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Fantasy Baseball Confidential: Week 8

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. Last week I was playing softball with my squad when suddenly we had 3 different guys pull a quad. I reminded me that the older you get, the harder it is to stay healthy. Here’s looking at you, Max Scherzer. 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 8!

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 week I talked about Brady Singer needing to rely on his changeup more in order for him to level-up his potential meter. He was able to do so last Tuesday with 8 called strikes on the changeup. He still relied on his sinker and slider the most, but to see him have more trust in his changeup was a crucial area of focus for Singer’s development. He only induced 2 swings with the offspeed. In his second start of the week Sunday, he coaxed 7 swings with the change pairing that with a singular whiff. This time he wasn’t able to get a single called strike using the changeup. I am ok with that for now because he’s still establishing this profile. I picked him up as much as I could in FAAB Sunday because I expect him to get plenty of Ks while hopefully providing fantasy managers with a sub-4.00 ERA and a WHIP under 1.20 rest of season.

  • Freddy Peralta started the week dominating Atlanta as the Brewers struck out a combined 16 Braves last Monday. Peralta was topping out at 96.6 MPH in that start and for the first time this season, I felt at peace with drafting Peralta as my number one SP in my Main Event league on NFBC. Then, Sunday happened. A travashamockery if there ever was one. His max velo was down to 94.1 MPH as he was pulled in the 4th inning while appearing to point to his shoulder. Peralta will be heading to the 15-day IL. Let’s hope this isn’t serious. I will spare you any speculation on how bad this injury is or how long it will take for him to return. All I do know is my Main Event team is getting into some big doo-doo with respect to my pitching staff with Jesus Luzardo still on the shelf (word is though he could return May 27). Pity me, please?
  • Let’s take a moment to celebrate the arrival of Adley Rutschman! I can’t believe it took this long, but it’s about damn time that we get to see the top prospect in MLB get the call. I have him in a 12-team OC where I drafted him. Even in a 12-teamer he was worth stashing. To me he is a can’t miss talent. The bummer for me though is the fact that he is already 24. It just feels like he should have been in the bigs sooner so he could rack up the hits. His profile fits the type of someone who can compile hits. One other note of importance is the possible arrival of Grayson Rodriguez and DL Hall. My Pallazzo Podcast prospects pal Phil Goyette has been saying for awhile now that he believes the O’s wanted to have Rutschman, Rodriguez and Hall on a similar track so they could build a rapport as battery mates. Does this mean Rodriguez and/or Hall are on the precipice of arriving? Keep an eye out and just remember you heard it here first.

  • The demotion of Royce Lewis truly surprised me. How often does a prospect of his pedigree (#1 overall pick in 2017), who played as well as he did, get demoted? I know it’s Carlos Correa’s world and we’re all just living in it, but I thought they could slide him to OF. As the old story goes, the best athletes usually play SS or CF. Plus Nick Gordon isn’t setting the world on fire with his play. That doesn’t matter though, because this is a lesson in conflating fantasy and real-life baseball. Nick Gordon provides solid defense for Rocco Baldelli as their utility man. I can’t let my fantasy excitement blind me to the fact that Royce Lewis is the Twins’ SS of the future and they likely want him to keep getting reps at SS, even if that means he has to go back to Triple-A St. Paul. One developing tidbit after the fact was seeing Lewis in the St. Paul lineup at 3B and LF over the weekend. That’s all I need to know about how long it will be before he returns. I am holding Lewis in 15-teamers and deeper, but I can understand why you might need the roster spot in 12-teamers.
  • The Blue Jays hosted the Reds over the weekend so that means Canadian Joey Votto was going to get a lot of air time on the Toronto broadcast. Sure enough, he had his own sit-down interview with Blue Jays broadcaster Hazel Mae. This was also Votto’s return to the diamond after a long Covid layoff. He looked like his old self in this series topping off the road trip with a go-ahead home run Sunday that proved to be the difference in the Red Legs’ win. As I watched the game Friday night, I started to ponder if Votto would end up on the Jays at some point later this season? Votto turns 39 in September. His team isn’t knocking on the door of the playoffs, plus they’re selling off big contracts. The Blue Jays could use another LH bat in their lineup, but with Vladdy at 1B Votto would be limited to spelling him on occasion while being the DH the rest of the time. I tweeted about this scenario Friday night to see what the masses had to say. A couple of Canadian locals responded by expressing their doubt about Votto ending up as the king of the north. I would love to see him go there since I’ve been a big fan of Votto’s approach to the game. There is no basis for this as of now. We’ll see…

  • If you roster Trevor Rogers in any format, please keep him on your bench the next time he faces Atlanta. In 6 career starts against Atlanta, he is 0-5 with a 6.15 ERA. He also has 12 walks in 26 IP and a 1.59 WHIP. Clearly, regardless of whether Rogers is facing the Braves on the road or at home, Atlanta has his number. Please bookmark this for future reference because Atlanta is a divisional foe who isn’t going anywhere any time soon. Beyond his struggles with Ozzie Albies and company, Rogers has been a source of disappointment for many fantasy managers who were expecting him to build off of his stellar 2021. His walks have jumped from 3.11 to 3.72 per 9 while his HR/FB rate is at 14.6% after it was 5% for all of 2021. The ball is also even less juicy this year, which makes that jump all the more baffling. His chase rate has dipped 5% while his O-contact has skyrocketed 15%! It’s too soon to pull the plug on Rogers. You could attempt to acquire him though if you think he lowers the walks while improving his control down the road. You can’t trade him if you roster him because that’s a golden rule that should never be broken: don’t sell a player at their lowest point of market value.

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.

  • This week a couple of 2-start SP caught my eye for streaming purposes. Chris Archer in particular has my bozo Tigers and the youngsters from Kansas City coming into the Twin Cities this week. Now at first glance you might be concerned that Archer could take a flame thrower to your ratios. His 5.83 FIP paired with a 4.10 ERA over 7 starts screams run away! He also hasn’t gone beyond 4 IP in any start so far. BUT WAIT… there’s more! His matchups are the key to everything here. The Tigers might be the worst offensive team in MLB. You can’t pick a better streaming partner outside of Oakland or Pittsburgh. In fact, Archer’s last start was against Oakland where he was able to get a 44% swstr rate with his slide piece. I am very confident he will be helpful at home, but I admit I am a little more trepidatious about his second start this week against KC.
  • I didn’t have the foresight to see Martin Perez throwing a CG shutout against the Astros on the road last Friday. I had picked him up as a streamer the week before in his home start against KC. I think we really have to take a moment to absorb the incredible accomplishment of throwing a CG shoutout in today’s game. We may expect pitchers like Sandy Alcantara or Gerrit Cole to pull that off, not Martin Perez. He topped out at 95.3 MPH with his sinker in that dominant performance. That matters because his changeup has always been his money pitch. If Perez can crank that sinker up to 95 MPH with consistency, that would represent a slight boost in his velo. The weak contact he induces could sustain, though it’s important to note that he gave up 9 HH balls in play at Houston. His BB/9 are down to 2.13 from his career average of 3.23. For me, improved control and command are the keys to him being named an All-Star this year. He has Oakland this week, so make sure he’s in your lineup.


  • The Royals are constantly attracting my attention lately. They have a lot of fun players who spark my interest. MJ Melendez, Emmanuel Rivera, Kyle Isbel, and newcomer Dairon Blanco in particular have me tuning into the Royals more frequently on MLB TV. Melendez is in business now that Salvador Perez is on the IL with a sprained left thumb. I dropped Melendez in my H2h home league the day before Perez got hurt ( I have Varsho). I had already sacrificed pickups prior to that which could have helped me win a few more categories in previous matchups. Don’t you hate when that happens? Anyways, Melendez is all that I want in a catcher. He can get down the base paths in a hurry too! I am all in on him and you should be too. Emmanuel Rivera grabbed the attention of fantasy managers with a breakout at triple-A Omaha last year which rewarded him with a cup of coffee in KC where he was decent in 98 PA. Now he is playing every day with Adalberto Mondesi out for the year. He has 2 HR in his last three games. He can steal a few bags too. I’m buying! Kyle Isbel has been benefitting from the quad injury to another exciting Royal Edward Olivares. He has 24 combined SBs last season which means he could be a source of steals for you if you’re desperate. I’m not as high on Isbel as I am on Olivares. Finally, there is the least known of these players: Dairon Blanco. Blanco defected from Cuba when he was 23 and he made his MLB debut last week at 29 years old. Blanco can flat out motor on the basepaths as he showed by swiping a combined 41 SBs in 2021. He was caught 14 times though. He has been able to reduce his Ks in the minors while upping his BB rate big time in triple-A before he got the call to KC. There is a bit of pop in his bat too. The problem though is where will he play? Right now he looks like he’s playing the role of former old school Royal Jarrod Dyson who could always come into a game to cause havoc on the bases. I hope he gets a chance because watching him Friday I was drawn to him. He’s fun!

  • Mike Clevinger hit the IL again. Now Mackenzie Gore gets to stay in the rotation without having to piggyback on Clevinger or anybody else. Right now he lines up for a start against Pittsburgh at home. That’s an ideal matchup for a player who has absolutely taken charge of his prospect destiny. He’s only given up 1 HR in 35 IP. Gore is the present and the future all at once. A complete pitcher with the pedigree to support him becoming an elite stud right before our eyes. I’m ALL in on Gore!

Speed Round Musings

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

  • Garrett Whitlock is bumming me out lately. He got ripped by the Mariners after a decent showing at home against Houston. I still feel he will be the closer at some point.
  • Marcus Semien is really having a tough go of it. I feel bad for him. He fought through early challenges in his career to cash in big in the offseason. He’s hit safely in 7 of 8 games.
  • Sandy Alcantara pitched a CG against ATL with 3 unearned runs Sunday. The Ks aren’t elite, but he can always go deep into games. That makes him unique in today’s game.
  • With 10 HR on the year, Christian Walker is tied for the 4th most homers in MLB. His contact challenges are real, but power is more scarce these days. Ride the snake.
  • Stephen Strasburg is starting his rehab assignment for Washington. Word is he could be ready to debut in about two weeks. Scoop him up now before his price spikes later.
  • What makes me happier than Andres Gimenez hitting .301 right now? Not much! That won’t last forever, but he’s playing regularly. More SBs are the only thing missing.
  • I still don’t believe that Emilio Pagan will maintain the closer job in Minnesota. He gives up homers and seems like he’s built for setup duty. Duffey and Duran are options.
  • Jon Gray had a decent 2 start week hosting the Angels and at Houston. His whiffs were tasty with a 97.2 MPH max velo after he had been out with a knee issue. I like it.
  • Former Tiger Isaac Paredes destroyed 3 balls into oblivion for Tampa over the weekend. Brujan and Walls will cost him playing time until Brandon Lowe takes his job back.
  • When Tarik Skubal took a liner off his leg, I screamed like Bob in La Bamba. Fortunately, he’s good to go for his next start. Skubal is the ace of that staff. Trade for him now.
  • What else needs to be said about Trevor Story? He came on strong recently with grand slams, steals of 3rd, and an exciting expression of joy for the Boston faithful.
  • Nolan Gorman joined STL in Pittsburgh Friday. He went 5-10 in the series sitting once in the three-game series. He had 15 HR in 147 PA in triple-A with a 171 wRC+.
  • It feels like the pitcher Luis Garcia of Houston flies under the radar. He’s the #2 to Verlander on that staff. Although his FIP of 4.02 gives pause with his 3,35 ERA.
  • The Mets stayed patient with Jeff McNeil and he is rewarding them. He’s a .300 hitter when healthy and he’s reminding us of that now. His 23 HR in 2019 is off the table.
  • The days of Kyle Hendricks being rostered universally on 12-teamers appears to be over. Last year looks less like a fluke and more like who he is now. Dropped him Sunday.
  • Ronald Acuna Jr. is stealing bags with such veracity that it seems like an intentional attempt to show the world that he’s even faster after ACL surgery. So fun to watch!
  • It’s always noteworthy when a starter Ks 19 guys in 11 IP. Justin Steele’s last two starts were money. In his last outing he got 7 whiffs on 14 swings with his slider. That’s good.
  • With 3 yambos over his last 5 games, Jorge Soler is on a heater. He had some back stiffness, but otherwise he’s more valuable than ever with power being hard to come by.
  • The Yankees say Aroldis Chapman wanted the ball, but his achilles wouldn’t let him. Is it serious? I’m not sure. I do know Clay Holmes is up for the job though. Pick him up.
  • It can’t get much worse for the Franimal, can it? Reyes is better than what you’re getting with his 64 wRC+. In 12-teamers though, it might be time to say goodbye.
  • Andrew Kittredge hit the IL. There is an opportunity for saves in Tampa. Brooks Raley has closed out a few already, but J.P Feyereisen has been great so far. Stay tuned…
  • Did you know Jurickson Profar is 6th in the MLB in walks? He’s also stealing bags lately. His BA looks suspect, but those walks keep his OBP over .300. Need steals? He’ll do.
  • The Tigers claimed Brendon Davis off waivers from the Angels. In 159 PA in triple-A, he hit 6 HR with an 11% BB rate. Tigers are desperate for offense. He will be up shortly.
  • Chad Kuhl has a 2 start week lined up with a start in Pittsburgh kicking things off on Monday. His last 2 starts (both against SF) stunk. That means he’ll cruise on Monday.
  • Josh Rojas cranked 3 taters into the Wrigley seats last Friday afternoon. Then he got HBP Saturday. No damage occurred. He’ll be ready to rock and I want him everywhere.

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