2017 Fantasy Baseball, Week 5 Preview
Last week we looked at some struggling stars. Most of whom seem to have turned it around within a few days (as anticipated). That’s now left us to focus on the week ahead and starting to push on after solid starts.
Or in my case, start to turn around early season misfortunes.
We’ve started to see prospects get the call (Cody Bellinger being the most prominent) and our options are expanding. Which given how many DL stints there are this season, is critical.
Whilst we’re on the subject of the DL, just a quick thought. When the DL time was reduced from 15 to 10 days, my first thought is in standard leagues, each team should have at least 2 DL spots now.
Why? Well teams are obviously more inclined to use the DL. If a hitter has a sore leg and needs a week’s rest, he’s more likely to be put on the DL for 10 days than he was 15. The team get to use that roster spot on someone else and don’t really miss out except for maybe one or two starts from their injured hitter.
For pitchers, it’s more critical. A starter can go on the DL now and only miss one start. So teams no longer have to keep him rostered and skip a start, they can DL him, call up another starter of get bullpen help without harming their team.
But for fantasy, it’s different. You get a couple of starters put on the DL who are expected to only miss the minimum 10 days, then a hitter gets DL’d, what do you do? If you need to pick up another starter, you’re dropping a healthy player just to accommodate it. Or, you go short.
It’s not right that all your draft preparations can be undone by injury misfortune and some guys you drafted late who are helping now need to be dropped to cover a week or two of injuries. The healthy team then get to pick up whoever you drop and dump their crappy guys who they drafted on a whim.
And suddenly, the fluky owner who lucked his way through the first two weeks despite a terrible draft has a much better team because you got a few injuries.
So, I urge you, if you play in a league where you get just 1 DL spot, lobby for change. Push for at least two spots, maybe even more. Even if it’s a DL spot for hitters and one for pitchers, it’s a start.
I read in the week (although can’t for the life of me find the link anywhere) that DL stints are up 13% on this time last year. That’s pretty darn significant and you shouldn’t have to suffer the anguish of dropping a solid starting player just because you get hit by a couple of injuries.
For example, in my main 12 team league, there’s currently 23 rostered players who are on the DL. Admittedly, a couple are pretty much droppable. But still, that’s a considerable number. And that’s not taking into account the 12 or so DL’d players still on waivers.
Now that’s off my chest, let’s crack on with the Week 5 preview for your Two Start Stars and the Gut Call.
Two Start Stars
We’ll continue to monitor the previous Two Start Stars with a quick recap on previous week’s ranks. Once we get further into the season, I’ll be compiling a list of the pitchers’ game scores to get more specific data on our successes!
Week 2 B+
Honorable mention – AJ Griffin A (injured before 2nd start).
Honorable mention – Hyun-Jin Ryu B-.
So this week hasn’t quite gone according to plan and has been a bit of a down week. But, Blach and Ryu still have their Sunday starts to push us back up off the floor.
Speaking of last week, this week’s first Two Start Star is last week’s blooper, Robert Gsellman.
Last week, I was concerned with his second start (against the Nationals). But seeing as Gsellman has been bumped back a day, he now has a much more favourable matchup on Monday against the Atlanta Braves, on the road facing Julio Teheran. Then back at home against the Miami Marlins and Wei-Yin Chen.
Now first, the opponents. The Braves and Marlins both rank in the bottom half in terms of runs scored (Braves 22nd and Marlins 18th respectively). Now strikeouts may be at a premium as the Braves rank 4th and Marlins 8th in terms of punch-outs. But they both rank in the bottom six in walks taken.
There’s enough good there to pique your interest.
Then there is their match-ups. This will be the third time the Mets have faced Teheran and Chen already this season. Granted, the Mets are struggling right now. But facing off against a familiar face might be just the tonic they need. Their cumulative results against both starters so far are;
21.1 IP, 22 H, 9 ER, 8 BB, 18 K
Nothing special but solid considering the Mets struggles this year. And having faced them both twice already in such a short period, the hitters should know what they’re facing better than anyone else.
Now what of Gsellman? Well last week, I said this;
“the strikeouts are there (20 in 17.2 innings) and looking at his BABIP, FIP, xFIP, strand rate and HR/FB, they all suggest he’s been unlucky so far”.
He then went out and got hit hard in his last start (10 hits, 3 walks and 5 earned runs in 4 innings). That was against the Braves. Gsellman has also faced the Marlins twice already too. So those factors work against him.
But I hark back to last week’s comment. Gsellman has been unlucky so far and if he can just get Lady Luck to cast a smile his way, he has a great chance to get his season back on track this week.
As with last week, there are some studs with two starts in week 5 (Kershaw, Kluber and Sale just to being with) so finding another solid two start option isn’t easy. Tyler Chatwood however fits the bill nicely.
Obviously, it’s a benefit pitching in Petco rather than Coors and Chatwood has a 3.20 career ERA on the road, compared to a 5.17 home ERA. Couple that with how bad the Padres are (averaging 3.4 runs per game) and the week should start off well for Chatwood.
Heading home to face the Diamondbacks may be more of a struggle. So far, Chatwood has failed to give up fewer than 4 runs in his three home starts. He’s faced the Diamondbacks 8 times in his career and has a 4-2 record against them with a 4.39 ERA. Respectable given both team’s home ballparks.
So whilst I’m not anticipating a brilliant outing, even a solid one coupled with the facing the Padres should be enough to give Chatwood a very solid weeks’ worth of work.
This week’s Honorable Mention goes to Sonny Gray. Expected to make his first start of the season on Tuesday at Minnesota and the Twins’ Hector Santiago before making his home debut against the Detroit Tigers and Justin Verlander.
I’m not sure I’m trotting Gray out there just yet and in truth, I’m not much of a Sonny Gray guy, but it’s at least worth monitoring to see how he gets on against two so-so offenses.
The Gut’s mediocre start to the season needs turning around, so what better place to start with success than “Big Game James” Shields.
Shields hit the DL after 3 starts of giving up 1 earned run and striking out at least 5. Due to come back off the DL to face the Kansas City Royals in a road game on Wednesday (facing Ian Kennedy), Shields will enter the contest with a 1.62 ERA, 1.14 WHIP and 16 K’s over 16.2 innings of work.
The Royals just haven’t got anything going at the plate so far this year, ranking last in runs scored (23 behind the second worst Giants offense). The Royals have an MLB worst .205 team batting average too. This should be the perfect first game back from the DL for Shields.
As well as the perfect game for getting my Gut back to calling out good things, rather than the obscenities it’s been hollering so far.
That’s your lot for this week. Until next week, happy fantasying.