“4 Us 2 Remember” reminds us that Jackie Robinson’s legacy lives on through the players who proudly wear 42 and everyone who stands against injustice.
— MLB (@MLB) August 28, 2020
Fantasy baseball is often best informed by real baseball. Please a few minutes to watch this before moving on with the article.
August 31-September 6, 2020
All right, we almost made it a week without a Covid positive test in MLB, but Sunday morning, the Oakland Athletics announced that a member of their crew tested positive for coronavirus and their play has been postponed. News will be developing more, but as of the time of writing (Sunday morning), you’ll probably want to pay attention to your Oakland starters (i.e. Jesus Luzardo, Frankie Montas, Chris Bassitt) in weekly lineup leagues. For DFS and daily lineups, you can follow the news and do what you have to do.
Again, we’re nearing the 60% mark of the season for most teams in MLB, and the same goes for most of your fantasy baseball teams. If you’re going to make a move — whether the waiver wire or a trade — it’s time to do it now. Don’t believe me? Let’s take a look at the Rest-of-Season-o-Nator-o-Tron. That Sixto Sanchez guy that everybody’s talking about? Hit Control-F and search his projections for the rest of the season. Come on, do it! Oh fine, I’ll just tell you. It’s 23IP, 1W, and a probably too-conservative 17K. What about Gerrit Cole? 36IP, 3W, and 49K. OK math majors, let’s get to work! If you’re trailing in pitching stats in your fantasy league, what’s the likelihood that Sixto Sanchez helps you catch up to the team that’s starting Gerrit Cole every 5 days? Not all that great, right? The Marlins have a lot of catch-up to do, and Sixto Sanchez can’t throw those extra games, and no manager is going to risk The Sanchize by throwing him overtime in a year when 50% of the teams make the playoffs. For actual baseball, this is amazing, because the Marlins seem on track to make the playoffs and you’re going to see The Sanchize playing in the wildest shootout of baseball playoffs ever seen in human history. But for fantasy baseball, you’re getting, at most, maybe 2W and — if you’re lucky — 30Ks from Sixto over the next few weeks.
If you’re in a redraft, you’ll need to stream pitchers. “But Blair, I only stream Netflix!”, you say. That’s OK, Razzball has the Streamonator. Additionally, we’ve got three authors who provide you pickup advice (no, Steve, not that kind of pickup advice!)
- JKJ covers the waiver wire here
- Joey Bart covers streamers here
- Kerry Klug covers all the two-start pitchers here
So! If you’re in the running for your fantasy championship and are lagging in pitching, use the resources across Razzball and we’ll get you across the finish line. Sound good?
To complicate things even further, it’s the trade deadline! This article was submitted Sunday night, and there were basically no blockbusters announced at the time of submission. Lance Lynn and Mike Clevinger were the biggest names on the block, and multiple teams showed interest in these players. Take a look at Grey’s daily updates for the latest news on what to do with these players if/when they are traded.
News and Notes
Lucas Giolito — A no-no, and I hope you didn’t give up on him after his slow start to 2020. Giolito started near the top 10 in these rankings, and fell down towards number 20 at the start of the season due to rotation and hard hit concerns. Giolito now looks back to his 2019 form, and the White Sox batters are supporting him well. He’s got a ridiculous 16.2 SwSt% on the season, and he cracks the top 15 this week. Giolito’s no hitter got Alex Fast so excited his Twitter account was temporarily ramped up to Japanese salaryman level of excitement. NO NO?? YES YES!!
GIO WITH THE NO NO!!!!!@LGio27's final line:
9 IP, 0 ER, 0 H, 1 BB, 13 K
13 K ties career high!!
30 whiffs career high!!
13 whiffs on CH career high!!
48% CSW HIGHEST OF YEAR OVERALL!!! pic.twitter.com/jAd7rR5Vdj
— Alex Fast (@AlexFast8) August 26, 2020
Taijuan Walker — Walker got traded from the Mariners to the Blue Jays this week, and on most years, that wouldn’t even make a blip on the fantasy radar. However, in 2020 Walker has been showing signs of recovery from numerous injuries and was putting up respectable peripheral numbers with an 8.5K/9 and a 3.50 ERA. Now, in a normal year, moving from the Mariners to the Blue Jays would be a gift for a fantasy pitcher. But, in 2020, the Blue Jays are playing at Sahlen Field in Buffalo, New York, a AAA-stadium that has quickly become known for its hitter-friendliness, at least to MLB hitters. ESPN’s park factors ranks Sahlen Field in the top-5 for runs created, and top-8 for home run proclivity. Comparatively, Walker’s previous home, T-Mobile Park in Seattle, was in the top-10 most pitcher friendly parks. In September, the Blue Jays play the Yankees 7 times in Sahlen Field, as well as the surprisingly-potent Orioles hitters another three times. So, if you’re thinking you’re going to ride Walker to the fantasy championships, I would call that a risky proposition. You can certainly stream Walker in the away games, but I think starting any Blue Jays pitcher other than Hyun-jin Ryu at Sahlen Field is just gambling.
Nate Pearson — He’s been sitting in dart throw territory with elbow discomfort for a while now, and he’s just not progressing. Especially after the Blue Jays acquired Walker, it’s hard to see the Blue Jays pushing their prized prospect hard in the remainder of 2020. He’s off the list for now, and you can dart throw him at your discretion if he returns.
Walker Buehler — Buehler had just started ramping up to full-speed when he hit the IL with a blister. I really hope it’s a finger blister. The news articles just want you to assume that, but I assume nothing! He’s scheduled to return in the middle of the week. Buehler’s been a bit erratic in 2020, but given his last start was 6IP, 11K, 0BB, fantasy managers can roll the dice that the Buehler we expected in June will appear in September and dominate.
Dylan Bundy — Two weeks ago, Bundy was at the top of the player rater and he’s still sitting in the top 10 as of this time of writing. Multiple teams are trying to acquire Bundy at the trade deadline, and it’s good to feel wanted, right? But there’s something that people who are drinking Monday morning Mai Tais while sitting near an infinity pool know, that you’re going to know right now as well: Bundy’s fastball velocity dipped to 86MPH in his Saturday start. Now, there have been some pitchers who have succeeded at that speed this year — see Zack Greinke — but Bundy’s venture into 86MPH territory is a 4MPH departure from his usual velocity. Is Bundy tired? Is Bundy hurt? Is Bundy saving himself for his new team? The Angels were winning 6-1 against the Mariners when Bundy’s velocity dropped. There are some signs of worry on the Bundy-hype train. Bundy has already vastly outperformed his projections, and he might be working under a new coaching staff next week. It’s your fantasy team, and I want you to make your own decisions, but there are a few warning signs that Bundy’s second half of 2020 won’t be as productive has his first half.
Tommy Milone — Milone is owned in 8% of RCL leagues. His changeup is basically as good as Luis Castillo’s. And, literally as I was writing this paragraph, he got traded to the Atlanta Braves. The Braves play the Washington Nationals a ton in September, and the Nationals are basically league average in terms of hitting; if you pitch around Soto and Turner, the Nationals are pretty miserable. If you’re looking for a streamer that’s going to help you catch up in the pitching rankings, hard to do worse than Milone.
Milone's CH currently has the 2nd highest SwSt in all of baseball.
Higher than Luis Castillo's.
— Alex Fast (@AlexFast8) August 29, 2020
Matthew Boyd — Boyd was getting absolutely crushed to begin the season. When the rookies came up, Boyd probably felt a bit of pressure on his job, and he started pitching a few gems. Now, Boyd has always been prone to giving up the long ball and getting hit hard, so he’s going to remain in the dart throw category. That said, in his past three starts, he has a 21:3 K/BB ratio and most batters are hitting him weaker than ever before.
Robbie Ray — Ray has made headlines for his wild box scores recently. He can strike out nearly 10 batters per appearance, but he’s walking nearly 6 batters in that same time frame. Those batters who make contact are producing, on average, balls with an exit velocity over 94MPH. The Diamondbacks hitters are awful, and he’s notched only 1W in 2020. Ray has left the top 100 list.
Top Velocity Gainers Past 2 Weeks (numbers in MPH compared to season average): Aaron Civale (1.6), Brady Singer (1.3), Justus Sheffield (1.2), Freddy Peralta (1), Yu Darvish (0.7), Mike Clevinger (0.7), Walker Buehler (0.5), Corbin Burnes (0.5), Taijuan Walker (0.5), Daniel Norris (0.5)
Top Velocity Losers Past 2 Weeks (numbers in MPH compared to season average: Robbie Ray (-1), Merrill Kelly, (-0.7), Dylan Bundy (-0.6), Kent Maeda (-0.5), Jesus Luzardo (-0.5), Ryan Yarbrough (-0.5) Rick Porcello (-0.4), Sonny Gray (-0.4), Max Fried (-0.4), Blake Snell (-0.4)
As usual, if you like what what I’m doing here, give me a shout out in the comments, or support Razzball with a premium subscription. Data is collected from FanGraphs and Razzball databases, and compiled and organized by yours truly. Consider most of the pitchers ranked by tiers, especially from pitchers 50-100. As noted last week, Frankie Montas is a bet right now because he’s shown improvement in his fastball but he’s getting hit hard. Lastly, the data is current as of Saturday, with the HardHit% calculated by comparing the past two weeks to the season average.
FIP=Fielding Independent Pitching; SwSt%=Swinging Strike %; EV=Batted Ball Exit Velocity; Hard Hit%=percent change in hard hit batted balls over the past two weeks compared to season stats; ROS=Razzball’s Player Rater rest-of-season rank. Green=Top 10% of performance in that category. Red=Bottom 10% of performance in that category.
|59||Lance McCullers Jr.||3.92||10.9||89.5||-8.3||33|
Aye, you made it this far, didn’t ya. EverywhereBlair is, well, located at home right now. He’s a historian and lover of prog-metal. He enjoys a good sipping rum. When he’s not churning data and making fan fiction about Grey and Donkey Teeth, you can find him dreaming of shirtless pictures of Lance Lynn on Twitter @Everywhereblair.