Fantasy Baseball Weekly Planner: Week 5
More than one-third of MLB teams play only five games next week, so a short schedule isn’t necessarily as damaging as it is most weeks. At the other end of the spectrum, 13 clubs play seven games, and a select few are highlighted below. The hitter notes section features the standard injury updates, but it also includes a player who’s set to make his much-anticipated debut. The pitcher notes section is a mixed bag of good and bad health news.
Diamondbacks vs. Yankees (2), at Rockies (3)
One way to offset the negative of playing a short week is visiting Coors Field for three games. Arizona’s hitters will have that advantage over the hitters on other five-game squads.
Cubs at Mariners (2), vs. Cardinals (3)
Another way to offset the negative of a short week if you’re a National League club getting the added benefit of a designated hitter for a couple of games in an American League ballpark. The Cubs will have the services of a DH for two of their five games next week.
Pirates at Rangers (2), vs. Athletics (3)
Pittsburgh’s lineup will enjoy a designated hitter for two games, too, as well as the benefit of playing in the park — Globe Life Park in Arlington — with the second-highest factor for runs (1.239) and fifth-highest for homers (1.145). Additionally, the pitching matchups project to be unimposing.
Indians at Marlins (2), vs. Mariners (3)
The Indians are one of two American League clubs to lose the DH for two games in a five-game week due to playing in a National League park. Making matters worse for the Tribe’s hitters, the NL stadium they’re visiting — Marlins Park — is the hardest to score runs in (0.826 park factor) and the second-hardest to hit round-trippers in with a 0.759 factor for homers.
Yankees at Diamondbacks (2), vs. Twins (3)
The Bronx Bombers are the other AL team I teased above. They won’t have a designated hitter for their two games in Arizona, and while a trip to Chase Field used to be great for hitters, the park has played neutrally for run scoring and suppressed homers (0.971) since adding the humidor.
Phillies vs. Tigers (2), vs. Nationals (3)
The Phillies will enjoy some home cooking for five games in their homer-friendly (1.224 park factor for homers is third-highest in MLB) digs next week. The pitching matchups are unimposing with the exception of a weekend matchup with Patrick Corbin.
Rangers vs. Pirates (2), vs. Blue Jays (3)
The Rangers will play all five of their games next week in their run-amplifying home park. They’re projected to face at least four right-handed pitchers, bumping up the value of left-handed hitters Shin-Soo Choo, Nomar Mazara, and Joey Gallo.
Red Sox vs. Athletics (3), at White Sox (4)
Boston kicks off next week with three at home before venturing to Chicago for a four-game series with the Pale Hose. Fenway Park has the third-highest park factor for runs (1.100), and Guaranteed Rate Field is home to the eighth-highest park factor for homers (1.085). Boston is projected to have at least six right-handed starters on tap, bumping up the value of left-handed hitters Andrew Benintendi and Mitch Moreland as well as arguably increasing the value of Rafael Devers. He actually has a slightly higher 97 wRC+ against lefties than his 95 wRC+ against righties in his career, per FanGraphs.
Reds at Mets (4), vs. Giants (3)
The Reds open next week with four games in pitcher-friendly Citi Field (0.853 for runs, second-lowest) before closing with three games in their bandbox (1.205 for homers, fourth-highest). The handedness of pitching matchups is likely to be split by five righties and two southpaws. The righty-heavy layout is a plus for Jesse Winker. The 25-year-old outfielder is hovering around the Mendoza line, but he’s been extremely unlucky and makes for a startable option in 12-team mixers with weekly lineup changes.
Rockies at Brewers (4), vs. Diamondbacks (3)
Colorado has awakened from its early-season slumber, and no team has a more desirable layout for their hitters than it does next week. In addition to playing the full slate of seven games, four are at hitter-friendly Miller Park (1.019 for runs and 1.104 for homers) before playing three in the most favorable offensive environment in the game, Coors Field (1.344 for runs and 1.280 for homers). As a cherry on top, the pitching matchups are quite soft and project to be against six righties and one southpaw. Charlie Blackmon, David Dahl, and Ryan McMahon get major boosts in value.
Brewers vs. Rockies (4), vs. Mets (3)
I noted Miller Park’s desirable factors for hitters just above, and the Brewers are there for all seven of their games next week. There are some potentially challenging pitching matchups on the horizon, but the good outweighs the bad for Milwaukee’s hitters.
Clint Frazier (OF – NYY)
Giancarlo Stanton (OF – NYY)
Aaron Judge (OF – NYY)
Injuries continue to mount for the Yankees. Frazier landed on the IL with an injured left ankle, but manager Aaron Boone hopes the young outfielder will only need to miss 10-14 days. Stanton’s biceps injury is in the rear-view mirror, but he received a cortisone shot in his shoulder, per YES Network’s Meredith Marakovits. The news gets worse for the Yankees, though, as Judge will be sidelined for more than a couple of weeks with a left oblique strain.
Joey Wendle (2B/3B/SS/OF – TB)
Austin Meadows (OF – TB)
Wendle, who recently returned from with a hamstring injury, will go back on the IL for at least three to four weeks with a fractured right wrist. Meadows is also on the IL with a thumb sprain, but the good news is he’ll avoid surgery.
Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (3B – TOR)
If you’re reading this the day it’s published, happy Vladito day! The game’s top prospect is set to debut on Friday night, and he’s a must-own player universally. Just how elite has the young hitter been? Steamer projects him to hit .308/.373/.519 and THE BAT projects him to hit .296/.367/.490 based on the degree of success he’s had in the minors.
Jean Segura (SS – PHI)
Segura is expected to be activated from the IL Saturday, and he should immediately be re-inserted into fantasy lineups.
Mike Foltynewicz (ATL)
Segura isn’t the only key player for an NL East team expected to be activated from the IL Saturday. Foltynewicz is set to return and face the Rockies after getting knocked around to the tune of a ghastly 6.11 ERA (4.66 FIP and 5.74 xFIP) in four Triple-A starts spanning 17.2 innings. The 27-year-old righty should be universally rostered, but I wouldn’t advise starting him Saturday. If he’s a bit shaky, consider keeping him benched next week as well while he shakes off the rust.
Nathan Eovaldi (BOS)
Eovaldi had right elbow surgery similar to the surgery he had on the same elbow last year, and he “is expected to make a full return to pitching within six weeks,” according to manager Alex Cora. The hard-throwing hurler has been unable to replicate last year’s success, and he can be cut in basically any league.
Brandon Morrow (CHC)
The Cubs shut down the oft-injured Morrow, who suffered a setback in his rehab from right elbow surgery. He can continue to be stashed in an IL spot on rosters that haven’t been ravaged by injuries, but the setback makes him a cut candidate on teams in all league types where IL spots are full.
Rich Hill (LAD)
Hill is set to make his season debut Sunday against the Pirates after opening the year on the IL with a knee injury. I won’t fault gamers for exercising caution and keeping him benched for his first start back, but I feel comfortable using him for that turn against an offense with the second-worst wRC+ (57) and strikeout rate (30.0%) against southpaws this year.
Tyler Skaggs (LAA)
Skaggs will be activated from the IL to start Friday night against the Royals. He’s a startable option in his return, and as long as he doesn’t suffer any setbacks, he’ll project for another favorable matchup against the visiting Blue Jays next Thursday.
Jacob deGrom (NYM)
DeGrom joins Skaggs in returning from the IL on Friday night. As great as deGrom is, I’d advise sitting him in a matchup with the Brewers to confirm he’s back to good form.