Happy week 19 and happy first taste of fantasy baseball playoffs to me. This is the first week of playoffs in my main home redraft league, where we shorten the regular season to allow for each playoff matchup to span two weeks. A little word to the wise, if your head-to-head leagues aren’t currently doing two-week matchup periods for the playoffs, I strongly urge you to consider it. Fantasy baseball is a long regular season, and allowing two weeks for each playoff matchup eliminates some randomness one week can bring, i.e. two-start weeks for starting pitchers.
Let’s dive in.
Josiah Gray (SP Was)
Gray came over to the Nationals in the Scherzer/Turner trade and has taken the fifth spot in the Nats’ rotation, and has impressed thus far. Gray has made two starts with the Nationals going five innings in each start and posting a 1.80 ERA overall. What has me more excited is the peripheral stats, as I’m quite sure he won’t maintain a sub-two ERA going forward. Gray has a 3.88 SIERA, I’d be very happy if I could scoop someone off waivers right now who’s posting a sub-four ERA for me. Even better, Gray has an 18.8% swinging-strike rate and a 33% call-strike plus whiff-rate on the year, both coming in well above league average. The ability to miss bats is a strong tailwind for future fantasy production.
Gray gets the start tonight against the Braves and then lines up next on 20 August at the Brewers, which is a tough matchup, but if you’re in need of any starting pitching depth especially as you ramp up towards either playoffs or the end of your season, he’s the clear top widely available pitcher for me right now.
C.J. Cron (1B Col)
I’ve written about Cron in the past but he’s still under-owned in my humble opinion. He’s carrying a .373 xWOBA with a .851 OPS, and a .828 projected rest-of-season OPS per Steamer. He plays in Coors Field which is the biggest cheat code for fantasy players and next week he has six games at home, three of which are against Diamondbacks’ pitchers. He’s a beast in points leagues and is a plus-contributor in home runs and RBI in categories leagues.
Anthony Santander (OF Bal)
Santander has been very up and down this year, but if you’re in need of outfield help or home runs and RBI in categories leagues give him a look. Playing in Camden Yards is never a bad thing for a power hitter and he’s caught fire over his last 30 days, batting .339 with a 1.022 OPS. This is someone who most analysts had on their radar in redraft leagues before the season, so it’s not like it’s a JAG (just a guy) who has caught fire, there could be some staying power with Santander.
There are a TON of two-start pitchers lined up for week 19, make sure to either start them or take a look at streaming them.
Dallas Keuchel (SP ChW)
I don’t see why Keuchel is still 66% owned other than name recognition. He’s averaging 7.1 fantasy points per game on the season and 5.6 over his last 30 days. He’s not going to be a contributor in any category aside from maybe wins just because he pitches for a great team. It’s well past due to cut Keuchel loose.
Eugenio Suarez (3B, SS Cin)
Another guy who’s getting the benefit of the doubt being 77% owned. We know Suarez is going to carry a terrible batting average, but we also hope for an above-average OPS with league-leading home run potential. We also hope for a low-to-mid .200s batting average, and not his current .174 average. At this point, I think it’s time to chalk 2021 up to a lost season for Suarez and move on.
Photo by Todd Kirkland
While we have you, make sure you check back over the Bat Flips & Nerds Podcast archives. The guys (and girl) have conducted some awesome interviews ranging from Lucas Giolito to Reginald D. Hunter. I particularly enjoyed the one with Cody Decker. Click on the photo below.