Welcome back! We’re getting to that time of year, that time of the season, where as fantasy players the sentiment starts to shift from, “It’s early,” to, “I can’t fall any further behind in home runs if I’m going to have a chance!” As Memorial Day rapidly approaches, we’re now over a quarter of the way through the season, and while that means we have three-quarters of the season remaining, it is definitely time to begin paying closer attention to each category in rotisserie fantasy baseball leagues.
The MLB schedule is interesting over the next couple of weeks. Thirteen teams play seven games this coming week. That makes the five-game week ahead for Atlanta, Boston, and Houston particularly concerning for those in weekly lineup leagues. Five teams have back-to-back seven-game weeks ahead, while the White Sox have 15 games scheduled over the next two weeks with a double-dip in Cleveland on Memorial Day. With most teams playing next Monday, only the Blue Jays have a five-game schedule that week.
Another thing to remember with the Blue Jays is tomorrow is the final “home” game they will play in Dunedin, FL which has been one of, if not the most, hitter-friendly ballparks in MLB this season. After a six-game road trip, they begin playing their “home” games in Buffalo, NY on June 1 which was more friendly to pitchers last season.
Let’s take a look at some players that may be available!
Zack Collins (5% TGFBI, 2% Yahoo) – With the heavy schedule ahead for the White Sox, Collins could be a sneaky viable second catcher in 15-team leagues over the next few weeks. They are scheduled for 28 games in the next 28 days, and he has made 19 PA over the past couple of weeks. He won’t hit for average, but he could contribute in three of four 5×5 counting stat categories even playing just two to three games per week over the next month.
Dom Nuñez (90% TGFBI, 6% Yahoo) – We can save some FAAB dollars by being a week ahead on Nuñez here. The Rockies have a seven-game week ahead, but they’re all on the road and in a couple of pitcher-friendly parks in New York and Pittsburgh. He won’t be added by many. They’ll return home for six games the following week vs the Rangers and Athletics. Nuñez is sporting a respectable .232 BA with 4 HR, 10 RBI, and 12 R in just 62 Coors PA this season.
Garrett Cooper (63% TGFBI, 5% Yahoo) – As Zack Waxman (@zackroto) pointed out on this morning’s episode of On the Wire (@OnTheWirePod) with myself and Adam Howe (@EightyGrade), Cooper is heating up. His .242 BA with 5 HR, 19 RBI, and 15 R on the season doesn’t appear all that great, but during his current seven-game hit streak he’s 12 for 30 (.400 BA) with 9 RBI, 6 R, 3 doubles, a triple, and 3 HR (one in each of his past three games). We don’t get credit for what has already been done, but it appears he’s gearing up to be the .275ish near-30 HR guy we were hoping for after 2019. He is OF-eligible as well and a must-add in the 15-team leagues where he’s available and worth a long look in shallower leagues as well.
Christian Walker (88% TGFBI, 29% Yahoo) – We know oblique issues are tricky, and it is especially concerning that Walker is on his second IL stint with the same issue this early in the season; however, it appears this time was more precautionary and the Diamondbacks were being more careful. Walker has begun hitting and will begin a rehab assignment soon, so now is the time to grab the power-hitting first baseman where he’s available.
Enrique Hernández (88% TGFBI, 32% Yahoo) – Be wary of the five-game schedule for the Red Sox this week, but Hernández has been back atop the lineup since returning from the IL on May 18. He’s gone 7 for 21 with a HR and a SB in that span. The runs category can be difficult to fulfill, but his 24 R in 35 games pace is sustainable leading off for that prolific Boston lineup.
Jurickson Profar (85% TGFBI, 18% Yahoo) – The Padres have seven-game weeks in three of the next four scoring periods and kick off this week with four games in Milwaukee. Profar is hitting .260 on the season with 7 SB and 21 R in 149 PA, and the Milwaukee series may be just what he needs to get his 20 HR power he’s shown the past three seasons going.
Hunter Dozier (83% TGFBI, 20% Yahoo) – Dozier hasn’t really gotten going at all this season as exhibited by his .139 BA with 5 HR, 14 RBI, 10 R, and a SB in 124PA. It appeared he was turning things around in a four-game stretch in early May going 7 for 16, all for extra bases including 3 HR. That was followed by an O-fer 28 with 10 K leading up to his collision with Jose Abreu on May 14 which landed him on the IL with a concussion. He began his rehab assignment Saturday evening and could return to the Royals’ lineup as early as Tuesday. His .151 BABIP is sure to improve as he has made quality contact, but his .302 career number may not be attainable due to the shift being an easy call when he’s at the plate – one of his 16 hits on the season has been to the right of left-center field. With all of that said, I do fully expect him to reach his ROS projections of mid to upper teens HR with a handful of SB and a .240 or better BA.
Maikel Franco (78% TGFBI, 6% Yahoo) – Yes, I know Franco is nine for his last 77 and only has 4 HR on the season while playing his home games at Camden Yards. He’s a better hitter than this. Like Dozier, he’s projected for 15-18 HR with a .240 or so BA the rest of the way. The Orioles play the Twins in six of 13 games over the next two weeks who have given up the most HR and fifth-most runs in MLB.
Willy Adames (81% TGFBI, 9% Yahoo) – I really like the move to Milwaukee for Adames. His .276 BABIP for the season is well below his career .340 and the move from a bottom-five park in terms of hits to the best so far this season in baseball will surely kickstart the rebound that was coming anyway. He has been reaching more at the plate this season with a 34.9% O-swing%, but that has never been above 30% for any other season of his career, so I expect a change of scenery and coaches to help him get back on track. Yet another guy the ROS projections favor with mid-teens HR and a handful of SB with a .240 or better BA the rest of the way.
Paul DeJong (90% TGFBI, 35% Yahoo) – There are 29 short stop-eligible players 100% rostered in TGFBI and another seven, including DeJong at 90% or higher. All of the talk of the depth of the position in the offseason was true, but they’re all rostered! That’s why I’m including the Cardinals’ SS here this week. He’s recovering slowly from his rib injury and it doesn’t appear likely he’ll return on the original two-week timeline, but he will be gobbled up as soon as next weekend if a return date is announced. If available and if you have the room, attempt to roster him this week.
Zach McKinstry (61% TGFBI, 16% Yahoo) – “The Dodgers continue to patch their lineup together as the injuries mount so far this season. McKinstry, who was hitting .296 with 3 HR and 14 RBI in just 54 AB before suffering an oblique injury of his own leading to his availability, is set to begin a rehab assignment and may be back with LA sometime this week. Obliques can be tricky, but if healthy, his versatility should have him back in the lineup regularly.” That was from last week’s article. I’m a bit surprised by his availability in 15-team leagues but fully expect that to change now that his rehab assignment has begun in the wake of Corey Seager’s injury adding to the Dodgers’ woes.
Seth Brown (44% TGFBI, 1% Yahoo) – The A’s have seven games this week and six next including three at Colorado. Brown has continued to see double-digit plate appearances each week with multiple HR in two of the last three. His ROS projections seem to be placing a lot of stock in his five (yes, single-digit, 5) PA in 2020 and 96 so far this year as he hit for a much better average in 2019 and the minors with strikeout percentages much better than the 31%+ they’re projecting the rest of the way.
Kris Bubic (7% TGFBI, 34% Yahoo) – If I wasn’t a Royals fan I’d be rooting for a subpar performance out of Bubic today vs the Tigers to keep his FAAB price down tonight. He was called up on May 2 and gave up two ER in a one-inning relief appearance. He hasn’t given up a run in four appearances since. Although three of those four were in relief, two were five-plus innings and the fourth was a six-inning start earlier this week vs the Brewers in Milwaukee where he gave up just one hit and two walks while striking out four. His fastball isn’t impressive, but he’s relied on a nice change-up he’s thrown over 35% of the time and a complimentary curveball around 12%. The concern is a nice performance today would earn him back-to-back starts vs Minnesota, who while a bit disappointing are among the league leaders in HR.
Spencer Turnbull (98% TGFBI, 35% Yahoo) – This is it! The hurler of the most recent no-hitter in MLB gets Cleveland on Monday who has already been no-hit twice this season! Move over Johnny Vander Meer! While I’ll be rooting for that to happen, I obviously don’t think it’s likely, but I do expect another nice performance from Turnbull vs a Cleveland lineup that is hitting .211 on the season and ranks 24th in MLB in both runs scored and OPS. He lines up for a second start for the week vs a banged-up Yankees lineup in Detroit.
Austin Gomber (7% TGFBI, 6% Yahoo) – I know, I know, I know. BUT! Did we really get “Gombered” a few weeks ago, or did we actually get “San Franciscoed”? What appeared to be a nice matchup at the time wouldn’t be so appealing now. As I said last week with Jon Lester (sorry by the way!), I’m willing to make these matchup-based plays, especially in leagues where I have a nice ratio foundation, and at the Mets and at Pittsburgh are about as good of a pair of matchups as we could ask for recently. He has faced the Padres in back to back starts giving up just one run over 11 1/3 IP. I know, I know, I know.
Many of the players I’m looking at this week are not quite ready to return from injury, haven’t been performing well recently or even this season, and/or come with at least a bit of ratio risk. That will keep FAAB bids low this evening as I continue to bid conservatively in most of my leagues. As far as the closer carousel is concerned, I’m in a holding pattern with speculative guys like Hansel Robles, Tyler Chatwood, Michael Fulmer, and even still holding Nick Wittgren in a place or two.
As always, good luck tonight and enjoy the games!
Photo from Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire | Design by Quincey Dong (@threerundong on Twitter)