Fantasy Baseball Weekly Planner: Week 4 (2021)
Five teams are saddled with a fantasy baseball week-four low of five games, and all are highlighted in the notable matchups section. A whopping 15 teams are scheduled to play a week-high seven games, and a few of them make the cut for analysis. The player notes this week have a decidedly hitter-heavy lean.
New York Mets vs. BOS (2), @ PHI (3)
A short week is a bummer, but facing at least four right-handed pitchers is favorable for most of their lineup. Three games at homer-friendly Citizens Bank Park (1.202 for homers, third highest in MLB, per our park factors) helps ease the sting of being scheduled for five games, too.
Pittsburgh Pirates vs. KC (2), vs. STL (3)
The Pirates are playing all five of their games at home next week. PNC Park has the 10th-lowest park factor for runs (0.966) and the seventh-lowest mark for homers (0.878). Knock all of their hitters down a peg next week.
San Diego Padres @ ARI (2), vs. SF (3)
The Padres are scheduled to face at least four right-handed pitchers, and Kevin Gausman is the best of the bunch. Their pitching matchups are favorable for their hitters.
Toronto Blue Jays vs. WSH (2), vs. ATL (3)
A short week coupled with drawing Max Scherzer, Charlie Morton, and Ian Anderson — who’s coming off of his best start of the year — is rough. On the plus side, all five games are at their temporary home in Dunedin, Florida. According to Baseball America’s 2019 park factors and ESPN’s 2021 park factors, the park factors there are extremely beneficial for hitters.
Washington Nationals @ TOR (2), vs. MIA (3)
The Nationals will play two games at hitter-friendly Dunedin next week, too, picking up the services of a designated hitter for those contests. Their other three games are at their own run-scoring and homer amplifying park. Unfortunately, their lineup will have a notable absence — more on that to come.
Boston Red Sox @ NYM (2), @ TEX (4)
The Red Sox are the only team with six games in this section. I included them to explicitly point out J.D. Martinez has already played the outfield in three games, starting two. This isn’t a Nelson Cruz situation.
Atlanta Braves vs. CHC (4), @ TOR (3)
The Braves are the other club visiting Dunedin. They’ll play three games there following a four-game series at home, providing them cushy hitting conditions and a designated hitter. Truist Park slightly boosts runs (1.060) while taking a bite out of homers (0.927). Their pitching matchups are mostly ho-hum. Add in the seven scheduled games, and Atlanta’s hitters get a nudge up in value. Rather than devote an entire write-up to Ronald Acuna Jr. below, I’ll mention here that he’s expected to return from an abdominal strain for tonight’s contest.
Chicago Cubs @ ATL (4), @ CIN (3)
The Cubs are scheduled to play seven games, and their hitters get a further value boost from three games in MLB’s most homer-friendly park, Great American Ball Park (1.347 park factor for homers).
Colorado Rockies @ SF (3), @ ARI (4)
According to FanGraphs, the Rockies rank dead last in wRC+ (70) overall and tied for last in wRC+ (51) on the road. Not even seven games provide relief from the stench their wretched offense is emitting.
Houston Astros vs. SEA (4), @ TB (3)
The Astros rank tied for third in wRC+ (131) against lefties this year, and they project to face at least five of them in their seven-game week. They should eat next week.
New York Yankees @ BAL (4), vs. DET (3)
Next week has a get-right feel for the Bronx Bombers, squaring off against a collectively below-average group of probable pitchers. Additionally, Detroit’s relievers rank dead last in ERA.
Juan Soto (WAS)
An injured list stint is never ideal, but Soto’s taking a positive outlook. He’s sidelined with a shoulder strain and first able to rejoin the team on April 30. Gamers can keep him in an IL spot or on benches and revisit his health at the end of next week.
Anthony Rendon (LAA)
Rendon’s headed in the right direction. He began some baseball activity earlier in the week and reportedly came out of it “feeling good.”
Anthony Rendon (groin) began some baseball activity today. He hit off a tee and did some light throwing and fielding work. #Angels report he came out of it feeling good.
He’s eligible to come off the IL Weds, but obviously he’s going to need at least a little longer.
– Jeff Fletcher (@JeffFletcherOCR) April 19, 2021
He’s eligible to come off of the injured list whenever the Angels and their medical staff deem him good to go. In leagues with weekly lineup changes, gamers will want to monitor his status throughout the weekend and go ahead and insert him in starting lineups as soon as he’s activated.
George Springer (TOR)
Gamers who drafted Springer might finally be able to use him soon.
Needless to say, they could really use him.
– Mike Wilner (@Wilnerness) April 18, 2021
If you have alternatives in leagues with daily changes, consider giving him a chance to shake the rust off before moving him into your starting lineup. Get him in immediately in leagues with weekly lineup changes, though.
Ke’Bryan Hayes (PIT)
Hayes is nearing a return, too. However, the alternate site game he was supposed to see action in earlier this week was postponed due to weather.
Another Ke’Bryan Hayes update: Shelton said this game was cancelled, too.
“We’ll just have to wait and see how it goes.” https://t.co/aS3uemNOGB
– Gerard Gilberto (@Gerard_Gilberto) April 22, 2021
A time frame for his return should become more clear after playing in an alternate site game.
Franmil Reyes (CLE)
There’s no injury news to report here. On the contrary, Reyes is in this section for positive news. Last week, I preached caution using Reyes in leagues with weekly changes, with Cleveland scheduled to play a three-game series in a National League Park. The team’s designated hitter played only one game in the outfield last year. He’s already doubled that number this year, playing in two of three games in Cincinnati. File that info away for the next time Cleveland travels to a National League park.
Lance Lynn (CHW)
The White Sox placed Lynn on the injured list on Sunday (retroactive to Saturday) with a strained right trapezius, and manager Tony La Russa stated at the time, “we really believe he’ll miss one start, which should be Wednesday.” TLR has since doubled down on his initial statement.
Tony La Russa reiterates that the evaluation of Lance Lynn today was positive and they expect him to be back once 10 days on the IL are done
– James Fegan (@JRFegan) April 20, 2021
Barring news of a setback, gamers should be ready to use him next week.
Dinelson Lamet (SD)
Lamet was a polarizing player in drafts. The righty’s immense talent was apparent last year, but so was his injury risk after spending the offseason recovering from a UCL strain in his throwing elbow. He made his first start of the year on Wednesday afternoon, but he exited early with forearm tightness. Gamers should keep him on their bench while awaiting MRI results and more news, but it would also behoove them to prepare for the worst news.
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