Fantasy Baseball Weekly Planner: Week 14
Next week is the final week before the All-Star break. The All-Star Game will take place on Tuesday, July 9, giving teams a full Week 14 that concludes on Sunday. Five teams end the first half with five-game weeks while nine play seven times. The notable matchups section below highlights a few teams from both ends of the schedule spectrum as well as others. The hitter notes section includes news on a trio of shortstops, a pair of slugging outfielders, and a second baseman. This week’s piece is rounded out by some closer news and starting pitcher injury updates in the pitcher notes section.
Diamondbacks at Dodgers (2), vs. Rockies (3)
In addition to playing a short week, Arizona’s pitching matchups aren’t enticing either. Walker Buehler is a stud, Jon Gray’s a challenging matchup, and Ross Stripling could be tough, too. Stock is down for the Diamondbacks’ hitters next week.
Indians at Royals (3), at Reds (2)
The Tribe won’t enjoy any home cooking before an All-Star Game that’s played in their home ballpark. They’ll also be without the services of a designated hitter for two games at homer-friendly (1.205 for homers) Great American Ball Park. On the plus side, the pitching matchups are soft and should take some of the sting out of the short week.
Rockies vs. Astros (2), at Diamondbacks (3)
The Rockies open next week with two games in their dreamy hitter-friendly park before playing three in Arizona. The pitching matchups, however, aren’t favorable. Brad Peacock’s messy start against the Pirates on Thursday pushed his ERA to 4.13, but three of the other four starters the Rockies project to face next week have a sub-4.00 ERA.
Astros at Rockies (2), vs. Angels (3)
Losing the designated hitter for two games in Colorado doesn’t have the same degree of impact as hitting with Coors Field’s park factors. The biggest knock on Houston’s hitters’ outlook for next week is playing only five games.
White Sox vs. Tigers (4), vs. Cubs (2)
The Pale Hose are something like a bonus five-game team. They host the Tigers for a doubleheader next Wednesday. As I often point out when dealing with doubleheaders, regulars are at risk of playing in only one of two games. So, take the six-game schedule with a grain of salt. Yoan Moncada left Wednesday’s game early after getting hit on the knee by a Chris Sale offering. The White Sox were off Thursday, but Moncada is considered day to day. He’s a bench candidate next week with at least three southpaws on tap. The switch-hitting infielder has hit .274/.321/.411 against lefties this year, but he has just a .229/.297/.336 slash line against them in his career.
Yankees at Mets (2), at Rays (4)
The Yankees find themselves in this section due to the two games at Citi Field against the Mets. Without a designated hitter for those contests, one of Luke Voit or Edwin Encarnacion will ride the pine.
Angels at Rangers (4), at Astros (3)
Positives for the Angels’ hitters include a full week of seven games and four at Globe Life Park in Arlington, which is home to the second-highest park factor for runs (1.239) and fifth-highest for homers (1.145). The lone fly in the ointment is difficult pitching matchups against Mike Minor, Justin Verlander, and Gerrit Cole as well as potentially tricky matchups with Peacock and Lance Lynn (3,89 SIERA this year). The good easily outweighs the bad, though.
Brewers at Reds (4), at Pirates (3)
Milwaukee’s road-bound for all seven games next week. The first four will be played at homer-friendly GABP. Not noted above when discussing GABP in Cleveland’s write-up is that it’s also a hitter-friendly venue with a park factor of 1.045 for runs. PNC Park in Pittsburgh is favorable to neither hits nor home runs with park factors of 0.951 and 0.841 for runs and homers, respectively. The pitching matchups aren’t a walk in the park, but they’re nothing to avoid as a whole. The matchups are decidedly right-handed with six righties on tap.
Giancarlo Stanton (OF – NYY)
Stanton’s return from the IL was short-lived. He’s back on the IL with a PCL strain in his right knee. The Yankees opted to call up outfielder Mike Tauchman to replace Stanton on the active roster. In other words, Clint Frazier won’t help fantasy gamers for the time being and will likely have to wait to be dealt — and he likely will be — before the July 31 trade deadline to get another crack at big-league pitching. As for Stanton, general manager Brian Cashman said the slugger is unlikely to return in July.
Scooter Gennett (2B – CIN)
Gennett put the finishing touches on his rehab assignment, and he’s set to return Friday night. As I noted when I wrote about Gennett previously in the Fantasy Baseball Weekly Planner, manager David Bell already stated he will return to his perch atop the depth chart at the keystone position.
Adalberto Mondesi (2B/SS – KC)
Mondesi was placed on the IL with a groin strain last Thursday, retroactive to Wednesday. The speedy shortstop is making progress, and according to FOX Sports Kansas City, he’s begun pool workouts. Unless there’s an optimistic update over the weekend, gamers in leagues with weekly lineup changes should keep Mondesi in an IL spot or on the bench.
Tim Anderson (SS – CHW)
Anderson suffered a high-ankle sprain against the Red Sox Tuesday night, and he’s expected to hit the IL Friday (presumably retroactive to Wednesday, though that’s likely a moot point). He’ll probably miss a few weeks. As Daryl Van Schouwen of the Chicago Sun-Times noted, Eloy Jimenez was considered a fast healer for returning from a high-ankle sprain in three and a half weeks. Gamers should prepare to be without Anderson for a similar timeline and stay apprised of updates regarding a firmer timetable as more information becomes available.
Corey Seager (SS – LAD)
Seager’s working his way back from a hamstring injury, and he could be back immediately following the All-Star break. Jorge Castillo of the LA Times tweeted about the shortstop taking ground balls and turning double plays on Wednesday, and he noted Seager first started taking grounders a couple of days prior to that.
Yordan Alvarez (OF – HOU)
Alvarez left Wednesday contest with knee discomfort, but the move was deemed precautionary. He’ll probably be out a few days, but it appears the issue is of the day-to-day variety as opposed to an ailment that will send him to the IL.
Alex Wood (SP – CIN)
I had initially intended on including Wood in this week’s Pitchers to Target in Deep Leagues, but plans changed with a setback for the southpaw. He’s yet to pitch for the Reds this year after being shut down in the spring with back spasms. After throwing live batting practice Saturday, the Reds shut him down again due to back soreness from the session. There’s no timetable for him to resume throwing and begin a rehab assignment.
Mike Clevinger (SP – CLE)
Clevinger’s IL stint lasted just one turn in the rotation. He’ll return to the bump Friday night to face the Orioles. The O’s make for a soft matchup, and Clevinger showed enough in his return from his prior IL stint to earn the trust of gamers for this start.
Noah Syndergaard (SP – NYM)
Syndergaard is due to return from IL to face the Braves on Sunday. He made one rehab appearance for Low-A Brooklyn. The Braves are a more challenging matchup than the aforementioned Clevinger will return to, so I’d advise sitting Thor for this turn — unless you’re desperate — and allowing him to shake the rust off for at least one start before using him.
Craig Kimbrel (RP – CHC)
Making his debut with the Cubs Thursday, Kimbrel nailed down a save against his former team, the Braves. He tossed a scoreless inning in which he yielded a hit and a walk while striking out a batter. Get him in fantasy lineups immediately.
Jordan Hicks (RP – STL)
Carlos Martinez (SP/RP – STL)
Hicks’ season is over, but his Tommy John surgery was deemed a success. In his absence, Martinez will assume the closing role. Martinez could be an especially valuable closer for fantasy gamers as the rare breed who works more than one inning semi-regularly. Manager Mike Shildt mentioned the possibility of using him in multi-inning stints to build up his innings this year for a potential return to a starting role next season.