Fantasy Baseball Weekly Planner: Week 25
There are just a couple weeks left in the regular season, making each roster decision all the more critical in head-to-head leagues and for those jostling for every last available point in roto leagues. A couple of MLB’s best offenses are saddled with just five-game weeks, and both are discussed below. Those clubs are joined in the notable matchups section by a couple of the teams with seven-game weeks next week and a few noteworthy teams with six games on the docket. The pitcher notes section is light, but the hitter notes section is beefed up with a bunch of injury updates.
Astros vs. Rangers (2), vs. Angels (3)
The bad news for gamers counting on Houston’s boppers is that they only play five games next week. The good news is that the pitching matchups project to be soft. The Rangers have the ninth highest team ERA (4.97) and the Angels own the sixth highest team ERA (5.06), per FanGraphs. Even the short week shouldn’t deter gamers from relying on their horses in Houston’s lineup against a couple of punching-bag pitching staffs.
Dodgers vs. Rays (2), vs. Rockies (3)
The Dodgers are the other high-powered offense with only five games on the horizon next week. The expected starting pitching matchups (which are subject to change with expanded rosters this time of year) are favorable, though.
Rockies vs. Mets (3), at Dodgers (3)
The Rockies’ week next week is split three games at home and three on the road. The pitching matchups project to be tough, however, so in leagues with weekly lineup changes, Charlie Blackmon, Nolan Arenado, and Trevor Story are the only guys who stand out as startable.
Mets at Rockies (3), at Reds (3)
The Mets’ offense gets a lift, first, from three games at Coors Field against a trio of below-average starting pitchers. Then, they get a pick-me-up from three at Great American Ball Park. Coors Field has the highest park factor for homers (1.280), and GABP checks in fourth (1.205). The arrow’s pointed upward for New York’s hitters.
Yankees vs. Angels (3), vs. Blue Jays (3)
The same can be said in regard to the arrow’s direction for the better team in New York. The Bronx Bombers are home for six, and that means being treated to MLB’s second-highest park factor for taters (1.265). Additionally, the pitching matchups are mouthwatering.
Athletics vs. Royals (3), vs. Rangers (3)
The A’s are home for a pair of three-game series next week, and the pitching matchups are favorable for Oakland’s bats. The primary reason for me highlighting them, though, is the lefty-heavy layout with at least three southpaws on tap. While the southpaw-leaning nature of the pitching matchups next week might seem scary for gamers using Matt Olson, it doesn’t sound the death knell for his value. The left-handed slugger’s .230 AVG against lefties this year leaves something to be desired, but he’s slugged nine homers in 138 plate appearances against them, and his .227 BABIP and 21.7% K% suggest he’s probably been a bit unlucky — even for a guy who’s not fast and pulls the ball a ton.
Royals at Athletics (3), at Twins (4)
Kansas City’s offense is littered with bad players at the bottom of the lineup, but Whit Merrifield, Adalberto Mondesi, Hunter Dozier, and Jorge Soler have all been fantasy assets in 2019 and get a lift from being on one of the eight teams with a week-high seven games scheduled next week. Fire up the quartet in fantasy and enjoy the volume boost.
Brewers vs. Padres (4), vs. Pirates (3)
There’s forthcoming injury news for the Beer Makers’ hitters below, but for those who are healthy, they’ll get a bump in value from playing seven games at home next week. Miller Park’s park factor of 1.104 for homers is seventh highest in MLB, and it’s a run-friendly venue as well with a park factor of 1.019 for runs.
Christian Yelich (MIL)
Keston Hiura (MIL)
Mike Moustakas (MIL)
The 2018 National League MVP’s season is over. Fantasy teams were dealt a blow in the middle of the week when Yelich fouled a ball off of his knee, fracturing his kneecap and ending his season in the process. He ends his 2019 campaign with 44 homers, 100 runs, 97 RBIs, 30 stolen bases, and a slash of .329.429/.671.
The Brewers did get a double dose of good news, though. Hiura was activated from the injured list, but he’s not yet ready to return to action. Although he’s nearing a return, as manager Craig Counsell discussed in this piece from MLB.com’s Christina De Nicola. Moustakas returned to Milwaukee’s starting lineup Thursday and immediately paid dividends socking a pair of homers en route to a three-for-five game with two runs, five RBIs, and one walk.
– Alanna Rizzo (@alannarizzo) September 11, 2019
Muncy’s due back for the Dodgers Friday, and that’s a welcome addition to the Dodgers and fantasy squads. Turner, on the other hand, was due for an MRI on his ankle Friday morning.
Justin Turner‘s MRI (ankle) is scheduled for tomorrow AM.
– Alanna Rizzo (@alannarizzo) September 12, 2019
More will be known about Turner’s availability for fantasy rosters after the MRI results are revealed.
Hunter Renfroe (SD)
Renfroe’s been in a second-half tailspin, but it appears playing banged up could be a contributing factor to that, as you can read about in this piece from Kevin Acee of The San Diego Union-Tribune. Renfroe’s set to miss some time with a sprained right ankle, and gamers can cut him in re-draft leagues with his availability the rest of the year in question. Gamers would be wise to file Renfroe’s injuries in the second half away in their memory banks when constructing their pre-draft rankings as they could serve to depress his ADP and make him a value.
Carlos Correa (HOU)
Correa’s going to join Triple-A Round Rock for a rehab assignment starting Friday as part of Pacific Coast League championship series, Chandler Rome of the Houston Chronicle reports. The Astros won’t rush their stud shortstop, but it appears he could be back to helping fantasy squads as soon as next week.
Mike Trout (LAA)
Trout last played in a game for the Angels as a pinch-hitter on September 7, and he’s since underwent a procedure to relieve a nerve issue in his right foot, Rhett Bollinger of MLB.com reports. In the linked piece, Trout is quoted as saying, “the plan is to play on Friday.” Gamers will want to make sure he doesn’t suffer any setbacks during warmups, but assuming he’s back in the lineup, he’s obviously a must-start player on fantasy teams even at less than 100%.
Johnny Cueto (SF)
Cueto was outstanding in his first start of the season. He needed only 69 pitches to complete five scoreless innings at home against the visiting Pirates. He allowed just one hit and one walk while striking out four. Despite his solid debut, he shouldn’t be trusted in his next start against the Red Sox in Boston on Tuesday. Gamers in deep keeper leagues or dynasty formats might want to see if he’s available. A veteran who’ll be a 34-year-old hurler by Opening Day next year isn’t a hot commodity in formats like that, but if he can be kept for essentially nothing — a last-round pick in standard drafts or a buck in auction formats, for instance — it might be worth it on rosters lacking alternatives.
Craig Kimbrel (CHC)
If you didn’t already cut Kimbrel last week when I suggested doing so, you can even more safely do so now. His trajectory for return is aimed at late next week, according to Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune.