Seth Trachtman

The Week Ahead

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Week Ahead: German Mustard

Friday, August 10, 2018


Every astute fantasy baseball owner knows to mind the Colorado Rockies player splits. With the exception of Chad Bettis, no pitcher on the Rockies has had more extreme splits than German Marquez this season.

 

The hard-throwing right-hander had a breakout 2017 campaign, finishing fifth in the NL Rookie of the Year voting after going 11-7 with a 4.39 ERA in 29 starts. While he was better on the road, Marquez was still playable in spot duty at Coors Field with a 4.59 ERA and 3.80 K/BB ratio, compared to a 4.19 ERA on the road.

 

Marquez’s splits have been far more extreme this season, however. He has an ugly 6.42 ERA and 1.74 WHIP in Colorado, compared to a 3.09 ERA and 1.05 WHIP on the road. He has just four quality starts in 12 tries at home and has been blown up multiple times, especially early in the year.

 

Basically, Marquez has been unplayable at home, at least until recently. Overall, we’ve seen huge positives for Marquez since his last start of June. Over his last seven starts, including that dominant performance at Dodger Stadium on June 30, Marquez has legitimately been an excellent fantasy pitcher, going 4-1 with a 3.15 ERA, 1.05 WHIP, and 55/10 K/BB in 45.2 innings.

 

Now back to Marquez’s extreme splits. During his recent elite-level stretch, he’s started three times at Coors Field. He had just one quality start in Colorado entering July, but he’s 3-for-3 in quality starts at Coors Field since then. As the numbers show, Marquez is finally establishing his control lately with a 2.0 BB/9 during his seven-game run, compared to a 3.8 BB/9 in his first 16 starts of the season.

 

Three decent home starts probably shouldn’t make you feel overly confident about blindly starting Marquez at Coors Field, but he’s at least begun to reverse his ugly trend. With two starts on the road in the coming week, albeit against tough foes in Houston and Atlanta, this is a great time to scoop up Marquez in the remaining leagues where he is available with the hope that his solid recent control continues.

 

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-Reynaldo Lopez has been one of this season’s most polarizing pitchers. After allowing at least five earned runs in three consecutive starts in July and inflating his ERA by nearly a full run during that month, Lopez is back on track with consecutive quality starts. The pure arm talent could hardly be more enticing, as Lopez ranks 11th in average velocity among qualified starting pitchers (95.4 mph) and also has quality secondary offerings in his slider and changeup. However, Lopez’s 5.13 FIP is seventh worst among starters, as a result of his ugly 1.63 K/BB ratio and 1.3 HR/9. His xFIP and SIERA are even worse.  I still like Lopez long-term based on his outstanding stuff and 9.1 K/9 in the minors, but his K/9 is the majors is just 6.6 through 227.2 innings. That said, there will be plenty of fantasy owners taking a chance next week with starts against Detroit and Kansas City.

 

-Marlins rookie starter Pablo Lopez, on the other hand, has shown excellent command through seven starts. The control artist has been excellent in his last two outings against Philadelphia and St. Louis, and has carried over the control that we saw in the minors now with a 2.2 BB/9 in 41.2 innings. A breakout player between Double- and Triple-A this season, Lopez continued his minor league trend of consistently posting a sub-2.0 BB/9 and was also able to miss bats for the first time in his pro career in eight starts at Double-A. The long ball has been a problem for Lopez at Triple-A and the majors, but he’s proven that he was ready for the majors when the Marlins promoted him and certainly looks like a viable matchup play.

 

-Detroit’s trade of Mike Fiers is good news for Blaine Hardy remaining in the rotation. The lefty has done a nice job as a starter for the Tigers with a 3.96 ERA and 1.19 WHIP in 12 outings. The 31-year-old spent his first four MLB seasons and most of his minor league career as a reliever, but Hardy is taking full advantage of his excellent control and four-pitch arsenal. His 6.1 K/9 isn’t going to help owners in shallow leagues, but his control improvement this season (2.3 BB/9) has made him a useful spot starter.

 

-We’ve seen a three-year trend of Gio Gonzalez losing velocity, and it’s finally catching up to him this season. The lefty has never had great control, but his 4.3 BB/9 is the worst he’s had since 2009, and his current 1.85 K/BB ratio is the worst since his rookie debut. The results have especially been rocky since the start of June. During his last 12 starts covering that timeframe, Gonzalez is 1-6 with a 5.79 ERA, 1.68 WHIP, and 48/30 K/BB in 60.2 innings. The lefty’s ability to keep the ball in the park has continued to save his ERA overall, but there’s little in his numbers to be encouraged about as he enters free agency this offseason. Of course, fantasy owners will still have a tough time overlooking him with a late-week start vs. Miami.

 

Going Twice…

 

Note: Probable pitchers as of Friday, August 10, and are subject to change.

 

American League

 

Strong Plays

 

Justin Verlander: COL, @OAK

Mike Clevinger: @CIN, BAL

Luis Severino: NYM, TOR

 

Decent Plays

 

Sean Manaea: SEA, HOU

Jaime Barria: @SD, @TEX

J.A. Happ: TB, TOR

Marco Gonzales: @OAK, LAD

Blaine Hardy: CHW, @MIN

Ryan Borucki: @KC, @NYY

Reynaldo Lopez: @DET, KC

 

At Your Own Risk

 

Jake Odorizzi: PIT, DET

Brad Keller: TOR, @CHW

Heath Fillmyer: TOR, @CHW

Jalen Beeks: @NYY, @BOS

Justin Turner: CHW, @MIN

 

 

National League

 

Strong Plays

 

Zack Greinke: @TEX, @SD

Jacob deGrom: @NYY, @PHI

Mike Foltynewicz: MIA, COL

Madison Bumgarner: @LAD, @CIN

Miles Mikolas: WAS, MIL

 

Decent Plays

 

Chris Archer: @MIN, CHC

German Marquez: @HOU, @ATL

Nick Pivetta: BOS, NYM

Jose Quintana: MIL, @PIT

Pablo Lopez: @ATL, @WAS

Gio Gonzalez: @STL, MIA

Robbie Erlin: LAA, ARI

John Gant: WAS, MIL

 

At Your Own Risk

 

Andrew Suarez: @LAD, @CIN

Clayton Richard: LAA, ARI

Tommy Milone: @STL, MIA

 

 

Streamer City

 

The following pitchers are generally available in over 50 percent of fantasy leagues and have favorable match-ups this week:

 

American League

 

Wednesday, August 15: Marco Estrada @ KC

It’s been a very frustrating year for Estrada, but he’s coming off a very good start at Seattle and faces a Royals lineup that has the fourth worst OPS in baseball vs. right-handers.

 

Thursday, August 16: Lance Lynn vs. TB

Lynn was outstanding in his first start as a Yankee and has yet to allow a run in 11.2 innings with the team. He’s been solid overall after his awful month of April, with a 3.59 ERA and nearly one strikeout per inning. The Rays matchup is favorable, with Tampa posting the ninth worst OPS against right-handers this season.

 

Friday, August 17: Mike Minor vs. LAA

The Angels have struggled against lefties this year, with the fifth worst OPS in baseball. Minor has been quietly great since the start of June, with a 3.26 ERA and 46/12 K/BB in 58 innings.

 

 

National League

 

Tuesday, August 14: Robbie Erlin @ LAA

Erlin is scheduled for two starts next week, and at least his first one looks favorable. As mentioned above, the Angels have been terrible vs. lefties, while Erlin shows upside with nearly perfect control this season (1.0 BB/9) and a 3.36 ERA.

 

Thursday, August 16: Enyel De Los Santos vs. NYM

De Los Santos is likely to get a spot start in Thursday’s doubleheader vs. the Mets. New York has the seventh worst OPS in baseball vs. right-handers, giving De Los Santos a chance to continue his performance from Triple-A Lehigh Valley, where he’s posted a 2.51 ERA in 104 innings.

 

Saturday, August 18: Chad Bettis @ ATL

Remember the discussion of Rockies pitcher splits above? Bettis’ have been the most extreme, with a ridiculous 9.74 ERA at Coors Field compared to 2.88 on the road. I can understand if you’re hesitant to use Bettis after his terrible return from the DL this week, but he does have an opportunity to get on track at Atlanta. The Braves lineup has slowed down as the season has progressed, and rank just 16th in OPS vs. right-handers.

 

 

Total Games

 

American League

 

5: BAL, BOS, HOU,

6: CLE, CHW, MIN, OAK, SEA, TB, TEX

7: DET, KC, LAA, NYY, TOR

 

 

National League

 

5: MIL

6: ARI, CHC, CIN, COL, LAD, PIT, SF

7: MIA, PHI, SD, STL, WAS

8: ATL, NYM

 

 

The Infirmary

 

Here’s some injuries to prominent players from the last week, and other players to watch for in the coming week. You can get a full listing of injured players at Rotoworld's Injury Page.

 

Carlos Correa: Will return on Friday (back)

Delino DeShields: Out indefinitely (concussion)

Brandon Drury: Out at least one month (hand)

Dexter Fowler: Out at least one month (foot)

Max Fried: Placed on DL (groin)

Leury Garcia: Placed on DL (finger)

Bryce Harper: Day-to-day (leg)

Kelvin Herrera: Placed on DL (shoulder)

John Hicks: Placed on DL (groin)

Kenley Jansen: Out one month (heart)

Ian Kinsler: Placed on DL (hamstring)

Leonys Martin: Placed on DL (illness)

Steven Matz: Placed on DL (arm)

Lance McCullers: Placed on DL (arm)

Adalberto Mejia: Placed on DL (arm)

Wil Myers: Could return next week (foot)

Tyler O’Neill: Placed on DL (groin)

Daniel Robertson: Out for the season (thumb)

Chris Sale: Could return on Sunday (shoulder)

Anibal Sanchez: Status uncertain (calf)

Antonio Senzatela: Placed on DL (shoulder)

Tyler Skaggs: Could return on Saturday (groin)

Joakim Soria: Status uncertain (groin)

George Springer: Placed on DL (thumb)

Anthony Swarzak: Placed on DL (shoulder)

Nick Tropeano: Placed on DL (shoulder)

Mike Trout: Day-to-day (wrist)

Preston Tucker: Day-to-day (foot)

Alex Wood: Placed on DL (hip)

Ben Zobrist: Day-to-day (hip)



You can find Seth Trachtman on Twitter @sethroto.
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