Rest of Season Fantasy Baseball Rankings: Sending Out an SOS
We are heading towards the homestretch of the fantasy baseball season. If you play in a league with a playoff bracket, your regular season likely ends in the next couple of weeks. Even if you play all 162, there is less than a quarter of the Major League schedule remaining. To paraphrase the late great Yogi Berra, it’s getting late early. Fantasy managers may be running out of FAAB and/or waiver claims, and time is of the essence. I mentioned here last week that I expect a little bit of regression from Willy Adames going forward because of his difficult schedule. Specifically, Milwaukee’s 13 games against the St. Louis Cardinals compared to three combined against the lowly Cubs and Pirates. That got me thinking – which teams have an edge over the final six weeks of the regular season?
I looked at the win-loss records and runs allowed per game of each of the 30 MLB teams. In both cases, four teams are considerably worse than everyone else. There were only four teams with a winning percentage below .350, while everyone else was above .400. And only four teams have allowed over five runs per game on average. There were also eight teams in each set that were below average, but not as bad as the four bottom-feeders. Eight teams had a winning percentage between .418 and .487, while eight teams allowed between 4.75 and 5.00 runs per game.
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My goal was to see how many favorable matchups each team will get for the rest of the year. Of course, matchups are not everything. Just ask the San Diego Padres. The Friars are a combined 26-29 this season against the Rockies, Diamondbacks, Cubs, Pirates, and Marlins. But if a team faces the Baltimore Orioles several times, there is a good chance that team’s pitchers and hitters will have more success than a team facing the Los Angeles Dodgers or Tampa Bay Rays. The goal in fantasy is not to predict the future, despite what many seem to think. It is to give ourselves the best chance to win in each possible situation. With that in mind, let’s start with the numbers for the “Futile Four” and the next eight teams in each category.
Baltimore – .317
Arizona – .336
Texas – .347
Miami – .418
Washington – .433
Kansas City – .433
Chicago Cubs – .439
Minnesota – .443
Detroit – .472
Cleveland – .487
RUNS PER GAME ALLOWED
Baltimore – 5.90
Arizona – 5.54
Minnesota – 5.25
Pittsburgh – 5.14
Kansas City – 4.98
Texas – 4.98
LA Angels – 4.92
Detroit – 4.91
Chicago Cubs – 4.88
Colorado – 4.83
Washington – 4.83
Cincinnati – 4.80
In some cases, these lists understandably overlap. Baltimore, Pittsburgh, and Arizona are bottom-four teams in both winning percentage and runs per game allowed. Detroit, Washington, Colorado, and the Cubs are in that second tier in both categories. Texas and Minnesota are bottom-four in one category (win percentage for Texans, runs allowed for Minnesota) and bottom-12 in another. These are logically the teams we want to try to target whenever possible. The only team on either list currently in contention for a playoff spot is the Cincinnati Reds. The other 13 teams are essentially playing out the string. With rosters expanding soon, it could get even uglier for some of these squads.
The numbers above are through Thursday’s games. This piece publishes on Sundays, so I figured it made more sense to pull the data from before this weekend’s games as opposed to in the middle of a series. When you see the remaining games and schedule information in the table below, that counts games beginning this Monday. It wouldn’t do a whole lot of good to talk about the Braves facing the Orioles this weekend considering that the series will be ostensibly completed by the time you read this. Most leagues run FAAB/waivers on Sunday or Monday anyway, so it just made more sense. (You’re welcome, Seattle.)
Games Remaining Against Bottom-Four and Bottom-12 Opponents
|Games Against Futile Four, Win %||Games Against Next Eight, Win %||Games Against Worst 12 Teams, Win %||Games Against Futile Four, Runs Allowed||Games Against Next Eight, Runs Allowed||Games Against Worst 12 Teams, Runs Allowed|
|Chi White Sox||5||17||22||2||20||22|
The first thing that caught my eye is that the Toronto Blue Jays play 17 of their final 40 games (17 of their final 33 beginning August 30 to be more accurate) against bottom-four pitching staffs. No other team faces more than 11 such opponents. Shohei Ohtani may have the AL MVP sewn up, but Vladimir Guerrero Jr. still has an outside shot at the Triple Crown. This favorable schedule will not change the outlook for the prominent Jays hitters, but a player like Corey Dickerson (36 percent rostered in Fantrax leagues) could have some value the rest of the way, particularly with George Springer sidelined. The Philadelphia Phillies lead the Majors in remaining games against bottom-four teams (11) and bottom-12 teams (27). You may not be able to grab Aaron Nola off your league’s waiver wire, but Ranger Suarez is still available in 57 percent of Fantrax leagues.
San Diego looks to have the toughest remaining schedule in the Majors. They have just one series left against a bottom-12 team and just seven games remaining against foes with bottom-12 pitching staffs. That does not mean you need to worry about Fernando Tatis Jr. or Manny Machado. But Ha-seong Kim (52 percent rostered) and Jurickson Profar (49 percent) can probably hit the wire in shallow leagues. The same goes for Dinelson Lamet (76 percent) and MacKenzie Gore (70 percent). The New York Mets and Minnesota Twins are the only teams who will not face any bottom-four teams in win percentage or runs allowed for the remainder of the year. Fantasy managers do not need to overpay for fringe players on either one of these teams.
The Pittsburgh Pirates are an interesting case. They are, of course, a bottom-four team in both winning percentage and runs allowed. Yet their schedule is surprisingly favorable. They face an above-average number of opponents with a bottom-12 record and play the most games in all of baseball against teams with bottom-12 pitching staffs. Colin Moran is not exactly a sexy fantasy name, but he is the Pirates’ primary cleanup hitter and is rostered in only 40 percent of leagues. Ben Gamel has led off most of the time lately and is rostered in just eight percent of leagues. David Bednar (26 percent) could be targeted for those desperate for saves over the last six weeks.
Rest of Season Fantasy Baseball Rankings
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