We’ve gotten to that point. It is Fantasy Baseball August Edition: the Fantasy Football invasion. I’ve already had my first draft, a live auction that took up my Saturday. We multi-sport Fantasy Players need to be realistic: this is a vital overlap. It is a phase that is crucially important to both Fantasy Baseball and Fantasy Football. You can’t ignore one or the other. You need to prepare for your drafts, but also prepare for the late play-off push.
There’s not a lot of meat on the outlooks this week— I spent this past week up in the Rocky Mountains and haven’t had a chance to be around the internet or my laptop too much— but the latter section of the article is designed to develop this concept of the 4th quarter push. The last week focused on some potential impact hitters, while this week I look at some pitchers who could potentially add some significant value to your fantasy teams throughout the rest of the season.
The last month+ for Scooter Gennett has been a bit of a slow down. He hasn’t hit for quite the BA or the power. That said, he’s still doing some of the right things that make me believe that the future is still bright. Gennett’s improvements mentioned in his profile a few weeks ago were on specifically breaking balls. While he has struggled a bit on sliders recently, overall his performance against secondary stuff is still very solid. Where he’s actually experienced a drop-off is against fastballs. Even back in Milwaukee he produced a solid BA/SLG against fastballs, so while by one argument you could see the .250 and .189 SLG versus 4-Seam Fastballs and Sinkers since July as a negative, I personally believe his career has shown that he will regress back towards a .300 fastball hitter, and as long as the secondary improvements are maintaining, I have a good amount of faith in Gennett.
The quickest and easiest way to describe my feelings about Jack Flaherty is that he simply checks the boxes. When I first started covering SPs for this site, I went into a breakdown of how I value them. I usually start with the Arsenal.
For Flaherty, the repertoire is pretty diverse. He throws, via BrooksBaseball, two fastballs, a secondary slider, and also mixes in a Curveball and Change-Up. If I had to create an issue, it would be that his change-up usage is only 5%, and that is the ideal way to limit splits, but he uses all pitches well, gets whiffs, and limits damage.
His Slider is the pitch that defines the repertoire potentially the best, in terms of being a weapon. A 24.05% Whiff% is substantial, and the accompanying 13.70% Change-Up Whiff% and 12.15% Curve Whiff% are good enough as peripheral pitches. None of his pitches allows a SLG% that exceeds .392. None of his non-fastball pitches have a SLG% that exceeds .328. These are characteristic of an above-average repertoire that doesn’t have a looming pitch-type weakness.
In terms of some of his advanced metrics, I like to see that Jack Flaherty is surviving a 17.0% HR/FB% already. Maybe he does have a HR problem, but I don’t really think so, and even if he does he’s showing right now that he could still be a good pitcher despite it. While I don’t quite believe he maintains his 11+ K/9, his 12.9% Whiff% does suggest that he can maintain at least an admirable K-rate. He’s also getting a decent Soft% (21.0%) as well as generating a solid number of pop-ups (13.6%), and has a pretty average distribution of LD/GB/FB%.
Verdict: No secrets here, just looking at what Flaherty does well. These are some traits that could pull him into the SP2-3 class as soon as next year in redraft leagues.
Potential Impact SPs
The goal of this section is not necessarily to find the most likely player to have success at each ownership level. The objective is to look for pitchers who have a greater chance at making a significant impact. Safety will be pushed down a bit for upside as a result by this section.
The Likely Owned
Carlos Rodon (47.3%) — Rodon’s ownership% is a testament, at least in my mind, to the fact that ownership% can be a little misleading at this point of the year. Maybe Rodon really is readily available in plenty of the readers’ leagues, but likely his recent stretch and seasonal 2.61 ERA and 1.05 WHIP alongside a decent K/9 has made him an add in most competitive leagues. Carlos Rodon may not have his career K/9 so far this year, but his Slider is still performing like an elite pitch and I believe the K’s will come. The point here is to find potential impact, and if you can either trade for Rodon for a reasonable price or even ADD Rodon, that move has a potential to make a substantial impact even in a short period of time.
Trevor Cahill (41.8%) — Cahill was available in many leagues likely when he first came off the DL, but after his recent 10 K outing his ownership%, via ESPN, is now over 40%. That said, I still really like what I’ve seen this year in Trevor Cahill. He’s in a great situation getting to call Oakland home, and the Change-Up he’s showcased throughout the year has performed very well. I believe he learned a few things in the bullpen and now he’s improving in his ability to stretch past the fifth inning. I don’t know if he puts up his seasonal 3.12 ERA and 1.07 WHIP, but I do believe in him overall. My previous outlook on Trevor Cahill is hyperlinked here.
Maybe-possibly but still-probably owned
Shane Bieber (36.6%) — There’s one true reason to own Shane Bieber: the AL Central. And that isn’t to say he isn’t interesting on his own— he is. But he’s most likely a streaming-class talent right now. But in the AL Central, there are just a ton of streaming match-ups— namely all of them. I haven’t been doing this as long as many other analysts, but I can’t remember a division that was this bad 2 thru 5. Bieber gets those match-ups against Twins (at worst!), White Sox, Tigers, and Royals regularly.
Mike Fiers (20.8%) — I’ve been slow to join the Mike Fiers bandwagon. He’s always been a solid albeit flawed starter since his days with the Astros, and while the Detroit Tigers environment did him no favors in the win column, it also I believe worked to keep his baseball accomplish this season on the down-low. Now moved from Detroit to the much more friendly environment of Oakland, Fiers is in a position, like Bieber, to be a pitcher who is still technically “streaming class,” but simply has enough positive match-ups for the talent that he is worth owning in all leagues. I believe in Fiers’ ability to make a legitimate ROS impact on fantasy rosters.
Might be Available
Jeremy Hellickson (18.5%) — Not necessarily the most shiny or intriguing chip on the table, the Washington Nationals have gotten the most out of Jeremy Hellickson so far in the 2018 season. I believe that continues both in terms of solid ratios and the wins.
Tyler Glasnow (16.6%) — The new Nathan Eovaldi anyone? Tampa is doing some different things with their “Openers,” and the experiment has done pretty well for Glasnow so far. The point of this section of the article is to look for potential impact players, and Glasnow fills out that definition. Maybe he’s not the most likely to be a positive for your fantasy team, but the upside could be tantalizing.
Michael Kopech (6.7%) — Again, keeping with the theme of the article, I can’t even say for sure if Michael Kopech will be in the majors any time soon, let alone seeing any significant big league innings this year. But despite that, the potential upside for such an electric arm is tantalizing. His recent stretch of AAA games suggest that he maybe ready as well.
Anthony Desclafani (5.2%) — Not as attractive of a name as White Sox prospect Michael Kopech, Desclafani has always been a fantasy sleeper due to his above average K:BB. Great American Ball Park and the Cincinnati Reds aren’t the best scenarios, but the Reds actually have an underrated offense and I believe the potential fantasy impact for Desclafani could actually be pretty solid.
That’s all I’ve got for this week.
Major League Fantasy Baseball Radio Show: Join host Brian Roach, Jr, and Cole Freel live on Sunday August 12th, 2018 from 8-9:30pm EST for episode #132 of Major League Fantasy Baseball Radio. We are a live broadcast that will take callers at 323-870-4395. Press 1 to speak with the host. We will discuss the latest information in the world of fantasy baseball.
Our guest this week is Kevin Bzdek. Kevin is a writer and editor with majorleaguefantasysports.com. His articles publish every Friday morning and his focus is on bullpens.