I hope you all survived last week without FAAB Insights. Covid came for me and my family, so I was in no shape to write or even really take care of my fantasy teams. Thankfully, this week the household is healthy and FAAB Insights is back with a vengeance. And there have been a ton of roster changes throughout the league, as teams that have fallen out of contention are giving their young players a chance at playing time. Meanwhile, some of the veterans that have been cut by one team are finding opportunities with others. The shuffle is on, and it pays to be informed.
With five weeks left in the MLB regular season, it becomes even more important to pay attention to the number of games each team plays per week and what that means for rosters. This week, the Tampa Bay Rays are the only team in the majors that have just five games on their slate. Meanwhile, the Atlanta Braves, Detroit Tigers, Los Angeles Dodgers, New York Yankees, San Diego Padres, San Francisco Giants and the Washington Nationals will all play seven games this week. Fantasy managers will have a difficult decision to make between starting players with just five games like Osleivis Basabe and guys like Paul DeJong who signed with the Giants and is scheduled for games every day.
FIVE GAMES: TB
SEVEN GAMES: ATL, DET, LAD, NYY, SD, SF, WSH
Investment Rating System
Everson Pereira ($$$): Pereira was called up this week and proclaimed as the everyday left fielder for the Yankees. Batting just .133 through four games, Pereira has hit the ball hard but hasn’t benefited from a ridiculous BABIP in the same way that Palacios and Abreu have. Pereira has a sustainable opportunity and has been solid in the high-minors. Of all the prospects that appeared in the majors this week, he’s the one I want the most.
Richie Palacios ($$): Richie Palacios is making noise in the Cardinals lineup, getting consistent playing time ahead of Tyler O’Neill. In his first week in the majors with the St. Louis Cardinals, Palacios has ripped the cover off the ball, hitting with a 52.6% hard contact rate. Though the 1.087 OPS is impressive, it may be slightly unsustainable. However, his expected numbers match his actual numbers through seven games. Small sample size, but he is worth at least a speculative bid.
Wilyer Abreu ($$): Abreu looks like a solid replacement bat in the Red Sox lineup, earning regular time while Jarren Duran is on the IL. With six hits in four games, he’s made hard contact at a 46.7% clip and cashed in the counting stats. Another small sample size, but don’t be afraid to bid on the hot hand in Boston.
Parker Meadows ($$): Meadows placed an exclamation point on his call-up on Friday night, crushing a hanging slider into the right field stands for a walk-off three-run home run to lift the Detroit Tigers over the Houston Astros, 4-1. Meadows looks the part of a solid outfield prospect, and with opportunity could be a contributor for fantasy managers down the stretch.
Tyrone Taylor ($$): Taylor has overtaken Joey Wiemer for the starting job in Milwaukee’s center field. In his last four appearances entering Saturday, Taylor has scored six runs and driven in four runs as well. If he can keep up the production for the final month of the season, it will add to his appeal. As fast as he plays in center, he’s only stolen six bases so far this season so he likely won’t contribute much in that category.
Kevin Pillar ($): Pillar will likely get four starts against left-handed pitching, including a pair of lefties in Coors. The situation lines up nicely for streaming the veteran.
Joshua Palacios ($): The elder Palacios is getting regular at-bats in the middle of the Pirates lineup. He’s hitting just .202 but his .275 xAVG and 34.3% hard contact rate are both promising signs for his production down the stretch.
Vaughn Grissom ($$$): With the Braves scheduled to face four left-handed starting pitchers this week (including a series at Coors Field), Grissom is an appealing platoon bat. In two starts this week, Grissom batted 3-for-8 with a pair of RBI. The bat has never really been the question mark in his game. If his defense can keep him in the lineup, he’ll be an asset.
Royce Lewis ($$$): Lewis is back from an injury earlier in the season and hitting in the middle of the Twins lineup nearly every day.
Ji Hwan Bae ($$$): Back from an IL stint, Bae is capable of propelling fantasy managers up the stolen base standings relatively quickly. Though he has run significantly less recently (with just one stolen base in his last 20 games played), Bae should still be a speed threat.
Brendan Rodgers ($$): Back in the Rockies’ lineup as the everyday second baseman, Rodgers has six games within the friendly confines of Coors Field this week.
Ronny Mauricio ($$): The Mets can’t even tank properly. Instead of bringing up their best remaining Triple-A hitter, they’ve decided to trot out Jonathan Araúz and Rafael Ortega in their everyday lineup. Mauricio has recorded over 500 at-bats in Triple-A this season, rating as the third-best player throughout the entire level, according to FanGraphs. There’s no reason NOT to bring him up. His time has to come soon.
Osleivis Basabe ($$): Though the Rays have just five games this week, Basabe has been good enough to justify a pickup anyway. Basabe batted 4-for-11 in three starts this past week, including a four-RBI game against the Rockies on Tuesday. He’s been good enough to make the Rays not miss their starting shortstop too much. He should continue to get playing time with very few productive alternatives in Tampa’s dugout.
Davis Schneider ($$): With three games in Coors, including two projected against left-handed starters, Schneider should be streamed this week at the very least.
Nolan Schanuel ($): Leading off for the Angels and batting in front of Shohei Ohtani could make my grandmother a fantasy asset. Schanuel is a better hitter than my grandmother, though Mom-Mom swings a mean bat!
Gabriel Moreno ($$$): The Diamondbacks have finally turned over the reins to Moreno, after they DFA’d veteran Carson Kelly. Moreno has recorded at least two hits in five of his last six starts, getting hot at the right time. With a 30.2% hard contact rate, he is a top-10 fantasy catcher now that he’s receiving regular playing time once again.
Yainer Diaz ($$$): Diaz has worked his way into a regular lineup spot in Houston, and has crushed the baseball recently. With a 33.7% ideal-plate appearance rate and a 34.0% hard contact rate, Diaz is hammering the baseball and has done enough to earn a regular lineup spot, even after Yordan Alvarez’s return. A major bat in the Astros’ lineup, he will look to have a massive fantasy and real-life impact over the final month.
Logan O’Hoppe ($$): O’Hoppe returned from a long stint on the IL and has regained his place as the Angels’ starting catcher. Since returning last week, O’Hoppe has looked solid at the plate, including a solo home run. With such a thin stock of catchers, the rookie backstop is a no-brainer add.
Korey Lee ($): Called up to play behind the plate for the White Sox after he was acquired at the deadline. His defense will keep him in the lineup, and his bat could be enough to warrant a pickup in two-catcher leagues.
Cole Ragans ($$$$): He’s the worst-kept secret in baseball. Ragans has posted six consecutive starts of three earned runs or fewer, ringing up 47 strikeouts in 34.2 innings pitched over that span. His next projected start will come opposite the Pittsburgh Pirates… Empty the coffers.
Cristopher Sánchez ($$$): Sanchez isn’t a household name so he may be slipping under the radar in some leagues even after the last month, but he should be rostered in every league. Sanchez has maintained an elite walk rate, an elite groundball rate and an elite CSW, amounting to an outstanding WHIP. The only thing that is missing from Sanchez’s resume is wins, which should come if he continues his outstanding performances.
Jordan Wicks ($$$): Speculation surrounds the Cubs’ pitching prospect with many suggesting that he will be called up to fill the Chicago rotation after being scratched from his Triple-A start on Wednesday. Wicks was extremely good through 13 starts at Double-A, averaging over 10 K/9. At Triple-A, the strikeout numbers dipped, but he still managed just a 3.82 ERA. He could be a serviceable spot starter.
UPDATE: Wicks looked REALLY good in his debut and could be a game-changer down the stretch if he pitches the rest of the way like he did on Saturday.
Cole Irvin ($$): Friday night’s start against the Rockies aside, Irvin has been extremely good for most of the summer. Rejoining the rotation, Irvin put up a pair of outstanding starts before coming back to earth against the Rockies on Friday. Still, allowing five runs over 16.0 innings pitched is pretty darn good. Irvin ought to have a decent shot at wins the rest of the way as long as he stays in the rotation.
Mike Clevinger/Touki Toussaint ($): The White Sox rotation will face off against a Detroit lineup that has not impressed for much of the season. For desperate managers in need of innings, strikeouts or wins, Clevinger and Toussaint each provide a decent chance to boost those categories.
Drew Rom ($): The centerpiece of the Jack Flaherty trade with the Orioles, Rom made his season debut last week and will likely stick in the Cardinals rotation moving forward. In his debut, he was shelled. The four-seam fastball got smoked. The sinker got destroyed. But the slider looked good, however, Rom threw it just 11% of the time. He has some work to do, but he should have the opportunity every fifth day.
Yennier Cano ($$$$): Orioles fans certainly don’t want to hear it, but it’s highly likely that Félix Bautista could be done for the rest of the regular season. If that is the case, Cano immediately becomes an elite closing option. Cano had an incredible first half, but hiccuped after the All-Star break, regressing slightly. However, he’s thrown 10 consecutive scoreless outings entering Saturday night. He’s an outstanding setup man and should be very good as a closer while Bautista recovers.
Danny Coulombe ($$): Coulombe has posted career numbers with the Orioles this season, with a career-high 30.9% strikeout rate and a 31.3% CSW. After the injury to Bautista, Coulombe moves one step closer to save opportunities, and his outstanding metrics are good enough to roster even without ninth-inning work.
Ryan Yarbrough ($): The long man out of the Dodgers’ bullpen, Yarbrough has a chance to vulture some wins as a reliever on a pretty regular basis.
Matt Brash ($): Used sparingly leading up to the weekend, Brash could be in line for a heavier workload in the coming week. Keep an eye on how the Mariners deploy the lefty on Saturday and Sunday and adjust accordingly.
Featured image by Justin Paradis (@JustParaDesigns on Twitter)