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Dissecting Contact Quality In Search Of Fantasy Bargains

Of the 1,015 hitters sampled(1) between 2015 and 2019, there were only 14 instances of hitters making more productive contact against pitches outside of the strike zone than against pitches inside of the strike zone based on xwOBAcon. Based on the same sample, the average hitter was a whopping .116 points better against pitches inside of the strike zone than outside of the strike zone in terms of xwOBAcon between 2015 and 2019.

One implication of that split is that plate discipline and contact skills can have an impact on a hitter’s contact quality. But is that impact significant enough to make a difference for fantasy managers? And if changes in plate discipline and contact skills don’t drive contact quality changes, what does? 

This article is part one of a three-part series that will detail findings related to those questions. Part one will introduce the research and discuss the findings, part two will identify potential fantasy values for 2021 based on the findings, and part three will discuss the longer-term applications of the findings.

 

The Math

xwOBAcon can be broken down into four variables:

  1. zxwOBAcon: xwOBAcon against pitches inside of the strike zone.
  2. oxwOBAcon: xwOBAcon against pitches outside of the strike zone.
  3. zBBE%: Percent of batted balls against pitches inside of the strike zone.
  4. oBBE%: Percent of batted balls against pitches outside of the strike zone. Since oBBE% + zBBE% represents all of a hitter’s batted balls, oBBE% can be expressed as 1-zBBE%.

With those variables in mind, the following equation represents xwOBAcon:

xwOBAcon = (zxwOBAcon * zBBE%) + (oxwOBAcon * (1-zBBE%))

One way to determine how much influence each of those variables has on changes in xwOBAcon is to hold all other variables constant while applying a one standard deviation increase to the variable in question. The graph below shows both the scale of a one-standard-deviation change in each variable as well as the average effect of that change on xwOBAcon for the sampled hitters.

Although the standard deviation of season-to-season changes in zxwOBAcon is the smallest of the three variables, its effects on xwOBAcon are the most significant by far. Using 2020 weights for wOBA(2), a one-standard-deviation increase in zxwOBAcon would be the equivalent of a hitter adding more than six home runs to their home run total at the expense of outs(3), while a one-standard-deviation increase in oxwOBAcon is worth about two home runs, and a one-standard-deviation increase in zBBE% is worth about one home run.

That zBBE% is by far the least significant of the three variables in this regard does not mean that plate discipline and contact skills never drive changes in contact quality, but those skills are likely not worth focusing on when searching for potential xwOBAcon risers. Instead, fantasy managers should look for likely zxwOBAcon risers to spot contact quality based draft values.

 

Spotting zxwOBAcon Risers

Since season-to-season changes in zxwOBAcon (and each of the other variables) can be approximated by a normal distribution, around 16% of hitters will improve their zxwOBAcon by more than one standard deviation each season. Identifying the hitters likely to be a part of that top 16% will allow fantasy managers to find undervalued hitters in drafts.

One aspect of hitters who tend to find themselves in the top 16% of zxwOBAcon risers each season is that they are overwhelmingly rebound candidates(4). Rebound candidates account for 80% of hitters who increased their zxwOBAcon by at least one standard deviation in season x+2, despite making up just under half of the sampled hitters. And rebound candidates in general tend to see their zxwOBAcon increase season-to-season, especially compared to non-rebound candidates.

To some extent, that breakdown should be expected. That hitters don’t maintain all of their declines (or gains) in zxwOBAcon each season -- although valuable information -- is not particularly notable.

What is notable, though, is the extent to which rebound candidates bounce back season to season. The average rebound candidate posts a higher zxwOBAcon in season x+2 than they did in season x, and nearly two-thirds of rebound candidates post a zxwOBAcon in season x+2 that’s at least 95% of their zxwOBAcon in season x.

Still, not every rebound candidate is a lock to recoup most of their zxwOBAcon losses in season x+2. It’s not clear what separates hitters who bounce back from those who don’t -- the size of a hitter’s drop in zxOBAcon had no bearing on the size of their rebound -- but fantasy managers should probably expect less robust bouncebacks (or a continued decline) from hitters who saw their zxwOBAcon decline in two consecutive seasons(5).

Even so, with 60% of rebound candidates recovering all of their season x+1 zxwOBAcon losses (and then some) and three-quarters of rebound candidates posting a season x+2 zxwOBAcon that’s more than 90% of their zxwOBAcon in season x, rebound candidates available for steep discounts make for attractive draft picks.

 

What This Means For 2021

In part two, I’ll go into more detail on players who suffered most from drops in zxwOBAcon in 2020 and establish target draft pick ranges for those players. For now, here are the five hitters who saw their zxwOBAcon drop most between 2019 and 2020 (min. 100 batted ball events against pitches inside of the strike zone):

Player 2019 zxwOBAcon 2020 zxwOBAcon Difference
Joey Gallo 0.693 0.416 -0.277
Carlos Correa 0.549 0.368 -0.181
Yoan Moncada 0.505 0.359 -0.146
Josh Bell 0.513 0.369 -0.144
Cody Bellinger 0.532 0.398 -0.134

Joey Gallo jumps out as the biggest faller in zxwOBAcon by a wide margin. Based on the research outlined above, fantasy managers should not be concerned about the scale of Gallo’s decline in zxwOBAcon, and the relative likelihood of a bounceback season (in terms of contact quality) makes Gallo an attractive buy-low candidate if he falls in drafts.

Yoan Moncada is another player who is a good bet to rebound in 2021. Coronavirus-related drags on Moncada’s 2020 performance should (hopefully) be non-issues in 2021, and the data supports a zxwOBAcon rebound under normal circumstances. 

The last player I’ll touch on here is Cody Bellinger. Fantasy managers who may be worried about Bellinger’s steep performance drop off between 2019 and 2020 should prepare for him to rebound in a big way next season, and the 25-year-old represents a potential bargain in drafts because of his relatively poor 2020.

Notes:

  1. Players sampled were those who hit at least 200 batted balls against pitches inside of the strike zone and 50 batted balls against pitches outside of the strike zone. Each hitter/year combination counts as one hitter in the sample, so players may be counted multiple times if they qualify in multiple seasons.
  2. It’s worth noting that xwOBAcon is not the ideal metric for this exercise because the weights for each hit type change each season. xSLG is likely a more fitting metric for that reason, but xSLG was not available and xwOBAcon is still a serviceable metric.
  3. Or around 14 singles or several other combinations of improved batted ball production.
  4. For this article, rebound candidates are hitters who saw their zxwOBAcon decrease from season x to season x+1.
  5. Rebound candidates whose zxwOBAcon losses were mostly the result of launch angle struggles were no more or less likely to bounce back than those whose losses were mostly the result of exit velocity decreases. There were only 36 sampled instances of hitters posting zxwOBAcon losses in consecutive seasons with a third consecutive season of data, and that small sample size makes those impacts unclear.



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Statcast Season Review: 2020 Barrel Leaders (Hitters)

The 2020 MLB season will always be one for the record books, even if everything that took place will have multiple asterisks attached to it.

Evaluating Statcast numbers is a nice way to find hot and cold hitters, as well as underachievers and overachievers. Now that the regular season is over, let's reflect on the 60-game sample size filled with seven-inning doubleheaders to see what we can glean from it.

In this space, I'll take a look the leaderboard for Barrels to point out some surprising results in order to determine whether there might be carryover into 2021.

 

2020 Barrel Leaderboard

image taken from BaseballSavant

 

Fernando Tatis Jr. (SS, SD)

"El Niño" was supposed to be an asset due to his speed, with 20-20 or even 20-30 potential over a full season. He wasn't supposed to become one of the best power hitters in the game, especially in his second MLB season at age 21.

Tatis was the easy leader in total barrels, smashing 32 of them for a league-best 12.5% Barrel/Plate Appearance rate. Only Miguel Sano had a higher rate of Barrels per Batted Ball Event. A hard-hit rate and exit velocity in the 100th percentile? Sure, why not.

The best part of it all is that, unlike a pure slugger like Sano, he maintained a healthy 12.8% K-BB% along with a .298 xBA. Oh, the speed was still there too. His 11 steals was sixth in the majors in this brief campaign.

In the earliest of early 2021 mock drafts, I've seen Tatis go first overall and it's hard to argue against. Mike Trout doesn't run anymore and having an elite shortstop might be more valuable than Ronald Acuna or Mookie Betts in the outfield. Some might predict regression in the power categories for Tatis but I'm not betting against him.

 

Corey Seager (SS, LAD)

This one is surprising but not really. Seager was the top prospect in baseball before winning Rookie of the Year in 2016. He launched 26 homers that year along with a 44% hard-hit rate and an excellent xslash line of .308/.385/.528. He followed up with similar numbers in 2017 and another All-Star appearance before succumbing to injury. Seager took only 101 at-bats in 2018 and then, despite an Opening Day homer, got off to a slow start in 2019. He hit one lonely homer in all of April, finishing with a .326 SLG that month. He recovered to post decent numbers but found himself more valuable in points leagues as he hit 44 doubles, the most in the National League, while his HR total dropped to 19.

Due to the diminishing power returns, Seager wasn't considered a starting-caliber shortstop by fantasy managers entering 2020. His NFBC ADP ahead of the actual start of the season was 133 overall, placing him as SS17. That allowed managers to take advantage of a discounted cost for his services including this author, who was smart lucky enough to draft him in TGFBI.

Once he settled in at the second spot in a stacked Dodgers lineup behind Mookie Betts, there was no looking back for Seager in 2020. He finished the abbreviated season third in xBA (.330) behind only Freddie Freeman and Juan Soto, fourth in xSLG (.653) behind Bryce Harper and the aforementioned MVP candidates. Of course, he also finished second in Barrel rate per PA at 12.1%. For someone not considered an elite power hitter, Seager showed that when healthy, he can be among the best.

 

Teoscar Hernandez (OF, TOR)

A victory lap of sorts is tempting here, as I've been touting Hernandez's Statcast numbers since 2018 when he first got regular playing time in Toronto. That year, he ranked ninth with a 9.4 Brls/PA% that was higher than Nelson Cruz and Giancarlo Stanton. In 2019, his Barrel rate fell down to 6.7, ranking 74th among qualified batters. Although the power was still there with 26 HR on the season, his .230 average following the previous year's .239 made him a fringe starter in roto leagues.

2020 was a classic prime-age breakout, as his power was buoyed by a .295 xBA that led to a 59-point jump in batting average. How did his expected average go from the bottom 4% to the top 8% in the matter of a year? Small sample syndrome?

His plate discipline certainly didn't improve. His walk rate went down and his chase rate increased from 25.1% to a career-worst 30.9%. His tendency to swing-and-miss didn't get better but his bat speed might have.

The key difference in his profile is how he hit the fastball in 2020 compared to years past. His expected slash line against fastballs in 2019: .255/.371/.546. His expected slash in 2020: .372/.496/.832.

image taken from BaseballSavant

Those who think Hernandez came out of nowhere haven't been paying attention. His spot in the heart of a young lineup full of thunder reaffirms his status as a top-100 player next draft season.

 

Brandon Lowe (2B, TB)

This analysis only applies to regular-season stats, so let's just pretend this postseason isn't happening. Lowe was among the leaders in Barrel%, xSLG, and even xwOBACON in 2020. He also cut his strikeout rate down by 8.7% to 25.9%, closer to league average. The Rays are becoming a more homer-friendly club with Lowe pacing the way. In fact, he led the team with 14 HR, 37 RBI, and 36 R. The pressure of the postseason may have gotten the best of him but Lowe is just 26 and should continue to be a power bat at second base for years to come.

 

Byron Buxton (OF, MIN)

A regular on the Sprint Speed leaderboard, where he ranks in the 99th percentile, Buxton finally made consistent noise with the barrel of his bat. While Twins sluggers like Mitch Garver and Max Kepler had a letdown season, Buxton could finally be living up to his lofty expectations. It feels as if he's been a fledgling prospect for years but Buxton is also just 26.

After years of posting sub-.400 xSLG numbers, he reached .441 in 2019 and broke through in 2020 with a .551 xSLG that ranked 19th among qualifiers. The most notable difference is his newfound ability to hit the breaking ball.

image taken from BaseballSavant

The most surprising aspect of his "breakout" year was that he didn't actually improve his poor plate discipline and tendency to chase, he doubled down on it. Buxton's chase rate jumped to 48.9% which is a full 20 points higher than league average! He also got far more aggressive, swinging on 51% of first pitches, a figure that has risen every year he has been in the majors. Fortunately, Buxton's increased swings have come with increased contact both in and out of the zone. And when he hit the ball, he hit it hard as 47.9% Hard% tells us.

The other thing that stands out in his profile more so than usual is the walk rate, or lack thereof. Over 135 plate appearances in 2020, he walked a grand total of two times. That would equate to 1.5% for those counting at home. On one hand, it's frightening to consider entrusting your fantasy fortunes to someone who is hacking away at every pitch like a ballplayer in a Bugs Bunny cartoon. On the other hand, a five-tool prospect who's figured out how to hit the ball as hard as anyone and runs faster than everyone in the game that happens to be on a loaded lineup is hard to pass up on draft day.



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How I Won Tout Wars

I am extremely fortunate to be able to write an article entitled, “How I Won Tout Wars.”

It is truly a humbling experience, and I am both excited and proud to pen today’s words.

Including all of the draft preparation that I describe in my aforementioned articles, here a few of the reasons that (I think) I won in 2020.

 

Humble Beginnings

Before I had ever written a single baseball article, and before the ATC projections were released – I followed and greatly respected Tout Wars. Formed in 1998, Tout Wars features the best and brightest experts in the fantasy baseball industry competing against each other. I learned about the league while attending Baseball HQ’s First Pitch regional forums, hosted by Ron Shandler. I had attended one of their conferences each and every year since 2011.

Below is a photograph of the title page of the very first Baseball Forecaster book that I had purchased, which Ron Shandler autographed for me.

Earlier this year I was honored when Baseball HQ asked me to present at their First Pitch Florida conference. Ron was among the attendees for my 45-minute talk on advanced auction strategies.

I became even more interested in Tout Wars after reading Sam Walker’s book, Fantasyland which portrays his 2004 AL Only Tout Wars league experience. I also watched the subsequent video documentary, Fantasyland, which follows amateur player Jed Latkin’s 2008 fantasy experience. Latkin earned a one-time chance to compete in Tout Wars for the movie.

I had not come into the fantasy industry until recently. I never thought for a moment that I would ever get to compete in Tout Wars, much less win a contest. I was content just playing in my own home leagues, and participating in NFBC tournaments.

Then, one day in January of 2019, I received a message from Jeff Erickson inviting me to compete with the other Touts. My jaw dropped to the floor that minute, and it stayed there for quite some time. I played in the inaugural season of the Tout Wars Draft & Hold league, winning 2nd place honors. This year, I was invited to compete in the live Head to Head auction league.

This was an opportunity that I could not waste. I fully prepared for the affair. I heavily documented the steps that I took prior to the March 15 auction, and wrote the following two full articles:

Tout Wars Head to Head Points League – 2020 Recap – Part I

Tout Wars Head to Head Points League – 2020 Recap – Part II

If you have not done so yet, I urge you to read the above articles. They are not of the typical draft recap style. Rather, I embarked on a journey depicting my heavy preparation for the event – to help the reader learn how to tackle the game. Some of the topics include:

  • Deciding on a Hitter/Pitcher pricing split
  • Generating a market curve
  • Generating auction values
  • Replacement level values
  • Projection adjustments
  • Streaming mid-season
  • Reconnaissance of Opponents
  • Observing Nominations
  • etc.

Six and a half months later, I find myself as the 2020 Tout Wars Head to Head League Champion.

 

The ATC Projections

I am the author of the ATC projections, which can be found on FanGraphs. The ATC projections are a smart aggregation of other projections. ATC does not do well by producing an outsized projection for any single player, rather, its strength lies in the law of large numbers. It gets projections more right than wrong – and it does so better than anyone else.

In 2019, the ATC projections were crowned as the most accurate baseball projections of 2019. I was also crowned by FantasyPros as the #1 most accurate fantasy baseball expert of 2019. Having accurate projections heading into any league auction gives any user an advantage at the very start.

I have found that in the NFBC leagues that I play in (high stakes leagues), more and more players are using (or at the very least looking at) the ATC projections prior to their drafts. In all of my home leagues, I know that many of my friends examine them.

But in leagues such as Tout Wars – each expert has his or her own set of projections, a plan, and their unique methodology. I cannot be certain, but I would venture to say that my competitors likely did not pay that much attention to ATC.

What surprised me most of all, is that ATC worked well in the short 60 game season. I knew that using ATC is highly accretive for the 162-game affair, but with more variability in only 60 games – ATC was further tested. It passed the test.

 

Proper Valuation

It is important for one to perform individual player analysis in preparation for a league. Knowing the draftable player set well is essential to success.

However, I believe it is more important to understand your league’s format, and to properly valuate what a player is worth. You could have the best underlying projections at hand, but if you do not understand which categories and positions are the most and least valuable, you will not win the league.

As described in my pre-season recap article, the Head-to-Head Points format was not one that I was overly familiar with. To make matters worse, I was the newcomer to the league this year – which gave me a disadvantage from the get-go.

When applying the math – I realized that stolen bases were not valuable in this format. Quality starts, and pitchers who threw deep into games were immensely valuable. Starting pitchers with RP eligibility were given a huge replacement level bump, etc. Even if I had not used the ATC projections, the math of converting stats into points and then into auction values was where I believe that I gained a distinct advantage.

At the conclusion of the league’s auction, I calculated the following projected season point totals for each tout [starting players only]:

I projected that I had an 11% advantage over the league’s average position, edging Ian Kahn out by about 200 points. To compare, below are the final league standings.

Note that the original projected points were based on a 162-game season, and a standard play 1 opponent each week format. Final standings were for the 60-game short season, and a special play-all format.

Indeed, my projections and valuation were largely accurate. The touts with the 5 highest projected point totals ended up finishing in the top five.

 

Scouting

In great detail, I portrayed the scouting that I undertook in preparation for Tout Wars in Part II of my auction recap . I surveyed prior league draft results for each tout. I looked into each player’s likely targets. I even personally attended five hours’ worth of a different live 2020 auction of one of the touts – just to get any edge and information that I could.

As I have described many times in the past, your own valuation of players is not enough to win a league. Determining that Player A is worth $9, is not enough information on its own. In the quest to assemble the most value in the aggregate, subject to the $260 auction budget - one needs to ascertain if there is a market for Player A. Are others willing to spend $12? Will they spend just $6?

Consider the following simple example:

Shortstop Your Value Market Value
Player X $12 $7
Player Y $14 $12

Which player would you rather target during an auction?

Sure, Player Y will provide more value to your team than Player X ($14 to $12). However, I would rather be on the lookout to acquire Player X. The potential profit that one can derive from Player X exceeds that of Player Y by an estimated $3.

The task for the fantasy owner is to assemble the most value on your roster for the least amount of fantasy draft capital. Without having a good sense of what the market would pay for a player, you may not be able to maximize your roster’s value despite having excellent valuations. For instance, if you did not have an awareness that Player X’s market value was low – you may pay the $12 for Player Y, thinking that you would earn a $2 draft profit for the shortstop position. You might be leaving an additional $3 of profit on the table … and worse … one of your opponents will profit instead.

 

Draft Strategy & Tactics

Many people often confuse the difference between strategies and tactics. They are in fact two distinct elements of playing a game.

Strategies are the pre-planned moves that you execute. Strategy comes to fruition when the game (any game) is merely a blank canvas; it emerges during the part of the action when you have the most freedom to operate. Perhaps, you come to the draft deciding that you will target two high priced first basemen. Perhaps you plan to nominate high priced closers early on, etc.

A tactic is implemented in response to the way that a game unfolds. Tactics are needed where the action is the greatest. One draws upon his or her knowledge of the game on just how to react. In poker, a bluff is a tactic carried out in order to induce an opponent to fold his or her cards. One does not come into a poker room planning to buff a particular hand. Rather, one looks at their cards, reads the faces around the table, and in response - decides to aggressively bet on a weaker hand.

For Tout Wars, I prepared a detailed strategy. I estimated the likely pockets of players who would be available at bargain prices. For hitters, the ranges were clearer. For starting pitchers, I developed two plans of attack. The first, was a hotspot of 1A type pitchers. I planned to use my auction nominations early on largely to determine which pockets of players that I would play in.

I responded well in the midst of the auction to the hands that I was dealt. I ended up defaulting to my alternate plan, which included pouncing on mid-level pitchers such as Max Fried, German Marquez and Eduardo Rodriguez. As an additional example, I did not intend to purchase Alex Bregman, but I took advantage of the opportunity of a depressed cost.

I also employed more subtle in-game tactics such as bidding up Alex Chamberlain on players that I knew he would try to outbid the room. Successfully siphoning an extra $3-4 from an opponent’s auction budget is often just as important to the auction’s endgame - as saving cash on players that you yourself purchase. Every little bit counts.

Deciding on just how much to bid on mid-season FAAB is an important tactic to master. For Tout Wars - I periodically studied the player needs of other teams, and looked at their personal FAAB bidding history. I even got a hold of last year's Tout Wars HTH FAAB bidding by week to help me make informed decisions on just how much to bid. I made sure that my FAAB bids were somewhat random, so that no one else could track what I was doing.

Each of these tactics contributed to my overall success.

 

Adapting to the League

Consider the following exaggerated scenarios in a rotisserie format:

  • All other teams each spend a total of $240 on hitting, and only $20 on pitching.
  • All other teams do not draft a single closer. They all draft 9 starting pitchers.
  • All other teams spend only $1-2 on every catcher that they purchase.

None of the three above scenarios are strategies that I would employ at the outset of a league draft. I wouldn’t go into an auction with an intended 92%/8% hitter/pitcher split of auction funds. I wouldn’t punt saves from the get-go. I wouldn’t only want to spend $2 on JT Realmuto or Yasmani Grandal, etc.

Those three strategies seem quite strange to the naked eye, because … they are. I did say that they were exaggerated.

However:

  • If all of your opponents spend $240 on hitting, then if you only spend only $180 on hitting – you will likely finish dead last in almost all five offensive categories. Yes, you may finish with the most pitching points – but that still will leave you with an average overall score when combined with the hitting.
  • If all of your opponents do not draft closers, spending the usual ~$25 worth of funds will render your pitching spend as highly inefficient. You will also have a hard time winning the other pitching counting stat categories.
  • If all of your opponents barely pay for catchers, buying JT Realmuto at $15 is an overspend. You could have purchased for the next best catcher at a fraction of the cost. Realmuto isn’t 5 times better than the next backstop.

The point here is that playing the game without context can lead to an inefficient use of fantasy capital. Operating in a vacuum literally sucks value out of your roster. You need to be aware of the league norms, and adapt your strategies accordingly. The norms won’t be as ridiculous in the above examples, but adjusting to them will make a profound difference.

This rule does not only apply for the league draft; the in-season adaptation is also essential. If waiver wire pitchers are cheaply acquired in the league, there is no need to spend heavy there. If hitters are constantly churned each week, why not think more short-term? And so on ...

In Tout Wars, despite the fact that I was green to the league in 2020, I felt that I was able to quickly adapt to the league. For adjusting mid-auction - I had a lot of prior experience in doing so (even for new leagues). For me - the harder part was adapting to the week-to-week play.

How did I adjust quickly? I looked at what last year’s winner, Ian Kahn and runner-up Clay Link did for their teams. I looked at how they set their lineups, at the types (and quantities) of players they purchased each week, and what they had paid for them. I recognized the types of trades that were profitable in the format. I observed just how patient they were with underperforming players, etc.

In case a fellow league mate (or US General) reads this, I don’t want to give away all of the specific tidbits of information that I had acquired - but I do want to convey to you the importance of learning. Observing the two touts allowed me to catch up as fast as I could with the right strategy for this league’s dynamic. Just “doing your usual thing” is not how you win leagues. One needs to use his or her own bag of magic tricks, but must figure out what works for your particular audience. Each league is different, and one needs to adapt quickly.

 

Play the Matchups

Down the stretch of the season, as it became clear that I was going to contend for the league title, I shifted my focus on free agent pickups from long term to short term. I could no longer sift through the waiver wire for rest-of-season targets; I needed to put up as many points as I could each and every week. Playing from behind, I took each week as a single must-win contest.

As such, I spent a lot of time looking at matchups. For both hitters and pitchers, I looked at who they would face in the coming week, the ballparks they would play in – and most importantly, at the playoff status for their real-life teams. Some teams needed to fight towards the end, and some had already clinched their postseason berth. This made a large difference in both my free-agent acquisition targets, as well as how I set my team’s active lineup.

But not only did I look at the coming week’s schedule – I also looked ahead a week further into the future. I sometimes purchased “future two-start” pitchers (as I typically call them) a week in advance. Purchasing these types of pitchers allowed me to spend far fewer resources on them, as most teams were not looking to acquire them a week early. Had I waited the week to roster the future two-start pitchers, I would have to pay ten times the auction price [or more] to do so! That would not be an efficient use of fantasy capital. Sometimes, a player riding on your bench for a week can lead to a more optimal use of funds.

 

Luck

I could not have won Tout Wars without an element of luck. This is the truest statement that I have made thus far.

I got lucky.

I won’t say that I was extremely lucky; I believe that all of the elements described above played a large role in my winning. However, the difference between my 1st place finish and what could have been a 5th place finish required the fates to be on my side. Had a few pitchers pulled a muscle in the last week, I would not be writing this article. Had Andrea LaMont made one or two different decisions during the course of the season, she might be writing this article in my stead.

Of course, not everything broke right for me during the season either. I too had my fair share of injuries and poor play. I traded away Randal Grichuk to Ryan Hallam in the middle of the season, which proved to be a bad decision on my part. Eduardo Rodriguez never played a game in 2020, yet I had spent $10 on him in the auction.

The margin of error in a league full of experts is razor-thin. I was blessed in 2020 that I had just enough luck to go along with my gameplay. The combination of both earned me my very first experts league title.

 

Conclusion

I could have spent time today talking about the specific players who provided me the most and least value for my Tout Wars team this season. Sure, Marcell Ozuna was a fantastic $16 selection, who earned $31 of value in the format. But simply discussing players will not provide much help to you in the future. It won’t help me for 2021 either.

You see, it is not about the results – it is about the process.

Hopefully, I have given you some insight into my successful season in Tout Wars, and at the same time provided you with a few strategies and tactics for your fantasy leagues next year. I am surely hoping that the 2021 season will go on without interruption, and I hope to be writing this article again at its conclusion.



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Champ or Chump: Year in Review

Now that the 2020 fantasy baseball season has come to a close, it is time to assess your performance. Did you ignore red flags that you wish you hadn't? Was a strong process foiled by unpredictable factors outside of anybody's control?

Both of these things are likely true to some extent. The key is to identify what worked well and any areas of opportunity for improvement next season.

With this in mind, let's go back and revisit each of the nine players that received in-season write-ups in this column over the 2020 season. We will review each player's name, publication date, and a brief synopsis of the argument made. We will also look at how a player actually performed to get a better sense of what we should look for in the future. Let's get started!

 

7/25 Nate Pearson (SP TOR)

Original Verdict: Champ

Hindsight: Chump

Pearson offered a lot to like heading into the season: he's a hard thrower who generates a ton of spin with a strong MiLB resume. Success seemed like a foregone conclusion, leading to easy (if lazy) Max Scherzer comps. Unfortunately, Pearson got off to a slow start before a flexor strain in his right elbow kept him out of action for over a month. He ended up with a 6.00 ERA and 3.7 K-BB% over 18 IP, numbers that didn't help fantasy gamers at all.

That said, Pearson struck out five over two scoreless relief innings in the playoffs and maintains the stuff and pedigree that made him a desirable add in fantasy. His 2020 may have been a dud, but he'll likely be a hot name during the 2021 draft season. Just save the Scherzer comps until he does something at the MLB level.

Miss

8/1 Isiah Kiner-Falefa (C/3B/SS, TEX)

Original Verdict: Champ

Hindsight: Champ

Isiah Kiner-Falefa was virtually unknown before the season began, and playing for the lowly Texas Rangers doesn't help you get your name out there. Still, this column suggested adding him for his catcher eligibility, everyday playing time, and his potential for "steals with a workable average." He delivered exactly that, slashing .280/.329/.370 with eight steals and three homers while working his way to the heart of the Rangers order. Considering how bad catchers performed as a whole, you got a free top-five catcher here.

Sadly, Kiner-Falefa didnt log a single game behind the plate in 2020, so he won't have catcher eligibility in 2021. He was also caught stealing five times, so his speed won't play as well at other positions. He was a great add in 2020, but your 2021 plans probably shouldn't include him.

Win

8/8 Jo Adell (OF, LAA)

Original Verdict: Chump

Hindsight: Chump

Adell's major league arrival was greeted with the enthusiasm expected for a top prospect, but his MiLB track record included a ton of swing-and-miss and a meager 35 HR over 1,004 PAs. His MiLB breakout also occured at Hank Aaron Field, a park notorious for inflating offense. This author recommended letting somebody else add him to their roster, prudent advice considering that Adell managed just a .161/.212/.266 line with three homers and a 41.7 K% over 132 PAs.

Adell's prospect pedigree may help him get drafted in 2021, but he appears to be too far away to justify doing so in redraft leagues. He might join his teammate Mike Trout in an All-Star Game someday, but likely not in the immediate future.

Win

8/15 Alec Bohm (3B, PHI)

Original Verdict: Champ

Hindsight: Champ

Every fantasy gamer has a type, and this author loves MiLB bats that combine strong plate discipline numbers with high FB% rates. Alec Bohm's MiLB resume included both, though he seemed to struggle to access his above-average raw power in games. As such, he was recommended to fantasy managers looking for BA, OBP, and Runs with the potential for homers if everything clicked.

Bohm only hit four homers over 180 PAs, so the big-power prospect didn't produce power numbers right away. Adding him to fantasy rosters was still a smart move, as he slashed an insane .338/.400/.481 in his first taste of big league action. He'll probably be a top-100 draft pick in 2021 and could well earn every penny it takes to sign him. Just be wary of his .410 BABIP coming down a little.

Win

8/22 Casey Mize (SP, DET)

Original Verdict: Champ

Hindsight: Chump

Not going to lie: this is the miss that bothers me the most on this list. The original analysis noted that pitch tracking systems like Pitch Info and Statcast detected no discernable difference between Mize's slider and cutter, suggesting that his pitches blur together and lack consistency. I also correctly predicted that the Tigers were a terrible team despite a hot start, leaving Mize with minimal offensive and bullpen support. Yet I still advised adding Mize because "pitch tracking systems aren't foolproof."

The piece was written after Mize's first start, after which he had an ugly 6.23 ERA. That jumped to 6.99 by the time the season concluded, a number completely supported by a 9.8 K-BB%. The lesson here is clear: if a young pitcher's offerings seem to blur together, avoid that arm in fantasy.

Miss

8/29 Jake Cronenworth (1B/2B/SS, SD)

Original Verdict: Champ

Hindsight: Chump

Cronenworth came out of nowhere in 2020, slashing a ridiculous .360/.415/.605 with three homers and a steal through August. His low FB% and middling exit velocity suggested that his power was a mirage, but the column recommended Cronenworth anyway because he was in the 100th percentile of xBA with a .394 mark. The 26-year-old combined a pristine batted ball profile with plus-speed and excellent contact skills, so why wouldn't he continue to hit for a high average?

Naturally, he hit .183 with no homers in September. His plate discipline metrics were still good with a 16.3 K% and 10 BB% that month, so pitchers didn't suddenly figure him out. Instead, his problem was a .224 BABIP that Cronenworth should have no problem besting in 2021. The result was a miss, but the process was sound: Cronenworth should be a good BA investment in 2021 and beyond.

Miss

9/5 Kevin Gausman (SP/RP, SF)

Original Verdict: Champ

Hindsight: Champ

Gausman's is an interesting profile: both his four-seam fastball and splitter are elite pitches, allowing him to pile up Ks like few arms can. However, Gausman also features only those two pitches, making him predictable and increasing his blowup potential. Gausman had a 4.43 ERA reflective of both his upside and downside at the time of his write-up, and he was recommended to managers looking to climb the standings as opposed to teams trying to maintain their ratios.

Gausman provided a significant boost down the stretch, generating a QS in each of his final three starts (2.00 ERA overall) while also notching 24 Ks in that time frame. He remains a high-risk, high-reward fantasy option, but should be able to help fantasy managers in 2021 as well.

Win

9/12 Deivi Garcia (SP, NYY)

Original Verdict: Champ

Hindsight: Variable

Deivi Garcia began his big league career with a bang, posting a 3.06 ERA as an SP. His write-up emphasized strong MiLB stats, stuff scouts rave about, and a solid prospect pedigree, recommending him to all fantasy gamers. His next start against the Blue Jays went well: 7 IP, 3 ER, 6 K. Unfortunately, he followed that up with a clunker against Boston: 3 IP, 6 ER, 2 K. His third start against the Marlins was kind of neutral: 6 2/3 IP, 4 ER, 7 K. He went 2-1 overall, so he helped gamers looking for Wins and Strikeouts but not ratios.

I thought he would be good for ratio help as well, so I'm counting this as a miss. There is some concern that his small frame will land him in a bullpen role, but he should be a worthwhile fantasy starter as long as the Yankees use him in the role.

Miss

9/19 Trent Grisham (OF, SD)

Original Verdict: Champ

Hindsight: Unknown

The Grisham piece noted that Grisham has batting average upside based on his MiLB history, potentially leading to a better 2021 season than his strong 2020. Since the piece is forward-looking by design, it's too soon to determine its accuracy.

Push

Conclusion

Overall, I have four wins, four misses, and a push. Of the misses, I earnestly believe that Pearson and Cronenworth were examples of good analysis belied by small sample sizes, and Garcia was usable in the right situation. Mize was a total miss caused by ignoring a data point that proved prophetic.

Moving forward, I should try to avoid top prospect pitchers, a type of player that I seem to overrate. Relying on plate discipline and HR numbers on the farm appears to be a great way to evaluate rookie bats, and you can never go wrong with proven strikeout stuff at the big league level. What about you?



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Effects of an Innocuous Move: Brian Goodwin to Cincinnati

If you would've told me at the start of the 2020 season that one of the two moves made by the Cincinnati Reds at the Trade Deadline would be for a Major League outfielder, I would've been forced to assume that any four Reds outfielders had been suspended for the season for pulling some sort of Lou Williams-Magic City stunt. This is because Cincinnati entered 2020 with formidable outfield depth.

Between Jesse Winker, Aristides Aquino, Nick Senzel, Nick Castellanos, Shogo Akiyama, two-way man Michael LorenzenMark Payton, Travis Jankowski, Phillip Ervin, and Josh VanMeter, and prospects like TJ Friedl, Jameson Hannah, Michael Siani, and Stuart Fairchild, it seemed like a pretty stocked area of the Reds' roster.

So why add another in Brian Goodwin? The long-term significance might be greater than many realize.

 

If Three Is a Crowd...

Steadily, the dominoes started to fall. Senzel returned from the IL late in the year and took only 70 AB in 2020. Akiyama got off to a very slow start and is only now bouncing back. Aquino, Jankowski, and Payton (after being re-acquired from Oakland) have all seen extremely limited work. Lorenzen's offensive role has been substantially dialed back. Ervin was dropped and picked up by Seattle. None of the organization's top prospects at the position have gotten the MLB call-up, and VanMeter and Fairchild were dealt to Arizona in the Archie Bradley deal. Castellanos has proven well worth the Reds money with his fantastic offensive output and Winker has, yet again, quietly put together another elite year at the plate that somehow tops the last (though about 75% of his AB have come as a DH) but the Reds felt inclined to seek reinforcements in the outfield when all cards hit the table at the buzzer on the afternoon of the deadline.

Many thought if the Reds made an acquisition on offense, it would've been at shortstop to relieve Freddy Galvis amidst a sub-par season or at catcher for the likes of James McCann, Robinson Chirinos, or Christian Vazquez as an answer for the woes of Tucker Barnhart. Instead, Barnhart has looked completely revitalized in September, Tyler Stephenson has had a significant impact since being called up again, and David Bell chose to start acclaimed prospect Jose Garcia at shortstop... to start Galvis at second base (I'm as confused as you must be). The Reds were barely able to earn a postseason birth with this lineup, mostly on the strength of their starting pitching.

The majority of this roster is slated to stay together for several seasons to come, and the two trades made by the organization speak volumes about the direction they are trying to take and are sure to produce lasting ripple effects. Bringing Brian Goodwin to Cincinnati was far from a blockbuster move, but with a few seasons under his belt that displayed consistent improvement and an inexpensive contract that keeps him under team control until 2023, the Reds let their priorities be plainly known in sending Rookie-Level LHP Jose Salvador and #14 organizational prospect (and #2 projected farm system lefty) Packy Naughton to the Los Angeles Angels in the exchange. So, with a thumb on the pulse of the present and an eye focused on the future, let's take a look at what the seemingly innocuous and forgettable deal for Brian Goodwin means for the Reds outfield.

 

Size of the Splash

Brian Goodwin is 29 years old and has been through 996 big league AB with the Nationals, Royals, Angels, and now the Reds over a five-year career. 164 of those AB came as a right fielder, 362 came as a left fielder, and 405 came as a center fielder; and those proportions got even closer in 2020 with the former UNC Tar Heel taking 39, 41, and 47 AB at right, left, and center, respectively. It was a clear move by the Reds for a plug-in outfielder for a lineup dealing with several moving pieces and the adjustment to the universal DH rule. However, the results have varied with Goodwin, to say the least.

Through his 2017 season with Washington, his 2018 run with the Nationals and Royals, and his 2019 season spent exclusively with the Angels, Goodwin took 823 AB, and recorded 56 doubles, 36 home runs, 17 stolen bases in 22 attempts, and respective OPS marks of .811, .708, and .796. Over a 500-AB season, those numbers roughly translate to about 34 doubles, 22 HR, and 10 steals in 13 tries.

In 95 AB with Los Angeles in 2020, Goodwin totaled 12 XBH (seven doubles, a triple, four homers), a steal, and a slash of .242/.330/.464. Since moving to the Queen City, his bat work has significantly slowed, evidenced by his two doubles, two home runs, and .163/.236/.327 slash in 49 AB for the surging Redlegs. However, Goodwin has been off to the races on the bases for Cincinnati, swiping four bags in limited time with his new team without having been caught yet.

Goodwin's season reads very rocky. He finished July with a 1.472 OPS, and that figure plummeted to .612 during the month of August before he was traded, so his poor showing at the plate for the Reds isn't solely the result of changing scenery. While this may cause trepidation for Reds fans, Goodwin's career splits demonstrate that he is routinely up and down as pages on the calendar turn. It isn't a big deal to buy a streaky bat as long as you know what you are buying and the player always tends to streak upward in an impactful way, and that appears to be the case with Goodwin.

His salary this year is wildly affordable at $2.2MM. After this season, Goodwin's salary will be decided by arbitration, and the Reds will therefore maintain control of the Scott Boras client until he becomes a free agent in 2023. It is very possible that Goodwin represented to the Reds a widely-deployable outfielder with a solid three-season track record on offense who offers power/speed tools that are not otherwise available off of the bench with the likes of Payton or Jankowski, who can only offer power or speed, respectively. Not to mention, with the return of Senzel to the order, an increase in late-September playing time for Aquino, and a .302/.464/.340 slash for Akiyama through this month, it seems that David Bell is content to ride with the pieces he already had in the mix to kick off 2020.

Goodwin might have his moments when playing defense in the outfield, but his metrics don't promote him as a lock-down defensive sub. In fact, last season when Goodwin finished with an impressive 2.2 WAR, his dWAR actually held him back at -0.1. Even worse, that was a career-high figure.

That being said, Reds General Manager Nick Krall might've had more in mind for Goodwin's role than this limited capacity over a small sample size would indicate. The only Cincinnati outfielder that could hit free agency this offseason is Castellanos, who can opt-out of the remaining three years of his four-year, $64MM deal at the end of 2020. In addition, there have been continuous rumors surrounding Nick Senzel's future with the organization, both suggesting a move back to the infield and that the Reds entertained interest in trading their very recent #1 prospect. With the time it took to get Senzel to the majors as a top-10 overall prospect and his formidable rookie campaign of 2019, it may seem strange, but the tapestry of moves made by the franchise suggests that it was, and remains, a serious consideration. Lastly, Payton and Jankowski were unlikely to surpass their extremely limited roles in the first place, so their presence on the 40-man roster probably won't present any barriers to Goodwin's field time.

Regardless of whether Castellanos and Senzel stay put, the complete picture forecasts a meaningful role for Goodwin in the one to two seasons to come; it just might come at the expense of other Reds outfielders like Akiyama and Aquino. If you are skeptical that Goodwin is slated for a role of moderate significance in Cincinnati, just take a close-up look at what they gave up to acquire him. Jose Salvador, a 21-year-old, 6'2", 170-pound Dominican LHP, had posted a 3.07 ERA, 1.14 WHIP, 3.2 BB/9, and 11.6 K/9 in 26 starts (28 appearances) and 111.1 IP for Rookie squads Greeneville and Billings; and Packy Naughton, the 24-year-old, even more physically imposing southpaw from Virginia Tech, who displayed unusual in-game durability and control since turning professional, and amassed a 3.66 ERA, 1.28 WHIP, and 2.2 BB/9 through 105.2 IP across 19 starts at Double-A following a quick ascent. This wasn't a "cash considerations and player to be named later" transaction. The Reds sacrificed two outstanding prospects, indicating that the grand plan is to roll with this handful of outfielders for as long as possible.

 

Ripples Downstream

In parting with Ervin, VanMeter, and Fairchild, the Reds sawed off a lot of the legitimate competition for their big league lineup. Their top-30 prospects list features only six outfield farmhands, with one, 2020 12th overall pick and $4MM signing bonus recipient Austin Hendrick (#3), being fresh out of high school without any real professional experience to speak of thanks to the cancellation of the minor league season. The rest; Michael Siani (#7), Jameson Hannah (#15), Andy Sugilio (#20), TJ Friedl (#21), and Mariel Bautista (#26), have clear areas of deficiency where improvement is needed, questionable ceilings, and with the exception of Friedl (487 Double-A AB), have yet to take a single swing at Double-A. While Friedl is still the most likely to usurp outfield duties from any given name on the roster next year, with the way the Reds play it, that could easily be delayed until June or July of next season at the earliest.

Friedl and either Siani or Hannah could take over the 40-man roster spots occupied this year by Payton and Jankowski, but even then, it would take a major slump by Goodwin to concede the spot entirely. The Reds have also been active in the offseason trade market over the past few seasons, but with the outfield stocked with four to five MLB options for next year, you should be even more surprised if the Reds made a move for one of the outfielders rumored to be on the block this offseason such as Kris Bryant, Miguel Andujar, Clint Frazier, J.D. Martinez, Starling Marte, Hunter Renfroe, Wil Myers, Joey Gallo, Whit Merrifield, Kevin Kiermaier, and Ender Inciarte.

The real question begged is: with so much certainty at nearly every position, will the Reds make one of the big trades they had been working on before the season for a top-tier shortstop like Francisco Lindor, Trevor Story, or Xander Bogaerts? A smaller move for an offense-friendly catcher? A big rotation signing to fill the void that might be left if both Trevor Bauer and Anthony DeSclafani depart? Or will they call up available prospects to fill such needs? It is starting to look like the Reds won't have enough blue chips to get some of these bigger deals done, and they appear to be saving money anywhere they can following an expensive offseason.

So far, Tyler Stephenson has his foot in the door at catcher, Jose Garcia has failed to cement his spot at shortstop where Freddy Galvis will soon leave a vacancy, Jonathan India is waiting in the wings at third and second base where Mike Moustakas and Eugenio Suarez block the path, and the Reds are working on getting Hunter Greene and Nick Lodolo to the majors as soon as logistically possible.

Prognosis: don't count on Cincinnati batting prospects to have a strong presence in 2021. If the organization can't bring back Bauer or make another high-key pitcher signing, expect a few lower-level deals and one-two mid-level signings on offense to plug the holes, because make no mistake, the 2020 MLB Trade Deadline deal for Brian Goodwin showed the majority of the franchise's hand for how they see the next couple of years playing out.



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Daily Fantasy Baseball Streamers - MLB Hitter, Pitcher Lineup Picks for Thursday 9/24

Welcome to another edition of MLB Daily Fantasy Baseball Streamers! We have reached the home stretch of this truncated MLB season and that likely means many of you are in the playoffs. I know I am, which means streaming is as important as ever.

RotoBaller has been dishing out streamer advice for years. We're always streamin and dreamin. Each day we'll publish some of the best streaming options to consider in your fantasy baseball daily league lineups. Streaming pitchers and position players to exploit a matchup are extremely important in fantasy baseball, especially in a truncated season like this one.

We have an 11-game slate to choose from today, which means we should have some solid options to choose from. The best options on today's slate come from the Royals, Braves, Orioles, Red Sox, Cubs, and Nationals.

 

Shallow League Streamers (50% Rostered)

Hunter Dozier (1B/3B/OF, KC) - 65% Rostered

Dozier is rostered at a high level for this segment, but he has a great matchup vs. Micahel Fulmer. Fulmer's struggles vs. right-handed hitters are mentioned below in the Maikel Franco recommendation and Dozier has hit six bombs off righties in 2020. Both Dozier and Franco have the ability to take Fulmer deep in this game.

 

Deeper League Streamers (25% Rostered)

Maikel Franco (3B, KC) - 20% Rostered

Franco gets a juicy matchup vs. Michael Fulmer on Thursday. Fulmer has been awful vs. right-handed hitting in 2020 as he has posted an 11.76(!) FIP while allowing six HR in just 10 IP. Franco has performed well in the power department vs. righties in 2020 as he has hit seven HR and 12 doubles vs. them. He could be a candidate to go yard.

Austin Riley (3B/OF, ATL) - 30% Rostered

Riley will be facing Pablo Lopez on Thursday, who has been mediocre on the season. Against right-handed hitting, Lopez has posted a 4.014 ERA and allowed three HR in just over 26 IP. Riley has smacked six HR and two doubles off righties and is posting a .323 wOBA.

Hanser Alberto (2B/3B, BAL) - 40% Rostered

Alberto has been known for his ability to hit left-handed pitching and he gets a matchup vs. Red Sox lefty, Martin Perez. Perez has posted a 4.83 FIP and allowed five HR to righties across 39 IP while also giving up 20 BB. Alberto has been at it again in 2020 as he is slashing .356/.388/.489 off of lefties while also hitting one HR and three doubles in just 45 AB.

 

Deepest League Streamers (10% Rostered)

Martin Perez (SP, BOS) - 10% Rostered

While I did mention Alberto as a streamer candidate against Perez, I think Perez has a good chance at a quality start and win in this game. The Orioles have been the worst team in baseball vs. left-handed pitching over the previous two weeks. They are posting a K rate of 29.1%, which ranks them sixth-worst in baseball. They are also posting a wRC+ mark of 19(!), which is ranked worst in baseball. They have been awful and that makes the upside of Perez worth the risk here.

Jason Kipnis (2B, CHC) - 2% Rostered

Kipnis gets a solid matchup vs. the Pirates' right-hander Chad Kuhl. Kuhl has struggled vs. lefties in 2020 as he has posted a 6.52 FIP and given up three HR in just 15 IP. Kipnis, on the other hand, has hit right-handed pitching to the tune of a .291 AVG and an .850 OPS.

Yan Gomes (C, WAS) - 4% Rostered

Gomes is always a solid play vs. left-handed pitching and he gets to face David Peterson in this matchup who has posted a 5.44 FIP and allowed four HR to right-handed hitters in 2020. Gomes is slashing .314/.333/.591 vs. lefties in 2020 and has one HR and six RBI across 22 AB. Be sure to check the lineup and make sure he is in before pulling the trigger here.

Jason Heyward (OF, CHC) - 15% Rostered

Kuhl's struggles vs. lefties are mentioned above in the Kipnis recommendation and Jason Heyward fits the mold of a solid streamer as well. Heyward has hit right-handed pitching well in 2020 as he is currently slashing .327/.455/.561 with five HR across just 98 AB. Heyward is also hitting a whopping .358 on the road, which makes him even more intriguing in this spot.

 

 

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Daily Fantasy Baseball Streamers - MLB Hitter, Pitcher Lineup Picks for 9/23

We are nearly the end of the fantasy baseball season, and if you're still plugging away, I congratulate you on making it this far! Many games are played today, so plenty of viable streamers sit on your waiver wire to scoop up. Let's focus on how you can use the following streamers to steal a category and run away with your league's title.

When choosing my daily hitter streamers, I examine their platoon splits, lineup position, and pitching matchup. With pitchers, I account for the opposing lineup, team ballpark, and recent performance to help make my decision.

Each of my streamers will be rostered in between 0-40% of Yahoo leagues, with a mixed focus on both shallow and deeper formats. Today, I will be providing a streamer for each position, including two starting pitchers. Let’s take a look at the Tuesday slate and dig out some streamer gems to help you start the week with a bang!

 

Hitter Streamers for 9/23 - Infielders

Bobby Dalbec (1B/3B, RHB, BOS) - 17% Rostered

Matchup: vs. RHP Dean Kremer

Dalbec is a terrific source of power and is a perfect streaming option. He has a .375 ISO with seven home runs through his 18 career games. The Boston Red Sox has firmly planted him in the middle of the lineup, and Bobby continues to produce. He is slashing .281/.352/.656 with a 1.008 OPS in 64 at-bats. Dalbec could help you in four categories today; pick him up quick!

Joey Wendle (2B/3B/SS, LHB, TAM) - 8% Rostered

Matchup: @ RHP Michael Wacha

Wendle is laying waste to pitching recently-slashing .350/.386/.500 with a .886 OPS in his last two weeks. The production has come in many ways: two SBs, one HR, and eight runs+RBI. Let's ride the hot hand that is multi-eligible all over the infield. He gets a favorable matchup against Michael Wacha and his 6.75 ERA with 1.68 WHIP.

Nate Lowe (1B, LHB, TAM) - 14% Rostered

Matchup: @ RHP Michael Wacha

Need to play catch up in the home run category? Look for further than Nate Lowe-he has four home runs in 54 at-bats this season. He is a right-handed pitching masher that will see Michael Wacha on the mound. Lowe sports a .297/.409/.676 slash line with 1.085 OPS vs. RHP. Sometimes streamers just come together nicely, and this one looks too perfect to pass up.

Jon Berti (2B/3B/SS/OF, RHB, MIA) - 22% Rostered

Matchup: @ LHP Max Fried

Suggest a player with a higher SLG% than OBP? Am I crazy? No, not entirely. This week is the finals, and Berti is a speculative add for stolen bases, and Berti can swipe a few bags-he has eight on the year. He has reached base eight times in his previous three games since returning from a brief IL stint. All we need is the green light to take second base, and you've got a valuable speed streamer.

 

Hitter Streamers for 9/23 - Outfielders

Alex Dickerson (OF, LHB, SFG) - 19% Rostered

Matchup: vs. RHP Ryan Castellani

Dickerson is on one of his heaters again, and when he does, you need to jump on board. He is 8-for-15 with a pair of home runs and slugging 1.699 in his previous week of games. On top of the recent streak, he also draws a favorable matchup against RHP Ryan Castellani's 5.59 ERA and 1.39 WHIP. Dickerson will look to add to the nine home runs already put over the fences against RHP in Oracle Park this afternoon.

Aaron Hicks (OF, SHB, NYY) - 9% Rostered

Matchup: @ LHP Robbie Ray

Grabbing a piece of the potent Yankees offense is a baller move; they have been a dynamic squad near the tops in the MLB in runs scored each week. Picking up the three-hole hitter in that lineup at this point in the season? Yes, please. Hick is also incredibly useful to any OBP leagues because he is walking(20.0%) more than he strikeouts(17.9%). Hicks may not be a tremendous power source, but he can help you out in a few other categories.

Brandon Belt (OF/1B, SFG, LHB) - 33% Rostered

Matchup: vs. COL RHP Ryan Castellani

Another three-hole hitter in a productive offense is available? Belt may have cooled off a little since his red hot August, but the production is still there. He is slashing .271/.426/.542 with a .968 OPS in September and walking more than striking out. If for nothing else, he carries a .624 SLG% and 1.054 OPS vs. RHP. Tonight's matchup is against Castellani, who's statcast slider puts him in the bottom 10% for xwOBA, hard-hit%, and exit velocity.


Pitcher Streamer fo
r 9/23

Zach Eflin (PHI, RHP) 30% Rostered

Matchup: @ WAS

Eflin is a tremendous streamer for your fantasy squad. He is a terrific source of strikeouts(29.6 K%) that limits the number of walks(6.3% BB%). When hitters make contact, they put the ball on the ground at a very high 47.3% clip. A higher ground ball rate is helpful because ground balls often cause lower batting averages on balls hit into play. When you look at Eflin's 4.28 ERA, it's backed up by a 3.34 FIP and 3.05 xFIP. The underlying metrics suggest Eflin is a bit unlucky and is better than his ERA indicates. Lastly, Eflin has a fair shot at picking up a win today as he squares off against the 23-32 Washington Nationals that sputtering to the finish line.



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Daily Fantasy Baseball Streamers - MLB Hitter, Pitcher Lineup Picks for Tuesday 9/22

The MLB season is filled with ups and downs, but the key to success is to find some gems to stream! Today we're going to stream a Rockies pitcher away from Coors and continue to ride a slugging Rays' first baseman!

When choosing my daily hitter streamers, I examine their platoon splits, lineup position, and pitching matchup. With pitchers, I account for the opposing lineup, team ballpark, and recent performance to help make my decision.

Each of my streamers will be rostered in between 0-40% of Yahoo leagues, with a mixed focus on both shallow and deeper formats. Today, I will be providing a streamer for each position, including two starting pitchers. Let’s take a look at the Tuesday slate and dig out some streamer gems to help you start off the week with a bang!

 

Hitter Streamers for 9/22 - Infielders

Nate Lowe (1B, LHB, TB) - 13% Rostered

Matchup: @ NYM RHP Seth Lugo

Lowe finds himself in this article once again, as he continues to see the ball well, going 12-for-36 (.333) with nine runs, four homers, and 11 RBI in his last 11 games. He faces Lugo, who just got rocked for six runs on eight hits in only 1.2 innings, so this is an exploitable matchup.

Ke'Bryan Hayes (3B, RHB, PIT) 9% Rostered

Matchup: vs CHC LHP Jose Quintana

Hayes has been impressive since being called up, slashing .323/.391/.597 with 11 runs, three homers, eight RBI, and one stolen base. He's been a fixture in the two-hole, so he's in a prime position for production. Hayes has hit the ball hard, posting a 94.2 MPH average exit velocity. He goes up against Quintana, who hasn't pitched since August 30th.

Jedd Gyorko (1B/3B, RHB, MIL) 3% Rostered

Matchup: @ CIN RHP Sonny Gray

Gyorko has been rock solid lately, going 7-for-26 (.269) with six walks, five runs, two homers, and five RBI in his last nine games. He's rotated between the fourth and sixth spot in the lineup during that span. Gyorko goes up against Gray, who has allowed 11 earned runs in his last two starts (four innings).

Josh Fuentes (1B, RHB, COL) 1% Rostered

Matchup: @ SF LHP Drew Smyly

Fuentes has been swinging a hot bat of late, going 14-for-40 (.350) with eight runs, one homer, and eight RBI in his last ten games. He's been mashing lefties this season, slashing .333/.333/.667 against them, so he could take advantage of Smyly here.

Hitter Streamers for 9/22 - Outfielders

Jurickson Profar (2B/OF, SHB, SD) 28% Rostered

Matchup: vs. LAA RHP Griffin Canning

Profar is a streaky hitter and right now he's rolling, going 11-for-26 (.423) with four runs, one homer, six RBI, and two steals in his last eight games. He goes up against Canning, who's been a major disappointment this season, posting a 4.29 ERA (4.55 FIP), 13.0 K-BB%, and 10.9 SwStr% (-2.9% from 2019).

Nick Solak (2B/3B/OF, RHB, TEX) 28% Rostered

Matchup: @ ARZ LHP Caleb Smith

It looks like Solak is starting to get on a hot streak, as he's 5-for-8 (.625) with three runs, one RBI, and two steals in his last two games. He's slashed .333/.349/.367 against southpaws this season, so he has a good matchup against Smith, who's struggled through a difficult season dealing with COVID-19.

Corey Dickerson (OF, MIA, LHB) 14% Rostered

Matchup: @ ATL N/A

We're not sure who's starting for the Braves yet, but that doesn't matter too much with the way Dickerson has been swinging the bat lately - he's gone 6-for-14 (.429) with four runs, one homer, three RBI, and one steal in his last four games.

Pitcher Streamer for 9/22

Kyle Freeland (CHW, LHP) 34% Rostered

Matchup: @ SF

Like every Rockies pitcher, Freeland has been much better away from Coors Field, posting a 2.63 ERA and 1.13 WHIP on the road, compared to a 4.46 ERA and 1.43 WHIP at home. He's pitched six innings in three consecutive starts, allowing six runs, walking seven, and striking out 15 during that span (18 innings). He should be able to turn in a quality start against the Giants here.



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Daily Fantasy Baseball Streamers - MLB Hitter, Pitcher Picks for 9/21/20

It's another manic Monday, so you know what time it is - it's time to dig deep and find some streamers. Today is a tough day for pitcher streamers, so we'll roll on a streaky Rangers' starter. We'll also pair a couple of Yankees and Marlins in favorable matchups.

When choosing my daily hitter streamers, I examine their platoon splits, lineup position, and pitching matchup. With pitchers, I account for the opposing lineup, team ballpark, and recent performance to help make my decision.

Each of my streamers will be rostered in between 0-40% of Yahoo leagues, with a mixed focus on both shallow and deeper formats. Today, I will be providing a streamer for each position, including two starting pitchers. Let’s take a look at the Monday slate and dig out some streamer gems to help you start off the week with a bang!

 

Hitter Streamers for 9/21 - Infielders

Asdrubal Cabrera (1B/2B/3B, WAS) vs. PHI 16% Rostered

It looks like Cabrera is starting to get hot, as he's gone 10-for-33 (.303) with five runs, three homers, and seven RBI in his last seven games. While he has a tough matchup against RHP Zach Wheeler, this is a streaky hitter who could be on the start of a nice stretch, so we'll stream him here.

Miguel Rojas (SS, MIA) @ ATL - 12% Rostered

Rojas has swung the bat well lately, going 9-for-28 (.321) with seven runs, two homers, and five RBI in his last eight games. He has a decent matchup against RHP Josh Tomlin, who has posted a 4.84 ERA and 9.6 SwStr% in 35.1 innings this season.

Garrett Cooper (1B/OF, MIA) @ ATL - 10% Rostered

Cooper has been a nice source of power lately, going 7-for-20 (.350) with seven runs, two homers, and five RBI in his last six games. Cooper has been a fixture in the three-hole, so he's a nice option as a low-rostered player hitting in the heart of the Marlins' lineup.

Daniel Vogelbach (1B, MIL) @ CIN 2% Rostered

We're digging deep with this stream, as Vogelbach is available in almost every league. He only plays against righties and he faces the struggling RHP Anthony DeSclafani here. Vogelbach has gone 8-for-17 (.471) with six runs, three homers, and nine RBI in his last four games.

 

Hitter Streamers for 9/21 - Outfielders

Brett Gardner (OF, NYY) 25% Rostered

Gardner has been red-hot of late, going 9-for-21 (.423) with seven runs, two homers, and five RBI in his last seven games. The Blue Jays' starter hasn't been posted yet, but we'll still go with Gardner hitting in the bandbox that is Sahlen Field. We need to exploit this struggling pitching staff right now with a share of the red-hot Yankee lineup.

Aaron Hicks (OF, NYY) 9% Rostered

Hicks makes for a nice pairing with Gardner hitting in this Yankee lineup in a favorable ballpark. Hicks has gone 6-for-23 (.261) with six runs, one home run, and one RBI in his last six games. He's mostly hit in the three-hole, which is a great spot to be in one of the hottest lineups in baseball.

Tyler O'Neill (OF, STL) @ KC 3% Rostered

O'Neill has flashed some power and speed lately, with two home runs, seven RBI, and one stolen base in his last seven games. He takes on the Royals in what should be a bullpen game, as probable starter RHP Carlos Hernandez has pitched between two and three innings in each of his three appearances this season. The Royals' bullpen is nothing to fear.

 

Pitcher Streamer for 9/21

Kyle Gibson (RHP, TEX) @ LAA - 10% Rostered

Gibson is the best pitcher streamer for tomorrow, coming off a dominant, complete-game shutout against the Astros, where he walked three and struck out nine. While he was struggling prior to that start, allowing five or more runs in four of his previous five turns, this is a streaky pitcher who we need to ride against the Angels. Simply put, it's a tough time of year to stream pitching and Gibson is the best of the bunch.



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Fantasy Baseball Injury Updates for Week 10

Injuries are commonplace in all sports. Baseball has seen the rate of injury continue to rise over the past few years. In fantasy, if someone is not in the medical field, it is hard to gauge how long a player will be out and whether they need to be replaced in a lineup. Sometimes this could mean playing a dead roster spot and losing the opportunity to have a full week of stats. Watching a play and watching the mechanism of injury can say a lot about the type of injury that has been sustained. The mechanism of injury is one of the ways of diagnosing the problem.

My name is Reuven Guy. I grew up playing baseball, watching baseball and wanting to go into medicine. I was able to combine both of my loves. I am a practicing physician assistant in the state of New York in the fields of orthopedics and physical medicine/pain management. I have been treating patients with the same type of injuries that have been affecting athletes in a private practice setting for the past 15 years. Having this base of knowledge, it is easier to “predict” what the injury could be and how long a player will be out.

During the course of the season in this weekly article, I will be going over MLB player injuries. I will be hunting down the latest updates and have sources to back me up. I will be highlighting the type of injury it is, try to diagnose an injury that has not been diagnosed yet, discuss the extent of injury, and how long the player will be out. I will also be listing the “next man up” when it comes to playing time if the player will be out. This year, I will also have a listing of all fantasy-relevant players affected by COVID-19 and COVID-19 protocols. Hopefully, this will help you create and manage a more competitive fantasy lineup.

 

Injury "Guy"de for the Week of September 20, 2020

Ken Giles (RP, TOR) - Forearm - Giles was again placed on the IL with a right flexor strain. He had recently returned from the IL when he was dealing with a mild strain of the flexor mass in his right forearm. Giles is done for the year.

James Paxton (SP, NYY) - Forearm - Paxton was placed on the IL with a left forearm strain. He recently had a setback in his recovery and is done for the regular season as he was placed on the 45 day IL.

Keone Kela (P, PIT) - Forearm - Kela was placed on the IL with forearm tightness. Kela has thrown off of a mound and is trying to return before the season ends.

Yandy Diaz (1B/3B, TB)Hamstring - Diaz was placed on the IL with a right hamstring strain. Diaz played catch this week but his progress has been slow. Diaz may not be able to return this regular season for the Rays.

Walker Buehler (SP, LAD)- Blister- Buehler was placed on the IL, retroactive to Sept 9 with the same blister issue that sidelined him earlier this year. He is expected to make only one more start this regular season. Tony Gonsolin has been filling in for him quite well.

Chris Paddack (SP, SD)- Ankle- Paddack left his last start due to a sprained right ankle and is considered day-to-day. X-rays were negative. He has been cleared to start this weekend.

Zack Wheeler (SP, PHI)- Finger- Weeler was scratched from his start last weekend because he had a problem with his middle finger nail but he pitched this week without having any issues afterwards.

Jake Odorizzi (SP, MIN)- Abdomen/Finer- Odorizzi returned from the IL this past only to exit his start early due to a finger/blister issue. He is day to day.

Eric Hosmer (1B, SD)- Finger - Hosmer was diagnosed with a fractured left index finger after getting hit in the hand with a pitch trying to bunt. Hosmer recently stopped wearing the splint on his finger and took live batting practice this week. He is trying to back for the last week of the season.

Jon Gray (SP, COL)- Shoulder- Gray was placed on the IL with right shoulder inflammation, retroactive to Sept. 2. He has been ruled out for the rest of the season. Chi Chi Gonzalez or Jose Mujica could fill in for the Rockies.

Ketel Marte (OF, ARI)- Wrist- Marte was placed on the IL with left wrist inflammation. He began hitting off of a tee this week.

Shin-Soo Choo (OF, TEX)- Hand- Choo was placed on the IL with a sprained right hand. He has been slow to recover and it looks unlikely that he will return this year.

Dallas Keuchel (SP, CHW)- Back- Keuchel was placed on the IL with back spasms, retroactive to Sept. 7. Keuchel could be activated to start this weekend in order for the White Sox to set their playoff rotation.

Justin Verlander (SP, HOU)- Forearm- Verlander is on the IL with a forearm strain. Manager Dusty Baker said about Justin Verlander: "Hopefully, if everything goes well, he could be back at the end of the month." He threw 75 pitches this week.

Spencer Howard (SP, PHI)- Shoulder- Howard was removed from a start last weekend with right shoulder stiffness and landed on the IL. There is no word of what the timeline for his recovery is.

Jorge Alfaro (C, MIA)- Head- Alfaro was hit in the mask by a foul ball earlier this week. He was cleared of having a concussion after the came. However, concussive symptoms could appear a few days after the injury so this is something to watch. He did return to action on Friday.

Mike Yastrzemski (OF, SF)- Calf- Yastrzemski was taken out of the game earlier this week with right calf tightness. He is scheduled to undergo an MRI on Friday. No word on severity otherwise. Darin Ruf could fill in for the Giants.

Austin Meadows (OF, TB)- Oblique- Meadows was taken out of game 1 of the Rays doubleheader on Thursday with left oblique soreness. Obliques could be very tricky and could knock him out for the rest of the regular season.

Dakota Hudson (SP, STL)- Elbow- Hudson left Thursday night's game with right elbow tightness. He had pitched two shutout innings prior to being removed. X-Rays were negative and he is scheduled for further testing.

Jake Arrieta (SP, PHI)- Hamstring- Arrieta was placed on the IL this week with a right hamstring strain. MRI was performed and results are pending. He has been ruled out for the rest of the year.

Rhys Hoskins (1B, PHI)- Elbow- Hoskins was placed on the IL with a UCL injury to his left arm. There is a possibility of him needing Tommy John surgery. He is done for the year. Jay Bruce could fill in at 1B as he was recently activated from the IL himself.

Jorge Soler (OF, KC)- Oblique- Soler is on the IL with an oblique injury. He looked good after taking live at-bats Thursday and was scheduled to hit again on Friday. Soler looks to be on track to return next week.

Mitch Garver (C, MIN)- Intercostal strain- Garver had a setback in his attempt to come back from the IL from a right intercostal strain. Garver got hit below the belt with a foul ball while catching at Minnesota's alternate training camp in St. Paul. He has been out since August 19 but still could return next week.

 

Updated List of Fantasy-Relevant Players Affected by COVID-19

Please note: Although a player may have returned, they may not be up to game speed yet and may still be on the IL or not ready to play. Also please note that the COVID IL can range from a few days to weeks and symptomatic players with negative COVID testing will miss fewer games.

Alcantara, Sandy (SP, MIA)- Returned
Alvarez, Yordan (DH, HOU)- Returned
Astudillo, Willians (C, MIN)- Returned
Beer, Seth (1B, ARI) - Returned
Blackmon, Charlie (OF, COL) - Returned
Brito, Socrates (OF, PIT)- Returned
Brinson, Lewis (OF, MIA)- Returned
Cabrera, Genesis (RP, STL)- Returned
Calhoun, Kole (OF, ARI) - Returned
Cano, Robinson (1B/2B, NYM) - Returned
Chapman, Aroldis (RP, NYY)- Returned
Cessa, Luis (RP, NYY)- Returned
Chirinos, Yonny (SP/RP, TB)- Returned
Cooper, Garrett (1B/OF, MIA)- Returned
d’Arnuad, Travis (C, ATL)- Returned
Davidson, Matt- (DH, CIN)- Returned
deJong, Paul (SS, STL)- Returned
DeShields, Delino (OF, CLE)- Returned
Diaz, Elias (C, COL)- Returned
Dietrich, Derek (1B/OF, CHC)- Returned
Dozier, Hunter (3B/OF, KC)- Returned
Drury, Brandon (3B, TOR)- Returned
Elias, Roenis (RP, SEA)- Returned
Engel, Adam- (OF, CHW)- Returned
Flowers, Tyler (C, ATL)- Returned
Freeman, Freddie (1B, ATL) - Returned
Garica, Jarlin (RP, SF)- Returned
Gimenez, Andres (2B/SS/3B- Returned
Glasnow, Tyler (SP, TB) - Returned
Gomber, Austin (P, STL)- Returning
Grichuk, Randal (OF, TOR)- Returned
Guerra, Junior (RP, ARI) - Returned
Hamilton, Billy (OF, SF)- Returned
Haseley, Adam (OF, PHI) - Returned
Hayes, Ke'Bryan (3B, PIT)- Returned
Hernandez, Darwinzon (RP, BOS) - Returned
Hirano, Yoshii (RP, SEA)- Returned
Hunter, Tommy (RP, PHI)- Returned
Jansen, Kenley (RP, LAD) - Returned
Joyce, Matt (OF, MIA)- Returned
Kela, Keone (RP, PIT)- Returned
Keller, Brad (SP, KC)- Returned
Kendrick, Howie (1B/2B/3B/OF, WAS) - Returned
Kingery, Scott (2B/3B/SS/OF, PHI) - Returned
Lauer, Eric (SP, MIL)- Returned
LeMahieu, DJ (1B/2B, NYY) - Returned
Luzardo, Jesus (SP, OAK) - Returned
McKay, Brendan (SP, TB)- Returned
Mahtook, Mikie (OF, DET)- Returned
Margot, Manuel (OF, TB)- Returned
Martinez, Carlos (SP/RP, STL)- Returned
Mateo, Jorge (SS, SD)- Returned
Mazara, Nomar- (OF, CHW)- Returned
Meadows, Austin (OF, TB)- Returned
Mengden, Daniel (SP, OAK)
Moncada, Yoan (3B, CHW) - Returned
Molina, Yadier (C, STL)- Returning
Neris, Hector (RP, PHI)- Returned
Nido, Tomas (C, NYM)- Returning
Nola, Aaron (SP, PHI) - Returned
Norris, Daniel (SP, DET)- Returned
O'Hearn, Ryan (1B, KC)- Returned
Oviedo, Johan (SP, STL)- Returned
Perez, Salvador (C, KC)- Returned
Pham, Tommy (OF, SD) - Returned
Quinn, Roman (OF, PHI)- Returned
Robles, Victor (OF, WAS)- Returned
Rodriguez, Eduardo (SP, BOS)- Returned but out for the year with COVID complications. He flew to Boston for a checkup. "Yeah, he's doing well actually," said Red Sox manager Ron Roenicke. "He flew back to Boston, just got into town.... I don't know what the results were on the tests that he took, but I can find that out...he seems to be doing well."
Rojas, Miguel (SS, MIA)- Returned
Ruiz, Keibert- (C, LAD)- Returned
Sano, Miguel (1B/3B, MIN) - Returned
Senzel, Nick- (2B, CIN)- Returned
Smith, Caleb (SP, MIA)- Returned
Smith, Will (RP, ATL)- Returned
Soto, Juan (OF, WAS)- Returned
Suero, Wander (RP, WAS)- Returned
Teheran, Julio (SP, LAA)- Returned
Toussaint, Touki (SP/RP, ATL)- Returned
Urena, Jose (SP, MIA)- Returning
Urias, Luis (2B/SS, MIL)- Returned
Urquidy, Jose (SP, HOU)- Returned



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Champ or Chump: Trent Grisham

While it seems like the MLB season just started yesterday, the final full week is rapidly approaching. If you're looking for an extra edge for the stretch run, rostering players on teams with a bunch of games to make up could give you a quantity advantage. The Cardinals, Brewers, Rockies, and Nationals are all scheduled to play eight games next week, though balancing the fact that some of those games will only last seven innings makes roster decisions more complicated.

In contrast, the San Diego Padres and Minnesota Twins are only slated for five games next week, meaning that only elite players from those teams should be utilized in weekly leagues. Guys like Fernando Tatis Jr. and Nelson Cruz are obvious must-starts, but Trent Grisham is also worthy of that status.

Grisham began his professional career as a hyped prospect, being selected 15th overall in the 2015 First Year Player Draft. His star had since dimmed, however, and he did virtually nothing in his first taste of big-league action despite a sterling MiLB resume. It has all come together in this abbreviated campaign though, even if 2021 will likely be remembered as his breakout season due to this season's bizarre structure. Here is a closer look at one of the more intriguing player profiles in the game today.

 

A Stellar 2020

 

The Padres have been one of the 2020 season's best storylines, and Trent Grisham's .267/.350/.471 triple-slash line with nine long balls and seven steals is a big reason why. Some fantasy managers may be skeptical of his performance because his average exit velocity is only 88.1 mph, but this is a case where looking at the overall number can be deceptive. Grisham's fly balls and line drives are averaging 94 mph off of the bat, placing him in the top third of the league. His grounders aren't as impressive at 84 mph, but Grisham's elite 28.9 ft./sec Statcast Sprint Speed allows him to reach base on them regardless.

Furthermore, Grisham has had a knack for barrels this season. His 10.9% rate of Brls/BBE ranks 72nd among qualified batters, with names like Pete Alonso and J.D. Martinez in the same vicinity. This author has found Brls/BBE to be one of the most reliable predictors of fantasy success, and Grisham offers it. Baseball Savant's expected metrics also suggest that Grisham has been unfortunate this season, with an xBA of .285 against his actual .267 mark. Likewise, Grisham's .522 xSLG is significantly better than his .471 slugging percentage.

Some fantasy baseball players may be skeptical of Grisham's 33.8 FB% and 20.5% HR/FB, numbers that scream negative regression at the top of their lungs. However, Grisham is also running an inflated 26.9 LD%, and it says here that some of those line drives will turn into fly balls moving forward. It won't be a great change for Grisham's .328 BABIP, but the resulting power spike is likely to add to Grisham's overall fantasy value.

Likewise, Grisham has an outstanding eye that his basic plate discipline metrics are masking. Fantasy gamers in OBP formats will appreciate his 10.5 BB%, and standard roto gamers also welcome the walks as an opportunity to swipe a bag. His 25.1 K% is a little harder to swallow, but his 20.4% chase rate and 7.5 SwStr% are both better than league average. Grisham is likely to underperform his plate discipline peripherals to a degree because of his low 38.1 Swing%, but it's hard to not see at least some upside here.

 

Under-the-Radar Prior Production

 

Another common criticism of Grisham is that he has only performed well for a short period (219 PAs as of this writing), but he actually has much more history producing like this if you include his minor league numbers. In fact, his MiLB resume includes several trends that suggest the K% and FB% improvements forecasted above. Unfortunately, scouting reports weren't that high on him, and fantasy managers didn't pay much attention as a result. For an idea of what Grisham was fighting against, here are his FanGraphs scouting grades from 2019:

Scouts aren't foolproof, of course, and Grisham's numbers suggest that he is capable of becoming a major league force.

He first reached Double-A as a member of the Brewers organization, slashing .233/.356/.337 for Double-A (Biloxi) over 405 PAs. He hit seven homers and stole 11 bases, foreshadowing the type of production he would offer fantasy managers. Grisham also managed a 15.6 BB% while only striking out 21.5% of the time, suggesting strong plate discipline. His 9 SwStr% was also impressive for a 21-year-old in his first exposure to the High Minors. Grisham did a tremendous job elevating the baseball with a 46.2 FB% as well, though his 6.1 HR/FB prevented him from doing much with it.

Grisham returned to Biloxi to begin the 2019 season, and he clobbered his opponents to the tune of a .254/.371/.504 line with 13 HR and six steals over 283 PAs. His 46.5 FB% was virtually unchanged from his previous season, but a HR/FB spike to 15.1% helped him hit for a lot more power. He also walked at a 15.5% clip with a 17.7 K% and 7.5 SwStr%, suggesting his plate discipline got even better. A .269 BABIP (partially caused by all of the flies) limited his batting average, but the Brewers promoted him to Triple-A (San Antonio) anyway.

Every Triple-A ballpark was a hitter's haven last year, and San Antonio finished in the 84th percentile for HR and 60th for BABIP among all MiLB parks. Grisham took full advantage, slashing a ridiculous .381/.471/.776 with 13 HR and six steals over 158 PAs before earning an opportunity in the Show. His 14.6 BB% was higher than his 13.9 K%, his 44.6 FB% did a lot of damage with a 26 HR/FB, and he posted a .384 BABIP to boot. Some of this was definitely his environment, but we can't discount that there was some growth too.

Some experts were touting Grisham when the Brewers added him to their MLB roster, but it just didn't work out. He hit .231/.328/.410 with six homers over 183 PAs with sporadic playing time, stealing only one base. His 10.9 BB% was in line with his MiLB performance, but the combination of a 26.2 K% and .286 BABIP made his batting average a drag in fantasy. The Brewers decided to trade Grisham to San Diego in the Luis Urias deal, something they would probably like a mulligan on now.

 

Conclusion

 

If you judge Grisham only on his 2020 performance, you see a guy who may not continue to hit for power and strikes out too often. However, both his FB% and K% numbers were much better in the minors, and he figures to help fantasy managers with homers and steals for the foreseeable future. Additionally, the Padres generally hit Grisham leadoff, adding runs to an already-superlative fantasy profile.

This author has no idea why Grisham is only rostered in 75% of Yahoo! leagues even if the Padres have a light schedule the rest of the way, so checking if he's available is recommended. Grisham also makes for a great target if you're already thinking about 2021, as his draft day cost is likely to pale in comparison to the value he can provide.

Verdict: Champ (based on sustainable HR, SB, and R production with a good average)



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Daily Fantasy Baseball Streamers - MLB Hitter, Pitcher Lineup Picks for Thursday 9/17

Welcome to another edition of MLB Daily Fantasy Baseball Streamers! We have reached the home stretch of this truncated MLB season and that likely means many of you are in the playoffs. I know I am, which means streaming is as important as ever.

RotoBaller has been dishing out streamer advice for years. We're always streamin and dreamin. Each day we'll publish some of the best streaming options to consider in your fantasy baseball daily league lineups. Streaming pitchers and position players to exploit a matchup are extremely important in fantasy baseball, especially in a truncated season like this one.

We have a 12-game slate to choose from today, which means we should have some solid options to choose from. The best options on today's slate come from the Rangers, Angels, Pirates, Cardinals, Marlins, and Rays.

 

Shallow League Streamers (50% Rostered)

Isiah Kiner-Falefa (C/3B/SS, TEX) - 64% Rostered

There is a good chance Kiner-Falefa is owned in your league, but if he isn't, he could make for a solid stream vs. Astros' left-hander Framber Valdez. Valdez has had some ups and downs in 2020 and is currently posting a 4.017 ERA and 3.88 FIP vs. righties. This could be higher as he has also gotten lucky by allowing a .318 BABIP. Kiner-Falefa has handled lefties well in 2020 as he has posted a .444 wOBA with two doubles and one HR.

 

Deeper League Streamers (25% Rostered)

Griffin Canning (SP, LAA) - 21% Rostered

Canning has been serviceable across his 45.1 IP as he has posted a 4.57 ERA, 1.37 WHIP, and has struck out 39. This matchup is more about his opponent, the Diamondbacks, who are posting a lowly wRC+ mark of 76 over the previous two weeks, which ranks fifth-worst in baseball. They are also striking out at a rate of 21.8% over the same time frame, which has them ranked 19th-highest in the league. This should be a solid spot for Canning.

Colin Moran (1B/2B/3B, PIT) - 21% Rostered

Moran gets a matchup vs. Cardinals right-hander, Dakota Hudson who has allowed a 5.23 FIP and three HR to left-handed hitters across 16 IP. Moran has done well vs. righties in 2020 as he is posting a .358 wOBA with six bombs across 93 AB.

Kolten Wong (2B, STL) - 35% Rostered

This is a lefty-on-lefty matchup that could work out in Wong's favor. Brault has limited action (4.1 IP) vs. left-handed hitters in 2020, but he has allowed three hits, 10BB/9, and a .429 BABIP. Wong is seeing lefties well in 2020 as he has posted a .364 OBP with a double and two RBI in just 20 AB.

 

Deepest League Streamers (10% Rostered)

Jesus Aguilar (1B, MIA) - 19% Rostered

Aguilar gets a pretty solid matchup vs. Red Sox right-hander, Nathan Eovaldi. Eovaldi has struggled vs. right-handed hitters in 2020 as he has allowed a 7.47 ERA and 5.89 FIP. He has also allowed five HR across just 17.1 IP. Aguilar has done well vs. right-handers in 2020 as he has smacked five HR across 96 AB while also posting a .373 wOBA.

 

 

 

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Daily Fantasy Baseball Streamers - MLB Hitter, Pitcher Lineup Picks for Wednesday 9/16

We are rounding third base and on our way to finish this 2020 sprint season. Every move made is magnified immensely, and the slightest transaction wins categories. So without any further adieu, let's get to those streamers to help us win big in 2020.

When choosing my daily hitter streamers, I examine their platoon splits, lineup position, and pitching matchup. With pitchers, I account for the opposing lineup, team ballpark, and recent performance to help make my decision.

Each of my streamers will be rostered in between 0-40% of Yahoo leagues, with a mixed focus on both shallow and deeper formats. Today, I will be providing a streamer for each position, including two starting pitchers. Let’s take a look at the Wednesday slate and dig out some streamer gems to help you start the week with a bang!

 

Hitter Streamers for 9/16 - Infielders

Jared Walsh (1B, LHB, LAA) - 22% Rostered

Matchup: vs. LHP Caleb Smith

The new kid on the block is Jared Walsh, and he has been making lots of hits. Speaking of which, Walsh has two or more hits in his last five games and riding a seven-game hitting streak. If you're looking for a potential power bat, Walsh is your guy. He has six home runs in only 54 at-bats on the season. In the minor leagues last season, Walsh had an OPS over 1.000 vs. LHP or RHP with a combined 36 home runs. The power is real and today could be that day his next hit is out of the park.

Bobby Dalbec (1B/3B, RHB, BOS) 25% Rostered

Matchup: @ MIA LHP Trevor Rogers

It feels like Dalbec has been a mainstay in the streamer articles since his arrival, and we should fix that. The Boston Red Sox promoted Dalbec 13 games ago, and he is making waves. Dalbec went yard in four straight games with a total of five home runs nearly a week ago. The offensive production has continued by collecting 11 hits in his last 27 at-bats. He is mashing the ball with a .681 slugging% and 1.014 OPS. Terrific streamer play for Wednesday!

Miguel Rojas (SS, RHB, MIA) - 9% Rostered

Matchup: vs. BOS LHP Mike Kickham

Rojas is a toolsy little player that will come in handy at this point in the season. He is slashing .361/.448/.578 with three dingers and three stolen bases. The matchup is a favorable one against Mike Kickham, who has the repertoire to strike out several batters while also serving up a deep ball. He has allowed three dingers in only nine innings pitched. It's always a welcome addition to your roster when the player can help in nearly every category.

Nate Lowe (1B, LHB, TB) - 4% Rostered

Matchup: vs. WAS RHP Austin Voth

"Free Nate Lowe" has been a slogan in the fantasy baseball community for way too long. You might be asking yourself, why were people saying this? In 329 minor league at-bats last year, Lowe hit 16 home runs and accrued 63 RBI with a .929 OPS. This year has been no different; Lowe already has three massively deep home runs on only 22 at-bats. If that wasn't enough, he faces Austin Voth and his 7.99 ERA.

 

Hitter Streamers for 9/16 - Outfielders

DJ Stewart (OF, BAL, LHB) - 32% Rostered

Matchup: vs. LHP Cole Hamels

Stewart has been on the hottest hitters on the planet. He has seven home runs and 23 runs+RBI in the previous two weeks. The Orioles offense has come back to life since installing Stewart up near the three-hole due to his power. He off against veteran Cole Hamels, who is looking to make his season debut. Who knows what version of Hamels will show up in home run haven Camden Yards. Look for another long ball today!

Clint Frazier (OF, NYY, RHB) - 29% Rostered

Matchup: vs. TOR RHP Tanner Roark

Even with Giancarlo Stanton's return to the lineup, I would suggest streaming Clint Frazier. He has been a tremendous addition to the Yankees, and they are sticking with him, which makes total sense. The man is hitting nearly .300 with six home runs in 96 at-bats. Frazier's 12.8% barrel rate in Yankees Stadium is always dangerous in hitter-friendly Yankees Stadium.

Shogo Akiyama (OF, CIN, LHB) - 21% Rostered

Matchup: vs. PIT RHP JT Brubaker

Akiyama is an impressive platoon bat to consider today. He is not going to help you in the power category as he only carries a .290 slugging%, but in an OBP league, he has elite skills. Shogo gets on base at a .351 clip with 21 walks and only 28 strikeouts. When he gets on base, he can use his 27.7 ft/sec sprint speed (75th percentile) to steal bags; he has six on the season. If you're slow on stolen bases, Shogo can give you a boost.

 

Pitcher Streamer for 9/16

Brady Singer (RHP, KAN) 26% Rostered

Matchup: @ DET

Singer is fresh off a start he may never forget after only allowing one hit in eight innings pitched. He picked up his second career win and looked dynamic. The fastball and slider combination was baffling hitters as he struck out eight Cleveland Indians. While it has been a bumpy season for Singer, he looks to carry the newfound success into Detroit. The woeful Tigers, against RHP, have a 27.7 K% to go along with a .292 wOBA and 80 wRC+. The wRC+ stat means they are 20% worse than league average against RHP. It is very slim pickings for a pitcher streamer today, and Singer's 21.8 K% paired with Detroit's offensive inefficiency make him extremely viable.



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Daily Fantasy Baseball Streamers - MLB Hitter, Pitcher Lineup Picks for Tuesday 9/15

The MLB season is filled with ups and downs, but the key to success is to find some gems to stream! Today we're going to stack four Rays against a struggling Nationals' pitcher!

When choosing my daily hitter streamers, I examine their platoon splits, lineup position, and pitching matchup. With pitchers, I account for the opposing lineup, team ballpark, and recent performance to help make my decision.

Each of my streamers will be rostered in between 0-40% of Yahoo leagues, with a mixed focus on both shallow and deeper formats. Today, I will be providing a streamer for each position, including two starting pitchers. Let’s take a look at the Tuesday slate and dig out some streamer gems to help you start off the week with a bang!

 

Hitter Streamers for 9/15 - Infielders

Rougned Odor (2B, LHB, TEX) 28% Rostered

Matchup: @ HOU RHP Jose Urquidy

Odor is as streaky as they come and right now it looks like he's finally getting things going, as he's homered in three consecutive games. Urquidy has struggled since returning from injury - despite a 3.72 ERA (5.79 FIP), he's allowed six walks to only three strikeouts in 9.2 innings. This is an exploitable matchup that gives Odor a great opportunity to keep up the hot streak.

Bobby Dalbec (1B/3B, RHB, BOS) 25% Rostered

Matchup: @ MIA RHP Sandy Alcantara

Dalbec has been on a roll lately, going 10-for-25 (.400) with six runs, five homers, and eight RBI in his last seven games. While his strikeout rate (46.8 K%) is way too high and will eventually lead to a slump, we need to ride with Dalbec here due to his power upside. Alcantara has allowed one or more homers in three of his four starts this season, so this could be a chance for Dalbec to keep things rolling.

Joey Wendle (2B/3B/SS, LHB, TB) 5% Rostered

Matchup: vs. WAS RHP Anibal Sanchez

Wendle has been a nice source of speed lately, swiping four bags in his last eight games. He has a terrific matchup against Sanchez, who is really struggling this season, especially with keeping the ball in the park - he's posted a 2.11 HR/9. Fire up Wendle in this strong matchup.

Nate Lowe (1B, LHB, TB) 3% Rostered

Matchup: vs. WAS RHP Anibal Sanchez

Lowe is finally getting regular playing time and he's starting to produce, going 4-for-11 (.364) with four runs, two homers, and five RBI in his last three games. Lowe has the power upside and prospect pedigree to make an impact down the stretch, particularly in this prime spot. He makes for a nice pairing with Wendle.

 

Hitter Streamers for 9/15 - Outfielders

Randy Arozarena (OF, TB, RHB) 17% Rostered

Matchup: vs. WAS RHP Anibal Sanchez

Arozarena has shown some power upside, smacking four homers in only 33 plate appearances. He's also posted a 15% barrel rate, so he's generating premium contact. Arozarena has 94th-percentile sprint speed, so he can also chip in with some stolen bases. Fire him up in this great matchup.

Manuel Margot (OF, TB, RHB) 14% Rostered

Matchup: vs. WAS RHP Anibal Sanchez

Margot completes our Rays stack against Sanchez. He's been an elite source of speed lately, stealing eight bases in his last seven games. In a league where stolen bases are so hard to come by, Margot deserves to be rostered in more leagues. Ride the wave against a struggling pitcher.

Aaron Hicks (OF, NYY, SHB) 9% Rostered

Matchup: vs. TOR RHP Taijuan Walker

Hicks' counting stats (four home runs, 13 RBI, two stolen bases) are underwhelming, but he's an on-base machine (.373 OBP). He has some power and speed, so there's a chance that he can get hot playing in the bandbox that is Yankee Stadium. Hicks has been a fixture in the three-hole, so he's in a great spot for production.

 

Pitcher Streamer for 9/15

Dave Dunning (RHP, CHW) 28% Rostered

Matchup: vs. MIN

Dunning has been solid as a rookie, posting a 2.70 ERA (2.81 FIP), 17.3 K-BB%, and 15.4 SwStr%. He's also generated weak contact, with elite numbers in exit velocity (95th-percentile) and hard-hit rate (82nd-percentile). In a tough slate for streamers, ride with this impressive rookie.



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Daily Fantasy Baseball Streamers - MLB Hitter, Pitcher Picks for 9/14/20

It's another manic Monday, so you know what time it is - it's time to dig deep and find some streamers. Today is a tough day for pitcher streamers, so we'll roll the dice on a formerly hyped Pirates' prospect.

When choosing my daily hitter streamers, I examine their platoon splits, lineup position, and pitching matchup. With pitchers, I account for the opposing lineup, team ballpark, and recent performance to help make my decision.

Each of my streamers will be rostered in between 0-40% of Yahoo leagues, with a mixed focus on both shallow and deeper formats. Today, I will be providing a streamer for each position, including two starting pitchers. Let’s take a look at the Monday slate and dig out some streamer gems to help you start off the week with a bang!

 

Hitter Streamers for 9/14 - Infielders

Brian Anderson (3B/OF, MIA) vs. PHI 26% Rostered

Anderson is swinging a hot bat lately, going 12-for-24 (.500) with four runs, one homer, and six RBI in his last six games. It's not yet known who will be starting for the Phillies tomorrow, but Anderson's been hitting well enough to warrant a stream regardless of who's on the mound.

Alec Bohm (3B, PHI) @ MIA 24% Rostered

The Phillies' rookie slugger continues to impress, slashing .330/.381/.500 with three home runs and 19 RBI on the season. Bohm is hitting the ball hard, posting 88th percentile exit velocity and 92nd percentile hard-hit rate. He was also bumped to the cleanup spot in this lineup, so he's in a prime position for production.

Ty France (2B/3B, SEA) vs. OAK 10% Rostered

France has been hitting well since being traded to Seattle, slashing .367/.447/.667 as a Mariner. He's also batting in the two-hole, so he has a chance to put up some counting stats. France has a double-header tomorrow, which makes him even more of an appealing streamer.

Miguel Rojas (SS, MIA) vs. PHI 7% Rostered

Rojas has had a rock-solid year, slashing .359/.438/.551 with two home runs, 16 RBI, and three stolen bases. He's hit safely in seven of his last eight games, so it's pretty surprising that his rostered percentage remains so low. Rojas makes for a nice pairing with Anderson to help build a Marlins stack.

 

Hitter Streamers for 9/14 - Outfielders

Shogo Akiyama (OF, CIN) vs. PIT 20% Rostered

Akiyama has turned it on of late, going 8-for-22 (.364) with three runs, two RBI, and two stolen bases in his last six games. He's hit in the leadoff spot in three consecutive games, so he's in a great situation. Akiyama also has a doubleheader tomorrow, which makes him a must-stream.

Corey Dickerson (OF, MIA) vs. PHI 13% Rostered

Dickerson completes our Marlins stack as another hot-hitter who has gone 12-for-41 (.293) with eight runs, two homers, and four RBI in his last nine games. He's also hit in the leadoff spot for six consecutive games, which makes him the ideal choice to pair with Rojas and Anderson.

Nick Markakis (OF, ATL) @ BAL 6% Rostered

Markakis has a great matchup at Camden Yards against RHP Jorge Lopez, who ranks in the eighth-percentile in exit velocity allowed and 15th-percentile for hard-hit rate. Markakis should be able to get things going facing a struggling pitcher in the bandbox that is Camden Yards.

 

Pitcher Streamer for 9/14

Mitch Keller (RHP, PIT) @ CIN 31% Rostered

Tomorrow looks like one of the more challenging days to stream a pitcher, so we're forced to go with Keller, who is making his first start since returning from an oblique injury. While it's likely that the Pirates will have Keller on a pitch count to ease him back in, he's the best option on a weak slate due to his prospect pedigree and impressive stuff. Keller was struggling prior to his injury, but perhaps the long layoff allowed him to get things going.



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Fantasy Baseball Injury Updates for Week 9

Injuries are commonplace in all sports. Baseball has seen the rate of injury continue to rise over the past few years. In fantasy, if someone is not in the medical field, it is hard to gauge how long a player will be out and whether they need to be replaced in a lineup. Sometimes this could mean playing a dead roster spot and losing the opportunity to have a full week of stats. Watching a play and watching the mechanism of injury can say a lot about the type of injury that has been sustained. The mechanism of injury is one of the ways of diagnosing the problem.

My name is Reuven Guy. I grew up playing baseball, watching baseball and wanting to go into medicine. I was able to combine both of my loves. I am a practicing physician assistant in the state of New York in the fields of orthopedics and physical medicine/pain management. I have been treating patients with the same type of injuries that have been affecting athletes in a private practice setting for the past 15 years. Having this base of knowledge, it is easier to “predict” what the injury could be and how long a player will be out.

During the course of the season in this weekly article, I will be going over MLB player injuries. I will be hunting down the latest updates and have sources to back me up. I will be highlighting the type of injury it is, try to diagnose an injury that has not been diagnosed yet, discuss the extent of injury, and how long the player will be out. I will also be listing the “next man up” when it comes to playing time if the player will be out. This year, I will also have a listing of all fantasy-relevant players affected by COVID-19 and COVID-19 protocols. Hopefully, this will help you create and manage a more competitive fantasy lineup.

 

Injury "Guy"de for the Week of September 13, 2020

Aaron Judge (OF, NYY) - Lower Body - Judge is currently on the IL with a calf injury. Judge re-injured the same calf in his first game back from the same calf injury. There is a good chance that he could return by next weekend.

Carlos Rodon (SP, CHW) - Shoulder - Rodon has been dealing with left shoulder soreness and was placed on the IL for this reason. Rodon's velocity did drop below 90mph. Rodon threw a 60 pitch three inning bullpen session this week but experienced discomfort on Friday. The White Sox did not make a move for a starter at the trade deadline which may mean something about Rodon’s health and what they expect out of him.

Nate Pearson (SP, TOR) - Elbow - The Blue Jays placed Pearson on the IL with right elbow tightness. When Pearson returns he will likely be headed to the bullpen because there will not be enough time to stretch him out as a starter.

Bo Bichette (SS, TOR) - Knee - Bichette is on the IL with a grade 1 sprain of the LCL (lateral collateral ligament of the right knee. It was said Bichette could return to the Blue Jays as early as this weekend and he was activated on Saturday.

Ken Giles (RP, TOR) - Forearm - Giles is currently on the IL with a mild strain of the flexor mass in his right forearm. Giles is getting close to returning but may not assume the closer's role immediately upon his return.

James Paxton (SP, NYY) - Forearm - Paxton was placed on the IL with a left forearm strain. His MRI did not show any structural damage and he was told that he does not require Tommy John surgery. Manager Aaron Boone said that it would be "challenging" for Paxton to return this season.

Keone Kela (P, PIT) - Forearm - Kela was placed on the IL with forearm tightness. Kela has thrown off of a mound and is trying to return before the season ends.

Giancarlo Stanton (OF, NYY) - Hamstring- Stanton was placed on the IL earlier this month with a hamstring sprain/ strain. Stanton may return by next weekend.

Nathan Eovaldi (SP, BOS) - Calf - The RedSox placed Eovaldi on the IL with a "very mild strain" of his right calf, retroactive to August 26. He was activated from the IL on September 12.

David Fletcher (MI, LAA) - Ankle - Fletcher was placed on the IL, retroactive to Aug. 31, with a sprained left ankle. He was activated from the IL on September 12.

A.J. Puk (SP/RP, OAK) - Shoulder - Puk is on the IL with a shoulder strain. Puk was shut down this week due to feeling some discomfort but he may be able to continue his rehab next week.

Yandy Diaz (1B/3B, TB)Hamstring - Diaz was placed on the IL with a right hamstring strain. Diaz continues to feel soreness in the hamstring but is hopeful that he could return before the season ends.

Max Kepler (OF, MIN) - Adductor - Kepler was placed on the IL with a left adductor strain. Kepler has been running and throwing and has a chance to return from the IL when first eligible.

Justin Turner (3B, LAD) - Hamstring - Turner was placed on the IL, retroactive to August 29, with a left hamstring strain. Turner has only tried running at 50-60% so far. He is eligible to return from the IL and Manager Dave Roberts was optimistic that he could return within a week. If he is able to return that soon, he may only DH to start.

Aaron Judge (OF, NYY) - Calf - Judge is currently on the IL with a calf strain. Judge been doing baseball activities and could return this coming week.

Gio Urshela (3B, NYY) - Elbow - Urshela was placed on the IL with a bone spur in his right elbow. Urshela has been taking swings and it is possible for him to return when he is first eligible.

Danny Santana (1B/OF, TEX) - Elbow - Danny Santana was placed on the IL with a right elbow strain. Santana underwent a modified Tommy John surgery and is expected to require around eight months to recover.

Kwang-Hyun Kim (SP/RP, STL) - Abdomen - Kim was placed on the IL due to a kidney issues. He was dealing with abdominal pain and had to be taken to the emergency room and a kidney blockage was discovered. Kim is currently on track to pitch on Monday.

Giovanny Gallegos (RP, STL)- Groin- Gallegos left Thursday night's game due to a groin injury. If he is to miss any time, Andrew Miller could close for the Cardinals.

Jordan Romano (RP, TOR)- Finger- Romano was placed on the IL with a sprained middle finger. He remains without a timeline to return from the IL but the BlueJays expect to gain clarity on that front in the coming days.

Sean Doolittle (RP, WAS)- Oblique- Doolittle was diagnosed with an oblique strain and could miss the reaminder of the season.

Walker Buehler (SP, LAD)- Blister- Buehler was placed on the IL, retroactive to Sept 9 with the same blister issue that sidelined him earlier this year. He is eligible to return Sept. 20. Blister injuries could linger as is evidence that in 2017 Aaron Sanchez was sidelined for two months. The Dodgers need him healthy for their playoff run so they may not push him to come back until he is ready. Tony Gonsolin could fill his rotation spot unti Buehler is ready to come back.

Tommy Milone (SP, ATL)- Elbow- Milone was placed on the IL with left elbow inflammation. Severity is not yet known but this injury may cost him the rest of the season as he has to be shut down and then started back up. Cole Hamels is a possible candidate to fill in for Milone as he is set to be activated off of the IL possibly this week.

Chris Paddack (SP, SD)- Ankle- Paddack left his last start due to a sprained right ankle and is considered day-to-day. X-rays were negative. He was seen on Friday wearing a protective boot.

Oliver Drake (RP, TB)- Biceps- Drake was placed on the IL with biceps tendonitis. Drake threw a bullpen session yesterday and is still expected to be activated from the IL list this week.

Zack Wheeler (SP, PHI)- Finger- Weeler was scratched from his start this weekend because he has a problem with his middle finger. He caught his nail yesterday putting on his pants. He could miss an extended time if his nail needs to be removed. "Can't make this up," Joe Girardi said.

Howie Kendrick (3B, WAS)- Hamstring- Kendrick landed on the IL with a left hamstring strain, retroactive to Sept. 6. The hamstring has been an issue for him on and off all season. Eric Thames and Asdrubal Cabrera could see more playing time.

Rowdy Tellez (OF, TOR)- Knee- Tellez is on the IL with a knee injury. Tellez began experiencing knee discomfort after stepping on a soft spot around the on-field bullpen. He is expected to miss the rest of the 2020 season with a suspected tendon injury based on MRI.

Jake Odorizzi (SP, MIN)- Abdomen- Manager Rocco Baldelli said that Odorizzi will make another rehab appearance at Twins alternate training site before returning from the IL. Odorizzi was placed on the IL after getting hit with a combacker.

Merrill Kelly (SP, ARI)- Shoulder- Kelly underwent surgery to relieve symptoms of thoracic outlet syndrome. He now has a long road ahead of him as not many players have successfully returned from this type of surgery.

Eric Hosmer (1B, SD)- Finger - Hosmer was diagnosed with a fractured left index finger after getting hit in the hand with a pitch trying to bunt. Finger fractures usually take three to four weeks to fully heal, sometimes even up to six weeks. However, it is believed that Hosmer is expected to be able to return at some point during the final week of the regular season. Fantasy speaking, he has little value left for this year. Mitch Moreland could fill in for the Padres at first base.

Max Fried (SP, ATL)- Back- Fried was placed on the IL with a left side muscle spasm to his lumbar spine (low back). It is thought that Fried is expected to return from the IL when first eligible Sept. 16 or soon after.

Teoscar Hernandez (OF, TOR)- Oblique- Hernandez was placed on the IL with a left oblique strain. He was scheduled to have undergo a 2nd MRI on his oblique due to the fact of the amount of swelling from the injury. His astrain is considered "mild". This is not a good sign for a possible return this year. He did, however already begin swinging a bat. swelling goes down.

Jon Gray (SP, COL)- Shoulder- Gray was placed on the IL with right shoulder inflammation, retroactive to Sept. 2. No word on severity yet. Chi Chi Gonzalez or Jose Mujica could fill in for the Rockies.

Jon Berti (OF/CI/MI, MIA)- Finger- Berti suffered an index finger contusion on Monday and was placed on the IL on Thursday. No word on severity yet. Isan Diaz was called up.

Ketel Marte (OF, ARI)- Wrist- Marte was placed on the IL with left wrist inflammation. No word on when he sustained the injury or the severity of the injury. Tim Locastro and Daulton Varsho could see more time for the Diamondbacks.

Shin-Soo Choo (OF, TEX)- Hand- Choo was placed on the IL with a sprained right hand. No word on severity yet. Nick Solak may benefit with more playing time.

Dallas Keuchel (SP, CHW)- Back- Keuchel was placed on the IL with back spasms, retroactive to Sept. 7. There is no word on severity yet. Reynaldo Lopez was called up and could fill in.

Justin Verlander (SP, HOU)- Forearm- Verlander is on the IL with a forearm strain. Manager Dusty Baker said about Justin Verlander: "Hopefully, if everything goes well, he could be back at the end of the month."

Austin Hays (OF, BAL)- Rib- Hays is on the IL with a rib injury. He could return from the IL sometime next week.

Spencer Howard (SP, PHI)- Shoulder- Howard was removed from Saturday's start with right shoulder stiffness. He should be considered day to day until a diagnosis is known.

Anthony Santander (OF, BAL)- Oblique- Santander will miss the remainder of the season, Nathan Ruiz of The Baltimore Sun reports. He has been dealing with a right oblique strain.

Tanner Rainey (RP, WAS)- Forearm- Rainey is dealing with forearm tightness and won't pitch for several days. MRI of his forearm came back negative, but manager Dave Martinez said that he'll get a few days off to recover.

Willie Calhoun (OF, TEX)- Hamstring- Rangers manager Chris Woodward said that he expects Calhoun to be activated from the IL on Tuesday. Calhoun has been out since August 20 with a strained left hamstring.

Dustin May (SP, LAD)- Foot- May underwent a CT scan that revealed a contusion. His X-ray on Thursday was inconclusive. Manager Dave Roberts called it the best-case scenario for the team. The Dodgers have not placed him on the IL yet. The injury occurred when he was hit in the foot by a come-backer.

Shed Long (2B, SEA)- Shin- Long is on the IL with a shin injury. Long will have an MRI of his right shin and will have a consult with Dr. James Andrews. He has been dealing with a stress reaction in his right shin since spring training, then fouled a ball off it last weekend. Dylan Moore could see more time at second base for the Mariners.

Elvis Andrus (SS, TEX)- Back- Andrus was placed on the IL today with a strained back. Andrus was activated off of the IL August 31st having return from the same injury. Anderson Tejada should continue to fill in.

Matt Chapman (3B, OAK)- Hip- Chapman was placed on the IL and will have surgery due to a torn right hip labrum He will miss the rest of the season.

 

Updated List of Fantasy-Relevant Players Affected by COVID-19

Please note: Although a player may have returned, they may not be up to game speed yet and may still be on the IL or not ready to play. Also please note that the COVID IL can range from a few days to weeks and symptomatic players with negative COVID testing will miss fewer games.

Alcantara, Sandy (SP, MIA)- Returned
Alvarez, Yordan (DH, HOU)- Returned
Astudillo, Willians (C, MIN)- Returned
Beer, Seth (1B, ARI) - Returned
Blackmon, Charlie (OF, COL) - Returned
Brito, Socrates (OF, PIT)- Returned
Brinson, Lewis (OF, MIA)- Returned
Cabrera, Genesis (RP, STL)- Returned
Calhoun, Kole (OF, ARI) - Returned
Cano, Robinson (1B/2B, NYM) - Returned
Chapman, Aroldis (RP, NYY)- Returned
Cessa, Luis (RP, NYY)- Returned
Chirinos, Yonny (SP/RP, TB)- Returned
Cooper, Garrett (1B/OF, MIA)- Returned
d’Arnuad, Travis (C, ATL)- Returned
Davidson, Matt- (DH, CIN)- Returned
deJong, Paul (SS, STL)- Returned
DeShields, Delino (OF, CLE)- Returned
Diaz, Elias (C, COL)- Returned
Dietrich, Derek (1B/OF, CHC)- Returned
Dozier, Hunter (3B/OF, KC)- Returned
Drury, Brandon (3B, TOR)- Returned
Elias, Roenis (RP, SEA)- Returned
Engel, Adam- (OF, CHW)- Returned
Flowers, Tyler (C, ATL)- Returned
Freeman, Freddie (1B, ATL) - Returned
Garica, Jarlin (RP, SF)- Returned
Gimenez, Andres (2B/SS/3B- Returned
Glasnow, Tyler (SP, TB) - Returned
Gomber, Austin (P, STL)- Returning
Grichuk, Randal (OF, TOR)- Returned
Guerra, Junior (RP, ARI) - Returned
Hamilton, Billy (OF, SF)- Returned
Haseley, Adam (OF, PHI) - Returned
Hayes, Ke'Bryan (3B, PIT)- Returned
Hernandez, Darwinzon (RP, BOS) - Returned
Hirano, Yoshii (RP, SEA)- Returned
Hunter, Tommy (RP, PHI)- Returned
Jansen, Kenley (RP, LAD) - Returned
Joyce, Matt (OF, MIA)- Returned
Kela, Keone (RP, PIT)- Returned
Keller, Brad (SP, KC)- Returned
Kendrick, Howie (1B/2B/3B/OF, WAS) - Returned
Kingery, Scott (2B/3B/SS/OF, PHI) - Returned
Lauer, Eric (SP, MIL)- Returned
LeMahieu, DJ (1B/2B, NYY) - Returned
Luzardo, Jesus (SP, OAK) - Returned
McKay, Brendan (SP, TB)- Returned
Mahtook, Mikie (OF, DET)- Returned
Margot, Manuel (OF, TB)- Returned
Martinez, Carlos (SP/RP, STL)- Returned
Mateo, Jorge (SS, SD)- Returned
Mazara, Nomar- (OF, CHW)- Returned
Meadows, Austin (OF, TB)- Returned
Mengden, Daniel (SP, OAK)
Moncada, Yoan (3B, CHW) - Returned
Molina, Yadier (C, STL)- Returning
Neris, Hector (RP, PHI)- Returned
Nido, Tomas (C, NYM)- Returning
Nola, Aaron (SP, PHI) - Returned
Norris, Daniel (SP, DET)- Returned
O'Hearn, Ryan (1B, KC)- Returned
Oviedo, Johan (SP, STL)- Returning
Perez, Salvador (C, KC)- Returned
Pham, Tommy (OF, SD) - Returned
Quinn, Roman (OF, PHI)- Returned
Robles, Victor (OF, WAS)- Returned
Rodriguez, Eduardo (SP, BOS)- Returned but out for the year with COVID complications.
Rojas, Miguel (SS, MIA)- Returned
Ruiz, Keibert- (C, LAD)- Returned
Sano, Miguel (1B/3B, MIN) - Returned
Senzel, Nick- (2B, CIN)- Returning
Smith, Caleb (SP, MIA)- Returned
Smith, Will (RP, ATL)- Returning
Soto, Juan (OF, WAS)- Returned
Suero, Wander (RP, WAS)- Returned
Teheran, Julio (SP, LAA)- Returned
Toussaint, Touki (SP/RP, ATL)- Returned
Urena, Jose (SP, MIA)- Returning
Urias, Luis (2B/SS, MIL)- Returned
Urquidy, Jose (SP, HOU)- Returned



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Champ or Chump: Deivi Garcia

Fantasy baseball frequently turns into an arms race, so you should always be scouring the waiver wire for pitching reinforcements to help you reach your innings cap. Young Deivi Garcia has turned heads in his MLB debut for the Yankees, going 1-1 with a 3.06 ERA and 4.20 xFIP in his first 17 2/3 IP at the MLB level. The prospect of a solid starter on a very strong club (recent struggles aside) makes for an intriguing add, especially considering that the 21-year-old is currently rostered in just 33% of Yahoo! leagues.

Garcia didn't get too much hype before the season because of his youth and inexperience, leading many prospect hounds to conclude that he was still a few years away. He also has a small frame by MLB standards, causing some scouts to project him as a high-leverage reliever rather than a front-end starter. His delivery is described as "high-effort," further reinforcing the notion that his future is in the bullpen.

Despite all of that, his electric stuff plays in any role. MLB Pipeline ranked Garcia as the third-best prospect in the Yankees system this season, indicating a consensus that he would be able to contribute at the big-league level. The Yankees have also allowed Garcia to pitch at least six innings in two of his three starts, so the reliever talk is unlikely to become a reality in 2020 even if it is his long-term future. Keep reading to find out more about how Garcia could help your fantasy roster in 2020.

 

Dazzling Scouting Reports

Scouts don't love Garcia's physical size, but they love the stuff he's able to generate. His repertoire begins with a high-spin fastball that has averaged 92.6 mph at the big league level, though he can dial it up to 97 when the situation warrants it. Its 2,200 RPM might not seem impressive at first glance, but its 95.8% active spin means that virtually all of those rotations are contributing to deceptive riding life. The pitch has performed exactly as you would expect it to in its brief MLB sample, generating a solid 9.3 SwStr% and inducing a lot of harmless pop-ups with a 53.6 FB% and 40 IFFB%.

Scouts say that Garcia's high-spin curve is his best pitch, noting that it offers "so much depth that [Garcia] sometimes has difficulty landing it for strikes." It has generated a solid 15.7 SwStr% and 45.1 Zone% at the MLB level thus far, but big-league hitters haven't really been chasing it out of the zone with a 32.1% chase rate. It also offers a 75 GB% when put into play, potentially reassuring fantasy managers who are concerned about rostering a fly ball pitcher at Yankee Stadium.

Garcia's changeup is usually described as his third pitch in scouting reports, but its results to date have been excellent. It's tough to argue with a 21.6 SwStr%, especially if the pitch in question has a 64.9 Zone%. Major league hitters haven't been chasing it at all with a 23.1% chase rate, but its 50 GB% and ability to be thrown for a strike mean that its chase rate isn't that important.

Garcia also throws an occasional slider, but it's more of a show-me pitch than a weapon to get hitters out. FanGraphs grades all four pitches with at least the potential to be major league-average, with a 70-grade on his curve standing out. His fastball is also plus with a 55 scouting grade, while his slider (50/55) and change (45/50) are expected to improve moving forward. The biggest negative is 40-grade command, though it is expected to reach 50-grade in the future.

MLB Pipeline largely agrees with that assessment, ranking his curve as a 65 but also grading his heater a 60. His change and control earned 50-grades in their 2019 scouting report. Overall, this is the kind of raw stuff fantasy gamers want to bet on.

 

Sterling MiLB Performance

 

Garcia began his professional career in 2016, but he didn't throw 100 innings in a single season until last year. He began the campaign at Advanced A (Tampa), posting a 3.06 ERA and 1.49 xFIP over 17 2/3 IP. It's a small sample, but his 45.2 K% and 11 BB% suggest total mastery of the level. He somehow allowed a .438 BABIP despite his overall success, but the Yankees promoted him to Double-A (Trenton) without hesitation.

Garcia was more than up to the challenge, posting a 3.86 ERA and 2.45 xFIP over 53 2/3 IP. His 37 K% remained elite, while his 11.1 BB% was virtually unchanged despite more advanced competition. His BABIP against was still high at .360, but he made up for it with an HR/FB of just 5%. Again, the Bronx Bombers had no choice but to promote him to Triple-A (Scranton-Wilkes-Barre).

Garcia's numbers took a bit of a hit at Triple-A, as his ERA and xFIP ballooned to 5.40 and 5.18, respectively, over 40 IP. He still got his strikeouts with a 25.3 K%, but the figure was more good than elite. His 11.2 BB% was comparable to his rates at prior levels, but doesn't work as well when paired with an 18.2% HR/FB.

Still, there is a good case that it wasn't actually Garcia's fault. Scranton-Wilkes-Barre finished in the 94th percentile for HR among all MiLB ballparks last season thanks in part to the rabbit ball. In contrast, Tampa ranked in the 42nd percentile, while Trenton was in the 28th. Likewise, Scranton-Wilkes-Barre finished 2019 in the 73rd percentile for BABIP against the 47th for Tampa and 13th for Trenton. Reaching Triple-A at all is impressive for a 20-year-old, and this author believes that Garcia deserves a mulligan for the statistics he posted there.

 

Parting Thoughts

 

Garcia's 25.7 K% over his first three starts is comparable to what he did at Triple-A last season, with his MiLB resume suggesting further upside. He has also cut his BB% to 2.9, indicating that he may have solved one of his biggest problems at the team's alternate training site. It's also possible that he will regress as the league gets more data on him, but walks are unlikely to be a problem if he maintains two pitches with zone rates over 60%.

Scouts believe that Garcia will need to refine the command of his curve to reach his ceiling, and its big-league results haven't measured up to its scouting report thus far. It is also risky to use a pitcher with a 46.9 FB% at Yankee Stadium, though high-spin fastballs tend to limit the damage on fly balls.

Garcia is worth adding to nearly every fantasy roster because he figures to provide strikeouts and wins without hurting a manager's ratios. Honestly, this author is surprised that he is freely available in about two thirds of leagues.

Verdict: Champ (based on excellent pedigree, strong MiLB performance, and initial MLB success)



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Daily Fantasy Baseball Streamers - MLB Hitter, Pitcher Lineup Picks for Thursday 9/10

Welcome to another edition of MLB Daily Fantasy Baseball Streamers! The season continues to roll along and we here at Rotoballer are there for all of your streaming needs.

RotoBaller has been dishing out streamer advice for years. We're always streamin and dreamin. Each day we'll publish some of the best streaming options to consider in your fantasy baseball daily league lineups. Streaming pitchers and position players to exploit a matchup are extremely important in fantasy baseball, especially in a truncated season like this one.

We have a 12-game slate to choose from today, which means we should have some solid options to choose from. The best options on today's slate come from the Indians, Astros, Rays, Athletics, Phillies, and Braves.

 

Shallow League Streamers (50% Rostered)

Cesar Hernandez (2B, CLE) - 38% Rostered

Hernandez has been solid for the Indians in 2020 and has been especially solid vs. right-handed pitching. He has posted a .348 wOBA with a .370 OBP and 12 doubles vs. righties. He will be facing Brady Singer who has allowed a .253 BAA with four HR and three doubles across 94 AB vs. left-handed hitters.

 

Deeper League Streamers (25% Rostered)

Martin Maldonado (C, HOU) - 35% Rostered

Maldonado gets a great matchup vs. A's left-hander, Sean Manea. Manea has been hit hard by righties in 2020 as he has allowed a .313 BAA and is sporting a 5.108 ERA while also allowing three HR and seven doubles. Maldonaldo is crushing lefties as he is currently posting a ridiculous .528 wOBA with two doubles and two HR in 29 AB.

Willy Adames (SS, TB) - 34% Rostered

Adames will be facing Mike Kickham who has posted a 8.03 FIP and 2.25 WHIP while allowing one HR to righties across 4.1 IP. Adames has hit left-handers pretty well in 2020 as he is posting a .429 wOBA and .957 OPS with seven doubles in 36 AB.

Stephen Piscotty (OF, OAK) - 22% Rostered

Piscotty gets a decent matchup vs. Astros' right-hander, Jose Urquidy. Urquidy has struggled vs. right-handed hitters in his first two seasons as he has allowed a .304 BAA, seven BB, seven doubles, and three HR across just 101 batters. Piscotty has been known to hit left-handed pitching better in his career, but he has slugged five HR against righties thus far in 2020.

 

Deepest League Streamers (10% Rostered)

Jake Arrieta (SP, PHI) - 14% Rostered

Arrieta has not been great in 2020 as he has posted a 5.67 ERA and 1.47 WHIP while striking out 25 across 33.1 IP, but he does have a solid matchup vs. the Marlins on Thursday. The Marlins have struggled vs. right-handed pitching over the previous two weeks as they have struck out at a rate of 28.5%, which ranks second-worst in the league over that span. They are also posting a wRC+ mark of just 77, which ranks fifth-worst over that span.

Adam Duvall (OF, ATL) - 14% Rostered

Duvall has been having a solid season and is hitting .279 with nine HR over the last 14 days. He will be facing Austin Voth for the second time in a week and Voth has been subpar in 2020 as he is posting a 9.97 ERA vs right-handed hitters and has given up seven HR across facing just 74 batters.

Tyler Flowers (C, ATL) - 1% Rostered

Flowers will need to be monitored leading up to game time as he is not an everyday player but could provide some value if he is in the lineup. Voth's struggles vs. right-handed-hitting are mentioned above, and Flowers has handled right-handed pitching quite well in 2020. He is currently posting a .421 wOBA and a .966 OPS vs. righties across his first 33 AB.

 

 

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Daily Fantasy Baseball Streamers - MLB Hitter, Pitcher Lineup Picks for Tuesday 9/8

The MLB season is filled with ups and downs, but the key to success is to find some gems to stream! Today we're going to target a pair of Rays at Yankee Stadium!

When choosing my daily hitter streamers, I examine their platoon splits, lineup position, and pitching matchup. With pitchers, I account for the opposing lineup, team ballpark, and recent performance to help make my decision.

Each of my streamers will be rostered in between 0-40% of Yahoo leagues, with a mixed focus on both shallow and deeper formats. Today, I will be providing a streamer for each position, including two starting pitchers. Let’s take a look at the Tuesday slate and dig out some streamer gems to help you start off the week with a bang!

 

Hitter Streamers for 9/8 - Infielders

Kolten Wong (2B, LHB) 32% Rostered

Matchups: vs. MIN RHP Jose Berrios, vs. MIN N/A

Wong's double-header is a bonus here, as his hot bat would have made him a recommendation even without the two upcoming games. Wong has gone 13-for-31 (.419) with eight runs and five RBI in his last eight games. He has been a fixture in the leadoff role for the Cardinals, so he's in a prime position for production. He should play in both games tomorrow.

Chris Taylor (2B/SS/OF, RHB) 26% Rostered

Matchup: @ ARZ RHP Luke Weaver

Taylor has hit safely in six of his last seven games, posting one home run and seven RBI during that span. He has an exploitable matchup against Weaver, who has allowed four or more runs in four of his eight starts this season. Weaver has allowed 24th percentile exit velocity and 18th percentile hard-hit rate, so he's allowing hard contact, making Taylor a solid stream for Tuesday.

Colin Moran (1B/2B/3B, LHB) 22% Rostered

Matchup: vs. CHW RHP Dylan Cease

Moran has hit safely in four of eight games since returning from injury. He goes up against Cease, who has ranked in the 38th percentile in exit velocity and hasn't missed many bats, posting a 15.9 K% and 9.4 SwStr%. Moran has hit the ball hard all year, ranking in the 96th percentile in exit velocity and 92nd percentile in hard-hit rate. His power upside makes him a strong streamer.

Rowdy Tellez (1B, LHB) 18% Rostered

Matchup: vs. NYY LHP J.A. Happ

Tellez is on a torrid stretch right now, going 10-for-21 (.476) with six runs, two home runs, and five RBI in his last five games. Even though he faces a lefty in Happ, he's still a good stream because of how well he's swinging the bat. Tellez is in the 79th percentile in exit velocity and 78th percentile in hard-hit rate. His xStats are also good, ranking in the 86th percentile in xSLG.

 

Hitter Streamers for 9/8 - Outfielders

Adam Duvall (OF, ATL, RHB) 11% Rostered

Matchup: vs. MIA RHP Sixto Sanchez

Duvall has been absolutely on fire of late, going 10-for-30 (.300) with nine runs, six homers, and eight RBI in his last eight games. While he goes up against the Marlins' electric Sixto Sanchez, who has been easily the most impressive rookie pitcher this season, we can't ignore this power binge.

Randy Arozarena (OF, TB, RHB) 10% Rostered

Matchup: @ WAS RHP Anibal Sanchez

Arozarena has swung a hot bat since joining the Rays on August 30th, going 8-for-17 (.471) with five runs, four homers, and five RBI in seven games. He has a great matchup against Sanchez, who has allowed nine home runs in only 33.1 innings this season. It's a great opportunity for Arozarena to continue his power binge.

Jackie Bradley Jr. (OF, BOS, RHB) 9% Rostered

Matchup: @ PHI RHP Zach Eflin, @ PHI N/A

Bradley is on this list because he's another hot hitter in a doubleheader. He's hit safely in nine consecutive games, posting four runs, three homers, six RBI, and one stolen base during that span. Eflin has racked up strikeouts, but also allowed three or more runs in four of his last five starts. He's nothing to fear here.

 

Pitcher Streamer for 9/8

J.A. Happ (LHP, NYY) 29% Rostered

Happ has a tough matchup against the Blue Jays in Buffalo, but he's on a nice stretch right now, allowing only five runs in his last three starts, spanning 18 innings. He has also walked three and struck out 12 during this stretch. This is a difficult slate for pitcher streamers, so we'll ride with a guy who can pitch deeper in games and is starting to find his form right now.



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Daily Fantasy Baseball Streamers - MLB Hitter, Pitcher Picks for 9/7/20

It's another manic Monday, so you know what time it is - it's time to dig deep and find some streamers. Today is a tough day for pitcher streamers, so we'll roll the dice on a Yankees' lefty.

When choosing my daily hitter streamers, I examine their platoon splits, lineup position, and pitching matchup. With pitchers, I account for the opposing lineup, team ballpark, and recent performance to help make my decision.

Each of my streamers will be rostered in between 0-40% of Yahoo leagues, with a mixed focus on both shallow and deeper formats. Today, I will be providing a streamer for each position, including two starting pitchers. Let’s take a look at the Monday slate and dig out some streamer gems to help you start off the week with a bang!

 

Hitter Streamers for 9/7 - Infielders

Nick Solak (2B/3B/OF, TEX) @ SEA 32% Rostered

Solak is another hitter who has swung the bat well lately, going 14-for-44 (.318) with four runs, six RBI, and one stolen base in his last eleven games. Solak faces off against LHP Marco Gonzales, who is coming off a complete game, one-run gem, but shouldn't deter you from a strong stream here.

Alec Bohm (3B, PHI) @ NYM 20% Rostered

The Phillies' rookie slugger has turned it on of late, going 8-for-26 (.308) with three runs, one homer, and four RBI in his last seven games. He goes up against LHP David Peterson, who has failed to pitch past the fifth inning in four consecutive starts.

Jeimer Candelario (1B/3B, DET) @ MIN 17% Rostered

Candelario has been rock solid this year, slashing .293/.351/.488 with four home runs. He's gone 11-for-29 (.379) with seven runs, two homers, seven RBI, and one stolen base in his last seven games. Candelario faces off against RHP Michael Pineda, who is off a season debut where he allowed two runs in six innings, but this remains an exploitable matchup.

Andres Gimenez (2B/SS, NYM) vs. PHI - 4% Rostered

Gimenez has been swinging a hot bat lately, going 7-for-17 (.412) with five runs, one homer, six RBI, and one stolen base in his last five games. He goes up against RHP Zack Wheeler, who has a 2.20 ERA and 1.07 WHIP, but only 29 strikeouts in 45 innings, so there will be opportunities for Gimenez to put the ball in play.

 

Hitter Streamers for 9/7 - Outfielders

Alex Dickerson (OF, SF) vs. ARZ 31% Rostered

Dickerson showed off his power upside last week at Coors, smacking three homers and six RBI. He has a tough matchup against D-Backs' ace RHP Zac Gallen, but we have to ride with the young Giants' slugger because he has more upside than most players at this roster percentage.

Victor Reyes (OF, DET) @ MIN 27% Rostered

Reyes has been on fire lately, going 17-for-38 (.447) with eight runs, two homers, six RBI, and one stolen base in his last seven games. He makes for a nice pairing with Candelario against Pineda here. Reyes has done a terrific job since being moved to the leadoff spot in the Tigers' lineup.

Tyler Naquin (OF, CLE) vs. KC 5% Rostered

Another red-hot hitter to add to the stream machine! Naquin has gone 12-for-45 (.266) with six runs, four homers, and 13 RBI in his last 12 games. He has a tough matchup against RHP Brad Keller, but this is another hitter with power upside that we need to ride.

 

Pitcher Streamer for 9/7

Jordan Montgomery (LHP, NYY) @ TOR 19% Rostered

Montgomery is coming off a terrible start where he only lasted 0.2 innings, but he has some impressive underlying stats: 3.7 BB%, 16.5 K-BB%, and 42.5 GB%. He takes on a Blue Jays lineup that has power, but is beatable, especially towards the bottom of the lineup. The team is also without Bo Bichette and Teoscar Hernandez.



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Archie and the Gang: Navigating the New-Look Cincinnati Bullpen

As of August 31st, the day of the 2020 MLB Trade Deadline, the Cincinnati Reds sat at a record of 15-19, placing them at fourth-place in the NL Central and well outside of the NL postseason picture in this year of the expanded playoff format. While the Cincinnati offense has been far from elite through August and past the season's halfway point, the main problem has been with the Reds bullpen as evidenced by their 4.09 ERA and 1.28 WHIP in innings 1.0-6.0 (top-10 in MLB) in contrast with their 5.42 ERA (eighth-worst in MLB) and 1.32 WHIP from the seventh inning on.

It was billed as a year prime for the organization to go all-in following their high-profile offseason in which many placed them on the short list of National League contenders, and the Redlegs were desperate for a bullpen boost if they were to make a competitive bid for the postseason. Finally, in a last-second deal on Deadline Day with the Arizona Diamondbacks, the Reds acquired electrifying righty Archie Bradley in exchange for 25-year-old utility-man Josh VanMeter and minor league outfielder Stuart Fairchild (top-15 organizational prospect).

Of the range of hurlers dealt this year, Archie Bradley might be the most exciting name, and considering the fact that he won't hit free agency until 2022, he brings the potential to make a huge impact in Cincinnati for years to come. But with Raisel Iglesias eligible for arbitration and free agency at the same times as Bradley, how will Manager (for now) David Bell distribute responsibilities between the resident closer and the new big-name gas with mounting pressure to win in the short term?

 

Who Will Save the Day?

Raisel Iglesias remains the only relief arm to record a save this season in a Reds uniform, having notched five in six opportunities with a 2-2 record through 13.0 IP. Notably, the Cuban native had accumulated 102 saves with the Reds from 2016-2019 and possesses a 3.21 ERA and 1.14 WHIP in 400.2 IP with the club. In comparison, Archie "Hollywood" Bradley came to the Queen City after netting six saves in seven chances with a 1-0 record in 10.2 IP for the Diamondbacks; not to mention his 18 saves, seven holds, and four wins with the D-Backs in 2019 and 59 combined holds through 2017-2018, earning him a rare 20th-place finish in the 2017 NL MVP voting (in conjunction with a dominant 1.73 ERA and 1.04 WHIP).

In short, these are two pitchers that are extremely comfortable with high-leverage work and have achieved substantial success from those positions. Interestingly, since Bradley was brought in this past Monday, David Bell has thrown Iglesias into play several times while apparently trying to gradually ease 28-year-old Archie into the fold as the Reds have gone 2-3 with a -14 run differential. In that brief window, Iglesias has allowed four hits, three walks, and zero ER with three strikeouts, one win, and one save across 3.1 IP; while Bradley was deployed just once during the 16-2 loss to the Cardinals on Wednesday, only allowing two hits with two strikeouts in a robust 1.2 inning stint.

Basically, the first week of the new-look Cincy bullpen hasn't highlighted much other than the fact that Bell and the Reds tend to stick with whom they are most comfortable and are hesitant to remove Raisel from closer duties (as he tends to make a stink of it when they do), but we already knew this. The real question is: who is most likely to receive the bulk of save chances, both for the remainder of 2020 and the 2021 season, and who is most likely to thrive in the role they are assigned? To drastically complicate this matter, Iglesias and Bradley are two pitchers who seem to be performing far better than their surface numbers would indicate.

30-year-old Iglesias has steadily worked down to a 4.50 ERA and 1.17 WHIP, and sports such figures as a 0.8 HR/9, 3.0 BB/9, and 12.8 K/9 which combine for an impressive 2.64 FIP. His opponents hold a .310 BABIP, which frankly, seems outrageous. His barrel rate and hard-hit rate are down by 1.1% and 5.6% to 6.7% and 26.7% respectively, his hard contact rate on batted balls has fallen by 12.2% to 26.7%, his line drive rate has plummeted from 26.2% to 13.8%, and his ground ball rate has made a massive leap from 29.9% to 48.3%. The sole caveat comes from his soft contact on batted balls rate falling from 22.8% to 13.3%. His changeup still hovers at 89 MPH, his slider is back to 85 MPH, and his fastball once again clocks in over 96 MPH, and through the body of his peripheral numbers, Iglesias should truly be well on his way to a career-season for 2020.

If you can wrap your head around it: you can say almost exactly the same things about Bradley, except that Bradley's numbers may be even more promising. In total for this season, the former consensus top-10 prospect has produced a 3.65 ERA and 1.46 WHIP off of 10.2 K/9, zero allowed home runs, and a career-best 2.2 BB/9 in 12.1 IP. His FIP currently sits at 1.84, which is currently the best measure of his six-year career by a significant margin (0.77). Now, while his BABIP is sky-high at .441, his barrel rate has risen seven ticks to 11.8%, his hard contact on batted balls rate is up to 47.1%, and his ground ball and line drive rates have practically flip-flopped to 32.4% and 38.2%. Still, his walk rate is down from 11.4% to 5.8%, his hard-hit rate is 35.3% (down 3.3%), he is forcing 6.2% more batted balls into center field, and his batted-balls soft contact rate is up from 14.8% to 20.6%. While there are some numbers packed in that mix that inspire trepidation, the career-best 5.8% walk rate is optimistic enough, and not allowing a single dinger thus far while calling Chase Field and Great American Ball your home is emphatically impressive.

Ultimately, this is all good news for the Reds: everyone loves a decision with two correct choices. With the way that this first week since the trade has unfolded, David Bell seems set on easing Archie into the high-leverage equation without the urgency that the Reds' current standing would probably demand, and that is a luxury that he has been temporarily afforded with Iglesias finding the groove that he had lost around late-July and mid-August. Let there be no delusions though: the Reds are 2.0 games behind the Brewers for second place in the NL Central and are within arm's reach of the Marlins, Mets, Cardinals, Rockies, and Giants for the NL Wildcard spots. If Raisel Iglesias stumbles even one more time, there is a very good chance that Bradley slowly starts to eclipse him in the ninth inning.

Cincinnati gave up a young, MLB-tested utility bat in VanMeter and a highly regarded outfield prospect in Fairchild to land him, and he is now the blue chip backup plan that they have lacked for several seasons. Not to mention that Raisel surprisingly remains the more expensive of the two even though Archie is younger and probably more marketable (from a popularity perspective), and it wasn't that long ago that the Reds were floating Raisel's name around the trade deadline market.

Putting up career-best marks for walks and HR allowed is a fantastic formula for success in a dinger-friendly venue like GABP, and while he may hit the mound from the sixth to the eighth inning and could grab zero to five holds in the meantime, all it will take is a high-key slip-up from Iglesias for Bradley to grab the reigns at closer for the rest of 2020, and by extension, carrying over into 2021. Raisel Iglesias has been a fixture in Cincinnati for years, but the circumstantial body leads me to believe that Archie Bradley is the arm with a future as a Redleg. Raisel Iglesias is currently rostered in 88% of leagues, while Archie Bradley is rostered in 77% of leagues, and that number has fallen by 10% in the last day. If you are down for a roll of the dice and could use some holds, wins, or strikeouts to pass the time, he could be an ultra-sneaky buy-low candidate with one-third of the season to spare.

 

Loose Ends Before the Last Inning

The Reds only have 12 holds on the season through 37 games, accumulated by seven different players, one of whom (Pedro Strop) is no longer with the team, with at least half of the remaining field still struggling to find their rhythm on the mound. Strop, Tyler Thornburg, Robert Stephenson, and Michael Lorenzen each have one; Lucas Sims has two, with Nate Jones and Amir Garrett leading the field with three apiece. Additionally, the only Reds relievers to pick up a win during this campaign have been Sims (two), Joel Kuhnel (one), and Lorenzen (one).

Two-way athlete Mikey "Biceps" Lorenzen becomes a FA in 2022 with Iglesias and Bradley. Lorenzen is a former college outfielder and 98+ MPH slinger who has accumulated seven HR, five steals, and a .235/.284/.432 slash in 132 AB over six years in Cincinnati. After his 21-hold/seven-save showing of 2019, Lorenzen was slated as the go-to setup man behind Iglesias in 2020, and while that was derailed after his horrendous seven-game start, he has bounced back big-time with a 2.77 ERA and 1.31 WHIP over his last 13.0 IP (which took him just five outings to rack up). Lorenzen can still see high-leverage work. A week ago, this meant receiving moderate looks at the eighth and ninth innings. Now, with Archie in town and each appearance stretching 2.0-4.0 IP, that's likely diminished to the occasional long hold or extra-long save. When noting that Lorenzen tallied eight wins in a similar role for 2017, that capacity is nothing to sneeze at.

Nate Jones (6.39 ERA and 1.66 WHIP) has struggled this season compared to years past with the White Sox (3.12 ERA, 1.22 WHIP, nine saves in 291.1 IP), but has been an economical asset with his $100K salary, and is set to hit the FA market after this year. Despite being tied with Garrett, the former Northern Kentucky Norseman hasn't notched a hold since August 14th, and is likely a non-factor in the category moving forward. Still, a player like Jones (and Thornburg for that matter) shouldn't be easily dismissed: teams always need a couple of guys like him for the thrifty experience and volume of work.

Amir Garrett has improved every year since debuting in the big leagues, posting a 2.31 ERA, 0.69 WHIP, 2.3 BB/9, and 13.9 K/9 through 11.2 IP this season. The fiery on-field presence and former St. John's hooper has shockingly yet to earn a save in 201.1 MLB IP, and has seen his role become far less transparent over the last three seasons, netting 43 combined holds from 2018-2019 yet capturing just three this year, which is quite mysterious considering he is actually staying in games longer this year than in years previous. Fortunately, as Jones began to falter, Garrett began bulldozing back into his previous slot, hammering all three of his holds of 2020 from August 20th onward.

 

ROS Outlook

For the rest of this shortened season, there are just three Reds RP that you want any part of: the obvious combo of Bradley and Iglesias, and Garrett (rostered in 5% of leagues) either as an insurance policy or a second-half surger in leagues incorporating holds. I would love to have confidence in saying that this trajectory indicates a 2021 bullpen pecking order of Bradley/Iglesias, Garrett, Lorenzen, etc. where each arm earns their neatly divided portion of saves, holds, and wins for the rest of 2020 running into 2021, but that's rarely how the Reds (or any other MLB club) run the show. Each offseason brings a new wave of budget-friendly vets, platoon specialists, and big-league ready farmhands; which for the Reds, could feature the likes of Nick Lodolo, Ryan Hendrix, Hunter Greene, and even the three college arms of the 2020 draft class as soon as Opening Day 2021.

You've got to love the annual chaos brought on by the Trade Deadline. While major trades, especially those involving the bullpen, can certainly throw a monkey wrench in best-laid plans, it is through these shake-ups that windows of opportunity open, and the same goes for the heated closer battle opened up by the Cincinnati Reds this week.



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Fantasy Baseball Injury Updates for Week 8

Injuries are commonplace in all sports. Baseball has seen the rate of injury continue to rise over the past few years. In fantasy, if someone is not in the medical field, it is hard to gauge how long a player will be out and whether they need to be replaced in a lineup. Sometimes this could mean playing a dead roster spot and losing the opportunity to have a full week of stats. Watching a play and watching the mechanism of injury can say a lot about the type of injury that has been sustained. The mechanism of injury is one of the ways of diagnosing the problem.

My name is Reuven Guy. I grew up playing baseball, watching baseball and wanting to go into medicine. I was able to combine both of my loves. I am a practicing physician assistant in the state of New York in the fields of orthopedics and physical medicine/pain management. I have been treating patients with the same type of injuries that have been affecting athletes in a private practice setting for the past 15 years. Having this base of knowledge, it is easier to “predict” what the injury could be and how long a player will be out.

During the course of the season in this weekly article, I will be going over MLB player injuries. I will be hunting down the latest updates and have sources to back me up. I will be highlighting the type of injury it is, try to diagnose an injury that has not been diagnosed yet, discuss the extent of injury, and how long the player will be out. I will also be listing the “next man up” when it comes to playing time if the player will be out. This year, I will also have a listing of all fantasy-relevant players affected by COVID-19 and COVID-19 protocols. Hopefully, this will help you create and manage a more competitive fantasy lineup.

 

Injury "Guy"de for the Week of September 6, 2020

Aaron Judge (OF, NYY) - Lower Body - Judge is currently on the IL with a calf injury. Judge re-injured the same calf in his first game back from the same calf injury. Yankee manager Aaron Boone said yesterday that the team does not have a timetable for when Judge will resume baseball activities but added that Judge is feeling "pretty well."

Madison Bumgarner (SP, ARI) - Back - Bumgarner was placed on the IL with a mid-back strain. He threw another successful simulated game and was activated off of the IL on Saturday.

Carlos Rodon (SP, CHW) - Shoulder - Rodon has been dealing with left shoulder soreness and was placed on the IL for this reason. Rodon's velocity did drop below 90mph. Rodon threw a 60 pitch three inning bullpen session this week but experienced discomfort on Friday. The White Sox did not make a move for a starter at the trade deadline which may mean something about Rodon’s health and what they expect out of him.

Ozzie Albies (2B, ATL)Wrist - Albies was placed on the IL with wrist soreness/bone contusion. Albies was able to hit from both sides of the plate but has still not taking batting practice as of August 30th.

Nate Pearson (SP, TOR) - Elbow - The Blue Jays placed Pearson on the IL with right elbow tightness. Pearson was able to play catch from 120 feet this week but there is still no timetable for his return.

Bo Bichette (SS, TOR) - Knee - Bichette is on the IL with a grade 1 sprain of the LCL (lateral collateral ligament of the right knee. Bichette ran sprints, was able to field ground balls and hit in the cage during his on-field workouts this week. Bichette is scheduled to hit off of Ken Giles in a simulated game over the weekend. Until his return, Jonathan Villar should fill in for the Blue Jays.

Ken Giles (RP, TOR) - Forearm - Giles is currently on the IL with a mild strain of the flexor mass in his right forearm. Giles "feels really good" per pitching coach Pete Walker. Giles continues to throw live BP and if Giles has two or three more successful live BP sessions, he could become an option to return from the IL.

Alex Bregman (3B, HOU) - Hamstring- The Astros placed Bregman on the IL with a strained right hamstring. Bregman took batting practice on Thursday and is said to be close to activation.

James Paxton (SP, NYY) - Forearm - Paxton was placed on the IL with a left forearm strain. His MRI did not show any structural damage and he was told that he does not require Tommy John surgery. Paxton began his throwing program this past week.

Gleyber Torres (SS, NYY) - Hamstring - Torres was placed on the IL with a mild left hamstring and left quad strain. MRI showed mild strains only. He was activated on Saturday from the IL.

Keone Kela (P, PIT) - Forearm - Kela was placed on the IL with forearm tightness. Kela played catch from 120 feet this week and could throw a bullpen session soon. Richard Rodriguez or Kyle Crick could continue to fill in as closer for the Pirates.

Giancarlo Stanton (OF, NYY) - Hamstring- Stanton was placed on the IL earlier this month with a hamstring sprain/ strain. According to GM Brain Cashman Stanton "still not all the way there," and there is no timeline for his return.

Andrew Miller (RP, STL) - Shoulder - Miller has been placed on the IL with left shoulder fatigue, retroactive to August 24. There is no word on severity yet. Miller threw a successful bullpen this week. He was activated from the IL on Saturday and is a candidate to close with Giovanny Gallegos.

Nick Anderson (RP, TB) - Forearm - Anderson was placed on the IL with right forearm inflammation. Anderson has thrown a successful sim game and was activated off of the IL on Friday.

Ryan Yarbrough (SP, TB) - Groin - Yarbrough was placed on the IL with left groin tightness. Yarbrough is scheduled to throw a bullpen session this weekend. There is still no timetable for his return.

Nathan Eovaldi (SP, BOS) - Calf - The RedSox placed Eovaldi on the IL with a "very mild strain" of his right calf, retroactive to August 26. Eovaldi next start has been pushed back until he throws at least one more successful bullpen session.

Elieser Hernandez (SP, MIA) - Lat - Hernandez was placed on the IL with a right lat strain. Severity is not yet known. He was transferred to the 45 day IL and is done for the year. Jose Urena may be activated in time for the next start in the rotation for the Marlins.

JaCoby Jones (OF, DET) - Hand - Jones was hit by a pitch and sustained a fractured left hand. He will miss the rest of the season. In 2019, Jones missed the last month of the season with a fractured left wrist. Cristian Stewart could benefit with more playing time in the Tigers outfield.

Marcus Semien (SS, OAK) - Side - Manager Bob Melvin said that he thinks Semien will avoid the IL though the Semien is not expected to be available until Friday. He was able to swing a bat on Thursday of this past week. The Athletics have not played the last few days due to COVID protocols and may help Semien avoid the IL as well.

Emilio Pagan (RP, SD) - Biceps - Pagan was placed on the IL with right biceps inflammation, retroactive to Aug. 31. He had pitched well during his last appearance on Sunday so it's it's unclear when or how he sustained the injury. Severity not yet known.

Andrew Benintendi (OF, BOS) - Ribs - Benintendi is currently on the IL with a rib injury. According to sources, he may not return to action before the end of the season.

David Fletcher (MI, LAA) - Ankle - Fletcher was placed on the IL, retroactive to Aug. 31, with a sprained left ankle. Manager Joe Maddon said that Fletcher's ankle is still sore. Severity is not yet known. A Sprained ankle usually takes two to three weeks to heal properly. Luis Rengifo and Franklin Barreto could see increased playing time in his absence.

A.J. Puk (SP/RP, OAK) - Shoulder - Puk is on the IL with a shoulder strain. He could join the Athletics bullpen as early as next week. With the Athletics having a few doubleheaders coming up, it's very possible he may be the second pitcher in for a bullpen games.

Yandy Diaz (1B/3B, TB)Hamstring - Diaz was placed on the IL with a right hamstring strain. He reportedly had been dealing with the injury for a few days before it worsened this past week. and he doesn't expect a particularly lengthy stay on the injured list. Nate Lowe was recalled in a corresponding move and Joey Wendle could see more playing time as well.

Max Kepler (OF, MIN) - Adductor - Kepler was placed on the IL with a left adductor strain. Kepler left Wednesday's game with the injury and it was originally thought to be a groin strain. . Brent Rooker was called up and Jake Cave should benefit with more playing time.

Justin Turner (3B, LAD) - Hamstring - Turner was placed on the IL, retroactive to August 29, with a left hamstring strain. Turner is expected to come off the injured list before Tuesday's game against.

Aaron Judge (OF, NYY) - Calf - Judge is currently on the IL with a calf strain. Judge began baseball activities during the second part of last week. There is still no timetable for his return.

Gio Urshela (3B, NYY) - Elbow - Urshela was placed on the IL with a bone spur in his right elbow. There is no word on the severity or when it flared up. Further testing revealed nothing else besides the bone spur and is expected to miss only the minimum time on the IL. Miguel Andujar was called up and could take the hot corner for the Yankees.

Danny Santana (1B/OF, TEX) - Elbow - Danny Santana was placed on the IL with a right elbow strain. The exact diagnosis is not yet known but it is known that he will not return to the field this year. Ronald Guzman should benefit with more playing time.

Jose Leclerc (RP, TEX) - Shoulder - Leclerc was placed on the IL with a grade 2 teres major strain, a similar injury that Corey Kluber suffered earlier this year. He has been ruled out for the rest of the season.

Corey Kluber (SP, TEX) - Shoulder - Kluber was placed on the IL with a grade 2 teres major strain and has been ruled out for the rest of the season.

Anthony Santander (OF, Orioles) - Oblique - Santander was placed on the IL with a right oblique strain. He felt something in his oblique during Friday's afternoon game and he could miss the rest of the season after he was diagnosed with the strain. Oblique injuries last year averaged over one month on the IL. DJ Stewart could fill in for the Orioles

Jose Altuve (2B, HOU) - Knee - Altuve was placed on the IL with a knee injury. MRI of the knee confirmed a knee sprain. This is the same knee that Altuve has had surgery on in the past. Aledmys Diaz could fill in at 2B for the Astros.

Kwang-Hyun Kim (SP/RP, STL) - Abdomen - Kim was placed on the IL due to a kidney issues. He was dealing with abdominal pain this past Friday morning and had to be taken to the emergency room and a kidney blockage was discovered. He's reportedly feeling much better and could return as soon as next Saturday.

Niko Goodrum (MI, DET) - Oblique - Goodrum was placed on the IL with a right oblique strain retroactive to September 2. Goodrum had missed three straight games and it was deemed he needed more time to recover. Severity is not yet known. Sergio Alcantara was recalled and Willi Castro could fill the middle infield role for the Tigers.

 

Updated List of Fantasy-Relevant Players Affected by COVID-19

Please note: Although a player may have returned, they may not be up to game speed yet and may still be on the IL or not ready to play. Also please note that the COVID IL can range from a few days to weeks and symptomatic players with negative COVID testing will miss fewer games.

Alcantara, Sandy (SP, MIA)- Returned
Alvarez, Yordan (DH, HOU)- Returned
Astudillo, Willians (C, MIN)- Returned
Beer, Seth (1B, ARI) - Returned
Bethancourt, Christian (RP, PHI)
Blackmon, Charlie (OF, COL) - Returned
Brito, Socrates (OF, PIT)- Returned
Brinson, Lewis (OF, MIA)- Returned
Cabrera, Genesis (RP, STL)- Returned
Calhoun, Kole (OF, ARI) - Returned
Cano, Robinson (1B/2B, NYM) - Returned
Chapman, Aroldis (RP, NYY)- Returned
Cessa, Luis (RP, NYY)- Returned
Chirinos, Yonny (SP/RP, TB)- Returned
Cooper, Garrett (1B/OF, MIA)- Returned
d’Arnuad, Travis (C, ATL)- Returned
Davidson, Matt- (DH, CIN)- Returned
deJong, Paul (SS, STL)- Returned
DeShields, Delino (OF, CLE)- Returned
Diaz, Elias (C, COL)- Returned
Dietrich, Derek (1B/OF, CHC)- Returned
Dozier, Hunter (3B/OF, KC)- Returned
Drury, Brandon (3B, TOR)- Returned
Elias, Roenis (RP, SEA)- Returned
Engel, Adam- (OF, CHW)- Returned
Flowers, Tyler (C, ATL)- Returned
Freeman, Freddie (1B, ATL) - Returned
Garica, Jarlin (RP, SF)- Returned
Gimenez, Andres (2B/SS/3B- Returned
Glasnow, Tyler (SP, TB) - Returned
Gomber, Austin (P, STL)- Returning
Grichuk, Randal (OF, TOR)- Returned
Guerra, Junior (RP, ARI) - Returned
Hamilton, Billy (OF, SF)- Returned
Haseley, Adam (OF, PHI) - Returned
Hayes, Ke'Bryan (3B, PIT)- Returned
Hernandez, Darwinzon (RP, BOS) - Returned
Hirano, Yoshii (RP, SEA)- Returned
Hunter, Tommy (RP, PHI)- Returned
Jansen, Kenley (RP, LAD) - Returned
Joyce, Matt (OF, MIA)- Returned
Kela, Keone (RP, PIT)- Returned
Keller, Brad (SP, KC)- Returned
Kendrick, Howie (1B/2B/3B/OF, WAS) - Returned
Kingery, Scott (2B/3B/SS/OF, PHI) - Returned
Lauer, Eric (SP, MIL)- Returned
LeMahieu, DJ (1B/2B, NYY) - Returned
Luzardo, Jesus (SP, OAK) - Returned
McKay, Brendan (SP, TB)- Returned
Mahtook, Mikie (OF, DET)- Returned
Margot, Manuel (OF, TB)- Returned
Martinez, Carlos (SP/RP, STL)- Returning. He is expected to return sometime this week.
Mateo, Jorge (SS, SD)- Returned
Mazara, Nomar- (OF, CHW)- Returned
Meadows, Austin (OF, TB)- Returned
Mengden, Daniel (SP, OAK)
Moncada, Yoan (3B, CHW) - Returned
Molina, Yadier (C, STL)- Returning
Neris, Hector (RP, PHI)- Returned
Nido, Tomas (C, NYM)- Returning
Nola, Aaron (SP, PHI) - Returned
Norris, Daniel (SP, DET)- Returned
O'Hearn, Ryan (1B, KC)- Returned
Perez, Salvador (C, KC)- Returned
Pham, Tommy (OF, SD) - Returned
Quinn, Roman (OF, PHI)- Returned
Robles, Victor (OF, WAS)- Returned
Rodriguez, Eduardo (SP, BOS)- Returned but out for the year with COVID complications.
Rojas, Miguel (SS, MIA)- Returned
Ruiz, Keibert- (C, LAD)- Returned
Sano, Miguel (1B/3B, MIN) - Returned
Senzel, Nick- (2B, CIN)- Returning
Smith, Caleb (SP, MIA)- Retruning
Smith, Will (RP, ATL)- Returning
Soto, Juan (OF, WAS)- Returned
Suero, Wander (RP, WAS)- Returned
Teheran, Julio (SP, LAA)- Returned
Toussaint, Touki (SP/RP, ATL)- Returned
Urena, Jose (SP, MIA)- Returning
Urias, Luis (2B/SS, MIL)- Returned
Urquidy, Jose (SP, HOU)- Returning- He is expected to return over this weekend.



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Champ or Chump: Kevin Gausman

Separating legitimate breakouts from fluke seasons is one of the biggest components of fantasy analysis, and the unique structure of the 2020 campaign is making it more challenging than ever. Can you imagine making your final keeper decisions on June 1 in a normal year? That's going to be all of the information we have going into 2021.

It'll be an inexact science, but we can try to spot trends to point us in the right direction. For instance, Kevin Gausman of the San Francisco Giants has been an average starting pitcher since his MLB debut in 2013. He has a 22.1 career K% and a career ERA of 4.30. This year, he's sporting a 31 K% and 3.07 xFIP to go with a middling 4.43 ERA and 2-2 record. Has the 29-year-old former top prospect turned a corner, or is his 2020 success a mirage?

The answer is likely somewhere in between. Gausman is better than his 4.43 ERA might suggest, but still has a significant problem that will likely prevent him from living up to his sterling xFIP. He is currently rostered in 29% of Yahoo! leagues, and at least one manager in every league could probably use his services. Of course, that manager isn't necessarily you. Here is a more detailed look at Gausman's profile.

 

What the Luck Metrics Say

 

The first step in evaluating any pitcher's performance is looking at his "luck metrics:" BABIP, strand rate, and HR/FB. Some pitchers can control these variables to an extent, while predictable factors such as a club's defense can influence them as well. Still, outlying marks in any of the three are likely to regress over time.

Gausman is allowing a .307 BABIP this season against a career mark of .314, a difference that probably isn't driving his success this season. He also has a 70.7% strand rate against a career mark of 73.9%, suggesting that he has been unfortunate considering his strikeout spike. His 20.5 HR/FB is a career-worst, significantly higher than his 13.8% career rate. Allowing more home runs doesn't make you an effective pitcher, so we can conclude that sheer dumb luck isn't behind Gausman's performance.

Interestingly, the Giants play in a pitcher's park but Gausman's 5.40 ERA at home is considerably higher than his 3.48 mark on the road. This is almost certainly small sample size noise and adds further credence to the notion that HR/FB isn't predictive of anything after about a month's worth of games.

That said, Gausman's .467 xSLG isn't that much lower than the .472 slugging percentage he has allowed thus far. His .262 xBA is also substantially higher than his .245 BA allowed, suggesting that his BABIP deserves to be a little higher than it is. In short, these metrics do not provide the answers we're searching for.

 

An Improving Fastball

 

The biggest driver of Gausman's success to date has been his four-seam fastball. It has ranked about average over his career, recording a 7.3 SwStr% and 58 Zone%. It was better than that in 2019 with a 10 SwStr% and 58.2 Zone%, but the time he spent as a reliever made one wonder if he could repeat it as a starter.

Gausman's 40 2/3 IP this season have come nearly exclusively as a starter (his one relief appearance lasted more than four innings), so he hasn't had the benefit of airing it out for a couple of batters. His heater has still been amazing: 11.8 SwStr% and 71.9 Zone%. Better yet, all of the offering's peripherals are trending in the right direction.

Gausman is throwing harder than he did a season ago, dialing it up to 95.6 mph against an average of 94.2 mph in 2019 and 93.6 in 2018. He's also generating a lot more spin, averaging 2,326 RPM in 2020 against 2,250 in 2019 and 2,168 in 2018. Gausman has always enjoyed a high active spin rate, with 92.3% of his fastball's RPM contributing to movement this year. His improved spin rate means that his active spin is making more of an impact, giving Gausman a dynamic weapon with which he can attack hitters.

 

Repertoire Changes?

 

Gausman has been perceived as a two-pitch arm who combines a mediocre fastball with a great splitter. Now that he also has a great fastball to pair with his splitter, his breakout must be real right? Not so fast. The table below highlights what Gausman has been throwing this year according to Pitch Info:

Gausman shelved his slider last year, but he's brought it back in a limited capacity. Unfortunately, it still isn't accomplishing that much. Its 8.5 SwStr% is fairly low for a breaking pitch, and batters are seldom chasing it out of the strike zone with an O-Swing% of just 17.9. Its 40.4 Zone% isn't stealing many called strikes either, and RHB (who have seen 40 of the 51 sliders Gausman has thrown this year) have an xwOBA of .553 against it. It's a complete waste of a pitch.

Gausman has never featured a changeup, and Statcast suggests he still doesn't despite the info above. The diagram below highlights Gausman's pitch usage on Baseball Savant:

Judging from those percentages, it's likely that what Pitch Info is registering as a changeup is actually a splitter that doesn't have the bite it's supposed to. Per Pitch Info, Gausman's split has a 23.2 SwStr%, 27.4 Zone%, and 37.7% chase rate this season. His change is inferior with a 13.2 SwStr%, 37.4 Zone%, and 14% chase rate. There's no reason to throw that changeup on purpose if you have Gausman's splitter.

Furthermore, Gausman's splitter has a career chase rate of 44.3%, roughly seven points higher than its current mark. This could suggest that even the pitches Pitch Info interprets as splitters don't have quite the same action they've had in the past. It's still a great strikeout pitch, but appears to be trending in the wrong direction.

 

Conclusion

 

Add it all together, and we have a guy with a great high-spin fastball and an excellent split when it's working. Two great weapons are all it takes to post high strikeout numbers, so Gausman is likely to continue racking up Ks moving forward.

However, high-spin fastballs are generally easier to lift, and a mistake can quickly wind up in the cheap seats. Furthermore, splitters that don't have the intended bite tend to get crushed. Gausman is also pretty predictable with just two viable offerings. This gives him more blowup potential than other arms.

The upside is intriguing, but there is enough volatility here that Gausman can't be recommended for fantasy gamers trying to maintain their ratios. Likewise, there's no reason to roll the dice with Gausman if you're currently in first place. However, Gausman is the perfect guy to sign if you need to make things happen this month. After all, you're not going to climb from sixth to first without taking some risks.

Verdict: Champ (assuming you're the GM of a middling team looking for a spark)



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Daily Fantasy Baseball Streamers - MLB Hitter, Pitcher Lineup Picks for Thursday 9/3

Welcome to another edition of MLB Daily Fantasy Baseball Streamers! The season continues to roll along and we here at Rotoballer are there for all of your streaming needs.

RotoBaller has been dishing out streamer advice for years. We're always streamin and dreamin. Each day we'll publish some of the best streaming options to consider in your fantasy baseball daily league lineups. Streaming pitchers and position players to exploit a matchup are extremely important in fantasy baseball, especially in a truncated season like this one.

We have an eight-game slate to choose from today, which limits our choices somewhat, but we should still be able to lock in some solid streamer candidates. The best options on today's slate come from the Blue Jays, Nationals, Dodgers, Phillies, Cubs, and White Sox.

 

Shallow League Streamers (50% Rostered)

Taijuan Walker (SP, TOR) - 43% Rostered

Walker was recently traded to the Blue Jays and will be making his second start for them Thursday vs. the Red Sox. Walker has been much improved in 2020 as he has posted a 3.27 ERA and 1.09 WHIP while striking out 29 across 33 IP. He faces the Red Sox, who have been mediocre vs. righties across the previous two weeks. The Red Sox rank 15th-worst with a 22.4% K rate vs. righties over the previous two weeks and also rank in the middle of the pack in wRC+ over that span with a 114 mark.

Adam Eaton (OF, WAS) - 60% Rostered

Eaton gets a matchup vs. Zach Eflin Thursday and could have a nice day. Eflin has struggled vs. leftie-handed hitting thus far in 2020 as he has allowed a .372 BAA and given up six doubles, seven BB, and three HR across facing just 50 batters. Eaton has hit right-handed pitching well in 2020 as noted by his .824 OPS with three HR across just 97 PA.

Joc Pederson (1B/OF, LAD) - 44% Rostered

Pederson will be facing Luke Weaver on Thursday. Weaver has struggled vs. lefties as he has allowed a .322 BAA and six HR while only facing 67 batters. Pederson has homered five times off righties in 2020 and has also posted an .893 off righties since 2018.

Deeper League Streamers (25% Rostered)

Alec Bohm (3B, PHI) - 22% Rostered

Bohm has been off to a great start in 2020 and is hitting right-handed pitching well. He has posted a .997 OPS vs. righties across 45 PA. He will be facing Anibal Sanchez who has struggled vs. everyone in 2020 and has allowed a .329 BAA, six doubles, and five HR to righties so far.

 

Deepest League Streamers (10% Rostered)

David Bote (2B/3B, CHC) - 3% Rostered

Bote will have a solid matchup vs. left-hander, Derek Holland on Thursday. Holland has struggled vs. right-handed hitters in 2020 as noted by his 9.07 FIP and 12 BB in just over 22 IP. While Bote has not been superb vs. lefties in 2020, he did post an OPS of .871 as recently as 2018 and could have a nice day vs. Holland.

Jay Bruce (OF, PHI) - 3% Rostered

Jay Bruce gets a glorious matchup Thursday vs. Anibal Sanchez. Sanchez has been struggling vs. left-handed hitters as he has allowed a 6.9 FIP and 1.88 WHIP while allowing three HR and nearly six BB/9. Bruce has been mashing righties in 2020 as he is currently posting a 1.136 OPS and has hit five bombs off of them.

Jose Martinez (OF, CHC) - 3% Rostered

Jose Martinez gets another matchup vs. a left-handed pitcher in Derek Holland. Holland's struggles vs. right-handed hitters are mentioned above and Jose Martinez has been a lefty-masher as noted by his .835 OPS since 2018 as well as his .997 OPS with five HR in just 78 PA in 2019.

Adam Engel (OF, CWS) - 0% Rostered

Engel has a solid matchup vs. Danny Duffy Thursday night. Duffy can be gotten to by right-handed hitters as noted by the six HR he has allowed thus far in 2020. Engel has been hitting lefties well in limited action in 2020 as he has posted a 1.008 OPS with one HR, one SB, and six RBI across just 21 PA.

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Daily Fantasy Baseball Streamers - MLB Hitter, Pitcher Lineup Picks for Wednesday 9/2

After last night's offensive explosion across the MLB, it should send all the fantasy managers racing to the waiver wire looking for a hot hand. There is no shortage of streamers available to help boost your team past the others. Grab them fast while you still can!

When choosing my daily hitter streamers, I examine their platoon splits, lineup position, and pitching matchup. With pitchers, I account for the opposing lineup, team ballpark, and recent performance to help make my decision.

Each of my daily lineup streamers will be rostered in between 0-40% of Yahoo leagues, with a mixed focus on both shallow and deeper formats. Today, I will be providing a streamer for each position, including one starting pitcher. Let’s take a look at the Wednesday slate and dig out some streamer gems to help you create the week with a bang!

 

Hitter Streamers for 9/2 - Infielders

Brandon Belt (1B, SFG, LHB) - 31% Rostered

Matchup: @ COL LHP Kyle Freeland

Belt has .337/.424/.528 slash line with a 1.052 OPS through 29 games. Those numbers don't look like they should be associated with a streamer, rather more like a full-time starter. His statcast numbers back up his offensive outburst, as he has the 93rd percentile or better in hard-hit rate, barrel%, xSLG, and xwOBA. Belt also has a very favorable matchup in the hitter-friendly confines of Coors Field. Grab him now while he is still under 40% owned.

Brad Miller (2B/3B/OF, STL, LHB) - 21% Rostered

Matchup: @ CIN RHP Tyler Mahle

Brad Miller is having a late-career resurgence in 2020. He has been a nightmare for any right-handed pitcher; in 74 plate appearances, he has nine extra-base hits and a 13:13 K/BB ratio. Miller is fresh off a white-hot night as he went yard twice, collected seven more RBI, and was a triple shy of the cycle. The second base position has been a spot of weakness for many fantasy owners, and Miller is producing at a high level these days.

Austin Riley (3B/OF, ATL, RHB) - 34% Rostered

Matchup: @ BOS LHP Mike Kickam

Austin Riley started ice cold but is currently tearing the cover off the ball. In the last seven days, Riley has ten hits, two home runs, eight RBI, with a .370 batting average. What's changed for Riley? He is finally starting to hit right-handed pitchers. In 2019, he struggled by only hitting .215 in 209 at-bats with a 10:1 K/BB ratio. So far, in 2020, Riley is batting .284 with a 3:1 K/BB ratio in 81 at-bats. Austin is looking to finish off the series against Boston with a bang tonight, so plug him in the lineups while you can.

 

Mike Brosseau (1B/2B/3B/OF - TB, RHB) - 2% Rostered

Matchup: @ NYY LHP Jordan Montgomery

Mike Brosseau gets the start when a southpaw is opposing the Rays. His splits are why the ownership is so low; he does not get the number of quality opportunities as many other outfielder options. When facing a left-handed pitcher in 2020, Brosseau is mashing .344/.371/.750 with a 1.121 OPS. He has a .406 ISO and 194 wRC+ as well. Those are wow numbers if you ask me.

Garrett Cooper (1B/OF - MIA, RHB) - 3% Rostered

Matchup: vs. TOR LHP Hyun-Jin Ryu

Garrett Cooper is severely under-owned in the majority of leagues right now. This is mainly due to his lengthy start stint on the IL. Cooper came back and was immediately thrust into the middle of the Marlins lineup because of his abilities at the dish. In only five games, he already has two home runs and six RBI with a .318 batting average. There is no better time than now to catch your league mates sleeping on this one.

Hitter Streamers for 9/2 - Outfielders

Alex Dickerson (OF - SFG, LHB) - 4% Rostered

Matchup: @ COL LHP Kyle Freeland

Alex Dickerson is coming off a night to remember, and I hope he left some in the tank for tonight's outing. Last night Dickerson had five extra-base hits, including three home runs and six RBI. The night before that, he went 2-for-4 with a home run as well. Any player on this type of heater makes a terrific streamer. Dickerson will look to cap off his series in Colorado with another moonshot. Play him while he is on fire.

Victor Reyes (OF, DET, SHB) - 8% Rostered

Matchup: vs. MIL RHP Adrian Houser

Victor Reyes has shown up in my Wednesday streamers article a few times now. I will keep repeating it; this man needs to be put on your teams. In 109 at-bats, he is hitting .309 with 20 runs, 11 RBI, three home runs, and five stolen bases. Reyes is a jack of all trades that can do it all. He has firmly won the leadoff spot in the better-than-expected Tigers lineup and continues to produce. Don't miss out any longer, and find a place for Victor Reyes.

Ryan Mountcastle (OF/SS - BAL, RHB) - 30% Rostered

Matchup: vs. NYM RHP Michael Wacha

Ryan Mountcastle was called up to add a little offensive boost to the Baltimore Orioles. In his short stint, Ryan has done just that by going batting .324 with a pair of home runs and five RBI. Now that Mountcastle has carved out an everyday role in the back third of the lineup, he is looking comfortable at the plate and putting up numbers on a nightly basis. He draws a favorable matchup against Michael Wacha, who can't seem to put it together. In his first four starts this season, Wacha has failed to get past the fifth inning and keeps getting drilled by right-handed hitters.

 

Pitcher Streamers for 9/2

Spencer Turnbull (RHP, DET)

@ MIL - 38% Rostered

For a minute, I thought my eyes were deceiving me with Turnbull being rostered in under 40% of leagues. He has a 2.97 ERA, and 26 strikeouts in 30.1 innings pitched. Starting pitching has been one of the most difficult positions to find this year, and Turnbull is much better than the league average. What makes him successful is his slider+fastball combination. The slider produces a 52.5 Whiff%, and the fastball has a .149 batting average against. Turnbull should rack up plenty of strikeouts against the Brewers tonight. They have a 27.5 K% and near the bottom of the MLB in wRC+ and wOBA all season.



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A Robbie Ray Reclamation in Toronto?

Robbie Ray is in the midst of an awful season, posting a 7.84 ERA, 2.00 WHIP, and a hideous 20.1 BB%. Hitters have been able to pound his pitches, as he's allowed a 13.9 Barrel% and 2.61 HR/9.  These type of numbers should have you ignoring his trade to the American League and Toronto Blue Jays, right? WRONG.

In this article, we'll take a look at what makes Ray an intriguing starting pitcher for the stretch run in the fantasy season. We'll examine the Blue Jays' recent track record along with Ray's pitch mix to help make the case for the Robbie Ray reclamation.

The time to act on Ray is now. The change of scenery will do wonders for him. There's a great chance that he's been dropped in your league. Put in the FAAB bid. Place the waiver claim. Do whatever you need to do to acquire him and reap the rewards.

 

Mechanical Adjustments

Ray came into the season with a ton of hype because of a change in arm angle:


This change looked promising because he was dominating D-Backs' summer camp:


Obviously, the changes haven't worked out so far this season, as he's walking hitters and getting hit harder than ever before. The good news is that the Blue Jays have had a solid track record with veteran pitchers.

 

Toronto's Track Record

The Blue Jays have had recent success with veteran pitchers because of one man: Pete Walker. He took over as the team's pitching coach in 2013 and has really done well in recent years. Let's take a look at how he's helped tap into the potential of newly acquired pitchers in their first year in Toronto.

Marco Estrada

Before arriving in Toronto, Estrada had real issues with keeping the ball in the park. At the time, many thought that this problem would be amplified in the bandbox that is the Rogers' Centre. SPOILER: They were wrong.

MIL (2014) 150.2 IP 4.36 ERA 1.20 WHIP 1.73 HR/9 -9.8 FB pitchVAL 5.6 CH pitchVAL
TOR (2015) 181.0 IP 3.13 ERA 1.04 WHIP 1.19 HR/9 10.3 FB pitchVAL 12.7 CH pitchVAL

Estrada enjoyed his best season in his first year in Toronto. His changeup became a devastating weapon.

Francisco Liriano

Liriano was getting rocked in Pittsburgh before he was traded to Toronto in 2016. Look what happened when he met Mr. Walker.

PIT (2016) 108.2 IP 5.46 ERA 1.62 WHIP 22.2 K% 13.2 BB% 10.8 SwStr%
TOR (2016) 49.1 IP 2.92 ERA 1.18 WHIP 25.0 K% 7.7 BB% 12.7 SwStr%

Liriano gave the team a nice lift down the stretch before being dealt in the following season for Teoscar Hernandez.

Matt Shoemaker

Shoemaker was mostly ineffective and had trouble staying healthy as an Angel. In Toronto, he has still struggled with injuries, but look how he improved in his first year.

LAA (2018) 31.0 IP 4.94 ERA 1.26 WHIP 43.5 GB% 13.0 SwStr%
TOR (2019) 28.2 IP 1.57 ERA 0.87 WHIP 51.4 GB% 13.4 SwStr%

Shoemaker was able to induce groundballs at an even higher rate and he dominated before tearing his ACL early in the season.

Other veteran pitchers like Hyun-Jin Ryu and Chase Anderson have also had success this year under Walker's tutelage. Walker has also helped develop a bullpen that has been surprisingly effective, including young arms like Jordan Romano and Thomas Hatch that have seemingly come out of nowhere. Walker is quite possibly the best-kept secret in baseball right now, as a pitching coach that can yield more value out of struggling veterans. This bodes well for Ray.

 

Pitch Mix

Four-Seamer (2019) Four-Seamer (2020)
92.7 Avg Velocity 93.9 Avg Velocity
42.7% Usage 48.0% Usage
89.2 Exit Velocity 92.4 Exit Velocity
8.0 SwStr% 5.5% SwStr

As we can see here, Ray's four-seamer is getting absolutely pounded despite the 1.2 MPH increase in velocity. Ray's F-Strike% has decreased from 59.4% to 46.1%, so he's falling behind and hitters are finding themselves in favorable counts, ready to pound the fastball. The good news is that his slider (18.5 SwStr%) and curveball (20.3 SwStr%) are still missing bats, so it looks like Ray needs to start relying on his breaking pitches more often.

 

Outlook

Obviously fixing Ray's control problems is a tall task, but his current 20.1 BB% is a result of a small sample, as it's nearly twice as high as his 2019 rate of 11.2 BB%. Ray's walk rate has nowhere to go but down in Toronto. Pete Walker has demonstrated the ability to get the best out of his pitchers, particularly veteran newcomers, so I'm betting on Ray providing fantasy value for the stretch run. Perhaps Walker will influence Ray to rely on his breaking pitches more. Maybe he can tap into the success Ray was having in summer camp with the change in arm angle. Either way, this is a low-risk, high-reward move for both the Blue Jays and your fantasy team.

Is this the start of the Ray Reclamation in Toronto, or will he continue his struggles? I'm betting on the former. Buy Ray the Blue Jay and thank me later.



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Daily Fantasy Baseball Streamers - MLB Hitter, Pitcher Lineup Picks for Tuesday 9/1

The MLB season is filled with ups and downs, but the key to success is to find some gems to stream! Today we're going to target a pair of Rays at Yankee Stadium!

When choosing my daily hitter streamers, I examine their platoon splits, lineup position, and pitching matchup. With pitchers, I account for the opposing lineup, team ballpark, and recent performance to help make my decision.

Each of my streamers will be rostered in between 0-40% of Yahoo leagues, with a mixed focus on both shallow and deeper formats. Today, I will be providing a streamer for each position, including two starting pitchers. Let’s take a look at the Tuesday slate and dig out some streamer gems to help you start off the week with a bang!

 

Hitter Streamers for 9/1 - Infielders

Austin Riley (3B/OF, RHB) 22% Rostered

Matchup: vs. BOS LHP Kyle Hart

We're going with Riley for the second straight day here because he continues to rake, turning in another multi-hit game with three RBI on Monday. Riley takes on LHP Kyle Hart, who has been awful this year with a 13.00 ERA and 3.00 WHIP in three starts spanning nine innings. Expect the Braves' sophomore to continue to enjoy the friendly confines of Fenway Park.

Evan Longoria (3B, RHB) 16% Rostered

Matchup: vs. RHP Jon Gray

Longo has been on fire of late, going 18-for-46 (.391) with 12 runs, two home runs, and 11 RBI in his last 12 games. He goes up against Jon Gray at Coors in a terrific matchup. We have to ride with the veteran third baseman here given how well he's been swinging the bat.

Yoshimoto Tsutsugo (3B/OF, LHB) - 9% Rostered

Matchup: vs. NYY RHP Masahiro Tanaka

Tsutsugo is starting to find his groove, going 4-for-13 (.308) with two home runs, four RBI, and seven walks to only three strikeouts in his last five games. He gets a chance at exploiting that short porch in right-field at Yankee Stadium against Tanaka, who allowed five earned runs in four innings in the last time these two teams met on August 18th.

Erik Gonzalez (3B/SS/OF, PIT, RHB) - 2% Rostered

Matchup: vs. CHC LHP Jon Lester

Gonzalez is another low-rostered hitter who's swinging a hot bat, going 4-for-11 (.364) with four runs, one home run, and three RBI in his last three games. Gonzalez has punished lefties this season, slashing .391/.417/.739 against them. He gets a good matchup against Lester, who has been hit hard after a strong start, allowing 26 hits in his last 14.2 innings.

 

Hitter Streamers for 9/1 - Outfielders

Hunter Renfroe (OF, TB, RHB) 35% Rostered

Matchup: @ NYY RHP Masahiro Tanaka

Renfroe is always a threat to explode with his power, so it's a good idea to stream him at Yankee Stadium against Tanaka, who has allowed three home runs in his last three starts. Let's roll the dice on this power hitter and hope that we run into one of his patented multi-home run games.

Jason Heyward (OF, CHC, LHB) 9% Rostered

Matchup: at PIT RHP Chad Kuhl

Heyward has been on fire lately, hitting three home runs in his last four games. He's also walked four times with only two strikeouts during that span. Kuhl has only allowed two runs in his last two starts (11 innings), but he's walked seven while striking out only two. This is an exploitable matchup, so we'll ride with Heyward again.

Tyler Naquin (OF, CLE, LHB) 2% Rostered

Matchup: @ KC RHP Matt Harvey

It's always a good idea to stream against Harvey, who is a shell of his former self. Harvey has failed to pitch past the third inning, allowing three runs or more in each of his two starts. Naquin is raking, homering twice in his last four games, so he's another solid stream here.

 

Pitcher Streamers for 9/1

Spencer Turnbull (RHP, DET) at MIL 37% Rostered

Turnbull is the only viable streamer that meets our criteria as a sub-40% rostered player, so we'll fire him up against a Brewers' team that has posted a 27.4 K% (28th) and .275 wOBA (T-29th) against righties. Turnbull got back on track last week, pitching 5.2 shutout innings against the Cubs after getting rocked in his previous two turns. Ride the young righty in this nice matchup.



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Daily Fantasy Baseball Streamers - MLB Hitter, Pitcher Lineup Picks for Monday 8/31

It's another manic Monday, so you know what time it is - it's time to dig deep and find some streamers. Today is a tough day for pitcher streamers, so we'll roll the dice on a groundball machine. We'll also take a look at a Cardinals and Mariners stack!

When choosing my daily hitter streamers, I examine their platoon splits, lineup position, and pitching matchup. With pitchers, I account for the opposing lineup, team ballpark, and recent performance to help make my decision.

Each of my streamers will be rostered in between 0-40% of Yahoo leagues, with a mixed focus on both shallow and deeper formats. Today, I will be providing a streamer for each position, including two starting pitchers. Let’s take a look at the Monday slate and dig out some streamer gems to help you start off the week with a bang!

 

Hitter Streamers for 8/31 - Infielders

Austin Riley (3B/OF, ATL, RHP) 15% Rostered

Matchup: vs. BOS RHP Colten Brewer

Riley gets a good matchup at Fenway Park against the Red Sox atrocious pitching staff. Colten Brewer is a mediocre pitcher who does not pitch deep in games, failing to pitch past the fourth inning this year. Riley is starting to get hot, going 6-for-14 (.429) with three runs, two home runs, and four RBI in his past four games. The former top prospect is a great choice to stream in this exploitable matchup.

J.P. Crawford (SS, SEA, LHB) 14% Rostered

Matchup: vs. LAA RHP Jaime Barria

Crawford continues to be a fixture in the leadoff position in the Mariners' lineup. He has three multi-hit games in the past five, including six runs, one home run, three RBI, and one stolen base. Jaime Barria has pitched well this season, allowing only a combined three earned runs in his two turns, spanning 9.1 innings, but this is a pitcher who allowed 2.61 HR/9 last year, so he's not someone to fear.

Sam Haggerty (2B/OF, SEA, SHB) 5% Rostered

Matchup: vs. LAA RHP Jaime Barria

Haggerty has been rock solid lately, going 12-for-43 (.279) with six runs, one home run, six RBI, and three stolen bases in his last 11 games. He's hit in the two-hole for nine consecutive games, so he makes for a nice pairing with Crawford. Haggerty provides a nice source of cheap speed, which is valuable given the current climate of speed scarcity in MLB.

Travis Shaw (3B, TOR, LHB) 3% Rostered

Matchup: vs. BAL LHP Keegan Akin

Shaw faces a lefty, but this is a bullpen day for the Orioles, which could mean a lot of runs in the bandbox that is Sahlen Field. Shaw has mostly rotated between the three-hole and sixth spot in the Blue Jays' lineup. He's hit safely in three consecutive games, so perhaps this is the start of a hot streak. Fire up Shaw in a favorable matchup in a hitter's park.

 

Hitter Streamers for 8/31 - Outfielders

Brad Miller (2B/3B/OF, STL, LHB) 19% Rostered

Matchup: @ CIN RHP Anthony DeSclafani

Miller is always in play against a righty because he's become a fixture in the cleanup spot in the Cardinals' lineup. He's gone hitless in consecutive games, but before that he was on a nice stretch, going 8-for-21 (.381) in his previous five. He goes up against DeSclafani, who has gotten rocked in his last two starts, allowing 11 runs in 6.1 innings while walking six and striking out three. Miller is a prime streamer for Monday.

Sam Hilliard (OF, COL, LHB) - 14% Rostered

Matchup: vs. SD RHP Garrett Richards

Hilliard finds himself on this list for the second straight week because of his power-speed profile and his favorable matchup against a struggling Richards at Coors. Richards is coming off a start where he allowed six runs in 0.2 innings and it's tough to see him bounce back in the unfriendly confines of Coors. Hilliard has three home runs and two stolen bases in his last six games, so we can't ignore that kind of production in a prime matchup.

Dexter Fowler (OF, STL, SHB) 2% Rostered

Matchup: @ CIN RHP Anthony DeSclafani

Fowler is starting to swing a hot bat, going 4-12 (.300) with four runs, two home runs, five RBI, and one stolen base in his last four games. During that span, he's rotated between the sixth and eighth spots in the lineup, but we need to ride this hot streak against DeSclafani. Fowler makes for a nice pairing with Miller - let's hope that Miller gets on-base and Fowler brings him home.

Pitcher Streamer for 8/31

Dakota Hudson (RHP, STL) @ CIN - 36% Rostered

Hudson has pitched well in his last three starts, going 14.2 innings and allowing only six hits for three earned runs while walking six and striking out 12. While he has limited strikeout upside, he does induce groundballs at a high rate of 51%. On paper, this looks like a tough matchup in Cincinnati, but the Reds have only scored 31 runs in their last 14 games (2.21 runs per game). Fire up Hudson and let's hope he keeps up the good work.

 



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Fantasy Baseball Injury Updates for Week 7

Injuries are commonplace in all sports. Baseball has seen the rate of injury continue to rise over the past few years. In fantasy, if someone is not in the medical field, it is hard to gauge how long a player will be out and whether they need to be replaced in a lineup. Sometimes this could mean playing a dead roster spot and losing the opportunity to have a full week of stats. Watching a play and watching the mechanism of injury can say a lot about the type of injury that has been sustained. The mechanism of injury is one of the ways of diagnosing the problem.

My name is Reuven Guy. I grew up playing baseball, watching baseball and wanting to go into medicine. I was able to combine both of my loves. I am a practicing physician assistant in the state of New York in the fields of orthopedics and physical medicine/pain management. I have been treating patients with the same type of injuries that have been affecting athletes in a private practice setting for the past 15 years. Having this base of knowledge, it is easier to “predict” what the injury could be and how long a player will be out.

During the course of the season in this weekly article, I will be going over MLB player injuries. I will be hunting down the latest updates and have sources to back me up. I will be highlighting the type of injury it is, try to diagnose an injury that has not been diagnosed yet, discuss the extent of injury, and how long the player will be out. I will also be listing the “next man up” when it comes to playing time if the player will be out. This year, I will also have a listing of all fantasy-relevant players affected by COVID-19 and COVID-19 protocols. Hopefully, this will help you create and manage a more competitive fantasy lineup.

 

Injury "Guy"de for the Week of August 30, 2020

Aaron Judge (Of, NYY) - Lower Body - Judge is currently on the IL with a calf injury. Judge re-injured the same calf in his first game back from the same calf injury. No timeframe was given for his return but GM Brian Cashman said the Yankees want Judge to be ready for when the games mean something.

Charlie Morton (SP, TB)Shoulder- Morton was placed on the IL with shoulder inflammation. Morton played catch and is scheduled to one more bullpen session before he is activated by the Rays to join their rotation.

Madison Bumgarner (SP, ARI) - Back - Bumgarner was placed on the IL with a mid-back strain. He threw another successful bullpen session and threw a simulated game on August 29th. There is a chance he could be ready to return this week.

Rodon, Carlos (SP, CHW) - Shoulder - Rodon has been dealing with left shoulder soreness and was placed on the IL. Rodon's velocity dropped below 90. Rodon continues to throw side sessions with no issues. He is also scheduled to throw a simulated game on August 30. Rodon could return within the next week or two.

Ozzie Albies (2B, ATL) -Wrist- Albies was placed on the IL with wrist soreness/bone contusion. Albies was able to hit from both sides of the plate this week with no issues as he gets closer to return however he may still be a week or two away from returning.

Josh Donaldson (3B, MIN) - Calf- Donaldson was placed on the IL due to a right calf injury. Donaldson missed three months with a calf injury in 2018 and missed a few games in 2019 due to a calf injury. Donaldson has resumed playing in intrasquad games at the Twins' alternate training site and is getting closer to a return.

Yordan Alvarez (DH, HOU)- Knee- Alvarez was dealing with a knee issue since the summer camp. Alvarez had surgery for both of his knees this week in Houston. He had a slight tear of the patellar tendon in his right knee repaired and a routine cleanup was performed for his left knee. He will miss the remainder of the season but will begin physical therapy immediately and is expected to make a complete recovery.

Nate Pearson (SP, TOR)- Elbow- The Blue Jays placed Pearson on the IL with right elbow tightness. An MRI was scheduled to be performed August 20. Trent Thronton was be activated off of the IL to pitch in his spot in the rotation.

Salvador Perez (C, KC) - Eye- Perez was placed on the IL with blurry vision in his left eye. Perez visited an eye specialist this week and remains without a timeline for his return. Cam Gallagher and Meibrys Viloria should continue to split time in his absence.

Kris Bryant (3B, CHC) - Wrist- Bryant was placed on the IL today with a sprained left ring finger and a sore left wrist, retroactive to Aug. 19. Bryant received an injection to his left wrist on August 18 and the injury may be worse than first thought, thus the placement on the IL. There is still no timeline for his return as of yet.

David Dahl- (OF, COL) - Back- Dahl was placed on the IL with lower-back soreness. Manager Bud Black said that Dahl is nearing a return as he has been facing live pitching this week.

Bo Bichette (SS, TOR) - Knee- Bichette is on the IL with a grade 1 sprain of the LCL (lateral collateral ligament of the right knee. Bichette is progressing well and has begun baseball activities but there is no timeline for him to take ground balls or running the bases.

Ken Giles (RP, TOR) - Forearm- Giles is currently on the IL with a mild strain of the flexor mass in his right forearm. He received an injection a few weeks ago. Giles felt good after a bullpen session this week and is ready to face live batters. There is still no timetable for his return.

Zach Britton (RP, NYY) - Hamstring- Britton was placed on the IL with a left hamstring strain. Britton has progressed to sprinting this week as he gets closer to a return from the IL.

Alex Bregman (3B, HOU) - Hamstring- The Astros placed Bregman on the IL with a strained right hamstring. Bregman will be out at least three weeks. Bregman also recently began doing some running. Abraham Toro and Yuli Gurriel will continue to fill in at 3B for him while he is out.

Byron Buxton (OF, MIN) - Shoulder- Buxton was placed on the IL with left shoulder inflammation. The Twins are optimistic that Buxton will be back this week.

Mitch Garver (C, MIN) - Intercostal- Garver was placed on the IL with an intercostal strain. He is not near returning. Alex Avila and Ryan Jeffers will continue to split time while Garver is out.

James Paxton (SP, NYY) - Forearm- Paxton had discomfort in his forearm/elbow while pitching on Thursday and was placed on the IL with a left forearm strain. His MRI did not show any structural damage and he was told that he does not require Tommy John surgery. According the GM Brian Cashman, Paxton is "a little far away" from returning.

Drew Pomeranz (RP, SD) - Shoulder- Pomeranz was placed on the IL with shoulder tightness. He was able to play catch this week and was activated off of the IL on August 29th. Emilio Pagan will serve as closer with Pomeranz is out.

Gleyber Torres (SS, NYY) - Hamstring- Torres was placed on the IL with a mild left hamstring and left quad strain. MRI showed mild strains only. It was reported that he will be out "anywhere from three to six weeks" according the GM Brian Cashman. Tyler Wade and Thairo Estrada will continue to see more playing time with Torres out.

Austin Slater (OF, SF) - Groin- Slater was placed on the IL with a mild left groin strain. Slater will begin baseball activities over the weekend. No clear timetable for his return yet.

Keone Kela (P, PIT) - Forearm- Kela was placed on the IL with forearm tightness. He will begin to try to through until this resolves. Richard Rodriguez will continue to fill in as closer for the Pirates.

DJ LeMahieu (2B, NYY)- Thumb- LeMahieu was placed on the IL earlier this month with a sprained thumb. No surgery was needed. According to GM Brain Cashman, LeMahieu could return as early as Sunday and returned to the lineup a day early.

Giancarlo Stanton (OF, NYY)- Hamstring- Stanton was placed on the IL earlier this month with a hamstring sprain/ strain. According to GM Brain Cashman, Stanton is at least a week away from returning.

Pedro Severino (C, BAL)- Hip- Severino was removed from Sunday's game with right hip flexor tightness and has not played since. If there is no improvement seen soon, there is a chance he may end up on the IL. Bryan Holaday has been filling in at catcher for the Orioles while Chance Sisco has been serving as the DH.

Colin Moran (3B, PIT)- Concussion- Moran was placed on the 7 day IL and is in the concussion protocol. Moran sustained the head injury last Sunday when he collided with Avisail Garcia. Concussions could be tricky as symptoms could be gone in a few days or linger for weeks. Jose Osuna could see more playing time with Moran out.

Andrew Miller (RP, STL)- Shoulder-Miller has been placed on the IL with left shoulder fatigue, retroactive to August 24. There is no word on severity yet. Giovanny Gallegos may now have a path to become the #Cardinals full time closer.

Walker Buehler (SP, LAD)- Finger- The Dodgers placed Buehler on IL with a blister on his right hand, retroactive to Aug. 23. Because this was done retroactively, it is possible that Buehler will not miss more than the minimum time on the IL.

Merrill Kelly (SP, ARI)- Shoulder- Kelly was placed on the IL due to blood clots in his pitching shoulder. General manager Mike Hazen said Kelly probably won't return this season. Kelly had a procedure performed to remove a blood clot from his right shoulder. Taylor Clarke should fill in the rotation for the Diamondbacks.

Jalen Beeks (RP, TB)- Elbow- Beeks was placed on the 45 -day IL with a forearm injury. Beeks was diagnosed with a torn UCL in his left elbow and will have Tommy John surgery this coming week.

Shin-Soo Choo (OF, TEX)- Oblique- Rangers manager Chris Woodward said Choo is dealing with an oblique injury in addition to the calf injury. The oblique injury is thought to be worse and they are trying to have Choo avoid the IL. This is something to monitor as he tries to play through it.

Nick Anderson (RP, TB)- Forearm- Anderson was placed on the IL with right forearm inflammation. Rays Manager Kevin Cash expressed optimism that Anderson will be ready to return from the IL Sunday when first eligible. Cash said Anderson was "doing well" since being shut down.

Matt Manning (SP, DET) and Alex Faedo (SP, DET)- Forearm- Tigers GM Al Avila says the team has shut down both pitching prospects for the season. Both of them have right forearm strains. This is said to be done as a precautionary measure as they do not want them rushing back too soon.

Justin Verlander (SP, HOU)- Forearm- Verlander is on the IL with a forearm injury. On Friday, Manager Dusty Baker said today that Verlander "is a little further away than we would like, but he's closer to reality than it appeared like when he first went down." It is not known yet whether Verlander will be able to return this year.

Cole Hamels (SP, ATL)- Triceps- Hamels has been on the IL since the start of the season with a shoulder and then a triceps injury. Hamels, however, could return sometime in September, Mark Bowman of MLB.com reports.

Wade Miley (SP, CIN)- Shoulder- Miley was placed on the IL with a left shoulder strain. No word on severity. Miley was on the IL earlier this year with an unrelated injury (groin injury). Tyler Mahle will stay in the rotation for now.

Ryan Yarbrough (SP, TB)- Groin- Yarbrough was placed on the IL with left groin tightness. He suffered the injury this past Friday night. No word on severity or who will take his spot in the Rays rotation.

Mike Zunino- Oblique- Zunino was placed on the IL with left oblique tightness. No word on severity. He has been out the past few days with the same issue. Michael Perez and Kevan Smith will split time behind the plate for the Rays.

Nathan Eovaldi (SP, BOS)- Calf- The RedSox placed Eovaldi on the IL with a "very mild strain" of his right calf, retroactive to August 26. No word on severity. Chris Mazza was recalled to start in his place.

Steven Matz (SP/RP, NYM)- Shoulder- Matz reportedly experienced some left shoulder discomfort during the first game of Saturday's doubleheader and will probably make a trip to the IL. No word on severity or any test results yet.

David Robertson (RP, PHI)- Elbow- Robertson will not throw for another six weeks and will miss the remainder of the 2020 season. Robertson is coming back from Tommy John surgery performed August 2019.

Jordan Romano (RP, TOR)- Finger- Romano was placed on the IL with a finger injury. He is expected to miss two to four weeks with middle finger numbness. Anthony Bass will probably remain the primary closer for the Blue Jay.

Danny Santana (OF/1B, TEX)- Elbow- Santana was placed on the IL with a right elbow sprain, retroactive to August 27. Severity is not yet known and there is no timetable for his return yet. Ronald Guzman was called up.

Yoan Moncada (3B, CHW)- Leg- Moncada was removed from Saturday's game after aggravating his left upper leg injury. Manager Rick Renteria said the injury is in the region of the hamstring, though he indicated it's not actually a hamstring issue. Moncada has been battling through the injury for the past couple weeks and should be considered day-to-day but this situation should be monitored.

 

Updated List of Fantasy-Relevant Players Affected by COVID-19

Please note: Although a player may have returned, they may not be up to game speed yet and may still be on the IL or not ready to play. Also please note that the COVID IL can range from a few days to weeks and symptomatic players with negative COVID testing will miss fewer games.

Alcantara, Sandy (SP, MIA)- Returned
Alvarez, Yordan (DH, HOU)- Returned
Astudillo, Willians (C, MIN)- Returned
Beer, Seth (1B, ARI) - Returned
Bethancourt, Christian (RP, PHI)
Blackmon, Charlie (OF, COL) - Returned
Brito, Socrates (OF, PIT)- Returned
Brinson, Lewis (OF, MIA)- Returned
Cabrera, Genesis (RP, STL)- Returned
Calhoun, Kole (OF, ARI) - Returned
Cano, Robinson (1B/2B, NYM) - Returned
Chapman, Aroldis (RP, NYY)- Returned
Cessa, Luis (RP, NYY)- Returned
Chirinos, Yonny (SP/RP, TB)- Returned
Cooper, Garrett (1B/OF, MIA)- Returend
d’Arnuad, Travis (C, ATL)- Returned
Davidson, Matt- (DH, CIN)- Returned
deJong, Paul (SS, STL)- Returning
DeShields, Delino (OF, CLE)- Returned
Diaz, Elias (C, COL)- Returned
Dietrich, Derek (1B/OF, CHC)- Returned
Dozier, Hunter (3B/OF, KC)- Returned
Drury, Brandon (3B, TOR)- Returned
Elias, Roenis (RP, SEA)- Returned
Engel, Adam- (OF, CHW)- Returned
Flowers, Tyler (C, ATL)- Returned
Freeman, Freddie (1B, ATL) - Returned
Garica, Jarlin (RP, SF)- Returned
Gimenez, Andres (2B/SS/3B- Retured
Glasnow, Tyler (SP, TB) - Returned
Gomber, Austin (P, STL)- Returning
Grichuk, Randal (OF, TOR)- Returned
Guerra, Junior (RP, ARI) - Returned
Hamilton, Billy (OF, SF)- Returned
Haseley, Adam (OF, PHI) - Returned
Hayes, Ke'Bryan (3B, PIT)- Returned
Hernandez, Darwinzon (RP, BOS) - Returned
Hirano, Yoshii (RP, SEA)- Returned
Hunter, Tommy (RP, PHI)- Returned
Jansen, Kenley (RP, LAD) - Returned
Joyce, Matt (OF, MIA)- Returned
Kela, Keone (RP, PIT)- Returned
Keller, Brad (SP, KC)- Returned
Kendrick, Howie (1B/2B/3B/OF, WAS) - Returned
Kingery, Scott (2B/3B/SS/OF, PHI) - Returned
Lauer, Eric (SP, MIL)- Returned
LeMahieu, DJ (1B/2B, NYY) - Returned
Luzardo, Jesus (SP, OAK) - Returned
McKay, Brendan (SP, TB)- Returned
Mahtook, Mikie (OF, DET)- Returned
Margot, Manuel (OF, TB)- Returned
Martinez, Carlos (SP/RP, STL)- Returning. He has been throwing live BP and facing hitters this past week.
Mateo, Jorge (SS, SD)- Returned
Mazara, Nomar- (OF, CHW)- Returned
Meadows, Austin (OF, TB)- Returned
Moncada, Yoan (3B, CHW) - Returned
Molina, Yadier (C, STL)- Returning
Neris, Hector (RP, PHI)- Returned
Nido, Tomas (C, NYM)-
Nola, Aaron (SP, PHI) - Returned
Norris, Daniel (SP, DET)- Returned
O'Hearn, Ryan (1B, KC)- Returned
Perez, Salvador (C, KC)- Returned
Pham, Tommy (OF, SD) - Returned
Quinn, Roman (OF, PHI)- Returned
Robles, Victor (OF, WAS)- Returned
Rodriguez, Eduardo (SP, BOS)- Returned but out for the year with COVID complications.
Rojas, Miguel (SS, MIA)- Returned
Ruiz, Keibert- (C, LAD)- Returned
Sano, Miguel (1B/3B, MIN) - Returned
Senzel, Nick- (2B, CIN)
Smith, Caleb (SP, MIA)- Retruning
Smith, Will (RP, ATL)- Returning
Soto, Juan (OF, WAS)- Returned
Suero, Wander (RP, WAS)- Returned
Teheran, Julio (SP, LAA)- Returned
Toussaint, Touki (SP/RP, ATL)- Returned
Urena, Jose (SP, MIA)
Urias, Luis (2B/SS, MIL)- Returned
Urquidy, Jose (SP, HOU)- Returning- According to Dusty Baker, he is about ten days away from joining the Astros.



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2020 Fantasy Baseball Advice Editor Note MLB Analysis RotoBaller - All Fantasy Sports Articles

Champ or Chump: Jake Cronenworth

It was widely known before the season that the shorter schedule would favor fringe contenders, and no team has taken better advantage of it than the San Diego Padres. They needed Fernando Tatis Jr. to continue producing like a star despite less-than-stellar peripherals in his rookie season, and he has. They needed Eric Hosmer to learn how to hit a fly ball, and he has. They also needed some surprise producers to emerge, and Jake Cronenworth has more than delivered the goods.

Cronenworth doesn't have the prospect pedigree of most players who explode on to the fantasy radar, being the 208th selection by the Tampa Bay Rays in the 2015 Amateur Draft and ranking 19th in the Padres system per MLB Pipeline before the season began. He was an auxiliary piece in the Tommy Pham trade, but wasn't considered a prime get for the Padres. At age 26, he's also older than many fantasy owners realize.

That said, it's tough to ignore a .360/.415/.605 batting line with three homers and a steal over 94 PAs, especially considering that it comes with eligibility at three different positions in Yahoo! leagues (1B, 2B, SS). He's still widely available with a 60% ownership rate as of this writing, and he makes for a great pickup as long as you have realistic expectations. What are realistic expectations? Keep reading to find out!

 

A Statcast Darling

If you use Baseball Savant for your fantasy baseball research (and you absolutely should), you're probably aware that Statcast loves Cronenworth. Here is a snapshot of how Cronenworth ranks in several key metrics:

This author finds Cronenworth's .395 xBA and .724 xSLG particularly amusing, but it's important to remember that we are working with less than 100 PAs of data here. Cronenworth is unlikely to sustain his current BABIP of .412 because nobody sustains a BABIP that high. Statcast gives Cronenworth full credit for his 32.4 LD%, but nobody hits that many liners over a full campaign either. The numbers above also make no distinction between airborne and ground ball contact, which is particularly important in a case like Cronenworth.

Cronenworth's grounders have an average exit velocity of 90.1 mph this season, ranking 30th among qualified batters. That's really good! His airborne batted balls average 92.8 mph, ranking 140th in the same subset of players. That's above average, but it isn't elite. These two metrics suggest that Cronenworth is best as a high-average hitter specializing in ground ball base hits, especially considering that he seldom strikes out with a 16 K%. Cronenworth's 28.4 ft./sec Statcast Sprint Speed also allows him to wreak havoc on the bases, potentially helping his BA play up in fantasy.

 

What the Scouts Say

 

Scouts generally agree that Cronenworth is a high-average hitter with minimal power upside, matching the conclusion above. Here are his 2020 scouting grades per FanGraphs:

We see an above-average hit tool with further room to grow, below-average power, and plus speed. Cronenworth didn't rate highly enough as a prospect to receive scouting grades on Baseball Savant, but his scouting report notes that he has been "long able to hit for average" while "managing the strike zone well." It also notes that he added muscle and adopted a more aggressive approach at the plate in 2019, but his minor league numbers don't bear that out. The rest of the report focuses on the novelty of Cronenworth as a two-way player at Triple-A, serving as an effective opener with a strong curve.

 

Cronenworth's Minor League Resume

Scouts see Cronenworth as a batting average play, and this author's interpretation of his Statcast metrics leads to the same conclusion. His MiLB performance clinches the argument. Cronenworth first reached the High Minors in 2017, slashing .285/.363/.342 with a homer and a steal over 180 PAs for Double-A (Montgomery). His 22.1 FB% and 3.3% HR/FB suggested that there's virtually zero power potential here, but finishing the trial with identical 10.6 K% and BB% rates is great news for a guy who can run. His 22.1 LD% was also above-average, suggesting that he might be able to hit more liners than most.

The Rays asked Cronenworth to repeat the level in 2018, and he took a step backward with a .254/.323/.344 line with four homers and 21 steals over 470 PAs. His FB% increased somewhat to 27%, but the accompanying 20.4 IFFB% suggests that he just added a bunch of useless pop-ups that drove his BABIP down to .291. His 9.1 BB% and 14.7 K% were both still strong, and his 24.6% line drive rate actually improved. He was also caught stealing a paltry three times, leading to an outstanding success rate of 88%.

The Rays saw that Cronenworth's peripherals were stronger than his surface stats and gave him a brief taste of Triple-A (Durham) in 2018 before starting him there in 2019. He raked to the tune of a .334/.429/.520 line with 10 homers and 12 steals over 406 PAs, again demonstrating mastery of the strike zone (12.1 BB%, 15.3 K%) while cutting his IFFB% to 9.8%. Cronenworth's BABIP overcorrected to .382, suggesting that his average was a little inflated. His 29 FB% was still a little low to project him for much power, and his 12.2% HR/FB was very low considering the environment he played in.

According to Baseball America's 2019 MiLB park factors, Durham's 1.051 HR factor ranked in the 91st percentile among all minor league parks, while its 0.991 BABIP factor ranked in the 75th. The combination of a nitro-charged baseball and minor league pitchers allowed batters to post stupid numbers at the level, but Cronenworth's were merely good. In all probability, he was still the high-average, low-power guy we saw at Montgomery.

 

Conclusions

Cronenworth's .605 slugging percentage might be tricking fantasy owners into thinking that he has power potential, but his 28.2 FB% at the MLB level suggests that he hasn't added any additional loft since his days on the farm. His liners are also going to decline the first time he slumps, and his MiLB rates only suggest a slightly above-average rate moving forward. If you're looking for pop on the waiver wire, Cronenworth may not be the add for you.

Of course, that doesn't mean that Cronenworth should be avoided like the plague. His low fly ball rate and excellent ground ball exit velocity should allow him to post plus BABIPs for the foreseeable future, while his low strikeout rate should allow him to make the most of his BABIP. He's also fast enough to be a factor on the basepaths, though you should probably expect a 20 SB pace over a full season as opposed to 40+ based simply on how often he ran in the minors.

The Padres generally hit their surprise contributor sixth, a role that doesn't offer the counting stats fantasy owners might like. That said, you have to think that he could be promoted if he keeps getting hits to drop in. Cronenworth is a great target for owners looking for batting average, OBP, and/or steals, with the potential for runs if he improves his lineup slot. Just don't target him for HR.

Verdict: Champ (based on strong batting average/OBP indicators and speed even if his power is largely a mirage)



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