10 Things to Know for Week 12 (Fantasy Baseball)
We had a crazy Week 11 with cycles in back to back days plus two hitters (Eloy Jimenez and Charlie Blackmon) kicking it into gear with 5 homers a piece. As we gear up for another week in fantasy baseball, I’ve got 10 things to keep in mind including a way to entirely makeover your starting rotation in the next month:
#1 Zac Gallen is finally about to be called up.
Like the Astros with Yordan Alvarez for awhile, the Marlins have held Gallen off the MLB club because he isn’t on the 40-man roster, meaning some finagling would be required to make it work. Jose Urena is suffering from a herniated disc, however, which means he will miss two months and likely be placed on the 60-day IL which would finally open up a spot for Gallen, who was passed over previously by two inferior pitchers, Elieser Hernandez and Jordan Yamamoto due to the fact that they were already on the 40-man roster. Gallen has been terrorizing minor league hitters to a clip of 112 Ks in 91 innings with just 48 hits allowed and a 1.77 ERA. He doesn’t exactly have ace upside in the bigs, but will definitely help your fantasy squad.
#2 Likewise, Alex Reyes should arrive in STL this week
When Adam Wainwright went down with a hamstring injury, there was speculation that freak of nature, Alex Reyes, would be called up to take his place in the rotation. It was Daniel Ponce de Leon, however, that got the nod. Mike Shildt did say, though, that Reyes needed at least one more start in the minors to be ready. Now that he is up to 70 pitches per start, Reyes is the most probable candidate to fill in for Wainwright this Wednesday. There is some risk here, of course, as Reyes has struggled with his command, but you could potentially be getting a league-winner so it makes sense to add him now before it costs you a fortune in FAAB.
#3 The Oakland A’s are about to add three front-of-rotation starters
You can too with your fantasy team if you have deep enough benches to pick up Baby Giraffe (ie: Sean Manaea), A.J. Puk and perhaps the best of the trio, Jesus Luzardo. You surely remember Manaea from his hot start in 2018 before the injury. Well, he is throwing a simulated game today and will likely be up in Oakland with the club in a matter of weeks. Puk was one of the best prospects in baseball before also undergoing the knife. He struck out 184 batters in 125 innings during the 2017 minor league season. He, too, could join Manaea and Frankie Montas in the middle of the A’s rotation. I say middle because their ace will be the rookie, Luzardo. Prior to his Spring Training injury, Luzardo was considered Oakland’s Opening Day ace despite being just 21 years old. The kid could put up a second half similar to what we saw from Chris Paddack in the first few months.
#4 Bryan Reynolds is the top hitter available in your league
Ok, so maybe you play in a more shallow or less challenging league and some stud like Scott Kingery, Clint Frazier or even Franmil Reyes is still there. The most common scenario, however, is that Reynolds at only 25% ownership, is your best bet. You are correct that there is no way Reynolds is hitting .364 or anywhere close to it the rest of the way, but .300 is still quite good. Plus, he was batting .367 with both power and speed prior to his promotion so perhaps we are just looking at another Michael Brantley. Whatever the case, I can almost guarantee he will produce better than the worst hitter on your fantasy roster right now.
#5 Want a cheat code for your catcher position?
The best fantasy catcher so far has been Yasmani Grandal, who is batting .280 with 15 homers, 37 RBIs and 34 runs. But you can do better than that off the waiver wire. No, I’m not kidding. The Twins catchers, Jason Castro and Mitch Garver are both available in plenty of leagues and if you just pay attention to who they are starting each day, you can adjust your own lineup to always use the starter. The two have combined to hit .291 with 19 homers, 47 RBIs and 49 runs which blows Grandal out of the water. There is no better way to use a bench spot on your roster than the ‘other catcher’ from the Twins.
#6 John Gant and/or Carlos Martinez are about to see his value multiply
We already know Adam Wainwright is going to miss time, but there may be another spot in the St. Louis rotation opening up with Michael Wacha already in the hot seat. He was great against Miami, but one more bad start would likely send him back to the bullpen. Alex Reyes can only take one spot, and while Ponce De Leon is a candidate for the next one, it seems like the Cardinals have something else in mind. Gant, who was previously a starter, has been stretched out over the past week to 2 and then 3 innings. The breakout fireballer carries a 1.66 ERA with a 0.74 ERA and 6 wins in 38 innings this year. Martinez, as you know, has had quite the start to his career but needed to prove his health before being ramped back up to the rotation. He has looked impressive so far so it may be only a matter of time.
#7 You can get Khris Davis 2.0 for pennies right now
It is tough to tell which player it will be, but both Hunter Renfroe and Franmil Reyes are reportedly on the block this summer. San Diego is certain to find plenty of suitors for both which would explode their fantasy value. Both Renfroe and Reyes are available in over 45% of leagues and can be acquired for much cheaper than you could secure a player like Davis or Joey Gallo. They have 40 homers combined, however, despite playing half their games in one of the toughest ballparks for a hitter. If a squad like the Braves (to upgrade from Ender Inciarte) or the Rangers (to upgrade from Ronald Guzman) made a move for one of these two, we might be looking at the MLB home run leader in the second half.
#8 Lance Lynn is the streamer of the week
He is owned in 45% of leagues so if you are in a deeper format, you can turn your attention to Antonio Senzatela, who is sure to be available. You may not be infatuated with Lynn’s stuff or numbers this far, but he has been pitching great lately with 7 straight quality starts for a 3.18 ERA and 57 Ks in those 45 innings. Lynn takes on two weak lineups in the Indians and White Sox, both at home this week. Senzatela, meanwhile, is out of Coors for both of his starts, and while he won’t compile double-digit Ks, is a solid bet for strong ratios.
#9 I’ve got a killer add for you deep league degenerates
Unless you are in my deep league, in which case I’ve already picked him up. The Indians have a kid by the name of James Karinchak that will likely become their closer assuming Brad Hand is dealt. Even if Adam Cimber gets the job, Karinchak will be extraordinarily helpful for your ratios and Ks like Hader was prior to taking over as Milwaukee’s closer. The minor leaguer hasn’t allowed a run this year and has compiled 32 Ks to just 8 base runners allowed. Last year, he let in just 7 runs, giving him a 1.29 ERA with 81 Ks in 48 IP. Lights out!
#10 Rich Hill on Wednesday is a recipe to free money
If you are saving your ammunition for one shot at doubling your DFS bankroll, wait until Monday when Hill is on the mound at home against the Giants. Not only are the Giants positively abysmal versus LHP (.632 OPS and already 195 Ks), but his ownership will be low since Max Scherzer, Blake Snell, Lucas Giolito and Gerrit Cole will be hogging most of it. Scherzer has a tough draw versus Philly, though while Snell takes on the Yankees in New York, Giolito travels to Wrigley and most importantly, Cole will be throwing at the Great American Launchpad which is a nightmare for a homer-prone pitcher like Cole. I wouldn’t dare to start anyone other than Hill Wednesday.