The Waterloo View: In-Depth Fantasy Baseball Observations
So far, so good on the Shohei Ohtani experiment. The rookie has come as advertised so far for the Angels and Fantasy owners alike, as Anaheim has made it a point to keep Ohtani on regular rest. Depending on the site you play on and the way Ohtani is broken down, he has returned value, too, if you can use him as one player with daily lineups. For those with weekly lineups, you don’t get the Ohtani advantage because you have to declare if Ohtani is a hitter or pitcher at the beginning of each week, which is fair. It’s better than Yahoo, where Ohtani is two different players.
For instance, Ohtani the hitter and Ohtani the pitcher have combined for 198.5 Fantasy points using Yahoo’s points system. That’s good for eighth overall among players in Fantasy.
But, it’s interesting the approach the Angels have taken, as they’ve preferred to start Ohtani on each Sunday. Five of his seven starts have come on Sunday, and in those games, Ohtani has a 1.77 ERA, 0.70 WHIP and 44 strikeouts in 33 innings pitched. In his other games, Ohtani has a 10.13 ERA, 2.53 WHIP and eight strikeouts in 7.1 innings pitched.
Now it just so happens that in the Sunday games, Ohtani pitched against Oakland, Oakland, Seattle, Minnesota and Tampa Bay, and in the other games, he started against the Astros and the Red Sox. Struggles against the Red Sox and Astros are normal for any pitcher, and add to it that Ohtani was dealing with a blister, he should get a pass. But what’s with the dominance on Sundays for Ohtani?
It’s not like the offenses were all bad, as the Athletics (fifth), Mariners (sixth) and Rays (eighth) are Top 8 offenses in baseball, based on their respective team wRC+, but Minnesota is 21st at 93 wRC+.
If you look at it historically, Sunday is the day of the week that teams run out their “B” squads, as regulars will get a rest with a day game typically coming after a night game. Could this be the reason for Ohtani’s success on Sunday?
Let’s take a look at the total number of runs scored by day entering Monday, May 21:
- Monday – 629
- Tuesday – 860
- Wednesday – 891
- Thursday – 745
- Friday – 968
- Saturday – 1,133
- Sunday – 871
So first, we can wipe out Monday and Thursday, because those are the days that teams typically have off in a week. For example, the Orioles have scored a grand total of three runs on Mondays this year, but they have only played three Monday games.
With the elimination of those days, here’s the order of days with the most runs scored:
- Saturday – 1,133 (242)
- Friday – 968 (214)
- Wednesday – 891 (196)
- Sunday – 871 (220)
- Tuesday – 860 (202 games)
Keep in mind, there are have been a lot of rain delays this year, so instead of total runs on each day, it’s a better measure to look at runs per game scored on those days instead. With the list above, the number of games played on those days is listed in parenthesis.
Saturday – 4.68
Wednesday – 4.55
Friday – 4.52
Tuesday – 4.26
Sunday – 3.96
Ah, there it is. Again, this isn’t to discredit Ohtani or the competition he’s faced that day. But, when he is facing the “B” squad, the road is going to be a little bit easier as a pitcher. In his starts on Sundays, Ohtani faced seven regulars for the A’s (twice), nine for the Mariners, six for the Twins and eight for the Rays.
Kudos to the Halos for mapping this plan out for Ohtani as he continues to get his feet wet in the Majors. His big test will come this week when he faces the Yankees on, you guessed it, Sunday.
While you were ordering last call at the bar early Sunday morning, the Nationals were announcing that they were calling up 19-year-old phenom, Juan Soto. He has been a name that has been catching the Fantasy industry by storm over the past month, but there was little likelihood that we would see him in Washington this year. At the most, it seemed as if he’d get the September call-up treatment, but alas, he’s here and ready to play nearly every day.
What’s amazing with Soto is that he’d played in 39 games this year in the minors, but no more than 16 games at any level between Single-A, High-A and Double-A before getting the call. He had 52 RBI in those games with 14 home runs, and his lowest batting average at a level was .323 in Double-A Harrisburg.
But wait, is this different than Victor Robles last year, who came up in September only to ride the bench? Well yes, it is. First off, Dusty Baker is gone. That’s always a plus. Secondly, with Adam Eaton forever hurt and Howie Kendrick dealt a huge blow with a season-ending Achilles injury, the Nationals need Soto in the lineup. Not only are they looking up at the Braves in the standings, but they need to make every effort to get Bryce Harper to re-sign after this season. Super Two be damned!
If Soto is still available in your league, be willing to spend upwards of 70-80 percent to secure him. He’s a league-changer.
Are You a Belieber?
When I watch Josh Tomlin pitch, I’m like Baby, Baby, Baby, nooo. I can now check “getting a Justin Bieber lyric into an article” off my bucket list.” But seriously, though. Tomlin is just horrible. He’s pitching to the tune of a 7.84 ERA, and his SIERA is 5.44, so it’s not even bad luck. With every bad start, we are closer and closer to seeing Shane Bieber.
Bieber is raising his stock in the Fantasy community, and that’s after posting a 2.32 ERA in Double-A last year. This year, in eight starts between Double-A and Triple-A, Bieber has a 1.51 ERA. The most impressive stat from Bieber, though, is that he has 46 strikeouts and three walks in 50.1 innings pitched. The strikeouts aren’t super impressive, but they are close to one per inning. But look at the walk total again. Three. That’s some elite control.
Bieber won’t overpower anyone, but he has increased his velocity on his fastball to 94, which is up from 90-91 last year, and is working to develop his secondary arsenal, too, which includes a slider, curveball and changeup.
If you have the open room, you should look at stashing Bieber in 12-team leagues and larger
Shohei Ohtani Featured Image: (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)