Week 17 Quick Grades (2021 Fantasy Baseball)
Greetings, friends, and welcome to Week 17 of the Fantasy Baseball Quick Grades series. The unofficial “second half” (post-All-Star break period) is underway, and we’re already starting to see players moved ahead of next week’s MLB trade deadline. Rich Hill is now a Met, Nelson Cruz is a Ray, and tons of other notable players such as Max Scherzer, Trevor Story, Joey Gallo, everyone on the Cubs, and many more continue to pop up in trade rumors. But you’re here for the Grades, so let’s get to it.
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:
First up, the 90s: Tim Anderson, Javier Baez, Bryce Harper, Kyle Tucker, Jorge Polanco, Teoscar Hernandez, and Freddie Freeman. Many other players just missed the coveted 90.0 mark, including our old friend Robbie Grossman and a couple of Nats, Trea Turner and Juan Soto. A reminder to those who still may be relatively new to this series: these grades are not intended to be the end all be all for your weekly lineup decisions. We’re merely grading players based on recent performance and upcoming matchups. This should help you find streamers and make lineup decisions between players you’re trying to decide between. It doesn’t mean you should start Ronald Torreyes over Manny Machado just because Torreyes has a higher grade. Got it? Good.
Now, let’s get to the rest of the Week 17 grades and notes.
Week 17 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 Minnesota Twins lead the way in terms of Matchups grade, and that's a big reason why Jorge Polanco was able to top 90.0 and Max Kepler was knocking down the door at 89.63. Trevor Larnach doesn't grade out well this week, but he might be worth a flier in standard leagues based on these matchups alone.
- Other teams to target for streamers: Chicago White Sox, Toronto Blue Jays.
- The New York Mets play eight games this week, and their matchups are about average compared to the rest of the week.
Fades of the Week
- The Cleveland Indians/Guardians, Miami Marlins, St. Louis Cardinals, and Texas Rangers all only play five games this week, but the Marlins and Rangers have excellent Matchups grades.
- The Atlanta Braves play a whopping eight games this week, but their matchups aren't great.
- The San Francisco Giants have the lowest Matchups grade thanks to a schedule that lines them up to face Julio Urias, Walker Buehler, David Price, Framber Valdez, Zack Greinke, and Luis Garcia this week.
- Juan Soto has been the hottest hitter on the planet since the All-Star break, and his .663 wOBA over the last 10 days is downright absurd. But look at these other wOBA leaders. There are some surprising names on this list:
Highest wOBA since the All-Star break:
🥇 Juan Soto, .663
🔥 Freddie Freeman, .574
🍻 Charlie Blackmon, .557
🤯 Hunter Dozier, .550
👀 Josh Rojas, .528
🍦 Rafael Devers, .520
🐻❄️ Pete Alonso, .512
🐍 Pavin Smith, .504#NATITUDE #ForTheA #Rockies #TogetherRoyal #RattleOn #LGM
— mike Maher. (@mikeMaher) July 24, 2021
- Three players graded out below 50.0 this week: Steven Duggar (44.25), Carlos Correa (47.18), and Jarred Kelenic (47.83). Kelenic's season has been wildly disappointing for such a highly-touted prospect. He tore it up in the minors but looks lost at the big league level. He has faced a ton of lefties coming out of the break, which isn't helping him.
- Just above 50.0 is Cody Bellinger, who also looks completely lost and now may be dealing with another hamstring injury. Monitor that one heading into Monday.
- The Cubs have to be happy with how Javier Baez is performing while they dangle his name in trade discussions.
- If Shohei Ohtani and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. slow down and the Angels and Blue Jays miss the playoffs, could Rafael Devers be an MVP candidate? Through 94 games, Devers has a .939 OPS with 66 runs scored, 26 doubles, 26 home runs, 79 RBI, and three stolen bases.
Week 17 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).
- I gave Kyle Muller an 80 because of his two-start status and matchups against the Mets and Brewers, but that 80 feels more like it should be a 100. I'm starting him everywhere.
- John Means got knocked around a bit in his first start back after a lengthy stint on the injured list. That isn't unusual for a pitcher coming back after such a long layoff, but I do have some concerns there (notably that big dip in spin rates). I gave him a 60 here because I AM starting him in the majority of leagues, but I do feel a little icky about it.
- I like Daniel Lynch as a pitching prospect. I do not like the idea of starting him this week against the Blue Jays in Toronto. Nope.
- I typically fade Shohei Ohtani in these pitcher grades just because I'm rarely going to take his bat out of the lineup in weekly leagues where you can't move him back and forth. But Ohtani being a two-start pitcher in Week 17 makes this a more difficult decision. I gave him a 50 here, which is essentially a shrug in this scenario. If you need the starts, start him.
Shohei Ohtani is currently lined up to be a two-start pitcher in Week 17 pic.twitter.com/yqit6kUgDV
— mike Maher. (@mikeMaher) July 24, 2021
- Alex Cobb is someone I featured in this week's Statcast Review. He left his start yesterday with a blister, so we'll have to wait and see if he will be able to make his next start or if he is going to miss time.
- We'll see what happens on Sunday, but there's no way I am starting Carlos Carrasco until we see him on the mound at least once or twice this season. The Mets don't even seem to be sure what they want to do with Carrasco, and his rehab start last week in Triple-A went...poorly. He'll remain on my bench for now.
- Joe Ross hasn't pitched since July 4th due to elbow discomfort. Prior to landing on the injured list, Ross had thrown three straight quality starts, striking out 26 batters over 20 innings. I'm avoiding in standard leagues but may roll the dice in anything deeper.
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.