4 Burning Questions (Fantasy Baseball)
If you like happy endings, fantasy sports probably aren’t for you. Let’s not kid around; at absolute best, you likely have a 1/10 chance at a pleasant end to your season. So for 9 out of 10 of you who read this, better luck next time. Hopefully next year you won’t get stuck with a dud like Giancarlo Stanton, draft a closer turned imploder like Edwin Diaz, or lose a sizzling Jose Ramirez at the worst possible time. For all of you poor souls who know just what I’m talking about, hopefully this year’s final chapter of Burning Questions can at least provide you with a little solace in your despair. So without further ado, I thank you. Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to give you advice about the silly little game we play. Thank you for taking the time out of your busy day to read what I have to say. Most of all, thank you to those of you who have read this column religiously throughout the year; I have nothing to say other than I am truly honored. Now, for one final time this year, here are your Burning Questions for this week. Enjoy, and best of luck in the fantasy baseball playoffs.
Is Gavin Lux worth picking up?
News broke Monday that the Dodgers are considering a September call up for top prospect Gavin Lux. We could go through stat after stat about how Lux has crushed Triple-A pitching since his call up in June. Seriously, the “kid” has hit .407/.493./.747. This call has to come down to playing time, however. It’s hard to envision him playing everyday for a Dodgers team that is already 20 games up in the NL West. They’re not going to remove Corey Seager from shortstop, and Max Muncy has more than proven his worth at second base. The Dodgers could shift their infield around a bit, but again, that would be perplexing considering their current state. Quite simply, if Lux does, in fact, get called up, it seems nearly impossible for him to get enough playing time to be worthy of a roster spot during the fantasy postseason. The upside is mouthwatering for next season, but there are better stashes out there than Gavin Lux for the last few weeks of this year.
Who are some potential replacements for Jose Ramirez?
With the way Jose Ramirez had been playing the last month or two, there are only a handful of players that would be worse for owners to lose right now. Alas, he’s out, and all owners can do now is find a replacement who can provide some production. Here are some names to keep in mind.
Tommy Edman (2B/3B/SS/OF – STL)
Quite possibly the most exciting name on the list of Ramirez replacements, Edman has been an absolute lightning bolt for the Cardinals. While not a major prospect, his major league stats very closely resemble what he was able to do in the minors, which is encouraging. Edman is getting significant playing time for a surging offense, and his upside is exciting.
Ronny Rodriguez (1B/2B/3B/SS – DET)
Rodriguez is another third base eligible player who’s heating up. What makes him more interesting is that aside from Tommy Edman, he’s the only other name on this list who can help teams in all five categories, something Ramirez did very well.
Starlin Castro (2B/3B – MIA)
It’s baffling that Starlin Castro is only owned in roughly 25% of leagues. Yes, he plays for the Marlins, but that hasn’t stopped him from hitting .321 and knocking in 25 RBI over the last month. Castro may very well be the most consistent player on this list for owners.
Kyle Seager (3B – SEA)
He was a total stud a few years back, but injuries played a major role in derailing Kyle Seager‘s career. Now healthy, Kyle has been producing more than his brother Corey even has. Not only is the elder Seager good enough to help struggling teams, but after crushing 9 HR and hitting .364 the last month, he needs to be owned in any league that he’s still available in, period.
Is Chris Paddack worth rostering anymore?
Chris Paddack good to start off the season, like Rookie of the Year consideration good. From the end of May on, however, Paddack has seen his ERA rise almost a full 2 points, from 1.93 to 3.84. Unfortunately, he’s slammed headfirst into the proverbial rookie wall. The worst part? Paddack’s analytics actually suggest he could be worse off than what he is now. That’s not encouraging for a player who already sports a 10.06 August ERA. Opponents are hitting a robust .351 and making a ton of hard contact off of him this month. Factor in that Paddack has given up nine home runs since the All-Star break, and this is a guy that shouldn’t be anywhere near a standard fantasy roster right now. It wouldn’t be a bit surprising to see the out-of-contention Padres shut him down soon. There’s no reason to push Paddack beyond his limit and risk injury in a season that’s mostly over. If Chris Paddack remains on your roster, find someone better to snag.
What’s one final bold call for the road?
Ready for this one? Nolan Arenado and Trevor Story are going to be the league-winning players of 2019. The Rockies have a beautiful schedule that puts them at home for a majority of the fantasy playoffs, which has to be music to owners’ ears. Both Arenado and Story have been unbelievable this season, and both of them are set to carry owners through the postseason. And when I say carry, I mean it. With Arenado heating up at a perfect time, it wouldn’t be a shock to see him average 4+ HR a week and hit .350 during the fantasy playoffs. Story may very well average 3+ HR and 2+ SB a week while hitting .350 himself over the same stretch. Those numbers, which are easily possible, would clearly make both of them fantasy playoff studs. Fantasy owners who have these two players rostered shouldn’t have a “rocky” ride during the playoffs.