[Fantasy Strike]Fantasy baseball daily notes
Jun 27, 2021Todd ZolaFantasy CloseWriting on fantasy baseball game theory and player analysis since 1997
Winner of the 2013 Fantasy Sports Writer’s Association Best Baseball ArticleFollow on TwitterFacebookTwitterFacebook MessengerPinterestEmailprint
Monday’s 11-game slate kicks off a busy week of baseball, with a total of 98 games scheduled over the next seven days. Even in leagues with daily moves, it’s always good to look ahead, especially with respect to pitching. Specifically, Monday doesn’t offer up many tantalizing pitcher streaming options, but with so many games left in the head-to-head week, you can exhibit patience and not force any lesser hurlers into your lineup.
Something else to consider when looking at the rest of the week is which players could be more than a one-day rental. For example, the Rockies play at home all week. As such, available Colorado batters are obviously a great target. At least for now, the Blue Jays are slated to face four southpaws, rendering their right-handed hitters among those options you can use multiple times this week.
With all that in mind, here are our Monday suggestions, highlighting players who are rostered in roughly 50% or fewer ESPN leagues.
Matt Manning (R), rostered in 11% of ESPN leagues, Detroit Tigers at Cleveland: Entering the season, Manning was one of the top pitching prospects in baseball. However, he experienced home run issues with Triple-A Toledo, yielding 11 longballs in 32 1/3 innings. The Tigers promoted him anyway and, so far, Manning has rewarded them with two solid outings, surrendering just four runs over 10 2/3 frames — albeit with a mere four strikeouts. This will be a good test for the rookie as Cleveland has averaged the fifth-most runs per game in July. Without any better options, Manning makes the list of streamers.
Eli Morgan (R), 1%, Cleveland vs. Detroit Tigers: The Tigers are no longer the pushover lineup they were earlier in the season, but they’re still far from what you would call daunting. Morgan’s 10.32 ERA and his 1.68 WHIP are both obviously ugly, but he did strike out nine batters with no walks in his last start, a five-inning effort on the road in Wrigley Field.
Bullpen: With a pair of saves last week, Amir Garrett appears to be David Bell’s primary option for saves with Lucas Sims and Tejay Antone both on the IL. Garrett closed for the Reds earlier in the season but struggled and lost the job. In his last 11 appearances, Garrett has amassed 7 1/3 innings, allowing three earned runs while whiffing 12 and only walking two.
For the latest team-by-team closer situations, please consult our Closer Chart.
Calculating Bill James game scores: A pitcher starts with 50 points, gets a point for each out, two points for each inning completed after the fourth, and one point for each strikeout. He is docked two points for each hit, four points for each earned run allowed, two points for each unearned run allowed, and one point for each walk.
Note: In 2019 and 2020, the average game score was 50.
GSTEAMNAMETOPPW-LERAWHIP60Freddy PeraltaRCHC7-22.110.8659Lucas GiolitoRMIN5-53.801.1059Trevor BauerRSF7-52.570.9759Kenta MaedaR@CWS3-24.851.4457Zack GreinkeRBAL8-23.561.1154Kyle HendricksR@MIL10-43.841.2651Anthony DeSclafaniR@LAD8-22.771.0050Matt ManningR@CLE1-13.381.2250Danny DuffyL@BOS4-31.811.1250Dylan BundyR@NYY1-76.681.3949Eli MorganRDET0-210.321.6848Spencer HowardR@CIN0-25.591.5048Wade MileyLPHI6-42.851.0647Jake FariaR@STL0-04.501.0047Wade LeBlancLARI0-16.751.5847Jerad EickhoffR@WSH0-00.001.5047Michael KingRLAA0-34.051.3845Garrett RichardsRKC4-54.741.6745Tyler AndersonL@COL3-74.821.2344Thomas EshelmanR@HOU0-17.271.5041Kyle FreelandLPIT0-27.761.99TBDNYM——
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Catcher — Jacob Stallings (R), 8%, Pittsburgh Pirates at Colorado Rockies (LHP Kyle Freeland): Stallings checks all of the streaming boxes. He hits fifth in the Pirates order, which is well higher than most available catchers. He’ll enjoy the platoon bump and hits an above average number of fly balls, which is very conducive to taking advantage of Coors Field.
First Base — Ryan O’Hearn (L), 1%, Kansas City Royals at Boston Red Sox (RHP Garrett Richards): Although neither he nor the Red Sox have admitted anything, it’s sure seems as though Richards had been using some sort of grip enhancement to throw his high-spin curve and slider. Until he figures out how to make some adjustments, opposing batters are strong plays. To wit, Richards has served up eight earned runs on 10 hits in his last two starts, covering only 5 2/3 innings. In that span, he’s whiffed just three, with five free passes.
Second Base — Luis Rengifo (S), under 1%, Los Angeles Angels at New York Yankees (RHP Michael King): Rengifo has fallen back over the last couple of games but, prior to that, he was swinging the way he did for Triple-A Salt Lake — to the tune of a .331/.402/.568 line. King provides a good opportunity for Rengifo to get back on track as the right-hander has fanned only 34 batters in 40 stanzas.
Third Base — Abraham Toro (S), 12%, Houston Astros vs. Baltimore Orioles (RHP Thomas Eshelman): The formula here isn’t next level. It’s actually quite simple. Use as many players as possible from one of the best lineups in the league against one of the weakest hurlers on the card. Toro will also benefit from the platoon edge all game as the Astros will likely see a few weak Orioles relievers.
Shortstop — Brendan Rodgers (R), 10%, Colorado Rockies vs. Pittsburgh Pirates (LHP Tyler Anderson): Anderson was likely not thrilled when he was informed his scheduled Sunday start had been pushed to Monday — at Coors Field. The Rockies have been finding ways to get Rodgers’ bat in the lineup, often in place of Garrett Hampson. With a left-hander on the hill, expect Colorado to find a place for the fledgling infielder.
Corner Infield — Josh Bell (S), 57%, Washington Nationals vs. New York Mets (RHP Jerad Eickhoff): Please excuse us for bending the rules on roster percentage to suggest using Bell in leagues where he’s available. He’s been hitting the ball harder — and in the air — much more of late. On Sunday, he was rewarded with a home run which could signal the beginning of a power surge.
Middle Infield — Nick Ahmed (R), 3%, Arizona Diamondbacks at St. Louis Cardinals (LHP Wade LeBlanc): With John Gant having been moved to the bullpen, LeBlanc is now ticketed to join the Cardinals rotation. The left-hander has a history of allowing homers. Ahmed’s underlying power metrics are down, but he’s due to revert back towards his career norms. Note that he has swatted 14 doubles but only one homer. Typically, Ahmed produces only twice as many two-baggers as round-trippers.
Outfield — Akil Baddoo (L), 24%, Detroit Tigers at Cleveland (RHP Eli Morgan): Baddoo has been a frequent guest in our recommendations lately as he’s turned his season back around. He is in play whenever a right-hander is on the hill. The 22-year-old Rule 5 selection was promoted to the leadoff spot on Sunday, adding to the already intriguing fantasy allure, should that decision continue.
Outfield — Hunter Renfroe (R), 38%, Boston Red Sox vs. Kansas City Royals (LHP Danny Duffy): Renfroe was quiet on Sunday, but lately he’s been making a lot of loud contact. In the 10 games prior to Sunday, Renfroe produced a 368/.419/.605 line. Further, since 2019, he’s hit at a .254/.362/.567 clip with a left-hander on the hill.
Outfield — Lars Nootbaar (L), 1%, St. Louis Cardinals vs. Arizona Diamondbacks (RHP Jake Faria): The struggling Cardinals offense needs a spark, so they called up an outfielder who was putting up a .329/.430/.557 line for Triple-A Memphis. He hit safely in three of his first five games, fanning only once in 19 plate appearances.
Hitter ratings account for the opposing starting pitcher’s past history (three years’ worth as well as past 21 days) as well as ballpark factors. “LH” and “RH” ratings account only for left- and right-handed batters, respectively. Weighted on-base average (wOBA) is the primary statistic used in the calculation. Ratings range from 1-10, with 10 representing the best possible matchup, statistically speaking, and 1 representing the worst. So, for example, a 10 is a must-start rating, while a 1 should be avoided (if possible); a 1-2 is poor, 3-4 is fair, 5-6 is average, 7-8 is very good and 9-10 is excellent.
- Tag: Fantasy Strike