10 Things to Know for Week 8 (Fantasy Baseball)
Week 7 finished off with Kris Bryant on a terror and Jordan Lyles demanding your attention. I’ve got a few ideas for this week to help inch you closer to this year’s fantasy title. I’ll have the info for you every Saturday afternoon. Now let’s dive into Week 8.
#1 It is (gulp) time to pick up Chris Davis
I figured we might as well kick this off with a bang. Look, I’m not suggesting he is going to do this all season but since April 13th (over a month ago), he is batting .273/.341/.506/.848 with 5 homers and 15 RBIs. That is #good. Granted, even if he does take a step back, .230 with power is still plenty useful and this week in particular, we can expect more. Baltimore travels to lefty homer haven to take on the Yankees then they get Coors Field to round out the week. I’ll gladly take 3 homers and 6 RBIs from the streamer of the week. For what it’s worth, Renato Nunez is an excellent short-term addition too.
#2 Speaking of streamers, Yonny Chirinos is a worthwhile addition
With a career 3.42 ERA, 1.11 WHIP and already 5 wins in 47 innings, it is a wonder how Chirinos is still available in over 50% of leagues. If you think the wins are a fluke, think again. With Ryne Stanek opening for Tampa, a less durable reliever like Chirinos is a virtual lock to pitch through the fifth inning. Granted, he won’t pile up strikeouts, but the ratios will certainly help your squad. You may not love the matchup against the lefty-heavy Dodgers, but it is a home game and Yonny follows it up later in the weak with a cake matchup against the Indians.
#3 Pablo Sandoval is….good?
No, really, he is; I promise I’m not pulling your leg. We haven’t quite seen a huge sample-size with just over 60 plate appearances under his belt this year but what we have seen has been exceptional to say the least. His .380 xwOBA is higher than Mookie Betts, Javier Baez, Pete Alonso and Michael Chavis among many others. While his current .900+ OPS won’t keep up, it is certainly worth noting that he has been consistently hitting the ball hard and even for power, with a full season’s pace of 63 extra-base hits. To put that into perspective, 63 is exactly how many Mike Trout and Joey Gallo hit last year. San Francisco has taken note and moved Pablo into the three-hole, and while the RBIs and runs will be harder to come by in the Giants’ lineup, it is easy to justify if he keeps hitting for average and power. Sandoval is somehow just 1% owned right now.
#4 A league winner might be sitting on your waiver wire
Here me out: Scooter Gennett is the league winner. He is 51% owned because of his extended injury, but we’ve only got a few more weeks until he is back to being one of the best hitters in baseball. Think that is hyperbole? Over the last two calendar years, he has a higher slugging percentage than Bryce Harper and George Springer. In the same time period, he has a better batting average than Mike Trout and Mookie Betts. Gennett has more RBIs than Freddie Freeman and Aaron Judge. I wasn’t joking. If he is owned, I’d trade for him pronto.
#5 While we are on the topic of undervalued star hitters…
Shohei Ohtani absolutely belongs in the conversation. He hasn’t had the hottest start with only 1 extra-base-hit in his first 43 trips to the plate, but Baseball Savant assures us all that it isn’t for a lack of crushing baseballs. His .394 xWOBA is higher than all but Mookie Betts, Mike Trout, J.D. Martinez, Christian Yelich and Joey Votto last season. It is a small sample size, sure, but then what do you say about the fact that Ohtani was also among the best last year too? His .383 xWOBA last year was better than Ronald Acuna, Francisco Lindor, Manny Machado, Alex Bregman, Jose Ramirez and Juan Soto. Oh, by the way, he steals bases too. In a 400 PA sample size, Ohtani’s full-season pace is 33 HRs, 14 SB, 97 RBIs, 90 R and a .286 batting average. If he plays every day, that is a second round fantasy asset, and folks.
#6 Don’t hesitate to trade for Vlad Guerrero Jr. today
He is starting to heat up, but even still, Vlad Jr. has just a .210/.310/.387/.697 line. Perhaps the owner in your league is wondering if he really is ready for MLB hitting or if instead, he was overhyped and they should trade him before everyone realizes it. Like some of the names above, Statcast strongly disagrees with the on-paper numbers. Over a larger sample-size, those figures will see positive regression toward the quality of contact he is making. After all, Mike Trout has been even worse than Vlad Jr. since the day Vlad was promoted, so this short time-frame is nothing to panic about. After all, we are talking about the best prospect in the last 30 years. Better than Trout and Harper, Pujols and Miggy, A-Rod and Griffey. He is a top 40 rest of the season fantasy asset and you can buy him for much cheaper.
#7 It is time to call Adalberto Mondesi what he is
Over the last five months of baseball, there has been no single player who has helped fantasy teams more than the kid from Kansas City. This isn’t based on fancy metrics or underlying numbers. The raw data is clear that Mondesi has been better for 5×5 roto leagues than Christian Yelich, Cody Bellinger and Mike Trout. A league-leading 44 steals along with 18 homers, 69 RBIs and 64 runs with a .285 batting average will do that. Friends, that is from just 107 games, so over a full season, we are talking about 30/70/100/100. The last person to do those four things was…
No one. Not one player in the history of baseball has ever accomplished the feat. Joe Morgan was closest with 27 homers and 60 steals. Mondesi may truly belong in the tier with Trout, Yelich, Mookie and Bellinger at the top of fantasy baseball lists.
#8 Over the last calendar year Max Muncy has been a better version of Rhys Hoskins
You didn’t read that incorrectly, it is a fact. Since the Dodgers started using Muncy every day, we’ve seen 159 games played, in which he produced 41 homers, 98 RBIs and a .266 batting average. Hoskins is at 40, 106 and .247 in the same time period. The point is not that Hoskins is bad, although clearly a little overrated. Rather, it is that if you wished you had Hoskins, you can essentially trade for him at likely half the cost.
#9 The best pitcher in baseball isn’t who you think
Unless you are Blake Snell, then you know yourself to be the best. If you thought his historical 2018 season (21-5, 1.89 ERA, 0.98 WHIP, 31.6% K-rate) was good, just wait until you see what he is doing this year. Snell’s BB-rate is down from 3.19 to 2.30. His K-rate is up, like way, way up from 31.6% to 37.6%. Ladies and gentleman, that is a 288 K pace over 200 innings. You may not have noticed that Snell has been much better because his BABIP is 50 points higher than last year, his LOB% is 16 points lower and his HR/FB rate is 8 points higher. All of those will normalize, and when they do, everyone will know we’ve got the most dominant AL pitcher since Pedro Martinez.
#10 If you play DFS just once this week, make it Friday
And start John Means in Coors Field. “Ok, you’ve gone too far now. I’m pretty sure everything else you said must have been false now.” Hold on, guys. This is good. Means may be a no-namer (for now) and play for the Orioles (yeah, that isn’t changing) but he has actually been quite impressive this year. His .279 wOBA allowed is better than Trevor Bauer, Jose Berrios and Clayton Kershaw? Is that enough? No? Ok, and Jacob deGrom, James Paxton and Chris Sale. Let’s add Max Scherzer in there too. Means wasn’t a top prospect, but he started throwing his changeup a lot more this season (30%!) and it is devastating hitters with a 35.2% whiff-rate. In fact, his slider has been extraordinary too, and more importantly, the matchup couldn’t be better. The Rockies are putrid against lefties this year. They have struck out 174 times against them, or 37 times more than the 2nd place Dodgers. The difference between them and second place is larger than the difference between the Dodgers at White Sox all the way down at #15. It is entirely possible that Means will be 1% owned while everyone is stacking the Rockies, then he will proceed to mow down double-digit hitters in route to a quality start and win for 55 fantasy points. That is how you take how a five-digit payday.