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10 Burning Questions: Steven Kwan, Akil Baddoo, Alek Manoah (2022 Fantasy Baseball)

10 Burning Questions: Steven Kwan, Akil Baddoo, Alek Manoah (2022 Fantasy Baseball)

We are through the first weekend of the season and looking forward to Week 2 of the fantasy season.

Every Tuesday, I’ll address 10 burning questions that I’m looking either for answers to during the week or questions that may help fantasy managers navigate the week-to-week grind of their team.

FantasyPros My Playbook

What’s up with the short starts?

No, your imagination isn’t running wild. Only 47.5 percent of starts heading into Tuesday have gone at least five innings, which is the threshold for wins in fantasy.

That’s … not great!

It should be expected, though, with the delayed start to the season and shortened Spring Training. Pitchers will need to continue ramping up during the season, making for a messy couple of weeks from a fantasy perspective.

I wouldn’t mind using a piggybacker bulk reliever in the short term to pick up some cheap wins until players are stretched out more.

What is Steven Kwan’s (CF – CLE) outlook?

I’ve gotten questions about Kwan and if people should pick him up. Of course, it always depends on who you are dropping. There’s no denying how extraordinary Kwan has been and that he was criminally undervalued heading into the season, but you’re not dropping any big slow starter for him.

The contact rate is fantastic, and fantasy managers should roster him in just about all leagues. But the profile doesn’t do a lot to get you excited unless you like Nick Madrigal (2B – CHC), Luis Arraez (2B,3B, LF – MIN), and Michael Brantley (LF, RF – HOU).

I don’t think you can actually sell him for a lot, but if someone comes to you with interest, I’d be more than open to flipping him.

Why do the Tigers hate Akil Baddoo (LF, CF – DET)?

I wish I knew, random person who asked the question. OK, it was me. I’m the question asker.

After a solid spring where it looked like Baddoo would be the leadoff hitter, he’s been either sitting in the No. 7 spot, No. 9 spot, or on the bench. It’s not ideal for when Riley Greene (CF – DET) comes back.

I’m still in on Baddoo, and I think there’s a buying opportunity here, but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t slightly concerned and very annoyed.

Closer By Committee?

As of this writing, twenty-one teams have had saves so far in the 2022 season. Of those 21 teams, 27 different players have saves.

Welcome to the world of saves, folks. It could be an early-season trend, but it could be a headache trying to figure out the Mariners, Rays, Twins, Reds, and other up-in-the-air situations.

Who are some players rostered in 50 percent of leagues or fewer I should target?

Here are 10 hitters and pitchers who you should add to your watchlist who are available in 21-50 percent of leagues (using Yahoo rostership numbers).

Hitters:

Jo Adell (OF – LAA)

Jeremy Pena (SS – HOU)

Ramon Laureano (OF – OAK)

Connor Joe (1B/OF – COL)

Jesus Sanchez (OF – MIA)

Pitchers:

Carlos Carrasco (SP – NYM)

Kyle Wright (SP – ATL)

Zach Eflin (SP – PHI)

Matt Brash (SP – SEA)

Jameson Taillon (SP – NYY)

What about 20 percent?

Like above, here are 10 hitters and pitchers rostered in 20 percent of Yahoo leagues or fewer who should be on your deep-league radar.

Hitters:

Jorge Mateo (2B/SS/OF – BAL)

Santiago Espinal (2B/3B – TOR)

Bryson Stott (SS – PHI)

Nick Senzel (OF – CIN)

Danny Jansen (C – TOR)

Pitchers:

MacKenzie Gore (SP – SD)

Merrill Kelly (SP – ARI)

Spencer Strider (RP – ATL)

Eric Lauer (SP – MIL)

Nick Martinez (SP – SD)

What’s Behind Alek Manoah’s (SP – TOR) Step Forward?

After an offensive performance for the ages, the Blue Jays’ pitching staff wasn’t carrying its weight. Manoah changed that Monday night in the Bronx.

Manoah was lights out, featuring a healthy dose of his fastball and slider.

But it was his changeup that caught my eye at the start.

Manoah establishing his changeup as a go-to third pitch with a high Whiff% would elevate him into the ace-caliber tier.

Who Has You Concerned?

I pretty much don’t worry about anyone early on who I wasn’t concerned about in Spring Training. But a few players I’m slightly worried about are:

  • Akil Baddoo: Lineup placement among the Tigers and questionable role when Greene returns
  • Shane Bieber (SP – CLE): Coming off a shoulder injury, the low velocity isn’t exactly encouraging
  • Victor Robles (CF – WSH): The dude is trying to bunt and is just a lost cause
  • Cody Bellinger (CF – LAD): I still remain slightly optimistic, but him doing absolutely nothing in Coors Field is frustrating

Who Should I Stream Against?

I’ll be looking at wRC+ and wOBA throughout the year for teams to stream against, but the data is pointless right now. Cleveland is a top-three team, and Boston is the worst team in team wRC+. Oakland? Yeah, they are above average right now.

A reminder not to panic or overreact so soon.

I’m still targeting Arizona, Baltimore, Pittsburgh, Cleveland, and Oakland as my top teams to stream pitchers against.

Do You Prefer to Start a Pitcher in Coors or Against Toronto?

Ugh, this is tough. Why would someone ask this?

Chaos, that’s why.

That Jays’ lineup is just brutal. Jameson Taillon looked good against them, but they don’t have a weakness in it, and it should lead the league in scoring at the season’s end.

But even with that, I’d rather stream my pitcher against the Jays than stream my pitcher in Coors Field with the limited information we have.

I hate you, Michael Waterloo, for making me choose.

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Michael Waterloo is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Michael, check out his archive and follow him @MichaelWaterloo.

 

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