Week 14 Quick Grades (2021 Fantasy Baseball)
Greetings, friends, and welcome to Week 14 of the Fantasy Baseball Quick Grades series. We have officially made it through the first half of this season. I hope all of your fantasy teams are at least staying competitive as we head into the dog days of Summer and the incoming distraction that is the NFL. This is our last Quick Grades before the All-Star break. There won’t be a Quick Grades next week because of the short week, but I’ll see you after the break!
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:
I tweaked the formula a little bit this week, so you’ll see some higher and lower grades in the Matchups section. This is accounted for in an adjustment to the overall grade, so you shouldn’t see too much of a week-to-week difference. You’ll just notice more variance in the Matchups section if you compare this week to the previous 13 or so weeks. Just an update to the process that you probably don’t care about, but I’m all about transparency. At the top of the leaderboard with grades above 90, we have Whit Merrifield, Fernando Tatis Jr. (as usual), Ozzie Albies, Steven Duggar, Trevor Story, Bo Bichette, Trea Turner, Bryce Harper, and Manny Machado. Turner cracked the 90 mark despite having a Matchups grade of 10, the lowest given this week.
Now, let’s get to the rest of the Week 14 grades and notes.
Week 14 Hitter Grades
Note: This table is three pages (see the button on the top right) and is sortable and searchable, so feel free to look around!
- The Arizona Diamondbacks have the best Matchups grade this week, with a 25. They're scheduled to face six right-handers, so Josh Reddick is someone working looking at in deeper formats. Christian Walker is available in more than 70% of leagues, and Josh Rojas is available in more than 50% of leagues.
- The Toronto Blue Jays have the second-highest Matchups grade, but most of the Toronto offense is already rostered in most leagues.
- Andrew Vaughn has been heating back up AND actually playing recently. The White Sox play six games, with three at Minnesota and three at Baltimore, and they have five plus matchups out of the six for a Matchups grade of 24, the third-highest this week.
Fades of the Week
- No team is scheduled to player fewer than six games this week.
- The Washington Nationals are playing seven games but are scheduled to face Joe Musgrove, Ryan Weathers, Chris Paddack, Yu Darvish, Sammy Long, Anthony DeSclafani, and Kevin Gausman. Look elsewhere.
- The Miami Marlins play seven games this week, all of them at home. They host the Dodgers for four games and the Braves for three, and their Matchups grade of 11 is behind only the Nationals.
- Jesus Aguilar started the year off strong with a ton of RBI, but he has been streaky and has been slowly losing playing time to Garrett Cooper. His 47.15 is the low grade of the week.
- Trey Mancini homered on Friday but has otherwise been ice-cold at the plate. His 11.50 wOBA grade is the same as Baltimore's Matchups grade, and both of those contribute to Mancini's overall grade of 50.85, which is near the bottom of this list.
- Bryce Harper has three home runs in his last three games. He also has 14 home runs on the season, and every one of them has been a solo shot. Brutal.
Bryce Harper hit his 14th home run of the season tonight. Every single one of them has been a solo home run. #RingTheBell
— mike Maher. (@mikeMaher) July 3, 2021
Week 14 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).
- Max Fried has somewhat quietly been on a strong run. He lowered his ERA by nearly a full run in June thanks to three quality starts and a five-inning win over the Mets in which he allowed two earned runs after returning from the injured list. In Week 14, he gets the Pirates and Marlins on the road in a two-start week. I've been hard on Fried this year, but I'm regaining confidence in him and am firing him up in most of my leagues for these two starts.
- This is another week to fade all of the Orioles' starters. Not only are they all, you know, not very good, but they have six games against the Blue Jays and White Sox this week. Even if you are desperate in deeper leagues, look elsewhere for streaming options.
- Eduardo Rodriguez has thrown three straight quality starts to lower his ERA from 6.21 to 5.42 on the season. That still isn't very good, obviously, but his FIP, xFIP, SIERA, and xERA are 3.48, 3.38, 3.48, and 3.38, respectively. I've been avoiding him in recent weeks outside of deeper leagues while waiting for things to hopefully level out, and it looks like they finally are.
Eduardo Rodriguez's FIP, xFIP, SIERA, and xERA are all significantly lower than his actual ERA and are surprisingly similar:
— mike Maher. (@mikeMaher) July 3, 2021
- Luis Castillo has four quality starts in a row and gets starts against the Royals and Brewers this week. There is always risk with Castillo at this point, as his 5.08 ERA and 10 losses indicate, but he is finally rewarding fantasy managers who held onto him through his rough start to the year.
- Jon Gray gets two starts this week, with one excellent matchup (Diamondbacks) and not not-so-good matchup (Padres). But both starts are on the road away from Coors Field, at least.
- Aaron Nola got lit up for seven runs on nine hits in his last start, but he did manage to strike out 11 batters in the process. The Phillies are a mess pretty much across the board right now, and Nola has been incredibly inconsistent. There is risk, but I'm starting Nola in most of my leagues because of his upside in a two-start league. I'd prefer a second matchup that wasn't the Red Sox in Fenway Park, but I don't make the schedule.
- Blake Snell, who was scratched from his last start and landed on the COVID-19 IL with an illness, starts at home against the Rockies this week. If he were on the road, especially in Coors Field, his grade would probably be half of what I have above.
- The year is 2021. Adam Wainwright is approximately 200 years old and has thrown six straight quality starts. He faces the Giants in San Francisco this week. The Giants are also really good somehow. Neither of them should be doing what they are doing in 2021, but they are. I have given up understanding how Wainwright is doing this. His expected numbers all back up what he's doing. His Statcast Page, while pretty meh, doesn't really have anything alarming other than his Whiff & and fastball velocity.
- In my latest Statcast Review, I was surprised to learn that Ryan Yarbrough still has the lowest Hard Hit % in the league, at 26.2%. Other starters in the Top 5 were Corbin Burnes (28.4%) and Zack Wheeler (29.8%).
That's it for this week. Again, if you have any questions, feedback, or requests, hit me up on Twitter!
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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.