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2019 At First Glance – Hitters to Target

If you haven’t been paying attention to the #2EarlyMocks run by Justin Mason, check out the updated spreadsheet by @Smada_bb with the results and average draft position (ADP). While opinions and influences will change these numbers come spring, it’s a solid base to start with. I’ll look at a few hitters that I’m favoring based on the early ADPs for 2019. I’ll mention my new statistic that looks at power (40-40-25), that’s 40% fly ball rate, 40% hard contact, and 25% pulled fly ball rate. I’m still working on refining it, but that’s the baseline for now.

Michael Conforto (NYM – OF) ADP 98
Conforto missed the end of the 2017 season with a devastating shoulder injury. Following offseason surgery, he was scheduled to miss at least the first month of the season. Instead, he came back just three games into the season and managed to play 151 games. His .243 average leaves a sour taste in some people’s mouth but the 27 homers look pretty sexy to me. Consider for a moment that Conforto came back at least three weeks too early from his offseason surgery and struggled to regain his power. That’s completely understandable given the circumstances. Looking at Conforto’s batted ball profile, we can see when and where things started to change. From April 5th through May 26th, Conforto’s hard contact was just 26.6%. From May 27th through the end of the season, his hard contact jumped to 39.4%. His infield fly rate was basically cut in half showing me that his shoulder was finally healthy as he was able to square balls up with regularity.


Conforto is a patient hitter who will take walks but also swing and miss some. I don’t expect a .300 average, but the quality of his contact should keep his average around .275 or .280. Conforto will turn just 26 right before the start of the 2019 season and I’m predicting a huge breakout for the Mets outfielder. I believe a 35 homer, 100 RBI season is well within reach. In OBP formats, he’s a top 50 pick thanks to his stellar 13% walk rate. Think Eugenio Suarez from 2018. Suarez’s numbers from 2018 is a very realistic line for Conforto when the 2019 season concludes. If Conforto’s ADP of 98 holds close to what the #2EarlyMocks are telling us, he should provide nice value on draft day.

Travis Shaw (MIL – 3B) ADP 106
Shaw just completed his second straight 30-homer season and he feels so under-the-radar to me. Shaw was taken just inside the top 100 last year and it feels like he’s going to be just outside the top 100 (106 currently) in 2019 thanks to a .240 batting average. Yes, that was a drag for owners this year but what was the culprit? Let’s see, he hit fewer line drives, fewer ground balls, and more fly balls. His contact rates were good, in fact, he cut down his swinging strike rate and increased his overall contact. Do you realize he had a 13.6% walk rate and an 18.6% strikeout rate in 2018? Those are fantastic! So, why did his BABIP drop from .312 in 2017 to an ugly .240 in 2018?

xStats does a very good job of categorizing batted ball types into six buckets and is more precise than FanGraphs’ three batted ball types. xStats shows that Shaw was hitting far too many popups, 24% compared to the league average of 18%. Clearly, that’s going to decrease a player’s batting average and BABIP. However, he was hitting a ton high drives which are where the homers come from but not enough low line drives which help with batting average. This explains some drop-off in batting average and BABIP, but not all of it. So maybe we can expect Shaw to have a BABIP closer to his career rate of .286. That should help Shaw raise his average at least 30 points next year to around the .270-range. Unfortunately, his stolen base total went from 10 down to just three, so we can’t count on more than a handful there. With Cain and Yelich living on-base in front of Shaw, I’d expect him to drive in another 100 runs as he did in 2017. Oh, and by the way, he gains 2B eligibility in 2019. BONUS

Aaron Hicks (NYY – OF) ADP 119
Here were the players with a higher walk rate than Aaron Hicks in 2018: Mike Trout, Bryce Harper, Joey Votto, and Carlos Santana. That’s it! Of that group, only Votto and Santana had a lower strikeout rate than Hicks’ 19.1%. He’s an on-base machine. Hicks is also one of 15 players to hit at least 25 home runs and steal at least 10 bases in 2018. It’s always been a matter of health and playing time for HIcks. With Brett Gardner’s declining athleticism due to his age, Hicks should see the majority of the work out in centerfield for the Yankees. He’s also a great candidate to hit in one of the top two spots in one of the Major Leagues most potent lineups.




What do you know, another hitter with a low BABIP following the 2018 season, catch the trend? A .264 BABIP led to a sub-.250 average for Hicks who doesn’t profile as a guy who should have such a below-average BABIP. His fly ball rate is just below 40% and possesses above-average speed. I wouldn’t put Hicks’ BABIP over .300 but somewhere around .280-.285 sounds about right. An average near .260-.265 won’t hurt you and with Hicks being a switch hitter, the majority of his plate appearances come from the left side, and that’s as good as gold for hitters at Yankee Stadium. Hicks might be a late bloomer but his barrel% has gone up each of the last two years. He’s done that while improving his plate discipline. With an O-Swing of 20.9% in 2018, Hicks ranked 7th in MLB one spot ahead of Matt Carpenter.

Can Hicks give us a 30-10 season in 2019? Well, we will have to wait and find out, but at pick near 120 overall, there’s very little risk given his numbers, park, and lineup.

A.J. Pollock (ARI – OF) ADP 75
I know, I know, another often injured outfielder. It’s difficult to quit a guy who is capable of hitting 25 to 30 homers and stealing 25 bases. Pollock is going to be 31 next year and he has played more than 140 games in a season just once in his career. That was back in that magical 2015 season where he hit .315 with 20 homers and 39 steals. MMMMM Sexy. Even with his age advancing, Pollock has still shown plenty of speed on the basepaths with 33 steals in his last 225 games between 2017 and 2018. What has impressed me, even more, is his improvement in the power department.

Pollock set a career-high HR/FB rate at 17.1% in 2018 and backed it up with a pretty remarkable 44.5% hard contact rate! Pollock is also crushing fly balls to the tune of a 50% hard contact rate and while he just falls short of my 40-40-25 mark discussed above (Pollock is at 38% FB – 44.5% Hard contact – 23% Pulled-FB), he’s damn close, which completely justifies his improved HR/FB rate. There is a downside, there always is, but in this case, it’s not a killer. He has been more aggressive swinging at more pitches outside the zone BUT still maintained an elite level 90.5% zone contact rate. Pollock might start to show his age in the speed department but a 6.7 SPD Score on FanGraphs has me cautiously optimistic that he could swipe 20 bags in a full season.

Pollock has changed his approach and might not see the .300 batting average he once peaked at but Pollock looks a lot like Hicks with a little less power and a little more speed. The injury history of both clearly are major issues so I would not pair them together, but grab one, hope for a healthy season, and reap the benefits.

Jonathan Villar (BAL – 2B, SS) ADP 127
I suspect Villar’s ADP will rise as the calendar turns over to 2019. The Adalberto Mondesi hype is out of control and I (among other fan-alyts) have been comparing Mondesi to Villar. Mondesi had a pretty remarkable run in the second half of 2018, there’s no doubt. The difference is, Villar has actually done it for an entire season back in 2016 and in the second half of 2018. Why is Mondesi going more than 50 picks ahead of Villar then? Both are on bad teams, so being conservative on the basepaths is less likely. Villar hits in a better park, so what gives? Fantasy baseball is ageist. Oh, except Villar is only 27? The Mondesi backers don’t really have a leg to stand on. I would only favor Mondesi by that significant margin in keeper and dynasty formats, but not in redrafts.

Enough about Mondesi, let’s do a quick dive into Villar. Who is the real Villar? The 2016 and 2nd half of 2018 guy or the 2017 and 1st half of 2018? Well, for S&G, let’s look at Villar’s average season over that span:

.265/.335/.410 11 HR, 40 SB, 65 R, 50 RBI

When you steal over 60 bags in a year, it will boost your average SB total. I wouldn’t be so quick to project 40 SBs from Villar in 2019 but he’s also slated to leadoff for the sad Baltimore Orioles. The Orioles will once again be one of the worst teams in baseball and have no reason to be conservative. In addition, those averages above come out to less than 500 plate appearances per season (485 PA/Season). I’m taking the over in 2019 for Villar in terms of plate appearances.


I don’t love Villar’s approach and I don’t think he’s a great ball player, but he will compile stats given the opportunity. Camden Yards is hitter friendly and I believe Villar has a floor of 10 HR and 25 SB. My projection for Villar will likely be closer to 15-35. So while owners are spending a 6th round pick in Mondesi, I’m waiting until the 10th or 11th round to grab Villar.

Follow me on Twitter @FeeezeStats

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Fantasy Baseball 2018 Recap – Players I Missed on

This is the part two of my 2018 fantasy baseball recap. In Part 1 I gloated about the picks I got right and now I can reflect on where I went wrong. I’ll go back to my 2018 rankings and look at players I completely missed on. I compare my preseason rank to the NFCB and Yahoo ADPs and finally to the ESPN and Razzball Player Rater final rankings as well. I do my best to explain my thought process in regards to the rankings I had but also discuss lessons learned. This process should help identify problem areas and ways to improve my projections. Oh, and I fixed this table so it’s easier to sort each column. I hope it’s a little more clear, the last table went sideways on me.

NameYahoo ADPNFBC ADPMy RankRazzball PRESPN PR
Xander Bogaerts68771374464
Didi Gregorious1091182004279
Starling Marte4147582928
Matt Carpenter1141811893276
Javier Baez117103212717
Cole Hamels167242280180159
Tommy Pham7356424974
Adrian Beltre10315364280265
Luis Castillo12210190204323
Chris Taylor1249383138164
Ian Happ148116107340350+
Chase Anderson192172136209280
Bradley Zimmer2511881769461033
Tanner Roark262239207278239
Delino DeShields299167205517455
Tim Beckham319255124611604
Luiz Gohara332300181594800
Orlando Arcia358178199738670

Luis Castillo (CIN – SP)
It was clear that I loved Castillo going into 2017 and I never really backed off. I held him all season in my home league and in my 20-team dynasty. I know, no one cares about my teams, but I did benefit in the second half where Castillo posted a 2.44 ERA, 0.96 WHIP and just over a strikeout per inning. The underlying numbers are there yet again and he’s going into his third MLB season. I’ll be back in if there is a discount at all. The long and short of it is, I missed on this one because his first half was so so bad. You either jumped ship or played catch-up all season. Overall I think my preseason analysis of Castillo was correct but trusting young pitchers is a fool’s errand.

Javier Baez (CHC – 2B/SS)
My other hometown bust pick was Baez. Bryant turned out to be correct but this one blew up in my face. Having watched Baez as often as I have over the last several seasons, it’s easy to see the immense talent he possesses but also the holes in his offensive game. His aggressiveness and swing-and-misses outside the zone pushed me away. I couldn’t help but think that the depth of scouting could exploit the holes in Baez’ profile, but alas, Baez broke the F*ck out! As an analyst, I’ll learn from my mistakes and try to stop just avoiding free-swingers, especially ones with the power/speed combo.

Matt Carpenter (STL – 1B, 2B, 3B)
This is where personal bias comes in. No, it’s not that he’s on the Cardinals. I was actually the highest on Carp going into 2017 because he had changed his profile to become a masher. A ton pulled fly balls and a ton of hard contact. I was expecting 30+ homers from Carp in 2017 but a nagging back issue cut into his playing time and power. At his age, I figured this would be a chronic issue and he wouldn’t hit 20 homers this year.  Basically, I was burned by him in the past and didn’t want the risk coming into 2018. Whoops, I should have stuck to my guns from the previous year. Oh well, this is another lesson. I liked him for a reason, I just need to remove the scabs, forgive and forget.

Gerrit Cole (HOU – SP)
The move from a pitcher-friendly NL Park to the AL was enough for me to dock Cole a few spots. On top that, his swinging strike rates have been below 10% the past two years. Then Cole went ahead and jumped to a 14% SwStr% in 2018. That was thanks to eliminating his sinker and increasing his slider and fastball. Cole’s sinker got almost no swings and misses and his improved fastball had a 14% SwStr rate. Cole was a top prospect who never lived up to his pedigree until 2018. While it would have been difficult to predict a K/9 jump of nearly 4.0/9 in the preseason, my lesson learned here is don’t give up on talent. Cole’s fastball velocity never dipped, maybe I should look at spin rates going forward?

Starling Marte (PIT – OF)
Coming off his PED suspension, Marte showed almost no power in half a season in 2017. I figured his 19 home run season back in 2015 was a power fluke and would remain an outlier. I projected him for a batting average regression to .275 (hey nailed that one) but only nine homers and 30 steals. That’s still productive but not top 40 where he was going. Alas, Marte muscled up to a career-high 20 homers and played the second most games of his career. If Marte is top 40 again, I’ll probably fade him going into his age-30 season. Lessons learned here: not much, Marte rarely plays a full season and his counting stats should suffer.

Didi Gregorius (NYY – SS)
looking at Didi’s profile in the offseason last year almost made me sick. His hard contact was in the vicinity of a slap hitter and his average home run distance was lower than anyone with at least 15 homers (he had 25). Yes, being left-handed in Yankee Stadium can inflate those numbers a bit. However, Didi proved me wrong as he nearly doubled his walk rate, added some speed, and most importantly increased his hard contact from 23% to 36%! His numbers this year actually justified a near 15% HR/FB rate. I trust him more going into 2019 but feel like his 2017 was largely luck driven.

Xander Bogaerts (BOS – SS)
Maybe it’s the opposite of East Coast Bias, maybe it’s East Coast Envy. Either way, I was down on another AL East Shortstop. Bogaerts was another player with a weak looking batted ball profile in 2017. He only hit 10 homers in 2017 backed by a 31% hard contact and a 30% fly ball rate. Those were my concerns coming into 2018 where a .280-12-12 shortstop could be had on waivers. Well, looks like X gave it to me as he increased his FB% and hard contact blasting 23 bombs while missing about 25 games. I like the adjustments and will be looking to add X in 2019. I learned to not give up on young talent

Luiz Gohara (ATL – SP)
Big Luiz is one of about 50 talented pitchers in the Braves system and was given a shot to succeed early in the season to which he flopped. The Braves realized they could be contenders this year and quickly turned elsewhere to the likes of Mike Soroka and Max Fried. Both performed much better and Gohara was left behind. I’ll admit, I was a little too aggressive on Gohara coming into 2018 with a limited sample. My approach to 2019 may be ease off the gas with young pitchers who have less than half of a season if MLB experience.

Chad Kuhl (PIT – SP)
Not a whole to say here. Kuhl missed more than half the season, so there was no way to be would provide any value. Not Kuhl Bro! Kuhl has a very good slider in 2017 but struggled with location. His slider and curve were also good early in 2018 and he even cut his BB% and showed slight improvements in the K%. However, home runs did him in. I don’t think I saw enough to be fully back in on Kuhl for 2019 but in NL-Only and deep leagues, he’s a late round flier.

Chase Anderson (MIL – SP)
I believed in the changes and improvements made in 2017 from Chase Anderson. His increased velocity was one of the main reasons for his success. He also limited walks and home runs. Well, it all fell apart this year. His velocity went down, zone% down (therefore BB% up), strikeouts were down, and the homers came back. Chase was actually a but lucky with an 81% LOB%. That made his 3.93 ERA and 1.19 WHIP look good. He wasn’t good though. I’m out in Anderson for 2019. He might be overrated if people average his surface numbers from the last two years.

Chris Taylor (LAD – SS, OF)
An out-of-nowhere beast from 2017 that I believed in thanks to an approach change which created power. Plus the guy had speed! Potential 20-20 hitters drafted outside of the top 50 are my kryptonite.  Sometimes late bloomers maintain consistent success and sometimes they fade. For every Whit Merrifield, there’s a Chris Taylor. It’s funny because the underlying statistics look great. His hard contact, fly ball, and line drive rates all went up and his SPD score per FanGraphs is right in line with 2017. His issue starts and ends with contact. His contact rate inside the zone dropped 7.5% in 2018 which ranks 8th from the bottom, one spot ahead of Chris Davis. So, part of my skills analysis was correct but I didn’t account for a significant drop in contact rate. I still won;t shy away from late bloomers, but I could be a bit more cautious.

Follow me on Twitter @FreezeStats

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Fantasy Baseball 2018 is in the Books – Players I Nailed (Sort of)

I’ve highlighted a lot of players prior to the 2018 regular season. I’ve written sleeper posts, busts posts, player profiles and posted my rankings and projections. If you think I’m an arrogant prick for writing about players I was right about, I’ve got to solid reasons for it. #1, as a fantasy analyst, it’s always good to go back to the preseason and check in with where you ranked players and why for both right and wrong, wayyyy wrong (Javier Baez).  #2, I will be posting an article highlighting players I was wrong about following this one. The second article is more important because it will help me learn how and why I missed on them. This is always a great idea for all you fantasy players out there as well. Go back to your draft and do a recap on which players are still on your team and which ones are long gone. Figure out what happened.  Alright homies, let’s dive into this.


Understanding the table: Columns 2 & 3 are preseason ADPs, 4th column is my preseason rank, columns 5 & 6 are 2018 final rank

Players I Hit On    
RazzballESPN
NameYahoo ADPNFBC ADPMy RankPlayer RaterPlayer Rater
Francisco Lindor202112512
Jose Ramirez26201947
Alex Bregman5432281626
Anthony Rendon5355343855
Lorenzo Cain9277646036
Trevor Story10412278611
David Price107105848771
Joey Gallo1301097372165
J.T. Realmuto13511511052142
Eugenio Suarez2301831503461
Nick Castellanos12791874763
Eddie Rosario1521231115472
Charlie Morton1891681227154
Jameson Taillon15017714410070
Blake Snell171195160178
Mike Clevinger1971941757645
Ronald Acuna1951021275157
Ozzie Albies196120773963
Tim Anderson2241941978095
Jack Flaherty244346240142101
Patrick Corbin3162311526228
Shin-Soo Choo362262164127147
Mitch Haniger3752181903347
Cesar Hernandez37126119297113
Marcus Semien384226131106127
Players I wasYahooNFBCMyRazzballESPN
down onADPADPRankP RaterP Rater
Clayton Kershaw451611366
Kris Bryant121523301298
Corey Seager3040379481041
Brian Dozier383644146230
Buster Posey5659109253394
Robinson Cano5881103383332
Byron Buxton60487110121217
Dallas Keuchel6773102200181
Chris Archer655668323379
Miguel Cabrera6793100861787
Rafael Devers84112121219267
Kyle Seager115137187241350
Lance McCullers89135159173172
Gio Gonzalez146159215315366
Greg Bird152175185780946
Blake Parker187239260359

If you’re interested, I share the link to my preseason projections via google sheets.

Francisco Lindor (CLE – SS)
Lindor finished the season with a 5×5 line of .277/129/38/92/25! Um, yes, please!
That’s incredible and finished inside the top 10 overall any way you slice it. His teammate Jose Ramirez who I was also very high on largely overshadowed Lindor’s 2018 season but now that 2018 has concluded, they both finished with just about the same value. I think it’s safe to say that Lindor is an easy 30-20 performer with batting average upside. I’d even say there’s an argument to take Lindor #2 overall. Assuming Betts has some BABIP regression, what’s the difference between the two?

Alex Bregman (HOU – SS/3B)  
I received some pushback when I ranked Bregman inside the top 30 overall in my preseason ranks. He didn’t exactly come out like gangbusters but since May 18th, here’s the kid’s line .296/86/28/87/7. So he didn’t run as much but in those 4.5 months, he outperformed a full season of Anthony Rizzo. Bregman’s approach and profile are about as pretty as it gets. Think Jose Ramirez with less speed. Bregman is a top 15 pick next year, but like I said in my sleeper article, 2018 is the last time you’ll get a discount.

Lorenzo Cain (MIL – OF)  
Cain has been undervalued in fantasy circles since I can remember. No one is all that interested in 10-15 homers and 25 steals. However, when it comes with a .300+ average and boat-load of runs, I’m all in. Cain will be 32 years old in 2019 but his skills are as good as ever. I think his power numbers increase next year, but more on that in the offseason. Cain is worth rostering again in 2019 despite costing you a top 50 pick (most likely).

David Price (BOS – SP)
Price started 2018 a bit slow which is understandable considering his struggles in 2017 where he actually closed the season out of the bullpen. 2018 was a prime year to grab the former-Ace coming off his poor 2017. His overall line is solid but his rank is boosted a bit by the 16 wins. I don’t believe there will be much value going into 2019 after a successful 2018, so this was there year to own him. However, if his ADP slips, I might just have a share if the price is right.


Trevor Story (COL – SS)
This was a risky ranking on my end. I knew the downside was huge with Story’s elevated strikeout rate and the fact that Brendan Rodgers was lurking in the Minors provided plenty of questions. However, the fact that Story provided elite level power with some speed while playing in Colorado justified my ranking with some room for profit. I’ll take a talented 26-year-old who had already performed at a very high level for about 2/3rds of a season as a rookie. I actually projected 33 homers but never expected 25 steals! Or did I???

JT Realmuto (MIA – C)
J.T. was the only catcher I ranked above other outlets and it panned out. What’s interesting to me is the fact that he didn’t really run and still managed a very solid ranking at the end of the season. The reason ESPN’s rated Realmuto so low is the fact that they do not account for position scarcity as Razzball does. Realmuto’s power numbers since 2015 look like this 10, 11, 17, 21. I won’t have Realmuto below the #2 catcher in 2019, the only question is if he will be #1 or not.

Nick Castellanos (DET – 3B/OF)
Despite being on one of the worst offensive clubs coming into 2018 and losing a broken Miguel Cabrera early in the season, Castellanos has managed to put together a very solid campaign. The Statcast darling was at it again hitting 182 balls over 95 mph and finishes with a 47.9% hard contact rate per FanGraphs. I have to dig into his profile to figure out how his hard contact and pull% both went up but his HR/FB went down. I can see owning Castellanos again next year because he’s going to be once again undervalued.

Eddie Rosario (MIN – OF)
Eddie “Money” Rosario really faded down the stretch. He actually finished the season with slightly less value than he had in 2017 with a few more PA. It’s funny because I don’t actually like his profile but still felt he was undervalued coming into the year. I actually wrote about him on FantasyPros early in May as a sell candidate. He then went nuts for the next two months but this is where you have to stick your guns. The poor plate discipline and moderate batted ball profile ultimately did him in.

Eugenio Suarez (CIN – 3B)
I really have not been able to find any expert who ranked Suarez higher than I did coming into 2018 and he still outperformed that rank by nearly 100 spots. Suarez’s improvements both in plate discipline and launch angle provided the reasoning behind my optimism. Sure, he faded a bit down the stretch but Suarez maintained consistent quality contact all year with an insane 48.6% hard contact rate, 24.6% line drive rate, and only a 2.8% IFFB rate. Those are prime Joey Votto type numbers. Suarez is one of the picks I’m most proud of. Will people really be asking Suarez or Bryant in 2019??? Ok, I doubt that, but it’s not all that crazy.

Ronald Acuña (ATL – OF)
I can’t take much credit here. Yahoo’s rank for the 2018 preseason top prospect was criminally low. Obviously, the NFBC ADP paints a different picture. Acuna is an absolute beast to which I did not fully expect this early on. The power is already probably a 70-grade out of 80, he’s got easy power and he’s 20 YEARS OLD! I could go on and on, but I see myself projecting Acuna for 30-35 homers and near 20 steals. This is nuts!


Ozzie Albies (ATL – 2B)
The day before Opening Day I wrote an article predicting power breakouts and Albies was on my target list thanks to an approach change increasing his launch angle. This change starting in Triple-A in 2017, but no one seemed to notice. The comparison to a 21-year-old Mookie Betts is a lofty one but he still has some work to do. I did project 20 homers as early as 2018 and thanks to his insane first month and a half, he’s reached that total and more. The steals remain an enigma to me. Again, this kid is still only 21, I think the sky’s the limit.

Patrick Corbin (ARI – SP)
Even though my overall rank did not reflect this, one of my bold predictions had Corbin inside the top 20 starting pitchers. Nailed it! Yahoo Had Corbin around 90th overall and even the NFCB had Corbin drafted around the 65th SP off the board. If Suarez was the hitter I was most proud of, Corbin was just that in terms of the pitcher’s that I projected. While I did not foresee the massive jump in strikeouts for Corbin, I did notice solid improvements to his control and most importantly, health. His slider was very good in 2017, so I anticipated increased usage, but not to the extent Corbin used his slider in 2018. Either way, Corbin could even be better in 2019.

Shin-Soo Choo (TEX – OF)
No one ever seems to be on the Choo-Choo Train (except maybe myself and @BatFlipCrazy). Criminally underrated again, Choo continues to post respectable fantasy numbers despite being left for dead on draft day. Maybe it was because of the Willie Calhoun hype or the scared on Delino DeShields (guilty) of stealing some playing time. Early in his career, Choo was a solid 20/20 threat with good batting average. While the speed is basically gone, the 20-homer pop is still there along with the ability to get on base. Choo batted in the two-hole quite a bit so his run total was fantastic. Choo just keeps chugging along.

Mitch Haniger (SEA – OF)
Haniger probably had one of the quietest top 50 fantasy seasons I’ve seen in a while. Go and ask the average fantasy player how high Haniger’s season rank was and I bet you get something around 100 overall. Haniger was finally healthy in his age-27 season and he was rock solid. His rate stats are almost right in line with his injury-shorten 2017. Haniger will net nearly 700 plate appearances this year so unfortunately, there isn’t much room for upside based on his 2018 results. That doesn’t mean he won’t carry value, but it will depend on his 2019 ADP.

Players I was down on and was right about

Clayton Kershaw (LAD – SP)
Simply put, it’s not the talent with Kershaw, it’s the health. The back scares me and it appears to be a chronic issue for Kershaw. I just can’t trust more than 150-160 innings from him going forward. Those innings will be top-5 in terms of starting pitcher ratios but for me, he’s no longer in the elite group.  I only had him below Scherzer and Kluber in my 2018 rankings, but it was late enough to where I knew I wouldn’t own him. Looking forward to 2019, he will not be in my top 5 and will probably settle in towards the back end of the top 10 for SPs.

Kris Bryant (CHC – 3B, OF)
Bryant was hurt this year. His shoulder landed him on the DL for a good portion of the season and never seemed to regain any power upon his return. I don’t know what the offseason will bring, he may even need surgery. Either way, Bryant was a different hitter in 2017 which is why I was down on him coming into the year. As a Cubs fan, I had seen the noticeable changes to his approach. Still very patient, increased contact, hitting the ball to all fields, but less power. I knew he was not the 40-homer hitter he was two years ago and without much speed, I couldn’t rank inside the top 20 overall.


Buster Posey (SF – C)
Posey’s time as an elite offensive backstop is over. I wrote a bust post on him prior to the 2018 season comparing him to Joe Mauer. Posey has simply caught way too many innings in his 20s and I did not want to be the one left holding the bag with him. His health and power will continue to be my concerns moving forward. The catcher position is so thin, I don’t know if I can rank him inside the top 5 at the position in 2019. I can tell you one thing, I won’t be drafting a catcher inside of the top 200 picks.

Dallas Keuchel ( HOU – SP)
I was down on Keuchel because of how razor-thin his margins were based on his pitching profile. There are concerns with his low strikeout rate and extreme ground ball rate. With hitters continuing to find ways to elevate the baseball, I saw regression in Keuchel’s ground ball rate which was 66.8% in 2017! Then there were concerns with his health, only averaging 156 innings the last two seasons. Alas, he stayed healthy all season and made 34 starts! Even with the longevity, his numbers still disappointed based on ADP. The ground ball rate was down to 54% and the strikeouts dipped as well.

Kyle Seager (SEA – 3B)
Seager’s profile from 2017 did not give me any optimism in terms of a bounce back for 2018. His extreme flyball rate completely damaged his batting average and Seager only maintained moderate power numbers. For me, it was one or the other. Either he maintains the power with a poor batting average or loses the power and gets back to .275. Well, he struggled in both categories with a .221 average and only 22 homers. Seager is only 30 years old but it feels like he’s going on 36. I’m glad I got off the Seager train a year early.

2018 Preseason Projections

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2018 Starting Pitcher Streaming Results

Well, here we are.  The 2018 fantasy baseball season has come to an end. I’m sure we are all feeling that deep void now that we don’t have regular season baseball games every day. No?? Is it just me? Anyways, I wrote a steaming article every week (with the exception to the short 3-day week after the All-Start Break) for the entirety of the 2018 season. The threshold I used for the streamers was 25% owned and under using FantasyPros combined Yahoo/ESPN ownership rates. What that means is that the pitchers I selected were widely available in all 10 and 12 team leagues but were likely gone in 15-team and AL/NL Only leagues. However, most people play in 12-team leagues, so the 25% ownership rate makes sense for the masses.




The results of every single pitcher I choose to stream is listed and totaled. There were three pitchers that started a game and left due to injury, not performance. I still included them in the overall numbers but maybe I could have eeked out another win or two had they continued, but I digress. Either way, here is the link to the spreadsheet.

FreezeStats Starting Pitcher Streaming Results

Here are the results of all 120 pitchers I chose to stream this year.

IP ERA WHIP K W
Season Totals 665.96 3.57 1.15 615 41

Overall, not bad! The win total may be a bit low, but we are talking about pitchers who are probably either somewhat volatile or on a bad team. We all know the win is a poor statistic to analyze a pitcher’s performance, take Jacob deGrom’s 10-win season in 2018 with an ERA that finished at an insane 1.70! Yes, it’s a fantasy category, so we want the best opportunity to receive wins. However, many of those pitchers who receive run support are likely scooped up. Check out the ERA and WHIP though! I sorted all starting pitchers with a minimum of 130 innings pitched this year and the 3.57 ERA from our streamers would rank 31st overall, one spot ahead of David Price. In terms of WHIP, using the same criteria, we are tied for 29th overall with Kyle Hendricks.

I’m not a genius, but those are definitely fantasy relevant numbers, especially in a 12-team league. If we assume our “streamers” were actual starting pitchers, let’s assume our fictional SP averaged 165 innings for the season which would rank between 50-60 overall in MLB in terms of innings pitched. Again, that’s just a reasonable assumption. Based on that assumption, our “Streamer” would have averaged:

10.25 Wins, 3.57 ERA, 1.15 WHIP, 152.4 Strikeouts in 165 IP

Based on the ESPN’s Player Rater, our most similar pitchers by 5×5 results are James, Paxton, Sean Manaea, Jhoulys Chacin, Jack Flaherty, Kyle Gibson, and Jose Berrios. Kind of a mixed bag but the highest ranked SP in that group is Chacin at 28 and the lowest is Kyle Gibson at 46. Even the 46th rank SP is rostered in all 10 and 12 teams leagues.  Our streamer is a bit better than that as he would fall in around the 40th SP overall. Essentially, if you steamed all of the streamers I choose this year, you would have a solid #4 starting pitcher. In other words, you should have drafted 3 SPs and streamed the rest. If you had hit on your top 3 SPs, you would have definitely benefited from this strategy.  Maybe this can be a strategy going forward?

Unfortunately, every single one of these pitchers is unlikely to be available when I suggested to stream them, so it’s not quite a slam dunk.  At least I can feel pretty good about my streaming efforts and I hope to improve on these numbers next year. If you took my advice, I hope it helped you win matchup or better! Thanks for reading.

Follow me on Twitter @FreezeStats


Starting Pitchers to Stream: 9/24 – 9/30

I know I said last week was the final streamer article but I lied. For the few H2H leagues that play to the end or tight Roto leagues needing an edge in pitching here are my picks this week. I’m using a color-coding scale to determine how I feel about the pitchers because, at the end of the season, I’m not confident in anyone.  Pitchers could be pulled after one inning, it’s such a crapshoot. Green is as confident as I can be given the last week of the season. Green-Yellow is a decent streaming option. Yellow means caution but stream if you need it, and red means just stay away.


Nathan Eovaldi (BOS – RHP) – 23% owned Home vs BAL, Monday 9/24
Eovaldi has struggled a bit in the second half but just shut down the Yankees in the house that Jeter built.  A date with the ice cold Orioles should help keep things rolling for the right-handed fire-baller. The Orioles have 44 wins and 110 loses this year. I like the chances for Eovaldi to come away with a win here except he’s been turning in a bunch of short outings recently. It’s the final week and risks have to be taken. Eovaldi is throwing 3 pitches with confidence right now and while this could be another short outing, I’m Streaming here. I have a feeling this could be a 6 inning 9 K gem for Eovaldi.

Robbie Erlin (SD – LHP) – 2% owned @ SF, Tuesday 9/25
Yes, the Giants are still terrible offensively ranked in the bottom three in K%, BB%, and wOBA over the last 14 days. Ok great start, but who the hell is Robbie Erlin? Well, he’s 27 (almost 28) with a 20.2% strikeout rate. Not impressed? Me either, except he has an almost non-existent 2.9% walk rate and a very unlucky 62% strand rate. He doesn’t throw hard but mixes a four-seamer, sinker, curve, and change, all of which has produced positive results. Erlin induces swings outside the zone at an above average clip which helps induce weak contact. Don’t expect many strikeouts but a QS with good ratios is in order. STREAM

Touki Toussaint (ATL – RHP) – 5% owned @NYM, Wednesday 9/26
The Mets have been pretty good lately, they even managed to give deGrom four runs of support on Friday night. The Braves clinched the NL East in Saturday, so we could see a Triple-A lineup behind him which doesn’t guarantee run support. There’s a ton of small sample stuff going on with Touki’s numbers but his walk rate is simply too high. It’s too bad because he’s given 28% soft contact and a 50% groundball rate which are both fantastic. The Mets have never seen Touki and with an average walk rate as a team, this one seems to be a toss-up. I usually don’t trust rookie pitchers in a start where a blow up kills your ratios. I’ll be passing on this start because it’s a mid-week start.


Zach Davies (MIL – RHP) – 12% owned Home vs DET, Friday 9.27
The Tigers sport a .279 wOBA over the last 14 days. That’s not very good and the Tigers don’t get to use their DH, so theoretically they should be even worse offensively in this game. Davies is pitching better of late and I like his groundball tendencies. Depending on how the week goes, the Brewers may need this win to have a shot at the division or get the home game in the Wildcard matchup. That means the lineup should be stacked against Tigers starter Jordan Zimmerman. At this point in the season, there’s no such thing as a sure-fire quality start and Davies could get the hook early with Hader and Co. coming out of the bullpen. The limited strikeout upside is going to keep me from streaming Davies is all formats. If you need solid ratios and a possible W, give him a go. I’m giving him the yellow caution.

Joey Lucchesi (SD – LHP) – 24% Owned Home vs ARI, Saturday 9/28
Lucchesi has pitched well in four of his last five outings with 32 strikeouts in that span of 25 innings. The plate discipline numbers back that up with a near-14% swinging strike rate and a 71% contact rate. While I don’t expect Lucchesi to go much more than 5 innings, the DBacks have a .272 wOBA the last 14 days. Oh and are striking out over 27% of the time. Joey L could put together 7-8 Ks in this one. STREAM

Anthony DeSclafani (CIN – RHP) – 11% owned, Home vs PIT, Saturday 9/28
I recommended Tony Disco last week against the Marlins mainly because I’ve seen some more swing and miss in his game thanks to an increased slider usage. He was cruising but had one tough inning and had to work around an error. He did manage 10 strikeouts which is fantastic. He’s gotten double-digit swinging strike rates in 5 of the last 7 games. Giving up the long ball is clearly an issue but the Pirates gave only hit 8 in the last two weeks. If the BABIP and LOB% goes his way, we could see a QS with 7-8 strikeouts but Tony Disco could spin you right round baby right round, so he’s the gross green-yellow color. STREAM

Thanks for checking out my article, follow me on Twitter @FreezeStats. I’ll be writing this offseason as well doing player profile analysis for players I’ll be high and low on for 2019. Stay tuned!



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Starting Pitchers to Stream 9/21 – 9/23: This is the End

Erick Fedde (WAS – RHP) 3%, Home vs NYM, Friday 9/21
After checking the last 14 days, the Mets jumped out at me with a .338 wOBA and 22 homers hit. The wOBA in that time-frame ranks 5th and the 22 homers in number one in the league! The other thing that concerns me is the fact that the Mets play better on the road than at home at only 2 games under .500 opposed to 9 games under at home. They’re tied for 3rd in OBP on the road and Fedde goes up against deGrom. All jokes aside about run support about deGrom, he’s likely not giving up more than 2ER in this one. A win is a long-shot for Fedde. Without even discussing Fedde, I’ve basically talked myself out of using him. It’s too bad because I like the BABIP and HR/FB to regress and love his 50% ground ball rate. What I don’t like is the number of left-handed hitters the Mets can throw his way. I’m Staying Away here.



Jose Urena (MIA – RHP) 20%, Home vs CIN, Saturday 9/22
Miami is one of the worst places to hit and Urena has been on a roll recently with a 3.86 ERA in the second half and a 1.47 ERA in September. The main reasons for his improved second half are his ability to limit hard contact (down 8% from the first half) and his 53% ground ball up 10% from the first half. In addition, his strikeout rate in nearly 5% higher at home, go figure. Urena features a nice 97 mph fastball with a wipe-out slider. The Reds have a 28.2% K rate and a 7.1% walk rate in their last 14 games. Plus, they are a slightly below average offense on the road with a very poor 28-46 record as opposed to a top-8 offense at home in Great American Ballpark. I’m Streaming here but Urena did leave his last start for precautionary reasons, so check in before you make this move.

Anthony DeSclafani (CIN – RHP), @MIA, Saturday 9/22
Tough start in Miller Park last night, but this is not the Brewers and it’s not in Miller Park. I just bashed the Reds offense on the road, so am I really going to recommend DeSclafani away from GAB? I understand that a pitcher’s win is always fickle, but get this, the Marlins are the worst offensive team in the league the last 14 days. The Marlins sport a .259 wOBA, a 28.4% K rate, and a 6.2% BB rate. DeSclafani has gotten more comfortable in the second half and it’s helped him get more swings outside the zone. His strikeout rate has been up near a K per 9 in the second half and as I mentioned, the Marlins like to swing and miss. I like the strikeout upside here and I’m calling for 6 to 7 for Tony Disco, I’m Streaming.


Brad Keller (KC – RHP), @DET, Sunday 9/23
The rookie Keller has really put together a nice campaign which is not typical in Major League Baseball. Rookies usually take their lumps. The strikeout numbers are not strong but his ability to induce ground balls and limit hard contact is a skill I can believe in. What really caught my eye is his 16.9 pitch value per FanGraphs on his fastball which includes his sinker that gets a 67% ground ball rate. Keller gets the Tigers who have a 26.4% strikeout rate and a .302 wOBA in the last 14 days. They also have only managed a .302 wOBA at home this year which ranks 24th in MLB. The poor hitting Tigers have hit the third-fewest homers at home this year, 59 in 74 games. I definitely like Keller in this one to provide a quality start with good ratios and a W with the way the Royals offense has been rolling. Keller’s a safe floor pick and may provide a handful of strikeouts. I’m Streaming.

Follow me on Twitter @Freezestats


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Pitching Streamers 9/17 – 9/19 – Right Near Da Beach Boyyyyyyyyyd!

This is only Part 1 of my 2 Part streamer article for next week. I’ll cover Thursday 9/20 through Sunday 9/23 in the next part. I’m trying to cover as many options owned in 25% of leagues or less for the Championship or Semi-Finals. If pitchers like Jake Odorizzi or Derek Holland are available, I’d grab them to stream as well, but they are over 25% owned, so I don’t cover them here. Without further ado, let’s dive in!

Joe Musgrove (PIT – RHP), 24% Home vs KC, Monday 9/17
Musgrove is one of many options that’s available near my 25% and just under my threshold. That means you need to grab him now! Wait, let me vet him first. In the last 14 days, the Royals are ranked 6th in wOBA at .331 and are running wild thanks to Merrifield and Mondesi. If you’re wondering, they’ve actually been steady offensively for the last month. The good news is, Musgrove doesn’t give out many free passes. Also, since 8/1 Musgrove has registered about a K per inning but his 13+% swinging strike rate and a 39% O-Swing suggests more strikeouts are coming. I like Musgrove’s upside but the hot-hitting Royals could wreak havoc on Musgrove’s ratios. Take a look at your opponent, if you think you need strikeouts, grab Musgrove. On Monday, it’s too early to take huge risks, this is a moderate pass for me. with upside.

Jordan Zimmerman (DET – RHP), 10% Home vs MIN, Monday 9/17
I’ve been hot and cold with Zimmerman this year. He’s really keeping the walks down but his HR rate is crazy-high at 1.85/9. He’s given up 6 homers in the last three games and his BABIP is under .150 in that span! That’s a recipe for disaster. Since the All-Star break, Zim has served up 16 HR in only 10 starts. You better believe he’s giving up at least two dingers in this one. Even against the Twins who aren’t great offensively, but I don’t want to trust my ratios with Zimmerman in the playoffs. STAY AWAY

Andrew Suarez (SF – LHP), 7% @SD, Monday 9/17
Wow, starting off 0 for 2, that’s not good. The third pitcher I’ll cover for Monday is Andrew Suarez who gets the Padres. The Padres have been better of late thanks to Franmil Reyes and Francisco Mejia, but they have been bad against left-handed pitching with a .302 wOBA. Working in Suarez’s favor is the ground ball tendencies which is at 53%. Suarez is not going to strike many batters out but he does have a good defense behind him to help limit the damage. The Padres have faced Suarez twice earlier this year and failed to do much of anything and he limited them to 2ER or less in both starts. Unfortunately, the Giants likely won’t offer much run support. Suarez does offer a good chance at a QS and good ratios. I think he can manage 4-5 Ks in 6-7 IP, so he is worth a stream in deeper leagues.

Joey Lucchesi (SD – LHP), 24% Home vs SF, Tuesday 9/18
Ok, here we go, my lock of the week. I know I told you to stay away from Joey L. last week and I was mostly right as he struggled a bit vs Seattle. This week, I don’t necessarily care that the Giants have seen Lucchesi before because that was back in April and the Giants are just straight terrible. How bad you ask? The Giants are hitting .204 as a team the last two weeks with a wOBA of .249 and a 31.7% K rate! That’s like facing an entire team of Chris Davis’, Davisi? Actually, Chris Davis has a higher walk rate than the Giant’s 5.7% posted by Giants hitters. OK, enough about how bad the Giants are. Lucchesi has a K/9 over 9.0 and a 3.67 ERA on the season. This should be a 6 inning, 7 K outing for Lucchesi with golden ratios. STREAM

Joe Ross (WAS – RHP), 4% @MIA, Tuesday 9/18
Zero strikeouts, really Joe?!? I know that Ross held the Cubs scoreless in five innings, but how could you not manage one strikeout? Believe it or not, the Cubs have been bad offensively ranking 6th from the bottom in wOBA in the last two weeks and the last month. Do you know who has been worse? The Marlins. In the last two weeks, the Marlins are hitting .211 with a .267 wOBA and a 25% K rate as a team. Good for Ross! One change I noticed in Ross’ repertoire is he’s cut his sinker usage in half compared to last year. That pitch killed him last year. Sure, it’s only one start, but it’s clear to me that he’s moving away from the pitch. Ross has never been an elite swing and miss pitcher but he should provide at least a few Ks in this one. I’m STREAMING Ross here but only for ratios and a W.

Matt Boyd (DET – LHP), 24% Home vs MIN, Wednesday 9/19
Another option that’s right near 25%, but I think Boyd is worth it. The Twins have only been hitting .241 with a .295 wOBA in the last two weeks. Shifting to Boyd, I’ve discussed his elite level slider that ranks in the top 10 per FanGraphs Pitch Value for all sliders thrown. Boyd has also improved his fastball velocity in the second half from about 89 mph to 92-93 mph in recent starts. Not coincidentally, Boyd’s second-half ERA us 3.06 with a strikeout per inning. His fastball has registered positive results in that time frame opposed to slightly below average results in the first half. There’s no reason to think Boyd can’t provide a QS with at least 6 Ks and solid ratios. STREAM

Matt Shoemaker (LAA – RHP), 18% @OAK, Thursday 9/20
Surely a start like this against the red-hot Oakland Athletics isn’t a great idea, right? Well, here’s the thing, Oakland is in the bottom 10 offensively when playing at home. On, the road, they are the best offense in baseball. It’s odd, but it’s true, plus Oakland is a great pitcher’s park. Shoemaker is going up against Edwin Jackson and it’s only a matter of time before the other shoe drops ;).  Shoemaker has only three starts off the DL (fourth coming this weekend), and his strikeout rate is low. However, his contact rate is below 75% with a solid swinging strike rate as well. Oakland can certainly swing and miss quite a bit and I think Shoemaker has more upside in this game than it would appear on paper. In a mid-week battle, Shoemaker is a good option who should be available given the matchup. STREAM

Follow me on Twitter @FreezeStats

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Low-Ownership Hitters to Add – Ramon Laurea-(k)no(ws) Best

All right fam, this is it! In many leagues, next week is Championship week or at last the Semi-finals. It’s now or never!  This will likely be my waiver wire article for hitters this season. I will be posting another starting pitcher streamer article on Sunday, so stay tuned. Also, follow me on Twitter @FreezeStats for helpful tidbits I’ll be throwing out there the final week of the season. Last week, I highlighted some guys and some of which are still widely available like Adalberto Mondesi (available in 70% of leagues), Harrison Bader (82%), Francisco Mejia (85%), Brandon Lowe (94%), and Ryan O’Hearn whom I lead with below.


Analyzing Low-Ownership Hitters – Last 30 Days

Ryan O’Hearn (KC – 1B)
I wrote about O’Hearn last week and his ownership has only jumped 3% from 7% to 10% in the past week. All he’s done in the last 30 days is hit .291 with 8 homers and 18 RBI. The Royals have 7 games next week, @PIT and @DET, not exactly the mecca for starting pitchers.  There’s no reason O’Hearn should be sitting on waivers for teams who are competing. I believe in this run for O’Hearn for a few reasons. As a young player, I love the patience, his 14% walk rate is fantastic and he’s providing plenty of power with a .365 ISO backed up by a 49.3% hard contact rate. It makes his 27% K rate more palatable. He’s a must add in all OBP leagues and should be owned in Standard 12-teamers and deeper.

Billy McKinney (TOR – OF), 7% owned
McKinney hasn’t been as hot lately, but over the last month, he’s been a hit machine batting .333 with 4 homers and 11 RBI.  McKinney likely won’t hit for a ton of power or steal many bases but all he does is hit. He’s sporting a 90% contact rate at balls in the zone (85% league average) and has always posted high line drive rates in the Minors. McKinney should provide a solid BA with great OBP and run into a few home runs. As long as the Blue Jays keep him near the top of the lineup, he’ll provide good run totals as well.

Dansby Swanson (ATL – SS), 18% owned
Swanson is not living up to his prospect hype early in his career but he’s made some positive changes recently. He’s been more aggressive at the plate attacking mistakes early and increasing his hard contact rate. In the last 30 days, Swanson has joined my 40-40-45 club. (That’s a club I’ve made up, still working on the name). That’s a 40% fly ball rate, 40% pull rate, and a 45% hard contact rate. That’s great and he’s produced 6 of his 14 home runs on the year in the last month. He’s also chipped in with 4 steals. Anyone in need of SS or MI help should add him immediately, especially with the Braves 7-game schedule next week. The power is starting to develop and the speed is a nice bonus. Swanson could be a potential sleeper next year with 20 HR 15 SB upside.

Ramon Laureano (OAK – OF), 15% owned
This previously unknown outfielder for the Athletics has a pretty solid .304 average with five homers and four steals over the last 30 days. His 49% hard contact in that span ranks him inside the top 15 in MLB. In the Minors, Laureano’s best skill was his speed, the power was just moderate but has really improved this year. His plate discipline is actually above-average despite a high-strikeout rate. His patience should provide some walks which is likely to lead to a few steals. Laureano is a great power/speed option I could see hitting a few homers and stealing a few bases down the stretch.


Greg Allen (CLE – OF), 6% owned
This is strictly a deep league speed option. Allen has stolen seven bases in the last month, tied for fourth in baseball. Allen is a very good defensive center fielder, but because of his below-average stick, he may only play 4-5 games a week. That’s OK, just add Allen to your bench for depth and throw him in there if you have the need for speed in your weekly match-up. Remember, with expanded rosters, teams are giving more players opportunities which means more days off for all players. I think it’s goidmove to expand your bench on the offensive side.

Adam Frazier (PIT – 2B/OF), 7% owned
Frazier is a high-contact hitter and has begun showing a bit of power with 4 home runs in his last 89 plate appearances with eight HR on the season. Over the last month, Frazier has displayed fantastic ball striking with a 49% hard contact rate, same as our man Laureano above. Personally, I prefer Laureano thanks to the speed but Frazier is eligible at 2B. If you’re looking for MI help, Frazier has a nice batting average floor and is showing some serviceable pop.

Statistics Last – 14 Days

Ji-Man Choi (TB – 1B), 5% owned
Choi is another first baseman owned in far too few leagues, but all he’s done is hit .324 with 4 homers and 12 RBI in the last two weeks. Choi is currently on the strong side of the 1B platoon with ice-cold Jake Bauers flanking the short side. The Rays have a 7-game slate next week against the Rangers and the Blue Jays who both offer weak pitching staffs and should see at least four to five matchups against righties next week. I don’t love Choi’s contact rates, but he’s another guy that hits the ball hard (45%) when he does make contact. Choi is hitting .296 with a .397 wOBA against RHP, so make sure he’s in your lineup against them next week.

Kevin Kiermaier (TB – OF), 26% owned
Has everyone forgotten about the power/speed combo of Kiermaier? He hasn’t shown the speed since he’s been back off the DL but he’s hitting a blistering .452 with 3 homers and 8 RBI in the last two weeks. Forget the season stats for KK, it’s been a lost year but he’s actually healthy coming off an illness this week that has caused him to miss a couple games. But, he’s back, hitting his fourth triple in the last month. He’s being ultra-aggressive, so watch him and make sure he doesn’t start getting out of control with his strikeouts. If that happens, go ahead and drop him. I’ve already mentioned the seven-game slate next week for the Rays, so he’s a great add.

Alex Gordon (KC – OF), 4% owned
This is a blast from the past! Gordon has been nearly useless for about two seasons now. Yet, he’s hit 2 homers and has 4 steals in the last two weeks with 8 steals in the last month! He’s only hit .230 the last month, but he’s been sporting a near 47% hard contact rate this month. Is this for real? I believe that it is, kind of, at least for the rest of this season. He’s actually been a bit unlucky with a .254 BABIP despite the consistent hard contact and a 29% line drive rate. With his strikeout and walk rates looking healthy, there’s no reason he shouldn’t hit .275 the rest of the way. The Royals are obviously letting him run wild and are batting him in the #3 spot behind Merrifield and Mondesi who have been on fire. Gordon is my favorite deep-league add next week.




Robbie Grossman (MIN – OF), 1% owned
This is more of a speculative add for super-deep 15-team and AL-Only leagues. He’s hitting .359 with a 20% walk rate and only a 6% strikeout rate in the last two weeks. He’s also been playing every day, good things are coming. His 36% hard contact in that period isn’t anything special (still just above league average), but it’s an improvement from his 32% hard contact thus far in 2018. If you’re in contention, and the waiver wire looks barren AF, give Grossman a look, he could turn a nice profit down the stretch.

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Pitchers to Stream – Minor Option Major Result

It’s playoff time, no more messing around! I’m covering a bunch of pitchers in this week’s article who are owned in under 25% of leagues per FantasyPros Yahoo/ESPN ownerships. Most of them I like, but there’s a couple I’m a little wary of. I’ll stop wasting your time with a pointless intro and get right into the pitchers.

Joey Lucchesi (SD) LHP, 23% @SEA, Tuesday 9/11
Of course, I would prefer this game to be played in San Diego but I’d also prefer to be Justin Verlander but it’s just not in the cards. The last time these two faced off Lucchesi rolled with 9 Ks and 1 ER in 6.2 IP.  That’s fantastic but it also was at home. I’ve mentioned this before but Lucchesi only has two pitches and he struggles to get through the order three times. Here are his numbers the third time through the order: 6.00 ERA with a .338 average against in 15 innings. The Mariners just saw him last week and I think will have more success against him this time around. I can see a short 5 inning outing with a limited shot at a win or a QS. I’m Staying Away here but he does have some strikeout upside. I’d be more interested if this start was later in the week.

Framber Valdez (HOU) LHP, 13% @DET, Tuesday 9/11
The Astros against the Tigers is a huge mismatch, the probability of a win is very high for Valdez. So that’s great! I hate to break this to you, but Valdez is not a 1.37 ERA pitcher. I know, shocking! However, how much damage can really be done with a 70% ground ball rate and a 30% soft contact rate? Not much, fam. He gets the Tigers who are 24th in the league in wOBA at home this year. I don’t see much strikeout upside here, but a win, QS, and decent ratios are in order. STREAM

Steven Matz (NYM) LHP, 23% Home vs MIA, Wednesday 9/12
Matz spun another solid outing on Friday against the Phillies where he struck out 8 batters in 5 IP. That makes a swinging strike rate over 10% in four of his last five games and his 4th straight game with at least a strikeout per inning. We can thank the increased slider usage which I mentioned in the last streamer article for that. Combine that with the Marlins poor performance against left-handed pitching. The Marlins have a .289 wOBA against lefties which ranks 27th in MLB. I’m a big fan of the changes Matz has made, his main weakness is the home run ball but I’m not concerned about that. Why? Because theMarlins have hit a total of 25 homers off lefties this year which ranks last in MLB. Easy STREAM here. My #2 stream of the week.

Jorge Lopez (KC) RHP, 2% Home vs MIN, Thursday 9/13
Who is this guy? Lopez is a former Brewers farmhand who was traded to the Royals in the Moustakas trade. In his last two starts, Lopez has given up only 2 earned runs in 15 innings pitched. He throws four pitches and all have registered positive pitch values per FanGraphs. I don’t think he has elite or high-end strikeout stuff, but he gets the ice cold Twins who have a .296 wOBA the last 14 days. Oh, and did I mention that one of those last two outings was against the Twins? No, well it was. Lopez also goes up against Gonsalves who has been atrocious this year, so he should get run support. Maybe the Twins pick up on something this time around or maybe they will stay cold. I’m rolling the dice. STREAM

Tyler Anderson (COL) LHP, 21% @SF, Friday 9/14
Anderson has really struggled in the second half after showing some signs of a breakout in the first half. Something has gone wrong in the second half but his poor HR/9 and BABIP likely won’t stick. He’s still getting a ton of swings and misses with a swinging strike rate of 13.4% with a 73.2% contact rate since July 30th. Since this start is in AT&T Park, I think the home run rate and BABIP will be in his favor for this game. If I haven’t convinced you, maybe this will. In the last 14 days, the Giants have a .250 wOBA with an unbelievable 31.5% strikeout rate. That’s last place in MLB for both, and it’s not close. The last 30 days haven’t been much better either. I’m thinking Anderson turns his best start of the second half in this one. STREAM

Jaime Barria (LAA) RHP 17% Home vs SEA, Saturday 9/15
Barria is a guy with a great slider and not much else. He’s been successful this year, there’s no doubt but he’s limited home runs and benefited with some BABIP and strand rate luck. What’s interesting is that Barria has already faced the Mariners three times. In all three starts, he’s given up 2 earned runs each time but has only struck out 5 batters in 16.1 IP. He also was very fortunate with his strand rates in those games. Some people might say he’s set for another two earned run outing to follow the trend. I say he’s due for a blow-up. Clearly, Barria isn’t fooling the Mariners hitters to get swings and misses. I just don’t see enough upside in this start. I’m STAY AWAY

Mike Minor (TEX) LHP, 23% @SD, Sunday 9/16
Minor should have two starts this week with the second coming Sunday against the Padres in San Diego. The Padres have a 24.3% strikeout rate against left-handed pitchers and are ranked 22nd offensively against southpaws. If you’re wondering, Minor has been great in the second half with five wins and a 2.88 ERA. He’s increased his usage of his changeup to 25% up from 15%. That’s great because it’s his best pitch. Not only is he getting more swings and misses, but he’s gotten over 26% soft contact since the break. I’m hoping Minor gets this second start because it’s my lock of the week. STREAM

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