Fantasy Baseball The Week That Was: May 13
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.
Joe Musgrove : Joe Musgrove was awful this week, going just three innings giving up eight runs and 11 baserunners. This comes on the heels of a 2.3 inning, five earned run performance in the previous outing. Even with those two atrocities, Musgrove still supports a respectable 4.12 ERA, 1.23 WHIP and a FIP under 3.00 (showing some bad luck in that ERA). I don’t know about you, but I am doubling down on Joe. Why? First, his advanced metrics are strong: 47% ground balls; 12% swinging strike and a first pitch strike of 62%. Second, Joe has a solid two-step this week facing Arizona in the humidor and San Diego in spacious Petco. Finally, the two bad outings should not erase the 5 straight quality starts in which he gave up 6 earned runs in total leading up to those starts. If Musgrove is available on your waiver wire this week, remedy that situation.
Chris Bassitt : Chris Bassitt was a hard luck loser this week, losing despite pitching 7 innings of three-run ball and striking out nine. I have to admit that Bassitt has been far better than I thought he would be. In fact, he had been great – 2.55 ERA, a WHIP under 1.00 and over 11 K/9. All is not lemon drops and gum drops however. Bassitt has been lucky with a .222 BABIP and 90% strand rate so there is regression coming. My advice: take it week by week but his outing at Detroit this week is not the time to jump off the Bassitt-wagon.
Eugenio Suárez : Eugenio Suárez went 2-5 with two runs and a swipe Sunday. On the year, the .259 average is just meh, but the 12 dingers are pretty sweet. Bottom line here is that low average may still leave the window cracked open for you to swindle Suarez away from your competition. If you can, you should. After all, this is a 27 year old player who hit 34 dingers last year, 60 in the last two years and whose average continues to get better each year (.283 last year). Want more proof this is a 2019 growth stock? An unlucky .264 BABIP is holding down the batting average despite a robust 48% hard hit rate. The luck will change. I would pay full freight so any discount is one worth snapping up.
Brandon Dixon : Brandon Dixon went 2-4 with two runs, an RBI and a dinger on Sunday. That is two dingers in two days for the Tiger 1B/OF. On the year, Dixon is now hitting a robust .317 with a .943 OPS. Not too shabby. Do the advanced metrics back this up? Yes, they do. Dixon sports an absurd 59% hard hit rate which is Joey Gallo /Christian Yelich territory – rarified air for sure. I admit it, I was all ready to cut Dixon loose this weekend before doing a deeper dive. No way I am cutting now. If you can buy, consider it. Consider it strongly.
Tyler Mahle :Last week we wrote: “Tyler Mahle pitched well on Thursday going 5 innings while giving up just 1 run and striking out 7. 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.” Well, the two starts yielded the following: 12.3IP, 9H, 5ER, 2BB, 16K. There were no W’s this week but I will gladly take the 16K, WHIP under 1.00 and ERA under 3.75 for the week. I call that a win. Now, as to the next couple of weeks, I am not brave enough to roll the dice against the Dodgers and then the Cubs. It was fun while it lasted!
Finally, the moment you have been waiting for (sort of) -- Schultz says: “As we reach the middle of May, we reach the Samuel Beckett portion of the season where roto-owners can simply do nothing but wait for their underperforming superstars to provide a return on their investment. For many, this would be called "Waiting for Ramirez." With many scoffing condescendingly over the current troubles of the Tribe's third basemen , it's easy to forget that he stumbled out of the gate in 2018 and nearly ended his roto-owners' seasons less than two months ago when he was carted off the field after fouling a pitch off his knee. While we wait for the real José Ramírez to arrive, let's rip off another literary construct and wonder what would have happened should there be no José Ramírez .
While watching a Yankees game, the announcers were running through a litany of reasons that Giovanny Urshela had trouble finding playing time for the Indians. Ignoring the fact that he actually played for Toronto in 2018, the analysis also omitted the fact that Urshela is a career .225 hitter, has yet to reach double digits in career home runs and has never stolen a single base. When they got around to his solid glove and his inability to play anywhere but third base, you would think the "AHA" moment was coming as it's now obvious why he isn't in Cleveland. Alas, the YES network crew couldn't place their figure on the roadblock preventing Urshela from flourishing in northern Ohio. However, as one of the healthy Yankees (a term that is highly highly subjective these days), he is succeeding like never before. With the snakebitten Yankees suffering near-daily injuries, there's a good chance Gio gets lots of playing time in the Bronx. Just don't expect the production to remain at this level.
Another odd man out in the Indians' lineup due to the Ramirez logjam, Yandy Díaz is flourishing with the Tampa Bay Rays and is not an insignificant cog in their remarkable start to the 2019 season. Possessing a great eye, underappreciated power and an absolutely minuscule contract, Diaz was the leverage that allowed the Indians to bring back Carlos Santana and acquire Jake Bauers (who will be quite good sometime soon) and reshape their roster. Given baseball's economics, Diaz, who earns the league minimum, might have been the Tribe's long-term solution to replacing the noticeably absent production of Edwin Encarnación , Yonder Alonso and Dr. Smooth Michael Brantley . Meshing nicely with the Rays' frugality, the window for roto-owners to also acquire Diaz under market value is rapidly closing.”
Response: Interesting analysis but none of it explains why the Indians did not shift Ramirez to 2B and replace Kipnis with the younger, better players they could have installed at the hot corner. As to Urshela, I was skeptical but watching him play, I believe. Will he be José Ramírez ? No. Do the facts that his hard hit percentage has jumped from 21 to 44, his line drive percentage has jumped from nine to 28, and hit contact percentage jumped from 74 to 84 give me confidence that Gio will be good beyond this quick start? Yep!