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Fantasy Baseball Confidential: Week 18

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. The MLB trade deadline will pass Tuesday at 6PM EDT. We already saw arguably the biggest trade near the deadline we will see this year when Luis Castillo had his agent make plans for him to arrive in Seattle ASAP. Having your radar on full alert to predict which remaining players will traded will help you gain an advantage for your roster construction over the final two months of the season.  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 its own meme for Week 18!

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 Luis Castillo trade is awesome for lots of reasons. It’s not always true that both partners in an exchange each get their cookies. In this case, I’d say the Mariners and Reds both locked down some delicious treats. I think Edwin Arroyo could be the best player in the end from this deal. Noelvi Marte is the hot ticket, but Arroyo is a guy I had been locked in on since he was drafted last year. He’ll turn 19 at the end of August with a 132 wRC+ to show for his efforts in his first year in single-A ball. In five years, Arroyo will be the player in this deal who stands out the most. 21 steals and an .899 OPS in 410 PA are just the beginning. Luis Castillo is the dude who will win a lot of people their league title down the stretch. The improved defense and park factor are big swings in his favor!

  • I know we had two in one game earlier this season, but Reid Detmers’ Immaculate Inning on Sunday was just another example of a pitcher who may be on the cusp of becoming a consistent middle rotation starter for the lowly Halos. Detmers had 24 whiffs! His SLD induced 10 whiffs alone as the spin rate on that puppy jumped from an average of 2215 RPM to a max of 2487 RPM! He’s throwing that SLD harder and sharper with nasty bite which in combination with his FF makes him a much more effective pitcher. Since his return from his demotion on July 8th, Detmers is holding down a 1.13 ERA in tandem with his 1.79 FIP with 31 Ks in 24 IP. Detmers has an arsenal and he was drafted in the first round for a reason. I am buying this adjustment ROS. I’d be willing to roster him in 12-teamers and deeper.

  • The Blue Jays were wise to trade for Matt Chapman in the offseason, but they get even more respect from me for staying patient with their Gold Glove winning 3B. All season long Chapman’s HHR has been there (52.7%) showing off his phenomenal cosmic power. Now the ball is being lifted more with core chunks of the bat doing what bats are supposed to do: crush the long ball. Chapman had 4 dongs last week and the best is yet to come. He still is creating a serious summer breeze in the batter’s box with a 30% K rate over the last 30 days. I don’t care though. He can mash the baseball in a lineup filled with talented offensive players who may very well only become more dangerous after the trade deadline passes Tuesday evening. I want Chapman in all formats except leagues where hitters are penalized for whiffs. Seriously though, who still plays with that archaic concept after we all have seen what the game has become today?

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.

  • The A’s did the least shocking thing to date at the deadline: they sent Frankie Montas and Lou Trivino packing to the Yankees. Trivino is a guy I dumped everywhere I had him by the end of last week. What’s more obvious than one foot out the door? The Athletics are taking in three pitchers and an infielder. JP Sears is a name that should be familiar to you as the 26-year-old southpaw has been efficient with the Yankees striking out 15 in 22 IP this year in spot starts and relief duty. I get the Jimmy Legs when I think about that shoulder issue Montas has been dealing with. However, you have to think he’s good to go if the Yankees brought him aboard. New York is in World Series or bust mode right now. If it turns out they blew the medical on Montas, it would be an epic-fail. I’m not all that interested in him, but if you need pitching help be my guest.
  • The shocking news around the league was Salvador Perez expediting his return from UCL surgery on his left thumb. There was hope that maybe Perez could come back in September. That was way off as Perez came back last Friday crushing a dong off of Gerrit Cole in the process! I was harsh on Perez being overvalued coming into 2022 because I didn’t think he could replicate his legendary 2021 season where he hit 48 yambos. That is a moot point now as he is back cranking taters with serious authority. Perez has the Pale Hose first and then welcomes in Boston for four matches at Kaufmann Stadium this coming weekend. Turns out Perez is not mortal. This mortal baseball combat is beyond him and he is planning to crush all challengers ROS. I just hope we get to see a few sweet finishing moves before the season is through.

  • A fine fellow DM’ed me about Matt Manning as a pick-up this week in fantasy. I scoffed rather quickly at his notion feeling confident that Manning is nothing more than the relative of a more well-rounded professional athlete. Then I looked at my FAAB budget in my Main Event league and my roto standings. Suddenly I realized Manning was an ideal fit for my team which has less than $50 in FAAB while also being in dire need of more Ks to keep pace. Sure enough I ended up with Manning for 4 bones because he had a supposed two-start week lined up at Minnesota and at home versus Tampa Bay. I am not looking forward to these outings. Manning hasn’t shown any legitimate whiff potential. I see nothing special for a player associated with a team that becomes more depressing by the day. There is a lesson here though: never dismiss any player entirely. Even if you have no desire to roster that player. That player may end up being not terrible for your fantasy team!
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Speed Round Musings

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

  • Jesus Luzardo came back from the great beyond to pitch five rock-solid innings of baseball. I am so happy for him! Guys like Jack Flaherty and Max Meyer give me pause when there are arm issues they are returning from. Luzardo seems to be the exception. Let’s see if Freddy Peralta is another one later this week when he returns.
  • Andres Gimenez stole three bases out of nowhere on Monday night. I had him on the bench in a few leagues. He’s my most rostered player in my NFBC leagues. I am only writing this because it’s really painful to see three steals in one day on my bench. Gimenez may have lulls like any player, but ROS he will be of use to all who roster him.
  • The Padres said LIKE A BOSS out loud when they sent Esteury Ruiz, Taylor Rogers, and more to the Brewers for closer phenom Josh Hader. This is the kind of deal we should anticipate. Hader rumors have been no secret. Recently he has pitched poorly and now he is gone. We can’t predict the future, but there are signs if we look for them.
  • The Rangers and A’s have closer jobs up for grabs. I have been preferring Matt Moore or Jose Leclerc if they are not traded from Texas. Then Jonathan Hernandez returned from the great beyond to secure his first MLB save. He might be the man when the trade deadline dust finally settles. The soon-to-be returning Dany Jimenez, Zach Jackson or A.J. Puk will be options by the Bay. I thought Colorado would have a new closer, but the Rockies are going to Rocky. I love Bard though just to be clear.
  • It was a real bummer for me when the Mets acquired Tyler Naquin from the Reds. I loved Naquin in Cincinnati because he was going to thrive in that park, but now he has a lot of competition on a playoff team trying to win their first World Series since 1986. It’s a great move in real life, but a bummer for fantasy managers depending on him.
  • The saga of Trevor Rogers finally ended last week when he was given the mercy IL offering also known colloquially as back spasms. Rest easy Trevor. We all know you’ve been in hell. Most of us who roster you have been there with you all season long.
  • You should be very excited if you were aware enough to snag Jean Segura and stash him for a bit before he returns from the IL any day now. Segura can stuff a stat sheet with skills that play in all fantasy baseball formats. The Phillies might actually make the playoffs too and they’re going to need Segura’s production to make sure of that.
  • It’s really quite a gas that Garrett Whitlock has become the de facto closer for the Red Sox. I drafted him heavily to be the closer in Boston only to see him be moved around through multiple roles before getting hurt. When he returns as a RP, he starts locking down multi-inning saves. Baseball can be really annoying sometimes.
  • The news around Mike Trout’s back may have become a bit too hyperbolic because of the slow news days initiated by the dead period known as the All-Star break. Trout is definitely no longer a first-round pick though. I am changing my tune to a second-rounder at best with a floor you can rely on as well as anybody in the game today.
  • Shelved Tampa OF Manuel Margot has begun running. He is not allowed to return from the IL until at least August 20th. No matter what moves the Rays make as the deadline closes Tuesday, I expect Margot to get all the reps in the OF when he’s healthy. I traded for him in one dynasty league about three weeks ago for cheap.
  • Ezequiel Duran drove in three on Sunday in the Rangers 5-2 triumph over the Halos. Duran is one of my favorite young players in MLB. He can hit for pop and steal bags at the hot corner with some remnants of Jose Ramirez. Of course, he isn’t Ramirez, but the concept of the player JoRam is exists somewhere within Duran.
  • Watching Felix Bautista pitch gives me hope for humanity! I love watching him take the bump. I am stoked to have him become the everyday closer for the fun Orioles, but I am not feeling Jorge Lopez being moved anywhere. GM Mike Elias is in a unique spot. He has to show me he wants to bail on this year for a minimal return on Lopez.
  • The latest chapter in the bizarre Jarred Kelenic saga is in full bloom. I think they just have to let Kelenic play every single day no matter what happens. If he falls apart before their eyes during the stretch run, then so it goes. I think Dipoto and company had to be incredibly calculated with this maneuver assessing all risks, fears and outcomes. Right now with Josh Lowe being demoted by the Rays, Jarred Kelenic is an ideal fit for your fantasy squad that is missing a .200 hitter who Ks a ton.
  • Let’s all give praise to Edwin Diaz! He has 23 saves in 26 chances with a 1.51 ERA, an 18.14 K/9, and 3 homers allowed all of 2022. I think it’s easy for all of us to see him closing out a World Series championship now. He is 28 right now with four saves to go before he hits 200 for his career. He’s an elite closer. Top three in MLB.
  • Finally, the Tiger’s great “Sweet” Lou Whitaker (who should absolutely be a Hall of Famer) is having his jersey retired at Comerica Park this Saturday against the Rays. Whitaker is my all-time favorite Tiger from childhood. He played 2B in combination with SS Alan Trammell creating one of the finest double-play combos in MLB history. The older I get the less enthused I am about childhood fascinations like this, but Lou Whitaker is an exception. Always classy while making the game of baseball look easy, I will ignore how absurd it is that it took this long for Whitaker’s number 1 to be retired. I have tickets and will absolutely be there in person come Saturday.

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