2017 Fantasy Baseball, Week 19 Preview
Those of you paying attention will have noticed a lack of a week 18 preview last weekend. Well that’s because I had a personal matter to attend to which I won’t go into here. But thankfully, it’s all sorted now.
After week 17, a week off might not have been a bad thing. Two starters, two great starts, two horrendous starts. All in all, it was a pretty average week by the end of it.
Week 19 however, looks much more promising. So much so that we have 4 Two Start Stars. That’s right. Four chances for week 19 greatness. So without further ado, let’s dive into week 19.
Two Start Stars
First up is the Philadelphia Phillies Jerad Eickhoff. I covered him earlier in the season and talked how there was a bit too much pre-season hype around him but that he’d come good at some point. Or at least decent. Well, that time has come.
Eickhoff still doesn’t go deep into games, having not completed 7 full innings since April 10th. But he’s tossed 5 quality starts in his last 8 and two of those were 5 innings of one or no earned runs. His strikeout rate is over 8 K/9 and he’s been doing ok without really dominating.
And week 19 sees Eickhoff head to two of the best pitcher parks to face two of the worst offences in baseball. Firstly visiting the San Diego Padres on Monday before heading to the San Francisco Giants on Saturday.
Both teams rank towards the bottom in runs scored in August and although the Giants don’t strikeout much at all, there’s nothing in week 19 to put me off rostering Eickhoff.
Next up is the Miami Marlins Adam Conley, who gets a home game against the already mentioned San Francisco Giants on Monday before heading to divisional rival New York Mets for a Saturday road game.
In August, only two teams have struck out more than the Mets and they’re mustering just a tad over 4 runs a game on average this month. As a team in August, their batting average is 28th in the Majors, but they rank 3rd in home runs.
Conley returned to the Majors in July after getting hit hard earlier in the season and tossed three straight quality starts to remind everyone of his potential. His last two starts have been a bit rougher but one was against the Washington Nationals.
His troubles haven’t been because of the long ball so I’m not particularly concerned by his start against the Mets and he’s not someone who will strikeout a ton. But the Marlins are capable of putting up a few runs to get Conley with at least one win and he should be a nice stabilizing presence on your roster this week.
Third up is young Cincinnati Reds flame thrower, Luis Castillo. Castillo came to prominence with his 100mph+ fastball but has carried over his control problems from the minors with walks still his big issue.
Castillo goes into week 19 though with a 3.73 ERA and three consecutive quality starts. In his 60.1 major league innings, Castillo has struck out 59 hitters while walking 26 which pretty much sums up what to expect in any week with him.
Castillo pulls two road starts in week 19, with a Tuesday visit to the Chicago Cubs and a Sunday trip to the Atlanta Braves. Although it’s a small sample size, Castillo’s five road starts have yielded a 2.97 ERA and his home starts a 4.50 ERA. So two away games shouldn’t be a negative factor.
The Cubs only rank 19th in runs scored over the last week and the Braves are 28th in August so both teams have struggled to put runs on the board in recent times. Castillo could blow up and the Cubs have the ability to put up crooked numbers, so this is a bit of a risk/reward scenario.
If you want to take a chance with time running out on the season, Castillo is the answer.
Our final pick is the Cleveland Indians enigma of a pitcher; Trevor Bauer.
Bauer is another who has had struggles this year but has come to life when it really matters. He sports an ERA of 4.79 on the year despite his last three starts going for 23 innings and just 3 earned runs. Those last three starts have also seen him tally 22 strikeouts whilst walking just three.
Impressive stuff. And it will need to be in week 19 with trips to the Boston Red Sox on Monday and the Kansas City Royals on Saturday.
If Castillo isn’t a big enough risk/reward pick then Bauer surely is to your liking. The Red Sox are averaging 6 runs a game in August while the Royals top 4 a game. And Bauer’s last three excellent starts have all been at home.
So there are plenty of red flags here. But maybe, just maybe, this is the start of what people expected Bauer to produce over the last couple of years.
Four pitchers, all of who could have great weeks and all have different routes to do so. Pick what you need and reap the rewards.
Worthy hitter pick-ups
As we approach roster expansion, there are not a whole lot of difference makers to go for right now. But some prospects have been called up recently and one in particular is very intriguing for week 19, if not the remainder of the year. Ozzie Albies.
The Braves middle infielder gets four games in Coors Field and then three at home against the Reds, all of the Reds’ scheduled starters are right handed pitchers so he’ll have the advantage of hitting as a leftie at his home park which favours leftie batters.
Albies has shown some surprising pop this year in the minors and has homered twice in the majors since his call up. Eligible at both middle infield spots, Albies has some versatility and he has good speed which is where people expect him to hold most value in fantasy.
He’s got the ability to help with all categories, without being a major contributor in any so should be a nice, well-rounded addition to your roster in a position you are likely to be struggling at.
Remember to follow The Fantasy Fix on Twitter and you can reach out to me with any questions you have on there too. Until next week, happy fantasying.