GURUS DRINKING COFFEE STUDYING BOX SCORES
This piece is intended to be a collection of thoughts and observations from the team here at The Dynasty Guru that can help fantasy managers make roster decisions. Often times our mornings start off by sipping a cup of coffee while perusing the box scores from the previous night’s games. The stats and trends that grab our interest each week will be collected here. Areas we will look to cover will be players to add, line up trends, prospects on the verge, Statcast standouts, general strategy discussions, and more!
Players to Consider Adding
Jorge Mateo (2B, SS, OF), BAL – Stop reading right now and make sure Jorge Mateo is picked up (but please come back after). He is clearly the everyday starting shortstop for the Orioles and there doesn’t seem to be anyone else pressing him for playing time. He is not hitting the ball very hard yet, but his career numbers show that he should be due for some positive regression that will help his BA and hopefully lead to some power. More importantly, he is currently second in all of baseball with seven steals on the season already. His strikeouts have ticked up a bit over the past week and his walks are down a little as well, but his BB% is still at a career-high mark of 7%. Any boost to BA and any show of power would be gravy on Mateo’s stat line as he is looking like a legit contender to lead the league in stolen bases.
Josh Naylor (1B, OF), CLE – Naylor returned to the Guardians lineup on April 15th and has quickly refreshed memories of his plus-hit tool and contact skills. He is slashing .306/.324/.444 so far as he is finding playing time between first base and right field. He does not walk much, so his OBP is never going to be attention-grabbing, but he also does not strike out with a career mark under 20%. His batted ball metrics look good so far, but his career marks hint that more could be on the way. Naylor offers a nice BA and power combo while also contributing with counting stats hitting in the middle of a surprisingly adept Cleveland lineup.
Christian Walker (1B), ARZ – He is not surrounded by the best lineup in Arizona, but Christian Walker has batted cleanup in every game so far in 2022. This should put him in a position to be a solid contributor for RBI and a serviceable CI for fantasy managers. His Savant page shows a good deal of red so far in 2022 giving hope that he can return to his 2019-form when he flirted with 30 home runs. His average and counting stats have not shown up yet thus far, but he does have four home runs to his name and could be a good, cheap pickup before positive regression sets in.
Paul Blackburn (SP), OAK – While he doesn’t have the flashy strikeout rate of more touted pitchers, Blackburn has put up some very impressive starts thus far. Most recently against the Baltimore Orioles where he pitched five innings, gave up one run, and struck out four. He’s also faced TOR and TB with similar results. While his stuff isn’t racking up strikeouts, he’s walked 1 batter in 15 innings. He is currently spotting a K/BB of 14! AND most of the contact he does give up is on the ground! He’s not flashy, but he’s good.
Others to Consider: Zack Collins (C), CWS, Jonah Heim (C), TEX, Ji-Man Choi (1B), TB, Jake Burger (3B), CHW, Taylor Ward (OF), LAA, Richie Palacios (OF), CLE, Gavin Sheets (UTL), CHW, Andres Munoz (RP), SEA.
General Musings from the Gurus
- Alec Bohm (3B, PHL) has pushed his way back into the Phillies starting lineup as the everyday third baseman and is facing less competition with the recent demotion of Bryson Stott. He is off to a hot start slashing .326/.375/.500 with two home runs and 14 RBI. His batted ball metrics receive a lot of deep red colors on his Statcast page and he is showing improvements with his plate skills by cutting his early K% in half to 13% and increasing his BB% to 11.5%. It looked as if the Phillies had given up on Bohm only a few weeks ago, which in turn caused many fantasy managers to do the same. Check your waiver wire and see if you can capitalize on the resurgent third baseman.
- All draft season there was a question about where Tommy Edman (2B, OF) would bat in the St. Louis Cardinal’s lineup and how it would affect his fantasy value. Early on in the season, it did not look good as Edman spent most of the first two weeks batting near the bottom of the lineup. Thankfully, his performance has not suffered and he has gotten off to a blistering start (.310/.420/.534) with three home runs and four stolen bases. It seems the Cardinals have come to their senses in the past week with Edman leading off the past six games which will only boost his overall value with more plate appearances and counting stat opportunities.
- On the opposite end of the spectrum, we find the 2021 breakout Akil Baddoo (OF) of the Detroit Tigers. Baddoo also found himself at the bottom of the batting order to begin the season, but he has gone in the exact opposite direction as Edman. Baddoo has found himself on the bench seven out of the last eleven games. The only thing colder than his .111/.179/.222 slash line is the blues on his Statcast page. Obviously, there is plenty of time for Baddoo to turn things around, but with the Tigers having a greatly improved lineup and more of a win-now attitude, the opportunity may dry up sooner than later.
- Luis Severino (SP, NYY) has transformed himself from a “thrower” into a true “pitcher.” We have not seen Sevy pitch since a dominant 2018 campaign in which he was a second-time All-Star. Even at that time, he was mostly a two-pitch pitcher with a high-velocity four-seamer and a devastating slider. It was effective at the time, but it sounds like the heavy slider usage contributed to the arm injuries that sidelined him for three seasons. A healthy and revamped Severino has gotten off to a strong start in 2022 showing off a true four-pitch mix that actually fades the slider the most. His go-to out pitch is now a changeup and he has added a cutter to supplement his slider. Oh, and his fastball velocity is still sitting around 97 mph. Severino just looks like a more confident and complete pitcher so far this year and I am buying back in.
- It is no secret that starting pitchers have not been going deep into games thus far in 2022, leaving fantasy managers scrambling to try and fill the category of wins. For the fantasy managers debating if the mediocre 4.1 IP by their SP5 is worth it in an upcoming week, I would advise checking the waiver wire and looking for a number of middle relievers. There are several multi-inning RPs dominating currently to consider. For example, Michael King (NYY) has pitched 13 innings so far this year and picked up two wins, one save, and two holds with a 40% strikeout rate and fantastic ratios. Relievers such as King continue to find themselves in line to earn victories with starters still not fully stretched out, while also offering the ability to pick up late-inning stats as well. Another aspect of this strategy is that several of these names are actually the sixth starters on their respected team who would slot into a starting role should an opening come about. This gives multiple ways for these pitchers to offer value both now and later in the season. Names to consider: Michael King (NYY), Clarke Schmidt (NYY), Garrett Whitlock (BOS), Wil Crowe (PIT), Roansy Contreras (PIT), Spencer Strider (ATL), Keegan Thompson (CHC), Jalen Beeks (TB).
Jonesin’ for a Promotion
Peyton Burdick (OF), MIA – This dude has nothing left to prove in the minors. He is smashing baseballs in Triple-A slashing .240/.415.480 with 3 bombs and 4 stolen bases. He strikes out more than you’d like, but his patience and power make it worth it. He seems well ready to get some MLB ABs in the near future.
Kyle Bradish (SP), BAL – This is it! The Orioles are finally calling up starting pitcher prospect…..Kyle Bradish. While we all continue to eagerly await the debut of Grayson Rodriguez, we should be careful to not write off Bradish too quickly. He has climbed through the minor leagues at a reasonably fast rate and has posted a K/9 over 10 and a GB% over 40% at each stop along the way. He has gotten off to a strong start at AAA this year with a 1.20 ERA over 15 IP and most importantly a 1.80 BB/9. Bradish has a nice four-pitch mix with plenty of swing and miss potential, but he needs to show that this newfound command will translate to the big leagues. His first start is Friday night against Boston, a tough debut matchup for sure, but still a name worth putting on your watch list or even stashing on your bench to see the initial results.
Just a note…With the rosters scheduled to decrease from 28 to 26 on May 1st, fantasy managers should be wary of impending player demotions. The easiest way for teams to cut down will be to send players down who have minor league options remaining. This may even include some high-profile prospect names who have struggled early to find consistent playing time and perform. I think Julio Rodriguez is safe in Seattle, but you have to wonder once again about his struggling teammate Jarred Kelenic. C.J. Abrams (SD) seems like an obvious demotion candidate as he has struggled and is only a part-time player who could likely benefit from some time at the AAA level he skipped. Spencer Torkelson (DET) and Bobby Witt Jr. (KC) are likely right on the cutline with both showing flashes but not at a consistent level. It will be interesting to see how their respective clubs handle the situation at the roster deadline.