Happy Mother’s Day to all of the moms out there! When it comes to baseball, you’re our teachers, coaches, chauffeurs, organizers, the list is nearly endless. But most of all, you’re our biggest fans. Every day is your day. Here’s hoping this official day of recognition is a special one for you!
Injuries, call-ups, and surprise releases continued to alter the fantasy baseball landscape this week. I recommended Alejandro Kirk for shallower leagues here last week, as he was being placed on the IL by the Blue Jays. There ended up being several catchers needing to be replaced on our rosters on Sunday evening. I recommended Albert Pujols for deeper leagues where a first baseman and some power were a need only for him to be released by the Angels early in the week. That’s what FAAB is for! So regardless of the cause of the holes in our lineups, let’s get right to some players that may be available to help our teams out in the coming weeks.
Last week was a very active week on the wire for the catching position with several injuries affecting our fantasy rosters. One of Adam Howe’s (@EightyGrade) biggest points on our weekly On the Wire podcast (@OnTheWirePod) is to remember to always pay attention to who may have been dropped. A perfect example in this situation is Yadier Molina. He’s not widely available but was dropped in more than one of my leagues last week and has returned to the Cardinals’ lineup.
Tyler Stephenson (98% TGFBI, 5% Yahoo) / Tucker Barnhart (95% TGFBI, 31% Yahoo) – As you can see, the two Reds catchers are nearly universally rostered in the 15-team, two-catcher TGFBI leagues, but readily available in many 12-team and single-catcher formats. Over the past two scoring periods through Saturday, Stephenson has 21 AB and Barnhart 23 – a fairly even split. The Reds are one of two teams that play seven games each of the next two weeks. After three at Pittsburgh to begin this week, they have four at Colorado and then seven at home at Great American Smallpark. Either that is available should get enough playing time to be beneficial even in shallow leagues with that schedule, and they’re definitely must-adds in the few deeper leagues where they’re not already rostered.
Martín Maldonado (10% TGFBI, 2% Yahoo) – We don’t get credit for stats accumulated before we roster players, but after an underwhelming start to the 2021 season, Maldonado has had a nice week so far going 5 for 14 with a HR, 2 RBI, 2 R, and only 2 K – the least amount of any week this season. He’s been a streaky hitter throughout his career that is capable of flashing power at times and may be worth a couple of FAAB dollars for the upcoming week, especially with the multitude of catcher injuries we’ve seen recently. The Astros have a seven-game week, all at home, the first three vs the Angels and four coming against the Rangers. They’ve given up the most and seventh-most runs in MLB respectively.
Wilmer Flores (61% TGFBI, 3% Yahoo) – Flores is another player that has heated up a bit over the past three weeks, both in terms of playing time and production for the somewhat surprising Giants’ offense. After a 4 for 28 start to the season he’s 12 for his last 51 (a .235 BA is nothing to write home about, but above league average these days) with 2 HR, 10 RBI, and 8 R. The Giants get two games at home vs the Rangers’ pitching staff before heading to Pittsburgh for a four-game series this week. We can get ahead of the crowd here a bit as they then head to Cincinnati for four games to kick off a seven-game schedule next week. He also qualifies at second base in most formats.
Mitch Moreland (39% TGFBO, 2% Yahoo) – This is at least the third straight week that Moreland has appeared in this article or been mentioned on On the Wire, but I’ll continue to bring him up as long as he’s readily available. Oakland faced a few lefties this week, so his PAs were on the low side, but over the past three weeks he’s hit 4 HR with 7 RBI and 8 R – more than enough production to make up for the lack of PA which is actually beneficial due to his low BA. The A’s are set to face at least four right-handed starters this week with three games each at Fenway and in Minnesota.
Don’t forget, Wilmer Flores is eligible at second base as mentioned above.
Michael Chavis (7% TGFBI, 3% Yahoo) – Chavis, also eligible at first base and outfield, was recalled on Friday and went 1 for 6 with a two-run HR in his first appearance Saturday. The K% is definitely a concern, and we don’t know what his playing time will look like, but in 139 career games he’s hit .240 with 24 HR, 79 RBI, 64 R, and 5 SB in 546 PA. That’ll play if he does. I’m going to attempt to snag him on the cheap while that playing time is still unknown.
Adam Frazier (100% TGFBI, 33% Yahoo) / Jurickson Profar (100 % TGFBI, 25% Yahoo) – Both Frazier and Profar are universally rostered in 15-team TGFBI leagues, but at 33% and 25% rostered in Yahoo leagues there’s a decent chance that at least one is available in 12-teamers. As Scott Chu (@ifthechufits) mentioned on this morning’s episode of On the Wire, pitchers are not the only position we can stream. If we can successfully spot-start a guy and get a stolen base or two in a given week, that can be valuable, especially with guys that aren’t a drain to our team in other categories. Both have driven in 10 runs and scored at least 14 this season, and Frazier is hitting .304. He has seven games this week to hopefully add to his 3 SB on the season while Profar plays the first three of his six games in Colorado, making other category contributions in addition to adding to his 5 SB a good possibility. Both qualify at outfield as well.
Brad Miller (10% TGFBI, 3% Yahoo) – Another player that has been mentioned here in previous weeks, Miller is 15 for 53 on the season with 44 of those AB coming the in past three weeks with a HR and multiple RBI and R in each of those three scoring periods. His projections are pretty consistent across the board, giving him about 25 HR, 75 RBI, 75 R, and a handful of SB over a full season of full-time AB which he is quietly being given having started five games this week through Saturday. And I like the quiet part as he probably won’t cost much this evening in FAAB.
Kyle Seager (100% TGFBI, 60% Yahoo) / Hunter Dozier (100% TGFBI, 42% Yahoo) / Evan Longoria (95% TGFBI, 27% Yahoo) – These guys won’t be available in most, if any, 15-team leagues but are available to varying degrees in more shallow formats. Dozier has gone hitless the past three games, but was heating up with seven XBH in his previous 16 AB. Seager got back on track yesterday going 2 for 5 with his sixth HR of the season. He had been in a bit of a slump with just three hits in his previous 24 AB probably contributing to his 40% availability. Longoria is the most widely available, even in a couple of TGFBI leagues, and is in the midst of a four-game hit streak with 2 2B, 2 RBI, and 3 R in those four games.
Nick Ahmed (27% TGFBI, 2% Yahoo) – For all of the talk leading up to the season of how deep the shortstop position has been the past couple of seasons, there aren’t a whole lot of guys available. While Ahmed missed the first week and a half of the season with a knee injury, he has played most days since returning April 10. He’s off to a sluggish start hitting just .190, but he’s hit .254 and .266 the past two seasons. With back to back seven-game weeks upcoming for the D’Backs, I’m more than comfortable running out a double-digit-HR / handful-of-SB guy who will play most of those 14 games, the final three of which come at Coors Field at the end of next week making this the week to grab him less expensively.
Brandon Crawford (12% TGFBI, 11% Yahoo) – We have to be careful here. Crawford had a huge week, but we don’t get credit for his 5 for 10 with 3 HR, 7 RBI, 5 R, 1 SB, and 6 BB after-the-fact. However, he’s another boring old veteran that will play most days, and remember, after six games this week, the Giants kick off their seven games next week with four of them in Cincinnati.
Nomar Mazara (5% TGFBI, 1% Yahoo) – It’s crazy that Mazara has only been 26 years old for 13 days and he has already accumulated 2,383 PA at the major league level. I believe that’s why he’s often overlooked and thought of as a disappointment by many. After 20 HR as a rookie and another 20 HR with 101 RBI in his second season, the 20 and 19 HR the following two seasons seem like a plateau. However, he actually did improve as he played in only 128 and 116 games respectively those next two seasons. His SLG improved from .422 in 2017 to .436 in 2018 and .469 in 2019. He hits the ball as hard and as far as just about anyone in the league, and although it’s only been 45 PA, his K% is down, his O-Swing% is down, and his Contact% is up this season. I’m still in.
Josh Naylor (73% TGFBI, 3% Yahoo) – Over the past two weeks, Naylor has gone 13 for 40 (.325 BA) with 2 HR, 6 RBI, 8 R, and 1 SB while walking three times as well. That’s most of his season’s production as it appears he’s becoming more comfortable in the Cleveland lineup. He’s been hitting in the middle third of that lineup, and the 23-year-old with 70 raw power and 55 hit tool grades looks ready to live up to his high expectations. He may not be available in 12-team leagues, let alone the 15-teamers where he’s not rostered, for much longer.
Trevor Larnach (0% TGFBI, 3% Yahoo) – In 2019 Larnach had 542 combined PA at A+ and AA with 13 HR and 4SB. He has 60 game power and 55 hit tool prospect grades, and we have little idea of how his 2020 development went. I’m intrigued. I’m rooting for him. I’ll have bids in tonight but doubt he’ll be on my rosters in the morning. I’m just not throwing a lot of my FAAB at such an unknown.
Chavis, Frazier, Profar, and Dozier mentioned earlier all qualify at outfield as well.
Luis Garcia (42% TGFBI, 6% Yahoo) – Only four of Garcia’s six appearances this season have been starts, and only one of those starts was over five innings, but his 28% K% and 14 K in 9 2/3 IP in his most recent two starts have my attention. His match-up vs the Angels early in the week is concerning, but I’m willing to risk it to get that K potential vs the Rangers in his second start of the week.
Luke Weaver (93 % TGFBI, 7 % Yahoo) – I was a bit surprised to see Weaver still rostered in 93% of TGFBI leagues, and maybe that drops tonight after giving up 6 ER in just 4 IP in Miami this week, but I’m adding him where he’s available. He gets Miami again this week and the Nationals come to town for a second start of the period. He’s only had two home starts thus far this season, one of which included seven shutout innings with 8 K vs the Reds. There’s risk here, he’s given up at least 3 ER in each of his other five starts, so I’d steer away if your ratios can’t handle a bit of a hit.
Martín Pérez (10%TGFBI, 3% Yahoo) – This is another risky situation, but more so due to the match-ups than Pérez’s recent performance. He’s gone 5 2/3 in each of his past two starts with 7 K and 1 ER vs the Rangers and 6 K and 2 ER vs the Tigers. That’s the problem. Those starts were against two of the most strikeout-prone teams in the league, and this week he heads to Baltimore and faces the Angels back home at Fenway. For years, we’ve said that we can’t chase wins, but these days we almost have to. As with Weaver, don’t make this move if you can’t withstand some ratio risk, but I trust the Boston lineup to get him at least one win this week.
Justin Dunn (34% TGFBI, 3% Yahoo) – This is more of a speculative move to snatch up Dunn before he may become more expensive. After giving up 3 ER in 4 2/3 IP in his first start of the season vs the White Sox, he has gone at least five innings in his other four starts with 21 IP and 19 K. While three of those were at Baltimore, Boston, and Houston, I don’t feel comfortable starting him on the road vs the Dodgers this week as enticing as possibly getting Cleveland in Seattle for a second start of the week is. However, if he does perform well in LA, he won’t be as easily rostered next Sunday. I’m bidding low tonight.
Best Advice of the Week
If you haven’t yet, call your mom!
As always, good luck tonight and enjoy the games!
Photo from Bryan Green | Design by Quincey Dong (@threerundong on Twitter)