Fantasy Baseball The Week That Was: May 6
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.
Tyler Mahle : Tyler Mahle pitched well on Thursday going five innings while giving up just one run and striking out seven. Not too shabby. On the year, Mahle has put up a 4.09 ERA and 1.30 WHIP – neither number is something about which to write home. However, Mahle does have a K per inning, has ticked up his fastball .5 MPH, has been unlucky with a BABIP approaching .350, has increased his first pitch strike and ground ball percentages, has a very nice 3.29 xFIP and has thrown more cutters and changes than in years’ past. Time will tell as to whether Mahle can show the consistency we crave from starting pitchers but I am definitely marching him out there for his visits to Oakland and San Francisco this week! Hopefully Mahle will pull a Matt Harvey and make me look good and get loyal readers quality stats.
Matt Strahm : Matt Strahm pitched a strong game this week in Atlanta (tough place to pitch) going six innings of two run ball while striking out eight to get his first win of the year. On the year, Strahm has an ERA barely above 3.00, a strong WHIP of 1.10 and a very pretty 27/5 K/BB ratio. The velo is down almost two MPH and the advanced metrics do not support continued success but I just have a gut feeling that this guy is going to outpitch those metrics. For now, roll Strahm out for a home start against a Mets team that is traveling west and then take it week by week.
Chris Taylor : Chris Taylor had a big day Sunday going 3-for-4 with a run, two RBI and a dinger. Even with that big day, Taylor’s average is hovering around the dreaded Mendoza line. So, will the real Chris Taylor please stand up? I think he may not be the star people projected but he is a LOT better than he was in April. Indeed, over the last three games, Taylor is 7-for-13 with two dingers, three runs and four RBI. The advanced metrics support my faith in the Dodger. Taylor’s BABIP is almost 100 points below his career average, his contact rate is up, and his K rate is down. Over the last two years, Taylor has averaged approximately 20 dingers and 13 swipes all while qualifying at multiple positions. I think he can emulate those numbers but will not cost nearly what those numbers are worth. Buy!
Omar Narváez : Omar Narváez went 3-for-3 at the plate Sunday raising his average to .299 and his OBP to a gaudy .389. Not too shabby. Can this continue? Well, maybe not quite that high but I see continued valuable production from the Mariner backstop. After all, Omar has quietly posted MLB career marks of .275 and .366 respectively. Add in the fact that Narvaez is hitting the ball harder without sacrificing much contact and you have diamond in the rough others may be undervaluing. Buy!
Anthony DeSclafani : Last week we wrote: “Anthony DeSclafani pitched six shutout innings Friday to get the win. In the outing, AD gave up four hits and three walks while striking out six. On the year, the numbers are pretty good: 1.26 WHIP and a K/9 over nine. The 4.26 ERA is not great and the low first pitch strike rate worries me but the next three starts should give him ample opportunity to improve -- this week AD gets the Mets which does not scare me and, wait for it, the week after will be a double shot of the Giants. Sign me up for that schedule!” Well, I hope you listened as that matchup with the Mets went quite well: 5.2 IP, three hits, zero earned runs, one walk, eight K's. Feeling good about those two starts against the Giants now? I am!
Finally, the moment you have been waiting for (sort of) -- Schultz says: “Roto-pundits like to talk about the "post-hype sleeper" or the "late bloomer." In trying to make it seem like they are saying something intelligent (Schultz' expertise), the "experts" completely ignore who hyped the still-green prospect in the first place. The underlying premise of any "after the hype" list is that these are players that everyone was previously grievously wrong about. Reading between the lines, it's a backhanded admission: "I once told you that this player was worth rostering. I was wrong BUT I'm right now."
In 2016 . . . and 2017 . . . and 2018, the prevailing wisdom was that Daniel Vogelbach would be a savvy addition to any roto-roster. Full of potential, glorious platitudes were written about his prodigious power. Well, in 2016, he played 8 games and hit .083 and hit no home runs. In 2017, he doubled the games played and matched his home run total. In 2018, he hit .2017 with only 4 round trippers. So for 2019, he actually became a sleeper cause no one - absolutely no one - was talking about him. Vogelbach, which is German for Jesús Aguilar , is destined to have the same type of season and it took until May for someone to say that.
Speaking of the forgotten, all the verbiage on Dansby Swanson coming into the season sounded like a eulogy for the 2015 #1 overall draft pick's career. Focusing on his wonderful feeling, everyone seemed to be wondering about who would replace him by the All-Star break. Since the Braves brought him to the big leagues way to early, it's easy to forget that he's only 25 and hitting amidst a potent lineup. Swanson has been bumped up to the #2 spot and will hit between Ozzie Albies and Freddie Freeman . If you wagered on Dansby, congratulations, you won.
It might be unfair to lump Mike Minor into the post-hype category since the hype surrounding him is more than a decade old. If you can find any reason why Minor is putting up a 2.40 ERA and .95 WHIP while posing as the most fearsome pitcher in the American League, more power to you. Whatever the reason, not only does Minor look nothing like the previously hittable pitcher of years past, it doesn't look like it will be fleeting, especially when the Rangers trade him into the playoff hunt over the summer.”
Response: I hate to disagree with Schultz – wait, who am I kidding? I love to disagree with Schultz! I would argue that pundits who hype a player who takes a longer time than expected to hit his stride were not wrong, just early. As to the specific players, while I agree on Minor and Swanson and I disagree on Vogelbach. As noted, it is more fun to disagree with Schultz, so I will just point out a few facts. First, very smart baseball people in Chicago gave up on Vogelbach so that should give you pause. Second, more than 27% of his fly balls will not continue to leave the yard. Third, over the last two week and three week periods of measure, Vogelbach failed to reach the Mendoza line. I would sell high if the opportunity presents.