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Fantasy Baseball Confidential: Week 10

Each week yours truly will be sharing various tidbits and revelations that I deem worthy of the attention of fantasy baseball managers of all formats and backgrounds. It’s the anniversary of D-Day! The most massive, multi-national offensive in the recent annals of war. I remember the first time I experienced Saving Private Ryan when it came out in the theater in the summer of 1998. That opening sticks with you, regardless of your feelings about violence and war. Maybe it’s also a good time to fire up Band of Brothers on your preferred streaming platform? As fair, powerful and engrossing as any mainstream entertainment endeavor about World War II that you will ever see. So…let’s see what’s happening on the down-low. Let’s find out what’s strictly hush-hush, on the QT and deserves a bigger budget for Week 10!

The Day After Yesterday

Here you will find points of reference from this past week that you need to know going forward, so you can be a fantasy baseball kingpin.

  • The Phillies sent Joe Girardi packing last week. Now the Phightin’ Phils have won 4 straight games including an epic comeback victory on Sunday to secure the sweep of the Angels at home when Bryson Stott cranked a 3-run walk-off winner! Girardi just seems like a guy who was in the right place at the right time when he managed the 2009 Yankees to a title. Then again, maybe he got screwed? He started with the 2020 bozo season which was a write-off. Then they floundered to an 82-80 record in 2021 in which some people were saying they failed to live up to expectations. Now we’re in 2022 as the Phillies fell to 22-29 when the other shoe finally dropped on Girardi. It’s the beginning of June with loads of time left to make a run in an expanded playoff system. Something tells me though that there was more to the firing than the record and expectations. This comment by Bryce Harper clues me into a lot in a situation that requires expert-level awareness when it comes to reading between the lines. The Phillies are run by the master organizer Dave Dombrowski, who knows how to build a winner (except for a bullpen when he ran the Tigers). If Girardi was averse to trusting his younger players like Bryson Stott, that would be an issue with Dombrowski who is the same guy who drafted Rick Porcello out of high school in 2007 and by 2009 called him up as a 20-year-old to start 31 games for the Tigers that season. Dombrowski will roll with the youngsters if needed. Players like Stott, who looks reborn with Girardi gone, Matt Vierling, Ranger Suarez, and Mickey Moniak may all benefit now from Girardi’s departure if you buy into this developing theory about Girardi lacking trust in his up and comers. I will say that opening the season with Bryson Stott in the opening day lineup shows a trust in the youngster. Maybe Stott wasn’t ready? This is the same team who thought Scott Kingery was going to be a part of their future plans. Is that Girardi’s fault too?

  • Offense is on the move in MLB. It’s obvious. We now know that the ball was drastically changed coming into 2022. We also might have an idea that the installation of the humidor in all 30 ballparks caused tangible changes in the flight of the ball. We have already heard Chris Bassitt opine about the absurd nature of MLB not giving a hoot about anything other than money. There have also been comments from Bassitt’s teammate James McCann about the constant shifting of balls and their seams. There have been 933 home runs hit over the last 30 days with 486 of those home runs coming over the last 15 days. That’s an increase of about 40 round-trippers over a 15-day period. Is that proof enough for you that the ball has been adjusted again? The question is what to do now from a fantasy perspective. Do you consider the baseball environment we are operating in at the moment of your transaction decisions? How do you proceed when it comes to predicting the trends when the ball is in flux? My point is to be aware of the surroundings you play in. Money is involved at every turn in fantasy baseball. We’re all grasping for it whether you get your kicks from DFS, redraft, or dynasty.
  • Quickly, what’s the Washington National’s current record in the standings? I’ll wait… still Googling it? They’re 21-35 with a -77 run differential. Yet, you probably heard about Lane Thomas cranking 3 taters in one game recently. Does that sound familiar? It should. Thomas was the toast of the town in Cincinnati last Friday night. One of his blasts had an xBA of .150 traveling 349 feet in homer-happy Great American Ballpark. That xBA means that in most other parks that ball was much more likely to be an out. It’s a common occurrence at other parks too like Yankee Stadium, where the extremely short RF porch turns certain fly balls into round-trippers. Thomas finished the week out with 4 total yambos plus a multi-hit game in all 3 series contests in the Queen City. He holds a sad looking .283 OBP with a 27% K rate. Thomas is only rostered in 3% of Yahoo leagues, so if you want to hitch your fantasy wagon to his hot bat, it should be very easy to secure his services. Not to be outdone though, his teammate Juan Soto was able to match Thomas for the week with 4 HR if his own. Soto also hit 3 bombs in that series against the Reds with 2 coming last Saturday night. Soto now has 12 blasts on the year, but still rocks a sour .228 average. The Nats are off to Miami next for 3 before finally coming home for a 3-game set with the NL Central leading Brewers.
  • Last week it was 12 years ago to the day on June 2, 2010, when Tiger’s starter Armando Galarraga was robbed of one of the rarest feats in MLB history when umpire Jim Joyce blew the call at first base after Jason Donald hit a weak grounder to Miguel Cabrera. Galarraga covered first base to receive Cabrera’s throw. He clearly beat Jason Donald to the bag, but we all know the end result from that moment was a nullified perfecto. There were two outs too! Everybody was ready to celebrate. I remember watching that game on television. It was a Friday evening. I was fully engaged in a lazy night at the house because as Galarraga’s pain was about to take hold, my own pain was in full effect as I had just freshly torn the UCL in my right elbow. That’s’ right, I could have ended up having TJ surgery (I rehabbed just like Masahiro Tanaka)! The elbow tear happened during a full-court pickup basketball game at the CCRB on the University of Michigan’s campus, where I was finishing my final microeconomics class before I graduated. I grabbed a rebound and turned to the outlet to fire a football pass on to the wing when suddenly a guy stopped my arm from behind right in the middle of my throw full bore. I screamed in agony as I jumped around the court holding my elbow and jumping in hysteria. It was brutally painful. I was in misery. Similar to Galarraga, I hold my own grudge as I still think it was a dirty play. What a shame it is that Armando Galarraga had his career-defining moment stolen from him by a very remorseful Jim Joyce. The reason I bring this up is to remind everyone that Galarraga still holds out hope that MLB will change the call since it doesn’t impact the final score of the game. Of course, this makes too much sense, so there is no way in hell this ever gets mended.
  • The Blue Jays are on a tear lately having won 8 of their last 10, but their run differential is just at +10. That’s a good sign as their offense starts to come alive. Alejandro Kirk has certainly been one key cog in their system. His 2-HR, 4-RBI game last Tuesday was the start of an even better week than his solid May. Kirk hit a homer in back-to-back games Saturday and Sunday. He’s starting to show pop at a position that you would die to get quality production out of. Kirk has been so good that even though I had Daulton Varsho as my catcher, I had to add Kirk because his OBP was so damn fine! At .389, that’s the type of catcher you want in an OBP league. Now I start both Varsho and Kirk because Varsho has OF eligibility. Another Blue Jay leading the way is Teoscar Hernandez. I received multiple messages in the Pallazzo Discord and in my Twitter DMs about Teoscar and trades involving Teoscar. Told everybody the same thing: stay the course! And what do you know? The dude is raking! He started a streak of 3 straight games last Tuesday with at least 2 hits. Since May 23 Hernandez has a 156 wRC+ with 8R, 7RBI, and a HR over that span. The best is yet to come too as the Jays take on the Royals for 3 games to start the week. That’s good news for all Blue ay hitters because the Royals were a frequent target of mine in the Pallazzo Discord for streaming hitters against. Check out the Royals pitching numbers the last 15 days. I will be stunned if the Jay’s bats stay quiet in this upcoming series.
  • I am not here to brag about my individual conquests. I’m actually here to help you with a little lesson involving in-season management. Yet, last week’s performance in my H2H home league (shout-out as always to my BYB brethren) from the pitching side deserves recognition. Here at the Fantasy Baseball Confidential, we are pro-H2H leagues! We will always take a moment to celebrate the excitement of H2H fantasy baseball play in our continuing effort to fight the stigma related to the lack of respect for H2H in the fantasy baseball industry. A special thanks goes out to George Kirby’s debut at Camden Yards, Edward Cabrera’s stellar debut at Coors of all places, Sandy Alcantara as per usual, Gerrit Cole against my bozo Tigers, Mackenzie Gore’s 10K outing in Milwaukee, Daniel Bard and Edwin Diaz. Combined, all of these fine young men finished the week with a pristine 0.00 team ERA! 38 innings without a single earned run. Now that’s what I call a shoutout! I still lost 6-4 because my opponent Mike’s offense was on fire with 17 HR for the week, but the moment still rings true. This is where solid in-season management decisions pay off. We put so much stock in the preseason on the drafting aspect of fantasy baseball. A draft is but one part of a fantasy manager’s duty. In H2H categories each category won is a victory in the standings meaning there are 10 wins up for grab in our league as the scoring is standard 5×5 with OBP instead of average. I avoided two possible blemishes to that clean ERA when I benched Brady Singer against Houston on Friday (easy call) and George Kirby for his second start of the week on Sunday (ERA and WHIP were locked up). If I had rolled with either Singer, Kirby round two or picked up more streamers (we are allowed 100 moves for the entire season), I may have sacrificed the two ratio categories all in the name of chasing Ks. Classic cut off your nose to spite your face moment, no? Losing 6-4 is much better than 7-3 or worst. Some weeks you just have to accept that the odds are not in your favor. Rather than risk it all to chase the impossible dream, minimize the damage so you can start fresh the following week with a clean slate. These reductions in lost categories can add up over the course of an entire H2H schedule. I love going for the gusto, but being practical has its advantages too.
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Ain’t No Future In Your Frontin’

As the Beastie Boys stated in So What’cha Want, “you think that you can front when revelation comes?” Prepare ahead of time, because you can’t front on that.

  • In case you missed it on Twitter last week, there was a great tidbit revealed by former Pittsburgh Pirate Kevin Kramer in relation to the Pirates moving on from Cole Tucker (picked up by the Dbacks). The tweet below sets the table and then there are replies in that thread that put the Neal Huntington era on blast to the max! I live for these kinds of honest, inside baseball revelations! Doesn’t it excite you to realize that some of the people who run major sports franchises are as clueless as some of the fantasy managers you play against in your leagues?! I commend Kevin Kramer for his honesty. You have a standing invite to come on the Pallazzo Podcast ANYTIME you want to talk more openly about your experiences. I will give you the floor Kevin and you can take the show in any direction you see fit. The reason I bring this up is the lasting impact on certain players may still be felt today. Even though Ben Cherington is in charge now, Neal Huntington and his cronies were let go October 28, 2019 (I don’t include Clint Hurdle in that grouping). The Pirates are in the process of a talent shift on the MLB roster as everybody except O’Neil Cruz is getting the call to the steel city. Travis Swaggerty was just the latest to arrive with Cal Mitchell, Tucupita Marcano, and Roansy Contreras also being given roles with the big club. Slightly before that magic Jack Suwinski and NOT Diego Castillo of the Mariners have been trying to shed their green labels. In the Pallazzo Discord Prospect channel you can find the prospect wizard Benjamin Chase freely talking about the latest player to arrive in the bigs. If Huntington didn’t already damage him, my main man Ben said that Swaggerty is more of a 4th/5th OF, but Ben loved his interactions with him in person from afar. All jokes aside, I really think the Pirates have a possibly intriguing core between Castillo, Mitchell, Hayes, Cruz, Reynolds, and Marcano who hit a couple of taters after getting called up with a SB to boot. Pittsburgh hosts two in Detroit before a 4 game set in Atlanta. Not all Pirates prospects are created equal, I just hope they all get a chance to shine in a supportive environment.

  • I have come to the conclusion that Brandon Nimmo might need an IL stint for his ailing wrist. He had me pause with hesitation ever so slightly with his 2 hits, 2 runs scored appearance Saturday night at Chavez Revine. However, that was just one game out of his last 6 where he was able to do anything. The Mets are in a power position in the NL East as their excellent start might allow them to put a player like Nimmo on the IL to heal up while a guy like rookie Nick Plummer can step in and provide some offensive firepower. Plummer had 2HR in 2 games the weekend of May 29, but hasn’t sniffed much of an opportunity since then. I have Brandon Nimmo on several teams, so I am coming from a place of caring here. I don’t want him to miss time if he can avoid it, but all those fantasy managers who roster Nimmo know that he needs to take care of his wrist for a deep playoff run.  Let’s hope the Mets come to their senses and allow him to sit it out for a bit. The Mets of old would run Nimmo into the ground, but the new-look Mets have a bit more trust on my end than they did before. I love Buck!
  • The MLB season runs until October 5. If you play roto, you have about 17 and a half weeks left to make your mark. Tuesday marks the completion of the second month of the season that started on April 7. That leaves us about 4 months to get our acts together. Not for my H2H home league though, where the season schedule wraps up with the title game matchup ending on Sunday, September 18. The last two weeks are just for show in our league. I’m not a fan of that. In my view the entire season should be used as we still all have to play under and by the same guidelines. My home league, which is affectionately called Bless You Boys (BYB) as a tribute to the iconic catch phrase Bless You Boys which became the rallying cry of the ’84 Tigers. The actual newspaper front-page headline for the champs in ’84 was “Gr;r-reat”. I’m curious, did other regions of the country have those newspaper front-page headline posters that you could get framed and hang down in your basement that your stepdad hasn’t quite finished remodeling? Hit me up on Twitter and enlighten me. Those posters were ubiquitous in southeast Michigan while I was growing up in the 90s. Other common local newspaper front-page headline posters that you could find at your friend’s house while you were playing Sports Talk Baseball on Sega Genesis were “Not Bad, Boys” and “Sweet Repeat”. Both were for the Bad Boys Pistons back-to-back NBA titles in 1989 and 1990. I was barely 4 years old when Kirk Gibson crushed that series-clinching homer after Tiger’s manager Sparky Anderson famously said, “he don’t wanna walk you” in reference to feared RP Rich “Goose” Gossage. At the time it was the most important home run of Gibson’s career until his 1988 showdown with Dennis Eckersley at Chavez Revine. The Tigers routed Tony Gwynn’s Padres in 5 games to clinch the 1984 World Series championship. Bless you, boys!
  • I abandoned ship on Jesus Luzardo Sunday evening in my redraft leagues, both 12 and 15 teamers. It’s a real shame when people waste a perfectly talented starting pitcher like that. He deserves so much better than this. He hasn’t thrown at all though, yet. With the rate things are going, Chris Sale is closer to returning than Luzardo is. Think about it. A long layoff means he has to build up his strength and endurance again. He has to throw from flat ground, from 120 feet, to the mound, to a bullpen session, to facing live hitters to finally heading out for a rehab assignment. Where does that put us then? August? Few people went as heavy on Luzardo as I did this past draft season. He was tied for my most drafted player with Andres Gimenez. Don Mattingly admitted it’s not going according to plan and that he will be out for a longer period of time than they hoped. One thing I learned last year is not to hold onto guys for too long. Nick Senzel and Nick Solak are still teaching me that lesson from 2021. Dropping Luzardo means I have an active player in his place ready to contribute to my squad. If Luzardo makes a magical recovery suddenly and returns by mid-July, then I’ll give a big old MySpace kudos to the team that benefits from that. But my instincts tell me this isn’t getting any better any time soon Casey Mize tried to come back from his elbow injury and he went back on the shelf again. I don’t see many discrepancies here.
  • This is dangerous territory I am about to enter, but I want you to consider the value of German Marquez. I’m not trying to be contrarian. I’m not the Skip Bayless of fantasy baseball. This is simply a matter of looking for value in places that others might ignore. Marquez has been awful this season. Sporting a 6.71 ERA, a 57% strand rate, a 1.62 WHIP and 1.80 HR/9. Those numbers speak for themselves. In contrast, he holds a 5.11 FIP, 4.69 xERA, a 3.89 xFIP, a 4.08 SIERA and a not god awful 2.95 BB/9. His K/9 has sunk to 7.53, but his swinging strike rate on his slide piece is still quality at 37%. He hits the road for a start at San Francisco. If he can show an improvement here, be prepared to NOT add him for a 2-start week at home versus Cleveland and San Diego. If Marquez is not hurt, then water is going to find its level. He is still only 27 and a very talented pitcher. We can only imagine the possibilities if he had never been saddled with the burden of pitching in Coors half the time over his entire career. What could have been if he had come up with the Rays or the Cardinals? One day we might finally find out. Just as Jon Gray is starting to thrive in Texas, there is still hope for German Marquez.
  • My bozo Tigers have a double-dose of outfielders coming to the big club this week. One player is returning to action on Tuesday while the other is set to make his MLB debut soon. The player on the comeback trail is Austin Meadows, who had a bout with vertigo that sidelined him since May 15th. I’ve never experienced vertigo as far as I know. It’s a peculiar symptom, not a disorder according to WebMD, that I have often been curious about. It certainly sounds awful, but I have only seen it acted out on the small screen by Lucille 2 on Arrested Development who was played by recent Academy Award presenter(?) Liza Minnelli in the second most awkward moment of the 2022 Oscars. Bottom line is Austin Meadows can hit, but if his vertigo acts up again, another stint on the IL could be plausible. There are many cases of  MLB players dealing with vertigo during their career. Nick Senzel and Brock Holt are two recent examples. The worst-case scenario happened to former 1B Nick Esasky, who ended up having to cut his career short because of vertigo. After signing a big free-agent deal with Atlanta, he played only 9 games before hurting his shoulder and developing vertigo that was so bad he couldn’t see the pitches coming at him clearly. Did the Rays know something about this and that’s why they parted ways with Meadows? There is noting to substantiate such hearsay, but it’s certainly an intriguing topic ripe for the fantasy baseball subreddit. The highly-touted Riley Greene is the player who will likely make his debut some time this week. He’s at Triple-A Toledo crushing balls, so it’s only a matter of time now.

Speed Round Musings

The musings you find in this segment are just my thoughts. Assume total bias on my part in this section.

  • The Nationals brought up Luis Garcia and he will not be returning to the minors. This kid has pop and is viable even in 15-teamers. Go get him now!
  • The 13K performance by Jose Berrios against his former team hurt a lot of fantasy managers’ feelings. Sometimes you gotta go against all you know.
  • Oriole’s prospect Kyle Stowers hit 2 HR Sunday to preserve the win for DL Hall. Stowers has 10 homers with an 11% BB rate at Triple-A. Watch him.
  • One of my most drafted players Andres Gimenez had himself a week! He cranked 3 yambos, drove in 9, and had 3 multi-hit games. This is for real!
  • The word is that Fernando Tatis Jr. will pick up a bat in the next week. If he does a possible end of June return is in play. Far fetched, but possible.
  • It’s gotten to the point now with Javier Baez where I am definitely considering a drop in 12 teamers and maybe in 15 teamers. Still haven’t. Yet…
  • Josh Donaldson had a fun walk-off Sunday. Will Matt Carpenter still be relevant? He got a pinch-hit BB on Sunday. He needs another injury.
  • The Rockies are fading to the back of the NL West, but have still been loyal to Connor Joe. Since May 15th he’s .230/.345/.311 while leading off.
  • The Rangers brought up Josh Smith last week who hurt his shoulder. Now they bring up Ezequiel Duran who homered Sunday. I added him in 15s.
  • It’s only a matter of time now for Alex Kirilloff before he comes back to The Show. He has a higher BB rate than K rate at Triple-A. The wrist is a go!
  • Jacob Stallings is a gold glover, but Nick Fortes is the catcher that excites me. He went yard last Friday. I love his bat, but playing time is sparse.
  • Lou Trivino has only given up ER in one of his last 6 appearances. He’s struck out 8 in 4.1IP. Maybe he sneaks back into closing soon. Watch list!
  • The Cardinals will welcome Tyler O’Neill back into the fold later this week. He’s going to mash and steal bases. I would be trying to acquire him now.
  • Stephen Strasburg has been throwing gas in his rehab starts and is now with the team. If his bullpen is smooth on Monday, he is a go for launch.
  • The Pirates acquired Yu Chang from Cleveland last week. I have a soft spot for Chang. Maybe he plays every day and takes advantage of his chance?
  • I dropped Giovanny Gallegos in a 12-teamer over the weekend. Ryan Helsley is the closer in my book for the Cardinals until further notice.
  • Rays OF Randy Arozarena has 3 SB in his last 4 games. His walks are still down and his swing rate is up. 20/20 season is still in play for him.
  • Jon Gray dismissed 12 Tampa Ray players via the strikeout last Wednesday. We’ve waited forever for him to leave Coors. Jon Gray Truthers unite!
  • Jarren Duran is back for the Red Sox. He had reached safely in 29 straight in the minors. He’s led off twice to start in the bigs. I think he sticks.
  • Cubs pitcher Adbert Alzolay is doing light throwing drills right now. He’s a ways off from returning. Maybe end of July if we’re lucky. I miss him.
  • The Twins brought Jose Miranda right back after sending him down. Over the last 7 days, he has 3 HR, 6 RBI, and 3 multi-hit games. This is legit.
  • The journey continues for Mike Soroka as he makes his way back from his Achilles injury. He will need a long rehab. Don’t expect him until July.
  • My guy Joe Gentile is a great follow. He predicted Taylor Ward. He likes a kid named Dominic Fletcher who he thinks could be the next Ty France!
  • The Padres are the latest team to throw Nomar Mazara into the fire. I would be shocked if he actually becomes a regular. Seen this movie before.
  • Tanner Houck is possibly going to close for Boston. Has there been worse back-end bullpen management this season by a manager than Alex Cora?
  • Don’t forget about Edward Olivares. He’s still recovering from that quad injury and is a couple weeks away. Stash sooner if you have the space.
  • Shane Baz made his final rehab start for the Rays. He struck out 10 in 4.1IP. Be ready to have him in your weekly lineups for his return in Minnesota.

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