The first full week of baseball after the All-Star break has left more questions than answers leading up to the trade deadline. It’s still unclear who’s buying and who’s selling but we’ll find out at week’s end and talk about it next week, because I fully expect some big names to be on the move. In something non-related to actual on-the-field production, the Cleveland Baseball Club has now settled on an official name of the future and it sounds like the name of an XFL team… The Guardians, I’d rather them be called the Cleveland Steamers personally. So, go out and get your Indians paraphernalia now.
Onto the injury news. Chris Sale had a scoreless rehab start at AA Portland, his return is imminent. Corey Kluber threw from the bullpen mound which is a good sign. Sixto Sanchez underwent surgery on his shoulder so we’ll see him next year. Zach Eflin hit the IL with Patellar Tendinitis, an injury that has bugged him for most of his career, but I’m not overly concerned. Jack Flaherty threw a bullpen session. Stephen Strasburg threw a bullpen session. Carlos Carrasco had a rehab start. Danny Duffy hit the IL with a flexor strain for the second time this year. His staff mate Brady Singer also hit the IL with shoulder fatigue. Lastly, Spencer Turnbull is undergoing Tommy John surgery. Now let’s get to the stars of the show.
1. Charlie Morton ATL: (7/27 @ NYM)(8/1 vs MIL)
– Uncle Chuck has been dealing recently. 6 out of his last 7 starts have been quality starts, and he’s looked great on the hill. Also, I like these matchups quite a bit for him so he firmly lands in the pole position for me.
2. Julio Urias LAD: (7/27 @ SF)(8/1 @ ARI)
– Urias has been strong all season. His last start was against San Francisco where he went 7 innings and allowed only 4 baserunners in the game. Now, statistics will tell us it’s unlikely he tops that performance but I still don’t expect a bad start. Then he gets Arizona what more do I need to say about that.
3. Robbie Ray TOR: (7/27 @ BOS)(8/1 vs KC)
– In the same vein as Urias, Ray’s last start came against Boston and didn’t go so well. He had his worst start in 2 months. So, with that said I expect Ray to perform better than his last. Then he gets KC so expect a good week from Ray here.
4. Marcus Stroman NYM: (7/26 vs ATL)(7/31 vs CIN)
– Stroman’s been lights out all year. To make matters better his last start was his best of the season and it happened to come against the Reds. Again recent familiarity can play a role in the Reds game but I still expect a pretty good start. Especially both starts being at home where the Mets have been pretty good at winning ball games. He’s set up for a good week.
5. Kyle Hendricks CHC: (7/26 vs CIN)(7/31 @ WAS)
– Hendricks has 14 quality starts since May 4th, An outlandish number. Keep riding the wave here.
6. German Marquez COL: (7/26 @ LAA)(7/31 @ SD)
– Marquez’s seasonal pitching line is good but it should look even better. If not for an 8 run blow-up against the Reds on June 12th his ERA would be sitting in the twos. In any event, we are starting Marquez without thinking twice about it.
7. Luis Garcia HOU: (7/26 @ SEA)(8/1 @ SF)
– My favorite for Rookie of the Year right now in the AL, Garcia has been a godsend for the Astros. He’s averaging well over a strikeout per inning, a .204 BAA, and a 1.06 WHIP. The future is bright for this guy and he’s a weekly start already no matter the matchup.
8. Wade Miley CIN: (7/27 @ CHC)(8/1 @ NYM)
– Miley tied his season-high in strikeouts in his last start. He matched his No-Hitter with 8 K’s. That game came against the Mets. Much like a lot of these guys on the list they’re pitching against the same team they most recently squared off against. Both the Cubs and the Mets aren’t great hitting teams so I expect a good week.
9. Dylan Cease CHW: (7/27 @ KC)(8/1 vs CLE)
– We all know about Cease’s road woes this season, however, I’m on board with him for this away start. In 2 starts against the Royals so far this season his line is 10.1 IP, 7 H, 1 ER, 6 BB, and 9 Ks. Those two starts were spread over April and May and I’m willing to bet Cease has a good start against them this week. Also, he’s home against the light-hitting Indians…I mean Defenders. This is good for a strikeout pitcher of Cease’s caliber.
10. John Means BAL: (7/27 vs MIA)(8/1 @ DET)
– His first start back didn’t go great but he did pitch 5 innings after missing nearly two months, which is nice to see. If there is a week for Means to get right, right away it’s this one against these two terrible offenses. Even with the rustiness concern the pitcher combined with the matchups makes him a start for me.
11. Alek Manoah TOR: (7/26 @ BOS)(7/31 vs KC)
– It looks like he’s slated to come off the IL on Monday for the start in Boston and hopefully he picks up where he left off considering he had 19 K’s between his last 2 starts. One of them being an injury-shortened start where he only went 3.2 IP and still managed 9 K’s. He’s faced off against Boston once this year already and faired pretty well allowing only 4 hits and 1 run. I’m taking my chances coming off the injury and hoping the strikeout uptick sticks around. Start him.
12. James Kaprielian OAK: (7/27 @ SD)(8/1 @ LAA)
– Another favorite for Rookie of the Year James Kap is also having a stellar rookie campaign. Sporting a minuscule .202 BAA and a 1.12 WHIP, Kaprielian has only allowed more than 3 runs once so far in 12 starts. San Diego is playing some good ball right now but their offense can disappear at times and seeing as how they’ll go against a pitcher they’ve never seen it’s a good shot he pitches well in the game. Secondly, the Angels strike fear into no one, so I’m starting the rookie this week.
13. Tylor Megill NYM: (7/27 vs ATL)(8/1 vs CIN)
– Megill has been a nice surprise for the Mets, who just can’t stay healthy ever. He had his longest start of the year in his last outing where he went 6 innings and allowed 0 runs. I don’t mind either of these matchups since they are both at home. I’m starting him.
14. Michael Pineda MIN: (7/26 vs DET)(8/1 @ STL)
– Pineda had a decent start last week against the White Sox. His best since coming back from injury, granted it’s only been two starts and both came against the White Sox. Before the injury, Pineda was having a decent year and he’s a savvy veteran that I believe will have a nice week this week given the matchups. I’m starting him this week since he seems to have worked his way back to the prior form.
15. Dallas Keuchel CHW: (7/26 @ KC)(7/31 vs CLE)
– He’s coming off two successful starts against the Orioles and the Twins. Prior to that, he got shelled by the Tigers for 7 runs. While these are two good matchups, for Keuchel I don’t think it matters he can get hit hard by anyone. This is evidenced by his .266 BA and 1.37 WHIP this year. Cleveland has seen him twice this year already and scored 7 runs on him between the two starts. The Royals meanwhile haven’t seen him yet. I’m leaving Keuchel on the bench this week.
16. Blake Snell SD: (7/27 vs OAK)(8/1 vs COL)
– Snell is coming off of only his 3rd Quality Start this season against the light-hitting Marlins. That’s out of 18 starts which is just putrid. He has a 4.93 ERA and a 1.56 WHIP equally as putrid. Snell still has the strikeout stuff but he walks everybody, he has 51 walks in just 80.1 innings this year. The walks lead to high pitch counts, the high pitch counts lead to him exiting the game before the 5th inning is even done. So regardless of his good start in his last outing, I’m still benching him this week.
POINTS LEAGUES PLAYS
17. Kyle Muller ATL: (7/26 @ NYM)(7/21 vs MIL)
18. Adbert Alzolay CHC: (7/27 vs CIN)(8/1 @ WAS)
Andrew Heaney LAA: (7/27 vs COL)(8/1 vs OAK), Mike Minor KC: (7/26 vs CHW)(7/31 @ TOR), Logan Webb SF: (7/27 vs LAD)(8/1 vs HOU), Brad Keller KC: (7/27 vs CHW)(8/1 @ TOR), Tyler Anderson PIT: (7/27 vs MIL)(8/1 vs PHI), Tanner Houck BOS: (7/27 vs TOR)(8/1 @ TB), Garrett Richards BOS: (7/26 vs TOR)(7/31 @ TB), Jose Suarez LAA: (7/26 vs COL)(7/31 vs OAK), Michael Wacha TB: (7/27 vs NYY)(8/1 vs BOS), Matt Moore PHI: (7/27 vs WAS)(8/1 @ PIT), Erick Fedde WAS: (7/27 @ PHI)(8/1 vs CHC), Brett Anderson MIL: (7/27 @ PIT)(8/1 @ ATL), Spencer Howard PHI: (7/26 vs WAS)(7/31 @ PIT), Paolo Espino WAS: (7/26 @ PHI)(7/31 vs CHC), Tyler Alexander DET: (7/27 @ MIN)(8/1 vs BAL)