After a week away from helping you all plan out your fantasy baseball agenda, I, Nate Miller, am back. My wife gave birth to our third son on April 19th, and I’m delighted to report that Mom and baby (Mercer) are doing fantastic.

Big shout out to our fearless leader Howard Bender for braving the waters of the Weekly Planner in my absence last week. Mr. Bender is a diehard Yankees fan, so with a nod to him, I say, how ‘bout those first-place Bronx Bombers (15-7).

The youth movement is definitely working in NYC, spurred on by rookie slugger Aaron Judge and post-hype hurler Luis Severino. Severino will be covered later in this article, but let’s take a moment to highlight the verdict that Judge has bestowed upon jury this month.

Going into play on Sunday, Judge’s 10 home runs are tied for the A.L. lead while his .767 slugging percentage and 1.160 OPS stand atop the junior circuit. He belted seven of those roundtrippers over a 10-game stretch from April 17-29, and has silenced the detractors a little more with each passing day.

Can Judge and the Yanks keep it rolling during the fifth week of the MLB season? We’ll just have to watch and see. One thing is certain heading into May, Howard and his New York brethren have much to be excited about. 


Weekly Breakdown

Red Sox743
Blue Jays606
White Sox707
  • The first thing that is easily noticeable this week is that every team is playing at least six games, meaning there is no short, five-game slate to be aware of for weekly formats.
  • Seven clubs will play all of their games on the road, and that could be a cause of concern for three lineups in particular - the White Sox, Diamondbacks and Rangers.
  • Everyone had the White Sox tagged as A.L. Central Champs coming into the season, right? Well, there is obviously a long way to go in the campaign, but heading into play Sunday, the Southsiders were riding a six-game winning streak and sporting a 13-9 mark overall. Rick Renteria’s squad has actually gone 7-4 on the road and 6-5 at home to this point, but the Pale Hose offense is scoring 5.0 runs per game in Chicago compared to just 3.6 outside of the Windy City.
  • Much like the White Sox, not too many pegged the Diamondbacks as contenders for 2017. After winning 15-of-24 games while boasting one of the top offenses in the league, some began to reconsider their stance on the desert dwellers. Paul Goldschmidt and company went into Sunday averaging 5.3 runs per game on the season, good for third in the bigs. However, their performance at Chase Field compared to other venues is quite glaring. Prior to Sunday’s MLB slate, the D’Backs held a ridiculous .889 OPS in their home park and a meager .592 on the road. 
  • One last team with a significant home-to-road discrepancy in offensive production, the Rangers have largely underperformed expectations on the whole so far. The majority of their struggles have come on the road, where the Beltre-less bunch has posted an ugly .207/.278/.352 slash line. That certainly makes a four-game set in Houston followed by a weekend series in Seattle seem quite ominous. 

Interleague Breakdown

RaysMarlins2NoShane Peterson, Peter Bourjos
MarlinsRays2YesIchicro Suzuki
YankeesCubs3NoMatt Holliday
  • The Yankees will face off with an N.L. opponent during the upcoming weekend, which will be the third time they’ve done so in four weeks. Veteran DH Matt Holliday saw just three plate appearances in a three-game series at Pittsburgh back on April 21-23, so make adjustments accordingly. 

SP Rankings

1Chris Salevs. Orioles@Twins
2Clayton Kershawvs. Giants@Padres
3James Paxtonvs. Angelsvs. Rangers
4Corey Kluber@Tigers@Royals
5Noah Syndergaardvs. Marlins 
6Dallas Keuchel@Angels 
7Marco Estrada@Yankees@Rays
8Dylan Bundy@Red Soxvs. White Sox
9Luis Severinovs. Blue Jays@Cubs
10Jacob deGrom@Braves 
11Max Scherzervs. Diamondbacks 
12Ervin Santanavs. A'svs. Red Sox
13Julio Teheranvs. Metsvs. Cardinals
14Gerrit Cole@Redsvs. Brewers
15Jason Vargasvs. White Soxvs. Indians
16Yu Darvish@Astros 
17Jon Lestervs. Philliesvs. Yankees
18Danny Duffyvs. White Soxvs. Indians
19Justin Verlandervs. Indians@A's
20Marcus Stroman@Yankees 
21Stephen Strasburg@Phillies 
22Carlos Carrasco@Tigers 
23Jose Quintana@Royals@Orioles
24Lance McCullersvs. Rangers@Angels
25Gio Gonzalezvs. Diamondbacks 
26Tanner Roarkvs. Cardinals@Phillies
27Cole Hamels@Astros@Mariners
28Masahiro Tanakavs. Blue Jays 
29Carlos Martinezvs. Brewers@Braves
30Chris Archervs. Blue Jays 
31Rick Porcellovs. Orioles@Twins
32Michael Wacha@Braves 
33Zack Greinke@Nationals 
34Johnny Cueto@Dodgers@Reds
35Matt Shoemaker@Marinersvs. Astros
36Jake Arrietavs. Phillies 
37Michael Fulmervs. Indians 
38Michael Pineda@Cubs 
39Taijuan Walker@Nationals@Rockies
40Brett Andersonvs. Philliesvs. Yankees
41Alex Woodvs. Giants 
42Lance Lynnvs. Brewers 
43Ivan Nova@Reds 
44Drew Pomeranzvs. Orioles 
45Jeremy Hellickson@Cubsvs. Nationals
46Matt Moore@Dodgers 
47Ian Kennedyvs. White Sox 
48Dan Straily@Rays 
49Danny Salazar@Tigers 
50Brandon McCarthy@Padres 
  • Right up at the top of the rankings for the week, two of the game’s elite hurlers should be monitored regarding health in their respective Sunday and Monday starts. Noah Syndergaard takes the mound for the Mets on Sunday after refusing an MRI on his injured biceps, stating that he is “ready to go”. Clayton Kershaw is looking at an incredibly attractive two-start docket and has said that he’s not concerned about his bruised right calf. He’ll be pitching off five days rest going into Monday’s matchup with the rival Giants, against whom he has gone 19-8 with a 1.60 ERA in his career.
  • Grabbing a spot among the Top-5 with Kershaw and Syndergaard this week, James Paxton has been healthy and utterly dominant during the season’s first month. Through five starts, the 28-year-old lefty has posted a 1.39 ERA, 0.84 WHIP, 10.9 K/9 and 6.5 K/BB across 32.1 innings. In addition, the opposition is batting a meager .179 with no home runs off of Paxton.
  • Speaking of breakouts, it certainly seems that Luis Severino could be standing on the cusp of one. Some onlookers expected it in 2016, but they were a season early on the 23-year-old flamethrower. Severino has mowed down 27 batters while walking only three over his last 22.0 innings and sports a 3.00 ERA along with a stellar 0.78 WHIP on the season.
51Kendall Graveman@Twins 
52Francisco Liriano@Rays 
53Amir Garrettvs. Giants 
54Eduardo Rodriguez@Twins 
55Hector Santiagovs. A's 
56Tyler Chatwood@Padresvs. Cardinals
57Antonio Senzatela@Padres 
58Mike Leake@Braves 
59Miguel Gonzalez@Orioles 
60Julio Uriasvs. Giants 
61Mike Foltynewiczvs. Cardinals 
62Trevor Bauer@Tigers@Royals
63Robbie Ray@Nationals 
64Jesse Hahnvs. Tigers 
65Chase Anderson@Cardinals 
66Trevor Cahillvs. Rockiesvs. Dodgers
67Wade Mileyvs. White Sox 
68Derek Holland@Royals 
69Matt Boydvs. Indians 
70Kyle Hendricksvs. Yankees 
71Scott Feldmanvs. Piratesvs. Giants
72Jake Odorizzi@Marlinsvs. Blue Jays
73R.A. Dickeyvs. Metsvs. Cardinals
74Alex Cobb@Marlinsvs. Blue Jays
75Sonny Gray@Twinsvs. Tigers
  • Oh, Sonny Gray. He finished third in A.L. Cy Young award voting for 2015 only to disappoint everybody in 2016. What’s to come from the All-Star righty this year? We’re all about to find out. He was outstanding during this past Thursday’s rehab outing for Triple-A Nashville, striking out seven while giving up two hits and no walks across six shutout innings. Gray is expected to take the mound Tuesday in Minnesota then again Sunday in front of the home crowd opposite the Tigers. A wait and see approach might be safest, but in deeper formats, he is worth at least a stash. 

Nate Miller is a member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association and has been an analyst in the industry since 2013. You can follow him on Twitter @Miller_RotoDad, where he is always up for fielding any Fantasy Baseball, Fantasy Football or DFS questions.