Your Weekly Planner Includes Two-Start Pitchers, Top Waiver Adds and Key Streamers
With concerns of Super 2 out of the way, the next wave of prospects is expected to make their debuts within the next 3-4 weeks. Those owners that are either holding a deep stash of FAAB in their vaults or are sitting near the top of the waiver wire order should feel giddy because at least a couple of players on the verge of arrival will be difference makers.
In the meantime, focus on the present. Like a fine wine, meeting a significant other or Creed/Drago, Chapter II, patience is a great reward…
Pitching For Two, Please (Recommended two-start pitchers)
Frankie Montas, Athletics (at Tigers, Monday; vs. Indians, Sunday): You don’t normally want to see a young pitcher need 105 pitches and not even get out of the seventh inning like Montas did at the Padres on Wednesday, but the 4-1 record speaks for itself. His 2.41 ERA would be significantly lower had Montas not run into the Astros buzzsaw on June 14. Opponents have a .317 OBP and .682 OPS against him, which makes him more appealing this week.
Tyler Mahle, Reds (at Braves, Monday, vs. Brewers, Saturday): Mahle’s starting to get it. He’s been a great under the radar hurler this month with a 1.61 ERA and 20 strikeouts in 22.1 innings. After allowing 13 homers the first two months, Mahle has conceded just two bombs in June. He remains brutal to right-handed batters, holding them to a .640 OPS.
Chad Bettis, Rockies (at Giants, Tuesday; at Dodgers, Sunday): If pitching at AT&T Park and Dodgers Stadium can’t cure the hellish June that Bettis has endured, nothing will. Certainly, he can’t extend his streak of allowing at least five earned runs to six straight starts, can he? Right…right?
Steven Matz, Mets (at Pirates, Tuesday; at Marlins, Sunday): Monday’s rough outing at Coors snapped a stretch where Matz went five straight starts with three or fewer runs. Matz sports a 2.60 ERA outside of Citi Field and has given up just two homers on the road, compared to the 4.71 ERA and 10 dingers at home.
Vince Velasquez, Phillies (vs. Yankees, Monday; vs. Nationals, Saturday): Whoa! He’s thrown 105 and 97 pitches in his last two starts. Are we sure we’re talking about the same V-Squared? Come for the strikeouts and pray for the rest, especially with the Pinstripes bringing the heavy lumber to town on Monday.
Reynaldo Lopez, White Sox (vs. Twins, Tuesday; at Rangers, Sunday): Just keep him away from the Indians, please? Lopez has been solid over the last month, save for two outings against Cleveland where he gave up a combined 11 runs over seven innings. He’s a good play this week as he faces a scoring-challenged Minnesota lineup before taking on a Texas offense that is second only to the Padres in strikeouts.
Freddy Peralta, Brewers (vs. Royals, Tuesday; at Reds, Sunday): “I don’t want to start a pitcher with 14.36 K/9 rate,” said no one ever.
Felix Hernandez, Mariners (at Orioles, Monday; vs. Royals, Saturday): Looking like King Felix of old, Hernandez has allowed one earned run in three of his last four starts, with the last two starts against the Red Sox and Yankees. Expect possible smooth sailing from him this week against two of the three lowest scoring teams in the league.
Shelby Miller, Diamondbacks (at Marlins, Monday, vs. Giants, Saturday): Fourteen months after Tommy John surgery, Miller makes his return to the Arizona starting rotation. Miller will be on a tight pitch count, yet the intrigue of whether he can eventually return to his 2013 form (15-9, 3.06 ERA with the Cardinals) is enough to pull me in.
Kyle Tucker, OF, Astros: When I asked an Astros insider when Tucker will be called up, they simply texted back, “Very soon.” The kid is destroying Triple-A pitching over the last 10 games and while Tony Kemp has done a good job in left field (.383 OBP, three steals in 29 games), the time has come for Tucker to bring his five-tool skills to The Show. He’s owned in 30 percent of CBSSports.com leagues and I promise that number will double within two weeks.
Tom Murphy, C, Rockies: He’s overtaken Chris Iannetta as the backstop of choice in Colorado. Murphy, owned in 25 percent of CBSSports.com leagues, has above average power that he’ll eventually display. Take advantage while he’s currently rolling with a .370 slugging percentage that will take a climb sooner than later.
Ryan Tepera, P, Blue Jays: Tepera was born in Houston on November 3, 1987, the same day I probably found myself in Principal Carr’s office at La Marque High School for being a smartass. He’s patiently worked his way into the closer’s role in Toronto with a strong June that has seen Tepera go 3-for-3 in save opps while allowing just one earned run over 9.1 innings. He’s owned in 31 percent of CBSSports.com leagues.
Yan Gomes, C, Indians: Look, a .254 batting average usually won’t bring the phone numbers from the ladies, but let’s applaud Gomes for reaching here. After all, Gomes hit .167 in 2016 and .232 last season, so progress. He’s also on pace to hit 19 homers and drive in 55-60 runs, making him a good option for filling the backstop the same way he’s done so for the 40 percent of CBSSports.com owners who roster him.
Jason Heyward, OF, Cubs: Remember when he was once mentioned in the same breath as Mike Trout? That worked out well, huh? Heyward is finally bringing a semblance of offense and while his .283/.345/.429 looks like Trout’s slash line during a slump, it’s nifty to see him hitting the ball consistently. The power is probably never coming back, so let’s just be like the 20 percent of CBSSports.com players who own him and just take it for what it is without getting too deep into why.
Matt Duffy, 3B, Rays: It’s not Evan Longoria but it’s also not Gary Scott. Duffy is taking hold of the hot corner in Tampa Bay with a .799 OPS to boot. He has occasional power but the .360 OBP is a plus, especially in leagues that use OBP as a category. Still more of a deeper league option, Duffy, owned in 22 percent of CBSSports.com leagues, merits attention.
A Streaming We Will Go (Pitchers Edition)
Jack Flaherty, Cardinals (vs. Indians, Wednesday): Three runs or fewer in nine of his first 10 starts. I’ll take that versus the DH-less Tribe.
Brent Suter, Brewers (vs. Royals, Wednesday): Downright nasty this month with an 0.83 WHIP, Suter has seven straight starts of three runs or fewer.
Wade LeBlanc, Mariners (at Orioles, Wednesday): Eight baserunners allowed in his last 12.2 innings, LeBlanc has also struck out 14 in that same span.
Blaine Hardy, Tigers (vs. Athletics, Wednesday): He will return from a brief stint in the bullpen to a stretch where he’s allowed just two walks over his last 17.1 innings.
Kyle Freeland, Rockies (at Giants, Wednesday): Locked up the San Fran bats at AT&T Park on May 18, holding them to five hits and one run over 6.2 innings en route to the W.
Dylan Bundy, Orioles (vs. Mariners, Thursday): The four runs he allowed to the Marlins on Sunday were the first Bundy had given up this month.
Jon Gray, Rockies (at Giants, Thursday): Come for the strikeouts. Pray for…aw, you know the rest.
Nick Pivetta, Phillies (vs. Nationals, Friday): Can’t say I expected the 10.7 K/9 rate from Pivetta. You also must love the 2.5 BB/9 rate he brings as well.
Caleb Smith, Marlins (vs. Mets, Friday): Will have a chance to get his bearings back after allowing seven earned runs over 10.1 innings since returning from the bereavement list.
Joe Musgrove, Pirates (at Padres, Friday): Pittsburgh has lost the last three times he’s started but only one (six earned runs against the Reds on Sunday) were on him.
A Streaming We Will Go (Hitters Edition)
Michael A. Taylor, OF, Nationals (at Phillies, Thursday-Sunday): Entered the weekend with a sizzling .425 batting average this month while also swiping eight bags.
Randal Grichuk, OF, Blue Jays (vs. Tigers, Friday-Sunday): Over the past month, Grichuk has gone .316/.371/.719 with six homers and 15 RBI.
Pablo Sandoval, 1B/3B, Giants (at Diamondbacks, Friday-Sunday): He’s a not so friendly Panda against Arizona pitching, thumping them with a .350/.381/.650 slash line with a pair of homers this season.
Devon Travis, 2B, Blue Jays (vs. Tigers, Friday-Sunday): From batting .170 in April to .311 this month, Travis is on the slow road back to becoming a reliable Fantasy option in deeper leagues.
Hernan Perez, UT, Brewers (vs. Royals, Monday-Tuesday): Milwaukee’s super sub will thrive no matter when he’s placed in the lineup, especially against two pitchers (Brad Keller, Danny Duffy) with a combined 3-10 record.
Brandon Nimmo, OF, Mets (at Marlins, Friday-Sunday): You’ll gladly take his 1.034 road OPS into South Florida for a weekend. Did you know Nimmo is on a 30-homer pace? If you didn’t, you do now.
Mark Trumbo, OF, Orioles (vs. Angels, Friday-Sunday): The ever-streaky slugger is due for another power spike and could do against the team that signed his paychecks from 2010-13, where he also smacked 95 of his 207 career homers.
Addison Russell, SS, Cubs (at Dodgers, Monday-Thursday): Went 3-for-7 (.429) the first time he saw Dodgers pitching this season.
Marcus Semien, SS, Athletics (at Tigers, Monday-Thursday): Dormant for much of the month, Semien’s bat has come alive of late. He’s a better hitter (.719 OPS) on the road than at home (.679 OPS).
Jon Jay, OF, Diamondbacks (at Marlins, Monday-Thursday): Three of the four games are at night, when Jay has a .402 OBP and .830 OPS.
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