Your Fantasy Baseball Planner, with Streamers and Waiver Tips
The lights shine bright at the end of the tunnel, as this week marks the end of the first half of the season. Laziness is not an option, so let’s all rally up and leave everything on the Fantasy floor before we take a break away from each other for a few days.
Pitching For Two, Please (Recommended two-start pitchers)
Andrew Suarez, Giants (vs. Cubs, Monday; vs. Athletics, Sunday): He so deserved to win on Independence Day, allowing just five hits and one earned run over seven innings of work at Coors Field. Even with humidor-protected baseballs, gems like that at Coors are few and far in between. Suarez is brutal to hitters at AT&T Park, holding them to a .237 batting average while sporting a 33:4 K:BB rate. So, yeah, he’s a good play this week.
Garrett Richards, Angels (vs. Mariners, Tuesday; at Dodgers, Sunday): Richards’ K/9 rate dipped a bit before recording at least seven strikeouts in three of his last four outings, including eight whiffs of Mariners batters on July 4. The increased trust of his slider and curve are a big reason why he’ll come into the week averaging a career-best 10.51 K/9 this season.
Jeremy Hellickson, Nationals (at Pirates, Tuesday; at Mets, Sunday): Let’s all burn the image of Hellickson pitching line from Thursday (4 IP, 9 H, 8 ER, 2 HRs allowed) while thinking happy thoughts of Hellickson’s work prior to that dumpster fire. He had allowed a total of just 12 earned runs prior to the Marlins using his arm as a firework stand gone horribly wrong, but starts against the fading Pirates and a near-comatose Mets lineup should lead to more smiles.
Mike Leake, Mariners (vs. Angels, Tuesday; at Rockies, Sunday): Hints of regression in his last three starts, but Leake has still shaved off nearly two runs off his ERA since bottoming out at 6.00 on May 15. Being a grounder-friendly hurler helps his cause since Leake struggles to make batters swing and miss on a consistent basis, as evidenced by his slow lane-like 5.64 K/9 rate.
Dylan Bundy, Orioles (vs. Yankees, Tuesday; vs. Rangers, Saturday): Despite giving up 11 of his 18 homers to right-handed hitters, Bundy still tames them to the tune of .181 batting average and .633 OPS. Only the guy who calls 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue home has a harder time with lefties than Bundy, who’s allowed an .849 OPS to them. Bundy fares well at home, so I’d take my chances with him this week.
Ivan Nova, Pirates (vs. Nationals, Monday; vs. Brewers, Saturday): Tuesday’s loss to the Dodgers snapped a four-start run in which Nova allowed fewer than three earned runs in five of his previous six outings. He’s a great play this week, as Nova has a 2.77 ERA at home despite winning just one game in Pittsburgh this season. Only three of the 17 homers Nova has given up have come at PNC Park.
Danny Duffy, Royals (at Twins, Monday; at White Sox, Saturday): You’ll have to look closely, but there are positive signs in Duffy, such as striking out at least seven batters in three of four starts in June along with avoiding the longball in four of his last 10 starts. Neither the Twins nor Pale Hose possess heavy lumber, so Duffy’s trends could continue to point upward.
C.C. Sabathia, Yankees (at Orioles, Tuesday; at Indians, Sunday): Since allowing seven earned runs to the Rangers on May 23, Sabathia has allowed a combined 12 earned runs in his last seven appearances. He’s also in a run where he’s recorded at least 91 pitches in eight of his last nine starts, including three of over 100 pitches. That’s the new definition of “workhorse” these days. Groovy…
Nick Pivetta, Phillies (at Mets, Tuesday; at Marlins, Sunday): High pitch counts have led to early dismissals for Pivetta but he’s also showing signs of shaking out of a funk that lagged from late May to mid-June. The bottom-feeding lineups of both the Mets and Marlins will help Pivetta keep turning the momentum toward the positive while also carrying a strong K/9 rate.
Johan Camargo, 3B, Braves: Every feel-good movie needs an unsung hero. Camargo is filling that role for the Braves to the point where he’s getting traction in Fantasy leagues, as his 26 percent ownership in CBSSports.com leagues shows. Camargo is hitting nearly .300 since the start of June and has flashed surprising power to where he’s on pace for 20 homers. What makes him a good pickup is his OBP, which is hovering near .360. There’s upside here, so grab Camargo before he becomes recognized.
Jesse Winker, OF, Reds: Once considered a possible 20-25 home run hitter, Winker’s pop hasn’t been the same since a wrist injury a couple of years ago. It hasn’t taken away his ability to hit, as his bat is one of the reasons why the Reds are looking like both a team on the rise and a possible NL playoff spoiler. Winker is hitting .343 over the past month and has smacked five of his six homers in that span while sporting an OPS of 1.051. Owned in 30 percent of CBSSports.com leagues, Winker’s bat could be a potential difference-maker in deeper formats.
Elias Diaz, C, Pirates: The replacement for injured starter Francisco Cervelli has been a hitting machine since given an opportunity to play, batting .295 with a pair of homers and an .892 OPS in the last two weeks. Diaz’s ownership sits at 24 percent in CBSSports.com leagues, and if he continues to hit at this pace, the Pirates are going to have to find a spot for him once Cervelli returns from the DL.
Will Smith, P, Giants: I’ll spare you the comps to his more famous namesake. Smith has three straight saves, including one on Friday night, that now puts his name into the suddenly crowded San Fran closer’s hat. He looks to be the best fit for the role, especially when you realize Smith is a tight end-sized 6’5, 265 and fans 12.43 batters per nine innings. Surprisingly, Smith doesn’t come with high octane heat, instead settling on a fastball-slider combo with a curve sprinkled in. He’s owned in 17 percent of CBSSports.com leagues and should be added in deeper leagues.
Jorge Polanco, SS, Twins: Fresh from his 80-game trip to detention hall for bringing PEDs to class, Polanco’s bat has led to a .333 average and .804 OPS in his first six games back. He’s at 24 percent ownership in CBSSports.com leagues and I promise he’ll be double that in the next 10-14 days once your fellow owners remember this is the same Polanco who hit 13 homers and stole 13 bases last season.
Dereck Rodriguez, P, Giants: Pudge’s son is putting in work and is now established himself in the San Fran rotation. Rodriguez extended his streak to five starts with two earned runs or fewer on Friday night while also making it five straight starts with two or fewer walks. He’s not much on fanning batters, but he’s worth a roster spot. Rodriguez’s ownership stands at 34 percent in CBSSports.com leagues, a number that will rise if he’s keeping the earned runs low.
Kyle Tucker, OF, Astros: He’s here. Pick. Him. Up. Now.
Joe Jimenez, P, Tigers: Shane Greene is due off the DL soon, but is also a candidate to toil in a contender’s bullpen by month’s end. Jimenez is averaging 10.43 K/9, but is still harnessing his 96 MPH heater, which leads to some sticky situations. He’s owned in 26 percent of CBSSports.com leagues and is a good speculation buy for those in need of saves.
A Streaming We Will Go (Pitchers Edition)
Jordan Zimmerman, Tigers (at Rays, Wednesday): A combined nine hits, two earned runs and 17 Ks in his first two starts off the DL? Yeah, I’ll take my chances with J-Z.
Freddy Peralta, Brewers (at Marlins, Wednesday): …because 12.30 K/9 is a thing of beauty, more so when unleashed against the Miami lineup.
Tyler Mahle, Reds (at Indians, Wednesday): He’s 4-0 since June 1 and allowed just three homers in his last eight starts.
Marco Gonzales, Mariners (at Angels, Wednesday): Consecutive wins have been enhanced with 14 strikeouts in 15 innings.
Edwin Jackson, Athletics (at Astros, Thursday): Had yet to allow a walk in his first 12.2 innings of work. At age 34, there’s still time for him to play for 3-4 more teams. How cool would it be if Jackson is hurling for an expansion team in the next 6-8 years?
Kyle Freeland, Rockies (vs. Diamondbacks, Thursday): Never thought I would be typing the phrase “a Rockies pitcher is in his element at Coors Field.” 2018, everyone. Freeland is 5-2 with a 2.89 ERA at home while holding hitters to a .215 average. Again, 2018, everyone.
Tyson Ross, Padres (vs. Dodgers, Thursday): The seven runs he allowed to the Pirates on July 1 was the first time since May 7 that he allowed three or more runs. He’s killing righties, holding them to a .185 batting average and a .540 OPS.
Junior Guerra, Brewers (at Pirates, Friday): We all know the drill by now: Guerra lumbers his way through 5-6 innings and gives it to the power arms in the Milwaukee bullpen. It’s worked well this season.
Anibal Sanchez, Braves (vs. Diamondbacks, Friday): Still fanning close to a batter per inning, Sanchez has allowed more than three runs just once since May 29.
A Streaming We Will Go (Hitters Edition)
Avisail Garcia, OF, White Sox (vs. Royals, Friday-Sunday): Came out banging to start the new month, hitting .423 with a ridiculous 1.541 OPS. Eight of his first 11 hits have been of the extra base persuasion, four of them homers.
Jurickson Profar, INF/OF, Rangers (at Orioles, Friday-Sunday): While not as blistering hot as Garcia, Profar bolted into July with five runs scored, seven hits and a pair of steals in his first three games of the month. Should be able to carry the momentum against a wretched Orioles pitching staff.
Jedd Gyorko, INF, Cardinals (at White Sox, Tuesday-Wednesday): Four of his first nine hits this month went for extra bases. He’ll add to that total in an extreme hitter’s park.
Mark Reynolds, 3B, Nationals (at Pirates, Monday-Wednesday): Back to his streaky ways, Reynolds has a 1.039 OPS over the past two weeks.
Todd Frazier, 3B, Mets (Monday-Wednesday): Doubleheader on Monday, so Frazier gets four shots to keep his recent stretch of mashing (1.017 OPS in the last week) into the All-Star Break.
Aaron Hicks, OF, Yankees (at Orioles, Monday-Wednesday): There’s a twin-bill on Monday, as Hicks faces a B-More rotation that he’s hit .625 against this season.
Harrison Bader, OF, Cardinals (at White Sox, Tuesday-Wednesday): He’s a beast away from Busch, hitting .314/.348/.566 with a .914 OPS on the road.
Starlin Castro, 2B, Marlins (vs. Phillies, Friday-Sunday): This Castro is overthrowing pitchers of late, hitting .417 over the past two weeks.
Ronald Guzman, 1B, Rangers (at Orioles, Friday-Sunday): After hitting .207 in June, Guzman is swinging it to the tune of a .467 batting average this month.