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20 Things to Watch: Week 5 (2023 Fantasy Baseball)

20 Things to Watch: Week 5 (2023 Fantasy Baseball)

With the season just beginning, it is important to look at some important storylines and aspects this week to be ahead of the curve and gain an edge on your league mates.

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20 Things to Watch in Week 5

Week 5 Schedule Notes

The following team has just five games this week:

  • Texas Rangers (vs ARI, at LAA)

The following teams have seven games:

  • Boston Red Sox (vs. TOR, at PHI)
  • Toronto Blue Jays (at BOS, at PIT)
  • Atlanta Braves (at NYM, at MIA, vs. BAL)
  • New York Mets (vs. ATL, at DET, vs. COL)
  • Washington Nationals (vs. CHC, at ARI)
  • Chicago Cubs (at WAS, vs. MIA)

Guardians of the Galaxy

The Guardians called up two top pitching prospects, Logan Allen and Tanner Bibee. Both looked really good in their first starts. Both showed good stuff and have really good command. They could cement their way into the rotation by the time either Triston McKenzie or Aaron Civale is ready, especially with Cal Quantrill struggling currently. They are must pick-ups this weekend if you need pitching.

Pfaadt Time?

Brandon Pfaadt is one of the top pitching prospects in baseball, and he is pitching well in AAA if you don’t include a rough first outing. With Madison Bumgarner now gone, it is a matter of time before Pfaadt is up, and he should make an immediate impact for fantasy managers. He is a must-pick-up as a stash play.

Kikuchi Kicking

Yusei Kikuchi is pitching really well, throwing 27 innings with a 3.00 ERA and a 26.4% strikeout rate this season. Kikuchi has been fools gold most of his career, sucking people like me in only to disappoint them in season. He is still giving up too many homers, but the change has been that he is not walking guys, which keeps those homers as solo shots. I think this is probably a selling point, but he is usable in good matchups if you can’t find a buyer.

Drury Hill

Brandon Drury was struggling to start the season, but since the Angels started a series against the A’s on Monday, he has been on fire, hitting .526/.591/1.368 with four home runs and 12 RBI. Drury has been dropped in a lot of shallower leagues and should be rostered for this hot streak, especially with his positional flexibility, which is so helpful.

Duran Duran

Since being recalled, Jarren Duran is crushing the ball for the Boston Red Sox, hitting .436/.455/.718 with a home run and two stolen bases. Duran is a former top prospect that struggled in his Major League stints because of high strikeout rates and a lack of patience at the plate. The poor skills are still there, as he is striking out 27% of the time, but he’s making really good zone contact. If he can keep up the contact, there is a chance he breaks out.

DeJong Is Back

Since coming off of the IL, Paul DeJong has been on fire, hitting .400/.429/.800 with two home runs in six games. DeJong has always hit the ball hard, but his issues with strikeouts seem to always catch up with him. He is someone to monitor and even pick up in deeper formats, but I worry he will revert back to who he has always been

Smyly For Me

Drew Smyly has been fantastic so far this season, throwing 28 innings with a 3.21 ERA, a .93 WHIP and 27 strikeouts. Talent has never really been in question for Smyly, who has put up a number of good stretches in his 10-year career, but health has always been an issue. He has not thrown more than 130 innings in a season since 2016, and while he looks great now, it feels like this is a bomb waiting to blow up in our faces.

deGrom deGone?

Jacob deGrom left his start on Friday with forearm soreness which is often a precursor to Tommy John surgery. deGrom has had recurring elbow issues, and there has been a prevailing concern he would need another Tommy John surgery. He was then placed on the 15-day IL on Saturday. We should get more information soon, so this is something to monitor over the next week.

Going Baty

Since coming up, Brett Baty has been really good, hitting .333/.394/.467 with a home run in 10 games. The problem has been he is not playing every day but being a strong side platoon guy. As he hits the cover off the ball, it will be interesting to see how many opportunities Baty will get to hit lefties moving forward.

Joey Ortiz (SS – BAL)

Ortiz is a prospect of note with a good hit tool and decent speed. He profiles as a defense-first guy that could find himself playing regularly if he can make good enough contact. He is best reserved for deeper leagues but is someone to put on your watch list.

Braves New World

AJ Minter has been struggling of late as the closer of the Braves. If he continues to struggle, the Braves may turn to Nick Anderson, who has looked more like his former self this season. However, Raisel Iglesias is on a rehab assignment and is not expected to be out a ton longer, though the Braves have said he will not need to be ready to pitch on back-to-back nights upon his return. This is a situation to monitor over the next week.

Who Saves the Rangers?

It feels like there may be a changing of the guard in Texas with the closer situation down there. Jose Leclerc has been uneven this season, and Will Smith has been pretty good. New manager Bruce Bochy has a pretty long history with Smith, so while Leclerc is the main guy, it may not be long before Smith replaces him in Texas.

14-15. Streaming Options

Kyle Gibson at KC

A new pitch and a new park have old favorite Kyle Gibson pitching much better to start the season. He gets a great matchup against a struggling Royals offense in one of the best parks to pitch in in baseball, so he is worth considering streaming in most formats.

Seth Lugo vs. CIN

Lugo has been pretty good this season since moving from a reliever to a starter in San Diego. He has a 3.58 ERA with 26 strikeouts in 27.2 innings pitched. He gets a Reds team that is not very good in San Diego, which is a top-tier park to pitch in.

16-20. Two Start Recommendations

Jose Berrios (at BOS, at PIT)

In spite of a poor line, Berrios has been pitching really well as of late. He has looked like the guy that was drafted as a top-20 starter coming into last season. These aren’t great matchups, but I am willing to roll the dice on them.

Hayden Wesneski (at WAS, vs. MIA)

Wesneski struggled to start the year but has looked like the guy we thought he could be when he was lights out at the end of last season and in spring training. These are two amazing matchups that you have to use him for.

Drew Smyly (at WAS, vs MIA)

As I said above, Smyly has been fantastic this season, and now he gets the same two matchups as Wesneski, which makes him fantastic pick-up and flip after he cruises through Washington and Miami.

Joey Lucchesi (at DET, vs. COL)

Joey Lucchesi has been pitching well for the Mets, and with both Justin Verlander and Carlos Carrasco hurt, he has a chance to stick in the rotation for a while. The question becomes if he can continue to show good command. He has done a good job of not walking guys thus far and only has allowed one home run. If he can keep the ball in the yard, he could be a nice long-term streamer.

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