10 Things to Know for Week 14 (Fantasy Baseball)
Lourdes Gurriel Jr. is the talk of the town this week and an injury to Jordan Hicks is now in the rear-view mirror. Let’s look ahead to next week, though, where I’ve got 10 things to keep in mind as you gear up for the second-half of the season.
#1 A top three base stealer is available in your league
You’ll quickly discover the theme of today’s article is that there are a handful of free agents available in virtually every league who may not be sexy, but can certainly help you win a fantasy title. Jarrod Dyson fits the description perfectly. He is third in baseball with 19 steals and even has a handful of homers this season. Sure, the batting average won’t be ideal, but weren’t we all drafting Billy Hamilton in the top 70 picks a few years ago? Steals are steals even if they come from an afterthought on the Diamondbacks. You’ll be surprised to discover that Dyson is available in 87% of leagues.
#2 Keston Hiura and Brendan McKay are the top pickups of the week
As I’m writing this, both of this week’s hot new prospects to get called up are owned in under 1 out of every 3 leagues. That won’t last long, though, so you’ll need to move fast and perhaps even put in a sizable FAAB bid. With that said, if you are expecting the next Yordan Alvarez and early season Chris Paddack, you may be mistaken. Both are tremendous talents and polished enough to perform, so those outcomes are possible, but another scenario is that Hiura doesn’t play everyday and McKay is limited to four or fewer innings in every appearance.
#3 If you need a reliever, look to Brandon Workman
If you play in a competitive league, chances are high that even the newest closers are already scooped up. It can be tough to find saves, and at times, you may have to settle for ratio-killers in order to tally up a few saves. Or you can just add the next John Gant, who could potentially step into a premier closer job any day now. Brandon Workman has been cruising for the Red Sox with 53 Ks in 37 innings to go with a 1.70 ERA, 1.03 WHIP and 7 wins. He recently picked up his third save of the season too and it might not be long before he becomes Boston’s mainstay at the back end of the pen.
#4 Danny Santana appears to be the real deal
Santana may have had nothing to show for heading into this season but baseball sometimes happens and the most obscure players breakout. Santana joins Derek Dietrich, Tommy La Stella and others in that category this year, as he already has 9 homers, 9 steals and a .302 batting average in just 189 at-bats. That’s an easy 20-20 pace and yet he is available in the vast majority of leagues. That won’t last long, though, as he mashed the ball last week.
#5 Santana isn’t the only no-namer from the AL who can help you
I talked about Avisail Garcia a month ago in this piece and he is still playing great baseball yet somehow has limited ownership. I want to focus here on another Garcia, Leury of the White Sox. Like Avisail, Leury Garcia doesn’t offer 30 homer power but the rest of his game is terrific. He has already scored 53 runs and is batting .289 with 8 steals. It might not feel exciting to roster a player like this, but those numbers add up and thus far, he has been a top 40 fantasy outfielder in our player rater, just in between Andrew Benintendi and Joc Pederson.
#6 It’s a good idea to sell Rhys Hoskins this week
You may not want to hear this but as bad as disappointing as Hoskins has been, it may actually get worse. Underlying stats over at Baseball Savant suggest that Hoksins has (gulp) been one of the luckiest hitters in the league thus far. His .264 batting average should actually be .226 based on his quality of contact thus far and his .525 slugging should be just .420. Yuck! I’m not sure why you are surprised though, since this is who he has always been. There is no difference at this point between Hoskins and Calhoun so you’d better sell while you still have the name value to get a decent return.
#7 You may be able to trade for an ace
I know what you are thinking: Blake Snell! You are hearing everywhere that he is a buy-low guy, but the fact of the matter is that his owner knows everyone wants him for a reason and there is virtually no chance they are selling low on him. Rather, I’m referring to Ross Stripling. Rich Hill is headed to the IL, perhaps for the year, with a forearm strain. The Dodgers recently showed their hand and it is that Stripling will be the one to fill in from here on out. Since the start of last year, he has been as good as Stephen Strasburg, Clayton Kershaw, James Paxton and Corey Kluber with a 3.28 xFIP. Heck, Stripling might even be a waiver wire pickup in your league.
#8 Don’t miss on Eric Lauer at home against the Giants this week
Yes, that Eric Lauer with the mediocre ratios and lackluster k-rates. Don’t look now, but he has actually been pitching great lately with 2 or fewer runs allowed in 6 of his past 7 starts. The one blowup was, of course, at Coors Field. Besides that, he has a 2.35 ERA since April 20th. Even more important, the Giants are far and away the worst team in baseball against lefties with a .610 OPS and well over 200 Ks already. Not only that, but they are awful on the road and just so happen to be traveling to a severe pitcher’s park.
#9 Speaking of Padres, Matt Strahm is the two-start streamer of the week
Like Lauer, he will start his week at home against the lowly Giant which should be a cake walk. After that, he goes to L.A. against the Dodgers. I know what you are thinking, but hear me out: Strahm does have a 4.94 ERA and the Dodgers are great, but they are much more manageable against lefties considering Cody Bellinger, Max Muncy, Alex Verdugo, Corey Seager and Joc Pederson are all much worse against southpaws. In fact, L.A. is 5th in baseball for the most Ks against lefties. Strahm is a killer tournament play for DFS in this game with double-digit K-upside.
#10 The best pitcher left in the minors may be Dinelson Lamet
Yep, another Padre. This one isn’t a prospect, however, as you likely expected. Sure, Forrest Whitley and Jesus Luzardo are down there but we’ve seen Lamet at the big league level and he was already dominant against MLB players with 139 Ks and just 88 hits allowed in 114 innings. Both of those dominant numbers were near the top of the league and he may get back to it before the break. In his most recent rehab start, Lamet went for 8 Ks and just 1 BB.