2018 MLB Week That Was: Week 11
Glenn Colton takes an in-depth look at the past week of the MLB season and how everything turned out for fantasy baseball owners.
Randal Grichuk : Grichuk was on fire Sunday going 3-5 with two runs and a RBI. Yes, he strikes out too often. Yes, he has been back and forth to the minors. However, this is a guy who is now just 26 and has hit 46 HR is just over 850 AB over the last two years. Wait, I know what you are thinking – this guy is hitting .181 AFTER that big day Sunday. True. However, in his last seven games, he is 10-26 with seven runs and nine RBI. Not too shabby. One of the negatives of all the information out there is that roto owners judge young players too fast. Will Grichuk be Mickey Mantle? No. Can he provide a nice profit for those willing to spend some FAAB now before the value heads north? Yes. Act accordingly.
Paul Blackburn : Blackburn pitched very well for Oakland to get a win this week. The A’s hurler tossed six innings of three hit, one run ball, striking out three for the win. If you rostered him this week, well good for you. If you plan on keeping him on your roster long-term, I would think twice. First, he needs to be very fine to win as his sub 90 “heater” will attest. Second, he has not registered a swinging strike rate of 10% since A Ball in 2014. Third, while his 3.22 ERA in Oakland last year looks nice, the xFIP was over 1.5 runs higher – not so nice. Finally, he gets Houston this week so absent a severe roster crunch or tough league rules, you are not using him this week. If someone out there in your league is buying, you know what to do.
Kirby Yates : Yates came on to get the save Saturday with Brad Hand pitching the eighth inning to set up. Curious indeed. Is Yates someone you should target? Answer, Yes. Why? First, irrespective of saves opportunities, Yates has pitched really well, including this year’s 1.13 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, almost 11K/9IP, 13% swinging strike rate and 48% groundball rate. Second, there is always a chance that Brad Hand will be traded and Yates take over the closer role full time. Third, even if Hand is not traded, there is a chance that the Padres play matchup with Hand and Yates allowing Yates to steal some saves the rest of the way – saves that could mean big time standings points in tight fantasy pennant races.
Carlos Martínez : Martínez just did not have it Sunday. He went just 3.6 innings giving 11 baserunners (four hits, seven walks) and five earned runs. Yeesh. In his two starts since returning from the shelf, Martinez has walked 12 hitters in fewer than eight innings pitches. That is simply not getting it done. Wildness, injury, low BABIP, high strand rate, and reduced velocity is not the ingredients for imminent success. Martinez has a world of talent but I would strongly consider selling while you still can in redraft leagues.
Ian Kinsler : Last week we wrote: “Ian 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 HR. 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 is 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.” Well, in his last four games this week, Kinsler has mashed: 8-17 with six runs, five RBI and three dingers. You are welcome.
And now, the moment you have been waiting for -- Schultz says: “One of the true joys of roto-baseball is obtaining truly unpredictable production from an unknown, unheralded player. In the past, this would be referred to as reaping the benefits of a "sleeper." However, the proliferation of pre-season lists of potential sleepers obliterates the concept in its entirety. If a player is good enough to make a list of sleepers, then he's no longer really a sleeper. That doesn't mean that sleepers don't exist. It just means that the moment the collective punditry speaks of them, the title vanishes. So, let's engage in a little Voldemorting and speak the unspeakable.
Max Muncy , who is so entrenched with the Dodgers that most of his photos depict him wearing an Oakland A's hat, has come out of nowhere to slug 11 home runs and drive in 26 runs in just over 120 at-bats. Given that LA clearly prefers a lineup with Cody Bellinger and Justin Turner at the corners, there doesn't appear to be an open pathway to continuing playing time. However, if LA wants to outlast the Diamondbacks and Rockies, they'll go with the guys swinging the hot bats.
Jesus Aguilar has also provided exponentially disproportional returns for those who took a flyer on him. Once a heralded Cleveland Indians prospect, Aguilar has found his inner Brandon Phillips and is in the process of quietly nudging Eric Thames out of a role in the Milwaukee lineup. His .297, 11 HR, 37 RBI line is only unexpected as it was widely believed that he would never mature into a major league hitter. In his vaunted 27-year-old season, he may be the epitome of the 2018 sleeper class.”
Response: I am impressed that Schultz managed to get a few Indians references in there. Good point though.
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 fifth week in a row here after he went out and produced again, this time with five innings of shutout ball, seven strikeouts, no walks, and a win, and then Sunday with six innings of two run ball with zero walks and six strikeouts... Still just sayin.