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Fantasy Baseball Weekly Planner: Week 3 (2020)

Fantasy Baseball Weekly Planner: Week 3 (2020)

It’s important to find positives in this unprecedented season.

In Week 2, we had to deal with the unknown surrounding approximately four teams. That trickled into two more — Detroit Tigers and St. Louis Cardinals — by the time the week began. Now, the expectation is that all 30 teams will be back in action during Week 3.

We’ve seen interruptions to the season affect teams differently. The Milwaukee Brewers dropped their first two games after a COVID-19 related break, but the Miami Marlins have not lost since returning to action. “Unprecedented,” indeed.

As usual, we have to take extra precautions in 2020 by repeatedly verifying the schedule of each team and its starting pitcher.

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Notable Matchups

Milwaukee Brewers vs. Twins (3), at Cubs (4)
The Brewers lead off our Notable Matchup section for the second consecutive week thanks to another loaded schedule. Three games at home and four in Chicago set up nicely for offense thanks to the two ballparks in which the Brewers will play their games. Milwaukee also appears to be getting back on track offensively, and it’s no coincidence that Christian Yelich is doing the same. After starting the season with one home run and a batting average of 0.037 through the six games in July, Yelich already has six walks and three hits — one single, double, and home run — through three August games.

San Diego Padres at Dodgers (4), at Diamondbacks (3)
If we put aside out fantasy mindset for a moment and look for good baseball, then we can’t ignore the matchup between the Dodgers and Padres. The two teams just played a three-game set in which two-of-the-three were decided by one run. Make no mistake, the Padres — who recently called up Luis Patino for extra support — are trying to make a run at the Dodgers. They’ll have a full schedule in Week 3 with every game on the road. If San Diego wants to contend, this is an important week to navigate.

Colorado Rockies vs. Diamondbacks (3), vs. Rangers (3)
No surprise here. The Rockies frequently make this list when playing one series at home. The fact that they have two makes them an easy target. In defense of Colorado — both the ballpark and the team — much of the story has not centered around the offense. Entering play on Thursday, the Rockies were allowing the seventh-fewest runs-per-game in the league. In the first six games in Colorado, only three reached double-digits. By comparison, 54 of last year’s 81 games were double-digit scores.

Miami Marlins at Blue Jays (2), vs. Braves (3)
While we shouldn’t start planning a World Series parade — for more than one reason — the Miami Marlins have earned our attention. So, let’s give it to them. Miami has not only improved to 6-1 after sweeping the Orioles but did so after a prolonged layoff due to an abundance of COVID-19 cases. Think about that. The organization is trying to get healthy while rearranging its schedule and it still produced wins. This, for a franchise that has been downright terrible in recent years. Miami only has five games scheduled for Week 3, but each one is growing more important by the day.

Washington Nationals at Mets (4), at Orioles (3) and New York Mets vs. Nationals (4), at Phillies (3
The Nationals and Mets share the spotlight in the last of the notable matchups as two division-mates with a full seven-game schedule. Obviously, the two go head-to-head in the first four games of the week, and they each travel to close out the seven-game set. The key here is that both the Defending Champion Nationals and the Mets had much bigger aspirations in 2020, yet currently find themselves with losing records. With the Braves and Marlins — yes, the Marlins — already multiple games ahead of New York and Washington, it’s time for one of the teams to make up some ground. This week might prove pivotal for the division’s big picture.

Hitter Notes

George Springer (OF-HOU)
The Houston Astros were already down an outfielder in Yordan Alvarez and their ace pitcher in Justin Verlander, but George Springer is the newest addition to the team’s injury report. Thankfully for Springer and the organization, the initial results from a wrist X-ray appear more optimistic for a quick return, but Springer has had his fair share of injuries in the past. Fantasy owners should monitor the situation closely and start looking at backup plans.

Aaron Judge (OF-NYY)
Order has somewhat been restored. One week ago, I wrote about JaCoby Jones leading Major League Baseball in home runs. Now, it’s Aaron Judge. At the risk of insulting Jones, nearly every single fantasy owner would have leaned toward Judge winning a head-to-head home run contest. Judge’s story isn’t just about the number of home runs, but the streak he enjoyed in Week 2. He recently snapped a five-game home run streak, only to add another the following day, bringing his total to seven home runs in a seven-game span.

Miguel Andujar (3B/OF-NYY)
From the good of the New York Yankees to the bad of the New York Yankees, Miguel Andujar has been optioned to the team’s alternate training site. The writing may have been on the wall that Andujar didn’t immediately fit into New York’s plans, but they were still looking for ways to get him into the lineup. Andujar had missed almost all of 2019 after having shoulder surgery, and he remains a far cry from the player who finished second in the American League Rookie of the Year race just two seasons ago.

Jo Adell (OF-LAA)
It’s not all bad news in 2020. The same day that Mike Trout returned from Paternity Leave — congratulations to the Trout family on their new addition! — the Los Angeles Angels saw their family grow a little larger, as well. Jo Adell was promoted to the Major League squad, and the future of the Angels’ outfield begins now. If nothing else, Adell is fun prospect, capable of contributing everywhere. He likely needs time to grow — already, he is battling an injury and a high strikeout rate — but this short season has made almost anything possible. He could easily be a major fantasy contributor in 2020.

Pitcher Notes

Randy Dobnak (SP-MIN)
Lance Lynn and Shane Bieber finally gave up some earned runs — a combined three, to be exact — and it allows a new name to slide into the top-two in the league in ERA. Randy Dobnak has now started three games and allowed just one run. In fairness to Lynn and Bieber, Dobnak has not nearly been as impressive in other areas — his strikeout rate is basically nonexistent — but he has yet to allow a home run on the season. Amazingly, Dobnak actually lost the only game in which he allowed a run.

Max Scherzer (SP-WAS)
I mentioned the importance of Week 3 for the Washington Nationals in the Notable Matchups section, but the mountain to climb grows that-much-taller if Max Scherzer misses time. He left his most recent start after only one inning, but he has not yet been placed on the injured list. Two years ago, this would hardly be a concern for a pitcher who hadn’t started fewer than 30 games since his rookie season — in 2008. After an injury limited him to only 27 starts in 2019 and at age 36, Scherzer is swimming in dangerous waters. If he is able to make his next start, he actually lines up to pitch twice in Week 3.

Dylan Bundy (SP-LAA)
I have been writing about Dylan Bundy for months, but I can openly admit that I didn’t see this coming. After a complete game, one-hitter, Bundy improved to 2-1 on the year with a 2.08 ERA. The reason I had been targeting Bundy in the past was the shift from the Baltimore Orioles to the Los Angeles Angels and the potential for wins that such a shift brings. This is no longer the case. Bundy is winning games on his own and pitching his way into the upper tier for 2020.

Craig Kimbrel (RP-CHC)
Craig Kimbrel may have been one of the best closers of the last decade, but he is crumbling before our eyes. In four appearances, he has struck out only two batters and allowed seven earned runs. The problem is that his numbers aren’t skewed by one bad performance where the rest are mediocre; they have all been bad performances. It won’t be long before a change has to be made at the back-end of the Chicago Cubs’ bullpen.

Luis Patino (RP-SD)
I labeled Jo Adell a “fun” prospect in the Hitter Notes section, and Luis Patino gets the same tag for the pitchers. The San Diego Padres are turning to Patino to temporarily fortify the bullpen, even though the ultimate goal is to have him in the rotation. Time and necessity will obviously drive Patino’s role in 2020, but fantasy owners can take advantage of his strikeout potential right now.

Week 3 Hitter Matchup Ratings

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Mario Mergola is a featured writer at FantasyPros, as well as the creator and content-editor of Sporfolio. For more from Mario, check out his archive and follow him @MarioMergola.

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