Fantasy Baseball Weekly Planner: Week 9 (2021)
Only two teams are extreme ends of the games-scheduled spectrum. One plays just five games, and the other plays eight games. Everyone else falls in the middle with six or seven games.
Toronto Blue Jays vs. MIA (2), vs. HOU (3)
Short weeks are part of the schedule sometimes, and the Blue Jays draw the short straw next week. That’s not the end of the bad news for their hitters, though. They return to playing their home games at Sahlen Field in Buffalo, New York, a far less hitter-friendly venue than their temporary home in 2021, as I discussed for The Game Day. You’re not benching the studs from the Blue Jays, but consider using alternatives for their fringe hitter options if you have them.
Colorado Rockies vs. TEX (3), vs. OAK (3)
The Rockies are one of the clubs at the low-end of the middle with six games, but they’re all at Coors Field. Visit the FantasyPros MLB Park factors page for a refresher on just how silly hitter-friendly Coors Field is. Their hitting matchups are ho-hum, too. Get your Rockies in your lineup.
Los Angeles Angels at SF (2), vs. SEA (4)
The Angels play two games at Oracle Park in San Francisco, meaning they’ll be without the services of a designated hitter. Shohei Ohtani has played 5.1 innings spread across four appearances in the outfield this year. Still, he’s yet to start a game there. Even in leagues with weekly lineup changes, I wouldn’t advise sitting him, given how incredible he’s playing. With Mike Trout out, could manager Joe Maddon and the organization be more willing to start Ohtani in the outfield to keep his potent bat in the lineup? We’ll find out next week.
Oakland Athletics at SEA (3), at COL (3)
The A’s visit Seattle for three games before a road trip to MLB’s premier hitting destination, Coors Field. They’re projected to face a pair of lefties in their three games at Coors Field. In leagues with daily lineup changes, gamers should file Chad Pinder’s name away as a streamer for those two games. According to FanGraphs, in 370 plate appearances against lefties since 2018, Pinder’s smacked 16 homers and slashed .263/.330/.457.
Texas Rangers at COL (3), vs. TB (3)
The Rangers are the other club visiting the Rockies for three games. It’s not all good news for their hitters, though. They close the week with three against the Rays, drawing white-hot starters Rich Hill and Tyler Glasnow in two of those games. Overall, it’s a mixed bag.
Boston Red Sox at HOU (4), at NYY (3)
The bad news for the Red Sox is they won’t enjoy any home cooking at hitter-friendly Fenway Park next week. That’s more than offset by a full complement of seven games and middle-of-the-road pitching matchups.
Cincinnati Reds vs. PHI (3), at STL (4)
The Reds kick the week off with three at Great American Ball Park, also known as Great American “Small” Park. It has the second-highest park factor for runs (1.106) and leads the way in park factor for dingers (1.347). Coupled with seven games on the docket next week, the outlook’s good for Cincinnati’s fantasy-relevant hitters.
Chicago White Sox @ CLE (4), vs. DET (4)
The Pale Hose sit atop the heap with eight games next week. As a recurring reminder, doubleheaders are seven innings this year, so they have six regulation nine-inning games and a pair of seven-inning games scheduled next week. Regardless, the volume’s robust. The pitching matchups are more good than bad as well. Stock is up for Chicago’s hitters next week.
Luke Voit (NYY)
Giancarlo Stanton (NYY)
Luke Voit’s going to miss significant time with a Grade 2 right oblique strain. The linked piece does provide positive news, though. Giancarlo Stanton is projected to be activated from the injured list for tonight’s contest.
Byron Buxton (MIN)
Byron Buxton is inching his way back from the injured list and could head out on a rehab assignment this week. Patrick Reusse of the Star Tribune projects a June 8 return to open a homestand against the Yankees.
Brandon Belt (SF)
Brandon Belt’s been dealing with a nagging mild oblique strain, and he’s finally hit the injured list. Alex Pavlovic reports for NBC Sports Bay Area that the injury will keep him out for 10-to-14 days.
Bryce Harper (PHI)
Bryce Harper was placed on the injured on Tuesday, retroactive to Sunday, with a bruised left forearm. Given the minor nature of the injury and the backdating of the injured list stint, gamers should stay abreast of news regarding his possible activation next week.
Noah Syndergaard (NYM)
Taijuan Walker (NYM)
Here’s your annual reminder that pitchers don’t all return from Tommy John surgery seamlessly. Noah Syndergaard is shut down from throwing for six weeks. After factoring in building his strength up after that, he won’t return from the injured list until August at the earliest, as Anthony DiComo reports for MLB.com. If you don’t need the injured list spot for another player, there’s no harm in holding Thor. However, he’s an immediate cut when the need to use it on another player surfaces, as his impact in 2021 will be minimal at best.
The news is more encouraging for Taijuan Walker. He’s scheduled to pitch tonight.
Framber Valdez (HOU)
All systems are about to be a go for Framber Valdez. He’ll toe the slab tonight. According to MiLB.com, he threw 54 pitches in his most recent rehab starts. Presumably, he’ll face a pitch limit in his first start. Coupled with it being his first start off of the injured list, my advice is to keep him on the bench for this turn and assess whether he’s worth using in his next start. However, he should be rostered universally.
Tony Gonsolin (LAD)
Tony Gonsolin tossed three scoreless innings at the Triple-A level in a rehab start on Sunday. He tossed 30 of 38 pitches for strikes. Barring news of a setback, he should be back in the Dodgers rotation soon, and gamers should be racing to the waiver wire to add him.
Whether you’re new to fantasy baseball or a seasoned pro, our Fantasy Baseball 101: Strategy Tips & Advice page is for you. You can get started with our Sabermetrics Glossary or head to a more advanced strategy – like Maximizing Your Potential in Multi-Lineup Contests – to learn more.