The MLB season is rolling along. It is important to look at some key storylines and aspects this week in order to stay ahead of the curve and gain an edge over your league mates.
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20 Things To Watch for June 12 – 18
Week 11 Schedule Notes
The following teams have just five games this week:
- New York Yankees at NYM, at BOS
- New York Mets vs NYY, vs STL
- Milwaukee Brewers at MIN, vs PIT
The following teams have seven games weeks:
- Tampa Bay Rays at OAK, at SD
- Detroit Tigers vs ATL, at MIN
- Los Angeles Angels at TEX, at KC
- Oakland A’s vs TB, vs PHI
- Texas Rangers vs LAA, vs TOR
- Atlanta Braves at DET, vs COL
- Philadelphia Phillies at ARI, at OAK
- Arizona Diamondbacks vs PHI, vs CLE
- Colorado Rockies at BOS, at ATL
Air Quality Issues
With the wildfires in Canada raging right now, the air quality in the north eastern part of the United States has been drastically affected. This has caused a number of postponements for Major League baseball games. This will likely continue to happen. Keeping track of the cities and teams affected can give you an advantage in terms of maximizing your player’s games played.
De La Cruz made his Major League debut last week in spectacular style, going .364/.462/.909 with a home run and stolen base in his first three games. De La Cruz has destroyed the minor leagues, but struggled with strikeouts. In spite of the fast start, he is striking out at a 46% rate. This is important to monitor because if he cannot keep that strikeout rate down, then he will have massive shmups.
Adell made his 2023 Major League debut last week, going 1-for-3 with a home run in his first game. Adell is a former top tier prospect that has struggled to make consistent contact at virtually every level and is not great defensively in spite of overwhelming physical gifts. The chances are that he ends up back in the minors, but if he can make even close to league average contact, the power/speed combination is immense.
With Pete Alonso on the IL, that means there is more playing time for Mark Vientos. Vientos has a ton of power in his bat and is a top prospect for New York, but he can also struggle with contact. The Mets could also call up prospect Ronny Mauricio. Mauricio has hit .329/.370/.544 with eight home runs and nine stolen bases. He could be a fantastic pick up for cheap if he does get called up.
Duvall has returned from the IL for the Red Sox and figures to be a full time player in Beantown. Prior to going on the IL, he was the hottest player in baseball hitting .455/.514/1.030 with four home runs in his first eight games. While he definitely won’t repeat that, he could be a cheap power source as long as he stays healthy.
Sleepless in Seattle
Didi Gregorius signed a minor league contract for the Mariners. He was recently playing very well in the Mexican leagues and now gets a shot to get back to the Majors. At worst he can be a very good defensive player, but if he can show some offensive spark, he could replace JP Crawford who has never lived up to his first round pedigree.
Right now multiple Rockies hitters are on fire like Nolan Jones and Ryan McMahon. It is easier for them to be on fire when they have a long home stand like they just finished, but now they start seven games on the road which the traditionally struggle with. For Jones especially, it is important for him to keep hitting so he can keep his job in the Majors. I am watching these two series closely.
In the month of June, no one has been as hot as Wiemer. He is hitting .444/.531/.926 with three home runs and a stolen base. Most importantly, he is making near league average contact during this stretch which is important if he wants to keep this up. I am watching his plate skills more than the results this week.
Nightmare on Elm Street
Freddy Peralta has been up and down this season, throwing 65.1 innings of a 4.55 ERA and 70 strikeouts. Peralta’s volatility seems to have a lot to do with issues with his command as he has given up 11 home runs which is almost twice as many as he gave up in more innings last season. His velocity is up which is great, but we need to see him be able to command that stuff.
Miami Closer’s Job
A.J. Puk has returned from the IL and while it is expected that he will resume closing duties for the Marlins, Dylan Floro was competent in the role in Puk’s absence. With Puk’s injury history, it wouldn’t be surprising if Miami was very conservative with him moving forward. This is definitely something to monitor.
I am really worried about Severino. He was fantastic when he was first activated from the IL, but in his last two starts, his velocity has dropped from 98 to 95 and his breaking stuff is not as sharp. If he does not regain that velocity, I would be really tempted to drop him soon.
13-15. Steaming Options
AJ Smith-Shawver (SP – ATL) vs COL
Smith-Shawver has moved into the rotation replacing demoted Michael Soroka. He has really good stuff and has been really impressive so far in the Majors. He gets a fantastic matchup versus a Rockies team that struggles outside of Coors.
Crawford has finally been given a full time rotation spot in Boston as they have committed to the youth movement. He has four usable pitches and good enough stuff to make them work when he mixes them well. He also gets a nice start versus the Rockies away from Coors.
Taijuan Walker (SP – PHI) at OAK
Walker has been up and down all season, but the stuff has looked better as of late. However, this has more to do with the matchup. You can pick on the A’s with even halfway decent pitchers and when it is in the cavernous Oakland coliseum, it is even better.
16-20. Two Start Recommendations
Aaron Civale (SP – CLE) vs CHW, vs SF
Civale has been really good since returning from the IL, but a lot of it is really good luck. However, I am ok risking this considering the matchups versus a mediocre Giants offense and a White Sox team without Eloy. Of the two-start options listed here, this is my least favorite though.
Matthew Liberatore (SP – STL) vs SF, at NYM
Since his fantastic debut, Liberatore has not been good, throwing 10 innings with a 9.00 ERA and just five strikeouts. However, the talent is still there and he is facing a Mets offense that was mediocre against lefties before Pete Alonso got hurt and a Giants team that has struggled this year versus left handed pitching. This is a good stream.
Pablo Lopez (SP – MIN) vs MIL, vs DET
Lopez has struggled recently, but as I wrote in my most recent “Buy Low, Sell High” column, the underlying numbers are better than the surface stats. He has done a good job at limiting hard contact and the underlying metrics are still fine.
James Paxton (SP – BOS) vs COL, vs NYY
Outside of one bad start versus the Angels, Paxton has been really good, getting strikeouts while limiting home runs. There is no better matchup than the Rockies in their first series on the road and the Yankees are just not scary without Aaron Judge, so I would be riding with him in almost every format.