmerman is in a prime position to rebound.

Also Consider: Yonder Alonso (1B, CWS) - 16% Owned

 

Up the Middle

Andrelton Simmons (SS, LAA) – 39% Owned

Simmons has been on a roll lately, with three straight multi-hit games going into play Friday. He has also raised his batting average nearly 50 points in just a week thanks to his hot hitting. Simmons has a seven-game slate this week, with four games at home against the Yankees and three games in Kansas City. His under-owned at just 39% due to his early-season slump, but Simmons has the track record and the skills that make him an excellent option this week. Owners could do a lot worse than picking up a streaking cleanup hitter at a middle infield position this week.

Also Consider: Adam Frazier (2B/OF, PIT) – 14% Owned, Wilmer Difo (2B/3B/SS, WAS) – 1% Owned, David Fletcher (2B/3B/OF, LAA) – 2% Owned

 

In the Outfield

Brett Gardner (OF, NYY) – 16% Owned

Gardner is a good option for many of the same reasons Clint Frazier is a good option. The Yankees do play three games in a National League park, but one would figure recently recalled first baseman Mike Ford is the one that would sit without a DH. Gardner hasn’t been nearly as hot as Frazier, in fact he’s hitting just .191 on the year, but he leads off against right-handed pitching and has decent power and speed. He also has a 10.4% walk rate, so Gardner is much better in OBP leagues compared to traditional batting average leagues.

Shin-Soo Choo (OF, TEX) – 37% Owned

Shin-Soo Choo may be one of the most underappreciated fantasy players of his era. He puts up consistent production year after year, but always seems to be on the fringes of ownership in 10- and 12-team leagues. He’s off to a blistering start this year, with a .345 AVG and 1.046 OPS in 65 PA. He may only have one home run, but his .255 ISO and ten extra-base hits suggest more balls could be leaving the yard soon. Choo gets seven games to do it this week, with only two of those games coming against lefty starters. Rangers hitters get a park downgrade this week thanks to seven road games between Oakland and Seattle

Also Consider: Brian Goodwin (OF, LAA) – 2% Owned, Leury Garcia (MI/OF, CWS) – 7% Owned, Dwight Smith Jr. (OF, BAL) – 15% Owned

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Week 3 Starts & Sits - All Starting Pitcher Matchups

Mid-April means trends are rounding into form and you can start to believe in stats, aren't you excited? Welcome back everyone to our starts/sits column for Week 3. We here at RotoBaller set out to ease your decision-making with our weekly starting pitcher matchups and recommendations. In case you missed it, this is our sixth year now writing this weekly column, helping fantasy baseball managers pick the best pitchers weekly.

Below are the projected starting pitching matchups for Week 3, which will be updated as rotations are announced and tweaked. This column will be continuously updated and adjusted for any postponements or rotation shuffles, reflecting official beat writer speculation for as many unconfirmed rotation slots as possible.

You shouldn't be spending your time wondering which arms to start, so let RotoBaller do the heavy lifting! For every week of the fantasy baseball season, we look to analyze all of the projected starting pitcher matchups and put together our optimal lineups. Here at RotoBaller, we believe that it’s key to analyze every SP matchup, each and every week, to help determine which SPs to start/sit and identify some sneaky streams. Let's crush the competition!

 

SP Matchups & Start/Sit Recommendations

This weekly piece considers the pitcher’s opponents, their career stats against the opponent, some ballpark factors and historical splits. With all of this information, we then provide our start/sit recommendations for each starting pitcher matchup for the approaching week of fantasy baseball.

We'll now include a "Score" value that goes from 0-100, with 100 being a perfect start and zero being an easy sit. Setting 50 as the "Start/Sit" border, this should help you determine streamer candidates and add context to our confidence. Scores will become more robust and spread more as 2019 data becomes more reliable. Add scores together to determine my two-start ranks on top of the traditional start/sit advice!

 

This column was last updated on Saturday, April 20th, and will be updated daily as more rotations and starters are announced through April 21th.

PROBABLE PITCHERS (4/15/19)
GAME VISITING STARTER START/SIT SCORE HOME STARTER START/SIT SCORE
BAL@BOS Dan Straily | BAL SIT 36 Hector Velazquez | BOS START 50
CHC@MIA Yu Darvish | CHC START 58 Trevor Richards | MIA START 52
CIN@LAD Luis Castillo | CIN START 56 Clayton Kershaw | LAD START 58
CLE@SEA Trevor Bauer | CLE START 68 Yusei Kikuchi | SEA START 59
COL@SD Antonio Senzatela | COL SIT 49 Joey Lucchesi | SD START 53
KC@CHW Heath Fillmyer | KC SIT 37 Ervin Santana | CHW SIT 45
LAA@TEX Trevor Cahill | LAA START 52 Shelby Miller | TEX SIT 38
NYM@PHI Noah Syndergaard | NYM START 67 Aaron Nola | PHI START 69
STL@MIL Dakota Hudson | STL SIT 41 Freddy Peralta | MIL START 52
TOR@MIN Matt Shoemaker | TOR START 52 Martin Perez | MIN SIT 46
PROBABLE PITCHERS (4/16/19)
GAME VISITING STARTER START/SIT SCORE HOME STARTER START/SIT SCORE
ARI@ATL Robbie Ray | ARI SIT 48 Max Fried | ATL START 54
BAL@TB Dylan Bundy | BAL SIT 41 Tyler Glasnow | TB START 71
BOS@NYY Chris Sale | BOS START 64 James Paxton | NYY START 53
CHC@MIA Jose Quintana | CHC START 58 Pablo Lopez | MIA SIT 47
CIN@LAD Tyler Mahle | CIN SIT 39 Kenta Maeda | LAD START 55
CLE@SEA Shane Bieber | CLE START 53 Mike Leake | SEA START 50
COL@SD Jon Gray | COL START 52 Nick Margevicius | SD START 50
HOU@OAK Collin McHugh | HOU START 63 Marco Estrada | OAK SIT 41
KC@CHW Jorge Lopez | KC SIT 45 Reynaldo Lopez | CHW START 52
LAA@TEX Jaime Barria | LAA SIT 38 Mike Minor | TEX SIT 47
NYM@PHI Steven Matz | NYM START 50 Nick Pivetta | PHI SIT 47
PIT@DET Joe Musgrove | PIT START 66 Matthew Boyd | DET START 65
SF@WAS Dereck Rodriguez | SF SIT 47 Stephen Strasburg | WAS START 70
STL@MIL Jack Flaherty | STL START 62 Brandon Woodruff | MIL START 51
TOR@MIN Aaron Sanchez | TOR START 52 Kyle Gibson | MIN SIT 48
PROBABLE PITCHERS (4/17/19)
GAME VISITING STARTER START/SIT SCORE HOME STARTER START/SIT SCORE
ARI@ATL Zack Godley | ARI SIT 43 Kevin Gausman | ATL START 55
BAL@TB David Hess | BAL SIT 44 Ryne Stanek (Opener) | TB SIT 30
BOS@NYY Nathan Eovaldi | BOS SIT 47 J.A. Happ | NYY SIT 44
CHC@MIA Cole Hamels | CHC START 61 Sandy Alcantara | MIA SIT 46
CIN@LAD Sonny Gray | CIN SIT 45 Walker Buehler | LAD START 68
CLE@SEA Carlos Carrasco | CLE START 53 Erik Swanson | SEA SIT 36
HOU@OAK Wade Miley | HOU START 51 Frankie Montas | OAK SIT 46
KC@CHW Brad Keller | KC START 54 Lucas Giolito | CHW START 54
LAA@TEX Matt Harvey | LAA SIT 42 Lance Lynn | TEX SIT 45
NYM@PHI Zack Wheeler | NYM START 52 Jake Arrieta | PHI START 53
PIT@DET Trevor Williams | PIT START 59 Spencer Turnbull | DET START 51
SF@WAS Jeff Samardzija | SF SIT 48 Jeremy Hellickson | WAS START 56
STL@MIL Michael Wacha | STL SIT 47 Corbin Burnes | MIL SIT 49
TOR@MIN Trent Thornton | TOR SIT 48 Jake Odorizzi | MIN START 53
PROBABLE PITCHERS (4/18/19)
GAME VISITING STARTER START/SIT SCORE HOME STARTER START/SIT SCORE
ARI@ATL Luke Weaver | ARI SIT 45 Mike Soroka | ATL START 53
BAL@TB Andrew Cashner | BAL SIT 40 Hunter Wood (Opener) | TB SIT 30
CHW@DET Ivan Nova | CHW START 51 Tyson Ross | DET START 50
CIN@SD Tanner Roark | CIN SIT 47 Chris Paddack | SD START 56
KC@NYY Homer Bailey | KC SIT 35 Domingo German | NYY START 62
LAD@MIL Julio Urias | LAD SIT 49 Zach Davies | MIL SIT 43
PHI@COL Zach Eflin | PHI SIT 46 Kyle Freeland | COL SIT 46
SEA@LAA Felix Hernandez | SEA SIT 44 Chris Stratton | LAA SIT 36
SF@WAS Drew Pomeranz | SF SIT 47 Patrick Corbin | WAS START 73
TOR@MIN Clay Buchholz | TOR SIT 48 Michael Pineda | MIN START 57
PROBABLE PITCHERS (4/19/19)
GAME VISITING STARTER START/SIT SCORE HOME STARTER START/SIT SCORE
ARI@CHC Merrill Kelly | ARI SIT 48 Kyle Hendricks | CHC SIT 48
ATL@CLE (PPD, 4/20 makeup) Touki Toussaint | ATL START 57 Corey Kluber | CLE START 62
BOS@TB Eduardo Rodriguez | BOS START 53 Ryne Stanek (Opener) | TB SIT 30
CHW@DET Carlos Rodon | CHW START 57 Jordan Zimmermann | DET SIT 47
CIN@SD Anthony DeSclafani | CIN START 50 Matt Strahm | SD START 53
HOU@TEX Justin Verlander | HOU START 68 Drew Smyly | TEX SIT 35
KC@NYY Jake Junis | KC SIT 46 CC Sabathia | NYY START 55
LAD@MIL Ross Stripling | LAD SIT 48 Jhoulys Chacin | MIL SIT 46
MIN@BAL (PPD, 4/20 makeup) Jose Berrios | MIN START 75 Alex Cobb | BAL SIT 44
NYM@STL Jason Vargas | NYM SIT 36 Adam Wainwright | STL START 54
PHI@COL Vince Velasquez | PHI SIT 44 German Marquez | COL START 54
SEA@LAA Marco Gonzales | SEA START 51 Felix Pena | LAA SIT 40
SF@PIT Madison Bumgarner | SF START 62 Jordan Lyles | PIT START 55
TOR@OAK Marcus Stroman | TOR START 51 Aaron Brooks | OAK START 52
WAS@MIA Anibal Sanchez | WAS START 59 Caleb Smith | MIA START 54
PROBABLE PITCHERS (4/20/19)
GAME VISITING STARTER START/SIT SCORE HOME STARTER START/SIT SCORE
ARI@CHC Zack Greinke | ARI START 60 Yu Darvish | CHC START 53
ATL@CLE Julio Teheran | ATL START 55 Trevor Bauer | CLE START 69
BOS@TB Rick Porcello | BOS SIT 48 Charlie Morton | TB START 57
CHW@DET (PPD, 8/6 makeup) PPD PPD N/A PPD PPD N/A
CIN@SD Luis Castillo | CIN START 66 Eric Lauer | SD SIT 46
HOU@TEX Gerrit Cole | HOU START 70 Adrian Sampson | TEX SIT 30
KC@NYY Heath Fillmyer | KC SIT 40 Masahiro Tanaka | NYY START 63
LAD@MIL Hyun-Jin Ryu | LAD START 51 Chase Anderson | MIL SIT 45
MIN@BAL Martin Perez | MIN SIT 47 Dan Straily | BAL SIT 44
NYM@STL Chris Flexen | NYM SIT 38 Miles Mikolas | STL START 52
PHI@COL Aaron Nola | PHI START 56 Antonio Senzatela | COL SIT 45
SEA@LAA Yusei Kikuchi | SEA START 51 Trevor Cahill| LAA SIT 46
SF@PIT Derek Holland | SF START 56 Jameson Taillon | PIT START 67
TOR@OAK Matt Shoemaker | TOR START 54 Mike Fiers | OAK START 54
WAS@MIA Max Scherzer | WAS START 74 Jose Urena | MIA SIT 48
PROBABLE PITCHERS (4/21/19)
GAME VISITING STARTER START/SIT SCORE HOME STARTER START/SIT SCORE
ARI@CHC Robbie Ray | ARI START 52 Jose Quintana | CHC START 54
ATL@CLE Max Fried | ATL START 59 Shane Bieber | CLE START 62
BOS@TB David Price | BOS START 57 Tyler Glasnow | TB START 65
CHW@DET Reynaldo Lopez | CHW START 52 Daniel Norris | DET SIT 46
CIN@SD Tyler Mahle | CIN SIT 46 Joey Lucchesi | SD START 52
HOU@TEX Collin McHugh | HOU START 61 Shelby Miller | TEX SIT 32
KC@NYY Jorge Lopez | KC SIT 45 James Paxton | NYY START 62
LAD@MIL Clayton Kershaw | LAD START 58 Brandon Woodruff | MIL SIT 49
MIN@BAL Kyle Gibson | MIN START 52 Dylan Bundy | BAL SIT 40
NYM@STL Noah Syndergaard | NYM START 72 Dakota Hudson | STL SIT 44
PHI@COL Jerad Eickhoff | PHI SIT 41 Jon Gray | COL SIT 48
SEA@LAA Mike Leake | SEA SIT 44 Jaime Barria | LAA SIT 39
SF@PIT Dereck Rodriguez | SF START 55 Chris Archer | PIT START 68
TOR@OAK Aaron Sanchez | TOR START 52 Brett Anderson | OAK START 54
WAS@MIA Stephen Strasburg | WAS START 73 Trevor Richards | MIA START 53

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Two-Start Pitcher Streamers for Week 3

Two weeks in, how's your season going? Are you still hunting the waiver wire or are you already making plans for 2020? Well if you're still reading this, let's assume you're still in the hunt and want to know which two-start pitchers to snag this week.

Before we dive into this week's list, we'll do a quick recap of the first two weeks of the season. If you picked up Steven Matz for the first week you probably did pretty well, as Matz was the clear winner from the Week 1 column with 11 strikeouts while allowing only one earned run on eight hits and four walks. Meanwhile, Derek Holland is in the running to be the standout from the Week 2 column after allowing one run while striking out nine en route to his first win of 2019 against the Padres. Marco Gonzales is another Week 2 standout, allowing just two runs while striking out five to improve to 4-0 on the year against the Royals.

That's what's new with last week's pitchers, now let's take a look at which pitchers to consider picking up and streaming in Week 3 if they are still available in your leagues.

 

Week 3 Streamers - Under 50% Owned

Brandon Woodruff, MIL - 32% owned

Probable opponents: vs STL, vs LAD

Woodruff has gotten off to a good start in the strikeout department this year, as his 12.0 K/9 (20 strikeouts in 15 innings) is the ninth-highest in the majors among qualified pitchers. His ERA, on the other hand, is less than impressive at 6.00 after allowing eight runs over his last 10 innings. But while he can stand to improve his ERA, Woodruff has only allowed four walks over three starts, and his 5.0 strikeout-to-walk rate is the 19th best rate in the majors.

He will start off next week with a home start against the Cardinals, which has proven to be a middle-of-the-road offense to start the year. The Cardinals just erupted for a season-high 11 runs on Thursday night against the Dodgers, but prior to that onslaught, they had averaged 4.3 runs per game over their previous six games. That start should also be a high-strikeout potential outing for Woodruff, as the Cardinals' 25.7 percent strikeout rate is the ninth-highest in the majors.

The outing against the Dodgers is a risky play, as they have been the second-highest scoring offense in the majors averaging 6.85 runs per game. But the Dodgers have struggled in their series against the Cardinals, where they have averaged 3.0 runs per game while hitting .211 with 38 strikeouts. Woodruff will be a bit of a risky pick this week, but he could pay off pretty nicely for owners willing to take the gamble.

 

Trevor Richards, MIA - 30% owned

Probable opponents: vs CHC, vs WAS

Richards will be a nice addition for owners in leagues that count quality starts, as he has recorded a quality start in each of his three outings this year. He's even coming off six shutout innings against Cincinnati in which he posted seven strikeouts for the second start in a row. And yet he is 0-1 thanks to the non-existent run support from the Marlins offense. Richards was a little wild against the Reds as he allowed five walks after allowing a combined five walks in his first two starts, but he has allowed just four runs over 18 innings this season.

Looking at it realistically, Richards probably won't get you wins this week thanks to the barely functioning Marlins offense. But he could get you quality starts and decent strikeouts. The Nationals have the 10th-highest strikeout rate in the majors at 25.7 percent, while the Cubs are sitting at 22.4 percent. In terms of run-scoring, the Cubs have been all or nothing recently.

Over their last two series, the Cubs have had three games where they scored 10 or more runs and three games where they've been held to two runs. Meanwhile, the Nationals have averaged 10 runs per game since their series finale at the Mets, but prior to that game, they had been averaging 4.9 runs per game. Like Woodruff, Richards will be a risky play this week, but owners in quality-start leagues should definitely look at picking him up.

 

Week 3 Streamers - Under 25% Owned

Jake Odorizzi, MIN - 15% owned

Probable opponents: vs TOR, @ BAL

Look hear me out OK? Yes, Odorizzi has thrown only 5 1/3 innings combined over his last two starts. Yes, he has an 11.81 ERA in that span with four strikeouts to seven walks. But those two starts were against the hot bats of the Phillies and the Mets. You know who he has this week? The Toronto ".193 average, 3.0 runs per game" Blue Jays and the Baltimore ".237 average, 4.42 runs per game" Orioles.

Odorizzi started off the season with an 11-strikeout performance against the Indians, who currently have a major-league worst 29.7 percent strikeout rate. But wait, which team has the second-worst strikeout rate you ask? Why that would be the Blue Jays of course with a 28.0 percent rate! After back-to-back bad outings last week, owners should expect Odorizzi to have a very nice bounce-back week against a couple of soft opponents. He might be the best guy in this week's column to own.

 

Mike Minor, TEX - 13% owned

Probable opponents: vs LAA, vs HOU

If you're in a quality start league and Richards has already been added, owners might want to consider Minor this week. After getting roughed up in his first start of the year against the Cubs, Minor has posted back-to-back outings of seven innings pitched and two or fewer runs. Minor will be getting a second crack at the Astros this week after earning his first win of the year against Houston with seven shutout innings and a season-high seven strikeouts on April 3.

The Astros (3.92 runs per game) and the Angels (4.0 runs per game) currently have the 10th and 11th-lowest scoring offenses respectively, with the Angels sitting in the bottom-10 in the league with a .217 average, .304 on-base percentage and .359 slugging percentage. Minor will also get a slight boost playing at home for both of his starts, where he posted a better ERA last season (3.45) than what he put up on the road (5.14). Add Minor this week and ride the hot streak while it lasts.

 

Tyler Mahle, CIN - 8% owned

Probable opponents: @ LAD, @ SDP

Another victim of an anemic offense, Mahle has allowed just one run over 11 innings this season for a minuscule 0.82 ERA but is still without a win in 2019. In his last outing against the Marlins, Mahle allowed one run on two hits and four walks over five innings with seven strikeouts. Mahle will get his first test against a top-10 offense this week in the Dodgers, and that might be enough reason for owners to be skeptical about his value.

Since I already wrote about the Dodgers' offense when talking about Woodruff, let's check out San Diego. The Padres currently have the seventh-lowest scoring offense in the majors — averaging 3.54 runs per game — with the 15th-highest strikeout rate (22.9 percent) and the 10th-lowest batting average (.231). Heading into that game, Mahle is 1-0 with a 2.25 ERA and 11.3 K/9 in two career starts against San Diego.

Similar to Minor, Mahle's splits suggest that he could pitch well this week, except unlike Minor, Mahle's career splits show he's pitched slightly better on the road (3.96 ERA) than at home (4.80). After having only two starts so far against under-performing offenses, Mahle is probably the riskiest play this week as owners face the unknown of how he will fare against the Dodgers. But if you're desperate to find a two-start lottery pick this week, Mahle is your guy and he'll almost certainly be available to grab.

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Head-to-Head Hitter Streamers and Starts - Week 3

Welcome to the hitting streamers column for the week of 4/15 - 4/21. Whether you're looking to maximize the number of games played, exploit favorable matchups, or fill in for injured players, streaming hitters can be a fruitful strategy for those willing to put in a little work every week.

Keep in mind that this column highlights players owned in fewer than 50% of Yahoo leagues who could present nice streaming options for the upcoming week. This applies to any league but specifically is geared toward head-to-head weekly leagues where matchups are more critical.

If the following names aren't available, don't hesitate to check our famous waiver wire pickups list to find some appealing alternatives. Let's get to it.

 

Bats to Stream and Start in Week 3

Seven-Game Weeks: Baltimore, Chicago White Sox, Cincinnati Reds, Kansas City Royals, Los Angels Angels, Los Angeles Dodgers, Milwaukee Brewers, Minnesota Twins, Philadelphia Phillies, Seattle Mariners, Toronto Blue Jays

 

Streamer of the Week

Joc Pederson (OF, LAD) - 53% Owned

Pederson is just above the 50% cutoff line, but he’s available in enough leagues that it’s worth checking waivers to see if he’s available considering the upside here. Pederson is off to a great start thus far, with four home runs and a .990 OPS through 48 PA, and perhaps most encouraging is his 14.6% strikeout rate. While his strikeout rate probably won’t be that low over a longer period of time, Pederson also has an 84% contact rate and 90.5% zone contact rate on the season and has been cutting down on strikeouts over the past few years.  Again, it’s early, but metrics like strikeout rate and contact rate can be big indicators of legitimate improvements at the plate.

Numbers aside, what makes Pederson so intriguing is that the Dodgers are slated to take on seven right-handed starters this upcoming week. That means plenty of games in the leadoff spot for Pederson, who has an .848 OPS and .252 ISO against righties all time. The icing on the cake is a four-game series in Milwaukee, where Pederson should benefit from a positive park shift. This upcoming week is just about ideal for Pederson’s skillset.

 

Behind the Plate

Welington Castillo (C, CWS) - 48% Owned

Castillo is just 2-for-21 to start the season, but the veteran backstop has a career .742 OPS and .167 ISO, which is more than serviceable for a streaming catcher. He also hits relatively high in the order, usually around sixth or seventh, and hits cleanup against left-handed starters. The White Sox have three games at home against the Royals and four games in Detroit this week, which means they will be facing low-quality pitching. Chicago also gets two games against lefties, and Castillo has an .834 OPS and .194 ISO against southpaws all time. This week could be a nice slump-buster for Beef Welington.

Omar Narvaez (C, SEA) -  33% Owned

It’s rare to find a catcher on waivers who won’t annihilate your batting average, but Narvaez has shown a solid hit tool over the course of his big league career. He owns a .275 AVG and .362 OBP over 783 career PA. Even though he wields virtually no power, Narvaez is still a positive bat behind the plate. The Mariners are also scheduled to face seven righties this week, and Narvaez has been much better against right-handed pitching, owning a career .760 OPS and .111 ISO against righties for his career. A three-game series against Cleveland is a little rough matchup-wise, but a four-game series in Anaheim offers matchups against rather weak pitching outside of Trevor Cahill, and even Cahill has proven inconsistent over his career.

Also Consider: Jonathan Lucroy (C, LAA) - 16% Owned

 

At the Corners

C.J. Cron (1B, MIN) - 28% Owned

It hasn’t been a great start to the season for Cron, who has just a .577 OPS and 7:1 K:BB ratio in 30 PA thus far. What’s most concerning is his .069 ISO and just two extra-base hits, since Cron’s only positive attribute is power. Cron is known for his streakiness, but he’s still crushing the ball, as Cron has a 90.6 MPH average exit velocity on the year. This might be a good week for Cron to break the slump, as Minnesota has seven games against Toronto and Baltimore pitching. Toronto has had a few surprises in the rotation, but they are still relatively weak and unproven compared to the rest of the league. Cron could provide some decent power production this week if his bat heats up a bit.

Ryan O'Hearn (1B, KC) - 5% Owned

O'Hearn is another player off to an underwhelming start on the surface, but his underlying numbers show promise of better days ahead. O’Hearn is only hitting .240 with a .787 OPS, but he has a 93.4 MPH average exit velocity and .505 xSLG along with an unreal 60% hard-hit rate. This is a small sample size, obviously, but these StatCast numbers are juicy. O’Hearn also has a 5:6 K:BB ratio thus far and has shown great plate discipline throughout his minor league career. Now he gets a seven-game week, with all on the road in good hitters’ parks. He gets three games against the White Sox in Chicago, and a four-game set against the Yankees in New York. This bat was built for Yankee Stadium. The Royals also face just two lefties this week, which means O’Hearn should be in the starting lineup at least five times.

Also Consider: Yonder Alonso (1B, CWS) - 18% Owned

 

Up the Middle

Jorge Polanco (SS, MIN) - 27% Owned

Polanco’s bat has been smoking to start the year, and he owns a .375 AVG and 1.182 OPS in 44 PA going into play Thursday. The nice thing about Polanco, from a streaming perspective, is that he should provide plenty of volume this week. Minnesota has a seven-game week ahead, and Polanco plays virtually every day and hits second for the Twins. That’s the type of player Polanco is from a season-long standpoint, an accumulator, but with four games against Toronto and three in Baltimore, the Twins should put some runs on the board this week. Expect a good batting average and a solid amount of run production this week from Polanco.

Garrett Hampson (2B/SS, COL) - 28% Owned

Hampson was my stream of the week last week, and while in hindsight that seems a little aggressive, it’s hard not to be enticed by Hampson’s skill set, especially given his home ballpark. There’s no hiding the fact that Hampson has been atrocious at the plate thus far. He has a .197 OPS and 29% strikeout rate with zero walks in 31 PA this season. With those numbers out of the way, it’s worth noting that with Daniel Murphy and Ryan McMahon both out of the picture, Pat Valaika is Hampson’s only threat for playing time. Valaika posted a .460 OPS and a wRC+ of 9 (league average is 100, so 9 is really, really bad) in 133 PA last year. It’s sink-or-swim time for Hampson, and with a four-game series at home against the Phillies, he should be able to do some damage this week. For speed, there aren’t many better options on waivers right now.

Also Consider: Andrelton Simmons (SS, LAA) - 43% Owned, Orlando Arcia (SS, MIL) - 2% Owned

 

In the Outfield

Jay Bruce (OF/1B, SEA) - 43% Owned

If batting average wasn’t a category then Bruce would be a fantasy monster. Despite his .204 AVG, Bruce already has seven home runs on the year along with a .972 OPS and .469 ISO in 57 PA thus far. Bruce hit a total of nine home runs in 361 PA last season. We’re just two weeks in, and Bruce is ready to eclipse last year’s home run total. He could do it next week, as he gets seven games and not one against a left-handed starter. Bruce did leave Wednesday’s game early with Achilles tightness, so it’s worth watching the injury report with him. Assuming this is just a day-to-day thing, Bruce should be locked and loaded for next week as one of the best power options out there.

Jorge Soler (OF, KC) - 26% Owned

Soler has clobbered the ball thus far, when he actually hits it. He has a .233 ISO and 90.0 MPH average exit velocity, but also has a 37% strikeout rate and 66.3% contact rate on the year. The ballpark upgrades Soler is getting, three games at the White Sox and four at the Yankees, should be enough to help his power potential when he does make contact. In leagues where Jay Bruce is unavailable Soler is a fine alternative.

Also Consider: Alex Gordon (OF, KC) - 19% Owned, Leury Garcia (OF/MI, CWS) - 4% Owned

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Week 2 Start/Sit Matchups - Starting Pitchers

Baseball is in full swing, didn't you miss it? Welcome back everyone to our starts/sits column for Week 2. We here at RotoBaller set out to ease your decision-making with our weekly starting pitcher matchups and recommendations.

Below are the projected starting pitching matchups for Week 2, which will be updated as rotations are announced and tweaked. This column will continue to be updated with the starters for next week once rotations are fully announced.

You've got better things to agonize over instead of which arms to start, so let us do the heavy lifting! For every week of the fantasy baseball season, we look to analyze all of the projected starting pitcher matchups and put together our optimal lineups. Here at RotoBaller, we believe that it’s key to analyze every SP matchup, each and every week, to help determine which SPs to start/sit and identify some sneaky streams. Let's crush the competition!

 

SP Matchups & Start/Sit Recommendations

This weekly piece considers the pitcher’s opponents, their career stats against the opponent, some ballpark factors and historical splits. With all of this information, we then provide our start/sit recommendations for each starting pitcher matchup for the approaching week of fantasy baseball.

We'll now include a "Score" value that goes from 0-100, with 100 being a perfect start and zero being an easy sit. Setting 50 as the "Start/Sit" border, this should help you determine streamer candidates and add context to our confidence. I will roll out an accountability tracker and some additional features as 2019 stats become reliable!

 

This column was last updated on Sunday, April 14th, and will be updated daily as more rotations and starters are announced through April 14th.

PROBABLE PITCHERS - MONDAY (4/8/19)
GAME VISITING STARTER START/SIT SCORE HOME STARTER START/SIT SCORE
ATL@COL Julio Teheran | ATL SIT 40 Kyle Freeland | COL START 53
LAD@STL Hyun-Jin Ryu | LAD START 62 Miles Mikolas | STL SIT 41
MIL@LAA Jhoulys Chacin | MIL SIT 42 Trevor Cahill | LAA SIT 44
NYY@HOU Masahiro Tanaka | NYY START 56 Justin Verlander | HOU START 84
OAK@BAL Marco Estrada | OAK START 64 Andrew Cashner | BAL SIT 27
PIT@CHC Jameson Taillon | PIT START 61 Jon Lester | CHC START 57
SD@SF Eric Lauer | SD START 55 Madison Bumgarner | SF START 61
SEA@KC Felix Hernandez | SEA START 50 Homer Bailey | KC SIT 15
TB@CHW Blake Snell | TB START 81 Carlos Rodon | CHW SIT 48
WAS@PHI Anibal Sanchez | WAS SIT 49 Vince Velasquez | PHI SIT 44
PROBABLE PITCHERS - TUESDAY (4/9/19)
GAME VISITING STARTER START/SIT SCORE HOME STARTER START/SIT SCORE
ATL@COL Max Fried | ATL SIT 44 German Marquez | COL START 63
CLE@DET Corey Kluber | CLE START 87 Jordan Zimmermann | DET START 60
LAD@STL Ross Stripling | LAD START 61 Dakota Hudson | STL SIT 37
MIA@CIN Jose Urena | MIA SIT 36 Luis Castillo | CIN START 76
MIL@LAA Freddy Peralta | MIL START 56 Matt Harvey | LAA SIT 33
MIN@NYM Kyle Gibson | MIN SIT 46 Jacob deGrom | NYM START 89
NYY@HOU Jonathan Loaisiga | NYY SIT 45 Gerrit Cole | HOU START 85
OAK@BAL Brett Anderson | OAK START 54 John Means | BAL SIT 31
SD@SF Joey Lucchesi | SD START 56 Derek Holland | SF SIT 44
SEA@KC Marco Gonzales | SEA START 64 Jake Junis | KC SIT 44
TB@CHW Charlie Morton | TB START 77 Ervin Santana | CHW SIT 34
TEX@ARI Mike Minor | TEX SIT 49 Zack Greinke | ARI START 68
TOR@BOS Matt Shoemaker | TOR SIT 44 Chris Sale | BOS START 84
WAS@PHI Stephen Strasburg | WAS START 75 Aaron Nola | PHI START 77
PROBABLE PITCHERS - WEDNESDAY (4/10/19)
GAME VISITING STARTER START/SIT SCORE HOME STARTER START/SIT SCORE
ATL@COL PPD N/A N/A PPD N/A N/A
CLE@DET Trevor Bauer | CLE START 91 Matthew Boyd | DET START 65
LAD@STL Kenta Maeda | LAD START 73 Jack Flaherty | STL START 62
MIA@CIN Trevor Richards | MIA SIT 49 Tyler Mahle | CIN SIT 36
MIL@LAA Brandon Woodruff | MIL START 56 Felix Pena | LAA SIT 43
MIN@NYM Jake Odorizzi | MIN START 53 Noah Syndergaard | NYM START 83
NYY@HOU James Paxton | NYY START 56 Collin McHugh | HOU START 74
OAK@BAL Frankie Montas | OAK START 69 Dan Straily | BAL SIT 38
PIT@CHC Jordan Lyles | PIT SIT 39 Yu Darvish | CHC SIT 48
SD@SF Nick Margevicius | SD START 54 Dereck Rodriguez | SF START 56
SEA@KC Yusei Kikuchi | SEA START 64 Heath Fillmyer | KC SIT 19
TB@CHW Tyler Glasnow | TB START 71 Reynaldo Lopez | CHW SIT 42
TEX@ARI Lance Lynn | TEX SIT 32 Robbie Ray | ARI START 50
WAS@PHI Jeremy Hellickson | WAS SIT 42 Nick Pivetta | PHI SIT 48
PROBABLE PITCHERS - THURSDAY (4/11/19)
GAME VISITING STARTER START/SIT SCORE HOME STARTER START/SIT SCORE
CLE@DET Shane Bieber | CLE START 77 Spencer Turnbull | DET START 61
COL@SF Jon Gray | COL START 64 Jeff Samardzija | SF SIT 47
LAD@STL Walker Buehler | LAD START 76 Michael Wacha | STL SIT 42
MIA@CIN Pablo Lopez | MIA START 53 Sonny Gray | CIN START 52
NYM@ATL Steven Matz | NYM START 54 Kevin Gausman | ATL START 52
OAK@BAL Aaron Brooks | OAK START 55 Dylan Bundy | BAL SIT 42
PIT@CHC Joe Musgrove | PIT START 54 Jose Quintana | CHC START 51
SD@ARI Pedro Avila | SD SIT 44 Zack Godley | ARI SIT 46
SEA@KC Mike Leake | SEA START 55 Jorge Lopez | KC SIT 35
TOR@BOS Aaron Sanchez | TOR SIT 45 Nathan Eovaldi | BOS START 62
PROBABLE PITCHERS - FRIDAY (4/12/19)
GAME VISITING STARTER START/SIT SCORE HOME STARTER START/SIT SCORE
BAL@BOS David Hess | BAL SIT 39 Eduardo Rodriguez | BOS START 57
CHW@NYY Lucas Giolito | CHW SIT 49 J.A. Happ | NYY START 51
CLE@KC Carlos Carrasco | CLE START 85 Brad Keller | KC START 55
COL@SF Chad Bettis | COL START 53 Drew Pomeranz | SF SIT 36
DET@MIN Daniel Norris | DET SIT 37 Michael Pineda | MIN START 64
HOU@SEA Wade Miley | HOU SIT 46 Wade LeBlanc | SEA SIT 46
LAA@CHC Tyler Skaggs | LAA START 53 Cole Hamels | CHC START 52
MIL@LAD Corbin Burnes | MIL START 53 Julio Urias | LAD START 59
NYM@ATL Zack Wheeler | NYM START 74 Kyle Wright | ATL SIT 48
OAK@TEX Mike Fiers | OAK SIT 48 Drew Smyly | TEX SIT 32
PHI@MIA Jake Arrieta | PHI START 59 Sandy Alcantara | MIA SIT 49
PIT@WAS Trevor Williams | PIT SIT 49 Patrick Corbin | WAS START 74
SD@ARI Chris Paddack | SD START 68 Luke Weaver | ARI SIT 43
TB@TOR Ryne Stanek | TB SIT 35 Trent Thornton | TOR SIT 45
PROBABLE PITCHERS - SATURDAY (4/13/19)
GAME VISITING STARTER START/SIT SCORE HOME STARTER START/SIT SCORE
BAL@BOS Andrew Cashner | BAL SIT 25 Rick Porcello | BOS START 56
CHW@NYY Ivan Nova | CHW SIT 33 CC Sabathia | NYY SIT 48
CLE@KC Jefry Rodriguez SIT 39 Homer Bailey | KC SIT 24
COL@SF Kyle Freeland | COL START 69 Madison Bumgarner | SF START 57
DET@MIN Tyson Ross | DET SIT 34 Michael Pineda | MIN START 63
HOU@SEA Justin Verlander | HOU START 79 Felix Hernandez | SEA SIT 29
LAA@CHC Chris Stratton | LAA SIT 33 Kyle Hendricks | CHC START 58
MIL@LAD Zach Davies | MIL SIT 40 Caleb Ferguson SIT 37
NYM@ATL Jason Vargas| NYM SIT 37 Sean Newcomb | ATL SIT 48
OAK@TEX PPD N/A N/A PPD N/A N/A
PHI@MIA Zach Eflin | PHI START 65 Caleb Smith | MIA START 58
PIT@WAS Chris Archer | PIT START 56 Anibal Sanchez | WAS START 59
SD@ARI Matt Strahm | SD SIT 48 Merrill Kelly | ARI START 54
STL@CIN Adam Wainwright | STL SIT 45 Tanner Roark | CIN SIT 45
TB@TOR Blake Snell | TB START 87 Clay Buchholz | TOR SIT 43
PROBABLE PITCHERS - SUNDAY (4/14/19)
GAME VISITING STARTER START/SIT SCORE HOME STARTER START/SIT SCORE
BAL@BOS John Means | BAL SIT 36 David Price | BOS START 74
CHW@NYY Carlos Rodon | CHW START 54 Masahiro Tanaka | NYY START 63
CLE@KC Corey Kluber | CLE START 87 Jake Junis | KC START 51
COL@SF German Marquez | COL START 78 Derek Holland | SF START 56
DET@MIN Jordan Zimmermann | DET SIT 44 Jose Berrios | MIN START 79
HOU@SEA Gerrit Cole | HOU START 80 Marco Gonzales | SEA SIT 46
LAA@CHC PPD N/A N/A PPD N/A N/A
MIL@LAD Jhoulys Chacin | MIL SIT 45 Ross Stripling | LAD START 51
NYM@ATL Jacob deGrom | NYM START 84 Julio Teheran | ATL START 53
OAK@TEX Brett Anderson | OAK SIT 46 Adrian Sampson | TEX SIT 34
PHI@MIA Vince Velasquez | PHI START 57 Jose Urena | MIA SIT 41
PIT@WAS Jameson Taillon | PIT START 61 Max Scherzer | WAS START 87
SD@ARI Eric Lauer | SD SIT 46 Zack Greinke | ARI START 69
STL@CIN Miles Mikolas | STL START 56 Anthony DeSclafani | CIN SIT 44
TB@TOR Charlie Morton | TB START 77 Marcus Stroman | TOR SIT 47

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Points Leagues Waiver Wire Pickups - Week 2

Happy baseball season to all our diamond-dwelling RotoBallers! For the past five months, we’ve settled for pass interferences, technical fouls and busted brackets but now it’s time to pull up our stirrups for summer’s pastime.

One week into the season, the clouds of Opening Day fireworks are starting to subside, and it’s time to begin scrutinizing our teams and their preliminary weaknesses. While patience is an underrated virtue in fantasy, it’s reasonable to consider turning over the bottom of a scuffling roster.

Our points league waiver wire column will default to standard scoring and try to unearth three players under 50% ownership and three players under 25% ownership. For each group, we’ll identify an infielder, outfielder and pitcher. Let’s get hunting!

 

Points League Pickups to Consider

Ketel Marte (2B/SS/OF, ARI) – 41% Owned

Arizona’s offense is off to a blistering start, averaging almost six runs per game. One person of interest is Ketel Marte, whose .290 average and 11 R+RBI have earned him a jump from sixth to second in the batting order. He is a well-rounded player with positional versatility, highly regarded in points league circles.

Marte’s BB/K rate for the past two seasons has been north of 0.65, well above the league average of 0.45. Along with his ability to register double-digit pop with 14 homers in 2018, Marte contributed 26 doubles and 12 triples. The marginal points contribution from his gap ability makes him a much more relevant points league player than in standard formats. Marte’s never profiled as a speedster, but already has two stolen bags and is rarely caught. Without playing time restrictions, Marte is worth broad fantasy consideration while the D-Back bats remain hot.

Dansby Swanson (SS, ATL) – 14% Owned

After struggling through his first two full seasons in the bigs, Dansby Swanson is on a mission to silence critics, slashing .353/.478.765 through 23 plate appearances. He’s launched two home runs and posted a phenomenal .496 wOBA over that span. Is this for real?

For us fantasy critics with chronic short-term memory deficiency, Swanson was the first-overall pick in 2015 and still just 25 years old. He plays excellent defense so while there are some lineup risks as the Braves juggle their starters, he’s likely in the pilot seat for starts. Swanson struggled last year with strikeouts (23% K%) and has yet to develop a consistent approach against breaking balls, but he smacked 14 homers and registered 43 extra-base hits despite hitting just .238. Early signs are encouraging, with Swanson talking a walk per strikeout. A post-hype breakout is certainly possible.

Randal Grichuk (OF, TOR) – 45% Owned

Randal Grichuk was featured in our offseason column on barrel data as a player who consistently hits the ball hard. With 20-plus homers in three straight seasons, the bugaboo on Grichuk has been his inability to make contact and receive regular starts.

The latter issue is now resolved. Grichuk received a five-year, $52 million contract on April 2 while the Blue Jays shipped long-time center fielder Kevin Pillar to San Francisco. Grichuk is now the man in the North. For his part, Grichuk has shown his gratitude by smashing three homers in the early going. He’s hitting a paltry .200, but the .143 BABIP is sure to rise closer to the .303 career rate. Importantly, Grichuk’s walks have increased from 6% to 10%, which is material if sustained. As previously discussed, Grichuk has the batted-ball metrics to be a bonafide slugger. With regular playing time, a run at a career year is highly probable.

Alex Gordon (OF, KC) – 5% Owned

Alex Gordon? No, we promise our readers it’s not 2013. But yes, Alex Gordon has forced himself back in the fantasy discussion with a 1.129 OPS and 16 R+RBI through 27 plate appearances. At 35 years old, Gordon is trying to prove baseball can still be an old man’s game.

Firmly established at third in the order, Gordon and the Royals are currently the AL Central’s most high-powered offense at five runs a game. While his playing time has declined over the past few seasons, we’ll recall Gordon remains a doubles machine, lacing 24 two-baggers in 2018 and averaging 39 in his heyday between 2011-2014. It’s unreasonable to conceive Gordon maintaining his .353 ISO and 5.0 BB/K, but a .188 BABIP will support his current average even as the homers revert to singles and doubles. Yet to steal a base, Gordon is also dependable to challenge double-digit steals each season. Let’s give it up for the old guy!

Matt Shoemaker (SP, TOR) – 42% Owned

Another surprising start in Toronto belongs to Matt Shoemaker. Like Grichuk, Shoemaker had become an afterthought after making only 21 appearances over the past two seasons. He’s started the 2019 campaign hot, firing 14 innings of shutout ball with a 0.50 WHIP. Apparently healthy, Shoemaker is back on the fantasy map.

Prior to arm injuries derailing his promising career, Shoemaker made 71 starts between 2014-2016, recording a 3.80 ERA and 8.0 K/9. In his first two turns, Shoemaker is inducing a tremendous 18% SwStr% by relying on a splitter with a brilliant standardized pitch value of 6.41 (above zero is considered good). While it’s debatable if his endurance can last a full season, Shoemaker is worth riding until he starts fading. Shoemaker’s mettle will be tested with upcoming challenges against Boston and Minnesota. His fantasy ownership will likely skyrocket if he emerges triumphant.

Spencer Turnbull (SP, DET) – 1% Owned

After a mediocre first start on March 30 (five innings pitched, three earned runs), Spencer Turnbull turned it up on April 4, tallying 10 strikeouts and allowing two earned runs in six frames. Owned in just 1% of fantasy leagues, Turnbull’s recent quality start and unintimidating schedule give him deep-league appeal.

At 26 years old, Turnbull enjoyed a brief cup of coffee last season with four appearances. In 2018, he ascended from High-A ball to Triple-A, spending most of his time at Double-A. Through 98 2/3 innings with the Erie SeaWolves, Turnbull fanned minor leagues at 9.6 strikeouts per nine. While the 4.47 ERA wasn’t impressive, a 3.16 FIP gives reassurance that his stuff was effective. He hovers in the mid-90s with his fastball and has generated a 13% whiff rate this season. With matchups upcoming against the Indians and Pirates, Turnbull has an opportunity to make noise within the fantasy community.

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Two-Start Pitcher Streamers for Week 2

Week 1 is almost in the books. We've seen some great pitching performances this week, while also watching a few guys still get the kinks worked out of their system. Now with a week of playing time that actually matters, we can get a better idea of what to expect from the two-start pitchers in Week 2.

The pitchers spotlighted on last week's list still have their second outing coming up, but Brad Peacock (6.2 IP, 5 Ks, 1 R, W) and Caleb Smith (5 IP, 8 Ks, 2 R) got off to great starts this week. Desperation play Drew Smyly on the other hand wasn't so hot, allowing one run over three innings with two strikeouts. Meanwhile, the fourth member of last week's list was just OK, as Steven Matz allowed three runs — one earned — with three strikeouts over 5.1 innings.

While we wait to see how last week's two-start pitchers finish up, let's take a look at this week's batch of two-start streamers.

 

Week 2 Streamers - Under 50% Owned (Kind Of)

Carlos Rodon, CHW - 51% owned

Probable opponents: vs TBR, @ NYY

Yes, yes, I know. Rodon is not under 50 percent owned (barely). But to be fair, he was under 50 percent ownership when I first started researching for this week. That technicality aside, Rodon has looked pretty sharp so far this year. Rodon allowed three runs — two earned — over 5.1 innings in an Opening Day loss, but in his next start at Cleveland he earned the win by allowing just one unearned run over six innings.

The big thing though has been the strikeouts, as Rodon recorded six strikeouts against the Royals and nine against the Indians. Tampa Bay and New York are among the top six teams in the league in batter strikeouts, so these could be a couple of nice opportunities for Rodon. In fact, if Rodon plays well this week owners might want to consider just keeping him on their roster. 

Marco Gonzales, SEA - 37% owned

Probable opponents: @ KCR, vs HOU

Gonzales is one of the few pitchers to have already made three starts in 2019, and he is the only pitcher to have recorded three wins. In all three of his starts, Gonzales has thrown at least five innings while allowing three or fewer runs. In his last start against the Angels on Tuesday, Gonzales allowed one run over 8.1 innings with three strikeouts.

While the innings, wins and low ERA are all positives in Gonzales' favor, owners will be less than impressed with his 5.0 K/9 (11 strikeouts in 19.2 innings). Houston's offense is off to a slow start while Kansas City has been scoring at a decent clip, but Gonzales could still put up solid outings against both. He might not be the hottest pick on this list, but if you're looking for a pitcher with a good chance of keeping your ERA low while adding a couple wins, Gonzales is your guy this week.

 

Week 2 Streamers - Under 25% Owned

Jordan Zimmermann, DET - 16% owned

Probable opponents: vs CLE, @ MIN

The only thing keeping Zimmermann from being 2-0 to start this season is the lack of run support while he's in the game. After his no-no bid on Opening Day, Zimmermann recorded another quality start with one run allowed over 6.2 innings against the Yankees on Tuesday. Zimmermann hasn't been providing many strikeouts (four vs Toronto, six vs New York) but he's been otherwise solid in fantasy.

The biggest detractor from Zimmermann — again — is Detroit's anemic offense, as they are dead last in the majors with 1.71 runs scored per game. If you're in a league that counts quality starts instead of wins, consider grabbing Zimmermann this week. 

Derek Holland - 8% owned

Probable opponents: vs SDP, vs COL

Don't let his 5.00 ERA fool you, Holland is a good streaming option in Week 2. He took the loss in his first start when he allowed three runs over four innings against the Padres, but he looked sharper in his second start against the Dodgers, where he allowed two runs over five innings. What's been nice to see though is the strikeout rate for Holland. With five strikeouts against San Diego and seven against Los Angeles, Holland is 12th in the majors among qualified pitchers with a 12.0 K/9.

Holland will get a rematch against San Diego before taking on Colorado — both teams of which are currently in the bottom 10 in the league in runs scored per game. Holland's start against Colorado should be especially relevant to fantasy owners, as the Rockies are currently third in the majors with 72 batter strikeouts. The ERA might not be great this week, but Holland could have some of the highest strikeout upside in Week 2. 

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Head-to-Head Hitter Streamers & Starts for Week 2

Welcome to the hitting streamers column for the week of 4/8 - 4/15. Whether you're looking to maximize the number of games played, exploit favorable matchups, or fill in for injured players, streaming hitters can be a fruitful strategy for those willing to put in a little work every week.

Keep in mind that this column highlights players owned in fewer than 50% of Yahoo leagues who could present nice streaming options for the upcoming week.

Let's get to it.

 

Bats to Stream and Start in Week 2

Seven Game Weeks: Atlanta, Baltimore, Colorado, Kansas City, Los Angeles Dodgers, Oakland, San Diego, Seattle, San Francisco

The Rangers have a three-game series with the Astros, the Blue Jays have a four-game series with Cleveland, and the Athletics have a four-game series against the Red Sox, which means these teams will face mostly quality pitching in those games and make their hitters less desirable compared to those on the other teams.

 

Stream of the Week

Garrett Hampson (2B/SS, COL) – 39% Owned

Along with Mark Reynolds, Garrett Hampson has also received additional playing time due to the Daniel Murphy injury. Hampson would presumably get most of his playing time against left-handed starters, and the Rockies are facing four lefties next week. He did start in three straight games against Tampa Bay, including two against right-handed starters, however, the Rockies had a DH in that series. How aggressive we should be on Hampson (and Reynolds) depends on their usage over a weekend series with Los Angeles.

If you’re making waiver claims on Sunday, pay attention to how the Rockies structure their lineup over the weekend. They are lined up to face two righties and one lefty, so we should have the opportunity to get a feel for their lineup. Hampson doesn’t have much power, but should be a decent source of batting average and might throw in a steal or two over the week. He could be a good replacement for Trea Turner, whether it be in the short-term for one week, or for the duration of Turner’s injury.

 

Behind the Plate

Chris Iannetta, (C, COL) – 2% Owned

There is one important reason to add Chris Iannetta for the upcoming week. It’s his birthday on Monday! It’s an accepted truth that players hit a home run (or at least get a hit) on their birthday. In all seriousness, Colorado has a seven-game week including three games at home, which makes their hitters enticing as streaming options. The problem, however, is that Rockies players are too highly owned in season-long leagues to stream them. The allure of Coors Field means everyone who might sniff regular playing time is gobbled up on draft day, except their catcher of course.

Iannetta isn’t anything special with the bat, but he’s done two things well throughout his career. One, and this one’s obvious, he hits at Coors Field. Iannetta has a career .878 OPS in 1067 PA in Colorado. Second, he hits lefties. Iannetta has a career .836 OPS and .207 ISO against southpaws over 1281 PA. As of writing this, the Rockies are slated to face four left-handed starters next week. Iannetta probably won’t start against all four because San Francisco is lined up to throw three straight lefties over the weekend, but he’ll likely face three of them and play in 4-5 games this week. For a catcher owned in fewer than 5% of fantasy leagues, Iannetta is about as good as it gets for streaming options.

Also Consider: Omar Narvaez, SEA – 14% Owned, Brian McCann, ATL – 3% Owned

 

At the Corners

Kendrys Morales (1B/DH,OAK) – 4% Owned

A trade from Toronto to Oakland isn’t great for Morales’ long-term fantasy value, but he’ll be happy to don the green-and-gold uniform next week. Oakland has seven games next week, four in Baltimore and three in Texas. Not only are these two of the best hitter’s ballparks in baseball, Baltimore and Texas also have two of the weakest pitching staffs in the majors. Morales is Oakland’s first baseman when facing right-handed pitching, and as of writing this the A’s are only scheduled to face one lefty all week, Drew Smyly.

Morales has a reputation in the fantasy community as being a slow, old, boring veteran who blocks younger, more exciting players. While certain aspects of that may be true, Morales still smokes the ball even at age 35. Last season he had a 92.4 MPH average exit velocity and .526 xSLG, and even though it’s been a small sample size, Morales has a 93.8 MPH average exit velocity thus far in 2019. This type of skillset will really benefit from seven games in hitter havens like Baltimore and Texas, and Morales is available in plenty of leagues.

Mark Reynolds (1B/3B, COL) – 1% Owned

With the injury to Daniel Murphy, Colorado has turned to an old favorite of theirs to fill in at first base in Mark Reynolds. Reynolds put up a monster 30 homer, 97 RBI season for Colorado back in 2017, and had an .803 OPS and .228 ISO in limited playing time last season with Washington. Clearly, there is something left in the tank for the 35-year-old, even if fantasy owners would rather see Garrett Hampson fill in for Murphy.

Reynolds will likely be in the lineup against lefties, which is good news for him since the Rockies are scheduled to face four next week. Reynolds has actually displayed reverse platoon splits over the last two seasons, posting an .843 OPS and .243 ISO against right-handed pitching and a .792 OPS and .171 ISO against left-handed pitching. Still, he’s going to play, and play in Coors Field, which gives Reynolds decent upside for next week.

Also Consider: Ryon Healy (1B/3B, SEA) – 43% Owned, Renato Nunez (3B, BAL) – 1% Owned

 

Up the Middle

Ryan McMahon (1B/2B/3B, COL) – 48% Owned

McMahon is just under the 50% threshold for hitters to stream, and while he’s probably owned in most deeper leagues, it’s worth checking if he’s out there in 10 and 12 team mixed leagues. McMahon was looking like Colorado’s everyday second baseman until the Daniel Murphy injury, and now he appears to be in a three-way mix with Garrett Hampson and Mark Reynolds between first and second base for playing time.

McMahon should play against all right-handed starters and may see a game or two against lefties. Like with Hampson and Reynolds, it’s important to watch Colorado’s lineup over the weekend. That is going to be a big determining factor on who to add. Whoever gets playing time at second and first for Colorado is worth adding for a seven-game week, but we need to get an idea of who is playing and when.

Also Consider: Dansby Swanson (SS, ATL) – 9% Owned

 

In the Outfield

Jay Bruce (OF/1B, SEA) – 26% Owned

Bruce may be just 5-for-28 to start the season, but three of those five hits have left the yard and Bruce has a 40% hard hit in his first eight games. Yes, it’s a very small sample size, but it’s encouraging to see Bruce regain his power after a miserable, injury-riddled 2018 year. The lefty slugger is hitting in a premium lineup spot for Seattle, cleanup behind Mitch Haniger and Domingo Santana.

He’ll also draw just one lefty starter this upcoming week, Wade Miley. Bruce hasn’t been sitting against lefties so far but does have a career .712 OPS and .195 ISO against lefties compared to an .830 OPS and .230 ISO against right-handed pitching. Bruce could be a good source of run production with counting stats over a long week for Seattle.

Ramon Laureano (OF, OAK) – 36% Owned

Laureano has been making highlights with his arm, but this could be the week for his bat to come alive. Laureano has had kind of a rough start to the season, going 5-for-31 with zero walks and 14 strikeouts. The BB:K ratio is uncharacteristically bad for him based on minor league track record, and it’s too early to be overly concerned about it.

Laureano does have two home runs already and has a solid power-speed combination that makes him interesting in standard 5x5 leagues. The biggest strike against Laureano is that he bats eighth, and that’s not changing any time soon, but he could provide a little bit of everything with a great schedule next week.

Also Consider: Cedric Mullins (OF, BAL) – 4% Owned, Robbie Grossman (OF, OAK) – 1% Owned

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Updated Week 1 Start/Sit Matchups - Starting Pitchers

Opening Day is finally here! Welcome back everyone to our starts/sits column for Week 1. We are back again this year with our weekly starting pitcher matchups and recommendations. In case you missed it, this is our sixth year now writing this weekly column, helping fantasy baseball managers pick the best pitchers weekly.

Below are the projected starting pitching matchups for Week 1, which will be updated as rotations are inevitably announced and tweaked. For head-to-head leagues, Week 1 will run from 3/28 through 4/7 (11 days). This column will continue to be updated with the starters for next week once rotations are fully announced.

If you've got any questions about which pitchers can capitalize on a juicy matchup and which ones might be worth putting on the pine against a fierce offense, this is the weekly piece for you. For every week of the fantasy baseball season, we look to analyze all of the projected starting pitcher matchups and put together our optimal lineups. Here at RotoBaller, we believe that it’s key to analyze every SP matchup, each and every week, to help determine which SPs to start/sit and to hopefully find some hidden gems to bolster your teams. Let's set those optimal lineups!

 

SP Matchups & Start/Sit Recommendations

This weekly piece considers the pitcher’s opponents, their career stats against the opponent, some ballpark factors and historical splits. With all of this information, we then provide our start/sit recommendations for each starting pitcher matchup for the approaching week of fantasy baseball.

This column was last updated on Monday, April 3rd, and will be updated daily as more rotations and starters are announced through April 7th.

PROBABLE PITCHERS - THURSDAY (3/28/19)
GAME VISITING STARTER START/SIT HOME STARTER START/SIT
ARI@LAD Zack Greinke | ARI START Hyun-Jin Ryu | LAD START
ATL@PHI Julio Teheran | ATL SIT Aaron Nola | PHI START
BAL@NYY Andrew Cashner | BAL SIT Masahiro Tanaka | NYY START
BOS@SEA Chris Sale | BOS START Marco Gonzales | SEA SIT
CHC@TEX Jon Lester | CHC SIT Mike Minor | TEX SIT
CHW@KC Carlos Rodon | CHW START Brad Keller | KC SIT
CLE@MIN Corey Kluber | CLE START Jose Berrios | MIN START
COL@MIA Kyle Freeland | COL START Jose Urena | MIA SIT
DET@TOR Jordan Zimmermann | DET SIT Marcus Stroman | TOR SIT
HOU@TB Justin Verlander | HOU START Blake Snell | TB START
LAA@OAK Trevor Cahill | LAA START Mike Fiers | OAK SIT
NYM@WAS Jacob deGrom | NYM START Max Scherzer | WAS START
PIT@CIN Jameson Taillon | PIT START Luis Castillo | CIN SIT
SF@SD Madison Bumgarner | SF START Eric Lauer | SD START
STL@MIL Miles Mikolas | STL START Jhoulys Chacin | MIL START
PROBABLE PITCHERS - FRIDAY (3/29/19)
GAME VISITING STARTER START/SIT HOME STARTER START/SIT
ARI@LAD Robbie Ray | ARI START Ross Stripling | LAD START
BOS@SEA Nathan Eovaldi | BOS START Yusei Kikuchi | SEA SIT
COL@MIA German Marquez | COL START Trevor Richards | MIA SIT
DET@TOR Matthew Boyd | DET SIT Matt Shoemaker | TOR SIT
HOU@TB Gerrit Cole | HOU START Charlie Morton | TB START
LAA@OAK Matt Harvey | LAA SIT Marco Estrada | OAK SIT
SF@SD Derek Holland | SF SIT Joey Lucchesi | SD START
STL@MIL Jack Flaherty | STL START Freddy Peralta | MIL SIT
PROBABLE PITCHERS - SATURDAY (3/30/19)
GAME VISITING STARTER START/SIT HOME STARTER START/SIT
ARI@LAD Zack Godley | ARI SIT Kenta Maeda | LAD START
ATL@PHI Bryse Wilson | ATL SIT Nick Pivetta | PHI START
BAL@NYY Nate Karns | BAL SIT James Paxton | NYY START
BOS@SEA Eduardo Rodriguez | BOS START Mike Leake | SEA SIT
CHC@TEX Yu Darvish | CHC START Edinson Volquez | TEX SIT
CHW@KC Reynaldo Lopez | CHW START Jake Junis | KC SIT
CLE@MIN Trevor Bauer | CLE START Jake Odorizzi | MIN SIT
COL@MIA Tyler Anderson | COL SIT Pablo Lopez | MIA START
DET@TOR Spencer Turnbull | DET SIT Aaron Sanchez | TOR SIT
HOU@TB Collin McHugh | HOU START Tyler Glasnow | TB SIT
LAA@OAK Felix Pena | LAA SIT Brett Anderson | OAK SIT
NYM@WAS Noah Syndergaard | NYM START Stephen Strasburg | WAS START
PIT@CIN PPD -- PPD --
SF@SD Dereck Rodriguez | SF SIT Nick Margevicius | SD SIT
STL@MIL Dakota Hudson | STL SIT Brandon Woodruff | MIL SIT
PROBABLE PITCHERS - SUNDAY (3/31/19)
GAME STARTER START/SIT STARTER START/SIT
ARI@LAD Luke Weaver | ARI SIT Walker Buehler | LAD START
ATL@PHI Kyle Wright | ATL SIT Jake Arrieta | PHI START
BAL@NYY Dylan Bundy | BAL SIT J.A. Happ | NYY START
BOS@SEA Rick Porcello | BOS START Wade LeBlanc | SEA SIT
CHC@TEX Cole Hamels | CHC START Lance Lynn | TEX SIT
CHW@KC Lucas Giolito | CHW SIT Jorge Lopez | KC SIT
CLE@MIN Carlos Carrasco | CLE START Michael Pineda | MIN SIT
COL@MIA Jon Gray | COL START Sandy Alcantara | MIA SIT
DET@TOR Matt Moore | DET SIT Trent Thornton | TOR SIT
HOU@TB Wade Miley | HOU START Yonny Chirinos | TB SIT
LAA@OAK Tyler Skaggs | LAA START Frankie Montas | OAK SIT
NYM@WAS Zack Wheeler | NYM START Patrick Corbin | WAS START
PIT@CIN Trevor Williams | PIT START Sonny Gray | CIN SIT
SF@SD Jeff Samardzija | SF SIT Chris Paddack | SD START
STL@MIL Michael Wacha | STL SIT Corbin Burnes | MIL SIT
PROBABLE PITCHERS - MONDAY (4/1/19)
GAME VISITING STARTER START/SIT HOME STARTER START/SIT
ARI@SD Merrill Kelly | ARI SIT Matt Strahm | SD START
BAL@TOR David Hess | BAL SIT Sean Reid-Foley | TOR SIT
BOS@OAK David Price | BOS START Aaron Brooks | OAK SIT
CHC@ATL Kyle Hendricks | CHC START Sean Newcomb | ATL START
CHW@CLE Ivan Nova | CHW SIT Mike Clevinger | CLE START
COL@TB Chad Bettis | COL SIT Ryne Stanek | TB SIT
DET@NYY Tyson Ross | DET SIT Domingo German | NYY START
HOU@TEX Brad Peacock | HOU START Drew Smyly | TEX SIT
LAA@SEA Chris Stratton | LAA SIT Felix Hernandez | SEA SIT
MIL@CIN Zach Davies | MIL SIT Tanner Roark | CIN SIT
NYM@MIA Steven Matz | NYM START Caleb Smith | MIA START
SF@LAD Drew Pomeranz | SF SIT Julio Urias | LAD START
STL@PIT Adam Wainwright | STL SIT Chris Archer | PIT START
PROBABLE PITCHERS - TUESDAY (4/2/19)
GAME VISITING STARTER START/SIT HOME STARTER START/SIT
ARI@SD Zack Greinke | ARI START Eric Lauer | SD SIT
BAL@TOR Andrew Cashner | BAL SIT Marcus Stroman | TOR START
BOS@OAK Chris Sale | BOS START Mike Fiers | OAK SIT
COL@TB Kyle Freeland | COL START Blake Snell | TB START
DET@NYY Jordan Zimmermann | DET SIT Masahiro Tanaka | NYY START
HOU@TEX Justin Verlander | HOU START Shelby Miller | TEX SIT
LAA@SEA Trevor Cahill | LAA SIT Marco Gonzales | SEA START
MIL@CIN Jhoulys Chacin | MIL SIT Anthony DeSclafani | CIN SIT
MIN@KC Jose Berrios| MIN START Brad Keller | KC START
NYM@MIA Jason Vargas | NYM START Jose Urena | MIA SIT
PHI@WAS Zach Eflin | PHI SIT Max Scherzer | WAS START
SF@LAD Madison Bumgarner | SF START Hyun-Jin Ryu | LAD START
PROBABLE PITCHERS - WEDNESDAY (4/3/19)
GAME VISITING STARTER START/SIT HOME STARTER START/SIT
ARI@SD Robbie Ray | ARI START Joey Lucchesi | SD START
BAL@TOR Nate Karns | BAL SIT Matt Shoemaker | TOR START
BOS@OAK Nathan Eovaldi | BOS START Marco Estrada | OAK SIT
CHC@ATL Jon Lester| CHC START Julio Teheran | ATL START
CHW@CLE Carlos Rodon | CHW START Corey Kluber | CLE START
COL@TB German Marquez | COL START Charlie Morton | TB START
DET@NYY Matthew Boyd | DET SIT Jonathan Loaisiga | NYY START
HOU@TEX Gerrit Cole | HOU START Mike Minor | TEX SIT
MIL@CIN Freddy Peralta | MIL SIT Luis Castillo | CIN START
MIN@KC Kyle Gibson | MIN SIT Homer Bailey | KC SIT
NYM@MIA Jacob deGrom | NYM START Trevor Richards | MIA START
PHI@WAS Aaron Nola| PHI START Anibal Sanchez | WAS START
SF@LAD Derek Holland | SF SIT Ross Stripling | LAD START
STL@PIT Miles Mikolas | STL START Jameson Taillon | PIT START
PROBABLE PITCHERS - THURSDAY (4/4/19)
GAME VISITING STARTER START/SIT HOME STARTER START/SIT
BOS@OAK Eduardo Rodriguez | BOS START Brett Anderson | OAK SIT
CHC@ATL Yu Darvish | CHC SIT Max Fried | ATL SIT
CIN@PIT Tyler Mahle | CIN SIT Jordan Lyles | PIT SIT
KC@DET Jake Junis | KC START Spencer Turnbull | DET SIT
NYY@BAL James Paxton | NYY START Alex Cobb | BAL SIT
SD@STL N/A PPD N/A PPD
SEA@CHW N/A PPD N/A PPD
TEX@LAA Edinson Volquez | TEX SIT Matt Harvey | LAA START
TOR@CLE Aaron Sanchez | TOR START Trevor Bauer | CLE START
WAS@NYM Stephen Strasburg | WAS START Noah Syndergaard | NYM START
PROBABLE PITCHERS - FRIDAY (4/5/19)
GAME VISITING STARTER START/SIT HOME STARTER START/SIT
BOS@ARI Rick Porcello | BOS START Zack Godley | ARI SIT
SEA@CHW Yusei Kikuchi | SEA SIT Reynaldo Lopez | CHW START
SD@STL Nick Margevicius | SD SIT Jack Flaherty | STL START
CHC@MIL Jose Quintana | CHC SIT Brandon Woodruff | MIL START
CIN@PIT Sonny Gray | CIN SIT Joe Musgrove | PIT START
LAD@COL Kenta Maeda | LAD START Tyler Anderson | COL SIT
MIA@ATL Pablo Lopez | MIA START Kevin Gausman | ATL START
MIN@PHI Jake Odorizzi | MIN START Nick Pivetta | PHI SIT
OAK@HOU Frankie Montas | OAK SIT Collin McHugh | HOU START
TB@SF Tyler Glasnow | TB START Dereck Rodriguez | SF START
TEX@LAA Lance Lynn | TEX SIT Felix Pena | LAA START
TOR@CLE Trent Thornton | TOR START Shane Bieber | CLE START
PROBABLE PITCHERS - SATURDAY (4/6/19)
GAME VISITING STARTER START/SIT HOME STARTER START/SIT
BOS@ARI David Price | BOS START Luke Weaver | ARI SIT
CHC@MIL Cole Hamels | CHC SIT Corbin Burnes | MIL START
CIN@PIT Tanner Roark | CIN SIT Trevor Williams | PIT START
KC@DET Jorge Lopez | KC START Matt Moore | DET START
LAD@COL Walker Buehler | LAD START Jon Gray | COL SIT
MIA@ATL Sandy Alcantara | MIA START Kyle Wright | ATL START
MIN@PHI Michael Pineda | MIN START Jake Arrieta | PHI START
NYY@BAL J.A. Happ | NYY START Dylan Bundy | BAL SIT
OAK@HOU Aaron Brooks | OAK SIT Wade Miley | HOU START
SD@STL Chris Paddack | SD START Michael Wacha | STL SIT
SEA@CHW Mike Leake | SEA START Lucas Giolito | CHW SIT
TB@SF Ryne Stanek | TB SIT Jeff Samardzija | SF SIT
TEX@LAA Drew Smyly | TEX SIT Tyler Skaggs | LAA START
TOR@CLE Thomas Pannone | TOR SIT Carlos Carrasco | CLE START
WAS@NYM Patrick Corbin | WAS START Steven Matz | NYM START
PROBABLE PITCHERS - SUNDAY (4/7/19)
GAME VISITING STARTER START/SIT HOME STARTER START/SIT
BOS@ARI Hector Velazquez | BOS SIT Merrill Kelly | ARI SIT
CHC@MIL Kyle Hendricks | CHC START Zach Davies | MIL SIT
CIN@PIT Anthony DeSclafani | CIN START Chris Archer | PIT START
KC@DET Brad Keller | KC START Tyson Ross | DET START
LAD@COL Julio Urias | LAD START Chad Bettis | COL SIT
MIA@ATL Caleb Smith | MIA START Sean Newcomb | ATL START
MIN@PHI Jose Berrios | MIN START Zach Eflin | PHI START
NYY@BAL Domingo German | NYY START David Hess | BAL SIT
OAK@HOU Mike Fiers | OAK SIT Brad Peacock | HOU START
SD@STL Matt Strahm | SD START Adam Wainwright | STL SIT
SEA@CHW Wade LeBlanc | SEA START Ivan Nova | CHW SIT
TB@SF Yonny Chirinos | TB START Drew Pomeranz | SF SIT
TEX@LAA Shelby Miller | TEX SIT Chris Stratton | LAA SIT
TOR@CLE Marcus Stroman | TOR START Mike Clevinger | CLE START
WAS@NYM Max Scherzer | WAS START Zack Wheeler | NYM START

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Points Leagues Waiver Wire Pickups for Week 1

It’s here, it’s finally here! Happy baseball season to all our diamond-dwelling RotoBallers. For the past five months, we’ve settled for touchdowns, goals and brackets but now it’s time to bust out our stirrups for summer’s pastime.

With Opening Day in the books, it’s only reasonable to look ahead to the waiver wire for rest-of-season strategizing. Clearly, after one game, it’s entirely rational to extrapolate player values across a full year. In this column, we’ll look at potential waiver gems specific to points league. We’ll utilize the standard scoring format discussed in the offseason primer.

The Week 1 column will resemble a sleeper article. Ample talent was likely left on the wire after draft day. Each week, we’ll unearth three players under 50% ownership and three under 25% ownership. For each group, we’ll identify an infielder, outfielder and pitcher. Let’s get hunting!

Points League Pickups to Consider

 

Kike Hernandez (1B/2B/SS/OF, LAD) - 50% Owned

By the time of this publication, Kike Hernandez will surely be owned in over half of leagues. The 27-year-old led the way as the Dodgers pummeled the Diamondbacks on Opening Day, cranking two homers and driving in three runs. Slated for his first season as a full-time player, Hernandez could offer enticing power and positional infield versatility.

With 5.4% Barrels per PA and a 92.7 FB/LD exit velocity, Hernandez doesn’t jump off the page, but he used his fly ball tendencies to belt 21 dingers and 119 R+RBI in 462 plate appearances last season. Importantly, Hernandez doesn’t strike out a ton (17%) and walks enough to negate that marginal detraction (11% BB%). With his plate discipline and above average xwOBA (.334), Hernandez should be a serviceable offensive contributor all season.

 

Starlin Castro (2B, MIA) - 17% Owned

As Starlin Castro approaches age 30 and wallows in the depths of Miami, he continues his fade into fantasy oblivion. However much of an afterthought Castro has become, he’s aged gracefully in anonymity. 2019 marks Castro’s 10th big league season, and he’s become a bankable middle infield commodity.

In extreme pitcher-friendly Marlins Park, Castro bashed 12 homers and 32 doubles while producing 130 R+RBI in 2018. Usually a swing-happy hitter, he boosted his walk rate from 4.9% to 7.4% year-over-year. With strikeouts static at 19%, the marginal points from free passes are significant. Castro remains in the heart of the Marlins lineup, but despite their woes, the team likely won’t be any worse than last year. Fantasy managers don’t need to watch Miami games to enjoy useful stats.

 

Adam Jones (OF, ARI) - 37% Owned

Old reliable Adam Jones made a strong impression on his new squad, collecting two hits and launching a long ball as the only bright spot for the Diamondbacks on Opening Day. In a thin outfield corps and batting leadoff, Jones appears on pace to log over 580 plate appearances for the 10th consecutive season.

At 33 years old, the flashy appeal of Jones is far in the rearview mirror. However, he’s as consistent as they come. Along with his durability, Jones has surpassed 20 homers and 150 R+RBI in every season but one since 2011. Even as the Orioles cratered and Jones endured a mediocre campaign in 2018, he still batted a respectable .281. Arizona will struggle to win this season, but Jones should remain a rock in the lineup and steady fantasy option.

 

Kevin Pillar (OF, TOR) - 8% Owned

Most experienced fantasy players have ridden the Kevin Pillar streamer bus intermittently across his past four seasons as a full-time player. In terms of real contributions to the Blue Jays, Pillar offers negligible offensive value (89 wRC+), and his excellent defense is what keeps him in the lineup daily.

Fortunately, volume is king in fantasy, and Pillar has recorded over 500 plate appearances every year since 2015. Despite his struggles in the real game, Pillar has been a suitable fantasy piece across his four campaigns, achieving modest pop and speed numbers (50 homers, 68 steals). In a points league, Pillar’s incremental value comes in his gap ability, where he’s roped over 30 doubles in every campaign. While his plate discipline isn’t great and there are concerns of declining defensive ability, Pillar certainly works as a plug-and-play outfielder in deeper formats.

 

Eric Lauer (SP, SD) - 32% Owned

Eric Lauer breezed through the Giants lineup on Opening Day, requiring 70 pitches to fire six innings of shutout ball. After a rough debut last season, Lauer emerged as a reliable arm for the Friars and will be counted on to lead a young rotation in 2019 as a 23-year-old.

Lauer’s results last year weren’t eye-popping, but he certainly straightened the ship in his final seven starts by finding success in a slider (3.15 ERA, 8.7 K/9). Lauer was kept under wraps in Spring Training, but the Padres had enough confidence for him to start the season opener. While innings limits could impact his fantasy value down the stretch, he’s currently a lock to take the bump every fifth day. With favorable matchups against Arizona and San Francisco over the next two weeks, he’s approved for streaming.

 

Taylor Rogers (RP, MIN) - 22% Owned

Taylor Rogers emerged from Opening Day as the apparent leader of the Twins’ closer-by-committee, locking down a multi-inning save ahead of Trevor May and Blake Parker. Even prior to the positive development, Rogers deserved standalone fantasy recognition as a relief option with tantalizing strikeout potential.

Rogers boasts a three-pitch portfolio headlined by a killer mid-90s sinker. In 2018, he registered a 10.0 K/9 that was supported by a 27% SwStr%. Of all pitchers that faced over 250 batters last year, his xwOBA of .247 was tenth lowest in baseball, ahead of touted closers Wade Davis, Kirby Yates, and Felipe Vazquez. Rogers has the arsenal to finish games and should anchor favorable K/BB ratios season-long. With bullpen unpredictability rampant in today’s game, Rogers is the type of pitcher to target over mediocre designated closers.

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Two-Start Pitcher Streamers for Week 1

The 2019 season is officially underway! After months of preparing for drafts, now owners will turn their attention to finding the best values off the waiver wire.

Owners looking for two-start pitchers in this first week of the season are going to have to dig their way through the back end of team's rotations. While this means that there won't be many worthwhile options in most formats this week, the ones who should provide value will be available in a majority of leagues. Only two of the pitchers on this week's list are owned in more than 10 percent of leagues, with Brad Peacock having the highest ownership percentage at 45 percent.

Don't expect dominant performances out of these guys, but they should still provide enough value to make a difference in Week 1. Let's take a look at who you should target to start off 2019.

 

Week 1 Streamers - Under 50% Owned

Brad Peacock, HOU - 45% owned

Probable opponents: @ TEX, vs OAK

After pitching almost exclusively out of the bullpen last season, Peacock is back in Houston's starting five this year and he is slated to make his first start at Texas on April 1 (no joke). While his splits last year as a reliever weren't great (7.36 ERA and 1.226 WHIP in 7.1 innings against Texas, 6.75 ERA and 1.800 WHIP over 6.2 innings against Oakland), as a starter in 2017 Peacock posted a combined 2.23 ERA and 1.206 WHIP over six starts against the Rangers and Athletics. After ending a solid spring with a 2.76 ERA, 1.041 WHIP and 7.7 K/9, Peacock looks to be a solid option for owners in Week 1.

Steven Matz, NYM - 37% owned

Probable opponents: @ MIA, vs WAS

Matz will be one of the bigger high-risk, high-reward two-start options in fantasy this week. He has a pretty nice match-up against Miami in his first start of the year, but then he will have to face Juan Soto and the Nationals at the end of the week. Matz bounced back from a disappointing 2017 campaign with a 3.97 ERA, 1.247 WHIP and a career-best 8.9 K/9 over 30 starts last year. In three starts against Miami last season, Matz posted a 1.53 ERA with 18 strikeouts over 17.2 innings. He posted a better strikeout rate with 31 punchouts over 26 innings against Washington, but he was also rocked to the tune of a 5.88 ERA across six starts. If owners are willing to gamble on Matz against the Nationals, he should provide plenty of strikeouts this week.

 

Under 25% Owned

Caleb Smith, MIA - 6% owned

Probable opponents: vs NYM, @ ATL

Coming back from an injury-shortened season, Smith put up solid strikeout numbers this spring with a 12.8 K/9 to go along with a 4.05 ERA over 13. 1 innings. Smith's first start since the end of last June will come at home on Monday when he faces off against the Mets. He had a pair of successful outings against New York last season, posting a 3.09 ERA with 15 strikeouts in 11.2 innings. Smith faced the Braves only once in 2018 before undergoing season-ending surgery, suffering the loss after allowing just two runs over 5.1 innings while striking out five. If Miami's offense can put up some run support, Smith could be in line for a nice performance in Week 1. Regardless of whether the Marlins can or (more likely) cannot score, Smith should provide some good strikeout numbers with an ERA that won't kill you.

Drew Smyly, TEX - 1% owned

Probable opponents: vs HOU, @ LAA

When Smyly steps on the mound on Monday, it will be the first time he's thrown a major league pitch since 2016. Smyly will be thrown into the fire for his 2019 debut, as he has to face the reigning AL West champs at home. Both the Astros and Angels are different teams from when Smyly last saw them, and he only made one start against each of them in his last season in the minors. So owners will have to look to his spring numbers for some idea of what to hope for. Over 13 innings this spring, Smyly allowed seven runs for a 4.85 ERA, but he also struck out 16 batters in that span. It's going to be a coin flip as to what owners can expect out of Smyly this week, as he should only be used as a desperation play. If you're willing to risk a hit to your ERA, Smyly could provide some decent strikeout value this week. 

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Head-to-Head Hitter Streamers & Starts Week 1

Welcome back to fantasy baseball, and welcome to the hitting streamers column for the week of 4/1 - 4/7.

Whether you're looking to maximize the number of games played, exploit favorable matchups, or fill in for injured players, streaming hitters can be a fruitful strategy for those willing to put in a little work every week.

Keep in mind that this column highlights players owned in fewer than 50% of Yahoo leagues who could present nice streaming options for the upcoming week.

 

Bats to Stream and Start in Week 1

Seven Game Weeks: Boston Red Sox, Oakland Athletics, Cincinnati Reds, Texas Rangers, Toronto Blue Jays

The Rangers have a three-game series with the Astros, the Blue Jays have a four-game series with Cleveland, and the Athletics have a four-game series against the Red Sox, which means these teams will face mostly quality pitching in those games and make their hitters less desirable compared to those on the other teams.

 

Stream of the Week

Kike Hernandez (1B/2B/SS/OF, LAD) 26% owned

The Dodgers announced that Hernandez will move out of his super-utility role and serve as the primary second baseman to begin the season. This promotion comes off the heels of a career year for Hernandez, who cut his strikeout rate to 17% last season and posted career highs in home runs (21), OPS (.806), and ISO (.214). Hernandez also did his best to shed his reputation as a lefty-masher, as he put up a higher OPS (.833) against righties compared to lefties (.780).

This week Hernandez starts off with a three-game series at home against the Giants, and while the Giants haven’t announced their full rotation order yet, Hernandez will at least face one lefty in Madison Bumgarner in this series. He may also face another, as the Giants will have Derek Holland and Drew Pomeranz in their rotation to start the season. The real treat comes later in the week, as the Dodgers have a three-game weekend series in Coors Field. Hernandez is lined up to face one lefty in this series, Tyler Anderson, and will also face a weaker right-hander in Chad Bettis. His multi-position eligibility is just gravy on top of these matchups, making him the top stream of the week.

 

Behind the Plate

Robinson Chirinos (C, HOU) 26% owned

It’s slim pickings for those in need of a catcher, but if forced to rely on the waiver wire then Chirinos isn’t a bad choice. He starts his week with a three-game series in Texas against three questionable pitchers, including two left-handers. Chirinos has hit lefties well throughout his career, owning a .835 OPS and .226 ISO against southpaws all time. He then gets three games at home against Oakland, and while their rotation hasn’t been set yet, none of Oakland’s potential starting pitchers should scare anyone off Chirinos.

Also Consider: Tucker Barnhart (C/1B, CIN) 32% owned

At the Corners

Jake Bauers (1B/OF, CLE) 40% owned

Bauers didn’t exactly light the world on fire during his 2018 debut with Tampa Bay. The former top prospect put up a .201 AVG and .700 OPS in 388 PA, and struck out a whopping 26.8% of the time. His minor league profile was much more favorable, as Bauers consistently maintained a strikeout rate below 22% and an OBP above .350. Perhaps Bauers was overpowered by major league pitching last season, but he’ll get a good chance to find his bearings next week as Cleveland has six games at home, two against the White Sox and four against the Blue Jays. The only lefties he’d potentially face are Carlos Rodon or Clayton Richard, neither of which strike fear in the hearts of opposing hitters. Bauers is better in points and OBP formats but is a fine stream in any league type.

Greg Bird (1B, NYY) 11% owned

Bird is getting a chance to prove his worth thanks to Aaron Hicks’ injury, and he couldn’t ask for a better opportunity as the Yankees take on Detroit and Baltimore next week, two of the worst pitching staffs in all of baseball. One would think Bird, being a towering, left-handed first baseman, would feast on right-handed pitching. That hasn’t been the case so far in his career, as he has a better OPS against lefties (.809) than against righties (.715). With under 500 career PA against righties, it seems like a possible fluke that Bird has only hit .205 against them, as his power production has been similar against both right- and left-handed pitching. The only lefty Bird will have to face next week is Matt Boyd, and he might take a seat in that game, but otherwise, he’ll get his chance to shine in a prime spot. He’s the type of guy that could be picked up to stream and stay on your team long term, or he could fall flat on his face and wind up in the minors in a month. Early in the season is the perfect time to take a shot on a player like this.

Also Consider: Justin Bour (1B, LAA) 9% owned, Mitch Moreland (1B, BOS) 3% owned, Hanley Ramirez (1B/DH, CLE) (Utility-only in some formats) 1% owned, Rowdy Tellez (1B, TOR) 1% owned

Up the Middle

Troy Tulowitzki (SS, NYY) 11% owned

Kike Hernandez would be the top option at either second base or shortstop, but in the event that he’s owned Troy Tulowitzki could be a decent alternative. Tulowitzki missed all of 2018 with injury, and he hasn’t really been a good option since 2016 when he posted 24 home runs and a .761 OPS with Toronto. It’s clear that Tulowitzki is past his prime, and it seems unlikely that he’ll last all year as the Yankees’ shortstop, but for one week he’s a fine streamer considering the matchups. The Yankees start their week with a three-game home series against Detroit, and finish it with a three-game series in Baltimore. The best starting pitcher he’ll face would be someone like Dylan Bundy or Matt Boyd. Even though Tulowitzki will bat ninth most of the time, he should at least get decent run production since the lineup will turn over behind him. He is not a long-term option at shortstop or middle infielder, but for next week he’s a good streaming option.

Chad Pinder (2B/3B/OF, OAK) 8% owned

The Athletics made a trade for Kendrys Morales to fill in for the injured Matt Olson, however, Pinder should be in the lineup against left-handed pitching. The Athletics are currently lined up to face four left-handers next week, and Pinder has a career .812 OPS against southpaws all time. He isn’t helpless against righties either and actually has a higher ISO (.202) against righties compared to lefties (.181). Watch how Oakland’s lineup shakes out this weekend before committing to Pinder all week, but he’s a good player to add in H2H leagues with daily lineup changes.

Also Consider: Brandon Lowe (2B/OF, TB) 11% owned, Zack Cozart (2B/3B/SS, LAA) 9% owned

In the Outfield

Randal Grichuk (OF, TOR) 45% owned

Grichuk flashed monster power in 2018, posting a .257 ISO and 25 home runs in 462 PA in his first season with Toronto. A four-game series in Cleveland might be tough, but Grichuk could do plenty of damage at home against Baltimore and the trio of Mike Wright, David Hess, and Andrew Cashner. All three of those pitchers had a HR/9 above 1.25 and a FIP above 4.80 last season. For those who desire power there may not be a better option on waivers this week.

Brett Gardner (OF, NYY) 19% owned

Despite posting his lowest batting average in a decade last year, Garnder will still hit leadoff for the Yankees to begin the season. Even with some disappointing results in 2018, the veteran outfielder did some things right last year, including a 10.7% walk rate and double-digit home runs and steals for the fourth time in the last five seasons. Perhaps most impressive is Gardner’s 94th percentile sprint speed at age 35. He is a good short-term option in points and OBP leagues thanks to his walk rate, and could provide a steal or two next week.

Kole Calhoun (OF, LAA) 4% owned

The Angels have some nice matchups this week thanks to a four-game home series against the Rangers, who have one of the worst rotations in the majors. Calhoun is batting leadoff for the Angels, and despite being left-handed he does not sit against left-handed pitching nor does he perform significantly worse against southpaws. He should get plenty of pitches to hit and have lots of run-scoring opportunities with Mike Trout hitting directly behind him. Calhoun is a good alternative in leagues where Randal Grichuk and Brett Gardner are not available.

Also Consider: Teoscar Hernandez (OF, TOR) 5% owned, Scott Schebler (OF, CIN) 4% owned, Leonys Martin (OF, CLE) 1% owned

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Updated Catcher Rankings - H2H Points Leagues

As we enter the final stretch for drafting it is time to take a look at the latest iteration of points leagues rankings from our amazing hard working rankings staff. Few things in fantasy baseball are more miserable for many than discussing catchers, with perhaps just injuries and suspensions taking the crown. However, getting the right catcher can be important as there can be wild swings in the points to plate appearance ratios among the position. Fortunately, in most points leagues you only need to go 12 deep because this is a position where it gets extremely messy once you get past the top-10.

Points leagues are always tough to assess because there are so many different variations that can be used. Many leagues use fairly similar settings, with slight variations when it comes to stolen bases or walks. However, some leagues really like to put a twist on certain elements. Therefore, it is crucial to know your league and then to use these rankings as a base to adjust off to optimize them for your draft.

Keep an eye out for all other positions to follow and without any more delay, let's take a look at the 2019 catcher points league rankings for March.

 

Catcher Tiered Ranks - H2H Points Leagues (March)

In case you missed it, our very own "Big Pick Nick" Mariano was recently named the #1 overall most accurate industry expert ranker for the 2018 season. You can see his secret sauce below! Additionally, industry legend Scott Engel recently joined the RotoBaller team and provides his insights as well. Scott is an FSWA Hall Of Famer and award winner.

Ranking Tier Player Name Position Nick JB Bill
1 1 J.T. Realmuto C/1B 93 88 114
2 1 Gary Sanchez C 99 112 122
3 2 Wilson Ramos C 139 163 176
4 2 Yadier Molina C 182 175 170
5 2 Buster Posey C/1B 232 162 152
6 2 Yasmani Grandal C 204 182 185
7 3 Willson Contreras C 205 180 200
8 3 Danny Jansen C 263 248 326
9 4 Welington Castillo C 274 293 #N/A
10 4 Tucker Barnhart C/1B 308 307 #N/A
11 4 Francisco Cervelli C 307 312 324
12 4 Yan Gomes C 366 285 #N/A
13 4 Mike Zunino C 360 300 #N/A
14 5 Jorge Alfaro C 362 305 335
15 5 Francisco Mejia C 419 279 330
16 5 Willians Astudillo C 485 272 337
17 5 Robinson Chirinos C 440 319 #N/A
18 5 Isiah Kiner-Falefa C/2B/3B 475 342 323
19 5 Austin Hedges C 452 325 #N/A
20 5 Kurt Suzuki C 402 377 #N/A
21 5 Austin Barnes C 490 373 352
22 5 Omar Narvaez C 468 372 #N/A
23 5 John Hicks C/1B 466 382 #N/A
24 6 Jonathan Lucroy C 517 385 #N/A
25 6 Tyler Flowers C 554 357 #N/A
26 6 Brian McCann C #N/A 458 #N/A
27 6 Russell Martin C #N/A 461 #N/A
28 6 Grayson Greiner C #N/A 469 #N/A
29 6 Elias Diaz C 556 390 #N/A
30 6 Chris Iannetta C 568 387 #N/A
31 6 Blake Swihart C/OF #N/A 498 #N/A
32 6 Carson Kelly C 593 424 #N/A
33 6 Jason Castro C #N/A 528 #N/A
34 6 Mitch Garver C 624 432 #N/A
35 6 Manny Pina C #N/A 529 #N/A
36 6 Christian Vazquez C 604 457 #N/A
37 6 Chance Sisco C 615 472 #N/A
38 6 Max Stassi C #N/A 545 #N/A
39 7 Austin Romine C #N/A 548 #N/A
40 7 Martin Maldonado C 571 530 #N/A
41 7 Kevin Plawecki C #N/A 554 #N/A
42 7 Tom Murphy C #N/A 555 #N/A
43 7 James McCann C #N/A 558 #N/A
44 7 Matt Wieters C #N/A 565 #N/A
45 7 Travis D'Arnaud C #N/A 575 #N/A
46 7 Nick Hundley C #N/A 580 #N/A
47 7 Victor Caratini C/1B #N/A 585 #N/A
48 7 Austin Wynns C #N/A 588 #N/A
49 7 Cam Gallagher C 588 #N/A #N/A
50 7 Taylor Ward C 598 #N/A #N/A

 

Catcher Rankings Analysis - H2H Points Leagues (March)

Tier One

Realmuto is maybe the safest catcher this season, and Sanchez may be the one with the most upside. Realmuto's value is spread evenly across all of the elements that make up scoring points in this format. He does not excel at any one thing but he is also not dreadful at anything. Sanchez's power makes him the big upside play here. However, some of that power is negated but having the highest strikeout percentage at the position (24%). Whether they are a tier to unto themselves is a question mark for me.

Tier Two

This tier should arguably be one big tier with the group above. Ramos has the batting average and power upside, but just needs to stay on the field. Molina is much like Realmuto in that he just does everything well without excelling at any one thing. By the same vein he also does not have anything that lets him down either.

Posey might be the surprise candidate to jump back to the top of the rankings. His BB:K ratio is good enough that it negates the negative effect of his waning power. Grandal is the lowest of the bunch as he will likely rival Sanchez for strikeouts, but does not have the same huge power upside that Sanchez has. If anyone of these six should be in a separate tier then it may be Grandal.

Tier Three

Contreras is certainly interesting but his lack of true power upside combined with a strikeout rate which ranks among the worst at the position limits his upside. Jansen is an unknown commodity, but he plays in a good hitters park and comes into the majors having posted a 12.5% walk rate and just a 13.5% strikeout rate in Triple-A last season.

Tier Four

Barnhart, Cervelli and Castillo are all fairly similar in their value. All have some injury risk but all should give fairly good returns on a per PA basis. The odd one out for me is Gomes. The Nationals catcher doesn't strikeout out as much as the others in this tier. but he also does not really walk and he lacks power or doubles upside.

Tier Five and below

The stand out names once we reach this point are Suzuki, Narvaez, Lucroy and Chirinos. Suzuki has value thanks to his low strikeout rate, while Narvaez and Lucroy should have decent BB:K ratios. Chirinos is the power contributor of this group, and he plays in the best lineup. However, his strikeout floor keeps him down in tier five and away from the safer guys in the tier above.

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Updated First Base Rankings - H2H Points Leagues

The RotoBaller Head-to-Head rankings review series winds down with a view of first base through the lens of our three-man expert panel of fantasy accuracy champ Nick Mariano and premier staffers JB Branson and Bill Dubiel.

The top tier could conceivably have a new kingpin at any point, and not all of our experts believe it is a true three-man top of the crop. The star power drops off quite quickly at this position, yet it does go deep in terms of power and RBI production.

There are more veteran question marks that permeate the position as we start to move into the middle and lower tiers. There is a not of young, promising upside performers here, and the guys at the top are simply steady in higher level productivity.

 

First Base Tiered Ranks - H2H Points Leagues (March)

In case you missed it, our very own "Big Pick Nick" Mariano was recently named the #1 overall most accurate industry expert ranker for the 2018 season. You can see his secret sauce below! Additionally, industry legend Scott Engel recently joined the RotoBaller team and provides his insights as well. Scott is an FSWA Hall Of Famer and award winner.

Ranking Tier Player Name Position Nick JB Bill
1 1 Paul Goldschmidt 1B 24 23 16
2 1 Freddie Freeman 1B 26 24 21
3 1 Anthony Rizzo 1B 35 26 26
4 2 Joey Votto 1B 40 33 23
5 2 Rhys Hoskins 1B/OF 39 43 39
6 2 Cody Bellinger 1B/OF 47 48 47
7 2 Matt Carpenter 1B/2B/3B 73 42 38
8 3 Daniel Murphy 1B/2B 77 71 72
9 3 Jose Abreu 1B 70 85 98
10 3 Robinson Cano 1B/2B 97 83 82
11 3 Edwin Encarnacion 1B 94 114 67
12 3 Jesus Aguilar 1B 100 90 90
13 3 Carlos Santana 1B/3B 88 94 105
14 3 J.T. Realmuto C/1B 93 88 114
15 4 Travis Shaw 1B/2B/3B 117 91 97
16 4 Matt Olson 1B 102 109 111
17 4 Joey Gallo 3B/1B/OF 90 122 158
18 4 Max Muncy 1B/2B/3B 162 111 150
19 4 Miguel Cabrera 1B 120 160 155
20 4 Ryan Braun 1B/OF 141 165 131
21 4 Eric Hosmer 1B 161 135 147
22 4 Ian Desmond OF/1B 152 149 143
23 4 Jurickson Profar SS/3B/1B/2B 196 130 125
24 5 Buster Posey C/1B 232 162 152
25 5 Luke Voit 1B 184 189 174
26 5 Justin Smoak 1B 157 228 169
27 5 Yuli Gurriel 1B/2B/3B 214 214 172
28 5 Jose Martinez OF/1B 271 192 140
29 5 Tyler White 1B 165 236 229
30 6 Trey Mancini 1B/OF 198 230 230
31 6 Josh Bell 1B 215 247 242
32 6 C.J. Cron 1B 259 233 220
33 6 Ryan Zimmerman 1B 201 297 238
34 6 Brandon Belt 1B/OF 236 322 218
35 6 Jake Bauers 1B/OF 261 255 279
36 6 Pete Alonso 1B 331 241 236
37 6 Miguel Sano 1B/3B 347 288 179
38 6 Marwin Gonzalez 1B/2B/SS/OF 245 256 316
39 6 Wilmer Flores 1B/3B/2B 191 396 #N/A
40 6 Justin Bour 1B 285 347 290
41 6 Tucker Barnhart C/1B 308 307 #N/A
42 6 Ryan O'Hearn 1B 348 344 314
43 7 Yonder Alonso 1B 448 267 295
44 7 Ehire Adrianza SS/1B/3B #N/A #N/A 342
45 7 Jay Bruce OF/1B 415 282 #N/A
46 7 Kendrys Morales 1B 262 502 297
47 7 Niko Goodrum 1B/2B/3B/SS/OF 370 380 346
48 7 Ryon Healy 1B 432 421 270
49 7 Adam Duvall 1B/OF 473 #N/A 317
50 7 Ronald Guzman 1B 367 427 #N/A
51 7 Albert Pujols 1B 409 522 284
52 7 Eric Thames 1B/OF 436 409 372
53 7 Ryan McMahon 1B/3B/2B 411 401 #N/A
54 7 Mitch Moreland 1B 364 516 340
55 7 John Hicks C/1B 466 382 #N/A
56 7 Colin Moran 3B/1B 459 445 394
57 7 Steve Pearce 1B/2B/OF 455 523 350
58 7 Neil Walker 1B/2B 413 494 #N/A
59 8 Tyler Austin 1B 503 492 367
60 8 Chris Davis 1B 442 486 #N/A
61 8 Rowdy Tellez 1B 482 #N/A #N/A
62 8 Greg Bird 1B 460 515 #N/A
63 8 Dan Vogelbach 1B 445 576 #N/A
64 8 Jedd Gyorko 1B/3B 518 559 #N/A
65 8 Matt Adams 1B 584 536 #N/A
66 8 Mark Canha 1B #N/A 566 #N/A
67 8 A.J. Reed 1B 567 #N/A #N/A
68 8 Nate Lowe 1B 621 532 #N/A
69 8 Victor Caratini C/1B #N/A 585 #N/A
70 8 Miguel Rojas 1B/2B/3B/SS #N/A 592 #N/A
71 8 David Freese 1B/3B 608 #N/A #N/A
72 8 Chris Shaw 1B 646 #N/A #N/A

 

Rankings Analysis – Top Tiers

Tier One

Paul Goldschmidt unanimously still leads our first base rankings, but not by much. He is no longer a first round pick, but a move to St. Louis should keep his mostly impressive all-around output stable, even if he does not quite give you the significant steals advantage he used to.

Freddie Freeman may have not delivered his best season yet in terms of power, and at this point next year, some of our analysts could be considering Freeman over Goldschmidt in any format.

Nick clearly believes that Anthony Rizzo does not belong in the top tier. His homer and run totals last year were disappointing, but JB and Bill are maintaining their high-levels of faith in him.

Tier Two

Nick is definitely not on board with keeping Joey Votto at the top of this tier and I have to agree with him. The overall production was down in a big way last year, and at his advancing age with suspicions of lingering back issues by some fantasy analysts, I am not willing to invest here either.

We could see an improved batting average from Rhys Hoskins this year, which could naturally lead to better H2H Points output overall.

Nick seems to be very skeptical that Matt Carpenter can repeat his power production from last season. He has him nearly 40 spots behind Bill’s overall placement.

 

Rankings Analysis - Middle Tiers

Tier Three

Mariano is more confident in a power rebound from Jose Abreu. JB is definitely down on Edwin Encarnacion and I agree with him. The bat speed is slowing and the plate discipline numbers have been on a downward trend.

There is some skepticism on Jesus Aguilar in some fantasy circles, but it’s not outstanding among our crew.

Bill is not buying into a better season from Carlos Santana. But from an H2H perspective, the strikeout and walk rates were still very good last season. Maybe that is why Nick has him rated higher than the rest of the panel.

Tier Four

Our panel had a lot of confidence in Matt Olson, as did the A’s, before his hamate bone injury struck him down during the opening series in Japan.

Obviously, Nick is willing to take into account Joey Gallo’s pure on-base skills more than Bill. The strikeouts are no doubt frustrating, but he does not hurt you here as much as in 5x5 batting average formats.

JB believes Max Muncy is for real, and the Dodgers’ newfound slugger can also compensate for some Ks with on-base abilities.

Miguel Cabrera had a strong spring, which offers hope for Mariano’s elevated rating of him.

Ryan Braun can still help owners in H2H points formats when he is available, but JB may be expecting a sharper decline this season.

Tier Five

Bill is the biggest believer in Luke Voit. He will continue to wage a war with Greg Bird for ultimate playing time while Aaron Hicks is out. He should still play regularly shuttling between first base and DH until the official decision comes when Hicks returns.

There was a drop in the power department that really turned off JB to Justin Smoak, but the K/BB numbers may remain solid enough to not warrant the overall ranking more than 60 spots behind Nick.

Jose Martinez has really made his mark as a pure hitter and does have legit H2H appeal when he is in the lineup. But as Nick indicates with his lowered ranking, where is the consistent playing time going to come from?

Tyler White did display some prodigious power potential and showed he could offset his strikeouts with some walks last season. Yet JB and Bill seemingly need to be more convinced that he will be impactful over a full regular season.

 

Rankings Analysis – Lower Tiers

Tier Six

This is a thick tier with some interesting names. Trey Mancini was considerably less efficient for H2H purposes in 2018, and the strikeout totals serve up serious alarm bells. C.J. Cron has great power output for this tier, but you will also pay dearly in some other negative departments.

Nick is still maintaining some confidence in Ryan Zimmerman, and will obviously live with what he provides when he is actually active. Jake Bauers has an alluring power/speed combo, but the strikeout numbers drop him to this tier and cramps his upside a bit in the H2H format.

I am with JB on the higher ranking of Peter Alonso. He could really soar among anyone in this group, with the potential of a .280 average and 25-plus homers.

Justin Bour certainly does not win the favor of JB in the move to the American League. At this point, he will give you a good amount of power and on-base skills to offset the strikeouts. Ryan O’Hearn has some power promise but his splits indicate he may not be a consistent starter. He only had two extra-base hits in 37 at-bats versus lefties last year.

Tier Seven

It appears Nick is still not a believer in Yonder Alonso’s newfound power over the past two seasons. He has Alonso over 170 spots lower than JB.

Only JB seems to believe that a move out of New York might somewhat boost the outlook of Jay Bruce.

Maybe it’s because of age, but JB is seriously down on Kendrys Morales.

As Bill indicates, Albert Pujols is still viable as a late flier. He had a good spring and will continue to get some consistent playing time.

If Eric Thames gets pushed back into regular at-bats at any point, he showed in 2017 that he can hit homers in bunches, and also can draw some walks, but the results were often all-or-nothing, too.

Ryan McMahon has not backed down in his battle for playing time with Garrett Hampson this spring, and he has some nifty appeal by this point of the first base pool.

Tier Eight

Chris Davis maybe has some lingering appeal in name only, but he did not impress this spring and was likely passed by in many drafts.

Blue Jays prospect Rowdy Tellez displayed impressive power this spring and could be back from the minors at some point later this year.

If Dan Vogelbach gets more playing time at some point this season, he does have on-base and RBI promise.

Mark Canha appears to be in line for more quality playing time with Olson out, but he will only be part of a platoon with Jurickson Profar.

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Updated Shortstop Rankings - H2H Points Leagues

The RotoBaller Head-to-Head rankings review series continues with a view of shortstop through the lens of our three-man expert panel of fantasy accuracy champ Nick Mariano and premier staffers JB Branson and Bill Dubiel.

The position is well-stocked with useful starters, but as you get deeper, the H2H negatives will get exposed more. Near the top, you can tolerate strikeouts from a Trevor Story, but there will not be enough total bases and run production to offset the Ks as you get deeper into the field. There is a lot of power and speed here, but you will have to decide how much you want to pay to offset the downsides as you consider who you may want to target, especially in an auction.

There are three guys in a tier by themselves at the top. If you do not grab a starter by the fifth tier you are really asking for trouble this season.

 

Shortstop Tiered Ranks - H2H Points Leagues (March)

In case you missed it, our very own "Big Pick Nick" Mariano was recently named the #1 overall most accurate industry expert ranker for the 2018 season. You can see his secret sauce below! Additionally, industry legend Scott Engel recently joined the RotoBaller team and provides his insights as well. Scott is an FSWA Hall Of Famer and award winner.

Rank Tier Player Name Position Nick JB Bill Auction $
1 1 Alex Bregman 3B/SS 15 11 7 39
2 1 Francisco Lindor SS 14 20 13 37
3 1 Manny Machado 3B/SS 18 19 18 34
4 2 Trea Turner SS 19 27 28 30
5 2 Trevor Story SS 22 31 30 29
6 2 Javier Baez 2B/SS/3B 53 40 49 20
7 2 Xander Bogaerts SS 54 49 48 20
8 2 Carlos Correa SS 50 51 55 19
9 3 Jean Segura SS 63 61 73 17
10 3 Corey Seager SS 86 68 74 17
11 3 Gleyber Torres 2B/SS 82 98 102 16
12 3 Jose Peraza 2B/SS 112 96 93 13
13 3 Adalberto Mondesi 2B/SS 59 79 194 11
14 4 Jonathan Villar 2B/SS 105 108 160 10
15 4 Elvis Andrus SS 155 139 134 9
16 4 Jurickson Profar SS/3B/1B/2B 196 130 125 9
17 4 Andrelton Simmons SS 176 161 121 8
18 4 Tim Anderson SS 150 140 175 7
19 4 Amed Rosario SS 188 184 189 6
20 4 Garrett Hampson 2B/SS 213 178 192 5
21 5 Marcus Semien SS 224 198 173 5
22 5 Paul DeJong SS 181 207 212 5
23 5 Eduardo Escobar SS/3B 231 191 199 4
24 5 Chris Taylor 2B/SS/OF 249 187 208 4
25 5 Joey Wendle 2B/3B/SS/OF 244 212 201 4
26 5 Ketel Marte SS 239 197 222 3
27 5 Jorge Polanco SS 178 242 268 2
28 6 Asdrubal Cabrera SS/2B/3B 207 281 #N/A 1
29 6 Marwin Gonzalez 1B/2B/SS/OF 245 256 316 1
30 6 Lourdes Gurriel Jr. 2B/SS 305 245 #N/A 1
31 6 Willy Adames SS 336 266 332 1
32 6 Johan Camargo 2B/3B/SS 400 332 258 1
33 6 Ehire Adrianza SS/1B/3B #N/A #N/A 342 1
34 7 Didi Gregorius SS 381 337 313 1
35 7 Fernando Tatis Jr. SS 352 336 #N/A 1
36 7 Niko Goodrum 1B/2B/3B/SS/OF 370 380 346 1
37 7 Orlando Arcia SS 355 383 #N/A 1
38 7 Brandon Crawford SS 356 416 364 1
39 7 Scott Kingery SS/3B/OF 394 392 359 1
40 7 Troy Tulowitzki SS 375 423 347 1
41 7 Nick Ahmed SS 424 437 303 1
42 7 Kike Hernandez 2B/SS/OF 435 343 #N/A 1
43 7 Dansby Swanson SS 401 430 362 1
44 7 Addison Russell SS 421 #N/A #N/A 1
45 7 Franklin Barreto SS 429 482 363 1
46 7 Brendan Rodgers SS 481 415 395 1
47 7 J.P. Crawford SS 372 505 #N/A 1
48 7 Aledmys Diaz SS #N/A 442 #N/A 1
49 7 Zack Cozart SS/2B/3B 476 438 #N/A 1
50 8 Freddy Galvis SS 391 538 #N/A 1
51 8 Hernan Perez 2B/3B/OF/SS 551 393 #N/A 1
52 8 Matt Duffy SS/3B 513 436 #N/A 1
53 8 Tim Beckham SS/3B 451 543 #N/A 1
54 8 Yairo Munoz 2B/3B/SS/OF 545 467 #N/A 1
55 8 Bo Bichette SS #N/A 517 #N/A 1
56 8 Daniel Robertson SS 579 460 #N/A 1
57 8 Chad Pinder SS/2B/OF 600 452 #N/A 1
58 8 Brad Miller SS 539 #N/A #N/A 1
59 8 Tyler Saladino 2B/SS 549 #N/A #N/A 1
60 8 Yangervis Solarte 2B/3B/SS 627 483 #N/A 1
61 8 Jordy Mercer SS #N/A 562 #N/A 1
62 8 Erik Gonzalez SS #N/A 568 #N/A 1
63 8 Kevin Newman SS #N/A 574 #N/A 1
64 8 J.T. Riddle SS 577 #N/A #N/A 1
65 8 Jose Iglesias SS 578 #N/A #N/A 1
66 8 Richie Martin SS #N/A 579 #N/A 1
67 8 Miguel Rojas 1B/2B/3B/SS #N/A 592 #N/A 1
68 8 Tyler Wade SS 595 #N/A #N/A 1
69 8 Nick Gordon SS 596 #N/A #N/A 1

 

Rankings Analysis – Top Tiers

Tier One

The first tier is an exclusive one, but not everyone agrees on who should be ranked first among the star-studded trio of Alex Bregman, Francisco Lindor and Manny Machado. Even though Lindor is going to start the season on the injured list, Nick veers away from the pack and has him tops at the position. Either this is the kinda stuff that will make Nick a No. 1 accuracy ranker again, or will just put him third in 2019 behind JB and Bill. Nick seems to be less concerned than the others about a slow start once Lindor returns to action.

The points output could be lessened some for Manny Machado, who unanimously now appears in the bottom spot of the first tier. Playing outside Camden Yards for a full season will not boost his offensive game, especially in points formats. But he does not quite fall out of anyone’s Top 20 here, and he is ranked just ahead of Lindor overall for JB. The six-spot overall divide on Lindor between Nick and JB shows that a consensus of experts is not quite on the same page when it comes to recovering from an injury. Every player heals their own unique pace, and if you go with Nick’s estimation, you are taking a risk, but one that could pay off handsomely if not much time is missed and Lindor starts hot upon his return.

Tier Two

All of our experts unanimously have Trea Turner as the leader of the second group, with Nick clearly ahead of our other panelists by at least eight spots in the overall ranks. Turner will not hit leadoff, though, so that could mean a slight decrease in steals and maybe an uptick in RBIs. It’s something to keep in mind when making a close decision between Turner and another player. Nick is also a bit higher on Trevor Story than the rest of the group. The strikeouts are an obvious concern, but there is enough speed and power, plus the Coors factor, to balance things out. But Mariano is less forgiving to Javier Baez, who also fans at an alarming rate. Nick has Baez 53rd overall, 13 spots behind JB.

Tier Three

Bill is lower than the rest of the group on Jean Segura, who has moved to Philadelphia. His contact rates have continued to improve, though, and the shift to a friendlier hitter’s park can only help his outlook. Nick prefers Gleyber Torres the most in our group. He can seemingly only get better after a very impressive age 21 season and he is playing in a very comfortable home park. Bill is incredibly low on Aldaberto Mondesi, ranking him an astonishing 194th overall. Looks like Bill may not expect much from the speedster except the steals and there is not enough else otherwise for him to join the fantasy conga line to his steals.

 

Rankings Analysis – Middle Tiers

Tier Four

We are getting an inclination that Bill is either punting steals or is just skeptical on some of the speed specialists, as he has Jonathan Villar at 160 overall, over 50 spots lower than the rest of the panel. Maybe he also has his 2017 flop of a season still fresh in mind instead of how he played after moving to the AL last year. Nick seems to have less confidence than the rest that we will continue to see more power from Elvis Andrus or that his speed will return. Nick does not seem to be a believer in the versatile Jurickson Profar either, but the power and speed combo is very enticing. As with Andrus, some are skeptical about power remaining part of the profile. He also was not caught on any stealing attempts last season. Andrelton Simmons does not get enough respect, but Bill is giving it to him here. He is also the lowest on Tim Anderson, who has the power and speed but also a big gaping hole in his bat and he is still learning how to take a walk. All of our experts have Amed Rosario in the 180s, as the upside is apparent. He was much less of a H2H headache over the final two months of 2018, when the good really started to outweigh the negatives.

Tier Five

Nick is less impressed with Marcus Semien than the rest of the guys, although the power/speed combo is pretty reliable. Paul DeJong is a concern with his K/BB rate, but Mariano seems to believe he will improve in those regards. Eduardo Escobar improved his walk rate last year and impressed with power enough for JB and Bill. Joey Wendle is one of my favorite value guys. He does strike out a lot but can potentially compensate well enough in other areas. Ketel Marte makes good contact and will maintain playing time despite Arizona’s recent addition of Adam Jones. His 28 games played at SS last year keep him in the mix at the position, and you’ll enjoy his versatility at this point.

 

Rankings Analysis – Lower Tiers

Tier Six

Asdrubal Cabrera is very serviceable at this point in any format, but Bill is not buying in. He is also not a fan of Lourdes Gurriel, likely because the amount of strikeouts was so high last year while he did not walk and failed to sprinkle in a few extra steals like he did in the minors. JB is willing to take on Willy Adames more than the rest of the panel. There will certainly be struggles to get on base at times despite the pop and speed combo. Johan Camargo may not qualify at SS in some leagues, but if he does, there is some on-base promise for middle infield depth by this point.

Tier Seven

If you take Didi Gregorious here, you should get him back in July or August, according to the latest reports. I stash him for the stretch run by this point, why not? Niko Goodrum offers an alluring dual package of pop and speed, but the strikeout numbers are definitely a big negative. Scott Kingery has not played well in the spring and that could hurt his outlook for playing time. Bill seems to have the most confidence that Troy Tulowitzki has a little bit left. He is also the most optimistic on Nick Ahmed, who is more known for his defense, but can provide some power. JB is the highest on Kike (Enrique) Hernandez, as he trimmed his strikeout rate last season. Brendan Rodgers has so much potential, but his path to playing time is blocked by Story In Colorado.

Tier Eight

Freddy Galvis will continue to play while Devon Travis recovers from a leg injury. Tim Beckham did look pretty good in Seattle’s opening series and still has some promise when you get this deep at the position. You will likely not see Bo Bichette until later in the year, if at all this season. Jose Iglesias will play regularly for a month or so to start the season for Cincinnati, and there is some speed there, but not much else.

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Updated Starting Pitcher Rankings - H2H Points Leagues

We are continuing our updated analysis of points league tiered rankings with a final look at starting pitchers. In H2H points leagues, starting pitchers are the lifeblood of a fantasy team. The more innings and strikeouts a starter can rack up, the further it carries your team toward a championship.

There is a solid core of SP at the top that are sure to fly off draft boards much earlier than in roto leagues. While you don't necessarily need to have an ace in the first round or two, you will need to make sure that your later selections are on the reliable end. Less-enticing pitchers such as Jose Quintana, Rick Porcello, Zack Godley, or Trevor Williams could be solid rotation pieces, while breakout candidates like Luis Castillo, Nick Pivetta, or Nathan Eovaldi should be discounted a bit.

If you are relatively new to points leagues, you need to pay close attention to the difference between these rankings and that of standard 5x5 roto formats. In a points system, you need to account for walk and strikeout rates while de-emphasizing steals and saves that are so valuable in roto. Using RotoBaller ranks gives you a considerable advantage over the rest of your league which will likely run off of a standard rankings list. Get to know the overvalued and undervalued players to dominate your points league!

 

Starting Pitcher Tiered Ranks - H2H Points Leagues (March)

In case you missed it, our very own "Big Pick Nick" Mariano was recently named the #1 overall most accurate industry expert ranker for the 2018 season. You can see his secret sauce below! Additionally, industry legend Scott Engel recently joined the RotoBaller team and provides his insights as well. Scott is an FSWA Hall Of Famer and award winner.

Rank Tier Player Name Position Nick JB Bill Auction $
1 1 Max Scherzer SP 3 2 4 44
2 1 Jacob deGrom SP 5 6 6 41
3 1 Chris Sale SP 6 5 9 40
4 1 Justin Verlander SP 8 9 14 37
5 1 Corey Kluber SP 17 12 10 36
6 2 Gerrit Cole SP 13 17 22 34
7 2 Aaron Nola SP 25 10 19 32
8 2 Trevor Bauer SP 10 15 33 31
9 2 Blake Snell SP 23 18 24 30
10 2 Carlos Carrasco SP 20 21 27 29
11 2 Noah Syndergaard SP 21 32 43 28
12 2 Walker Buehler SP 33 28 42 27
13 3 Patrick Corbin SP 42 25 44 24
14 3 James Paxton SP 41 41 37 24
15 3 Stephen Strasburg SP 46 45 45 23
16 3 Zack Greinke SP 45 50 46 22
17 3 Luis Severino SP 44 37 61 21
18 3 Jameson Taillon SP 52 57 57 20
19 4 Clayton Kershaw SP 79 67 25 20
20 4 German Marquez SP 58 64 50 19
21 4 Mike Clevinger SP 51 55 68 19
22 4 David Price SP 64 56 56 19
23 4 Jack Flaherty SP 65 63 53 19
24 4 Zack Wheeler SP 57 60 69 17
25 4 Jose Berrios SP 74 70 58 17
26 4 Miles Mikolas SP 66 72 80 17
27 4 Masahiro Tanaka SP 84 107 100 16
28 4 J.A. Happ SP 91 103 99 16
29 5 Kyle Hendricks SP 78 113 103 15
30 5 Mike Foltynewicz SP 118 99 83 15
31 5 Charlie Morton SP 127 82 92 14
32 5 Madison Bumgarner SP 143 89 104 14
33 5 Chris Archer SP 135 102 116 14
34 5 Luis Castillo SP 125 133 129 12
35 5 Kyle Freeland SP 148 129 115 11
36 5 Yu Darvish SP 113 134 148 10
37 5 Nick Pivetta SP 134 145 133 9
38 5 Rick Porcello SP 122 159 138 9
39 6 Rich Hill SP 124 151 165 9
40 6 Cole Hamels SP 142 156 144 9
41 6 Robbie Ray SP 133 150 164 8
42 6 Eduardo Rodriguez SP 140 127 181 8
43 6 Nathan Eovaldi SP 132 144 177 8
44 6 Jon Gray SP 179 158 118 7
45 7 Andrew Heaney SP 170 128 183 6
46 7 Dallas Keuchel SP 187 157 145 6
47 7 Hyun-Jin Ryu SP 145 186 #N/A 6
48 7 Shane Bieber SP 158 154 186 6
49 7 Collin McHugh SP 119 211 178 5
50 7 Alex Reyes SP/RP 240 196 95 5
51 7 Carlos Martinez SP 211 173 153 5
52 7 Jose Quintana SP 177 174 197 5
53 7 Kenta Maeda SP 156 188 217 5
54 7 Ross Stripling SP 136 185 240 5
55 7 Jake Arrieta SP 164 202 209 4
56 7 Jon Lester SP 180 201 198 4
57 7 Tyler Glasnow SP 190 153 239 4
58 7 Sean Newcomb SP 220 172 196 4
59 8 Marco Gonzales SP 189 229 195 4
60 8 Tyler Skaggs SP 166 203 245 3
61 8 Alex Wood SP 212 204 202 3
62 8 Zack Godley SP 221 221 188 3
63 8 Yusei Kikuchi SP 154 190 289 3
64 8 Anibal Sanchez SP 149 232 269 3
65 8 Brad Peacock RP/SP 235 303 #N/A 3
66 8 Joe Musgrove SP 195 222 259 2
67 8 Kyle Gibson SP 250 237 193 2
68 9 Kevin Gausman SP 218 215 248 2
69 9 Dereck Rodriguez SP 230 250 215 2
70 9 Joey Lucchesi SP 208 209 285 2
71 9 Mike Minor SP 226 257 223 2
72 9 Michael Fulmer SP 194 286 233 2
73 9 Josh James SP 296 194 226 2
74 9 Steven Matz SP 242 225 252 1
75 9 Julio Urias SP 270 226 308 1
76 9 Jhoulys Chacin SP 202 261 277 1
77 9 Carlos Rodon SP 251 254 254 1
78 9 Jimmy Nelson SP 193 251 321 1
79 9 Matthew Boyd SP 229 276 263 1
80 10 Trevor Williams SP 257 262 250 1
81 10 Reynaldo Lopez SP 241 259 293 1
82 10 Jesus Luzardo SP 223 243 331 1
83 10 Marcus Stroman SP 297 249 276 1
84 10 Mike Soroka SP 275 269 281 1
85 10 Dylan Bundy SP 254 274 302 1
86 10 Julio Teheran SP 295 268 267 1
87 10 Derek Holland SP 255 330 261 1
88 10 Sonny Gray SP 298 275 #N/A 1
89 11 Chase Anderson SP 280 313 274 1
90 11 Jake Junis SP 327 289 266 1
91 11 Mike Fiers SP 281 296 306 1
92 11 Aaron Sanchez SP 293 299 #N/A 1
93 11 Luke Weaver SP 264 333 #N/A 1
94 11 Trevor Cahill SP 294 331 278 1
95 11 Forrest Whitley SP 289 263 358 1
96 11 Vince Velasquez SP 291 318 312 1
97 11 Freddy Peralta SP 277 320 329 1
98 11 Matt Strahm RP/SP 276 340 311 1
99 11 Trevor Richards SP 316 317 304 1
100 11 Brandon Woodruff SP 303 326 #N/A 1
101 11 CC Sabathia SP 315 366 273 1
102 12 Jose Urena SP 279 358 #N/A 1
103 12 Michael Wacha SP 317 271 370 1
104 12 Michael Pineda SP 323 329 #N/A 1
105 12 Danny Duffy SP 292 334 353 1
106 12 Martin Perez SP 328 #N/A #N/A 1
107 12 Corbin Burnes SP/RP 353 302 341 1
108 12 Caleb Smith SP 287 369 343 1
109 12 Tanner Roark SP 359 359 282 1
110 12 Sandy Alcantara SP 302 378 327 1
111 12 Chris Paddack SP 322 352 #N/A 1
112 12 Zach Eflin SP 343 308 378 1
113 12 Tyler Anderson SP 314 399 318 1
114 12 Jeff Samardzija SP 299 367 366 1
115 12 Brad Keller SP 330 368 356 1
116 12 Jake Odorizzi SP 379 327 357 1
117 12 Matt Harvey SP 341 341 382 1
118 12 Lucas Giolito SP 311 412 345 1
119 12 Framber Valdez SP 286 426 #N/A 1
120 12 Lance Lynn SP 342 362 371 1
121 12 Seth Lugo SP/RP 357 418 305 1
122 12 Touki Toussaint SP 388 335 #N/A 1
123 13 Pablo Lopez SP 332 402 351 1
124 13 Ryan Yarbrough SP 405 321 361 1
125 13 Clay Buchholz SP 339 395 355 1
126 13 Robbie Erlin SP 320 410 #N/A 1
127 13 Merrill Kelly SP 321 417 #N/A 1
128 13 Justus Sheffield SP 358 381 #N/A 1
129 13 Wade Miley SP 351 391 #N/A 1
130 13 Anthony DeSclafani SP 377 345 393 1
131 13 Dinelson Lamet SP 431 #N/A 319 1
132 13 Felix Hernandez SP 404 379 349 1
133 13 Antonio Senzatela SP 378 #N/A #N/A 1
134 13 Jordan Montgomery SP 384 #N/A #N/A 1
135 13 Mike Leake SP 324 501 328 1
136 14 Jason Vargas SP 368 405 #N/A 1
137 14 Ivan Nova SP 335 490 338 1
138 14 Dan Straily SP 396 #N/A #N/A 1
139 14 Taijuan Walker SP 441 #N/A 354 1
140 14 Jeremy Hellickson SP 382 419 397 1
141 14 Brent Honeywell SP 470 439 320 1
142 14 Matt Shoemaker SP 406 420 #N/A 1
143 14 Alex Cobb SP 386 446 #N/A 1
144 14 Marco Estrada SP 318 519 #N/A 1
145 14 Domingo German SP 412 431 #N/A 1
146 14 Wade LeBlanc SP 374 506 388 1
147 14 Gio Gonzalez SP 541 371 380 1
148 14 Nick Kingham SP 403 504 386 1
149 14 Kyle Wright SP 423 453 #N/A 1
150 14 Wei-Yin Chen SP 319 557 #N/A 1
151 14 Joe Ross SP 504 434 390 1
152 14 Wily Peralta SP/RP 537 408 383 1
153 14 Diego Castillo RP/SP 420 471 #N/A 1
154 14 Adam Wainwright SP 510 #N/A 389 1
155 14 Jonathan Loaisiga SP 408 503 #N/A 1
156 14 Ervin Santana SP #N/A 456 #N/A 1
157 15 Chris Stratton SP 522 #N/A 391 1
158 15 Yonny Chirinos SP 512 413 #N/A 1
159 15 Mitch Keller SP #N/A 468 #N/A 1
160 15 Robert Gsellman SP/RP 546 #N/A 392 1
161 15 Jaime Barria SP 533 407 #N/A 1
162 15 Danny Salazar SP 456 509 #N/A 1
163 15 Ryan Borucki SP 534 524 396 1
164 15 Chris Devenski SP/RP 487 #N/A #N/A 1
165 15 Drew Smyly SP 535 447 #N/A 1
166 15 Tyler Beede SP 493 #N/A #N/A 1
167 15 Dylan Cease SP #N/A 495 #N/A 1
168 15 Jon Duplantier SP #N/A 496 #N/A 1
169 15 Felix Pena RP/SP 514 600 381 1
170 15 Daniel Norris SP 500 #N/A #N/A 1
171 15 Tyson Ross SP 553 454 #N/A 1
172 15 Edinson Volquez SP 506 #N/A #N/A 1
173 15 Luiz Gohara SP 558 464 #N/A 1
174 15 Matt Moore SP 511 #N/A #N/A 1
175 15 Daniel Mengden SP 572 451 #N/A 1
176 15 Drew Pomeranz SP 557 477 #N/A 1
177 15 Andrew Suarez SP 570 465 #N/A 1
178 15 Zach Davies SP 527 521 #N/A 1
179 15 Jake Faria SP 543 527 #N/A 1
180 15 Eric Lauer SP 587 488 #N/A 1
181 15 Logan Allen SP #N/A 542 #N/A 1
182 16 Adam Conley SP/RP 524 569 #N/A 1
183 16 Tyler Mahle SP 630 473 #N/A 1
184 16 Fernando Romero SP 566 537 #N/A 1
185 16 Sean Reid-Foley SP #N/A 552 #N/A 1
186 16 Jordan Zimmermann SP 540 572 #N/A 1
187 16 Amir Garrett SP 559 #N/A #N/A 1
188 16 Jerad Eickhoff SP 631 489 #N/A 1
189 16 Ian Kennedy SP 560 #N/A #N/A 1
190 16 Brandon Finnegan SP 573 #N/A #N/A 1
191 16 John Gant SP 625 531 #N/A 1
192 16 Max Fried SP 576 581 #N/A 1
193 16 Dylan Floro SP/RP 583 #N/A #N/A 1
194 16 Nick Tropeano SP 586 #N/A #N/A 1
195 16 Shelby Miller SP #N/A 587 #N/A 1
196 16 Mike Montgomery SP/RP 591 #N/A #N/A 1
197 16 Daniel Ponce de Leon SP 636 551 #N/A 1
198 16 A.J. Puk SP 594 #N/A #N/A 1
199 16 Tyler Chatwood SP 597 #N/A #N/A 1
200 16 Taylor Widener SP 603 #N/A #N/A 1
201 16 Jharel Cotton SP 605 #N/A #N/A 1
202 16 Manny Banuelos SP 606 #N/A #N/A 1
203 16 Adalberto Mejia SP 609 #N/A #N/A 1
204 16 Andrew Cashner RP/SP 613 #N/A #N/A 1
205 16 Dylan Covey SP 614 #N/A #N/A 1
206 16 Thomas Pannone SP 618 #N/A #N/A 1
207 16 Bartolo Colon SP 628 #N/A #N/A 1
208 16 Junior Guerra SP 632 #N/A #N/A 1
209 16 Joe Biagini SP/RP 637 #N/A #N/A 1
210 16 Francis Martes SP 647 #N/A #N/A 1

 

Rankings Analysis - Top Tiers

Tier One

Scherzer is the unanimous SP1 in pretty much all formats, no arguments there. It may be interesting to note that while deGrom is second in our rankings and typically comes off the board either second or third behind Sale, he finished behind both Verlander and Kluber in total points last year. The difference came down to record, as the Mets weren't able to do him right in terms of run support, as a 10-9 record can attest to. It's a matter of splitting hairs between all these top tier arms, so the edge should go to the starter you feel has the best chance to surpass 200 innings again and be backed by a decent offense. In that vein, Kluber could see negative regression as the Indians' lineup isn't quite what it used to be. He is as consistent as they come, but this is the deciding factor when our rankers placed him at the bottom of tier one.

Tier Two

It's unusual to see such a (relatively) wide discrepancy between rankers near the top but Aaron Nola and Trevor Bauer have some wide variations. Nick has Bauer ranked as his SP5, all the way up to 10th overall on his rankings despite the fact he finished as the 16th-highest point-scorer among SP last season. Conversely, Bill has him ranked 33 overall.

Aaron Nola breaks the top 10 for JB, but Nick has him as his 10th SP (25 overall). Again, Nick is going against last year's data which placed Nola as the fifth-highest pitcher in points leagues, but these are projections not recaps, so his forward-thinking logic must assume a full year of health for Bauer will cause his higher strikeout rate to result in a big jump in value.

Walker Buehler rounds out the top 12 starting pitchers but it is risky to take him ahead of some of the following names in tier three since it's assumed he could be capped around the sixth inning of some games. Nothing has been set in stone but many are optimistic he will be encouraged to reach 200 IP.

Tier Three

If you've read David Emerick's excellent series on finding the next "elite" starting pitcher, or his Bold Predictions, you know he is high on Patrick Corbin. JB is on board as well, ranking him above even the mighty Thor. Why not? Corbin followed up his dominant first half of 2018 with an even lower ERA in the second half (3.01) and a better K-BB% of 27%. The move to Washington is not friendlier in terms of home park, as Washington ranked 13th vs LHB and 14th vs RHB in terms of Runs Factor and was 14th and 15th in HR Factor, while Arizona and its new humidor fell down to the low 30s. The long ball wasn't a big problem for Corbin and all his peripherals suggest the 29-year-old could establish himself as a dependable arm for the foreseeable future.

Jameson Taillon might be undervalued in this format as the 18th SP on the board. While the pitchers ahead of him generally have a longer track record and better name recognition, injury concerns about for the likes of Stephen Strasburg, James Paxton, and of course Luis Severino.

 

Rankings Analysis - Middle Tiers

Tier Four

Let's start with the fact that Bill has Clayton Kershaw ranked 25th overall (among all players, not just SP) while JB and Nick have him 67 and 79 respectively. If he finds his way to the mound by the end of April, he could return great value. Health questions aside, his K rate has been dropping since 2015, down to 23.9% last season over 161 1/3 IP. Kershaw would need to avoid the IL for the remainder of the year, jump back up closer to 10 K/9 and hang around long enough to see his win count get to the mid-teens. I'm not saying it can't happen but in a format where longevity and consistency matters, I'll take the seccurity of Mike Clevinger instead.

Miles Mikolas and his 18.1% strikeout rate don't seem suited for points leagues, or fantasy in general. His absurdly low 3.6% walk rate, 2.83 ERA, 1.07 and 18 wins from a year ago beg to differ, though. Mikolas is the classic ground ball specialist who is an innings-eater - dependable and just the kind of guy you want as your SP2 if you choose to grab an ace early and then wait it out for your next pitcher. He could also be paired with a high-upside arm like teammate Jack Flaherty or German Marquez, who each carry a bit more risk of negative regression despite tantalizing upside.

Tier Five

Speaking of risk, Mike Foltynewicz will not be in the rotation to start the season but is already set to begin a rehab assignment on April 4. There is a draft/buy-low window here for a player that, even if he does decline from last year, has continued to increase both his whiff rates and ground ball percentage. The control isn't impeccable (9.1% BB%) which is another reason he is available outside the top 30 SP.

Nick is decidedly down on Charlie Morton compared to his compadres. Morton finished as the 19th-highest point scorer among starters last year but no longer has the Astros offense to back him up. Then again, this is the same Rays team that helped Blake Snell to 21 victories last year. Well, not exactly the same but close enough. Park factors don't bode as worse for Morton so it is likely the prospect of facing the Murderers Row lineups of the Yankees and Red Sox more frequently that led to the lower rank. Although he does get the Orioles and Jays more frequently as well...

Nobody comes at a greater discount than Kyle Freeland, who outscored all but 11 other starters last year. Even if his 82.8% strand rate and low-for-anywhere-but-especially-Coors-Field 8.5% HR/FB rate do regress, he is a good bet to approach 200 innings again and earn somewhere in the neighborhood of 15 wins. Don't be too scared in this format to slot him at the end of your rotation.

 

Rankings Analysis - Lower Tiers

Tier Six

The potential breakout of Eduardo Rodriguez or the boring floor of Cole Hamels? That's a decision fantasy owners will have to make once they get to the sixth tier. Our rankers split the decision on this one but this author is a believer in E-Rod after glowing spring reports about his stuff, namely a developing cutter that could lead to a jump in strikeout rate if he can be more aggressive early in counts. Hamels is being undervalued based on his age but showed no signs of slowing down last year and now dwells in a friendlier league and home park than when he was in Arlington.

Tier Seven

If you're ready to take some risks, a pair of Cards lie in waiting. Carlos Martinez is probably not going to debut until May, so stash him only if you can afford the roster spot or have an IL spot available. Alex Reyes is not joining the rotation any time soon, so he is best used as a high-end reliever based on strikeout ability. His probable lack of wins or saves should handicap his value in all formats, so don't feel compelled to spend a pick on him inside the top 200 for non-keeper leagues. Bill is more than bullish on the young potential stud but his draft capital simply isn't anywhere that high.

Two of my favorite sleepers reside in this tier. One, Tyler Glasnow, has been bandied about all offseason by experts based on his pedigree, overpowering fastball that ranks in the 94th percentile, and progress from the second half of 2018 after moving to Tampa. The other, Sean Newcomb, went from hot prospect to forgotten man. With everyone glowing about Kyle Wright and Bryse Wilson joining the Braves' rotation, while Ian Anderson, Mike Soroka, and Max Fried lie in wait, Newcomb is flying under the radar despite already having a rotation spot locked up long ago. Like Glasnow, his control is still an issue, but he could be one adjustment away from making major strides. He certainly has the capability to rack up strikeouts and wins already.

Tier Eight and Above

Some arms to watch in the latter portion of points league drafts or to monitor on waivers include: Yusei Kikuchi, Brad Peacock, Kyle Gibson, Joey Lucchesi, Steven Matz, Trevor Williams, Julio Teheran, Trevor Richards, and Vince Velasquez.

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Updated Third Base Rankings - H2H Points Leagues

We are continuing our updated analysis of points league tiered rankings with the hot corner. Third base has a treasure trove of fantasy stars in the making, if things break right of course.

If you are relatively new to points leagues, you need to pay close attention to the difference between these rankings and that of standard 5x5 roto formats. In a points system, you need to account for walk and strikeout rates while de-emphasizing steals and saves that are so valuable in roto.

These rankings are a much different variation than roto leagues because of this overlooked detail. Using RotoBaller ranks gives you a considerable advantage over the rest of your league which will likely run off of a standard rankings list. Get to know the overvalued and undervalued players to dominate your points league!

 

Third Base Tiered Ranks - H2H Points Leagues (March)

In case you missed it, our very own "Big Pick Nick" Mariano was recently named the #1 overall most accurate industry expert ranker for the 2018 season. You can see his secret sauce below! Additionally, industry legend Scott Engel recently joined the RotoBaller team and provides his insights as well. Scott is an FSWA Hall Of Famer and award winner.

Rank Tier Player Name Position Nick JB Bill
1 1 Jose Ramirez 2B/3B 4 4 3
2 1 Nolan Arenado 3B 7 8 8
3 1 Alex Bregman 3B/SS 15 11 7
4 1 Manny Machado 3B/SS 18 19 18
5 2 Kris Bryant 3B/OF 32 39 32
6 2 Anthony Rendon 3B 38 35 35
7 2 Javier Baez 2B/SS/3B 53 40 49
8 2 Matt Carpenter 1B/2B/3B 73 42 38
9 3 Eugenio Suarez 3B 43 52 60
10 3 Vladimir Guerrero Jr. 3B 55 59 65
11 3 Justin Turner 3B 72 62 59
12 3 Josh Donaldson 3B 75 76 75
13 3 Miguel Andujar 3B 98 92 86
14 3 Carlos Santana 1B/3B 88 94 105
15 4 Travis Shaw 1B/2B/3B 117 91 97
16 4 Mike Moustakas 3B 104 124 124
17 4 Wil Myers 3B/OF 108 116 142
18 4 Joey Gallo 3B/1B/OF 90 122 158
19 4 Matt Chapman 3B 109 131 136
20 4 Max Muncy 1B/2B/3B 162 111 150
21 5 Jurickson Profar SS/3B/1B/2B 196 130 125
22 5 Rafael Devers 3B 151 176 180
23 5 Yuli Gurriel 1B/2B/3B 214 214 172
24 5 Eduardo Escobar SS/3B 231 191 199
25 5 Joey Wendle 2B/3B/SS/OF 244 212 201
26 6 Nick Senzel 2B/3B/OF 253 216 #N/A
27 6 Asdrubal Cabrera SS/2B/3B 207 281 #N/A
28 6 Ian Happ 3B/OF 269 244 224
29 6 Maikel Franco 3B 265 306 190
30 7 Jake Lamb 3B 237 264 283
31 7 Miguel Sano 1B/3B 347 288 179
32 7 Brian Anderson 3B/OF 273 277 272
33 7 Kyle Seager 3B 345 283 211
34 7 Wilmer Flores 1B/3B/2B 191 396 #N/A
35 7 Jeimer Candelario 3B 334 351 291
36 7 Evan Longoria 3B 340 316 #N/A
37 7 Johan Camargo 2B/3B/SS 400 332 258
38 7 Ehire Adrianza SS/1B/3B #N/A #N/A 342
39 7 Niko Goodrum 1B/2B/3B/SS/OF 370 380 346
40 7 Jung Ho Kang 3B 282 444 398
41 7 Isiah Kiner-Falefa C/2B/3B 475 342 323
42 7 Scott Kingery SS/3B/OF 394 392 359
43 7 Ryan McMahon 1B/3B/2B 411 401 #N/A
44 7 Yandy Diaz 3B 390 459 374
45 7 Eduardo Nunez 2B/3B 477 406 368
46 7 Yolmer Sanchez 2B/3B 497 478 300
47 8 Colin Moran 3B/1B 459 445 394
48 8 Zack Cozart SS/2B/3B 476 438 #N/A
49 8 Renato Nunez 3B 486 435 #N/A
50 8 Hernan Perez 2B/3B/OF/SS 551 393 #N/A
51 8 Matt Duffy SS/3B 513 436 #N/A
52 8 Todd Frazier 3B 447 510 #N/A
53 8 David Fletcher 3B 457 508 #N/A
54 8 Brock Holt 2B/3B/OF 548 534 399
55 8 Tim Beckham SS/3B 451 543 #N/A
56 8 Yairo Munoz 2B/3B/SS/OF 545 467 #N/A
57 8 Matt Davidson 3B 521 #N/A #N/A
58 8 Martin Prado 3B 523 #N/A #N/A
59 8 Jedd Gyorko 1B/3B 518 559 #N/A
60 8 Brandon Drury 3B/OF 547 #N/A #N/A
61 8 Austin Riley 3B #N/A 549 #N/A
62 8 Logan Forsythe 2B/3B 550 #N/A #N/A
63 8 Yangervis Solarte 2B/3B/SS 627 483 #N/A
64 8 David Bote 2B/3B 580 #N/A #N/A
65 8 Kaleb Cowart 3B 582 #N/A #N/A
66 8 JaCoby Jones 3B 622 547 #N/A
67 8 Miguel Rojas 1B/2B/3B/SS #N/A 592 #N/A
68 8 David Freese 1B/3B 608 #N/A #N/A

 

Rankings Analysis - Top Tiers

Tier One

If you already drafted in at least one league with a top-five pick and secured Jose Ramirez, you undoubtedly had a moment of panic upon hearing he was carted off the field after a foul ball. Luckily, X-rays have come back negative and he shouldn't miss much time, even if he isn't on the lineup card for Opening Day. He still gets the slight nod over Arenado based on his speed.

Alex Bregman arguably should be higher on these rankings based on his tremendous 13.6% walk rate. He stole fewer bases in 2018 but that matters less in this format than the fact he walks more than he strikes out, which is rare in and of itself, but especially for someone with 31-homer power. His 51 doubles are the icing on the cake that makes him a first-rounder in points formats. Bill's ranking of seventh overall isn't bullish overall.

Tier Two

Kris Bryant is probably undervalued in all league types this season, assuming he does stay healthy all year. For a prolific slugger, he manages to keep his strikeout rate around 20% while keeping his walk rate in the double-digits. If he can repeat the 14-19 BB-K% of 2017 while chipping in 70+ extra-base hits, he'll be a top-five third baseman and worthy of a third-round pick.

We thought this would be the year Anthony Rendon gets more respect from drafters, but his ADP has stagnated the last couple of seasons because he doesn't jump off the page in any one area. Consistency is a great thing for points leagues and Rendon supplies it. He has reached at least 20 HR, 83 RBI, and 38 doubles in four of the last five seasons, excluding 2015 when he only played in 80 games. He also has a career walk rate of 10%. The fact that Bryce Harper is no longer in town has probably kept him from cracking the top tier but his ceiling isn't as high as the superstars like Machado, Bryant or Arenado either. He is a perfectly fine consolation prize if you miss out on tier one.

Tier Three

The fact that Vladito is starting the year in the minors hasn't dissuaded our rankers from putting him inside the top 60 overall and top-10 for third basemen. This is due to the fact that aside from mammoth power and a plus-plus hit tool, Guerrero has demonstrated great plate discipline at all levels. If he's anything like his dad, chasing balls far outside the zone isn't necessarily a bad thing for his average anyway.

A less sexy name is Justin Turner, who has never hit 30 homers, driven in more than 90 runs or reached double-digit steals in a season. He has increased his walk rate three straight years, up to 11% last season, at a nearly even split with his low strikeout rate. Turner has also posted an average over .290 in four of the five seasons he's been in L.A. Health is the only thing holding Turner back from a higher confidence rating. He only played 103 games last year but averaged 3.3 fantasy points per game upon his return, higher than Eugenio Suarez and Miguel Andujar who also reside in this tier.

 

Rankings Analysis - Middle Tiers

Tier Four

This time next year, we may be putting Moose in the second base ranks instead. For now, he qualifies at third base and will be treated as such. Mike Moustakas isn't the ideal points league target with his middling average and mediocre walk rate but he keeps a tidy 15.6% K% for his career and is a legit power hitter. The fact that he'll continue hitting in the middle of the order for a stacked Brewers lineup keeps him at the lower-end of the starting 3B discussion.

Ah, Joey Gallo. Well worth the risk in roto leagues but a hell of a liability in any format that penalizes each K. He registered 207 punchouts last year, third in the majors. There's certainly value here, just less so in this scoring format. Nick's ranking of 90 must indicate hope of an increased contact rate over last year's 61.7% which was a full 15 points below league average. Seeing as how he was the most accurate expert anywhere for fantasy baseball last year, maybe we should trust him.

Matt Chapman is a popular sleeper pick this year; his home run in the season-opening series in Japan will only fan the flames of enthusiasm for his supporters. Chapman doesn't have excellent plate discipline but he managed to cross the plate 100 times last year and has still-developing power that could lead to a 30-homer season if he can increase his fly ball rate a bit and deposit some of those 42 doubles over the fence.

Tier Five

Rafael Devers finished below fellow tiermates Profar, Gurriel, Escobar, and Wendle last year in overall points. The hope is that he can swing and miss less frequently, improving on his 13.1% SwStr%. He'll also need to put the ball on the ground less. A 46.2% ground ball rate three points above MLB average isn't good for a power hitter with limited speed. Bet on the ceiling here but have a backup plan ready.

Escobar was a pleasant surprise last year, finishing 13th in total points among all players qualified at 3B. He showed plenty of pop, logging 23 home runs and 48 doubles that was second in baseball to Alex Bregman. Escobar is slated to bat second in the D-backs lineup, which should offer a fair amount of run-scoring opportunities. Keep in mind that Paul Goldschmidt isn't around to clean things up any more, so if Steven Souza and Jake Lamb struggle to stay healthy or be productive, it could lead to a decline for Escobar.

 

Rankings Analysis - Lower Tiers

Tier Six

Ian Happ's surprise demotion to Triple-A just ahead of the season opener doesn't necessarily kill his fantasy value outright, as he could be brought up soon if he plays well enough to start the season. It does mean you don't need to worry about drafting him. The main reason for his demotion was an ungodly 36.1% strikeout rate that ranks up there with the Gallos and Chris Davis' of the baseball world, so he isn't an ideal target in points leagues anyway.

JB isn't feeling the Maikel Franco breakout (nor should he or anyone else). Bill is more confident, ranking him at 190. This is probably due to the fact that Franco has consistently lowered his K rate while providing 20-HR power for a team that now boasts several All-Stars across the diamond. Franco will need to hit in order to keep his job, though. Scott Kingery is the future and has already been signed long-term, so he just needs to hit close to his potential in order to supplant Franco.

Tiers Seven And Eight

One of the biggest wild cards of all is Miguel Sano. Between injuries, inconsistency, and a propensity to swing and miss, he is a lottery ticket in the late rounds but no more. Nick doesn't see him as being worth the risk, ranking him 347 overall. It would take a mammoth leap in plate discipline to make him a viable weekly starter in points leagues.

Wilmer Flores finally has a permanent home at third base in Arizona but does he have the potential to make the most of it? We've never seem him produce over a full season's worth of at-bats, having surpassed 400 AB in a season just once. He is a nice under-the-radar infielder with multi-position eligibility that should be on benches everywhere in this format.

It seemed inevitable that Jung Ho Kang would be in the Pirates starting lineup this year. The team waited out his legal/visa issues and brought him back for this season to compete in spring training. As the starter, he's got the power to be a fantasy factor. His swinging strike rate is fairly low, his contact rate is high, and he could slot at multiple positions depending on where your league is hosted.

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