Fantasy Baseball The Week That Was: June 24
Glenn Colton takes an in-depth look at the past week of the MLB season and goes over how everything turned out for fantasy baseball owners.
Nomar Mazara : Nomar Mazara hit the longest dinger in five years Friday and followed it up with two more on Saturday. Through Saturday, the Rangers’ outfielder had 12 homers, 43 runs, and 44 RBI. Those are hardly huge numbers but they play out to be 25-90-90 which is not too shabby. The real question is whether Mazara can finally take his game to the next and elite level or stay at “not too shabby”. In each of the last three seasons, Nomar hit exactly 20 dingers while hitting between .253 and .266. The immediate gratification crowd looks at that and says “meh.” What they forget is that Mazara made the majors at 20 years old and is still only 24 years old today. They also forget that players who make the bigs at such a young age do so because they are that talented. So, with over 2,000 MLB plate appearances under his belt before 25, can Mazara use that experience and take off? Yes, he can. The hard-hit rate is way up, ground ball rate down significantly (grounders do not leave the yard), oppo rate way up (showing maturity), and he is actually running a bit more than before. Pounce if someone thinks they are selling high after the big weekend.
Yasmani Grandal : Yasmani Grandal led off for the Brewers Saturday and immediately delivered by going yard. On the night, Grandal notched two hits, two runs, and two RBI to go with the dinger. While Gary Sánchez deservedly is getting a ton of fantasy catcher love, do not look past Grandal and his 17 dingers and .383 OBP through Saturday. Yes, I know that he has never hit .250 in the bigs but this year, he is at .274 without any BABIP luck. Stated another way, Grandal has taken a big step forward. He is hitting the ball harder, going the opposite way more and hitting more line drives than in years’ past – all without sacrificing contact. This guy is a fantasy gold at a scarce position. Pay the freight.
Brandon Workman : Brandon Workman got the W Friday for the BoSox. In fact, it was the third time in the last 10 days that Workman got a win. For those who think that is luck, think again. The manager has to use Workman in high-leverage situations (i.e, close games) and Alex Cora does just that. Even without the wins, Workman has put up some nice stats: an ERA under 2.00 and a WHIP approaching 1.00. The advanced metrics support those numbers as he induces around 50% grounders and induces swings and misses around 12% of the time. For those in deep leagues, especially AL-only, Workman will work for you.
Joe Musgrove : Joe Musgrove posted a nice line on Friday: 7IP, 5H, 1ER, 1BB, and 8K. Has he been inconsistent? No doubt. However, it is worth noticing that Joe threw way more sliders on Friday then he had in recent memory. Given that his slider is his best swing and miss pitch, perhaps he is on to something. On the year, Musgrove has a pedestrian 4.57 ERA but a solid 1.23 WHIP. It is no secret that I was a big believer in Musgrove back in March. I still am. The swinging strike, first pitch strike and ground ball percentages are all solid despite not throwing the slider as often as he should. If I were you, I would wait until he finishes the brutal upcoming Astros, Cubs, Brewers string and buy low on a good pitcher.
Tyler Beede : Last week we wrote: “Tyler Beede ’s stat line this week was a mixed bag. The four earned runs in fewer than five innings were not good but the seven strikeouts were solid. In the end, this entry really is not about what Beede did last week but what he has shown below the radar this year. Here is the good news: velocity up over two MPH; swinging strike rate is up to over 12%; first pitch strike rate is up to close to 70%; ground ball rate is up to close to 50%; FIP is three full runs lower than ERA (yes three); strand rate and BABIP show he has been very, very unlucky; chase rate is up; and line drive rate is way down. Yes, the roto results have not been there but given his pedigree (14th pick overall), good home park and advanced metrics signs of development, I am stashing Beede where I can.” Well, it was a bit of a mixed bag this week but I am going to focus on the positive – a gem against the red-hot Dodgers early in the week. With a home start against Arizona and then a visit to San Diego, I like Beede’s odds of producing for a minimal cost.
Finally, the moment you have been waiting for (sort of) -- Schultz says: “Roto-pundits like to tout the "NEXT BIG THING" and are quick to offer advice about how quickly you should pick up some team's #5 pitching prospect that has been putting up great ratios in Double-A ball or jump on the beefy clean-up hitter that just hit his 35th home run but is only 5th in the category in the Pacific Coast League. Once the promotion occurs, roto-pundits go radio-silent over whether they offered sage counsel.
Surprisingly, 2019 has been a somewhat decent year for hyping youngsters. Although he should have been on the Mets' opening day roster, Pete Alonso has singlehandedly kept the Mets afloat while also serving as the rising tide for all his roto-owners. Similarly, but for a stint on the injured list, roto-owners can't be disappointed with Fernando Tatis Jr. 's .318, 8 HR 21 RBI start. Austin Riley's .288 12 HR, 34 RBI outburst continued his minor-league success and Yordan Alvarez ' .326, 6 HR, 14 RBI line in only 43 at-bats has been immensely satisfying.
On the other hand, roto-pundits left no adjective unturned in their assurances that Vladimir Guerrero Jr. must be roto-owned at all costs. That time may come but his .253, 7 HR, 20 RBI indicates that that time isn't now. Same goes for Eloy Jiménez , whose .249, 12 HR, 28 RBI start shows some promise but not the return on the pundit fueled hype. Carter Kieboom ?? Well, that was a fun week watching all the value vanish into thin air.
That all being said -- Schultz LOVES Bobby Bradley . Just remember though, no one really knows anything.”
Response: Who would have thought Schultz would love an Indians player. That said, it is Oscar Mercado , not Bradley, that should be the object of his affection!
Final Note: In what can only be described as wonderful news in the fantasy sports industry, the Fantasy Sports & Gaming Association (f/k/a Fantasy Sports Trade Association) had voted to induct the late great Lawr Michaels as the 21st member of its Hall of Fame. I cannot imagine anyone more deserving. I just wish he was here to see it. For those who missed it late last year, here were my thoughts on the passing of my friend, fantasy sports icon and now Hall of Famer: https://www.fantasyalarm.com/articles/colton/64527/2018-nfl-week-that-was-week-16/