When things are ugly, they tend to be really freakin’ ugly. The pitching on Tuesday night is deplorable. Corey Kluber clocks in as the top option due to his strikeout ability, but after that, things get quite ugly. With that said, Kluber makes a solid cash game option. After that, the following players are solid GPP plays: Brandon Finnegan vs. New York Mets, Tyler Anderson vs. San Francisco, and, oh my god, Wily Peralta at home against the Cubs. Starting with Peralta, this is the kind of play that could win a big stakes GPP. He could easily get hammered like Lenny Dykstra at a retirement home, but his ownership will be so low that if you do hit, you’ll look like a genius. The Giants continue to struggle and Anderson has actually been a decent option at Coors Field. He is averaging 17 DK points compared to 12.5 on the road. Finally, Finnegan has been killing it like O.J. Simpson. I mean, home, road, it hasn’t mattered. He is slicing and dicing the competition and has 29 strikeouts over his last 20 innings pitched. If I were to pair and pitcher with Kluber or Gio Gonzalez in cash games, it would be Finnegan.
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We all know Lefties do things different so I’m going to go off script today and do it like a Lefty. Instead of one featured pitcher I’m pulling a Trifecta and going with Tres Zurdos (or Three Lefties in case you don’t know basic Spanish). First up is my numero uno for the night, Robbie Ray, $9,600 vs the Mets. I don’t typically endorse a pitcher in Coors Jr, but the Mets have been awful vs LHP. Their offense is batting .221 in the month of August and their in the bottom 3 in offensive stats vs LHP. If Ray is smart he’ll avoid Wilmer Flores and Neil Walker to cruise to an easy victory with at least 7 Ks. Drew Smyly, $9,000 vs San Diego is SON’s top pick tonight, so I’m not venturing too far from a sure thing. The human emoticon got roughed up pretty bad for a month straight giving up 25 ER’s over six starts, but after a recent software update he’s turned his frown upside down and has been all smiles since. Over his last four starts he’s had 29 Ks in 25 innings to go along with a 2.52 ERA. The Padres are on the home stretch of a lengthy East Coast road trip, so I’m taking advantage of a weak offensive team who’s ready to pack it in and call it a night. The final Zurdo on my list is a Smyly’s former teammate Matt Moore, $8,800 vs Pittsburgh. Here’s another struggling offense that’s been lost for the first two weeks of August. Their offense prowess is not existent with Starling Marte nursing a back injury, Andrew McCutchen struggling and they’re hitting a paltry .214 in August. He hasn’t made a home start yet, but Moore has been solid since the trade with 14 Ks over 12 innings. His home debut is all set up for dominance, if he can limit the walks and find his command he’ll be one of the top scorers tonight.
Joe Musgrove shut down the mighty Toronto Blue Jays for the second time, going seven strong innings, allowing just six hits, two runs, a walk and striking out seven for his first major league win. He looked dominant. Like Michael Phelps dominates the pool, or Simone Biles dominates her sport, and all sports, for ever and ever. Simone though. Have you ever seen such dominance? Clearly, ESPN has not. Regardless, Joey Joe Joe now sports a sparkling 1.47 ERA, 0.76 WHIP and 21/2 K/BB ratio though 18.1 innings. Did you miss out on Jameson Taillon, Michael Fulmer, Lucas Giolito or Blake Snell? Well frown no-more, my frowny-faced friend, because Joe Musgrove may just be the best performing of the rookie-nookie bunch, and while everyone is off drafting their fantasy football teams, Musgrove is still available in over half of baseball leagues. Who is this Musgrove character, and what makes him a must-own pitcher, you ask? In 16 games in AA and AAA (85.1 IP), Joe was 7-4 with a 2.74 ERA, 1.04 WHIP and 87/10 K/BB rate. Oh yeah. For those of you playing at home, that will help your fantasy team. He also plays for the Houston Astros, a team in dire need of all the help they can get as they make their playoff push. Grey told you told BUY and Joe Musgrove needs to be added in all leagues as soon as you finish reading this…sandwich! Gotcha! Now make like Katie Ledecky and 100m fly to the waiver wire!
Here’s what else I saw Friday night in fantasy baseball:
Yesterday, Carlos Gomez was designated for assignment. Outfielders in the tier of guys in the preseason I told you not to draft: Pence, Kemp, Gomez, Schwarber, Hanley, Corey Dickerson, Ellsbury, Brantley, Adam Jones and Carlos Gonzalez. I’ll take a 7-for-10. You believed still in the preseason about Carlos Gomez, didn’t you? *touches finger to nose but not for a sobriety test* I’m more surprised by the people shocked by Gomez’s fall from grace. *makes crazy, rolly finger motion by ear* Anyone who saw him in his prime knew he was gonna find a steep cliff. Even when he broke out, the underlying stats told you something had to change or he wasn’t going to have continued success. *sticks finger in nose, smiles* Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:
One look at this week’s most added player list in ESPN fantasy baseball leagues causes me to reminisce about my younger days in the early-mid 2000s. I can vaguely remember the bar-hopping, insane amounts of alcohol consumption, and late nights that frequently occurred during that time period. One thing that I can clearly recall from those days is closing time at those various establishments when the ugly lights would come on and that Semisonic song would be blaring over the speakers, signaling that it was time to pack up and go. Stumbling out the door and finding a local diner to satiate my pork roll, egg, and cheese fix meant that it was a good night. When no diner was to be found, man was that an annoying song! Why’d you have to ruin a perfectly good evening, Semisonic? It’s all your fault. Drunken logic! But I digress. The point is that this week could easily be dubbed closing time in fantasy baseball, as there were serious changes in the late inning pecking order of several teams. Injuries to Wade Davis and Huston Street created opportunities for Kelvin Herrera (39.2% owned; +10.8% over the past week) and Cam Bedrosian (22.8%; +17.2%) in the 9th inning in Kansas City and LA respectively. The trade of Jeremy Jeffress to Texas opened the door for Tyler Thornburg (31.0%; +16.8%) to close games in Milwaukee. But the biggest gainers of the week were the new stoppers in Seattle and Houston, Edwin Diaz (57.9% owned; +44.7%) and Ken Giles (57.0% owned; +37.9%). Diaz claimed the role for the Mariners after incumbent Steve Cishek hit the disabled list, and Giles took over for the Astros for a struggling Will Harris, and fantasy owners quickly pounced on the explosive duo. Over the last 30 days, Diaz and Giles have combined for 43 strikeouts against just 5 walks and have allowed just one earned run over that span. Their swinging strike rates are 24.1% and 25.4% respectively, and they’ve each averaged over 97.5 mph on their fastballs. There might not be more than five or six closers that I’d want more than these guys right now, so grab them if the other owners in your league have been asleep at the wheel.
Here are a couple of other interesting adds/drops in fantasy baseball over the past week:
As we’ve seen countless times, a logjam in a starting rotation never ends up being a hurtle. At first, the Astros were seemingly cutting out Lance McCullers with boring vets like Doug Fister and Scott Feldman, the latter who has really not worked out as a starter… Feldman was throwing some good RP innings though, before they dumped him north of the border… Anyway, with McCullers’ elbow barking, it opened a spot for Joe Musgrove to step right into the rotation.
I’ve been thinking back; has there been a more exciting SP debut for a guy coming out of the bullpen at first? 4.1 innings coming in for the injured McCullers with 1 hit, 1 walk, and 8 Ks and a Jose Fernandez-esque fiery presence from Musgrove. Brian McCann will be a big baby whenever the Yankees face him… 8 strikeouts has to be close to a record for an MLB debut out of the bullpen (broadcast tells me it tied the record, nice work Astros broadcast!)… I guess without the clear opening through the season, it dulled the fantasy love for Musgrove, who had a crazy 10.25:1.03 K:BB in AA and 8.69:1.07 in AAA. Makes Phil Hughes look wild! Although, throwing Phil Hughes’ name in here isn’t exciting anyone… Hopefully a good outing and sexy GIFs will do that! Here’s how Musgrove looked yesterday afternoon in his first career MLB start:
Steve Cishek hit the DL with the same injury that sounds like it once affected Nadia Comaneci –a torn labrum. Grey’s got Olympics fever! Which this year sounds like it can be transmitted by a mosquito. “I’m not wearing my Brazilian national flag t-shirt to sit in the room all day! Actually, I feel a little woozy too.” That’s a family of four coming down with the Zika Virus at this year’s Olympics. With Cishek likely out for the year, grab Edwin Diaz in all leagues. On a related note, I’ll leave you with the Double Dutch Bus, a song that Missy Elliott later made famous on Gossip Folks. The chorus for Double Dutch Bus sounds like it’s just me trying to say the name Steve Cishek. Fast forward to 2:15 if you’re not feeling early 80s funk and just want the guy to say Steve Cishek repeatedly.
Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:
When Jonathan Lucroy vetoed the trade to the Indians this past weekend, I thought we were going to find out Lucroy was Joey Lauren Adams in Chasing Amy. Other teams were going to try and convert him into one of their players, but he was always going to continue to play for the other team. Then, at some point, he was going to describe oral sex in insane, graphic detail, using balls, bats, and a gear shift, and other teams were just going to give up trying to get him to play for their team. Then it turned out the Brewers were not going to be “Holden” him forever, you can “Banky” on it. Jonathan Lucroy and Jeremy Jeffress were Chinese finger-cuffed to each other and sent to the Rangers for Lewis Brinson and Luis Ortiz. By the way, Luis/Lewis is the Spanish version of tomato-tomahto. I wonder what the Brewers finally said to Lucroy. “We love you, but, dude, if you really love this organization, you’ll get the eff out of here. Go!” Then cried in the rain all super-weepy like Ben Affleck. So, Lucroy gets a small boost in value from the lineup, but the stadium change is nearly a push. As for Jeremy Jeffress, who is Jason Lee in this scenario, will work set up for Sam Dyson, who will keep the job. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:
Deadline day baby, one of the most exciting and nerve wrecking times for fantasy owners across the land. I’m not going to talk extensively about it the way I did on Wednesday. Mostly because I’m not allowed to write the same post twice. At least as far as I know. Only Tehol’s allowed to do that stuff, but he’s handsome. We call that bubble syndrome, handsome, and really all attractive people in general, live in a bubble. You know who doesn’t live in a bubble, but is built exactly like one? Josh Naylor!!! That’s right A.J. Pro-Preller continues to trade-rape the MLB and horde A-1 prospects the same way your Grandma hordes Precious Moments figurines. This time they traded Andrew Cashner and Colin Rea for Josh Naylor, Luis Castillo, Carter Capps, and Jarred Cosart. We have no need to get into Cosart or Capps, but Naylor is interesting, Castillo less so. The Marlins selected Naylor in the first round, 12th overall, in last year’s draft. So far the returns have been promising, but let’s be clear Naylor is an “unathletic” DH/1B type. He was drafted as a 1B/OF coming out of the prep circuit, but his future lies as a first sacker. He’s been billed as a power first guy, but his power at this point has only been middling. He’s surprisingly swiped 10 bags though. The hope is the young Naylor develops the power stroke and eventually matures into a 25-30 homer corner guy. I’m not as hopeful as some about that happening.
Oh don’t worry I’ll get into my take on top catching prospect Francisco Mejia, and three others moving from the Indians system to the Brewers for Jonathan Lucroy. Feel free to post rumors, deals, hopes, and dreams, etc in the comments. Let’s talk specs and trades y’all!
With the exception of a few dependable options like Jonathan Lucroy, Wilson Ramos, and Buster Posey, the catcher position has (somewhat predictably) been one of the least offensively productive positions in fantasy baseball this season. Yasmani Grandal and Yan Gomes currently have sub-.200 batting averages. Yadier Molina and the recently injured Francisco Cervelli have combined to hit one home run. Arizona backup Chris Herrmann has been a top 10 player at the position thus far this season. I suppose that the term dumpster fire would be a more apt description to characterize the catching landscape. It should come as no surprise, then, that recent Chicago Cubs call-up Willson Contreras (30.5% owned; +27.4% over the past week) is this week’s most added player in ESPN leagues. Considered by many to be the top offensive catching prospect in the game, the 24-year-old rookie slashed .353/.442/.593 in 55 Triple-A games this season and launched a homer in his first MLB at-bat against the Pittsburgh Pirates on Sunday night. His ability to make contact (13.3% K%) while hitting for power (.240 ISO) in the Pacific Coast League this year displayed a rare combination indeed, especially for a catcher. Miguel Montero and David Ross are the incumbents in Chicago, but they shouldn’t provide much resistance for playing time if the rookie hits the ground running. Contreras is certainly worth adding if available. There’s massive upside here at a thin position.
Here are a couple of other interesting adds/drops in fantasy baseball over the past week: