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Fantasy Baseball – 2019 Rankings Recap: Hits and Misses

After each season comes to a close, I like to take a look back at my proverbial victory laps but also analyze where I missed on certain players and why. I use this time of reflection on my fantasy season to find flaws in my analysis to see where I can improve for next season. In some cases, there was nothing wrong with the process but rather an unexpected incident or variable that derailed a player’s season. One main variable was the ball. We were not privy to any information before the season starter that the ball would be more lively. From the limited information available, MLB does not plan on changing the properties of the ball for 2020 or at least to start the season. This means that valuing hit tool, high contact rates, and fly balls will be important yet again in 2020. It’s something I wish I had valued more in the preseason in 2019 but you’ll see below that I was able to identify players with these skills early on once data determined that the ball was extra bouncy.

I’ll have a complete assessment comparing my projections with the actual 2019 outcomes within the next couple of weeks. Of course, the juiced ball has really inflated offensive numbers while pitchers have taken it on the chin. I’m not expecting the results of the statistical analysis to be as close as they were last year, but that’s the way the cookie crumbles. The list below is in no means to complete list of my hits and misses. If you’d like to check my preseason rankings, here’s the table. OK, let’s dive in!


Players I got right for 2020

Ketel Marte (2B, SS, OF)
I was extremely high on Ketel Marte coming into the season. I originally had him ranked around 150 overall until the D-Backs decided to sign veteran snoozer, Adam Jones to play Centerfield. I have nothing against Jones, he was a very good player for a long time and by all accounts a great guy. Marte was slated to play a lot of CF along with 2B and SS. That’s nice position flexibility which added to his overall value, especially in deeper formats. Assuming Jones would cut into Marte’s playing time a little bit, I knocked 10-15 games +/- off his projection which dropped him to 175 overall. Yahoo! Must have had a personal vendetta against Marte because they ranked him 274 overall!

When Marte was traded to Arizona in 2017, I was intrigued. His speed combined with high contact skills and developing power was too much to ignore. Going into his age-24 season and I noticed huge gains in hard contact, barrel rate, and extra-base hits in 2018. There was no reason to expect him to decline entering his age-25 season. High batting average and speed potential with moderate power were enough to skyrocket Marte up my ranks. I had him in over 50% of my leagues. I touted him all over, like here in the preseason, and here through two months of 2019, and here on Twitter. I love me some Marte! I’m most proud of this call if you can’t tell.

Xander Bogaerts (SS – BOS)
Don’t worry, the rest of my blurbs won’t be as in-depth as my Marte blurb. After a down year in 2018 due to a hand/wrist injury, Bogaerts was coming at a discount in 2019. Given his age and past performance, I compared Bogaerts to Bregman without the fanfare. Go ahead and take a look at both player’s final numbers. Not bad, right? I ranked Bogaerts 26th overall, which was probably higher than anyone (I think). Most big-box sites had him around 45 overall and he slipped to pick 50 in many drafts. On the Razzball Player Rater, he’s ranked 15th overall, so he was worth the lofty rank. I ended up with Bogaerts on many teams because I knew I could wait until the fourth round in most drafts.

Anthony Rendon (3B – WSH) and Eugenio Suarez (3B – CIN)
I’m pairing Rendon and Suarez together because they were both pushed down in the 3B rankings thanks to the helium of Vald Guerrero Jr. and the Kris Bryant believers. I had both Rendon over Bryant and Suarez over Guerrero. It sounds crazy now but almost everywhere you looked, both Bryant and Guerrero were ranked ahead of these guys. Rendon is ranked seventh on the Player Rater and Suarez is 32nd. Bryant is around 60 while Guerrero is much further down. I’ve always loved Rendon and he’s criminally underrated every year who also showed up on my HR/BRL underperformers this offseason. Well, he stayed healthy and finally delivered with an MVP-caliber 2019 season. Suarez just keeps getting better. I tweeted this last week. Players aren’t supposed to continue trending up like that! Can he do it again? I’d say no, but then again I have no idea. Either way, I’m just happy I Owned these guys in 67% of my leagues in 2019.


Trey Mancini (1B/OF – BAL)
I was encouraged by Mancini after diving deep into his Statcast Metrics after 2018. His barrel rate was fantastic but his results in power didn’t quite match up, especially with a favorable park for home runs. The Orioles had no depth on offense (or anywhere, really), so Mancini was going to be a fixture in the middle of their lineup. I thought we could see his first 30-homer season and here we are. Again, thanks in part to the juiced balls but Mancini has taken steps forward and ranks inside the top 40 on the Razzball Player Rater. However, he’s also improved his walk and strikeout rates along with his launch angle. His groundball rate has dropped nearly 10% boosting his expect batting average and home run totals. Sometimes guaranteed playing time and lineup spot matter. Also, in Mancini’s case, Camden Yards is a great place to hit. My analysis, while not all that analytical with Mancini but was correct for 2020.

Matt Boyd (SP – DET)
OK, so Boyd fell off in the second half thanks in part to an insanely elevated home run rate. The strikeouts certainly remained, so he wasn’t a total dud in the second half. While Boyd’s ratios did not improve from 2018, the league-wide ratios went up between 10-15%. Where Boyd improved was the whiffs. He struck out 238 batters this year after just 159 in 2018 with only 15 more innings. That’s a ton of value. He was being ranked between 70 and 90 on most sites and I placed him around the 60th SP. where is he in the Razzball Player Rater? The 43rd SP for 2019. Boom!

Matt Olson (1B – OAK)
Despite breaking a hamate bone in his wrist during the opening series in Japan, Olson has set a new career-high with 36 home runs.  Once again, Olson was yet another player I have interested thanks in part to my analysis on his unlucky home run per barrel rate. He had shown extremely promising Statcast metrics and was coming into his age-25 season. The surrounding lineup in Oakland was encouraging as well with improving stud Matt Chapman and Ramon Laureano combined with established veterans Khris Davis and Marcus Semien. Olson has 50-homer power in this environment and will likely be undervalued again in 2020.

Patrick Corbin (SP – WSH)
Corbin was a favorite of mine coming into 2018. I correctly projected him as a top 20 starter coming into 2018 based on past performance, pedigree, and being a second-year removed from Tommy John Surgery. His slider was the catalyst to his success in 2018 and he introduced a “slow slider” that was essentially a third pitch because of its change in velocity. The results against his slider were ridiculous. His chase rate on the pitch was over 50% with a swinging strike rate a hair short of 30% with whiff rates north of 50%! That’s crazy, over half the time hitter offered at his slider, they flat out missed it. While others were expecting regression, I didn’t see anything from 2018 that showed me that hitters were going to change their approach against his slider. And, they haven’t. His numbers are nearly identical in 2019 despite the league-wide jump in ERA.

Carlos Correa (SS – HOU)
Injuries. That’s the main reason for my skepticism on Correa, especially his back issues. I’ve always been a huge fan of Correa and it’s disappointing how injuries have derailed his last few years. Since the injuries started, he basically stopped running as well. In other words, Correa required the trifecta to provide value at his ADP of power, batting average, and health. I wasn’t going to risk spending a pick in the first four to five rounds on Correa given the low probability that all three would come to fruition. That and the depth at Shortstop was vast.

Matt Carpenter (3B – STL)
I highlighted Carpenter in the preseason as a third baseman to avoid coming into 2019 here at Pitcher List. Typically I stay away from older, established players coming off of career-years. Carp had a fantastic 2018 where he went nuts for about three months. He also was finally healthy. Previously, he had nagging injuries that either sapped his performance or forced him to miss time. I was not interested in betting on that to happen two years in a row given his age and history. This was kind of an easy call. However, you’ll see below when I discuss Josh Donaldson how this strategy backfired.




Brandon Nimmo (OF – NYM)
Fantasy baseball is funny because I was big on Nimmo’s breakout before the 2018 season. I tabbed his potential power riser after he began increasing his loft and fly ball rate in the preseason. Throughout the season his power played up and his patience made him a massive asset in OBP leagues. I noticed, however, that his contact rates were very poor to start 2019 and knew that he would struggle to keep his strikeout rate below 25%. I ranked him a touch lower than most big-box sites and quickly turned away completely after two weeks in 2019. I discussed how his elevated BABIP was not likely to remain and his contact rates continued to plummet. I didn’t own him anywhere but I recommended that all owners jump off the sinking ship early. 

Jurickson Profar (1B, 2B, 3B, OF – OAK)
The post-post-post hype sleeper finally delivered in 2018 with the Rangers. I, however, was not buying it. He popped up on my HR/BRL over-performers this offseason and was moving from friendly Globe Life Stadium in Texas to cavernous Oakland Colllusium. He also didn’t show great speed despite double-digit steals as well. His contact and K-BB rates were pedestrian and he didn’t have a position locked in with the Athletics. Ultimately, the juiced ball helped him reach decent power numbers but his batting average completely cratered. Besides, 20 homers aren’t as valuable as it used to be.

Early Season pivot due to performance

Austin Meadows (OF – TBR)
I wasn’t on Meadows in the offseason where I had him ranked between 150 and 200 but wasn’t completely out either. I realized early in the season that the Rays were not going to play games with platooning Meadows against lefties which was a concern coming into 2019.  Here’s what I said in a FantasyPros article on April 15th:

“He walked more frequently than he struck out last week, and his batted-ball profile is a thing of beauty. His hard contact via FanGraphs is 47.6%, and he’s hitting fly balls 42.9% of the time. His barrel rate (BRL%) is 17.9%, nearly triple his 6.4 BRL% from 2018.”

He was so hot at that point it would have been difficult to buy him from an owner but he lived up to the hype. He will be a target of mine in 2020 as I expect big things from Meadows for his encore. He’s an easy 35 homer 10-15 stolen base type of player hitting atop a good (not great) Rays lineup.

Eric Sogard (2B/SS – TOR)
I was able to identify Eric Sogard as a potential value through the first four weeks of 2019. It wasn’t his quality of contact or Statcast metrics but his elite contact rates and consistent playing time. He doesn’t even show up on the NFBC ADP list which covers nearly 1,000 players. The fact that Sogard was 15-team relevant for most of the season and even 12-team relevant for about half the season is pretty amazing. I think valuing guaranteed playing time and high contact rates are undervalued, especially in this era. Sogard was a huge plus in batting average without completely killing you in power and speed. It’s part of the reason I am interested in Luis Arraez next year.

Players I missed on for 2019 and why

Jesse Winker (OF – CIN)
I was really buying into the approach with Winker. He already had mastered plate discipline walking nearly as often as he strikes out. He was basically becoming a young Votto. Younger players with a good hit tool and approach can often develop more power as they age. I was expecting that jump in 2019 for Winker, but I was wrong. His hard contact rates dipped and he wasn’t walking as frequently. I think he’ll be dirt cheap and still young enough to improve. I’ll be back in is his ADP is after 250 for 2020.

Trevor Bauer (SP – CLE/CIN)
Trusting a pitcher with more than four years of MLB experience with one ace-level production was partially where I went wrong here. The other variable that clouded my judgment of Bauer was his constant tinkering. While I looked at his relationship with Driveline as a positive based on his performance in 2018, I failed to see it as a potential issue in 2019. Given his mentality, he’s always going to want to get better and improve even after a Cy Young caliber 2018. I think he’s also stubborn. My analysis of Bauer and his metrics was not wrong, but understanding the person behind the numbers is where I missed.


Jackie Bradely Jr. (OF – BOS)
I went in hard on JBJ this offseason and boy was I wrong. Sure, he improved on his power, but so did everyone! I fell in love with his power/Statcast metrics and figured it would translate into a huge bump in production. Combining 20+ homers with 15ish SB on one of the best offensive clubs in the league was intriguing to me this offseason. I failed to ignore the poor approach and contact rates and his slumps were just too deep to dig out of. After another sub-.230 season with under 10 steals, I’ll probably be out on JBJ next year. 

Jack Flaherty (SP – STL)
The youth of Flaherty is why I shied away. His walk rate was high, his BABIP was low, and his strand rate was high. I included those items in my negative regression article this offseason for FantasyPros. When comparing his season on a historical basis, he was bound for negative regression. So again, the process was not wrong. However, not realizing his true talent and youth/ability to improve was not factored into play. That’s my mistake. Flaherty was coming off an impressive season and was just 23 years old! To my surprise, Flaherty has cut his walk rate by over two percent, decreased his BABIP against, and increased the runners he’s stranded. Thanks in part to an increase in velocity and first-pitch strike rate, Flaherty has turned into an ace.

Josh Donaldson (3B – ATL)
The analysis of Donaldson was strictly injury based. Given his recent injury history and age, I was not expecting 500+ plate appearances in 2019 from JD. I also was put off by his increasing strikeout rate which was backed by a trend of decreasing contact rates. Those may not have been skills deterioration but rather a result of his nagging injuries. So, I missed on Donaldson but hit on Carpenter. I will bet against injury and age more often than not and when they are combined, I’ll bet against it nearly 100% of the time. I just have to face the facts that I will be wrong every once and a while.

Travis Shaw (1B, 2B, 3B – MIL)
Ugh. I couldn’t understand why everyone wasn’t higher on a guy in his prime coming off of two 30-homer campaigns with a shrinking K/BB ratio hitting in the middle of a very good Brewers lineup. It turns out, I was the idiot. Shaw was a disaster with contact rates as low as Joey Gallo without a fraction of the contact quality. He was a complete disaster. I’m not sure how I could have seen a 32.3% strikeout rate coming when his previous career-high was 25.1%. Aside from the extreme contact rates, his BABIP dropped to 0.060 points below his career rate and while a five percent jump in fly ball rate explains a portion of the decrease, it doesn’t cover it all. Either way, he’s a mess and I’m out on his next year.

Early Season pivot due to skills performance

Cody Bellinger (1B, OF – LAD)
So, as you can see in my preseason ranks, I was not a believer that Bellinger would recapture his brilliance from his rookie campaign. I had looked at Bellinger as a hitter with a hole in his swing which had been exploited, limiting him in batting average and some power. However, that assessment was wrong as he clearly made adjustments. After just two weeks of games, he had improved on his hard contact/barrel rates and saw massive improvements to his contact rate. Here’s what I said in April:

“We already knew he could mash but his plate discipline is on another level early this year. He’s swinging outside the zone less often and his contact rates have jumped up. As a result, his strikeout rate is down nearly 10%. If he can manage improved contact rates, Bellinger could provide first-round value and a huge profit for those who drafted him this offseason.”


Nick Pivetta (SP – PHI)
Like many “experts,” I don’t love that word, I was high on Pivetta coming into 2019 based on his K-BB rate and ERA-estimators. However, after just one start, I was able to identify an issue with Pivetta that carried over from 2019. His fastball location and pitch selection were poor. It was a little more clear to me that his elevated BABIP and possibly home run rate were going to continue to plague him. Here’s the blurb I wrote at FantasyPros in my Risers/Fallers article.

Follow me @FreezeStats. Check out my work at FantasyPros and Pitcher List.


Photo by Fred Thornhill / The Canadian Press via AP

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Fantasy Baseball: Starting Pitchers to Stream Week 26 (9/23 – 9/29)

Welcome back to the FreezeStats weekly streaming article. Each week I cover anywhere from five to six starters who are available in at least 75% of Yahoo/ESPN leagues per FantasyPros. This is it! The final week of the Major League Baseball season. With fantasy Championships on the line next week, it’s now or never. No more wasting time, let’s get to the top streaming options to help win you your league!

Top options under 50% Owned 

Obviously, if these guys are available, grab them immediately and start them next week.

Jeff Samardzija (SP – SFG) 43% home vs COL

Homer Bailey (SP – OAK) 30% owned, @LAA Wednesday, 9/25


Anthony DeSclafani (SP – CIN) 41% Owned @PIT

Top options under 25% Owned 

Dylan Bundy (SP – BAL) RHP 18% Owned, @TOR, Monday 9/23
Some positives for Bundy include an increased ground ball rate and a decrease in his home run rate. Those, of course, are related. This year, his HR/FB% is two percent lower away from Camden Yards. That’s the good. Now, the not so good. The Baby Jays have been better of late but are still near the top of the league in terms of strikeouts. With Bo Bichette banged up, the Jays aren’t all that scary. This matchup will come down to home runs. If Bundy can limit them, I believe he’ll be an asset to your team, otherwise, he’s going to tie you to the WHIPping Post. Either way, he’ll pile up the strikeouts. I’m streaming here for strikeouts and upside in 12-team and deeper leagues.

Dinelson Lamet (SP – SDP) RHP 20% Owned, home vs LAD, Tuesday 9/24
Speaking of strikeouts and upside. Lamet is definitely a higher ceiling option than Bundy. His floor is about the same given the strength of his opponent. But wait! The Dodgers have struggled of late since they have clinched the division with just an 81 wRC+ in the last two weeks. Lamet has been a strikeout machine since his return from the IL. His 12.57 K/9 would rank third among qualified starters behind just Gerrit Cole and Max Scherzer. So yeah, he’s been pretty damn good. He struck out 14 Brewers in his last outing and hasn’t allowed more than four earned runs in any of his 13 starts. The Dodgers are dangerous, no doubt, but I’ll take the hot hand in Lamet. STREAM  For Ss& Gs, I like Lamet in his final scheduled outing in Arizona on Sunday as well. There’s a high likelihood that the Padres cut his final start short or worse, skip him altogether but he’s worth a stream there as well if it happens. The Diamondbacks have been the worst team offensively for the last 14 days with a paltry 57 wRC+.


Anthony Kay (SP – TOR) LHP 3% Owned, home vs BAL, Tuesday 9/24
The Orioles have been decent lately but still slight below-average in terms of wRC+. However, on the road, they are in the bottom five in the league with a sub-80 wRC+ and a near-25% strikeout rate. Kay has a good fastball and a decent curveball which should be enough to limit the damage from Baltimore hitters. In limited MLB action, Kay has induced groundballs over 50% of the time and an impressive sot contact rate of 25%. He’s yet to allow a home run and based on his low strand rate and elevated BABIP, he’s due some positive luck. I don’t necessarily expect his homerless streak to continue but I think he’ll limit baserunners against a team that doesn’t walk much. Ultimately, I’d expect about five innings with two earned runs are fewer with a handful of strikeouts. It’s slim pickings next week and this will have to do. I’ll STREAM here.

Tyler Beede (SP – SFG) RHP, 5% Owned, home vs COL, Thursday 9/26
Beede just got torched by the Braves this week. Prior to the outing, he was coming off of two scoreless starts against the Marlins and the Dodgers in LA. He draws the Road Rockies which is very different than the team he faced in Colorado back in early-August when he gave up five earned runs. Only the Marlins have been worse than the Rockies away from home this season. With a 73 wRC+ and 26.6% strikeout rate as a team away from the thin air, Beede has a nice setup. Combine that with the fact that Beede has a solid (if unspectacular) 4.02 ERA and a 1.28 WHIP at home in Oracle Park. Beede has a good 95 mph fastball that has performed much better in the second half. He’s managed double-digit swinging strike rates in each of his last three starts. I like Beede to close out the season on a high note. STREAM

Reynaldo Lopez (SP – CHW) RHP, 19% Owned, home vs DET, Friday 9/27
Here’s the ultimate gamble. Do you want to leave your fantasy championship in the hands of Reynaldo Lopez? The first thing I want to look at is how he’s performed against the Tigers this year.  He has two good and one bad start against Detroit this year. It adds up to this: 

1 W  17.1 IP  4.15 ERA 1.21 WHIP  25 K 30.6% K-BB

The last two numbers jump out at me. He’s clearly been able to miss bats and has limited walks. That’s kind of the Tigers M.O. this year. They are young, aggressive, and just flat out bad. Lopez’s success has been tied to his velocity. He’s much better when he averages 97 mph on his fastball. In his last game, he averaged under 97 mph but five of the previous six outings, he averaged over 97 mph. This is a gamble, there’s no doubt. But, and this is a big Kardashian sized butt, he has the potential to throw a championship-winning gem. If he’s averaging 97+ mph with command, he’s going to strike out 10 batters. Of course, the floor is low, but if you’re looking for an edge, STREAM Rey-Lo.


Zach Eflin (SP – PHI) RHP, 25% Owned, home vs MIA
Well, look who’s back. My preseason sleeper has not had the best season but at the end of the day looks like a decent value for a pitcher taken well after pick 300. Over the last month, since he earned his rotation spot back, he’s smokin’ with a 1.57 ERA and a 1.01 WHIP. The key to his success is a 57% ground ball rate. He’s throwing his sinker more often and it’s actually been successful. It doesn’t get strikeouts but generates worm burners almost 64% of the time. I like Eflin against a weak Marlins club who have only hit 10 homers over the last two weeks. I think Eflin is the perfect play at the end of your week who should provide solid ratios and a 50+% chance for a win. After rolling with Bundy, and Lopez, I need a safer option. STREAM

Here’s the link to my googlesheet covering the entire list of streamers for the 2019 season. I’ll have a recap in the next few weeks to figure out where I can improve for next year.

Follow me @FreezeStats. Check out my work at FantasyPros and Pitcher List.


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Fantasy Baseball: Starting Pitchers to Stream Week 25 (9/16 – 9/22)

Welcome back to the FreezeStats weekly streaming article. Each week I cover anywhere from five to six starters who are available in at least 75% of Yahoo/ESPN leagues per FantasyPros. With playoffs and fantasy Championships on the line next week, it’s now or never. No more wasting time, let’s get to the top streaming options to help win you your league!

Mitch Keller (SP – PIT) RHP, 8% owned, home vs SEA, Tuesday 9/17
Keller is a pitcher that has been extremely unlucky in his short time in the big leagues. His 8.29 ERA and 1.87 WHIP are fueled by an inflated .477 BABIP and a low 53.5% strand rate. Here’s the weirdest stat of all, hitters somehow have managed a .569 BABIP against Keller’s fastball. Umm, that won’t last. Check this out though, he has an impressive 3.61 FIP and a 21.6% K-BB rate! Both would rank in the top 20 for qualified starting pitchers. His fastball averaged 95.5 mph and his slider has a crazy-high 27.3% swinging-strike rate (SwStr%). Both his slider and curve net strikeout rates north of 30%. He draws the Mariners at home who have struck out 28.5% of the time over the last two weeks, the league’s second highest rate over that span. They’ll be without the DH, so I’d expect their offense to struggle even more than their 88 wRC+ indicates. I’m STREAMING Keller next week.


Homer Bailey (SP – OAK) RHP, 22% owned, home vs KC, Wednesday 9/18
We are all familiar with Homer Bailey. He was a first-round pick way back in 2004 by the Cincinnati Reds. After a few successful seasons in the early-2010s, he’s been essentially useless in terms of fantasy. But, this year, his strikeout rate is up over 20% for the first time since 2016. That’s largely due to an increase in his splitter usage. Typically, the unpredictability of a splitter will wreak havoc on walk rates but he’s still sitting at a solid eight percent which is just below league average. He also hasn’t given up more than three earned runs in any of his last six starts that includes two outings against the Yankees and one versus the Astros. He’ll be facing off against the Royals at home, so the degree of difficulty is relatively low. On the road, the Royals have a 83 wRC+ which is the fifth-lowest among all teams away from their home park. Bailey is always a risk to blow up in your face but given his recent success, I’m inclined to ride out this stretch, because we are, after all in mid-September. STREAM

Sandy Alcantara (SP – MIA) RHP, 25% owned, @ARI, Wednesday 9/18
Alcantara should be owned in more than 50% of leagues, but fortunately, he’s right at the maximum threshold for next week. His season-long numbers are not all that impressive but he’s been nearly lights out since the start of August. Over that stretch, he’s managed a 2.59 ERA, 0.97 WHIP, and a 22% strikeout rate. Finally, he’s actually striking batters out! He’s increased his fastball/sinker velocity over the last month, not by much but 0.5-1.0 mph is quite a bit when you consider he was already averaging over 95 mph. In addition, he’s throwing his sinker more often which not only generates more groundballs but also more whiffs which is rare for a sinker. His secondaries aren’t great but his changeup is useful, so he’s still throwing a plus-pitch nearly 75% of the time. That should be enough to handle the Diamondbacks who have slipped after making a playoff push. They have a 77 wRC+ over the last two weeks and their hopes of sneaking into the wild card are just about gone. I’m STREAMING here.

Mike Leake (SP – ARI) RHP, 21% owned, home vs MIA, Wednesday 9/18

Leake is not the sexiest option but he’s a guy that can go deep into games. He’s averaging 6.14 innings per start in a season where very few starters can even make it to the sixth inning. He has three quality starts in his last four outings and draws a weak Marlins offense at home. Over the last two weeks, the Marlins have an 82 wRC+ which ranks 22nd in MLB. They have been even worse on the road. In fact, they are last in the league with a 68 wRC+ away from Marlins Park. That’s 32% below league-average. Leake’s not going to pile up strikeouts but he is utilizing his cutter and slider more often recently. He has two straight starts with double-digit swinging strike rates. Yes, he is going up against Sandy Alcantara who I just highlighted, so a win might not be as easy as it seems. I do think he can provide solid ratios and a quality start. If you’re looking for a win and strikeouts, he’s probably not your guy. In QS leagues, I’m STREAMING



Merril Kelly (SP – ARI) RHP, 22% owned, @SDP, Friday 9/20
I preached about Kelly’s increased fastball velocity last week and he draws an easier opponent next week in the Padres. The Padres have hit just 11 home runs over the last two weeks and typically struggle to score runs at home. Only the Tigers and Giants have fewer runs scored at home this season. They also struggle to make contact with a strikeout rate north of 24%. Kelly dominated the Padres a couple of weeks ago striking out nine batters across seven shutout innings. After averaging 91.6 mph on his fastball this season, he’s up to 93.2 mph over his last four starts. His strikeout rate has gone from pedestrian 18.9% prior to August 28th and is way up at 24.5% since. That’s huge because he still possesses a solid curveball which is his best secondary offering that generates a K-BB rate of 32%. I’m riding the hot hand and hoping he maintains his increased velocity because he’s more of an SP4 than a streamer when he’s throwing 93.5+. STREAM

Dylan Cease (SP – CHW) RHP, 10% owned, @DET, Friday 9/20
Any way you slice it, the Tigers offense (and entire team, really)is awful. At home, they rank dead-last offensively with a 75 wRC+ and have the third-highest K:BB ratio over the last two weeks. That’s not good. Cease is wild though. He’s a rookie with great stuff but hasn’t been able to command all his pitches, especially his fastball. However, he hasn’t given up much hard contact, just 29.7% per FanGraphs. The Tigers are the perfect team for Cease to square up against. A patient team could really give him fits but the Tigers are young, inexperienced, and aggressive. Cease, while struggling to find the zone has induced swings outside the zone over 35% of the time in two of his last three starts. He’s also generated swinging strike rate over 11% in his last five outings. There’s risk that he could hurt your ratios but he’s struck out nine or more batters twice in his brief stint in the Majors thus far. The upside is six innings with 10 strikeouts and decent ratios. Will you roll the dice? I will, especially if I need a boost in strikeouts. STREAM


Ivan Nova (SP – CHW) RHP, 17% owned, @DET, Saturday 9/21
If Cease and Keller are the upside plays next week, Nova is a floor option similar to Leake. The difference between the two is the probability of a win. Nova has a much better chance for a win as he is scheduled to go up against Edwin Jackson. You know, the guy with a 9.76 ERA on the season. I’ve already harped on how bad the Tigers are offensively, it’s like they are fielding a Triple-A team. The last time Nova faced the Tigers was August 7th. He went eight shutout innings giving up just five hits. Since the All-Star break, Nova has eight outings where he’s given up three runs or less and in seven of those he gave up two earned runs of less. He won’t stike out more than 4-5 batters but should help with your ratios at the end of the week. In his last two starts, his veloicty has been up over 93 mph, something he’s only done a handful of times this year. I like the chances for Nova to reach six or seven innings giving up two or fewer runs in this one. STREAM

Follow me @FreezeStats. Check out my work at FantasyPros and Pitcher List.


Photo: Rob Schumacher/The Republic

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Early 2020 Rankings Fantasy Baseball – Top 25

The 2019 regular season isn’t over yet, but here I am starting to formulate rankings for 2020. Several fantasy sites are already running mock drafts for 2020 and the #2EarlyMocks are in full swing. I’ve been fortunate enough to be involved in the mocks for the second straight season. I ended up with the last pick in the draft, number 15 overall. It ended up working out because I grabbed Freddie Freeman and Trea Turner at the wheel. You’ll see below that I have both players a little bit higher, so I was happy to snag one of the most consistent hitters in the game along with a ton of stolen bases. Both players hit for a high average and I think speed and batting average are the most difficult categories to solidify especially going into 2020. OK, enough rambling, here is my list.


Early 2020 Rankings - Top 25 Players

RankPlayerPosition
1Chrsitian Yelich*OF
2Ronald AcunaOF
3Mike TroutOF
4Mookie BettsOF
5Cody Bellinger1B/OF
6Francisco LindorSS
7Gerritt ColeSP
8Trevor StorySS
9Freedie Freeman1B
10Juan SotoOF
11Max ScherzerSP
12Justin VerlanderSP
13Nolan Arenado3B
14Trea TurnerSS
15Jacob deGromSP
16Alex BregmanSS/3B
17Walker BuehlerSP
18Jose Ramierz2B/3B
19Anthony Rendon3B
20J.D. MartinezOF
21Fernando Tatis Jr.SS
22Aaron JudgeOF
23Javier Baez2B/SS
24Xander BogaertsSS
25Chris SaleSP
Next up -ConsideredOptions
Rafael Devers3B
Adalberto MondesiSS
Blake SnellSP
Jose Altuve2B
Ketel Marte2B/OF
Shane BieberSP
Mike ClevingerSP
Yordan AlvarezOF/DH
George SpringerOF
Jack FlahertySP
Clayton KershawSP

Unfortunately, we lost Christian Yelich to a broken kneecap just the other night. Yikes, that’s brutal for the Brewers and fantasy owners. Now, I have the asterisk next to Yelich because we don’t know how he will recover from the injury. If he is recovered and 100% before Spring Training, he’s my top dog.  The difference between Yelich and Mike Trout is stolen bases. It’s becoming more obvious that Trout won’t be running as much with just 11 on the season. That’s the same number as Cody Bellinger and one fewer than Juan Soto. It’s now been two seasons where Yelich has provided elite level fantasy production. It’s real and he’s still 27 years old. When debating Yelich and Trout, I looked at batting average and counting stats. Those should be similar but I’ll take 15 additional stolen bases from Yelich rather than 5-10 homers from Trout. Ronald Acuna over Trout also comes down stolen bases and ceiling. If I’m feeling conservative, I’m taking Trout but I think Acuna could honesty hit 50 homers and steal 40 bases at some point in the near future. He does strikeout nearly 26% of the time, so his batting average could fall into the .270 range but he’s a lock for 35 homers and 25-30 steals.

There’s a gap between the top three and the next tier. I would love to have the third overall pick next year and grab whichever stud falls to me. Next on the list, I have Mookie Betts and here’s why. Betts was unlucky in the first half and here’s what he’s done in the second half .318/.385/.615 with 15 homers, 4 steals, and 52 runs in 55 games. Meanwhile, Cody Bellinger has fallen off in the second half. I trust Mookie more than I trust Bellinger. Mookie’s average season since the start of 2016 looks like this .304-120-29-93-24. He’s not running as much but he’ll be 27 next year and I believe he still has a couple more 20-25 stolen base seasons in him. Bellinger is awesome, no doubt. He’s going to hit 40 homers and steal 10 bases next year but he’s not quite a .300 hitter. I’d rather have Betts with his batting average floor (but also upside) and speed.


Francisco Lindor is also in the Betts/Bellinger tier. He’s already hit 31 homers and stolen 21 bases in just 127 games this year. Remember the calf issue that forced him to miss the first three weeks? Yeah, that happened. I’m locking him in for 35 homers and 25 steals but the Indians aren’t as deep as the Dodgers and Red Sox which is why he’s sixth. His counting stats probably won’t match Betts or Bellinger’s. My first pitcher is Gerritt Cole. He has a 39.3% K-BB% in the second half. That’s insane! If that was ONLY his strikeout rate, it would rank second behind teammate Justin Verlander. Back in June, I ranked Cole second among starting pitchers the rest of the way and I was actually too low. At the time of the rankings, he had a 6-5 record with a 3.67 ERA. His skills were so off the charts, I knew he’d dominate from that point forward. Since then, he has a 1.83 ERA with 141 strikeouts in 93.2 IP.

The next trio includes Trevor Story, Freddie Freeman, and Juan Soto. We have two seasons in a row where Story has hit at least .290 with over 30 homers and 20 steals. He’s only going to be 26 next year. If I’m drafting in the first-round, I want to combine power and speed with batting average. That’s what I’m here for and you won’t find it later in the draft. I predicted Freddie Freeman would win the MVP in 2018, well I was wrong. however, my projection of .350-40-130 isn’t that far off of where he’s going to end up this season. He won’t end up in the top 5 for the NL MVP. That’s how nuts this year is. Freeman hits .300 just about every year and should maintain 30+ homers with over 100 runs and RBI and chip in 5-8 steals. Who knew Juan Soto was going to run? He has 12 steals this year and while I won’t project him for that many next year, the fact that he can net 8-10 next year jumps him over the likes of Bregman and Arenado. This kid is the next Miguel Cabrera with a little more speed. Would I be surprised if he hits .320 with 40 homers next year? Nope, he’s a beast and will only be 21 next year!

Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander round out my top 12. Both are aging studs and have shown no signs of slowing down. I will be monitoring Scherzer due to his back issue in the second half but if he finishes the season strong, I won’t be concerned. Both pitchers have shown elite skills and there’s nothing wrong with their velocity. Per the Athletic, Verlander has been unlucky in terms of home run allowed, so I’d expect that to come down next year. His defense also helps him out as they are number one in terms of runs saves this year. The good news, he will have the same defense behind him next year. Scherzer’s team isn’t too bad either and he should have no problem piling up wins in 2020. The skills between Verlander and Scherzer are very similar but I’ll lean Scherzer because he’s two years younger.



Nolan Arenado isn’t in the top 12 because he doesn’t run. He’s a lock to hit .300+ with 35-40 homers and 110 RBI. That’s awesome, that’s great, that’s bankable, but I can’t spend a first round pick on him. Trea Turner is 14th for me because of his speed. He’s not a zero in power either. He’s a 15-18 homer hitter but can also hit .300 and steal 45+ bases. His ceiling is higher than that and his floor is safe even if he only plays 130 games. In 2019, he’s the 11th most valuable hitter on a per-game basis per the Razzball Player Rater.

Jacob deGrom might be downgraded because 2019 is his second straight season where his win total is low. Of course, that’s 100% no his fault. His luck has to change. The Mets should be better next year (we hope) and even with neutral luck deGrom should compile 15+ wins next year. OK, I hate talking about wins. deGrom is number one in MLB with a 2.16 ERA and it’s not close (Verlander is second a 2.52) and ranks fourth in strikeouts. If that’s not a top-four SP, I don’t know what is. Alex Bregman has the best approach and plate discipline in the league. Not Trout, not Votto, it’s Bregman. He’s somehow improved on his OBP, SLG, and O-Swing this year. He’s fantastic but the quality of contact isn’t there. His barrel rate decreased and he’s hitting more popups this year. Pulling the ball is how he can mash 35 homers, so his margins are razor-thin. He’s also not running anymore. He’s surrounded by the best lineup in baseball so, 100 runs and 100 RBI is bankable but where are you drafting a .290-30-5 player? Walker Buehler might be the best pitcher in baseball next year. I’m not letting that slip past 17 overall or the fifth pitcher off the board. He’s the next Justin Verlander, book it!

Floor and ceiling define these next five guys. This is a huge discount on Jose Ramirez if this is where he’s drafted. He’s not going to hit .300 but he’s capable of lofty batting average if he modifies his approach. He is a lock for 25 homers and 25-30 steals given 600+ plate appearances. That’s extremely valuable and I might be moving him up in my rankings as I finalize them this offseason. I love Anthony Rendon and we finally got to witness his ceiling this year. I am not expecting a repeat but is there much of a difference between Rendon and Bregman? Maybe three to four steals? J.D. Martinez is still a monster. He was unlucky with his power last year. He should have hit 40+ bombs. I’ll pencil him in for .300-35-110 with upside for .320-45-125. The reason he’s this low is the lack of speed. A few of the players ahead of him such as Bregman or even Rendon could steal 5-10 bags, not J.D. Here’s where we get sexy! Fernando Tatis Jr. On a per-game basis, he was one of the most valuable players this year. In fact, he was second to Christian Yelich among qualified hitters one spot ahead of Ronald Acuna Jr. Look, he won’t post a .400+ BABIP in 2020 but should provide a decent .270 average with 25+ homers and 35+ steals. Yes, please!


If we get a healthy Aaron Judge season, he’s going to hit 50 homers. His quality of contact is so great that he should provide a solid .275-.280 average. His elevated walk rates should keep him high in the batting order netting a ton of runs and RBI. I can’t drop him any lower than this despite the injuries. Javy Baez is lost for the season and many pundits were labeling him a bust coming into the season, yours truly included. In reality, he was anything but a bust. He’s not the batting average risk people peg him for, his BABIP the last three seasons are .345, .347, and .345. He didn’t run as much but should be bankable for .280-30-100 with 15 steals. Xander Bogaerts is a star friends. I ranked him inside the top 30 in the preseason and labeled him a massive bargain. I own him almost everywhere and he’s going to finish inside the top 15 overall. I got him as late as 50-55 overall in some drafts! Anyways, he stopped running which is a negative and that’s why he’s ranked in a similar spot. Still amazing and the 30 homers isn’t a fluke. Chris Sale is either going to win owners their leagues or once again crush their dreams. He was unlucky this year, flat out. His skills are up with the top tier but health and velocity are scaring people away. At 25 overall, there’s room for profit but also a little built-in risk.

So, I included several additional players on the list above. This is far from my “set in stone” rankings list for 2020, so  a lot can change. Of this group, I would expect Mike Clevinger, Adalberto Mondesi, and Jose Altuve as the players most likely to make the jump into the top 25 in the coming months. You’re comments and questions are always welcome and I hope you enjoyed this kick-start for 2020.

Follow me @FreezeStats. Check out my work at FantasyPros and Pitcher List.


Photo Credit: Milwaukee Brewers Facebook

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Fantasy Baseball: Starting Pitchers to Stream Week 24 (9/9 – 9/15)

Welcome back to the FreezeStats weekly streaming article. Each week I cover anywhere from five to six starters who are available in at least 75% of Yahoo/ESPN leagues per FantasyPros. With playoffs and fantasy Championships on the line next week, I’ve stepped it up a notch. I’m covering seven pitchers, six of them I recommend as streaming options for you next week. There’s also a bonus option for those in shallow leagues at the bottom. The options are plentiful but also carry some very nice upside. Let’s get to it!


Trevor Williams (SP – PIT) 21% owned @SFG, Monday 9/9
Williams has not taken kindly to the new “happy fun ball” this year with a 5.16 ERA and a home run rate that has doubled since last year. He’s managed games much better with three straight quality starts, a 2.37 ERA, and an even 1.00 WHIP in those three outings. He’s been limiting walks and hard contact which is the key to his success. He’s allowed just a 24.8% hard contact rate and just one home run in his last three starts. He’s not likely to compile a ton of strikeouts but given his efficiency, he could throw seven innings netting him 5-6 strikeouts. He’s on the road in Oracle Park which is a fantastic pitcher’s park. The Giants as a team have a 77 wRC+ (100 is league-average) and have hit just 54 home runs at home this season. That’s fewer than one per game. Williams isn’t the sexiest option, but he’s a great option in quality starts leagues and should help with WHIP. STREAM

Reynaldo Lopez (SP – CHW) 18% owned home vs KCR, Wednesday 9/11
Reynaldo Lopez just threw a one-hit gem against the Indians this past week with 11 strikeouts! He’s also one of the most volatile pitchers in the league right now. He often follows up his extremely great outings with one or two poor ones. I won’t analyze a whole lot with this matchup. It’s obviously favorable against a weak Royals club and at home. The weather in the month of September isn’t all that hot, so the balls shouldn’t be flying out like they were in July and August. Too many of Lopez’s gems are followed by clunkers so obviously, the risk is huge here. I’m only streaming Lopez if you need strikeouts and you’re behind in pitching categories. He’s one of the few streamers who can put together a week-winning start but can also blow your ratios. In deep leagues, take that chance but just know the risk.


Gio Gonzalez (SP – MIL) 10% owned @MIA, Thursday 9/12
The Marlins have a 27.9% strikeout rate and a 74 wRC+ over the last two weeks. If you’re wondering, those rank 30th and 29th respectively over that timeframe. Yup, the Marlins are terrible offensively. Gonzalez has been decent this year with a 4.14 ERA, which given the current environment, isn’t too bad. He’s actually sporting the best chase rate and SwStr% of his career in 2019! But, he’s struggling with throwing strikes and getting ahead of hitters. Here’s the deal. The Brewers aren’t trusting him to go more than five innings which he’s done just once in the last nine starts. He’s also walked four batters each of the last four outings. I’m worried that he can’t find the zone anymore, or he’s scared to attack hitters. Since the All-Star break, his first-pitch strike rate is only 44.4% (61% is league AVG) and his zone rate is an astonishingly low 26.5% (league AVG 41.9%). I don’t think he’ll get hit all that hard against the Marlins but I think the walks will bury him. He likely will only go 4-5 innings and tie owners to the WHIP-ping Post. I’m Staying Away from Gio next week.

Sandy Alcantara (SP – MIA) 14% Owned @SFG, Friday 9/13
Let’s not forget that Alcantara just turned 24 years old (yesterday in fact) and his fastball has been graded out as a 65 out of 80 per FanGraphs. He pumps 95-96 mph on his fastball and his 10.6% swinging-strike rate (SwStr%) indicates he should have a strikeout rate closer to 21-22% rather than 17.7%. Things are changing though. Over his last three starts, he has a 3.60 ERA and a 27.9% strikeout rate! That’s exciting. How’s he doing it? Well, he’s throwing his sinker, yes, his sinker, more often instead of his fourseasm fastball. His sinker generates swinging strikes 11.5% of the time compared to just 6.6% on his fourseam. He combines his sinker with two decent secondaries in his slider and changeup turning him into a pretty solid starter with three good pitches. This is more of an endorsement for next season but as I said, he’s been much better lately and draws the Giants. As a team, the Giants have just a 73 wRC+ over the last two weeks which is 29th in MLB. I’m STREAMING Alcantara next week.

Asher Wojciechowski (SP – BAL) 4% owned @DET, Saturday 9/14
If you’ve been reading my previous articles, you know I love to stream against the Tigers. Only the Marlins have been worse offensively this season and no team has a higher strikeout rate than the Tigers 26.5%. To be fair, they have been a little better over the last two weeks but are still firmly in the bottom third of the league. They have a scant 3.1% walk rate over the last 14 days! That’s crazy-low. Now, over the Woj. His numbers are terrible on the season, no doubt but he’s been stung with 10 homers in just 33 innings at home this year (6 on the road in 32 IP). Camden Yards is a tough place to pitch, but Comerica Park in Detroit has an extremely deep centerfield and deep power alleys. Woj also has a very solid 12% SwStr rate backed by a 34% chase rate which is four percent better than league average. Checking his game log, his opponents have been brutal. He’s faced the Red Sox, Nationals and Rays twice and Houston and the Yankees once each. That’s 10 of his 12 starts fam. The Tigers are going to be a cakewalk for Woj. I’m predicting 6-7 IP 2 ER 6 Ks and a good shot at a win. STREAM 


Logan Webb (SP – SF) 9% owned, home vs MIA, Sunday 9/15
Webb is actually slated for two starts next week and both are at home. I debated using him for both starts but realized that the Pirates are number one in MLB with a 138 wRC+ over the last 14 days. Over that span they have the lowest strikeout rate at just 16.9%. Yes, they had a series in Coors Field during that timeframe, but given the limited strikeout upside combined with hot hitters such as Josh Bell, Kevin Newman, Starling Marte, and Adam Fraizer, I’m passing. However, his start at home against the Marlins has stream written all over it. I covered the ineptitude of Miami’s offense in Gio’s blurb, so let’s dive into Webb. He has an inflated 6.50 ERA in 18 innings thanks to a .404 BABIP and 62.5% strand rate. He’s a groundball pitcher in a friendly park. Home runs should not be an issue. In my opinion, he has two good pitches in his curveball and changeup. Both can generate whiffs and get ground balls. His fastball/sinker is bad. If he can limit its usage to below 50%, he should be just fine. I’m taking my chances here and streaming.

If you’re looking for one more option, I’d lean towards Dinelson Lamet who is right at 25% owned but may be long gone in your leagues. I’ve been touting him for a month now and his matchup is tough. He gets the Cubs but is at home, so there’s a bonus and Jack Baez is out for the rest of the regular season. If you’re looking for strikeouts, he’s your guy. He could pile them up in bunches.

Follow me @FreezeStats. Check out my work at FantasyPros and Pitcher List.


Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI


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Starting Pitchers to Stream Week 23 (9/2 – 9/8)

Welcome back to the FreezeStats weekly streaming article. Each week I cover anywhere from five to six starters who are available in at least 75% of Yahoo/ESPN leagues per FantasyPros. With playoffs and fantasy Championships on the horizon, I’ve stepped it up a notch. I’m covering seven streaming options for you next week. The options are plentiful but also carry some very nice upside. Let’s get to it!

Mike Montgomery (SP – KC) 14% Owned home vs DET, Tuesday 9/3
The Tigers have been running out a Triple-A club over the last couple of weeks. As a team, they are striking out over 30% of the time with just a scant 4.2% walk rate! That’s insane. They are making every pitcher look like Jacob deGrom. Mongomery’s ratios on the season are not pretty but he’s been bounced in and out of the Cubs rotation and has since been moved to the Royals. He’s been a little more comfortable in the AL Central and he’s increased the usage of his cutter. That’s good because his cutter may be his best pitch with an 89 wRC+ with above-average chase and swinging strike rates. He’s also been very good in Kauffman Stadium giving up just six earned runs in four starts there since coming over to the AL. Oh, and he demolished the Tigers last time out punching out 14 batters. Montgomery is not currently lined up for two starts next week if the Royals go forward with a six-man rotation but if he does, he would also draw the Marlins in Miami. I’d love that two-step and would start him for both if that’s how the Royals play it. STREAM.


Mitch Keller (SP – PIT), 7% Owned home vs MIA, Tuesday 9/3
Yes, Keller was blown up for eight earned runs in Philly earlier this week. No, I’m not all that concerned that it will carry into next week’s start. Forget about his inflated ERA, Keller’s FIP is a solid 3.92. He’s dealing with an extremely unlucky .479 BABIP and a 53.6% strand rate. Both are not sustainable. His 19% K-BB rate and 12% swinging strike rate mirror an SP3, not a streamer. Keller averages almost 96 mph on his fastball and his slider has been crazy in terms of whiffs. It has a 28.3% SwStr% and a 43% chase rate. He draws the Marlins next week, a far inferior offensive club to the Phillies and will be at home in PNC Park. They have a 26.6% strikeout rate and an 88 wRC+ over the last two weeks. As a team, the Marlins are rank last in the league in terms of production against right-handed pitchers with a 75 wRC+. You bet I’m STREAMING Keller next week.

Trevor Williams (SP – PIT), 14% Owned home vs MIA, Wednesday 9/4
Am I picking on the Marlins? You bet I am. I know they have been better of late but as I mentioned above, they strike out a ton and don’t draw many free passes. Williams has had a rough season but appears to be back on track. He’s only given up three earned runs in his last two outings and they were all allowed in Coors. This year of the home run has not been kind to Williams but he is showing some ability to generate more whiffs. His chase rate and SwStr% are up this year while contact against has gone down. I think Williams can limit damage and net a quality start with a high probability of a win. He may even find his way to manage a strikeout per inning given the swing happy Marlins who have a 28.3% K rate over the last two weeks. I’m STREAMing.

Jakob Junis (SP – KC), 17% Owned home vs DET, Wednesday 9/4
Have you noticed the theme of this streaming article? Yup, I am certainly targeting the worst offensive clubs. I’ve already gone over how bad the Tigers have been recently, so let’s see how Junis stacks up. His slider is the key to his success and he’s throwing it 44% of the time, an increase of almost five percent from last year. The results have been good with a 13.1 Pitch Value and a 61 wRC+ against his slider. He’s been able to throw it for strikes occasionally with a 43% zone rate. Unfortunately, his fastball and sinker are not good at all. He’s like a really, really poor-man’s Patrick Corbin. Normally, I wouldn’t love streaming him but given the lack of talent on the Tigers roster, I’m feeling some significant strikeout upside here. He’s handled the Tigers well this season with a 3.32 ERA and a 1.05 WHIP. He has a great chance at striking out more than a batter per inning and a QS. Getting through the sixth innings has not been a problem as he’s gone at least six innings in nine of his last 10 starts. STREAM.


Pablo Lopez (SP – MIA), 8% Owned home vs KC, Friday 9/6
The Nationals just pasted Lopez for six earned runs in just three innings but the Nationals are scorching hot right now. Besides, it was only Pablo’s second start after a lengthy IL stint. He’ll be back in Miami against the DH-less Royals next week. Over the last two weeks, the Royals are ranked 28th with a 68 wRC+ as a team (100 is league-average). Now, over Lopez. You may not be all that familiar with him but I’ve been a big fan all season. He has a plus changeup, a plus fastball and mixes in a curveball. I love his change, it’s nasty with a 47.6% chase rate and a 60% ground ball rate. Hitters struggle to do any damage against it if they are swinging at it outside of the zone and either whiff or put it on the ground. The Royals are getting Adalberto Mondesi back, so that’s a concern but the lineup isn’t deep, especially without a DH. I’ll stream here.

Dinelson Lamet (SP – SD), 25% Owned home vs COL, Friday 9/6
Why is Dinelson Lamet is available in 75% of leagues? You guys, he has a 31.7% strikeout rate. He’s striking out almost 1/3rd of the batters he faces. That’s good fam. Despite facing the Red Sox and the Phillies in Philadelphia, he’s compiled 40 strikeouts across 28.1 innings in his last five starts with a respectable 3.54 ERA. That’s largely thanks to one of the best sliders in the game with a 50% strikeout rate against it this year. He draws the road Rockies and as we know, the Rockies are a completely different team away from Coors. They are 29th in MLB with a 72 wRC+ away from Coors Field and have a 26.6% strikeout rate as a team. Lamet is lined up to have a field day against them and I could see double-digit strikeouts for him next week. At a minimum, he should provide 6-7 strikeouts with nice ratios and a chance at a win. STREAM.

Dustin May (SP – LAD), 21% Owned home vs SF, Sunday 9/8
The Rookie has been fairly impressive in the second half for the Dodgers. Ross Stripling is scheduled to return, so it’s not a guarantee that May will make this start. That being said, the Dodgers are running away with the division, so some of their studs (Ryu, Buehler, and Kershaw) could see extended rest or even have one of their starts skipped opening up opportunities for the likes of May and others. The Giants are not the pushover they were through the first half of the season but are still in the bottom 10 in terms of wRC+ over the last two weeks. They have been aggressive as a team in the second half, so walks shouldn’t be an issue for May. He’s limited walks in his small sample, so hopefully, he can push six innings for the first time in his big-league career. He hasn’t flashed big strikeout upside but he throws hard (95-96 mph) and has a very good cutter. I like him more in standard leagues and I wouldn’t bank on a quality start but given the Dodgers’ offensive upside, he has a great chance to snag a win. I’ll STREAM in deeper leagues but since he’s scheduled for Sunday, only use him if you need a win.


Follow me @FreezeStats. Check out my work at FantasyPros and Pitcher List.


Photo Credit: Jasen Vinlove / USA Today