Fantasy Baseball Weekly Planner: Week 21
Three teams have a week-low five games scheduled next week, and two of them appear in the notable matchups section. Only one team sits atop the heap with eight games, so they also get the nod in the notable matchups section. A few other clubs go under the spotlight as well, including the weekly look at where the Rockies are playing. The hitter and pitcher notes sections are filled with injury updates.
Athletics vs. Yankees (3), vs. Giants (2)
The A’s are one of three teams with five games next week. Both series are in their pitcher-friendly (0.921 for runs) and homer-suppressing (0.846) home digs. Having said that, the A’s have been surprisingly good at home with a 107 wRC+, according to FanGraphs. Still, the short week and pitcher-friendly park factors knock Oakland’s bats down a peg or two.
Phillies at Red Sox (2), at Marlins (3)
The Phillies are another five-game squad, and they have a couple more dings against the value of their hitters as well. One of their matchups is a potentially challenging one against Chris Sale. Furthermore, three of their games next week are at Marlins Park, home of the lowest park factor for runs at 0.826.
Brewers at Cardinals (3), vs. Diamondbacks (3)
Milwaukee has one three-game road series at pitcher-friendly Busch Stadium (0.924 for runs) and one in their hitter-friendly home confines (1.019 for runs and 1.104 for homers). They find themselves in this section, however, primarily because at least five righties are projected as probable opposition. That puts Eric Thames in the weekly-lineup mix with a .261/.363/.519 slash and 15 homers in 281 plate appearances against righties this year.
Rockies at Diamondbacks (3), at Cardinals (4)
The good news for Rockies hitters is they play seven games next week. The bad news is they’ll have to adjust to normal pitch movement with a pair of road series after playing six at Coors Field this week. The volume of games takes some of the sting out of the lack of home contests.
Astros vs. Tigers (4), vs. Angels (3)
Houston’s offense is stacked, and their MLB-high 123 wRC+ is a whopping seven points better than the runner-up Yankees. Remarkably, the Astros are positioned nicely to inflate that number further next week with a full complement of seven games and number of gas cans projected to oppose them on the hill. Houston’s offense should feast.
Angels at Rangers (4), at Astros (3)
The Angels have seven games next week, but they get there in part because of a doubleheader. Some of their regulars will likely sit one of Tuesday’s two games in Texas. Speaking of Texas, the four games at Globe Life Park in Arlington with treat Angels hitters to the second-highest park factor for runs (1.239) and fifth-highest for homers (1.145). All of their games are in American League parks, too, so Shohei Ohtani is a strong play in all formats.
Rays vs. Mariners (3), at Orioles (4)
Tampa Bay’s hitters get a double whammy of good news for their fantasy outlook next week. First, they play seven games. Second, the pitching matchups are soft. They project to face four southpaws and three righties.
Rangers vs. Angels (4), at White Sox (4)
The Rangers will play eight games next week because of Tuesday’s doubleheader against the Angels. The volume is good for Texas’ hitters, as is four games at home. Additionally, Lucas Giolito is the only imposing pitching matchup on their schedule.
Jeff McNeil (2B/OF – NYM)
McNeil hit the IL earlier this week with a hamstring strain. However, as MLB.com writer Anthony DiComo reported, the news wasn’t as bad as it could have been. An MRI revealed the strain was only minor, and McNeil is expected back when first eligible on August 24.
Fernando Tatis Jr. (SS – SD)
A formal move hasn’t been made as of Friday morning, but AJ Cassavell of MLB.com said Tatis Jr. will likely land on the IL due to an ailing back. While gamers should plan on being without the star rookie next week, the good news is he might be back the following week.
Yoan Moncada (2B/3B – CHW)
Moncada has progressed with his hamstring injury to the point of a rehab assignment with Triple-A Charlotte. According to this piece from MLB.com’s Scott Merkin, manager Rick Renteria said the infielder will “play in a couple games, and then we’ll see where we’re at.” It appears possible, if not probable, Moncada could be back next week.
Nelson Cruz (DH – MIN)
Cruz is on the IL with a wrist injury, but he won’t require surgery, per MLB.com’s Russell Dorsey. He’s already begun baseball activities and could be back as soon as he’s eligible.
Luke Voit (1B – NYY)
Sticking with avoiding surgery, Voit will attempt to play through his sports hernia. He’s already taking ground balls and participating in batting practice, and George A. King III of the New York Post revealed that Voit will report to a minor league rehab assignment Sunday.
Jameson Taillon (SP – PIT)
Not only is Taillon done for the rest of this year, but he’ll also be sidelined all of next year after undergoing the second Tommy John surgery of his career. The injury destroys his keeper league value and drastically reduces his value in dynasty formats, too, as he’ll almost certainly have to build his innings back up in 2021 after already providing gamers with zero production next season.
Jake Arrieta (SP – PHI)
Arrieta expects to have surgery in the coming weeks, and his season is almost certainly finished, according to Todd Zolecki of MLB.com. The former stud hurler checks in as SP137 this year, so he wasn’t exactly providing much fantasy value to gamers rostering him.
Corey Kluber (SP – CLE)
Carlos Carrasco (SP – CLE)
Kluber’s nearing a return to The Show. He’s made two minor-league rehab outings this month, and he was brilliant in his most recent start. After throwing 60 pitches in his last game, he’ll make his next start Sunday at the Triple-A level. It’s possible that will be his last rehab start before returning to the active roster, but more should be known after Sunday. Carrasco is scheduled to face live hitters Friday. If all goes well, he could begin a rehab assignment soon after and possibly return to Cleveland sometime in September.
Max Scherzer (SP – WAS)
Scherzer is feeling good, and he thinks he’s ready to face big-league hitting. That’s good news, but when he returns won’t be entirely up to him. Washington’s medical staff, manager Dave Martinez, and others within the organization will have a hand in the decision. Regardless, Scherzer could potentially be back as soon as this weekend. As MASN writer Mark Zuckerman pointed out in the linked piece, the Nationals haven’t announced probable starters for Saturday or Sunday, at least leaving the door open a crack for Scherzer to potentially get the nod (albeit likely on a limited pitch count if that comes to fruition).
Robbie Ray (SP – ARI)
Ray left Wednesday afternoon’s start against the Rockies in Colorado after two innings with back spasms. He underwent an MRI on Thursday to get a better grasp on the extent of the injury, and he’s on the 10-day IL.
Craig Kimbrel (RP – CHC)
Kimbrel wasn’t activated from the IL when first eligible on Wednesday, but he could be back this weekend. Gamers should keep tabs on updates, and he can be activated and started in fantasy lineups from save-needy gamers as soon as he returns.