Fantasy Baseball Weekly Planner: Week 12
Three teams sit at the bottom of the ladder with only five games next week, and all are put under the microscope in the notable matchups section below. Those teams are joined by the weekly look at the Rockies and four teams playing a full seven games next week. The hitter notes section is bursting at the seams with injury news, and the pitcher notes section includes injury news as well as check-ins on a couple of recent veteran free-agent signings.
White Sox at Cubs (2), at Rangers (3)
The Pale Hose are on the road for all five of their games next week, and two of them will be in a National League park against the Cubs, meaning no designated hitter. The week concludes with three games in the second-highest scoring environment (1.239 park factor for runs) at Globe Life Park in Arlington, but the short week coupled with losing the DH for two games knocks the value of Chicago’s hitters down a notch.
Tigers at Pirates (2), at Indians (3)
Like their American League Central foes, the Tigers will play both a short week and lose the designated hitter for two games in an NL park. The parallels don’t end there, either. The Tigers close the week with three games in hitter-friendly Progressive Field (1.095 for runs, fourth highest in MLB). Miguel Cabrera has been primarily used as a designated hitter of late, so there’s some risk of him sitting both games in Pittsburgh.
Pirates vs. Tigers (2), vs. Padres (3)
The Pirates are the third and final team playing only five games next week, and their pitching matchups have a decidedly left-handed feel. In fact, every game projects to be against southpaws. Switch-hitting breakout sensation Josh Bell has hit .274/.333/.548 with five homers in 69 plate appearances against lefties this year, so he should add to his gaudy season totals next week.
Rockies at Diamondbacks (3), at Dodgers (3)
When the Rockies finish up a full week at home against the Padres on Sunday, they’ll then have to adjust back to life away from the Rocky Mountain air for both three-game series next week (not to mention three in San Francisco the following week). Adding to Colorado’s difficulties next week will be a handful of challenging pitching matchups. Overall, their hitting outlook is bleak.
Dodgers vs. Giants (4), vs. Rockies (3)
The Dodgers play a full complement of seven games next week, all at home. They’re projected to see only two southpaws, and the pitching matchups are mostly non-threatening. With five right-handed pitchers on tap, Joc Pederson‘s all systems go next week in leagues with weekly lineup changes. In 193 plate appearances against righties this year, he has a .253/.368/.642 slash with 18 dingers.
Yankees vs. Rays (3), vs. Astros (4)
The Yankees will enjoy seven games at home next week, treating them to a 1.060 park factor for runs and 1.265 for homers at Yankee Stadium. The only negative when looking ahead is a few tough pitching matchups, but the pros outweigh the cons for New York’s hitters.
Mariners vs. Royals (3), vs. Orioles (4)
The Mariners make it three straight teams in this section that play all seven games at home next week. T-Mobile Park in Seattle has the fifth-lowest park factor for runs (0.902), but it does boost homers (1.019). The pitching matchups are soft, so that’s a plus for their hitters. They have two southpaws in the offing next week, but that isn’t likely to relegate Daniel Vogelbach to spectator or pinch-hitter duties for those contests. He’s been used as Seattle’s cleanup hitter in their last three games against lefties. The burly slugger is hitting only .130/.231/.283 against lefties this year and is actually worse across the board in his limited big-league exposure to them, but there are signs of him becoming at least competent against southpaws, starting with strong plate discipline (9.6 BB%) and a palatable strikeout rate (19.2 K%).
Rangers vs. Indians (4), vs. White Sox (3)
Remember the park factor I cited for run scoring at Globe Life Park in Arlington above? Yeah, Texas will play in that dreamy run-scoring environment for seven games next week. The 1.145 park factor for homers that’s fifth-best in The Show is nothing to sneeze at, either. The stock is up for the Rangers’ hitters next week.
Jose Altuve (2B – HOU)
George Springer (OF – HOU)
Carlos Correa (SS – HOU)
Two of Houston’s injured trio of stars should be back shortly. Altuve is expected to begin a rehab assignment this weekend and Springer isn’t expected to be far behind, with a rehab assignment potentially beginning early next week for the outfielder. Correa, the furthest away from a return, might not be back until after the All-Star break.
Giancarlo Stanton (OF – NYY)
Aaron Judge (OF – NYY)
The Bronx Bombers’ lineup is going to get a significant pick-me-up in short order. Stanton began a Triple-A rehab assignment Thursday and could be back Tuesday, and Judge might begin a rehab assignment at the same level this weekend, though his assignment will last longer. As long as there isn’t news of a setback over the weekend, gamers in leagues with weekly lineup changes can activate Stanton in anticipation of his return.
Justin Upton (OF – LAA)
Andrelton Simmons (SS – LAA)
Upton’s nearing the end of his rehab assignment, and he could be back as soon as the four-game series in Toronto starting Monday, per manager Brad Ausmus. In the same linked piece, Ausmus notes he expects Simmons back this month as well.
Yoan Moncada (2B/3B – CHW)
Moncada has missed back-to-back games (Tuesday and Thursday with an off day sandwiched in between) with upper-back tightness that forced him to exit Monday’s game. He’s feeling better and he told the Chicago Tribune‘s LaMond Pope he could be back “maybe Saturday or Sunday.”
Corey Seager (SS – LAD)
Seager’s on the shelf with a hamstring strain. The good news is that it is possibly a bit less serious than initially expected. His timetable for a return isn’t yet clear.
Mike Clevinger (SP – CLE)
He’s baaaack — well, almost back. Clevinger will toe the rubber in Texas against the Rangers Monday. He’ll be in line for two starts with a second coming Saturday against the Tigers.
Dallas Keuchel (SP – ATL)
Keuchel’s first start in the Braves organization went swimmingly. He tossed seven scoreless, one-hit, one-walk innings at full-season Single-A for Rome, striking out nine and needing only 77 pitches in the outing. His next start is expected to come at the Double-A level, and it’s possible, according to Mark Bowman of MLB.com, Keuchel could join Atlanta’s rotation for a June 21 series in Washington. The southpaw remains available in 24% of Yahoo leagues and 30% of ESPN leagues.
Craig Kimbrel (RP – CHC)
Kimbrel’s pitched a couple of bullpen sessions for the Cubs, and the next step will be throwing live batting practice before the end of the week. The Cubs haven’t laid out a formal timetable for joining the team, but Greg Holland’s 2018 could serve as something of a soft blueprint for gamers to use. Holland, admittedly, was a mess for the Cardinals. He signed on Opening Day and made his first relief appearance on April 9 after only two minor-league outings. Kimbrel’s not a fantasy option next week, but he could be one as soon as the following week.
Ken Giles (RP – TOR)
Giles was placed on the IL with elbow inflammation. The move is retroactive to June 9, and Giles discussed the move as if it was precautionary. Of course, inflammation in a pitcher’s elbow is always a cause for concern. Joe Biagini will serve as the closer in his absence and is a short-term option for saves.