Fantasy Baseball Weekly Planner: Week 7
No teams were scheduled to play only five games this week, but a half-dozen squads will play just five next week. Among those teams are a few offensive juggernauts. At the other end of the spectrum, six teams are scheduled to play seven games.
Red Sox vs. Rockies (2), vs. Astros (3)
Boston is one of the offensive juggernauts that draws the short stick next week. On the plus side for Boston’s hitters, all five of their games are at home. Fenway Park has the third-highest park factor for runs (1.100),
Rockies at Red Sox (2), at Phillies (3)
The weekly check-in on the Rockies reveals a double whammy of bad news for their hitters. First, they’re one of the six teams playing only five games next week. Second, they’re on the road for both series. It’s not all bad news, though. Their lineup will be enhanced by the addition of a designated hitter for two games in Boston. In addition to being treated to the hitter-friendly conditions at Fenway Park noted above, they’ll play three at Citizens Bank Park. CBP’s park factor for homers of 1.224 is the third-highest and not a far cry from the 1.280 mark at Coors Field.
Dodgers vs. Padres (2), at Reds (3)
The Dodgers faced a righty-heavy slant of probable pitchers this week, and they’re projected to face only righties in their five games next week. Despite the short week, the layout of pitching matchups boosts the value of Joc Pederson, Max Muncy, Corey Seager, and Alex Verdugo.
Rays at Marlins (2), at Yankees (3)
The Rays play a two-game interleague series in state at Miami, and they’ll be without the services of a designated hitter for both games in MLB’s most pitcher-friendly park (0.826 for runs). Their bats will get a homer-hitting lift for three at Yankee Stadium (second for homers at 1.265). The pitching matchups project to be ho-hum.
Yankees vs. Orioles (3), vs. Rays (3)
The Bronx Bombers will get a lift from the robust home run park factor cited above for all six of their home games. They project to have tough pitching matchups against Blake Snell and Charlie Morton late in the week, but that’ll be after they have the golden opportunity to eat against the trio of David Hess (5.28 SIERA), Andrew Cashner (4.82 SIERA), and Dan Straily (6.43 SIERA).
Athletics at Mariners (2), at Tigers (4)
Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum has the seventh-lowest park factor for runs and fifth-lowest for homers, so it’s typically beneficial for their hitters to play on the road. T-Mobile Park in Seattle is one of the venues with a lower park factor for runs (0.902), but it does provide the A’s a homer-hitting upgrade for the two-game set with a park factor of 1.019. Comerica Park will give them a boost in run scoring (1.041) and homers (1.057). The pitching matchups are slightly favorable for the A’s hitters, but with at least half of their pitching matchups projected to be against southpaws next week, gamers who are still stashing Matt Olson in an IL spot — despite his activation earlier this week — will want to continue to do so if able.
Blue Jays at Giants (2), at White Sox (4)
The Blue Jays will not be able to use a designated hitter for two games in San Francisco. Making matters worse for that two-game set, Oracle Park is by far the most difficult park in MLB to hit homers in with a park factor of 0.688 (next lowest is 0.759 in Miami). It’s not all bad, though, as they’re in the middle of the pack with a six-game week, and Guaranteed Rate Field in Chicago has a park factor of 1.085 for homers.
Brewers at Phillies (4), at Braves (3)
The Brewers play a full complement of seven games next week, all on the road. There are only a handful of parks that enhance tater mashing more than Miller Park in Milwaukee, and they’ll open next week with four games in one of those stadiums. They project to face six righties and one southpaw next week. Jesus Aguilar has woken up from his early-season slumber over the last two weeks, but the righty-heavy layout of pitching matchups is unfavorable for him. I’d advocate benching him in leagues with weekly lineup changes. Conversely, Eric Thames has hit well and is likely to see a handful of starts, putting him on the radar for streaming/adding (namely in leagues with daily lineup changes).
Twins vs. Angels (3), at Mariners (4)
One pitching matchups for the Twins next week is up in the air, but the rest appear to be split down the middle in regards to handedness. The handedness of opposing hurlers hasn’t mattered much to them this year, though, as they rank in the top 10 in wRC+ against lefties and righties, per FanGraphs. Between the full seven-game week and soft pitching matchups on tap, everything comes up roses for Minnesota next week.
Phillies vs. Brewers (4), vs. Rockies (3)
The Phillies round out this section as another team with seven games next week, and all of them are at home. Philadelphia’s been a top-five offense at home, tying for fourth in wRC+ (112) and posting a juicy .204 ISO there. Jon Gray is arguably the only above-average starter on the docket for the Phillies next week.
Dee Gordon (2B/SS/OF – SEA)
J.P. Crawford (3B/SS – SEA)
Tim Beckham (3B/SS – SEA)
Gordon was struck by a 90-mph fastball on the wrist last night and exited early. At the time of writing, the severity of the injury is unclear, but a 10-day IL stint appears to be in the offing. Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times reported that Crawford was removed from Triple-A Tacoma’s lineup just before his game last night, and he speculates Crawford will be called up to play shortstop with Beckham moving over to the keystone position to replace Gordon.
Once one of the top-ranked prospects in baseball, Crawford was a key chip in the Jean Segura deal. He’s a more exciting real-life player than fantasy option, and his hot start in the hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League is buoyed by a .382 BABIP. Gamers in AL-only formats and those in mixers larger than 14 teams can kick the tires on Crawford if middle infield is a need, but don’t break the bank to scoop him up. The bigger fantasy ramifications of a Crawford/Beckham middle infield is the opportunity for Beckham to pick up second base eligibility if Gordon’s on the shelf for a bit.
Miguel Sano (1B/3B – MIN)
Sano’s continuing to get work in the minor leagues on a rehab assignment, and he’s slugged a round-tripper at the Double-A level. He’s nearing a return and is a worthy IL stash in leagues as shallow as 12-team mixers for his immense power potential.
Buster Posey (C/1B – SF)
Posey’s on the 7-day IL after suffering a concussion Sunday. Concussions are incredibly worrying at the catcher position and previously forced Joe Mauer out from behind the dish, but Posey has voiced optimism about returning to catching possibly as soon as the minimum seven days are up next week. The catching landscape isn’t pretty, and gamers with Posey on their roster will either need to hold their nose and scoop up one from the wire or get creative. In leagues with loose moves limits (or no limits), gamers might want to consider streaming hitters at other positions who have more favorable matchups than their usual fantasy starters.
Shawn Kelley (TEX)
Chris Martin (TEX)
Kelley’s on the injured list, and demoted closer Jose Leclerc isn’t yet ready to reclaim save opportunities. Martin will serve as the closer for the time being. The 32-year-old has totaled a 3.14 ERA (3.17 SIERA), 1.26 WHIP, and 25.9% K% in 14 appearances spanning 14.1 innings. He’s overperforming a bit, but he’s not a terrible reliever, and saves are saves. Save-needy gamers in leagues of any size can scoop up Martin in hopes of padding the category while hoping he avoids any blow-up outings.
Andrew Heaney (LAA)
Heaney’s set to take the next step after completing a bullpen session Sunday and feeling no ill-effects in the aftermath. He’ll pitch three innings and 45 pitches Friday in extended spring training. A timetable should come into focus afterword, but a return this month doesn’t seem out of the realm of possibility.