Who’s Hot and Who’s Not in Fantasy Baseball
How to manage your disabled list can be crucial at this point in the season. Well, maybe not if you’re in a league with unlimited slots, but if not, you need to make some hard decisions. The 10-day DL has changed how Major League teams handle their injured players. Most of these teams will give their players the week-and-a-half rest even if they know they won’t be out that long. It just makes sense to play it safe with multi-million-dollar investments over a long season. Fantasy owners, however, don’t have that luxury. We need those players in our lineups. When weighing a decision of whether or not to release an injured player you need to look at several factors. When will that player return? Do you have an adequate replacement on your roster or is there one available on your waiver wire? Will said player help your opponent if you release him? It can drive one mad, but in the end, don’t go down in flames with a player that you know is not going to end up helping. Availability is the most important ability in both professional and Fantasy Sports.
- Nathan Eovaldi, Boston Red Sox: Things have certainly come up aces for Eovaldi since his return from Tommy John surgery. He pitched well enough for the Rays that he was traded to possibly the best team in the league, the Red Sox. When first acquired it seemed likely that Eovaldi would be a solid fifth starter and long man when Eduardo Rodriguez (ankle) returned from the disabled list. Forget that. Outside of Chris Sale, he may be the best starter that the Sox have or at least he’s up there with Rick Porcello and David Price. He’s a must-start for your Fantasy team.
- Jeff McNeil, New York Mets: McNeil wasn’t considered to be a top prospect, but that hasn’t stopped him from playing like one. Since being called up by the Mets, McNeil is 12-40, with four extra base hits and has an OPS of .998. Perhaps the Mets should learn from his success and give other young players more of a chance. McNeil could be a solid addition if you’re in search of a middle infielder but beware, this hot streak will come to an end.
- Robinson Cano, Seattle Mariners: Cano will be able to return to the Mariners on Tuesday. Where he slots in with the team is an interesting question. The Mariners have said that he won’t return to second base, as they don’t want to put Dee Gordon back into the outfield since Cano isn’t eligible to play in the postseason (that assumes Seattle makes it). Cano has been working out at first and third base. Cano won’t DH, as that is for Nelson Cruz. It would seem unlikely that he would spend much time at 3B, so 1B would make sense. Either way he is likely to play and could be a boon for your Fantasy team.
- Lance Lynn, New York Yankees: When the Yankees acquired Lynn, it was more to be the team’s long man out of the bullpen and rotation insurance. Well the Yankees have cashed in on that insurance policy, as Lynn has taken over Sonny Gray’s rotation spot. Lynn has pitched lights out for the Yankees. He has pitched 11.1 innings without giving up a run. Granted, it came against two less than ideal offenses in the Orioles and White Sox, but if you look at the Yankees’ schedule, his next four to five starts are friendly.
- Kole Calhoun, Los Angeles Angels: Calhoun isn’t having the recent resurgence that Matt Carpenter of the Cardinals has enjoyed, but 12 home runs since July 1 will certainly get you noticed. Calhoun can still be a slight drag on your average so he’s not perfect, but his power stroke has returned. I wouldn’t have any problems starting him, but if you don’t believe, you’re not going to get a better sell-high point than right now.
- Drew Pomeranz, Boston Red Sox: The Red Sox look like they are ready to move on from Pomeranz, so Fantasy owners should also. Eovaldi has secured his spot in the rotation and E-Rod was pitching well before his injury. You won’t be able to get anything for him in a trade, so your best bet is to find someone on your waiver wire that is worth a shot. Maybe Mike Fiers is available.
- Jed Lowrie, Oakland Athletics: While the Athletics have put themselves firmly in the wild card hunt in the American League, Lowrie hasn’t been a big part of that success of late. He has been mired in a 4-42 slump with zero HRs over his last 10 games. His hard-hit rate tells you that he is still hitting the ball with authority, just not having much luck. Lowrie shouldn’t’ be released, but if you can bench him until he breaks out, I would do so. He recently admitted he is not 100 percent recovered from a leg injury, so you may have to keep him reserved for a bit.
- Felix Hernandez, Seattle Mariners: Tuesday night may have told you all you need to know about how the Mariners feel about Hernandez. They left him in the game versus the Rangers for six innings and he gave up 11 runs (seven earned) and three home runs. Hernandez should lose his spot in the rotation shortly. The only question may be who does the team have to replace him? If you’re still rostering him, let him go, there has to be someone more-worthy on your WW.
- Kris Bryant, Chicago Cubs: Bryant stated over the weekend that he isn’t sure when he will even be ready to swing a bat again. It’s at this point in the season that you may have some tough choices to make if your DL is full. The best-case scenario is that Bryant returns at some point in late August. It’s not like he was tearing up the league when healthy. Although I’d hate to do it, if you need the roster spot, I’m good with moving on here.
- Mike Trout, Los Angeles Angels: I don’t understand what the Angels are doing with Trout. His absence from the lineup Wednesday marked the seventh straight game he missed. The Angels state that they are hoping he can play this weekend. Why haven’t they placed him on the disabled list with his wrist injury? Does getting him back one day early really mean all that much? Fantasy owners should also be worried that it is yet another hand/wrist injury for Trout. Nothing concerns me more than an injury to a batter’s hands and/or wrists.
As always feel free to follow me on Twitter and ask any questions you like, @georgekurtz.