Fantasy Baseball Weekly Planner: Week 12
As I’ve brought up previously, now that we’ve reached the summer, prospects will be getting a look with their parent clubs. Prospect Derek Fisher wasted zero time making an impact upon his promotion to The Show. In his first game with the Astros, he went 2-for-3 with two walks, two runs, and two RBIs. One of his two hits was his first homer in the Majors. The outfielder entered the year as a top-10 prospect for the Astros at multiple reputable outlets, but there was some discrepancy as to where he ranked on those lists. He checked in as high as fourth at MLB Pipeline, and he ranked seventh at FanGraphs, eighth at Baseball Prospectus, and ninth at Baseball America. The left-handed hitting outfielder has the tools to stuff the boxscore, and his tools have shined in games at the Triple-A level this year. In 275 plate appearances, he hit .335/.401/.608 with a 9.1% BB%, 19.3% K%, 16 homers, and 13 stolen bases in 23 attempts. He was wildly inefficient as a base stealer, and that should damper enthusiasm for his immediate stolen-base contributions, but his plus speed makes him a threat to steal now and a candidate to improve with more seasoning/coaching. The Astros have gotten strong production in their lineup, so when Josh Reddick (concussion) returns from the disabled list, Fisher could be optioned back to Triple-A to continue playing full time. Having said that, he’s worth rostering in AL-only and deep mixed leagues now even if he’s only a short-term fantasy helper. As for another thoroughly hyped prospect, Amed Rosario will not be filling in for Asdrubal Cabrera. Cabrera landed on the disabled list, but the Mets reportedly didn’t even consider calling up Rosario, and Abbey Mastracco of NJ.com wrote about five reasons why he probably won’t be called up anytime soon. Moving away from the prospects, let’s take a look at the week ahead.
Diamondbacks @ Rockies (3), vs. Phillies (3)m
The second series is of the four-game variety, but the fourth game will be played the following week, hence the three next to Phillies. Anyway, with three games at hitter’s paradise Coors Field and three more in Arizona’s hitter-friendly home park, no one has it better than The Snake’s hitters next week.
Braves vs. Giants (4), vs. Brewers (3)
SunTrust Park was amplifying runs early, but according to the latest park factors at ESPN, it now has a park factor for runs of .987 with 1.000 representing neutral. In other words, it’s playing a pinch below neutral, and unsurprisingly, it ranks 16th in park factor for runs. The good news for Atlanta’s hitters is that they don’t have the most challenging pitching matchups next week and they play a full seven games in seven days. The bad news is that they’ve been worse offensively at home (91 wRC+, .264/.329/.398) than on the road (97 wRC+, .266/.335/.426), per FanGraphs.
Orioles vs. Indians (4), @ Rays (3)
The O’s play seven games — all against right-handed probable starting pitchers — next week, but the pitching matchups are fairly tough and highlighted by Corey Kluber, Carlos Carrasco, and Chris Archer
Cubs vs. Padres (3), @ Marlins (4)
Marlins Park suppresses runs, but Miami trots out a quartet of non-threatening starting pitchers. That’s how the Cubs conclude a week that opens with three soft pitching matchups at home to start next week.
Reds @ Rays (3), @ Nationals (3)
No Skyline Chili for the Reds, as they’ll be on the road for all six games next week. Both Tropicana Field and Nationals Park represent significant park factor downgrades from Great American Ball Park for the lefty hitters in Cinci’s lineup.
Indians @ Orioles (4), vs Twins (3)
Cleveland’s offense should get fat this week. They play a full complement of games and face two of the most giving pitching staffs in baseball. The O’s have the fifth highest team ERA (4.88) and the Twins have the fourth highest team ERA (4.92) this season, per FanGraphs.
Tigers @ Mariners (4), @ Padres (3)
The Tigers have a staggering home/road split this year hitting .278/.354/.478 (120 wRC+) at home but just .230/.308/.381 (85 wRC+) on the road. All seven of their games next week are on the road. Yuck.
Royals vs. Red Sox (3), vs. Blue Jays (3)
Kansas City is scheduled to face five lefties in six games next week (and they open the following week with another southpaw, too). Go ahead and keep Eric Hosmer glued to benches in leagues with weekly lineup changes. Sure, he’s hitting .316 against southpaws this year, but he’s not hitting for much power against them, and he has a lengthy enough track record of struggles with lefties (as you can see here) to be skeptical of him continuing to hit well against them.
Dodgers vs. Mets (4), vs. Rockies (3)
Like the Tigers, the Dodgers have a sizable home/road split for hitting that favors playing at home (.257/.337/.449, 115 wRC+). Unlike the Tigers, the Dodgers will be able to take advantage of the favorable side of that split with all seven of their games next week being played at Dodger Stadium. As an added bonus, the pitching matchups aren’t daunting for the Dodgers’ bats, either.
Brewers vs. Pirates (4), @ Braves (3)
The Brewers will enjoy their hitter-friendly digs for four games before playing three games in Atlanta. Facing the trio of Mike Foltynewicz, R.A. Dickey, and Julio Teheran should soften the blow of being away from Miller Park.
Mets @ Dodgers (4), @ Giants (3)
The Mets play the Dodgers and face an unusually high total of five southpaws next week, yet none of them are Clayton Kershaw. The run of lefties will impact their bats, but more to come on that in the hitter notes below.
Yankees vs. Angels (3), vs. Rangers (3)
The Yankees have been offensive juggernauts this year, but they’ve been especially good at home. They rank best in the Majors with a 137 wRC+ at home and are slashing .285/.367/.524. Their studs are must-start options all the time anyway, but even their fringe options get a boost into fantasy relevance next week.
Athletics vs. Astros (4), @ White Sox (3)
Lance McCullers might not be ready to pitch on Monday, and if he’s unable to start in the four-game series, a week of soft pitching matchups becomes even softer. The A’s hitters should be licking their chops at the prospects of facing Mike Fiers, David Paulino, Mike Pelfrey, James Shields, and Derek Holland. The ERA marks don’t jump off the page but look at the fielding independent marks. Wow.
Cardinals @ Phillies (3), vs. Pirates (3)
The Red Birds face six righties this week. Out of those six righties, four are extremely giving to left-handed batters, one is merely sort of giving, and the last is tough on them.
Rays vs. Reds (3), vs. Orioles (3)
The Rays rank eighth in wRC+ (111) at home this year and are hitting .260/.335/.440 at Tropicana Field. Those numbers should be on the rise facing the Reds and O’s. Cincinnati has the second highest team ERA (4.96) and the O’s have the fifth highest ERA (4.88).
Wilmer Flores (NYM)/Travis d’Arnaud (NYM)
As I indicated above, I’d expand on the five matchups with southpaws for the Mets in this section, and here are two hitters who stand out as viable streaming options for next week. Take a gander at their since-2014 work against lefties. d’Arnaud goes from being only an option in two-catcher leagues to a solid streaming option in single-catcher formats. Flores is the biggest masher of the group against lefties and has multi-position eligibility across the fantasy industry.
Andrew McCutchen (PIT)
Cutch is ripping the ball in June, but if you’re in a shallower format using weekly lineup changes, you can be forgiven for leaving him on your bench if you have strong outfield alternatives. The reasoning is simple. The Pirates face only right-handed starting pitchers next week, and Cutch’s production has slipped big time against righties. Since the beginning of last year, he’s hitting only .251/.326/.416 against right-handed pitchers.
Byron Buxton (MIN)
Buxton hasn’t put it together completely, but Wednesday night’s 3-for-3 performance with a walk, a homer, and two stolen bases is a reminder of the upside he possesses. This month, he’s hitting just .256, but he’s smacked a pair of homers and stolen three bases. The toolsy outfielder’s walk rate has dipped this month, but overall, it hovers around league average at 8.4%. He’s successfully swiped 13 bags in 14 stolen-base attempts, and his speed alone makes tolerating his awful batting average worth it in larger leagues. Give him a little more time to put things together as he’s shown some pop, reasonable patience, and his strikeout rate sits below 30% this month, which makes his .256 average in June look somewhat sustainable.
Homer Bailey (CIN)
Bailey has made two successful minor-league rehab appearances. I actually went in depth on his potential value for gamers in larger leagues for RotoGraphs, and instead of rehashing what I wrote there, I’ll direct you to check that piece out here.
Jon Gray (COL)
Speaking of guys rehabbing in the minors, Gray started on Wednesday for High-A Lancaster. His stuff was cooking and filthy, and he spun four scoreless innings in which he allowed four hits and a walk with five strikeouts. The righty only threw 55 pitches, so he’ll need a few more rehab starts to build his pitch count up. He isn’t far from a return, though.
Cam Bedrosian (LAA)
Bedrosian is almost ready to return to the Angels. Assuming he doesn’t suffer a setback in his next appearance, it appears he could be back as soon as this weekend. He’s the best reliever on the Angels and saved three games for them without allowing a run in six appearances before hitting the DL. Bud Norris has pitched well and saved 11 games, though, so it’s possible Bedrosian won’t immediately take over ninth-inning duties. It’s also possible manager Mike Scioscia will avoid handcuffing himself to using his best reliever in only save situations and will instead opt to have him available for earlier high-leverage situations like Andrew Miller has been used with the Indians. Regardless, Bedrosian should be universally owned, and I would advise against cutting bait on Norris until we see how things shake out.
Tyler Chatwood (COL)
Chatwood once again delivered on the road this week, and he’s scheduled for another road start next week. The assignment will be tougher facing the Dodgers in Los Angeles, but Chatwood gets the nod again as a strong stream option in this week’s planner. As a reminder, since last year, Chatwood’s whipped up a 1.97 ERA (3.95 FIP and 4.14 xFIP), 1.07 WHIP, 10.6% BB%, and 19.9% K% in 132.1 innings. It’s also worth pointing out that his batted-ball profile is dreamy in his road starts since last year with just a 24.4% Hard% and an eye-popping 26.3% Soft%.