Fantasy Baseball Weekly Planner: Week 22
There are a whopping five teams playing five games next week, but two of them still look pretty solid from a fantasy perspective and are included in the Notable Matchups section. One team plays a week-high eight games, and they’re also discussed below. Three teams scheduled to play six games and a pair with seven on tap round out the section. The Hitter Notes and Pitcher Notes are loaded with injury updates, some of which is of the season-ending variety.
Red Sox at Rockies (2), at Angels (3)
A short week isn’t ideal for Boston’s hitters, but the blow of only playing five games is lessened by playing two at the cream of the crop of hitter-friendly parks at Coors Field. The pitching matchups are also rather soft. Gamers rostering J.D. Martinez will want to pay extra attention to whether he’s in the lineup in Colorado due to the lack of a designated hitter.
Nationals vs. Orioles (2), vs. Marlins (3)
The Nationals are the other five-game team that stands out as being chock full of fantasy goodness despite the short week. All five of their games are at Nationals Park, and they’re fifth in wRC+ (112) at home this year, per FanGraphs. The pitching matchups are favorable, too.
Braves at Rockies (1), at Blue Jays (2), vs. White Sox (3)
The Braves have an odd week with three opponents on tap. Atlanta’s hitters will get a boost from one game at Coors Field. The lineup also gets a lift with a designated hitter for two in Toronto, and then they’ll face the White Sox for three to round out the week. They’ll see Lucas Giolito in one of those games against the Pale Hose, but the pitching matchups are otherwise mouth-watering for Atlanta’s hitters.
Twins at White Sox (3), at Tigers (3)
Giolito dominated the Twins in a shutout this week, but he’s Minnesota’s only tough pitching matchup next week. The Twins are on the road for both series next week. Both are in American League ballparks, which is good news for Nelson Cruz, who has been a man on fire since returning from the injured list.
Rangers at Angels (2), Mariners (4)
The Rangers open next week with two games on the road before playing four at their hitters’ paradise. Globe Life Park in Arlington is second in park factor for runs (1.239) and fifth for homers (1.145). They’re scheduled to face at least three lefties, but don’t let that dissuade you from using left-handed-hitting Willie Calhoun. The 24-year-old youngster has ripped seven homers with a .304/.339/.750 slash in only 59 plate appearances against southpaws this year.
Rockies vs. Braves (1), Red Sox (2), vs. Pirates (4)
After playing on the road all this week, the Rockies will return home for a full seven games next week. Stock up on their hitters.
Pirates at Phillies (3), at Rockies (4)
Pittsburgh’s hitters get a nice value bump from their volume of games as well as playing four at Coors Field. Don’t sleep on three games at Citizens Bank Park to open the week, though. CBP has the third-highest park factor for homers (1.224).
Reds at Marlins (4), at Cardinals (4)
The Reds top the heap with eight games next week. It’s a righty-heavy pitching layout with seven projected to oppose them. Cincinnati is juggling players at numerous positions, but Eugenio Suarez, Nick Senzel, and Aristides Aquino stand out as a trio of lineup mainstays who get a bump from the jam-packed schedule.
Brandon Lowe (2B/OF – TB)
When Lowe hit the IL shortly before the All-Star break, his stay wasn’t expected to last long. He still hasn’t played in a game for the parent club in the second half, though, so things obviously haven’t gone as initially expected. Lowe was on the verge of returning, but that’s no longer the case. Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reported that Lowe will miss the remainder of the season with a left quadriceps strain suffered during Wednesday’s rehab game.
Dansby Swanson (SS – ATL)
Swanson began a rehab assignment with Low-A Rome on Thursday night. He likely won’t need long to shake the rust off, and gamers in leagues with weekly lineup changes might have more clarity about his availability next week before needing to set lineups.
Yoan Moncada (2B/3B – CHW)
Moncada returned to the White Sox’s lineup Thursday night to go 2-for-4 with a double and home run. In the midst of a breakout season, he’s batting .303/.359/.545 with 21 homers and seven stolen bases in 413 plate appearances. Get him back in fantasy starting lineups.
Joey Votto (1B – CIN)
C. Trent Rosecrans of The Athletic indicated Votto might be back when first eligible on Sunday. The 35-year-old first baseman is having the worst offensive season of his career, as measured by his 98 wRC+. Having said that, he notably ditched choking up on the bat in late July and was showcasing signs of life before going on the injured list. In 97 plate appearances from July 22 until August 14, Votto smacked four homers with a .277/.371/.482 slash. If he’s been cut in leagues that utilize OBP, he’s worth adding to see if his adjustments result in continued success the remainder of the year.
Carlos Correa (SS – HOU)
Correa simply can’t shake the injury bug. He’s back on the IL with a back injury. The good news is that it isn’t “major or massive,” as manager A.J. Hinch told Hunter Atkins of the Houston Chronicle. Unfortunately, he won’t help gamers for the time being.
Ramon Laureano (OF – OAK)
A timetable hasn’t been revealed for Laureano’s return, but he’s inching closer. Martin Gallegos of MLB.com reported that Laureano took part in running drills on the field Tuesday, and Bob Melvin said the outfielder could take some at-bats on Friday at High-A Stockton. Laureano last played for the A’s on July 28, but his 12 steals are still tied for 33rd in an MLB landscape that features little action on the bases.
Chris Sale (SP – BOS)
David Price (SP – BOS)
Injury news for Boston’s one-two punch of southpaws is at both ends of the spectrum. The bad news is that Sale has been shut down for the rest of the season with elbow inflammation. Gamers in keeper and dynasty leagues can breathe a sigh of relief, as he’s dealing with elbow inflammation but no ligament damage. Price is on the IL due to a cyst on his wrist, but he could be back soon. In fact, per Logan Mullen of NESN, Price could return as soon as this weekend.
Max Scherzer (SP – WAS)
Gerrit Cole (SP – HOU)
Both Scherzer and Cole returned to the bump Thursday night. The former held the Pirates to one run on four hits, one walk, and three strikeouts in four innings while reaching 71 pitches. The latter dismantled the Tigers with seven shutout innings in which he yielded only two hits and one walk with a dozen strikeouts. It goes without saying, but both aces should be immediately reinserted in fantasy starting lineups.
Jon Gray (SP – COL)
Gray’s season is over. He has a fracture in his foot and is leaning toward having surgery in the offseason, per Jake Rill of MLB.com. This is the second time he’s had a fracture in the same foot, but he opted not to go under the knife last time. Even with surgery, he’s expected to be ready to roll for next season. That won’t help gamers in re-draft leagues, where he can safely be cut.
Corey Kluber (SP – CLE)
Kluber could see the light at the end of the tunnel rehabbing from a fractured forearm, but he suffered a new injury that will delay his return. Cleveland will shut him down for the next two weeks with an internal left oblique strain, as Mandy Bell of MLB.com reported. Gamers holding out hope that Kluber could be a difference-maker in head-to-head playoffs can cut bait.