Vlad's FAAB Values: Week 23
When it comes to fantasy baseball, I'd like to think I have just the right blend of confidence and modesty, yet letting those who follow my work know, there are very few, if any, better than me at this. A bit of a dichotomous statement with a humblebrag built in, I know. But truth be told, I am going on my ninth consecutive baseball season of profiting considerably on what’s usually five to 10 high stakes teams (entries ranging from $350 to $8k). I don’t want to jinx my season at all (and I don’t really believe in jinxes but there is a part of me that is always careful), but 2018 should be another fine season. I'd happily go toe-to-toe against anyone, anytime.
Though I never post how much I plan to bid on players, those who I play against in high stakes always get to see my hand – the players I’m bidding on are usually listed in my weekly column. Knowing that my competitors can be lurking and interested in bidding on the same players makes it even more fun and competitive for me. I'll slap that Queen-Ace on my forehead and will happily do battle.
I’d like to say that regression is way overdue and I’m bound for a rough season in 2019, but the fact of the matter is – dominating at fantasy baseball is my most perfected skill. It does not matter the season, or if my first and second round pick go down for the season in April – the season is long enough where there’s always a way to recover and compete if you grind and put in the time. Just a few weeks to go, but I appreciate all of you who have stuck with me week after week this season. Look forward to hearing about how gloriously you crushed your leagues in about four week's time.
PITCHERS TO CONSIDER
*percentage-owned in NFBC 12 and 15 team national contests listed
15 TEAM ADDITIONS
Shohei Ohtani (RHP, Angels, 56%) – Be sure to temper your expectations and not spend more than a buck or two on a speculative bid. Though all of this could be thrown out of the window if he throws five strong innings against the Astros on Sunday. I don’t see how they don’t bring him on slowly and allow him to pitch more than just a couple. For the remainder of the year, he’ll be a glorified reliever with a couple of hiccups along the way. Bringing him back is a bit of a dubious move since the Halos have nothing to play for this season and he is a very integral part (1B to Trout’s 1A) of this team’s short-term future.
Ryan Yarbrough (LHP, Rays, 59%) – A lot of hit and miss for the southpaw lefty who led all of Triple-A in strikeouts last year. After a couple of rough starts outings in late July and early August (11 ER combined to White Sox and Angels), Yarbrough had gone three consecutive appearances without allowing a run until allowing just one in five strong innings against the Red Sox last week. Yarby gets a tough assignment coming for Ryne Stanek against the Indians Sunday, but then could possibly draw the start against the Orioles next weekend. Even better if he comes in, in the second or third inning, as per usual.
Framber Valdez (LHP, Astros, 27%) – The southpaw rookie has fared well in his first big league starts, not allowing more than two hits in each of those first three games (one against the Mariners, two versus the Angels). Valdez did walk three in each of those Angels’ starts but will now be coveted, taking on a Twins team where the ‘Stros will certainly be favored – a Twins team whose best hitters happen to be lefties themselves. I would not sell the ranch for him, but could certainly see him having a fourth consecutive roto-valuable start.
Jace Fry (Closer, White Sox, 27%) – With closer situations being harrier and more volatile than ever, we are seeing an abundance of options on the waiver wire each week, for those who need saves. Under the radar a bit is the White Sox’ 25-year-old southpaw closer. His team has been providing run support of late and he’s nabbed two saves over the past week. Since the All-Star break, Fry has been lights-out with a 25:3 K:BB and a miniscule 1.69 ERA in August. With the Tigers and Angels on the schedule, a couple more save opportunities may arise.
12 TEAM ADDITIONS
Wade LeBlanc (LHP, Mariners, 41%) – LeBlanc was stellar in back-to-back outings against the Athletics (7 IP, 3 H, 0 ER) and the Dbacks (1 ER, 6 K in 6 IP) and now get a lovely stretch of schedule. First, it’s a battle with the hapless Orioles, and then a lovely two-start week in Week 24 taking on the Padres and an Angels offense that struggles against lefties (outside of Trout).
Mike Minor (LHP, Rangers, 37%) – He is in my column on almost a weekly basis yet continues to be undervalued and under-appreciated. The upcoming stretch of schedule doesn’t get any better than this – the Angels twice, as well as a date with the Padres.
Austin Gomber (LHP, Cardinals, 32%) – The rookie southpaw continues to impress and he is usable against the Tigers this week but beware the huge discrepancy in ERA (2.77) and xFIP (4.84).
Teams with seven (7) games:
Braves: 3 v BOS, 4 @ ARI
Nationals: 3 v STL, 4 CHC (all home)
Cubs: 3 @ MIL, 4 @ WAS (all road)
Reds: 3 @ PIT, 4 v SD
- USE: A friendly schedule for the Giants who spend three games at Coors Field, then three at Miller Park to take on the Brewers. All the rookies are in play in deeper leagues (Austin Slater, Chris Shaw, and to a much milder extent, backup catcher Aramis Garcia).
- AVOID: Mets hitters don’t get it much tougher than this. First, a three-game series in Dodger Stadium facing some tough arms (Wood/Hill/Ryu – all lefties), then three against the Phillies where they’ll face shutdown ace Aaron Nola and likely Eflin/Velasquez. I’d still probably roll out Amed Rosario for swipes but may opt to bench someone like Michael Conforto or Brandon Nimmo in 12-teamers.
- Dodgers’ schedule is not as appealing as it may look even though they head to Coors next weekend. They’ve mightily struggled against southpaws over the second half (hence the addition of David Freese), and they’ll see two of them in Denver, including sub-3 ERA Kyle Freeland and the sometimes spot-on Tyler Anderson. Prior to that series, they’ll face the knock-out duo of deGrom and Wheeler. I’d play my studs but would consider benching a borderline 12-team bat like Yasiel Puig.
Teams with seven (7) games:
Blue Jays: 3 v TB, 4 v CLE (all home)
Indians: 3 v KC, 4 @ TOR
- USE: An enticing schedule for the Indians this week with three against the Royals and four in the hitters’ haven known as Rogers Centre. This Jays’ rotation is essentially a mix of rookie arms and fly ball pitchers. I’m sure many of you who drafted Josh Donaldson are hoping for a bit of spark to make up for a lost season.
- USE: Love the six-game schedule for Angels’ left-handed hitters – guys like Kole Calhoun and Shohei Ohtani (though you’ll see him in the lineup less frequently since he’s back in the rotation). They should see rookie Ariel Jurado and Drew Hutchison in Arlington, and then James Shields and Reynaldo Lopez in Chi-town.
HITTERS TO CONSIDER
Nick Hundley (C, Giants, 71%) – We may see a scenario where the Giants prefer to give rookie Aramis Garcia the bulk of the starts, but with no Buster Posey in the mix, Hundley is a valuable add. Somehow this old dude even swiped a couple of bags last week. A series in Coors puts both Giants’ catchers in play in deeper formats.
Chris Shaw (OF, Giants, 0%) and Austin Slater (OF, Giants, 9%) – Slater is someone I took a $1 flier on last week knowing Coors was on the docket. Shaw was promoted over the weekend and should see near daily playing time with Steve Duggar out for the year and Andrew McCutchen now in pinstripes. Shaw could hurt the average (34% K, 5% BB, .258 BA in Triple-A) but certainly has pop that can play in the right ballparks (24 HR in 101 G).
Kike Hernandez (MI/CI/OF, Dodgers, 53%) – A nice week for Kike who went 8-for-15 and is back en fuego after I dropped him as a pick-up option in my Week 21 column. A weekend in Coors facing two lefties is certainly enticing if you’re looking to maximize opportunity in formats like NFBC where you can make lineup changes twice a week.
Lourdes Gurriel Jr. (2B, Blue Jays, 50%) – Coming off a month-long injury and a week where he hit .100, I am hoping he gets dropped in the leagues where I don’t own him. This is the week Gurriel gets it going. Though the Jays face the Rays and Indians this week, they will likely miss out on having to face Corey Kluber or Blake Snell.
Jeimer Candelario (3B, Tigers, 46%) – Another dude struggling who I just have a good feeling about. The schedule is not particularly gorgeous as the Tigers will face a much-improved Lucas Giolito and rookie phenom Michael Kopech. Then a three-game series against the Cardinals. Just call it pure gut, but certainly don’t sit a stud to get him in and only use him as UT or CI if absolutely necessary.
Tyler White (1B, Astros, 35%) and Melky Cabrera (OF, Indians, 25%) – Believe this is my third week dropping these names in my column yet ownership continues to stay sluggish. I don’t need to tell you what type of statistical impact they’ve had over the last two weeks. Jump aboard for one more ride if you can.