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20 Fantasy Baseball Things to Watch: Kevin Gausman, Jackson Holliday, Blake Snell

20 Fantasy Baseball Things to Watch: Kevin Gausman, Jackson Holliday, Blake Snell

With the season beginning, it’s important to look at some key 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

Week Schedule Notes

  • No teams have just five games this week!
  • The following teams have seven games this week:
    • Minnesota Twins vs LAD, at DET
    • Houston Astros at TEX, at KC, vs TEX
    • Texas Rangers vs HOU, vs OAK, at HOU
    • Atlanta Braves vs NYM, at MIA
    • New York Mets at ATL, vs KC
    • Washington Nationals at SF, at OAK
    • Cincinnati Reds vs MIL, at CHW
    • Milwaukee Brewers at CIN, at BAL

All The Injuries

We have had a massive amount of injuries that have left fantasy teams running to the waiver wire for replacements. It is important to look at timelines for injuries and when (or if) guys will be back, who may be replacing them in the meantime and whether guys should be dropped if they are missing larger periods of time.

Kevin Gausman (SP – TOR)

In his last start, Kevin Gausman’s velocity was way down and he struggled before getting pulled in the second inning. Gausman dealt with an arm issue earlier in spring and this may be a sign he is still hurt. If his velocity returns at the next start, then maybe it is nothing, but if not, it may be time to panic.

The Norfolk Tides

I don’t often talk about a minor league team in an article like this, but the Baltimore Orioles AAA team is crushing the competition right now. They have 10 hitters with a wRC+ of 177 or above and a number of these guys could be early call-ups, including top prospect Jackson Holliday, Coby Mayo, Heston Kjerstad, Kyle Stowers and Connor Norby. They also could be names traded for pitching at some point as well.

Bailey Ober (SP – MIN) vs Kenta Maeda (SP – MIN)

Both Ober and Maeda struggled to start the season and while I am not as worried about Ober, Maeda was dealing with some decreased velocity. If Maeda’s velocity doesn’t get better, he may be someone to panic over and drop. If Ober can’t keep the ball in the yard, he could lose his spot in the rotation. Both are going against offenses that aren’t prolific so this is a good test to see if they can even handle mediocre competition.

Blake Snell (SP – SF)

Snell makes his season debut for the Giants in a two-start week. It will be interesting to see if the reigning NL Cy Young can build upon last season and how deep the Giants let him go into the game.

Michael Lorenzen (SP – TEX)

Michael Lorenzen is also on the docket this week for his season debut after being a late-signing pitcher as well. He gets a great matchup versus the awful Oakland A’s and is a really nice streaming target in leagues where he may still be available.

Royals Closer Chaos

After struggling early on, it appears Will Smith’s job as closer may be in jeopardy. The Royals look like they are pivoting with James McArthur getting the save on Friday and Chris Stratton getting it on Saturday. Will this be a committee or will McArthur inherit the role?

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Victor Scott (OF – STL)

Scott was a popular late-draft sleeper pick by many in the industry and he made the team after Lars Nootbaar, Tommy Edman, and Dylan Carlson all got hurt in the spring. Well, Scott has struggled and Nootbaar is on his way back soon. If Scott doesn’t pick it up soon, he will likely head back to the minors.

Nestor Cortes (SP – NYY)

Nestor has struggled early in his first two starts before recovering some in both starts. The question to ask is if he is still hurt. Cortes is one of the most fun pitchers to watch in baseball and he has a ton of talent, so if he is healthy and this is just a bump in the road, he could be a buy-low target. But if he isn’t right, then he may be a guy to avoid.

Nick Lodolo (SP – CIN)

Lodolo is making his first start in the Majors since hurting his knee last May. He looked great at the end of spring and was fantastic in his first rehab start. He has a nice matchup in Chicago versus the beat-up White Sox and is another really nice streaming target.

12-15. Streaming Options

Bowden Francis vs. COL – Francis was a popular deep-league sleeper this draft season but struggled in his first start. This is a great matchup versus a Rockies team that is not good and leaving Coors Field for the first time this season, where they struggle to hit.

Jordan Hicks vs. WAS – I have some concerns about Hicks long-term because of his health, but he is healthy right now and this is a fantastic matchup at home versus a really bad offense.

Logan Allen vs. CHW – Allen has pitched well to start the season and now faces a White Sox team that lost both Luis Robert and Eloy Jimenez.

Nick Lodolo @ CHW, Michael Lorenzen vs. OAK – See Above.

16-20. Two-Start Options

Trevor Williams @ SF, @ OAK – Williams isn’t a very good pitcher, but he looked good in his first start and these are about as great of matchups as you will get versus the Giants offense in San Francisco and the A’s in Oakland.

Reynaldo Lopez vs NYM, @ MIN – Lopez has looked good to start the season and has a fantastic Braves offense supporting him. The Strider injury means he can stick in the rotation too for people thinking long term.

James Paxton @ MIN, vs SD – Paxton was erratic but effective in his first start, but despite not great matchups, he is pretty close to a must-start. Paxton has usually been very good when healthy and the fact he can go five means he will rack up a ton of wins with the Dodgers behind him.

Frankie Montas vs MIL, @ CHW – Montas looked decent at the beginning of the season, but the underlying numbers say he has been really lucky. He pitches in Cincy, which is a scary place to pitch especially when he is so reliant on the splitter which is a difficult pitch to command consistently. This is a high-risk play, but the White Sox are awful and missing their two best hitters, so it is probably worth it.

Graham Ashcraft vs MIL, @ CHW – Similar to Montas, this is a high-risk maneuver, but with the White Sox so beat up, I think it is one to consider.

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