The Week That Was: Fantasy Baseball Week 8 Recap
Glenn Colton takes an in-depth look at the eighth week of the MLB season and how everything turned out for fantasy baseball owners.
A Yankee with an opportunity highlights the Memorial Day edition of the Week That Was.
Aaron Hicks: Aaron Hicks filled the stat sheet Sunday with a hit, run, rbi, sb and even a bb for good measure. With Jacoby Ellsbury on the shelf, Hicks will play every day. If he is somehow available in your league, remedy that. Hicks is off to a strong start in semi-regular playing time hitting .290+ with 8 dingers, 21 RBI, a whopping .984 OPS and 7 SB thrown in for good measure. Is this a fluke? No, Hicks is an athletic 27 year old OF hitting in a good park and lineup who made the majors at the tender age of 23 and is just coming into his own now. Want evidence of signs of maturity? Ok, his BB rate has jumped from 8 to 19%. Satisfied? How many times have we pointed to that Rule of Engagement that tells you players who have already notched 800-1000 at-bats before age 27 are players likely to find the next level? Well, Hicks is one of them. Buy!
Melky Cabrera: Don’t look now but the Melkman is on fire. Sunday Melky went 2-4 with a run, rbi and dinger. In the week that was, Cabrera raked to an OPS over 1,000. Yes, I am an unabashed member of the Melky fan club. To channel Michael Douglas in the American President, why aren’t you? This is a guy with over 1,650 hits in the big leagues at age 32, has hit over .270 or more in 8 of the last 9 years, and who has averaged 14 dingers and 78 RBI over the last three years. Bottom line – Melky is underrated every year and his slow start this year makes him more so. Conveniently forget to tell your league-mates that Melky has been unlucky with a BABIP 45 points below his career average and has increased his contact, walk, and hard contact rates this year. Then, make a good deal for the Melkman who will deliver value and profit for your all summer long.
Yasiel Puig: Puig went 2-4 with 2 runs, 2 RBI and a monster dinger Sunday. The enigmatic Dodger RF has been just that in 2017. The good news is he has 9 bombs, 6 swipes, 27 RBI and 24 runs despite not really playing full time. The bad news is he is hitting just .227 on the year. So, what does on do with Puig? Well, if you are lagging in the standings, this is exactly the type of player to pursue as he is capable of such great things if he gets hot. If you are winning and have a strong team, this is not the kind of risk you need to take. The real question is what to do if you are one of the many teams in the middle. My answer is a gut reaction only – I see a guy who is ready to explode as we hit the meat of the season (June through August). To be candid, there are stats that support my view – his BABIP shows he has been unlucky, his BB rate is up which shows maturity, he is hitting the ball harder and even going oppo more often. Again, this roller coaster ride is not for everyone but I am happy to book my fantasy teams on this ride.
Travis d’Arnaud: The Mets catcher made his presence felt Saturday night going 3-5 with a run, rbi and 9th inning dinger. Yes, we all know Travis cannot stay healthy. But, what if he does? What can fantasy owners expect? Well, since coming off the shelf, he is 4-13 which is not too shabby. On the year, he is hitting only .222. Hmmm, still confusing. Well, let’s look deeper shall we? BB up, K down, contact rate up, hard contact up, and going opposite field more all speak to real potential for a strong year. Oh, and that BABIP shows he has been very unlucky. My view: d’Arnaud will hit when given the chance. If you trade for him and he plays half of the rest of the season you will probably break even. If he stays healthy, then he will be a major bargain. Roll the dice on health if you need a boost at catcher.
Yangervis Solarte: Last week, we wrote: “April showers have brought Solarte ice cold freezing rain rather than May flowers. Saturday, the Padre keystone went 0-4 dropping his average to .226. Attention: buy low opportunity! Solarte is a switch hitter who has never hit below .260 in the bigs and who has increased his dinger output each year. So what is the problem? First, he has been incredibly unlucky in May posting an absurd BABIP well under .150 (that is less than half of what it should be). No one is that unlucky. A correction is coming which means profit is out there in them there hills. Oh, and guys who play both 2b and 3b are more valuable than ever with all the time your players are spending on the DL in 17.” Well Solarte showed those predicted signs of coming out of the slump by hitting .333 with a whopping .481 OBP in the last week. As we said above, this is a good player who has just been unlucky. It may not be too late to grab this multi-positional Friar.
And now, the moment you likely have not been waiting for -- Schultz says: “In roto-terms, the Memorial Day weekend customarily marks the spot where one can make a reasoned determination as whether their team is destined for roto-success or whether they are doomed to the pit of despair known as "dumping for 2018." (Schultz personally believes that too many roto-owners are quick to pull the chain on a current season and that it’s the reason why they face this decision year after year after year after . . . well, you get the point). It's also the point in the season where you can start to separate the opening month statistical anomalies from the statistically significant breakouts.
In that regard, consider the following: Justin Turner leads MLB with a .379 batting average and Zack Cozart is third, hitting .355. Avisail Garcia has leaped out to a .331, 8 HR, 37 RBI start. Chris Owings has followed suit with a .324, 6 HR, 27 RBI spring and has also stolen 9 bases. Scott Schebler has 14 home runs. Yonder Alonso and the prospect formerly known as Logan Morrison each have slugged 13. Mark Reynolds has driven in 42 runs while hitting .316. Ervin Santana leads baseball with 1.80 ERA with Mike Leake close behind with a 1.91 ERA. Their respective WHIPS: .83 and .93. Derek Holland and Jason Vargas have put up stellar veteran quality ERA's of 2.37 and 2.39. Greg Holland - yes that Greg Holland -- has 19 saves, which is close to what Wade Davis and Kelvin Herrera have combined. Dan Straily (he's on the Marlins , for those of who expressed disbelief that he's still a major league) has a 1.07 WHIP while Yankee youngsters Michael Pineda and Luis Severino are at 1.04 and 1.05 respectively.
If you own any of these players, they are likely the reason you are sitting near the top of your league's standings as they went cheap in your auction or late in your draft. If you own any of these players and would like to stay at the top of your league's standings, relay the above stats to the owners of teams at the bottom of your standings. If they are your league's perennial cellar-dwellers, these are exactly the type of players they will overpay for as they once again sink to the bottom in 2018.”
Response: Wow, so much to digest this week from the Carlton the Doorman of fantasy sports. On one level, he is right. Selling high is a key to season-long fantasy baseball management. That said, I do not agree about all of the names on Schultz’s list. Here are two players on whom I disagree and would hold unless wowed with a whopper of an offer: Avisail Garcia and Michael Pineda. Both of those players have been on the cusp of roto stardom for a while. I believe they have reached that pinnacle. Stay tuned!