Fantasy Baseball Weekly Planner: Week 2 (2021)
Every team is scheduled to play six or seven games next week. I’m throwing a half-dozen on here with favorable pitching matchups, hitter-friendly park factors on the docket, or a combination of both under the spotlight. The hitter notes and pitcher notes are loaded with injury news, too. Notably, one stud pitcher who got rocked in his first start makes an appearance.
Orioles vs. SEA (4), at TEX (3)
The Orioles have a collection of average to below-average starting pitchers lined up for a full seven-game week. Their first four games will be in their hitter and homer-friendly home park. Our three-year averages credit Oriole Park at Camden Yards with park factors of 1.022 for runs and 1.171 for homers. That’s the fourth-highest mark for home runs in the MLB!
Cleveland at CWS (4), at CIN (3)
Cleveland will play seven games, but matchups with Lucas Giolito, Dallas Keuchel, and Lance Lynn could be tough. They’ll also lose the designated hitter’s services for three games at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati. I’m an admitted Franmil Reyes fanboy, but gamers in leagues with weekly lineup changes should bench him. The tough matchups early in the week are one thing, but the potential to ride the pine for three games in Cincinnati is legitimate. He only played five innings in the field last year.
Rockies at LAD (3), vs. NYM (3)
Here’s your weekly look at the Rockies. They play one series on the road with three aces — Clayton Kershaw, Trevor Bauer, and Walker Buehler — lined up to give them fits, and they conclude the week with three games at home. You can sit your fringe fantasy options from the Rockies.
Astros vs. DET (3), at SEA (3)
Houston’s offense is on fire out of the chute. They’re especially lethal against lefties, and they’ll presumably face three next week. The pitching matchups are soft. They should continue raking at a high level.
Brewers vs. CHC (3), vs. PIT (3)
The Brewers are home for a pair of three-game series next week. American Family Field boosts homers with a park factor of 1.080 for dingers. They’re slated to face only right-handed starters, and Kyle Hendricks is the only obviously tough matchup. Adbert Alzolay is the only other possibly challenging matchup. The all-righty probable starters make Travis Shaw a viable deep-league option, and a resurgent Omar Narvaez is an option in single-catcher leagues as shallow as 12-team mixers.
Mets vs. PHI (4), at COL (3)
The good outweighs the bad for the Mets next week. The bad news is three tricky matchups — they’ll face Aaron Nola, Zack Wheeler, and Zach Eflin. The good news is that they’ll play a full seven-game week, including three games at Coors Field. Fire up your Metropolitans. All seven probable starters on their schedule are right-handed, and that’s especially noteworthy for Dominic Smith and Brandon Nimmo. Smith sat against the only lefty, Matt Moore, they’ve faced this year. The Mets also dropped Nimmo to eighth in the order for that game. The stock is up for both hitters next week.
Fernando Tatis Jr. (SD)
Tatis aggravated a shoulder injury he’s been playing through, and he has been diagnosed with a subluxation in his left shoulder with a partially torn labrum. He’s on the IL, but the good news is that he won’t go under the knife. The bad news is that he’ll still miss significant time. How long he’ll be out is unclear, but gamers who want to know more about the injury should check out Dr. Rodney Benner’s analysis for CBS Sports. Gamers will have to hold him and hope for the best.
Ke’Bryan Hayes (PIT)
Hayes hasn’t yet progressed to catching the ball or taking swings, so gamers would be wise to plan on being without him for this scoring period.
Tim Anderson (CWS)
It looks like gamers won’t be in the same boat with Anderson, as the White Sox are reportedly “confident” he can return from the IL as soon as he’s eligible next Thursday. I’d suggest sitting him in leagues with weekly changes. At best, he’ll miss half the week, and a setback could sideline him longer.
George Springer (TOR)
Springer’s debut in a regular-season game for the Blue Jays is on hold yet again. He opened the year on the IL with an oblique strain, and he’s recovering from a low-grade strain in his quad now. Gamers should keep him on their bench or in an IL spot. With the start-and-stop nature of getting ready for the season Springer has endured, he could have some rust to shake off even once he’s activated from the IL.
Eduardo Rodriguez (BOS)
E-Rod missed the entire 2020 season recovering from myocarditis, and he was scratched from Opening Day starter duties due to dead-arm. However, his long-awaited return to the hill on Thursday was a success. ESPN reports that he reached 94.7 mph in his first start, and he was sharp, as he earned a win by spinning five innings of three-run, four-hit, zero-walk baseball with seven strikeouts. He threw 79 pitches, a good indication he could be stretched out to triple-digit pitches as soon as his next start. I view him as a top-50 starting pitcher going forward.
James Paxton (SEA)
Paxton’s season is almost certainly over. MLB Network Insider Jon Heyman reports that Tommy John surgery has been recommended for the oft-injured lefty. There’s no need to wait for further confirmation; cut him loose.
Luis Castillo (CIN)
Ending this week’s piece on a high note, Castillo bounced back from a drubbing on Opening Day. He tossed seven scoreless innings against the Pirates on Wednesday, allowing only four hits and one walk with five strikeouts.
Equally important, his fastball velocity gained a tick from his first turn. His average fastball velocity last year was 97.5 mph, and it was 96.5 mph in 2019. In the opener, it was 94.8 mph. The steep drop generated some buzz in fantasy circles, but he was back up to 95.8 mph in his most recent start. While that’s still down from 2020, the step forward is promising for his rest-of-season outlook.
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