It’s Wednesday, and you know what that means. I’ll be addressing 10 burning questions that I’m looking either for answers for during the week or questions that may help fantasy managers navigate the week-to-week grind of their team.
* You’ll notice three values for Shohei Ohtani: Hitter-Only, Pitcher-Only, Combined.
Fantasy Baseball Burning Questions
Is it OK to drop Jake McCarthy?
Not to pat myself on the shoulder, folks, but I’m going to do it. There’s a reason why in every single mock draft review and in my cheat sheet, I said to avoid McCarthy. On Tuesday, he was sent down to Triple-A.
Man, life comes at you fast.
Now, of course, it wouldn’t be the first time that a player was sent down and ended up coming back up later in the season to still put together a solid season. We saw it with Lourdes Gurriel a few seasons ago in Toronto.
But with the outfield options that Arizona has, and with his lack of sustained track record, I don’t know if I see a Jarred Kelenic-type revival for McCarthy. He’s fine to drop in all redraft leagues outside of NL-only formats.
Is Tanner Bibee a must-add player?
The Guardians are calling up their prized prospect for Wednesday’s game against the Colorado Rockies. Don’t worry, it’s at home in Cleveland – one of the most underrated cities in America.
There are always risks with rookie pitchers, but facing the lackluster Rockies – despite what they did to contact-king Cal Quantrill – is a perfect spot for a debut.
With how unpredictable pitching has been this season, I recommend going after Bibee in all leagues with 12-plus teams. The Guardians will be getting some arms back down the road, but that’s a down the road problem.
Bibbee has a 31.1 K% and a .151 average against in 15.1 Triple-A innings this season.
What’s up with J.T. Realmuto?
Realmuto has been off to an ice-cold start, slashing .247/.280/.429 with two home runs, four steals, and seven RBIs across 82 plate appearances.
That’s not exactly what you want by someone who was in the C1 conversation pre-season.
Realmuto is walking less, striking out more, and his quality of contact metrics are down (37% this year compared to 47.2% last year).
Well, a concern that I have with Realmuto is that he not only played in the World Series for the Phillies, which adds extra wear and tear for the extended season, but he turned around and played in the World Baseball Classic. It could just be a situation where his body hasn’t had the chance to fully recover.
I’m not worried about him for the long term, but we may see more suppressed numbers than we are used to from Realmuto this season, and it may take him a tad longer to get going than it normally does.
Has anyone been extremely lucky this season?
A few players have been, but it’s early still, so nothing really has stood out too much. But Hunter Renfroe and Harold Ramirez have had some power luck, as they both have positive 2.1 HR-xHR this year.
I have to put Graham Ashcraft in this camp, too, as he’s had fantastic surface numbers so far, but he’s below average in strikeout rate and he’s in the 17th percentile in Whiff%.
Justin Steele strikes out fewer than a batter an inning, and his .200 BABIP is the fifth-lowest in the league. I’m expecting some corrections to come his way.
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).
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.
Who are you encouraged by?
Quite a few players, actually. I’m looking forward to the point in the season where we can stop saying “it’s early,” because it feels like too much of a cop-out. But there are some encouraging signs that we can look at and apply early on.
Here are some players I’m encouraged by.
Jarred Kelenic (OF – SEA) – He hasn’t disappeared like he has before, as he’s continued to put together a solid stretch over the last few weeks – even with after the home run barrage.
Alek Thomas (OF – ARI) – He’s so close to breaking out, I can literally taste it. OK, figuratively, but still. The surface numbers are so-so, but he’s hitting the ball so hard.
Alex Cobb (SP – SFG) – How did Cobb follow-up his eight-strikeout performance from last week? He did it with a complete game shutout against the Cardinals on Monday. To say I’m thrilled would be an understatement.
Whit Merrifield (2B/OF – TOR) – I, like many, were fading Merrifield entering the season due to his unsure role in Toronto. So far, it looks like he’s going to run away with the second base job. He’s failed to get a hit in just two games so far this year.
Who has you concerned?
I pretty much don’t worry about anyone early on who I wasn’t worried about in Spring Training. But a few players I’m slightly concerned about are:
- Lance Lynn: He may just live here at this point. I’ve been so wrong on him.
- Nick Lodolo – I know he’s been a tad unlucky with wOBA differential, but I’m a tad worried with his fastball and its location leading to hard contact.
- Andres Gimenez – Is it OK to be concerned with him at this point? I have no shares, but the regression I was expecting wasn’t at this level. His quality of contact metrics are atrocious, and outside of stolen bases, he’s not giving you much.
Any random findings?
A few, actually. Thanks for asking, Michael.
- Luis Garcia‘s 19 Whiffs on his cutter on April 19 was the most ever by any pitcher on a cutter going back to 2008.
- Kolten Wong (82.9) has the lowest average exit velocity among qualified hitters, and he’s yet to record a Barrel.
- The Cubs have three of the bottom six SwSp% pitchers in baseball: Michael Fulmer (worst), Mark Leiter Jr. (third-worst), Michael Rucker (sixth-worst).
- Vladimir Guerrero Jr. has as many steals as Mookie Betts, Shohei Ohtani, Mike Trout, Bo Bichette, Ozzie Albies, Byron Buxton, and J.P. Crawford combined.
What would be your walk-up song?
I was listening to a wrestling podcast recently where they discussed their entrance music, and since I’m a giant nerd, I know I would never wrestle. But while I also suck at baseball, I would have a better chance to do that, so I decided to go with that lane.
The question comes down to if I want a song that is going to fire me up, or one that is going to get into the head of my opponent. I think that I would go with either “Perfect Places” by Lorde, “One Mic,” by Nas, or “Waterloo” by Abba.
Given that fans like the connection and I’d want fans to support me and force management’s hand to keep me on the team even though I’m bad, I’d go with “Waterloo” by Abba.