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Cup of Coffee: Fantasy Baseball Takeaways From Last Week

Welcome to Cup O’ Coffee, Your often funny, fairly thorough, occasionally thoughtful look-back on the fantasy week that was. A one-stop Monday morning fantasy baseball recap with some tidbits to catch up on the fantasy baseball week that was, if you will. Here we’ll discuss injuries, promotions, demotions, trades, and anything else that catches our eye.

More great fantasy baseball advice and analysis: Waiver Wire & FAAB Recommendations | Daily MLB Injury Report | MLB DFS Picks | Line-up Analysis | Dynasty Rankings and Strategy | MLB Bullpen Updates | MLB Player Props | Prospect Rankings & Analysis | Fantasy Baseball Risers and Fallers

Another too-early look at next year’s draft

The Cincinnati Reds continue to be the most fun story in baseball. They stretched their winning streak to 12, before having it snapped on Friday by the Braves. Joey Votto, a goddamned national treasure (have you ever seen this at-bat?), came back and started hitting home runs. Elly de la Cruz cemented his standing as must-see TV by being the youngest player in thirty years to hit for the cycle. And while Cup of Coffee could wax rhapsodic about the exploits of the burgeoning superstar for hours, we want to give some love to Elly’s teammate and fellow rookie, Matt McLain.

Cincinnati’s first-round pick in 2021 at 17th overall, McLain came into the Reds system with one of those bat-to-ball, defense-first profiles. A prospect that some expected to be a better real-life player than fantasy asset. In his first taste of pro ball, the former UCLA Bruin showed well enough at high-A, slashing .273/.387/.424, albeit over only 199 PAs due to a fractured thumb that cost him three weeks. 2022 provided a far different picture. McLain was promoted to double-A and scuffled to a .232 AVG and .816 OPS.

2023, however, is proving to be a complete turnaround. Maybe it was the thumb or maybe it was finally recovering from the lost 2020 season. Maybe it’s the Skyline chili (hit my required chili-joke quota!). The young SS has been a revelation: crushing AAA to the tune of a .710 SLG before getting the call to the Mothership on May 15. Since then he has been providing remarkable production from the two-hole in that now very potent Reds lineup. Through Sunday, his average is a sterling .325 with 30 Runs scored. Doesn’t hurt that he’s constantly batting in front of Elly. There are some warts in his game, as McLain finds himself in the bottom quarter of MLB hitters in whiff, chase, and strikeout rates. But it doesn’t get more exciting to have a guy with this type of hit tool playing half of his games in that park.

So What To Do With This Information?

The question is: where does Matty find himself in the 2B ranks come next season (assuming he gains 2B eligibility)? Top 5 right? Altuve, Betts, and Semien definitely live higher than McLain on the rankings. But would you prefer to have Jazz rather than him? Albies? We want McLain more than Gimenez, Edman, and Gleyber? Would love to hear what y’all think!

Dispatch from the “Where in the f$@# did that come from?!” Department

In the continuation of career revivals involving the Atlanta Braves (Julio Teheran! Touki Toussaint! Mike Foltynewicz can’t be far behind?), Eddie Rosario is back! 2019 called and wants its left fielder back. After spending the last two years meandering through the fantasy wasteland, Rosario has come back to the fold. The 31-year-old Puerto Rican is enjoying a career resurgence with the Braves.

To be fair, Rosario has seemed to benefit from some batted ball luck so far; his BABIP is .345. However, it also seems as if he has gained some further control over his launch angle. Using the wonderful website that is Baseball Savant, we can do a bit of searching. Between 4/24-6/25, a period that Eddie hit .308/.356/.595, his launch angle remained between 15 and 20 degrees (the MLB average is around 12). And look-backs on his up-and-down career show that there seems to be a cursory connection between his success at the plate and this launch angle. It’s quite likely that this may be a situation where if you didn’t catch this Rosario lightning in a bottle, there’s not much to do here. But if you did manage to get him on to a roster while the getting has been good, CHEERS to you!

The Part Where We Say Sorry

Aaron Hicks, we owe you an apology. Obviously, you’re a very savvy and smart guy so would only read your baseball content on a rad platform like Fantrax. When you were signed to Baltimore following the Mullins injury, we had nothing but snarky things to share. Something along the lines of “…having Aaron Hick on your roster is not something that we would wish on our worst of enemies…”

You sure showed us! Hitting .275 with 4 HR, 10 RBI, and 3 SB in just over 55 plate appearances is a great way to let us all know that you still mean business. Noted.

We’re sorry, Aaron, really. Hope there are no hard feelings.

One Last Thing

Not sure how we feel about these London games. Yes, we’re all for expanding the reach of baseball. And, sure, if even five people become MLB fans from these two games then it still should be considered a success. Obviously, there are lots and lots of baseball-hungry Brits who were beyond excited to go to these games: 54,000+ attended Saturday’s game, a regular-season high.

Just feels like… are we to believe that this is to have some lasting effect? That Brits will now start rooting for their favorite baseball teams? Color us skeptical.

For daily injury updates, look no further than Fantrax and our own Dave Funnell!

Thanks as always for stopping by, we’ll be back next week! If you have any thoughts, suggestions, or ideas, or just want to drop a virtual high-five, leave me a note: [email protected]

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