Week 9 Quick Grades (2021 Fantasy Baseball)
Greetings, friends, and welcome to Week 9 of the Fantasy Baseball Quick Grades series. We have officially made it through the first two months of the season. Batting average continues to be down, but things normalized a bit in May after a strange April (other than the no-hitters, of course). As the weather warms up, it’s likely we’ll continue to see an uptick in offense. Fingers crossed, but we have also had very few COVID situations over the last couple of weeks. Let’s hope that trend continues.
I went over how the grades for this series are calculated in Week 1, and I’ll link to that breakdown every week rather than filling this space with a lengthy explanation every time. If you’re interested in knowing my process or just want to talk baseball, feel free to reach out on Twitter @mikeMaher. I reply to Tweets, and my DMs are open. Here’s a link to the Week 1 piece with the full Quick Grades breakdown:
Now, for Week 9. You’ll see a familiar face atop the grades. It isn’t the first time he has been there, and it probably won’t be the last. But other than Xander Bogaerts, the top of the rankings is filled with fun surprises. After a quiet start, Kyle Tucker is quietly on pace for 30 home runs and 15 stolen bases. And other than Tatis, Bogaerts, and Tucker, the other two players to receive 90+ grades are…Brad Miller and Amed Rosario? Wild times, my friends! And after Randy Arozarena at sixth overall and 89.93 is Edmundo Sosa, a player most fantasy managers had probably never heard of before last week.
— mike Maher. (@mikeMaher) May 29, 2021
Now, let’s get to the rest of Week 9 grades and notes.
Note: This table is three pages (see the button on the top right) and is sortable and searchable, so feel free to look around!
Week 9 Hitter Grades
The Brewers play six games and have excellent matchups throughout the week. On Monday, they face off against either Jose Urena or a spot starter (he left his last start with forearm cramping). After facing Matthew Boyd on Tuesday, they get Seth Frankoff, Jon Duplantier, Merrill Kelly, and Matt Peacock. As of this writing, Keston Hiura is just 1-for-12 since being recalled from Triple-A. He's available in more than 50% of leagues. Is next week the week he turns things around? Kolten Wong is another player worth targeting on waivers who is available in approximately 70% of leagues. Stay away from Jackie Bradley Jr., though.
If you're looking to claim or buy low on any #Brewers hitters, this is the weekend to do it. Their matchups next week:
Mon: Jose Urena / spot starter
Tue: Matthew Boyd
Thur: Seth Frankoff
Fri: Jon Duplantier
Sat: Merrill Kelly
Sun: Matt Peacock
Those bats are about to wake up.
— mike Maher. (@mikeMaher) May 29, 2021
Fades of the Week
The Tigers get six games this week, and they don't have many favorable matchups based on these projected opposing starters: Corbin Burnes, Adrian Houser, Dallas Keuchel, Lance Lynn, Lucas Giolito, and Carlos Rodon.
- At this point, I think we can just pencil Fernando Tatis Jr. into the Top 5 every week unless that shoulder falls off.
- When I saw Brad Miller this high on Quick Grades, I had to double-check the math and the data and make sure I didn't make a mistake somewhere. I knew he was playing well and socked a few dingers this week, but I didn't realize he has a 1.106 OPS over the last week. He has also played both corner outfield spots, second base, third base, and first base over the last two weeks, which is good for his potential positional versatility in fantasy and for his playing time. The Phillies have a hole in right field and a struggling Alec Bohm at third base, so Miller should continue to see regular playing time as long as he continues to hit. He'll be a popular target on waivers this weekend.
- Remember when Amed Rosario was buried in Cleveland? Well, Andres Gimenez is in the minors and Rosario is the everyday shortstop again, hitting in the two-hole. Over the last week, he has a 1.064 OPS. For fantasy managers looking for short-term runs and stolen bases, Rosario is your guy. He did miss a couple of games with a bruised hand, though, so keep an eye on that.
Week 9 Pitcher Grades
Below, you'll see a grid of probable starters, their matchups, and their grades. The grade is on a scale of 0-100, and here's what those numbers mean.
These grades assume you are in 10 leagues of varying size and format, with a good mix of shallow, deeper, scoring, and roster/lineup sizes. The score for all of these players corresponds to how many leagues I would start a pitcher in if I had him in every league. So, a pitcher with a score of 100 means I would start him in all 10 leagues. A pitcher with a score of 50 means I would start him in five leagues. Zero, zero leagues. Got it? Great.
Note: The starters below are grouped alphabetically by team and schedule, and the table is two pages to keep the length manageable (you can click to see the second page on the top right).
- Drew Smyly is scheduled to make two starts next week. As of this writing, though, he is also lined up to pitch against Stephen Strasburg and Trevor Bauer. That could very well change as a result of this weekend's weather, but I'm only starting him in a league where I am really desperate for some innings.
- I don't necessarily love the matchups for Garrett Richards and Nick Pivetta, but they have both been pitching better than many anticipated and both get two starts next week. The Statcast data isn't great for Richards, but he has ditched his sinker and is throwing his curveball a ton. For now, his fastball-slider-curveball pitch mix is working.
- Kyle Hendricks has thrown three straight quality starts and gets two starts next week. There are still some concerns there, and the matchups aren't great, but you didn't draft Hendricks to keep him on the bench. Let it ride and put him in your lineups this week.
- Jon Gray is a pitcher I wrote about in a recent Statcast Review, but for more positive reasons. Gray has allowed just four barrels in 152 batted ball events. He has been leaning on his slider more in 2021, and the early returns have been excellent (.190 batting average against and an even better .182 xBA). I'm grabbing him in leagues now for two reasons: 1. I'm hoping to ride this current wave for a few starts, and 2. He SHOULD get traded to a contender (and away from Coors Field) this Summer.
- David Price looked good this week as an opener, but that limits his value unless he can go five innings. I'm starting him in my daily lineup leagues that have deeper rosters, but that's about it.
- Through 11 starts, Marlins starter Pablo Lopez has six quality starts, has allowed two earned runs or fewer in NINE of those 11 starts, has a 2.71 ERA, and is just 1-3 on the year. That's just some brutal bad luck that Jacob deGrom can relate to. This week, he gets two starts, and I'm starting him everywhere, even though one of the starts is against the Blue Jays on the road. I'll take the solid ratios and pray for wins. I am NOT starting Elieser Hernandez in his first start.
Update: #Marlins SP Pablo Lopez allowed two earned runs over 7 IP yesterday and ended up with another no-decision.
Through 11 starts, Lopez now has:
⚾️ 6 quality starts,
2️⃣ 2 ER or fewer in NINE of his 11 starts
✅ 2.71 ERA
😡 and is just 1-3 on the year.#JuntosMiami
— mike Maher. (@mikeMaher) May 28, 2021
- The Yankees starters received some low grades for this week. That's because we don't know how many innings Michael King is going to throw, and I don't love the idea of streaming him against the Rays in Yankee Stadium. Jordan Montgomery gets a 30 because of his appeal as a two-start starter. Cole gets his usual 100. But Deivi Garcia, Domingo German, and Jameson Taillon at home against the Red Sox? Nope. No thanks.
That's it for this week. Again, if you have any questions, feedback, or requests, hit me up on Twitter!
If you want to dive deeper into fantasy baseball, be sure to check out our award-winning slate of Fantasy Baseball Tools as you navigate your season. From our Lineup Assistant - which provides your optimal lineup based on accurate consensus projections - to our Waiver Wire Assistant - that allows you to quickly see which available players will improve your team and by how much - we've got you covered this fantasy baseball season.
Mike Maher is an editor and featured writer at FantasyPros and BettingPros. For more from Mike, check out his archive, follow him on Twitter @MikeMaher, and visit his Philadelphia Eagles blog, The Birds Blitz.