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Fantasy Baseball Confidential: Week 6

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. Mother’s Day has come and gone and with it, the first full calendar month of the 2022 season that started late (remember the lockout!?!) on April 7th. 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 platform for Week 6!

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.

  • Juan Yepez put a cherry on top of his delicious opening week sundae with a tater on Mother’s Day with his mom in attendance by the bay in NoCal. Read this heartwarming piece by Katie Woo about Yepez and his mother. Judging by the FAAB bids I witnessed on Sunday night, people are following the adventures of Yepez with tremendous enthusiasm. What inspires fantasy managers the most to generously share their FAAB allotments might be his opposite-field strength. Oracle Park couldn’t contain the blast below which measured at 406 feet. I watched almost every Yepez AB this week. That’s how stoked I was for his arrival! He repeatedly went the other way while still displaying his ability to use all three fields. The Giants staff only gave up four hard hit balls Sunday, with Yepez responsible for two of those. I haven’t even mentioned the best part: Yepez played in all five Cardinals games since getting called up Wednesday! That addresses the biggest concern with Yepez: playing time. With two starts in the OF already, he is well on his way to OF eligibility which pairs nicely with his 1B/3B options in Yahoo leagues. Albert Pujols is a legend, but his time has come and sadly gone. Juan Yepez will be a regular contributor for the Cardinals in 2022. Scoop him up in 12-teamers or deeper with a wait and see for 10-teamers.

  • The Twins roster became a lot sexier this week with the arrival of Jose Miranda and Royce Lewis. Lewis was called up because Carlos Correa hurt his finger, with initial reports fearing that it was broken. Of course, the internet is always humming along at ramming speed. Despite the rush to judgment on Twitter, Correa’s finger turned out to be sore instead and as of this moment, he hasn’t been transferred to the IL. Earlier last week Luis Arraez went on the Covid IL along with Twinkies manager Rocco Baldelli. Trevor Larnach was next to volunteer an injury as he took a trip to the IL with a groin issue. Just when the good news of Alex Kirilloff being back in the fold became a reality, Glass Joe Byron Buxton then became a question mark with a hip strain. So… what do all these mentions mean for Miranda & Lewis? The Twins rolled out a lineup on Sunday without Buxton and Correa with Miranda at DH and Lewis at SS. Two roster spots vanish when Luis Arraez comes off the Covid IL along with the likely return of OF Kyle Garlick. Garlick played well before injuring his calf. Let’s assume Garlick stays with the big club. Will Miranda be sent down instead of Royce Lewis because Lewis has more defensive versatility? That is plausible. It’s also likely they both stay up. Catcher Jose Godoy was called up over the weekend. That means the Twins are carrying three catchers and that doesn’t make much sense even though calling Gary Sanchez a catcher is more of a courtesy. Godoy and Nick Gordon could be demoted along with defensive whiz OF Gilberto Celestino. All three of these players appear to be likelier options than Miranda and Lewis. I think both young stalwarts stay. With the plethora of injury risks on the Twins roster, it feels like Minnesota is going to need Miranda and Lewis.
  • It’s not often you get to see a game end on the ole strike ’em out, throw ’em out double play. Yet, that’s exactly what we got Saturday night in Atlanta when Kenley Jansen was attempting to close out the Brewers in the 9th. It’s the little things in life that make it worth living!

  • Friday night there were 6 PPDs! Fortunately, it was a Friday so there was enough action to keep us soothed. Trouble is there were three more Saturday, which jacked up a lot of plans for those of us coming down to the wire in our H2H battles. I will always ride for my H2H people out there in the fantasy baseball realm. We still don’t get the respect we deserve despite H2H likely making up the majority of leagues that typical fantasy managers play in. The gateway to fantasy baseball is usually through a H2H league that you start up with your buddies. One person is usually the sheriff of fantasy baseball. The bossy, overbearing commish who obsesses over every detail. Of course, you must have the instigator who is there only to talk trash and stoke the flames of passion between other managers in the group chat. No H2H league is complete without the fantasy manager who lives for trades. Forget drafting, making trades is what this person lives for. Don’t forget the ‘I never wanted to play in the first place but I just go along with my friends’ manager who rarely makes any transactions yet still ends up sneaking into the playoffs shattering your reality as you know it. All of these managers have to be wary of the brand new mom or dad. Newborns will zap all of the sleep from their parents, but these waiver wire zombies know the 3AM feeding coincides ideally with the daily transactions for the next day. With a baby secured in one arm and the phone in the other hand under the cover of darkness in the living room, this manager beats everybody to the punch on the latest RP who was just named the closer. Finally, there is the easy-going manager who wants to socialize and make bud-deals. These trades are rarely in their favor because this manager wants to be on everybody’s good side. Long live H2H leagues!
  • A highlight of the week came about on Saturday night. The Angels were about to lose to the Nationals when this happened. Ball don’t lie:

The Future’s So Bright I Gotta Wear Shades

In 2000’s Boiler Room, Ben Affleck’s character said “always be closing”. In fantasy baseball “always be looking ahead”

  • Nick Pivetta fired off a stellar start against the White Sox last week. With a solid 30% CSW, no walks, and being allowed to throw 91 pitches, Pivetta showed one of the best examples of his value in fantasy. He also hasn’t given up a walk in his last two starts combined. The walk has always been his gateway to the bench. This week he has an intriguing start against the Rangers at Globe Life Field. Texas is bottom five in drawing walks with the seventh-worst team bating AVG in MLB. It’s early still, but Texas has a 4-9 record at home to start the season. They will get better at home I’m sure, but things set up nicely for Pivetta later this week. Stream it like you mean it!

  • The Cincinnati Reds are in a major state of dysfunction right now. That’s great news for Rowdy Tellez! Last week he set the Brewers record for most RBI in a game with 8. And you know what else? Tellez has been given the gift of playing those same Reds once again this week, except this time it’s at an equally if not better hitters’ palace known as Great American Ballpark. Full disclosure here: I sat Rowdy in my Main Event league. I went with Owen Miller at 1B who was serviceable with a few hits and a couple of runs scored. How could I have been so obtuse as to not start Tellez with a home matchup against the putrid Reds? I just wanted you all to know that I make mistakes all the time and I am going to be straight with you about those misfortunes. It’s the only way to fly. I had someone DM me on Twitter about acquiring Rowdy and Garrett Whitlock for Shane Bieber. That person made that move dealing away Shane Bieber. I thought it was a solid trade. Would you do the same thing? Anyways, get Rowdy in your lineups no matter who you have to bench. I assure you he was put back in my starting lineup Friday and will remain there until further notice.
  • Speaking of Shane Bieber, he got lit up by the Blue Jays in Cleveland. I wrote down a note about this because I wanted to share with you how easy it is for all of us to make a mistake if we aren’t careful. The person I mentioned in the previous bullet point who traded Shane Bieber had actually asked me earlier in the day if I would start Bieber or Tyler Anderson of the Dodgers in Chicago? I am not a Bel-ieber. Every since the gunk was supposedly removed from the game in June of 2021, he hasn’t looked the same to me. I also was dubious of him crying shoulder injury right after the gunk mandate came down. I can’t prove anything, so it’s just gibberish now. When that person asked me who to start, I hadn’t stopped to really check it out. I was rushed and in a hurry, with some crazy personal stuff I was attending to. I should’ve said I wasn’t sure or that I just didn’t know, but I suppose I felt I had to answer. Plus I always like to help people out if I can. Well, the end result was Bieber got shelled and Anderson was solid in a win over the Cubs. He was very cool about it and then of course he made that trade right after for Tellez and Whitlock, which I whole-heartedly supported. The point I’m making here is, don’t assume every piece of fantasy advice you get will work out. You’re the manager of your team in the end. Ask all the questions you want, but have confidence in your own process. You’re doing so because you enjoy the game and you know a thing or two about it. What the Pallazzo Podcast Discord has taught me is there are plenty of fantasy managers who could be writing articles or creating podcasts with quality fantasy baseball advice. My goal here is to be forthright. To inform you that your knowledge is likely just as valid as many or most other fantasy soothsayers in the biz. Because you’re good enough, smart enough and gosh darn-it, people like you.
  • Last week I mentioned Max Meyer was looking good enough to eat at Triple-A as he schooled Yoan Moncada while on his rehab assignment. The Marlins have a stupid amount of quality arms at their disposal. I think Sixto Sanchez being an afterthought says it all about what Kim Ng is building down there in South Florida. Max Meyer is not currently on the 40-man roster though. You know who is? Edward Cabrera! I drafted Cabrera in my Main Event in Las Vegas. He was a late-round flier who I thought might crack the rotation sooner than later. His spring training visa issues had him playing catch-up though. Right now Trevor Rogers and Elieser Hernandez could be on the chopping block in the rotation. Rogers pitched on Mother’s Day and if you look at his surface stats of 5 IP with no ER you might be satisfied with his outing. However, if you look at his Statcast line below, he didn’t get a single whiff on 18 changeups. That’s bad news if you’re rostering Rogers and you should be making preparations to roster Cabrera or Meyer with the expectation that Cabrera will get first crack at a gig soon. Remember he had a brief stint with the Marlins in 2021. I expect Meyer to get a shot at some point in the season, but it’s also possible he plays a role a la Spencer Strider in Atlanta.

Trevor Rogers May 8

  • Merrill Kelly has MIA at home this week. This is a start that you definitely want a part of. Merrill Kelly is getting a little lucky with an 87% strand rate, but in 37 IP he is yet to give up a home run. I don’t know if that says more about the ball or Kelly. Regardless, his velocity is up this year as well. It’s impressive stuff he is doing so far. Kelly had a great game going last Friday night. He was still out there in the 9th inning with two outs. One out away from his first career CG. Then Elias Diaz got a base hit. Manager Torey Lovullo comes out to the mound to likely tap Mark Melancon to secure the final out of the game. Yet, that’s not what happened. Lovullo allows Kelly to stay after a long chat on the mound. Everybody at the ballpark is howling with pride as they expect Kelly to lock down the final out. Nope. Brendan Rodgers, who has been heating up lately, rips a ball into the outfield. Now Kelly is pulled after cracking 100 pitches. No CG for Kelly, but Melancon got the third out to preserve the win. Who says baseball is boring?!
  • The Oakland Athletics have nine games this week! Based on pure volume, you’re going to get plenty of that as they play five in Detroit with one of them being a home game for them at Comerica Park. I seriously don’t have the answer as to why this is happening, but it very much is. Ramon Laureano is back in the majors and playing RF as Cristian Pache is holding down CF now. My Tigers have not been good this year, but that’s mostly due to their absolutely painful to watch offense. Laureano will face Tarik Skubal, Michael Pineda, Beau Brieske and other TBD starters. Laureano showed 20/20 potential in 2019 and was on his way to actually achieving it in 2021 until he was suspended for 80 games. He’s 27 years old on a team that is going nowhere fast despite their best intentions and hustle every day. Laureano is still a couple of years away from free agency, so Oakland may not feel a rush to trade him even though his contract being team-friendly would be a pro for contending teams to acquire him. Laureano hit leadoff in his return Sunday which is where he should likely stay now. Plate appearances are everything, so I’m all in on Laureano in all formats until further notice.

Speed Round Musings

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

  • Last week I mentioned that Jo Adell was the odd man out in the Angels OF and that he needed a trade. Let’s hope that trade happens soon.
  • I officially have a concern about Anthony Bender sticking in the closer role. I think I am bailing on him as the guy. Too much volatility for me.
  • Gleyber Torres is crushing the baseball (50%HHR) while hitting the ball in the air more. I’d like his BB rate to go up, but I like where he’s at.
  • Randy Arozarena’s BB% is down and he still doesn’t have a homer. He did get a hit in 8 of his last 9 games. Eventually, the power will come.
  • Yoan Moncada will finally make his debut this week. I am expecting a return to his 2019 form and based on my DMs, so are many of you.
  • I tried to add Josh Winder in a couple of leagues Sunday night, but I was thwarted. He shows outstanding command and more Ks should come.
  • MJ Melendez is scheduled to face a few LHP this week, but that’s not gonna stop me. This kid is legit and catcher is hell on Earth. BUY!
  • I was offered Steven Kwan for Brandon Nimmo in a H2H 5×5 Cats league with OBP instead AVG. I passed on it. What would you have done?
  • Kris Bryant required a cortisone shot for his back over the weekend. That can’t be good. Sam Hilliard is someone I’m targeting in his absence.
  • I have to take the L on Carson Kelly who is now on the IL. I thought he would be a decent hitter with 2o HR pop. I blame the ball.
  • The Manuel Margot breakout is upon us! His exit velocity, launch angle, and HHR are up. Margot has homered in three straight games. Finally!
  • The Dbacks are over .500! Josh Rojas is back. He offers power, speed, quality plate discipline, and multiple positions. One of Govier’s Guys!
  • Cody Bellinger doubled against Sammy Long Wednesday night, his 6th hit against LHP. Last season he had 10 TOTAL hits against LHP.
  • The walks are still a slight concern for me with Dane Dunning. He has Boston next at home. Don’t be fooled, Boston’s offense is not scary.
  • Luke Voit’s bicep should be good to go for a return to the Padres this week. I bet he gets injured again though. Dude just can’t stay healthy.
  • Alek Thomas is up with Arizona. He had a hit and scored a run in his debut. He had 18 HR and 13 SB in 2021. Should be solid, but not elite.
  • Sandy Alcantara hasn’t taken the next step to be elite. Right now I’m grateful that his ADP became too bloated and I didn’t get many shares.
  • Right now Shohei Ohtani the pitcher is outperforming the hitter. I have been using him only as a hitter so far, but that changes this week.
  • Max Muncy is second in MLB with 22 walks to go with a .138 batting AVG. Is he swinging less because his elbow hurts? Swinging 5% less.
  • With a 57% HHR, Christian Yelich looks to be having no issues with his troublesome back. Find an uncertain manager and trade for him.
  • George Kirby showed out in his debut against the Rays with a 48% swinging strike rate using his 4FB. He should be here to stay.
  • I was offered Tylor Megill for my Matt Chapman last week in H2H cats. I turned it down. Megill’s walks and command concern me slightly.
  • Edward Olivares was in line for big FAAB bids Sunday until he hurt his quad. I paid $7 for him in my Main Event. I’m hoping he’s ok.
  • Triston McKenzie has been catching my eye with his 2.70 FIP matching his 2.76 ERA. His chase rate is down 6% though. I’m still buying.
  • All hail Daniel Bard! He has been the savior for those who pump the wait on closers approach in fantasy baseball. Here, here Daniel!

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