We’re Going Streaking – Week Seven

Ah September! The temperatures start to drop, the kids go back to school, TV shows (usually) begin to return with new seasons and episodes and baseball starts to round third base onto its way home. This year, however, as we hit September, we’re actually just rounding second base on our way to third, since we still have about 40% of the regular season left to go. During this stretch run, it’s important to stay on top of things and not lose sight of the end. And being here with RotoFanatic, we’ve got you covered right up until you cross that finish line. You also have another advantage: Football. This is the time when other teams in your league may switch focus towards their fantasy football teams, especially if they’re out of contention. Therefore, there will be less activity in your fantasy baseball leagues with more access to free agents on a hot streak.

Now, onto the main event. Grab some KFC, because we’re all going streaking! Stats down below are from the time period of Wednesday September 2 – Tuesday September 8

Feelin’ Hot Hot Hot

Ronald Acuña Jr.

5 of 19, 3 HR, 5 RBI, 3 K, 6 BB (1 IBB), 2 SB

Coming back from a minor injury, Ronald Acuña reminded everyone why he was drafted first overall in many leagues: the kid can pretty much do everything when it comes to baseball. Blessed with supreme power and blazing speed, he possesses a unique combination of talents that can give fantasy owners everything needed in multiple categories to help win you your leagues. Coming back on September 4, while playing in both games of a double header, Acuña homered a total of three times. What’s been important for him too, as he continues to ascend back into his elite status, is his ability to take pitches and walk to get on base. He began the year with a 17:3 K/BB ratio in July, but has since gone 17:18 and proven his worth.

I realize that the above is an abundance of data, but what I’m trying to show is that, for the most part, he’s seeing the ball better than before, he’s being patient at the plate (career high walk rate) and thus his expected production is rising at an incredible rate. He’s closer to being back to his old self, and any doubters of his elite production should feel a lot better knowing that one of the game’s best players is living up to expectations.

Outlook: Acuña can obviously be counted on to lead your fantasy team. He provides everything that you’ll need down the stretch run. As the Braves and their loaded lineup finish up the season, they play favorable road matchups (@ Nationals, @ Orioles and @ Mets) while also playing at home to the Marlins and Red Sox to finish the year. One last thing to consider. Acuña this year is seeing fewer pitches in the strike zone as pitchers are trying to pitch around him. They know what he’s capable of and are trying avoid catastrophe. He’s also seeing fewer fastballs and more pitches with movement.

Both the American League East and National League East are home to some of the best pitchers on baseball. Time may not be on his side this year, as he’s only now, midway through the season, making adjustments. Had this happened over a 162 game season, he would be making said adjustments in the month of May and would subsequently have four months of elite production ready to roll. My advice is this: don’t let his struggles from July and early August sway you. Acuña’s overall final numbers will not look elite. What you need to do is remember next year that he has adjusted to seeing fewer pitches that he likes, he’s grown in his ability to be patient and he’s capitalizing when needed on pitches he wants to mash. Remember the talent, the smarts and the potential.

Marcell Ozuna

9 of 26, 2 HR, 7 RBI

To say that Ozuna has made the most of this shortened season would be an understatement. He’s helped the Braves elevate themselves to the top of the National League East, and kept them competitive (especially as of late) during a time where the Braves’ rotation wasn’t at the level that was expected of them. Overall, he’s been chasing fewer pitches and making less contact on those pitches. As a result, while his Ground Ball Rate has gone down, his Barrel Rate has also gone up as well as his Launch Angle.

Since August 18, which was when he had his 100th plate appearance within the above data, Ozuna has owned a 14:8 K:BB ratio. It’s not coincidental that his xWOBA and production have gone up since that point. Finally, he just recently won the title of being the National League’s Player of the Week.

Outlook: For years, Ozuna has possessed the talent to be producing that this level, but hasn’t necessarily lived up to these lofty expectations. As a player who some think may have peaked during his All-Star season of 2017, his projections show that he is already outproducing some of those numbers in this shortened season. All of the metrics point towards him, over a 162 season, eclipsing those career high stats. That said, with only a few weeks left, it’s pretty safe to say that Ozuna will finish the season with a high level of production and should be started with confidence. During this contract year for him, it’ll be interesting to see if he remains a member of the Atlanta Braves in 2021.

Victor Reyes

11 of 27, 2 HR, 6 RBI

There’s a lot of red there, which means that the player in question is doing something right. In the case of Victor Reyes, that means the following, which was summed perfectly on Twitter last week:

In fact, everything about him is trending upwards here. His Launch Angle is substantially up from 9.2 to 11.8 degrees, his batting average against Breaking Balls is significantly better at .279 (vs .194 in 2019), and his xBA is in line to show that he’s hitting right around where he should, which is healthily above .300 on the season. He’s been one of the go-to players for the Tigers as they try to make it to the expanded playoffs of 2020.

Outlook: While Reyes is a feel-good story for the feel-good Tigers, there comes some trepidation before anointing him the next elite hitter. Reyes has a worrisome walk rate of 4.3% that shows some immaturity and a lack of patience.

With a corresponding increased Chase Rate of 43.8% on the season, there is a bit of a worry that pitchers could adjust to Reyes’ approach at the plate and pitch around him. That’s why I’m holding off for now on leveling him up too much, until he can prove to me that he can lay off the pitches outside the strike zone and wait for those that are hittable. That said, he has leveled up to become a better hitter in 2020 and should be treated as a pretty reliable source of batting average with above average power. Still, in my opinion, he has a ways to go to grow.

Hello Darkness My Old Friend

Austin Meadows

2 of 23, 12 K, 3 BB

Wow, how the tables have turned on Meadows, who shot out of a cannon in 2019. After 27 games in 2019, he found himself batting .340 with nine home runs and 24 runs batted in alongside four stolen bases. This season is the polar opposite as he’s batting .202 with only three home runs and nine runs batted in and one stolen base. The difference? He’s striking out at an all-time high rate (minor leagues included). What’s worse is that, despite a small uptick in pitches outside of the strike zone, he’s swinging and missing on pitches inside the strike zone, which is somewhat concerning.

And here’s the difference: looking at the corresponding zones below, in between 2019 (top) and 2020 (bottom) are the percent of pitches seen within and outside the strike zone. There isn’t much of a difference here in how he’s being attacked at the plate.

Outlook: Unfortunately for him, it looks like Meadows might struggle all season. One thing that people forget is that Meadows was one of the many that have missed time due to the Coronavirus. Back in mid July, he felt some of the symptoms and thus, wouldn’t be ready for Opening Day. As others who have missed time, he is struggling to get back to his winning ways. Look at Scott Kingery, for example, who has been struggling since the start of the season to the tune of cutting his batting average in half from last season!

Getting back to Meadows though, he goes from being a perennial MVP candidate last year to possibly riding the bench late in the season in 2020, and there’s really nothing else you can do about it. It’s hard to imagine that he turns everything around by season’s end, but if he does, you can slot him in there and hope he’s back to his old self. As someone who made consistent contact throughout his minor league career with a low strikeout rate, patience is the one thing you’ll need to maintain until he figures this thing out and gets back to full health.

Cody Bellinger

3 of 19, 3 BB, 3 SB

Full disclosure, I liked Cody Bellinger a lot coming into the season. He mashed last year, he ran last year, he was elite last year, and I bought in. Case in point, in my own personal points league, with a $300 budget, I bid $100 on him, and lost out. I needed a first baseman, organized my keepers accordingly and bid 40% of my remaining budget on him and still lost out. Ultimately I wound up with Matt Olson and have received arguably better results. That being said, I know I wasn’t alone in my belief that Bellinger would be one of the league’s bets players in 2020, and, well….he hasn’t.

But the problem stems farther back beyond just a shortened 2020 season. In the following graphs, I want you to look specifically at the right side where his 2019 and 2020 stats have been. After flying out of the gate over the first two months of the season last year, Bellinger became a slightly above average hitter the rest of the way. What happened was that pitchers started to pitch around him and he would chase them. He tweaked his mechanics, swing and approach last year to try and fix this, but ultimately nothing really mattered.

Outlook: I’m not exactly sure what to make of Cody Bellinger going forward, but I do know that once he figures this out, he will be elevated even higher within the realms of baseball. It’s promising that he only struck out once within the timeframe of this past week, which could be a sign of an increased patience. And while you may argue to me that one week is a small sample….so is a 60 game season. Even still, it’s not all doom and gloom.

It can take awhile to fully change one’s mentality, especially where in-game video scouting for adjustments aren’t there like they once were, due to the new norm. In redraft leagues, you have to believe in his underlying talent and play him daily. In dynasty formats, you may be able to buy low on some impatient owners. He’s a young player with massive potential that needs to adjust. Give him time, and the talent will take over.

Whit Merrifield

4 of 31, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 1 K

We started the fantasy baseball season at RotoFanatic by offering potential bust picks for the 2020 season, and one name particularly stands out. No, it’s not my glorious (ha!) pick of Mike Soroka, but rather the very first pick on the page by Matt Williams. There are some very compelling reasons why Whit would be a bust this year. Let’s fast forward to earlier this season. Whit Merrifield is batting over .300, is stealing bases at a rate not seen in years, and is producing with both power and contact. People were taking victory laps after two weeks of games played. In fact, as of games played on August 15, the Royals were 9-12, Merrifield was batting .305, and everyone was turning around and running backwards on the race track of victory. Then reality hit. The Royals have since gone 5-13, Merrifield has seen his batting average drop almost 70 points, and now those owners are as quiet as ever.

As Matt pointed out, his ability to hit the offspeed pitches has been deteriorating over the past few seasons. This season as a whole, he finds himself batting .143 against them and is progressively seeing more of them as pitchers adjust.

Outlook: What really stood out to me last season was not just Merrifield’s lack of running, but his admittance that he stopped because his team was losing and he wanted to preserve his body. While I can respect one wanting to focus on other parts of the game to improve, this still struck me the wrong way, as speed was one of his strengths, and he stopped using it to save up for the future. I wonder if in a lost, shortened season, he will stop running in 2020 altogether. With one of the worst records in all of baseball, will Merrifield give up and save up for the future yet again? Either way, he needs to figure out how to hit and/or lay off pitches outside of the zone or else his current career low strikeout rate will find its way back to the ways of his past.

With an improved Launch Angle and Barrel Rate over last season, he may yet be able to come back from this and help you to finish the season. With multiple series against the Tigers as well as other series against the Pirates and Cardinals, there’s a chance that he turns this slump around and finishes off strong. Let’s just hope that he hasn’t given up already and will do what needs to be done to help his team win some baseball games.

Starting Pitcher Barometer, Week 7: Going, Going, Gonsolin

Welcome to the Post-Malone Labor Day edition of the Starting Pitcher Barometer! Hopefully, all went well if you went into labor. It’s also the post-trade deadline edition, so there is a lot to cover. Since the deadline deals have been pretty well covered by now, I’ll touch only very briefly on their impact before moving on to the analysis of the list.

  • Mike Clevinger to San Diego – The back-end of the Padres rotation wasn’t full of Top 100 options, anyway. This is a fairly lateral move for Clev, who has struggled to replicate his 2019 success. He tumbles to 19 this week, but my patience is running short. I’m less optimistic by the week that he’ll get back to anywhere close to those ace-like numbers.
  • Robbie Ray to Buffalo – Ray has an 8.22 BB/9 and 7.51 ERA through 38.1 IP. It’s questionable whether he should even be on the list at this point. Moving to the AL East only moves the needle further down for him. In general, he’ll face tougher lineups in more hitter-friendly ballparks.
  • Ross Stripling to Buffalo – Now known to me as the Buffalo Chicken Strip (yeah, it’s a stretch, but there’s something clever in there somewhere), Stripling also heads to Buffalo to buoy the Jays rotation. It’s a downgrade for Strip, like Ray. He’s been trending down in the rankings as well. He isn’t missing as many bats this year and sits with a 5.68 ERA and 5.05 SIERA.
  • Caleb Smith to Arizona – He’s still out due to COVID and we’ll be lucky at this point to see him for more than a start or two before the end of the season. The Marlins have actually been very successful in developing arms, so it’s actually not a guaranteed positive move to leave Miami. It’s also a park downgrade. He’s still intriguing, but he has to stay healthy (COVID aside).
  • Mike Minor to Oakland – Pitching in Oakland should help Minor lower his 19.6% HR/FB. Even with an HR/FB rate regressed to the mean, he still gets an xFIP of 4.79. He’s not more than a risky streamer in mixed leagues.

 

The Starting Pitcher Barometer

The Old Newcomers

  • Michael Pineda, MIN (SP47) – Big Mike has a shiny 2.77 ERA, 8.31 K/9, and 2.08 BB/9 through his first two starts. Even better is that he has gone six and seven innings in those two starts. Coming into the season ready to roll 6+ innings when many are struggling to even get to six gives him the edge over some of the streaming crowd. His slider has been on point, although his changeup has been a work in progress. He failed to get a single whiff or called strike on the changeup in his latest start against the Tigers. Still, this is a guy who put up a 3.10 ERA over his final 87 IP last year.

  • Tony Gonsolin, LAD (SP53) – With the Buffalo Chicken Strip shipped out of town, Gonsolin has a rotation spot to call home. Through five starts this year (23.2 IP) Gonsolin has a 0.76 ERA, 9.51 K/9, and 1.90 BB/9. His velocity is actually up nearly two ticks to 95 MPH, and his splitter usage is up 11.5% so far. It’s a heavy ground ball pitch that also earns whiffs, but also has a .346 xwOBA. Even if hitters catch up to the splitter, however, he still has an effective slider and curveball to turn to. He’s a streamer who could work his way into full mixed-league ownership before long.

  • Jose Urquidy, HOU (SP61) – Urquidy is finally back after missing the first month-plus of the season due to undisclosed reasons. It was a rough debut against the Angels, going 3.2 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 3 BB, 2 K. He posted a sturdy 3.95 ERA over 41 innings for the ‘Stros last year and was stellar in the playoffs, as you might recall. He should shake off the rust quickly and garner streaming consideration every time out.

The Rookie Newcomers

  • JT Brubaker, PIT (SP77) – Brubaker is Brubaking up some tasty fantasy pies for us to enjoy! Brubaker wasn’t a particularly highly touted prospect, nor did he put up impressive minor league stats. What he has shown with the Buccos over 25 innings has turned my head, however. He’s been a bit erratic with a 3.96 BB/9 but has been missing bats (9.72 K/9) and he’s been successful, with a 3.96 ERA (4.39 SIERA). His curve has 86th percentile spin at 2,857 RPM with a .071 BAA and .062 wOBA (.217 xwOBA). His slider is another strong offspeed pitch, with a 2,646 RPM spin rate, .237 wOBA (.314 xwOBA), and a 33.3% whiff rate. The fastball is…not great. Increasing his offspeed stuff would go a long way towards keeping the success oven baking away.

  • Trevor Rogers, MIA (SP79) – Rogers hasn’t debuted to a tremendous amount of fanfare despite being a former 13th overall pick. That’s probably just what happens when you play for the Marlins. The tall lefties’ results have been stellar in spite of fanfare levels. Through three starts he has totaled 15 innings, posting a 3.00 ERA (3.91 SIERA), 12.6 K/9, and 4.80 BB/9. He has a pungent fastball/slider/changeup mix that can miss bats. The command can come and go, which is why he’s debuting towards the back-end of the list.
  • Deivi Garcia, NYY (SP81) – I’ve always been on the pessimistic side of the Deivi Garcia: Starting Pitcher debate. A 5’9″ righty with huge control problems leads me to believe he’s a reliever long-term. Terrific stuff is why some consider him a dynamic starting candidate. A mix of the stuff, results, and a rotation spot (for the time being, at least) have him debuting on the list this week. Through two starts (10.2 IP) he has a 3.38 ERA (3.57 SIERA), and 12:2 K:BB ratio. If the control remains as good as it has been…look out. He could be a true impact starter. I’ll have to see more of this control to be totally sold, but if you’re in a competitive league, it’s probably best to buy now.

The Top 100 Starting Pitchers

RnkNamePrevious Rank
1Jacob DeGrom2
2Gerrit Cole1
3Shane Bieber3
4Aaron Nola5
5Yu Darvish6
6Trevor Bauer7
7Clayton Kershaw9
8Luis Castillo8
9Max Scherzer4
10Sonny Gray10
11Lucas Giolito12
12Walker Buehler11
13Zac Gallen18
14Lance Lynn16
15Brandon Woodruff15
16Blake Snell17
17Jack Flaherty19
18Chris Paddack14
19Mike Clevinger13
20Kenta Maeda22
21Zack Greinke26
22Charlie MortonNR
23Max Fried20
24Aaron Civale23
25Jose Berrios28
26Dylan Bundy24
27Zack Wheeler25
28Dinelson Lamet27
29Hyun-Jin Ryu29
30Carlos Carrasco30
31Tyler Glasnow32
32Patrick Corbin21
33Corbin Burnes39
34Zach PlesacNR
35Pablo Lopez37
36Sixto Sanchez35
37Dallas Keuchel43
38Kyle Hendricks31
39Jesus Luzardo38
40German Marquez34
41Yusei Kikuchi48
42Zach Davies46
43Dustin May36
44Framber Valdez44
45Kevin Gausman41
46Lance McCullers, Jr33
47Michael PinedaNR
48Brad Keller45
49Sandy Alcantara59
50Dane Dunning51
51Garrett Richards49
52Ian Anderson55
53Tony GonsolinNR
54Merrill Kelly47
55Spencer Turnbull42
56Zach Eflin65
57Frankie Montas40
58Julio Urias63
59Randy Dobnak60
60Tyler Mahle68
61Jose UrquidyNR
62Tommy Milone58
63Masahiro Tanaka81
64Chris Bassitt56
65Triston McKenzie61
66Andrew Heaney67
67Nathan Eovaldi64
68Dakota Hudson69
69Adrian Houser53
70Adam Wainwright78
71Ryan Yarbrough70
72Christian Javier71
73Rich Hill72
74Robbie Ray62
75Casey Mize57
76Marco Gonzales96
77JT BrubakerNR
78Antonio Senzatela74
79Trevor RogersNR
80Seth LugoNR
81Deivi GarciaNR
82Taijuan Walker76
83Matt Boyd82
84Mike Fiers90
85Taylor ClarkeNR
86Kwang Hyun KimNR
87Ross Stripling66
88Justus Sheffield79
89Keegan AkinNR
90Sean Manaea91
91Jordan Montgomery73
92Luke Weaver83
93Griffin Canning84
94Johnny Cueto75
95Mike Minor86
96Chad Kuhl77
97Josh Lindblom80
98Anthony DeSclafani85
99Josh Fleming93
100Dylan Cease89

Fell Off The List

Elieser Hernandez (injury), Tyler Chatwood (injury), Touki Toussaint (minors), Kyle Freeland (performance), Kyle Gibson (performance), Logan Webb (performance), Danny Duffy (performance), John Means (performance), Kris Bubic (performance), Asher Wojciechowski (performance), Tarik Skubal (performance).

Closing Remarks Week 8

NEWS and NOTES for the week of 9/7/2020

  • Nick Anderson returned for Tampa Bay Friday night…and immediately earned a save.
  • Cole Sulser appears to be on the verge of losing his role due to ineffectiveness. Will Hunter Harvey finally get his opportunity? The Orioles will add him to their ninth inning mix. Tanner Scott could get chances as well.
  • In Seattle, Yoshi Hirano has taken the role, or has he…for now. Erstwhile closer Taylor Williams was traded to San Diego this past week.
  • Jeremy Jeffress has solidified the closer role for the Chicago Cubs.
  • In Cincinnati, is it Archie Bradley or Raisel Iglesias?
  • With Bradley being traded, who takes the top spot in Arizona? It looks like Kevin Ginkel after he got the first two save chances in Bradley’s absence.
  • Daniel Bard has earned five saves for Colorado while Mychal Givens settles into an eighth inning role.
  • With the trade of Trevor Rosenthal in Kansas City, will Greg Holland or Josh Staumont close games? Might we see Scott Barlow as well?
  • In Detroit, Gregory Soto was handed the role last week, but struggled. Could we see Jose Cisnero?

 

As a reminder, here is our rubric to grade the closers if you need to refresh your memory:

  • Mastery: the best. Nothing else to be learned here. Move forward with confidence.
  • Distinguished: just a notch below mastery, excellent work, but still some room for improvement.
  • Proficient: is average. Think of this as a solid “C” on your term paper.
  • Marginal: poorly constructed, issues with organization, and unclear what is happening.
  • Unacceptable: failure due to lack of planning or execution.

 

Josh Hader, Milwaukee Brewers

Hader remains the best in the business. Hader has nine saves and 18 strikeouts in 11.2 innings. He is elite, and he is continuing to use his slider more. He has been having issues with his command lately, walking five in this last week. Still he is a must-start.

Liam Hendriks, Oakland Athletics

Hendriks looks fine right now with a 12.7 K/9 rate. Hendriks has a firm grip on the job with ten saves, a 1.10 ERA and a .67 WHIP. He didn’t get any opportunities during the week due to the lack of games for the A’s because of a Covid infection.

Kenley Jansen, Los Angeles Dodgers

Jansen has ten saves and a 1.06 ERA with a 12.5 K/9 rate. He is elite and a top three closer in the game right now.

Brad Hand, Cleveland Indians: moving up 

Hand is locked in with ten saves and has quieted the critics. Use him in every league. Hand is throwing his four-seamer slightly more, and the slider less (54-47%), while adding in his sinker (from 3% to almost 9%) a little more. He is holding opposing hitters to a .171 batting average and .278 xwOBA. Use with confidence.

 

 

Distinguished

 

Alex Colome, Chicago White Sox

Colome has been terrific for the Sox and no one is looking over his shoulder with Aaron Bummer still injured. However he looked shaky on Friday night with two hits, two walks and an earned run while turning a non-save situation into one, eventually converting his eighth save. He got his ninth save on Saturday night.

Aroldis Chapman, New York Yankees

Britton was terrific before hitting the IL with a strained hamstring. Chapman came back and in a limited sample size has looked rusty.  He should right the ship and become dominant again so long as he retains his health. That much-noted velocity is still there; it’s not too often you see the top of this range be near 100 MPH:

chart (53)

Ryan Pressly, Houston Astros: moving up this week

Pressly has quietly earned seven saves and his ERA back down under 4.00 now, racking up 20 strikeouts in 13 innings. He appears to be back to the guy we have known the last few years. Interestingly, Pressly has changed the pitch mix this year, throwing more sliders and fewer curveballs. It’s effective right now. See below:

chart (55)

 

Proficient

Trevor Rosenthal, San Diego Padres

What a mess. Yates goes down with the elbow injury last week. Pomeranz takes over and the Padres don’t miss a beat. Then Pomeranz goes to the IL last week with a shoulder strain. Pagan had some opportunities for a streaking Padres team. We told you to add Pagan. Pomeranz was activated from the IL last night, but the big news was the acquisition of Trevor Rosenthal from the Kansas City Royals. Expect Rosenthal to be the closer with Kirby Yates out for the year even though Pomeranz was very good when he had the chances. This move should bump Pagan and Pomeranz back an inning and solidify the Padres bullpen.

Jeremy Jeffress,  Chicago Cubs 

Jeffress hammered down the role and earned his fifth save this week.  With the gasoline-fueled Craig Kimbrel being ineffective and the wearing down of Rowan Wick, the job is his.  He is a closer for a first-place team; grab him if he is available in you league and deploy him. Jeffress is using a split-finger for more often this year, going from 9% to 31% this year. He has lost one MPH velocity on his four-seamer and is thus throwing it less. Nonetheless the new pitch mix has been effective for him:

chart (56)

Rafael Montero, Texas Rangers

Montero quietly has seven saves for a poor Texas team. But he has only earned one in September as the season runs away from Texas.  He has a 2.79 ERA and 0.83 WHIP, both very good numbers, but doesn’t help much with Ks, with only 11 in nine innings. He is passable if you need help but keep in mind Texas is 13-25. Egads.

Mark Melancon, Atlanta Braves

Melancon has eight saves and two wins in Atlanta. Will Smith has not looked great so far, so look for Atlanta to continue to give the ball to Melancon in the ninth. He’s been mostly clean thus far even though he won’t help you much with strikeouts either.

Taylor Rogers, Minnesota Twins

Rogers looked bad in his first outing of the week against the White Sox. While none of the runs were earned after an error, he did give up three runs.  On Saturday afternoon, he earned his eighth save with a clean ninth against the surprising Detroit Tigers.  Interestingly, the Twins have used Matt Wisler to close second games of doubleheaders. I do not think he is worth adding but point this out as a quick fact. On Friday night Trevor May earned his second save in a so-called “bullpen game,” with Sergio Romo picking up the win. Reading the tea leaves, Rogers should continue to get the ninth.

Brandon Kintzler, Miami Marlins: moving up 

The veteran has nine saves with a 2.45 ERA and 1.02 WHIP. He’s holding steady for a surprising Miami Marlins squad. They don’t really have anyone else. The 5.2 K/9 rate could spell trouble down the road.

Committee, but leaning Diego Castillo, Tampa Bay Rays

Diego Castillo has been really good for Tampa Bay, but Nick Anderson came off the IL Friday and was immediately thrust into the ninth inning, earning the save for a surging squad. It’s well-documented how Kevin Cash plays matchups and uses hot hands. Look for both to continue to get opportunities.

Daniel Bard,  Colorado Rockies

Who doesn’t love this story? Bard has been a revelation in Colorado. He earned his fifth save Saturday, and has solidified the back end of their bullpen with his high velocity pitch mix. Check out the increased velocity this year and the fact that his last data was from 2013:

bard

Committee, Kansas City Royals

Rosenthal had been terrific: seven saves, 13.9 K/9.  Then he got traded to the Padres last week. Who will close in KC? Good question. Ian Kennedy is hurt and was ineffective before the injury. Looks like Greg Holland will get the opportunity for now, but I would not be surprised to see Josh Staumont get a chance. Check out Staumont below:

staumont

Raisel Iglesias, Cincinnati Reds: still an enigma

Iglesias hurts to own; the stuff is amazing but he has five saves with a bloated ERA. Based on his usage, it looks like he continues to be in the chair, but that seat is hot. Archie Bradley waits for an opportunity, but based on what we saw this week, the job still belongs to Iglesias. Maybe he will get better results with Archie Bradley looking over his shoulder?

 

Giovanny Gallegos St. Louis Cardinals

It’s Gallegos’ job to lose and he earned his third save in game one of a doubleheader with the Cubs on Saturday. His slider has been especially effective this year, and he pairs that with a four-seam fastball.  He should continue to do well. Keep in mind that the Cardinals do odd things with their bullpen at times; guys like Ryan Helsley or Andrew Miller (when healthy) may also get opps.  

Daniel Hudson, Washington Nationals: moving down

Daniel Hudson has seven saves this season but with a 6.52 ERA.  He’s been getting the job done, mostly, but got hit hard on Friday night giving up two earned runs on a home run by Travis D’Arnaud before getting the save. Could Sean Doolittle o even Tanner Rainey get a shot? Washington is 13-24 right now and they could look at other options considering they look dead in the water right now. Watch closely this week.

Brandon Workman,  Philadelphia Phillies: moving down

Workman has nine saves despite mediocre peripherals.  Workman scares me with his 4.50 ERA and 2.00 WHIP. Despite getting saves he hurts your ratios. I would only roster if desperate for saves, and only if you can withstand the ratio hits.

Yoshi Hirano/Yohan Ramirez, Seattle Mariners

Taylor Williams was traded to San Diego to add depth to their bullpen’ he won’t close there. Hirano was my pick to start the year and he is now healthy. I think he will get the role and hold it for the rest of the year. Hirano (still listed as a Diamondback below) does not throw hard but has an effective splitter and four-seamer.  See below:

Brooksbaseball-Chart (2)

Of course because I picked Hirano, the Mariners have given Yohan Ramirez two opportunities which he has converted. He is walk and homer prone, though, so who knows how long this highwire act will last. There is some promise here:

yohan

 

Unacceptable

Kevin Ginkel,  Arizona Diamondbacks

Ginkel is next up even though he has been lousy. He did get a save on Friday night. I would watch this one from afar.

Committee, Detroit Tigers: moving down

Gregory Soto stepped in last week and was a mixed bag. Jose Cisnero is likely the next man up. Yet he pitched badly on Saturday, blowing the save while taking the loss, with Soto moved to a middle inning role. Who knows? Committee for now, most likely.

Matt Barnes, Boston Red Sox

Barns is adequate for a moribund Boston team, but he should not be on your team right now if you are contending.

Ty Buttrey, Los Angeles Angels

Buttrey has five saves, but the 3.4 K/9 rate is not good, so Buttrey may actually hurt you more than he helps.

Edwin Diaz, New York Mets

Diaz will drive you to insanity. In a non-save situation Saturday he walked two while striking out three. No doubt the talent is there; do you have the medication and endurance for this, though? HE still has only two saves but the 37 strikeouts are tempting…see what I mean?

Committee, but leaning Hunter Harvey,  Baltimore Orioles

Sulser has been lousy. Could Hunter Harvey finally get an opportunity? Baltimore continues to hover around .500. While Cesar Valdez, Travis Lakins and Tanner Scott have gotten opportunities, look for Harvey to get some soon.

Richard Rodriguez, Pittsburgh Pirates

Kela is back on the IL. The Pirates have won only 12 games all year, and some combination of Rodriguez and maybe Kyle Crick will close. Keep an eye on Nik Turley as well.

Committee, San Francisco Giants

Tony Watson got his first save Saturday night. Move along. Nothing to see here.

Anthony Bass (for now), Toronto Blue Jays

Anthony Bass is on again, off again. You should likely stay off again, like permanently. Nice guy with decent stuff but gets hit hard too often to be a reliable asset for your team.

Plan of Attack: DFS Picks and Advice for 9/6

Sunday’s slate is a nine-game that begins very early. Pitching features some real aces like deGrom, Bieber, and Nola, with a farewell outing to Matt Harvey. Focus on the matchups and take advantage of weaker pitching.

This is Plan of Attack. We’re here to provide advice and recommendations to help you build successful daily fantasy lineups. We’ll be loosely guided by the tenants of our DFS Manifesto – namely, a single lineup build designed to improve your enjoyment of the game while giving you a chance to beat the rake.

For clarity, when I reference “value,” I’m referring to projected points divided by cost.

 

1. The RotoFanatical Challenge

We are hosting a daily 20-entry, $3 contest on DraftKings. It’s an excellent low-cost testing ground against fellow RotoFanatic fans. A level playing field is always lovely. Today’s 9-game slate begins at 12:05pm ET. Reserve your spot for the contest.

 

 

2. Weather and Park Factors

There is rain sprinkling in a few areas, but nothing that should stop a baseball game today. Heavy winds are blowing in Wrigley again, nearly 20.6 MPH. To the opposite effect, 20.1 MPH winds are blowing out at Kaufman Stadium. As always, monitor your lineups before lock time.

Hitters Parks to consider: Minute Maid(LAA@HOU), Camden Yards(NYY@BAL), Wrigley Field(STL@CHC)

Pitchers Parks to consider: Oakland Coliseum(SD@OAK), Kaufman Stadium(CWS@KC)

Check out our park factors HERE.

 

 

3. Building Block Bats

 Stack 1: Chicago White Sox @ Matt Harvey

Jose Abreu ($5200 DK, $3800 FD)
Tim Anderson ($5600 DK, $3700 FD)
Eloy Jimenez ($4700 DK, $3400 FD)

The Chicago White Sox draw the Matt Harvey, who has been a disaster on the bump. All systems go on this stack today. Harvey has not made it past the third inning and continues to get crushed by hitters. As noted in the Park Factors section, the wind is howling out in Kaufman. The White Sox are a dynamic bunch of hitters that produce massive fantasy points a night in and night out. This will be a chalkier play, but will produce!

 

Stack 2: Cincinnati Reds @ Chad Kuhl

Joey Votto ($41000 DK, $2800 FD)
Jesse Winker ($4200 DK, $2900 FD)
Mike Moustakas ($4900 DK, $2700 FD)

The Reds are a cheaper stack to play against Chad Kuhl. Specifically, targeting the left-handed hitters will help receive the most bang for your buck. The three Reds are high on-base machines with a fair amount of pop. Mix and match with a few big arms and viola, you’ve got a very potent build.

Also consider: Toronto Blue Jays

 

Unlikely heroes:

Victor Reyes ($3400 DK, $2400 FD)

Reyes has been an unlikely hero on several occasions and still doesn’t get the respect deserved. On the season, he is hitting over .300 with four HRs, and five SB. Detroit has firmly planted him in the leadoff position, even though he is not a typical leadoff hitter because he doesn’t walk. Reyes is swinging a hot bat with a six-game hitting streak and a home run last night. He faces off against southpaw Rich Hill, who has struggled with command and walking an unusual amount.

Also consider: Joey Votto, Rowdy Tellez

 

 

4. Pitchers

“Safe” Picks: 

Shane Bieber (DK $11000, FD $10800)

Bieber is the top-priced arm on the slate-and rightfully so. He has tossed a quality start in every outing this year. On the season, Bieber boasts 84 strikeouts in only 52.2 innings pitched with a 1.20 ERA and 0.83 WHIP. Nearly every time on the mound, Bieber is baffling hitters and striking out double-digit batters. He draws one of the more favorable matchups, the Milwaukee Brewers, who have struggled against right-handed pitching. They are a 27.2% strikeout rate on the year and sub .700 OPS. A must play in all cash games.

 

Jacob deGrom (DK $10500, FD $11500) 

The next pricey arm is Jacob deGrom, and like Bieber, is a maven on the mound. He dropped his ERA down to 1.76 with a 0.90 WHIP and 58 strikeouts in 41 innings pitched. deGrom gets zero run support from the Mets, and thus his record stays at 2-1. He is riding a three-game quality start streak that has a 30:4 K/BB ratio. He draws a less favorable matchup against the Philadelphia Phillies. On the year, the Phillies are an average team vs. RHP with a 104 wRC+ and a 10% walk rate. deGrom should still dominate with nearly double-digit strikeouts and six-plus innings.

Also Consider: Aaron Nola

 

Value Targets: 

Tyler Glasnow (DK $8700, FD $10100)

Glasnow is a value play in DraftKings, over FanDuel due to salary difference. If you want elite level production, but save close to $1300 in the budget, Glasnow is your pick. The season started out with disaster, and he kept giving up the longball. The strikeouts were always there, but he was unable to make it past the fourth inning until mid-August. The excellent news, Glasnow has righted the ship and piling up the strikeouts while going deeper into games. In his last 13 innings pitched, he has only given up seven hits while maintaining a 20:2 K/BB ratio and notching two quality starts.

Also Consider: Masahiro Takana, Tejay Antone

 

 

5. Connectors

Connectors are cheap guys who offer a tangible upside and enable you to explore top-heavy builds. FanDuel offers an embarrassing quantity of these players (their pricing model is drunk), so I’ll focus on DraftKings first and foremost.

 

Randy Arozarena ($2700 DK, $2300 FD)  

Arozarena is a top prospect of the Rays that boasts a ton of speed. He has found success early on the season with a hit in each of his games starts and went deep on September 2nd. In the minor leagues last year, he slashed .358/.435/.593 with a 1.028 OPS with 12 HR and nine stolen bases. He can do it all, just needs to crack the lineup.

Also Consider: Erik Gonzalez

Plan of Attack: DFS Picks and Advice for 9/5

After a monster day of Friday baseball, we return to a more normal slate. The trickier part of today is selecting the correct pitchers to start. Plenty of great hitting matchups available as well!

This is Plan of Attack. We’re here to provide advice and recommendations to help you build successful daily fantasy lineups. We’ll be loosely guided by the tenants of our DFS Manifesto – namely, a single lineup build designed to improve your enjoyment of the game while giving you a chance to beat the rake.

For clarity, when I reference “value,” I’m referring to projected points divided by cost.

 

1. The RotoFanatical Challenge

We are hosting a daily 20-entry, $3 contest on DraftKings. It’s an excellent low-cost testing ground against fellow RotoFanatic fans. A level playing field is always lovely. Today’s 12-game slate begins at 6:05pm ET. Reserve your spot for the contest.

 

 

2. Weather and Park Factors

The weather looks like it won’t play a factor in today’s slate. A 10% chance of rain is listed for the MIA@TB game, but the roof will be closed anyway. There are two games with an enhanced wind presence; STL@CHC has strong winds blowing in on Wrigley-so watch for it to be a pitcher’s duel. MIL@CLE is also showing strong winds blowing to RF/1B that could make things interesting.

Hitters Parks to consider: Minute Maid(LAA@HOU), Camden Yards(NYY@BAL), Wrigley Field(STL@CHC)

Pitchers Parks to consider: Oakland Coliseum(SD@OAK), Kaufman Stadium(CWS@KC)

Check out our park factors HERE.

 

 

3. Building Block Bats

Elite values:

Josh Donaldson ($3700 DK, $2800 FD)

Donaldson feels like a forgotten man. He is back handling the hot corner for the Twins and swinging a hot bat since returning. In his first two games back, Donaldson has an extra-base hit in both, including a home run. He sat out the second doubleheader last night so he could be full go tonight to face Tarik Skubal. It’s a minimal sample size, but Skubal is getting crushed against RHH.

freesnippingtool.com_capture_20200905063400

The price is far too low for an elite level talent like Donaldson.

 

Jose Abreu ($5400 DK, $3800 FD)
Tim Anderson ($5600 DK, $3600 FD)

Jose Abreu and Tim Anderson are a significant reason for the White Sox being in first place in the Central. Quietly, Tim Anderson is competing for the batting title again. Anderson is riding another heater this week with a .400/.424/.567 slash line with a .991 OPS. His teammate, Jose Abreu, is putting up huge power numbers. He tied for second in the MLB with 13 home runs and atop the leaderboard in RBI(38). These two definitely come with a heft price tag, but the production is elite.

Also consider: Teoscar Hernandez/Randall Grichuk, Kyle Tucker, Marcel Ozuna, Michael Conforto/Dominic Smith

 

Unlikely heroes:

Jacob Stallings ($3100 DK, $2200 FD)

A comfortable position to punt on is catcher due to the position scarcity. When I’m not paying up for JT Realmuto or Yasmani Grandal, a target to look for is Jacob Stallings. He is providing a safe floor at the position with a 12.4% walk rate. Another reason to target Stallings is he makes a lot of contact-89.9% z-contact puts him in the top-10 of all catchers seeing at least 30 plate appearances. Lastly, Stallings typically bats in the 5/6-hole and gets a few more chances to drive in a run than other catchers at a similar salary.

 

Tyler Naquin ($3400 DK, $3000 FD)

Naquin is a platoon bat that needs to be considered when Cleveland faces a right-handed pitcher. In the last two weeks, he has a .316/.325/.737 slash line with a 1.062 OPS and four home runs. The numbers are pretty loud for such a quiet player.

freesnippingtool.com_capture_20200905065925

Also consider: Brian Goodwin, Sam Haggerty, Brandon Nimmo, Edwin Encarnacion, Jay Bruce

 

 

4. Pitchers

“Safe” Picks: 

Lucas Giolito (DK $10500, FD $10400)

Lucas Giolitto followed up his no-hit performance with a solid outing against the Twins. He continues to pile up the strikeouts with 66 in only 48.2 innings pitched. He looks like the safest high-priced player because of the matchup. Giolito squares off against one of the worst offenses on the slate, the Kansas City Royals. In the last seven days, the Royals are striking out 25.3% of the time and have a 69 wRC+. Put those numbers in with the .614 OPS and .292 OBP, this should be a high scoring game for Giolito.

 

Aaron Civale (DK $9400, FD $9100) 

Civale has struggled in his previous two games on the mound. Although his control has been there and he still is yet to walk more than two batters in a start. Civale has been a mark of consistency as he has made it at least six innings pitched in every start this year. He makes his eighth start against a struggling Milwaukee Brewer’s club, who has a 75 wRC+ and .287 wOBA vs. RHP. In the last seven days, the Brew Crew is striking out an alarming 26.1% of the time and has a sub .800 OPS.

Also Consider: Gerrit Cole, Max Fried

 

Value Targets: 

Justus Sheffield (DK $5700, FD $6300)

Sheffield gets to pitch against the Texas Rangers today, who is a dreadful offensive squad. They have a 25.0% strikeout rate and a 5.9% walk rate when facing a southpaw on the season. In over 450 plate appearances, the Rangers have a .223/.280/.361 slash line vs. LHP. Yikes! Sheffield’s last outing didn’t go according to plan due to the number of walks. If he can keep those under wraps, the rest should take care of itself.

Also Consider: Chase Anderson

 

5. Connectors

Connectors are cheap guys who offer a tangible upside and enable you to explore top-heavy builds. FanDuel offers an embarrassing quantity of these players (their pricing model is drunk), so I’ll focus on DraftKings first and foremost.

 

Edwin Rios ($2900 DK, $2200 FD)

Rios was activated when Justin Turner went on the IL. This one is a little bit of a dart throw because the Dodgers have been sporadic with playing time on players- so monitor the lineup before lock time. Rios destroyed right-handed pitchers in the minor leagues, as shown in the splits below.

freesnippingtool.com_capture_20200905071423

Rios should face off against German Marquez, and his rostered% could be deficient. This would also be a great GPP/Tourny play because of that.

 

Cedric Mullins ($2000 DK, $2400 FD)

Mullins draws the very tough matchup against Gerrit Cole, but will likely get the leadoff at-bats. Cole has looked human at times, and Mullins is swinging a hot bat with a hit in each of his previous four games. It won’t take much production to pay for his low salary, and the opportunities should be there today.

Also Consider: Jose Trevino(catcher punt), Daniel Robertson, Andres Gimenez

The Next Wave in Fantasy Baseball: Trade Deadline Edition

The Next Wave series takes a slight detour given the flurry of prospect movement at the deadline. Seemingly, all roads led through the San Diego Padres this trade deadline. The Padres were easily the most active, shipping notable prospects for MLB roster upgrades. But many other clubs did well in the prospect game too. This article will dive into the notable names for dynasty leagues that were traded and how movement between organizations affected their future outlook.

 

Seattle Mariners

Perhaps the highest profile prospect traded this deadline, Taylor Trammell was not with the Padres for very long. He came over from the Cincinnati Reds as part of last year’s three-team deadline deal involving Trevor Bauer and Yasiel Puig. Now in Seattle, the Mariners have a deep crop of young outfielders: current breakout Kyle Lewis, along with super prospects Jarred Kelenic and Julio Rodriguez.

The future looks more uncertain for Trammell with playing time and cracking the lineup among that group. The DH in the American League is a slight help. It would be unusual for such a great athlete to occupy the DH slot, but Trammell projects as a LF only player. Perhaps the Mariners will rotate through these outfielders and use the DH between them.

Trammell is a gifted player who provides intrigue with power and speed. In particular, Trammell has good on-base ability despite hit tool questions. He put up a nice .340 OBP at Double-A, though the .349 SLG was modest.

Trammell’s ultimate future may be as a second division starter in the big leagues if his hit tool peaks, but he simply has too much pedigree and athleticism to overlook him maximizing his true potential as a dynamic fantasy outfielder.

Depending on your league’s eligibility criteria for rookies, Andrés Muñoz is a fireballing righty reliever who also came to the Mariners. Muñoz went under the knife with Tommy John surgery earlier this calendar year, so it’s possible he is back at some point in 2021.

Just 20 years old, Muñoz has logged 23 IP at the major league level with 30 K and a sub 4 ERA. He is one of the premier relief prospects in dynasty leagues, and his value takes a significant turn upwards leaving San Diego.

I was not convinced he was the closer of the future in San Diego given their immense depth, but he has a much higher chance of locking down saves in Seattle now when he returns to the mound.

A deep league special for the Mariners came in the Taijuan Walker trade with the Toronto Blue Jays. The Mariners acquired 19 year old outfield prospect Alberto Rodriguez.

The left handed hitting Rodriguez has good contact ability and has shown he can lift the ball at a young age. Rodriguez hit lefties (.309/.371/.455) at a stronger clip than righties (.297/.361/.407) in 2019, and stole 13/15 bases in the Gulf Coast League. Of note, Rodriguez grew up with Mariners ultra-talented prospect Noelvi Marte and the two remain close friends. Now, they get to develop together in the same organization.

Cleveland Indians

Gabriel Arias, Joey Cantillo, and Owen Miller headed the prospect return for the Indians in the Mike Clevinger blockbuster with the San Diego Padres. Cleveland also netted other young talents that are non-prospect eligibles such as Josh Naylor (23) and Cal Quantrill (25).

Gabriel Arias is a slick-fielding shortstop with a nice offensive foundation. Arias first landed on prospect radars as a 17 year old when he played in Australian Winter Ball back in 2017. The previous season, it was Ronald Acuña Jr. who first made waives from down under, so naturally many were pegging Arias as the next über talent.

While Arias has a significantly lower ceiling than Acuña Jr., he projects as a starting big league shortstop. Arias socked 17 HR with 8 SB at High-A in 2019, though his BB rate nearly halved and dropped below 5%. I like Arias as a SS who can hold down the position defensively and be a steady fantasy contributor.

Arias is only 20 and may have some bumps in the road, but he’s one worth being patient on even if the early career output isn’t super loud.

Joey Cantillo is a lefty pitcher who broke out this past season primarily in full season Low-A. Cantillo brings pitchability and two really good secondaries with a changeup and slow curveball.

Cantillo reminds me of now teammate Logan Allen, also formerly of the Padres as well. Cantillo enters a favorable development environment for pitchers in Cleveland which improves his chances to max out and learn a 4th offering.

Only 20 years old, Cantillo has just a little more physical projection and could be a nice number 4 starter with the chance for more.

Owen Miller is a high floor infielder who is on the brink of contributing in Cleveland. Miller does just about everything well: he has a knack for contact and can work a walk, and chip in pull-side power and speed.

Like many contact-oriented hitting prospects, Miller could be bound for a rise in today’s game and capitalize on in-game power. Miller rounds out a trio of relatively safe prospects acquired by Cleveland that all have a chance to be big league regulars.

Boston Red Sox

The Red Sox were busy sellers, as they shipped Mitch Moreland to San Diego and Brandon Workman and Heath Hembree to Philadelphia. The Red Sox also sent veterans Kevin Pillar to Colorado and Josh Osich to the Chicago Cubs, with PTBNL pending names to add to the deadline prospect haul down the road.

Jeisson Rosario and Hudson Potts were the duo of prospects from the Moreland return from the Padres. Jeisson Rosario is the prize in my view, as he’s a quality defender in centerfield with both hit and on-base ability.

He is physically gifted and provides speed intrigue, and could grow into more power. Rosario is almost 21 years old and his defense provides relative safety in his chances of being a big league regular.

Hudson Potts is a pedigree slugger, as the former 2016 first rounder has now reached Double-A. The 6’3″ infielder looks like a future fixture at 3B, but he also has the current mobility to play 2B.

The sub .300 OBP at Double-A was low, but his pull-side power hitting profile is intriguing at Fenway Park. The Red Sox did well in acquiring these two players who could be average to above average starters in the future.

From the Phillies, Connor Seabold is a righty pitcher with the potential to stick at the middle to back of the rotation. Seabold is a strike thrower who impressed in the AFL at the end of last season.

He has repeatable mechanics that are low effort and suggest a starter future. Seabold features both a slider and changeup as secondaries, which gives him enough to work multiple innings. Seabold was revealed a favorite of scouts after the trade, and was one that stood out to me during my research when I wrote up the Phillies prospect list earlier this summer.

Seabold adds much needed high minors depth for the pitching-starved Red Sox.

Baltimore Orioles

The Orioles had a successful trade deadline as they dealt Mychal Givens (Colorado) and Miguel Castro (New York Mets). The Orioles traded these two high leverage relievers for Tyler Nevin, Terrin Vavra, and Kevin Smith. The overall outline was similar to Boston’s returns noted above.

Tyler Nevin, son of former big leaguer Phil Nevin, is a former 1st rounder (2015) who’s calling card is plate approach. He’s a right/right hitter with decent power and a hint of speed. He also has some defensive versatility playing both infield corners and potentially both outfield corners as well.

Nevin has a modest ceiling but joins an organization that can get the most out of his profile, though opportunities may be hard to come by in the short term.

Terrin Vavra represents the higher ceiling of the two. Vavra, also son of a former big leaguer (Joe Vavra), is on the Orioles active roster despite not playing above Single-A. The middle infielder pairs a great hit tool with strike zone awareness, walking at an equal clip to his strikeout rate last season.

Vavra racked up 43 extra base hits and was among the Sally League leaders in many offensive categories. Vavra provides a needed up-the-middle infusion in the organization and profiles as a nice middle infield target in dynasty who could surpass a utility floor.

Kevin Smith, a left handed pitcher, has been a quick riser in the Mets system. He was their Minor League Pitcher of the Year in his first full professional season, making it to Double-A.

Smith isn’t an overpowering pitcher but has three average pitches that play up with mechanical deception. Smith can provide multi-inning help in 2020 and can profile as a back of the rotation starter in the tough AL East.

Arizona Diamondbacks

The Arizona Diamondbacks came into the year with playoff aspirations, but became sellers after a slow start to the shortened season. In addition to a pair of notable prospects, they also acquired big league talent from both the Cincinnati Reds and Miami Marlins.

Stuart Fairchild nearly cracked the top 5 of the Reds system for me earlier this summer, as the outfielder had a successful season at Double-A. The athletic outfielder paired a double digit BB rate (10.6%) with an impressively low K rate (12.8%).

If he’s able to improve on his 6/12 SB rate and show that his hit tool can unlock his power in-game, he has a good bet to be a productive fantasy outfielder.

Humberto Mejía, who made his big league debut last month in Miami, was covered in more detail in a previous Next Wave article. Mejía may have more opportunity to stick in the rotation for Arizona, but pitching in the dangerous NL West doesn’t present a boost to his fantasy potential.

Kansas City Royals

Edward Olivares was also covered previously in the first Next Wave article as he debuted for the San Diego Padres earlier this season. After being dealt for reliever Trevor Rosenthal,

Olivares has an incrementally clearer opportunity to break through at the major league level, though the outfield is veteran-heavy and the Royals will have to make a conscious effort to emphasize the skillset of Olivares.

Olivares earned the promotion and first start in centerfield for the Royals already who could see some more opportunities in September.

With the Royals trading Brett Phillips, and acquiring Lucius Fox from the Tampa Bay Rays, they acquire a very good fielding shortstop with game-changing speed. It is rather curious that they targeted Fox, who has many similar strengths to incumbent shortstop Adalberto Mondesi.

Fox has shown a much stronger ability to earn walks though (12.3% in Double-A and Triple-A in 2019) versus Mondesi (4.3% in MLB in 2019). Fox may provide injury insurance as a player ready to step up in the short term, and could supplant Mondesi should he continue to struggle.

Los Angeles Dodgers

No contender quite operates like the Dodgers. They have such immense depth, they’re able to retool their farm system without sacrificing the major league product. They impressively were able to add a high upside pitching prospect in Kendall Williams from the Toronto Blue Jays in exchange for Ross Stripling.

Williams is a 6’6″ righty and last year’s 2nd round pick out of the notable baseball school IMG Academy in Florida. Williams has the foundation of a four pitch mix and possible number 2 ceiling. For the Blue Jays sake, they hope this is not a repeat of the R.A. Dickey trade that saw Noah Syndergaard flourish into an ace.

Williams moves from one great organization to another, and the arrow is firmly pointing up for a potentially bright future.

Los Angeles Angels

The Angels landed a pair of pitchers in Packy Naughton and Gerardo Reyes.

Packy Naughton arrives from the Cincinnati Reds in exchange for outfielder Brian Goodwin. The lefty has a high energy delivery with lots of movement.

Naughton gets good deception on his curveball and changeup and looks like a backend starter or multi-inning reliever.

Gerardo Reyes is a Statcast darling and has been on the radar since the preseason due to a high correlation to Justin Verlander in player similarity. While Reyes is far from that kind of impact, he has a big fastball and strikeout ability out of the bullpen.

The Mexican born right hander has as good a chance as any to work his way up the bullpen pecking order, and has a much better chance of doing so than with his former club in San Diego. Both Naughton and Reyes are deep league names for now.

Other Deep Dynasty Notable Prospects

Griffin Conine (MIA), Riley O’Brien (CIN), Marcus Smith (TEX), Zack Short (DET), Travis Bergen (ARI), Mark Payton (CIN), Addison Russ (NYY).