Fantasy Baseball

2019 Fantasy Baseball Week 5 Prospect Report: Ray of Light

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As introverts do, I was doing some quiet contemplation the other day, mostly about the psychology of fantasy sports. I thought about the personality types that win fantasy leagues. I am in a plethora of fantasy leagues that encompass an array of personalities. Here is some food for thought that I’m sure is not original but worth sharing:

  • More often than not, when I do poorly in a league, I look inwardly to see what I did wrong and try to fix it. Instead (or additionally), I should be looking outwardly and seeing what other owners did right.
  • Different sports could require different thinking processes. For example, I’ve found that winners in my football and golf leagues are often the players who rely on gut feeling more than stat-crunching or critical analysis while the reverse is true for baseball or basketball. I make fantasy football too hard at times by picking up players that have the talent but no opportunity when the play was to just pick up the next-up running back. On the other hand, baseball often rewards those kinds of pickups.
  • Patience is a virtue. Contrary to what I would have thought, many owners that win in my leagues aren’t in the upper quartile of waiver wire activity. This could be a direct correlation to their team being good and not requiring free agent pickups, but it’s interesting nonetheless. I personally have more nightmares about the player that I should have picked up than the player that I shouldn’t have dropped, which I want to improve.

While we are on the topic of shit Tyler thinks about while contemplating…

To the person in the restaurant drive-thru that leaves their windshield wipers going in the pouring rain while the workers fulfill your order at the window – get a freaking clue! I would honk at you, but your ignorant self would just thrust your hands in frustration.

This happened in front of me yesterday and made me realize how primitive communication is between vehicles. That then led me down the research rabbit hole where vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) communication is starting to make waves but isn’t in full force yet. Why haven’t you scrolled down yet?


2019 Fantasy Baseball Week 5 Prospect Report

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Promoted

Nick Senzel, UT, Cincinnati Reds

Similarly to Vlad Guerrero Jr. last week, there’s not a lot to say here about Senzel. I’ve spent the last couple of weeks telling you to pick him up if available, so now we get to watch! While there are red flags regarding his injury history and a steady path to playing time, talent wins out more often than not and the Reds don’t need to let him rot on the bench.

Fire away, Senzel owners!

Nate Lowe, 1B, Tampa Bay Rays

Is it Nate or Nathaniel? Is it one of those ‘business versus casual’ things? And would he consider baseball work or pleasure?

Anyway, Nathan has a real chance to be a fantasy monster this year upon his recent call-up. I wrote an article this preseason on players who could be the next Max Muncy, which is just a cheesy title to get clicks, I know. I focused on guys that were post-hype and could bring the rain in deeper formats. If I had removed the ‘post-hype’ portion of the qualifications, Lowe would have certainly been in the conversation. The 23-year-old has 30-homer potential with great plate discipline. That skillset easily plays in any fantasy baseball format.

While he hasn’t gotten off to the greatest start, patience is key. He’s getting the opportunity over Daniel Robertson and will get going eventually.

I also want to help you distinguish your Lowe’s. Nate and Josh Lowe (pronounced like the hardware store) are brothers while Brandon Lowe (pronounced like ‘loud’ without the ‘d’) is unrelated. I do not envy the announcer of Rays’ games right now.

Griffin Canning, SP, Los Angeles Angels

If you dominate the PCL as a pitcher, you deserve a call-up. We talked about this with Zac Gallen last week and, while we are still waiting on his call, we had a similar star make the jump in Canning.

 


In his debut on Tuesday, he showed glimpses of his potential. He struck out six against one walk in four-plus innings. The fastball sat at 95 MPH, which was a little higher than I expected. It was a little errant though, so perhaps he was amped up for this start? Oh, to be in the mind of the rookie starter. Anyway, the curveball looked fantastic as displayed by PitcherList below.

Canning absolutely warrants a pickup in all but the shallowest of leagues. Starting pitching has been fickle as ever in 2019, so it’s important to cast some nets on some upside starters.

Other Notable Callups

  • The Padres continue to be aggressive with their prospects this year, calling upon Cal Quantrill to make a start against the Braves. Pit against Max Fried, Quantrill held his own outside of the first and last innings of his start. He frequently put himself in bad spots early in counts but was able to smartly pitch his way around it. If San Diego wants to continue to limit innings for their young starters, they could keep Quantrill up as a sixth-man. In that case, he becomes a case-by-case streamer.
  • Kelvin Gutierrez is an interesting call-up for the Royals and one that many haven’t noticed. I had the chance to watch him here in Northwest Arkansas after the Kelvin Herrera trade and he’s fun to watch. Nothing about him offensively screams ‘fantasy pickup’, but he’ll be an average contributor at the plate. His defense definitely wowed me though and should keep him in the lineup consistently.
  • Skye Bolt and Braden Bishop should find at-bats as fourth outfielders and warrant pickups unless you are in deeper formats. Bolt becomes especially interesting if Oakland gives up on the Robbie Grossman project. Bishop is fairly blocked off barring injury.

Optioned

Justus Sheffield, SP, Seattle Mariners

As I noted last week, this was to be expected. In an effort to limit innings for Yusei Kikuchi, the M’s just needed a fresh arm for the bullpen. He came up, gave up some walks and homers, and was immediately sent back down. If getting called up improved Sheffield’s stock in your league, I would test the market. He seems like the next man up for Seattle despite his Triple-A woes and he still has name value. I’d have to see some pretty drastic changes to his statistics before buying back in.

Jon Duplantier, SP, Arizona Diamondbacks

Arizona is deploying a similar format with Duplantier as the M’s are with Sheffield. However, Duplantier has been effective in his major league stints. In an extra-inning game against the Cubs, Duplantier kept the D-Backs competitive over four scoreless innings. He got a three-inning save against the Padres in his 2019 debut as well. Still, he was sent back down to Triple-A following the game.

Look, Zack Godley can’t keep getting away with his 7.58 ERA and 5.65 FIP. I get being patient with him, but this has been a two-year decline for Godley that doesn’t seem likely to turn around. Duplantier deserves a chance to fill in as the fifth guy in the rotation. If he performs well with the other guys in that rotation, it’s a very competitive staff and could keep them in contention in the NL West.

Player Spotlight

Dylan Cease, SP, Chicago White Sox

White Sox GM Rick Hahn tells us that Cease’s ‘timeline is not affected’ by the serious injury to Carlos Rodon. I’m reading between the lines here and looking at a Super 2 call-up while Dylan Covey stinks up the joint.

Why is that? Well, Cease simply has no other reason to remain in the minor leagues. The 23-year-old’s dominated every level. Not only that, but he’s finding ways to improve at each level despite the increase in challenge. He’s walked a batter per nine less each year since rookie ball in 2015 (6.00 BB/9) to this year in Triple-A (2.59 BB/9). He’s going longer into games as he develops, now consistently going over five innings per start over 2018-2019. These improvements with his ever-consistent strikeout rate north of 30% will make him a very interesting fantasy option in rotisserie and points leagues alike.



If you are in a deeper or AL-only league with a decent-sized bench, he makes for a perfect stash. You guys know me – I’m all about those high-K/high-BB guys for the upside. Sure, he could turn out to be a multi-inning reliever down the road, but he could also hit and become a mid-rotation starter. I want to find out which he becomes while he’s on my roster.


Check out the rest of our 2019 Fantasy Baseball content from our great team of writers.

About Tyler Thompson

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