2018 MLB Week That Was: Week 10
Glenn Colton takes an in-depth look at the past week of the MLB season and how everything turned out for fantasy baseball owners.
Ian Kinsler : Kinsler went 2-5 with a run, rbi and dinger Saturday. Through Saturday, the year-long numbers are still not pretty: .222 average; .287 OBP; and five home runs. However, he has been heating up of late. In the week ended Saturday, Kinsler hit .429 with three dingers and six RBI. His hot week is not the only reason I recommend buying if you can. First, he hits before Mike Trout . What is better than that? Second, his contact rate continues to be elite. Indeed, it's up close to 90%, and his K rate is lower than a year ago. Third, the .221 BABIP will surely correct. Fourth, the high contact is not Punch and Judy – he is well above the league average in hard hit rate. I am buying and so should you.
Kevin Gausman : Gausman continues to be unpredictable but his stat line should have been much better Saturday as his defense let him down in a critical sixth inning including by botching the simplest of double plays. On the day, Gausman’s line looked like this: 5.1 IP, 9H, 5ER, 0BB, 9K. I choose to look at this “glass half full” and see nine K's and no walks. Remember last year when Gausman was bad in the first half and lights out in the second? Well, 2018 is shaping up for a similar second half. Why you ask? Good question. First, his xFIP is almost a full run below his ERA. Second, the .340+ BABIP will surely reduce to the .300ish mean. Third, the K rate is up and the BB rate is down – stats that should support better not worse production than a year ago. Finally, he is getting more chase and less contact than a year ago. I know it will be a bumpy ride but guys like Gausman, when hot, can carry you to a title.
James Shields : Shields was the hard luck loser Saturday. Shields tossed seven innings of three run ball, giving up 8 hits and 1 BB while mowing down 6. The year long numbers are mediocre: 4.48 ERA being below average and the 1.26 WHIP being solid. However, six of his last seven starts have been quality starts with his ERA at a nice 3.45 and his WHIP at a very strong 0.98. There are reports that he changed his arm angle and made some other adjustments so perhaps the improvement can hold. If you are in an AL only league, Shields is back to being a valuable back of the rotation starter. However, given that the ChiSox are well, bad, he will not log the wins so I would not put his name on my mixed league FAAB lists.
Frankie Montás : Montás pitched his second good game in a row since arriving from the farm. On Friday, the A’s hurler went eight innings of shutout ball giving up seven hits and no walks. The only downside is that Montas managed just two Ks. So, what should we expect from the rook? Well, his 4.39 ERA and 1.34 WHIP at Nashville does not make me smile. The .247 BABIP and 92% strand rate make me worry. The 7% swinging strike rate does not inspire confidence. Oh, and the xFIP being over 3.5 runs higher than the ERA says correction coming. Montas has a good arm, a wealth of potential and a good park in which to pitch. However, I think 2019, not 2018 will be his year. Bid carefully.
Michael Wacha : Wacha was brilliant Sunday, tossing eight innings of one hit shut out ball while walking two and striking out eight. On the year Wacha sports a sweet 2.41 ERA. Why doesn’t this guy get any respect (cue Rodney Dangerfield)? Since his mediocre outing in March, Wacha has gone 10 straight starts without giving up more than three runs. Consistency personified. So, the question is whether to hold or sell high. I am holding. Why? Honestly, it is not because of the advanced metrics, which all say correction is coming. I just think that sometimes the eye test and results have to win out. So, full disclosure, this is a gut call on my part but I am following it.
And now, the moment you have been waiting for -- Schultz says: “A few weeks back, the collective roto-world (such an archaic word, do people still use it?) had a cataclysmic reaction to Juan Soto being promoted to The Show. In leagues where the prospecting of minor leaguers is frowned upon, roto-owners fought with pitchforks and tridents to obtain the heavily-touted 19-year-old, especially those who considered him the consolation prize to missing out on Ronald Acuna . While everyone focused on Soto, the Pirates quietly called up a once-shiny prospect to fill in for a week or two while Starling Marte recovered from a minor injury.
A former first round draft pick in 2013, the bloom had long faded off Austin Meadows ’ rose. A perfect emblem of the post-hype superstar, the Pittsburgh rookie has posted a .404 average, five home runs, eight RBI, and three stolen bases, in just his first two weeks in the majors.
The prevailing wisdom is that Meadows will play until he cools down. That’s going to happen simply because he isn’t the second coming of Ted Williams. However, it makes no sense to send Meadows back to the minors now that he’s shown he can succeed in the pros. If you were wise enough to scoop him up in the midst of the Soto scramble, you secured a prize. Don’t relinquish it cheaply or prematurely.”
Response: I completely and totally agree with Schultz this week and that makes me uncomfortable (just kidding or JK as the kids say). Good call on Meadows. Buy if his owner in your league does not believe.
Final Note: Is there any reader who of this column who has left Ross Stripling on the waiver wire? I really hope not! He gets a shout out for the 4th week in a row here after his seven innings of one run ball this week in which he struck out nine and walked only two... Just sayin.