Fantasy Planner | Stream Mets Steven Matz and Padres Clayton Richard
Your Fantasy Baseball Planner includes lineup advice and waiver tips
As June approaches, it’s time for Fantasy players to embrace the horror. The flip of the calendar means that the lineup immunity gifted to your high-round picks/salaries takes a flying leap out of the lofty expectations of March into the brutal reality of non-production.
If Justin Bour is outproducing Paul Goldschmidt, then Bour needs to remain in your lineup at least until Goldschmidt’s batting average starts climbing north of .200. Still waiting on Byron Buxton to come around (bless you if you still are) while ignoring Matt Kemp on a daily basis? Stop. As in, stop now.
Hopes and dreams work wonderfully in Disney movies. The moment has come to get your head out of the clouds and start playing those who are producing, Average Draft Positions be damned.
Pitching For Two, Please (Recommended Two-Start Pitchers)
Tyson Ross, Padres (vs. Marlins, Tuesday; vs. Reds, Sunday): Five of the 10 earned runs he allowed in May came in one start. Ross has pitched at least six innings in all but one start and gets the two worst teams in the National League at Petco.
Vince Velasquez, Phillies (at Dodgers, Monday; at Giants, Saturday): V-Squared has yet to pitch into the eighth inning this season, but his 11.15 K/9 rate and a current stretch in which he’s allowed three runs or fewer in his last four starts equates to must-start gold, especially in pitcher-friendly Dodger Stadium and AT&T Park.
Steven Matz, Mets (at Braves, Tuesday; vs. Cubs, Sunday): Quietly has raised his K/9 rate to 8.23, a nice bump from last year’s 6.48. Thursday’s win was the fourth time in his last five starts that Matz has allowed one earned run or fewer. There’s enough to feel confident about starting him this week.
Marco Gonzales, Mariners (vs. Rangers, Monday; vs. Rays, Saturday): A 1.86 BB/9 rate has teamed up with a decreasing fly ball percentage (24.5 percent) to give Seattle what it expected when they dealt Tyler O’Neill for him last summer. Gonzales has struggled at Safeco Field (5.03 ERA) but his last two starts give him reason to feel he’ll begin reversing that trend this week.
Adam Plutko, Indians (vs. White Sox, Monday; at Twins, Saturday): Wednesday’s two-hit effort at Wrigley assures Plutko will stay in the rotation for the immediate future. He’s set for a big week, as he’ll face two of the five lowest-scoring teams (28th and 26, respectively) in the majors.
Dan Straily, Marlins (at Padres, Tuesday; at Diamondbacks, Sunday): There’s nothing fancy about Straily, but he’s gone four straight starts allowing two runs or fewer. Facing the D-Backs lineup isn’t as challenging as it was a month ago, so roll the dice on Straily and reap the benefits.
Caleb Smith, Marlins (at Padres, Monday; at Diamondbacks, Saturday): Yes, Virginia, there’s two Miami pitchers listed here. Smitty is whiffing batters at an 11.86 K/9 clip and hasn’t allowed a homer since April 22, so yeah, I’d start him.
Chad Bettis, Rockies (vs. Giants, Monday; at Mets, Sunday): The hideous 6.89 ERA at Coors Field is mostly due to the seven runs he allowed to the Brewers on May 11, which accounts for nearly a third of his earned runs given up this season. It’s not like the Giants are springing Willie Mays, Barry Bonds and Orlando Cepeda in the middle of the order, so I’d start him on Monday in order to get his start on the road, where he’s 4-1 with a 2.03 ERA.
Chad Kuhl, Pirates (vs. Cubs, Monday; at Cardinals, Saturday): That HR/9 rate (1.62) is a nasty habit for a pitcher whose name sounds like he belongs in Cobra Kai, but Kuhl’s up-and-down season is trending to a stretch of up. In deeper leagues, he’s worth the risk.
Jeremy Hellickson, Nationals (at Orioles, Tuesday; at Braves, Sunday): Whether he’s become a must-start hurler is subject to debate. I’d lean toward no because of his tepid pitch counts (75 per start) yet you can’t argue with his numbers since joining the Nats’ rotation.
Travis Jankowski, OF, Padres: A slash line of .354/.425/.462 when batting leadoff has entrenched Jankowski into the starting lineup. He’s also stolen seven bases and while there’s little on the thump side of his bat, Jankowski’s prowess on the basepaths has helped raise his ownership in CBSSports.com leagues to 37 percent.
Nate Jones, P, White Sox: A trio of saves in a five-day span is a clear sign Jones has seized the closer’s role from Joakim Soria. The Pale Hose have played better of late, so save opportunities could be abundant. Jones is owned in 33 percent of CBSSports.com leagues, a number that will likely go higher.
Daniel Robertson, 2B, Rays: Although his bat has cooled off for much of May, Robertson’s calling cards are being a middle infielder with 15-18 home run potential and eligibility at shortstop and third base. Owned in 35 percent of CBSSports.com leagues, Robertson’s .417 OBP makes him a darling in leagues that use that category.
Carlos Rodon, P, White Sox: As evidenced by his 41 percent ownership in CBSSports.com leagues, the hard-throwing Rodon is close to making his 2018 debut after offseason shoulder surgery. Rodon has whiffed 12 batters in 7.2 innings of rehab work and while he’ll be on a tight pitch count once he does return, his K potential makes him a great stash if you can get away with it.
Ross Stripling, P, Dodgers: In three spot starts, Stripling has a 21:2 K:BB rate over 15.1 innings. Whether he’ll stay in the rotation once Clayton Kershaw returns from the DL is in doubt, but Stripling has seen his CBSSports.com ownership zoom from five percent to 29 percent. At the least, he’ll return to middle relief, where his strikeouts -- along with the assurance another Dodgers pitcher will get injured -- makes him an interesting play in deeper leagues.
Jurickson Profar, SS, Rangers: Once again, Profar is showing signs of what made him a can’t-miss prospect years ago (he’s only 25, so there’s hope). More effective from the left side of the plate (1.004 OPS), the switch-hitting Profar is also running, which is partly why his ownership in CBSSports.com leagues is now at 34 percent.
J.D. Davis, 3B, Astros: More of a deeper league/AL-only play, Davis -- owned in seven percent of CBSSports.com leagues -- has a ton of power and a strong batting eye. He’ll see a handful of starts while he’s up, yet keep an eye on him as Davis could be a piece in a potential trade later in the season.
A Streaming We Will Go (Pitchers Edition)
Fernando Romero, Twins (at Royals, Wednesday): His last two starts have fallen on the “meh” side of things yet facing a near punchless KC lineup is an opportunity you can’t miss.
Clayton Richard, Padres (vs. Marlins, Wednesday): You’d have to go back to Brian Lawrence in 2005 to recall the last San Diego hurler to make three straight starts of at least 7.1 innings before Richard pulled it off this month. He’s never been a K artist, but you have to like the 26:5 K:BB margin of Richard in May. Plus, it’s the Marlins, so...
Ryan Yarbrough, Rays (at Athletics, Thursday): Tampa Bay’s first “Bullpen Day” grad, Yarbrough isn’t going to offer high pitch counts yet has become effective with his 80-90 tosses. Unlike the rest of the rotation, Yarbrough has been solid outside of Tropicana Field (3-0, 2.33 ERA on the road).
Jack Flaherty, Cardinals (vs. Pirates, Thursday): His 13-K gem against the Phillies last Sunday may have signaled the rise of the next great St. Louis starter. Flaherty could be very, very special.
Tanner Roark, Nationals (at Braves, Thursday): Roark’s 2-4 record hides the fact he’s also sixth in the NL with a 1.01 WHIP while averaging nearly a strikeout per inning.
Wade LeBlanc, Mariners (vs. Rangers, Thursday): It’s been a very merry month of May for LeBlanc, who has held batters to a .224 batting average and a 1.33 ERA despite not winning a game. Go figure.
Chase Anderson, Brewers (at White Sox, Friday): There’s risk considering Anderson’s penchant for giving up gopher balls (11) but I’ll bet on him continuing to get back into form while avoiding trouble.
Trevor Cahill, Athletics (at Royals, Friday): He’s hit a bit of a skid in his last couple of starts. However, facing the Royals lineup has been a good tonic for hurlers this season.
Eliser Hernandez, Marlins (at Padres, Friday): Another converted reliever who will have a low pitch count, Hernandez could be sneaky here.
Clay Buchholz, Diamondbacks (vs. Marlins, Friday): It’s early enough to feel optimistic about Buchholtz. If you’re going to gamble on him, doing it against Miami is a wise time to do so.
A Streaming We Will Go (Hitters Edition)
Tyler O’Neill, OF, Cardinals (at Brewers, Monday-Wednesday): The rookie’s prodigious power allowed him to force his way into the lineup, especially against righties.
Austin Meadows, OF, Pirates (vs. Cubs, Monday-Wednesday): Take the time to play the hot hand of Meadows, who’ll likely be sent down to Triple-A once Starling Marte returns from the DL.
Austin Meadows off to an auspicious start. Meanwhile, Pirates owe Gregory Polanco another 32 million dollars over the next 4 years.
— Andrew Fillipponi (@ThePoniExpress) May 23, 2018
Tyler Austin, 1B, Yankees (at Orioles, Friday-Sunday): Yankees get a weekend against the O’s pitching staff. That is all you need to know as to why Austin is here.
Franmil Reyes, OF, Padres (vs. Reds, Friday-Sunday): Tyler Mahle, who starts for Cincinnati on Friday, is homer-prone. Here’s betting he hangs one up for Reyes.
Albert Almora, Jr., OF, Cubs (at Mets, Thursday-Sunday): Still unable to crack the lineup on a consistent basis, take advantage of the opportunity if his high OBP gets written in by Joe Maddon.
John Ryan Murphy, C, Diamondbacks (vs. Reds, Monday-Wednesday): He’s shown some pop in his bat this month and continues to make inroads toward making the backstop his own. There’s some value here for deeper leaguers.
Mitch Moreland, 1B, Red Sox (vs. Blue Jays, Monday-Wednesday): Mauler and ruler of all right-handed arms (1.090 OPS vs, righties), Moreland will likely see more at-bats after Boston wished Hanley Ramirez the best in his future endeavors on Friday.
Miguel Rojas, SS, Marlins (at Diamondbacks, Friday-Sunday): Streaky hitter who has found surprising power. Should thrive against a reeling Arizona pitching staff.
Steven Matz Featured Image: (AP Photo/Morry Gash)
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