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Fantasy Baseball Confidential: Week 7

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. I had a chaotic week personally. If any of you have a loved one who is currently or has struggled with mental illness, I empathize with you. So forgive me if this week’s effort is a little more brief than usual. I promise it will still be just as effective. 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 7!

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.

  • Last Tuesday Kyle Wright came out with a flat slider that got lit up by the Boston Red Sox, who until recently had been fairly run of the mill offensively. Rafael Devers dealt the death blow with a crushing grand salami. Wright had nobody to blame but himself as he had 4 walks on the night after only giving up 7 walks over his first five starts. Wright had a unique take on his unfortunate outing against the Boston bombers, “I’m tired of going back to years past because this is this year and I feel like I’m a different pitcher now. But years past, I don’t get out of that second inning. I probably give up a couple more runs, for all I know.” Wright is a former 5th overall pick out of Vanderbilt. He has the pedigree and the stuff to be an elite pitcher. The problem seems to be more between the ears which leads to tinkering with his mechanics or delivery. And that’s what can hurt a pitcher of Wright’s talent more than anything. Being able to gut out the tough stretches when you don’t have your best stuff is how the talented pitchers become great. Wright followed up his dud with a stellar outing against the Padres Sunday striking out 9 Padres with only 2 free passes. His response on Sunday may be the start we look back at as the one where he cemented his growth as a pitcher between the ears.

  • I want to shout-out the Pittsburgh Pirates who beat the Dodgers last Monday for the first time in over 1200 days! It was the first win for the Pirates over the Dodgers since June 6th, 2018. How about that?!
  • As incredible as Shohei Ohtani is, sometimes rostering him is like choosing between 31 different ice cream flavors. Baskin Robbins has the luxury of 31 flavors to select from. Meanwhile fantasy managers who roster Ohtani have the option of choosing between the pitcher or the hitter (despite a new MLB rule colloquially known as the Ohtani Rule created specifically for two-way players) depending on what platform you play on. Yahoo created 2 different Ohtanis so nobody in Yahoo land has to ever confront the increasingly difficult decision of using Ohtani as an SP or in your UT spot. On NFBC you have to make the determination at the beginning of the week. If you need pitching stats you might get a 6 inning, 1o strikeout victory, but what if Ohtani has a double-dong game like he did last week on Monday night against the Rays? And that was just Monday. All told last week Ohtani the hitter was responsible for 4 HR & 11 RBI during the playing week compared to Ohtani the pitcher who went 6 innings giving up 2 hits, 1 earned, 2 walks and 5Ks. Most veteran players will tell you that the risks of rostering Ohtani were not a secret. If you want a potential 40/40 bat plus a candidate for the AL Cy Young award, you must accept that you will miss out on tasty stats from one or the other. What is the solution? It’s really quite simple my dear. You only roster Ohtani in best ball where the bots maximize his point output.
  • I can’t ignore a no-hitter so here is the part of the article where I praise Reid Detmers for his no-no. Of course, on the Anything Goes Reddit thread (where I often find myself being downvoted for being too upbeat and I’m not sure why) which sprouts up like a weed every day of the baseball season, some people were clamoring to pick up him in the aftermath of his success. I could not advise that for some of the names I was seeing bandied about. His value doesn’t change much for me. With Ohtani, a 6 man rotation is always going to be the lay of the land in Anaheim (I miss the California Angels). Yes, he was the number 10 overall pick in the 2020 MLB draft, but he can get in trouble with walks like any young pitcher of his ilk. Congrats Reid, but I’m looking ahead to 2023.

Ain’t No Future In Your Frontin’

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

  • This is coming out on Tuesday instead of Monday so my opinions on lineup choices and potential schedule quirks to be exploited are already yesterday’s news. Speaking of quirks, do you remember Jamie Quirk?
  • Some of you may be wondering what to do with Ronald Acuna Jr. who is dealing with a groin issue. It wouldn’t shock me to find out that this is because he is overcompensating for his recently repaired knee. There have been rumors that he will play the next day since last Friday. Meanwhile, he is racking up DNPs while you might be able to start someone else in his stead. For weekly lineups, is it better to have 3 days of Ronald Acuna Jr. or someone else who can play 6 or 7 games? This is the choice you will find yourself in with others players who are not on the IL but are missing 3 or more days. In one league I play in that allows you to set hitting lineups Monday and Friday, I wanted to play Sam Hilliard instead of Acuna Jr. Yet the word was Acuna would play Saturday so it seemed that 2 days of Acuna is better than 3 of Hilliard. If you missed it, Hilliard ended up ripping home runs in back-to-back games Friday and Saturday including a stolen base as well! So I put it to you dear reader: what will you do? Consider this example for the coming week or the next time you are faced with making lineup decisions. What’s the cost-benefit analysis for one player over the other?

  • The injury to Jesus Luzardo is one of the saddest developments of the 2022 season for me. I had great hopes for his career to take one step closer to being an elite, ace-level pitcher. However, this may not turn out to be anything major. Why so serious, Mike? This clip of Jesus Luzardo talking about his forearm after the Milwaukee game Sunday is vastly superior (except for the cranked country tune blaring in the background) to anything I can share with you here. Luzardo had TJ surgery in high school and he said that this current forearm issue wasn’t anything near what he felt in relation to his TJ surgery event. It’s just stiffness according to Luzardo. Are you buying it? We all want to be as optimistic as possible when it comes to situations involving our own well-being. I for one am buying it. He’s dripping with too much talent to pull the plug now. I think he is back after the 15 days are up. If you play in 10-teamers or leagues with no IL spots, I understand why you would want to drop him. I can tell you that you likely won’t find someone as good or better than him in anything deeper than a 10-team league.
  • Brady Singer is likely to get the rock today for the Royals as they play a doubleheader on Tuesday. I was a massive Singer adopter as early as 2020 when he came on the scene for the bozo season starting 12 games with a 4.06 ERA. For his follow-up in 2021 Singer took the bump 27 times to the tune of a more disappointing 4.91 ERA with a promising 4.04 FIP despite missing time with a shoulder injury. He didn’t get a fair shake to start the 2022 season, pitching 3 games in relief before being sent down to Omaha. I still don’t get why Singer’s development was stunted on a team that wasn’t going to compete for a playoff spot this year. Other up-and-coming Royals starting pitchers like Daniel Lynch and Kris Bubic were favored over Singer. Now Bubic is out of a job and it’s Singer who has the chance to secure a warm seat in the show. The likely reason he will solidify his spot in Kansas City for years to come will be due to the consistency and quality of his changeup. The elusive third pitch that so many pitchers before him have had to master to truly make their mark in the game. One thing I do know is he’ll likely appreciate the white baseballs and 24-hour room service.

Speed Round Musings

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

  • As Paul Sporer calls it, The Schoopening has begun! Jonathan Schoop has hit safely in 4 straight. Buy now so you don’t miss the ride!
  • Blake Snell will ride the lightning this Wednesday against Philly. Word is Mackenzie Gore pitches once out of bullpen for a spell.
  • The Phillies played 3 games in Seattle last week. Rhys Hoskins hit a HR in all three games! Power is now a luxury in this climate.
  • I lathered myself in Tarik Skubal’s 11K dominance over the Orioles Sunday. His 38% swstrk rate with a varietal pitch mix is so legit.
  • How long have you been waiting on Jeremy Pena’s knee situation to be resolved? It’s not serious so be grateful he will return soon.
  • Brendan Donovan walks like a madman! If you play in OBP leagues you definitely want his elite plate discipline on your roster.
  • One of the strongest power hitters in MLB has 2 taters over his last 4 games. Who is it? Twin Cities slugger Gary Sanchez.
  • Last week in the Pallazzo Podcast Discord I said drafting Trevor Story for 20 SBs was silly. He has three straight games with a steal.
  • I got all jacked up when Felix Bautista secured two saves last week. I love his 102 MPH heater, but Jorge Lopez is back from leave.
  • Did you know that J.D. Martinez has a 16-game hit streak? He’s crushing it with a 16% barrel rate. Line drive rate is up almost 10%.
  • As I’m writing this Craig Kimbrel threw his hardest pitch of the season at 99 MPH but then gave up a 2-run tater to David Peralta.
  • T.J. Friedl has been leading off for the Reds including 3 SBS last week. Nick Senzel is coming back soon though so take caution.
  • I’m kicking myself for not drafting Shane McClanahan at all this year. I let others scare me off of him. So dumb. Top 5 SP? Yep!
  • You may have freaked out momentarily when you heard about Bryce Harper’s UCL. 3 HR in 3 games in L.A. should chill you out.
  • Dany Jimenez is the closer for now in Oakland. I still believe Lou Trivino weasels his way back into the role in June though.
  • A candidate for highlight of the season came from the wild Guardians White Sox game last week when Josh Naylor went berserker!
  • My bozo Tigers can’t hit, but their former 1st rounder Alex Faedo can pitch. He disposed of Tampa on the road Monday. Watch him.
  • Ryan Pepiot had control problems in his debut for the Dodgers last week. Walks were common for him in the minors. No thanks.
  • Yoan Moncada crushed this HR to dead center against the Yankees last Thursday. He had two last week. The breakout is coming…
  • Seattle rookie George Kirby went for over $300 of a $1000 FAAB budget several times in my leagues. I like him, but not that much.
  • The Twins made a great move acquiring Sonny Gray. He is going to be a top 20 SP this season. I would roster him everywhere!
  • Rockies closer Daniel Bard has been a gift from on high this season. But his last 3 outings have been a bummer. I’m concerned.
  • If you are looking for an under appreciated MI, it’s time to make a play for Kolten Wong. His best offensive season is in progress.
  • When Royce Lewis hit that grand slam last Friday, all felt right in the world! He isn’t going anywhere when Correa returns.

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