Every weekend here at Pitcher List, I review all expected starting pitcher matchups for the week ahead. There are three labels: Start, Maybe, and Sit. Outings marked with a Maybe are circumstantial and dependent on your needs in a 12-teamer, while the other two are self-explanatory. Feel free to question my designations in the comments and we’ll dive into it together.
Here’s the massive table containing every Week 16 start from 7/24 – 7/30:
If you have been reading the roundup at all, you know I’m not a fan of Danny Salazar, who returned from a minor league stint and some injury questions to dominate the Jays to the tune of 7.0 IP, 0 ER, 1 Hits, 0 BBs, 8 Ks. Because DLH clearly is dumb. If you’re looking for the ceiling of Salazar, this is it, which is only the second time since the start of 2016 that he’s had 0 walks. I wasn’t suggesting to bet on him and while this is absurdly dominant, we’ve seen him fluctuate a ton through his entire career. A 4 ER, 5.0 IP, 3 BBs, 6 Ks start is just around the corner but yes, you should be rolling with him in the short term. I still don’t have the confidence he’s going to more like this than those clunkers every five days through the end of the year.
Championships are won by making the right little decisions through the season and micromanaging your lineup well can be the difference maker. Each week, I’ll be taking a look at five hitting matchups you should take advantage of this week, and five hitting matchups you should avoid this week. Here are the batters you should start and avoid for Week 16 (7/24 – 7/30) of the fantasy baseball season.
Notes: All pitching matchups mentioned here are based off of projections as of this writing. It is entirely possible that the actual matchups could change either because of injury, weather, or anything else. Keep in mind, this article is geared toward middle-of-the-road players, meaning you should be starting top of the line bats regardless of the matchup. Always start your studs.
Scooter Gennett and Scott Schebler – The Cincinnati Reds have seven games on the road this week, and while playing outside of Great American Ballpark might sound like a bad thing for hitters, it’s actually a good thing for Gennett and Schebler. Gennett has now been named a full-time starter for the Reds, which means an increase in playing time, which is great for him. On the road this year, Gennett’s been hitting .308, which makes him appealing. As for Schebler, his home/road splits are oddly enough pretty drastic. At home, in one of the (probably) five best hitters parks in baseball, Schebler is batting .193 with seven home runs. But on the road, he’s hitting .284 with 15 home runs, so I’d toss him in your lineups as well.
Yoan Moncada received the call this week from the Chicago White Sox. Their rebuilding efforts are now on display at the major league level and it should be exciting to see what he can do. He has three games under his belt and has gone 1 for 9 with a three rbi triple. Moncadas home to third sprint of 11.24 seconds was the fastest time by a White Sox player this season, according to MLB Statcast. Hopefully he makes a Bellinger-esque impact in fantasy because I own him in the Pitcher List Writers League.
Every weekend, I will be posting about the minor leaguers you should be stashing on your team. This list will be arranged by impact for this year only. Players that will be called up sooner will be ahead of players with more talent who might only be called up late in the year.
1) Lewis Brinson, OF, Milwaukee Brewers AAA, ETA: July/August
Keon Broxton went 23 for 128 (.180 avg) with 54 strikeouts since June 1st. The Brewers had enough and finally optioned him to AAA. They already have his replacement on the 25 man with Brett Phillips but Lewis Brinson could see some time if Phillips does not cut it. Phillips is not exactly off to a hot start of his own with 3 hits in 17 at bats but two of those hits did go out of the park. I expect the Brewers to give him a decent leash but with Brinson tearing AAA apart, hitting .407 with 14 XBH in the 20 games since his demotion, and with the Brewers leading the NL Central, they will make the move if Phillips does not pan out.
Every weekend, I will be posting about the minor leaguers you should be stashing on your team. This list will be arranged by impact for this year only. Players that will be called up sooner will be ahead of players with more talent who might only be called up late in the year. Prospects are a great way to stay ahead of everyone else rather you are in a dynasty league or a 10-team league. With the minor league season going, we can start seeing some movement with this list. With more and more games to evaluate, new players will jump onto the list, while others could fall off entirely.
1) Reynaldo Lopez, Chicago White Sox AAA, ETA: July
The Chicago White Sox called up Yoan Moncada this week and Reynaldo Lopez could soon follow. He has been superb this month with a 1.80 ERA through four starts. He also has 28 strikeouts to only 5 walks, which is a vast improvement to his 28 strikeouts to 14 walks he had in April. He started yesterday and went six strong innings with only one walk, two hits allowed while striking out six. I am going to make the call and say he starts Wednesday for the White Sox taking James Shields spot who has an 8.10 ERA over his last six start. Stash Lopez today.
Every week we review the nastiest pitches from the previous week in glorious HD GIFs. Don’t forget to vote for your favorite pitch and and check back this weekend to see if it will be in contention for the GIF of the Second Half Contest, which will be live this All-Star week. Did we miss your favorite pitch? Send us a tweet next time @ThePitcherList and we’ll GIF it up + give you a shoutout here in the article.
Felipe Rivero’s Fastball – Rivero is getting a double feature in this week’s contest. First up is his Fastball that can finish at-bats easily This pitch at 101 MPH on the inside black leaves Keon Broxton flummoxed.
Felipe Rivero’s Slider – Next up is Rivero’s slide piecethat makes hitters jump, literally. Rivero misses his spot badly here, but Travis Shaw sees an inside Fastball heading for his legs before the ball breaks over the inside corner. Nasty.
Justin Verlander’s Curveballs – Verlander pitched great last night and is a sleeper trade deadline piece for a Tigers team that is going nowhere fast, and needs to replenish its farm system. Verlander’s Curveball had great bite, and he was able to throw it for strikes or bury it down in the zone at will as Alex Gordon and Mike Moustakas can respectively attest.
Chris Sale’s Slider – The Sale trade this offseason with the White Sox is looking like a steal right now no matter what Yoan Moncada and Michael Kopech turn out to be. The Red Sox got their ace of now and the future at a cheap cost going forward. Here Gary Sanchez thinks he’s getting a Fastball in his happy zone before the ball ends up close to his back-foot. Nasty. (Thanks to Redditor TheBrimic for the tip!)
Jameson Taillon’s Curveball – It’s wonderful seeing Taillon not only return from testicular cancer, but to do so while dominating with each start. He collected eight strikeouts against the Brewers yesterday and his Curveball was as good as we’ve seen it. Just check out the drop he got on this pitch to close the top of the first.
Marcus Stroman’s Sliders – I don’t know why Stroman has been hiding his Slider until now, maybe he learned a new trick, but it’s one of the most beautiful pitches to watch with its tremendous horizontal movement. Twice last night Mookie Betts could only wave at outside Sliders that ended up nowhere near the plate. The second time he almost held up, but ended up swinging through very awkwardly. (Thanks to @DMcComasOB and @jasoncollette for the tip!)
Clayton Kershaw’s Curveball – Kershaw now has 15 wins on the season, and while wins are mostly unimportant, he now has an outside shot at 30 wins for the season. This Curveball to Melky Cabrera seems to drop from the sky all the way to the dirt in only 60 feet.
GIF Of The Week
Which was your favorite pitch? Vote below and the winner will be featured in the GIF of the Second Half Contest.
There are times when I think I give too much of a leash for certain players and I need to recoil sharply in a hurry. One of those players is Jeff Hoffman who has just been dreadful lately and pitched to the tune of 3.0 IP, 7 ER, 9 Hits, 4 BBs, 2 Ks against Pittsburgh Friday night. Yes it was in Coors, but that’s no excuse for this kind of outing. I have been putting the wirting on the wall lately if you have been listening to the podcast and reading his roundups, as Hoffman’s whiff rates have been atrocious since his incredibly hot start. We’re talking an overall whiff rate of just 5.6% over his last seven starts. Overall! That’s over half off from his 13.0% mark through his first four outings. I wouldn’t really call this the Coors effect – two of his seven were played out of Colorado and they hovered around 7% – and I’d simply let him go. It’s safe to drop Hoffman and I’d aim to pick up other hot hands like Patrick Corbininstead of Hoffman. Maybe we’ll come back to it later this season, but for now it’s just not wise to hold on.
The primary architect of a 12-2 road drubbing of the Cincinnati Reds on Thursday was Diamondbacks 3B Jake Lamb, who went 2-5, 2 R, 2 HR, 6 RBI, K to inflict severe damage to the ERAs and dignities of both Luis Castillo T1 and Ariel Hernandez T9. I happened to attend the game in Cincy yesterday: the crack of the bat on the first homer was certifiably satisfying to hear in person, which makes sense now that I’ve discovered the exit velocity on it was 103.5 mph per Statcast. Though Lamb’s batting just .204 so far in July, both of the only two multi-hit performances he’s turned in this month have been double-dinger outings: so when he’s feeling it, the power flows in abundance. He’s got a .274 average overall, and he inflated his RBI count to a mouthwatering 76 with this game. Lamb should reasonably cruise into the mid-30s range in homers by season’s end without too much trouble, and he has scored 57 times personally. He could very well stay in the 3-spot here on out for Arizona, where he has started ever since the acquisition of ex-Tiger J.D. Martinez, so there shouldn’t be any risk of the production sneaking off anywhere suddenly. Steals aren’t a real thing for Lamb, but he swipes successfully about once a month as a nice bonus atop a pretty fantastic set of counting stats otherwise. An OPS of .915 ranks Lamb 27th-best in the metric league-wide. However, if I’m being picky, he fares significantly worse against LHP in most cases; additionally, I would love for him to edge his zone contact percentage up from 87.1 up a hair closer to the 90s. Otherwise, he’s legitimately a great starting 3B.
Let’s take a look at what else happened notably hitting-wise around the league:
Every Friday I look at every projected two-start pitcher for the week ahead and detail my thoughts about rolling with them on your roster. There are four tiers: Definitely, Probably, Questionable, Bench. Definitely Start features starters that are no doubters for the week ahead followed by Probably Start with pitchers that look like good plays but may create a hesitation or two. Players labeled as Questionableare for deeper leagues or have one-of-two outings that should be skipped. Pitchers under Benchshould be avoided despite their two starts in the week ahead.
Every morning we review the nastiest pitches from the previous day’s games in glorious HD GIFs. Don’t forget to vote for your favorite pitch and check back this weekend to see if it will be in contention for the GIF of the Second Half Contest. Did we miss your favorite pitch? Send us a tweet next time @ThePitcherList and we’ll GIF it up + give you a shoutout here in the article.
Jimmy Nelson’s Slider – It wasn’t the ace-like performance that we’ve grown accustomed to from Nelson over the past two months, but his Slider was looking devilish against the Pirates. Check out this bender as it never stopped riding in on Max Moroff. (Thanks to @Sam_Rodebaugh for the tip!)
I don’t know why I’m leading with Lance Lynn, but here I am. Fine, I know why but I think you guys know the drill. He went 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks against the Mets last night and that’s three straight 0 or 1 ER starts under his belt…against the Pirates and twice against the Mets. There’s just nothing here that makes me say “Awesome! I can’t believe he can be consistently good for me. He’s had one game above 5 Ks in his last seven, his BABIP is .238 with a 5.09 FIP over his last ten starts, and he’s still walking a hefty amount as well. He’s the purest of Tobys, where I don’t love owning him but I understand that he can be good for my squad in a 12-teamer. I would prefer not to have him around but if no one else is able to do the dirty work for me, I guess it will have to be Lynn. Have the shortest of leashes, please and don’t hesitate to make a swap with someone else on the wire.
Thanks for being patient today, I had a bunch of traveling to do and didn’t get a chance to write. UNTIL NOW. And who better to lead off with than a depressing start from Aaron Sanchezwho went 4.0 IP, 3 ER, 6 Hits, 5 BBs, 2 Ks. Blegh. It’s not easy going against the Red Sox, but Sanchez is farther behind than I’d like him to be at this time – 0 Whiffs is outright terrible. I still think he can get there as he hasn’t had the smoothest of seasons thus far, and I wonder how long we’ll have to wait. I really thought his last performance against the Tigers was an indication of him getting back into this groove, but this is clearly a setback. I’d still like to make this bet, but I understand taking a different flier as the odds are clearly lower than I previously thought.
I must say, I’m feeling pretty good about beating the drum for Castellanos after the game he’s having tonight (which will be yesterday when this posts). But I’ve struck out on other guys… Matt Joyce, while certainly better than his April self, isn’t the 2016-level beast I hoped for. But hey, now it’s trading time, and with players moving all around, there’s plenty of new value to be found. Let’s check out some smart adds and drops from around the league. Well this one is mostly AL-centric, but next week will do a deeper dive on NL guys.
Todd Frazier (3B, Chicago White Sox) – As I am finishing writing this, I am hearing news of this White Sox-Yankees trade (I’m still listing him as White Sox since it isn’t official yet), and from a fantasy perspective, Frazier’s the only currently active MLB player to benefit from this deal. He’s moving from one hitter’s park to another, but Frazier will likely just benefit from the change in scenery, as well as the greatly enhanced run production in the Yankees lineup. Despite his prolonged recent slump, it has come with solid plate discipline, and xStats believes he deserves better than his current .207/.328/.760 line, with an xTriple-Slash of .253/.367/.888. It may be a feeding frenzy for Frazier now that he’s in Pinstripes, but if he’s still around, he’s well worth the gamble. Much like the TV show of the same name, he’s underrated, but also in a great lineup, even if he’s not followed in the lineup by The Simpsons.
If you’ve owned Addison Russell this year, know that I sympathize with your frustration (I own him in a handful of leagues). But over the past month, things have been pretty good for Russell, as he’s batting .301/.346/.521 since June 20th, and continued that on Wednesday going 4-4, 2 RBI. On June 20th, Russell was hitting .224/.297/.386 on the season and people were jumping ship. He was being dropped and given up on all over the place. But then, he started crushing the ball, and it’s fair to wonder which Addison Russell is the real Addison Russell? Well I can tell you that there was one major change over the past month: quality of contact. From the beginning of the season to June 20th, Russell’s hard hit rate was a miserable 27.2%, but from that point through yesterday, his hard hit rate shot up to 40%. Along with that has been an increase in HR/FB rate, a decrease in ground balls, and an increase in line drives. Now, I don’t think Russell is a .300 hitter, his .365 BABIP over the past month suggests the same, but I also don’t think he’s a .220 hitter, as his .270 BABIP from the beginning of the year to June 20th would indicate. I think this past month has been a positive regression to the mean for Russell, and I think he could hit in the high-.240s/low-.250s the rest of the year and will probably end the year with around 20 home runs. Essentially, I think we’ll see the final season line for Russell look almost exactly like his line from last year but with fewer RBIs, and that’s still a pretty serviceable shortstop.
Let’s take a look at some of the other performances from Wednesday: