If you are still reading this article, you are either heading into the playoffs or clinging to your last ditch hopes of getting there. OR you are at least trying to get your money back in a consolation round setting. One of my money leagues created a “most improved” category for after the All Star Break to keep interest. I’m going for that payout as we speak.
Well, I hope you all listened to me last week when I said to wow your leaguemates and be the first guy to pick up Touki Toussaint of the Braves. Yeah, he was the last guy I listed in the “From the Abyss” section and he pitched what I would call a great game from out of nowhere. He beat the Marlins going 6.0 IP and giving up only 2 hits, 2 walks, 1 earned run and 4 K’s for a W. What more could you ask for? Really? We also hit on Kyle (Bob) Gibson, Reynaldo Lopez, Lucas Giolito, and Anthony Desclafini.
Two guys I steered you to ended up on the DL as CC Sabathia’s knee was due for a draining and Mike Montrgomery ended up with a sore left shoulder. Both may be being rested for the playoffs, as neither injury seems that bad. A couple guys hurt us who I will apologize for in Joey Lucchesi, and Pablo Lopez, but all in all it was another good week for us in the grand scheme. I hope you all had some good luck as well.
Let’s see what we can find on the scrap heap for Week 20. It is not quite playoff time yet but we are getting close. The lack of good arms left on the wire may be offset by the lack of competition for them as the other owners stop bothering to look. I know you are not one of them or you would not be here.
Let’s “Pick Some Spots” for Week 20:
Kyle Gibson, RHSP MIN (46.7% owned in ESPN) @ CWS WEDS: Gibson, who now owns a QS in six of his last 8 starts, tops my list for the third straight week, no, Kyle, not Bob, but he is trying his best to pitch like Bob. Life is good for a mediocre pitcher when he lives in the AL Central. The career year continues for the veteran righty. In his last start, against the Tigers he grabbed his seventh win after giving up three runs in seven innings with five K’s. This week he gets the Chisox in Chicago on Wednesday. The Sox are hitting to a .314 wOBA and .242 BA against righties at home, but have a 25.9 K rate setting Gibson up for another chance to look brilliant. This is a fantasy Must-Start.
Matt Boyd, LHSP, DET (24.4% owned in ESPN) VS CWS THU: Boyd has become a regular in my articles lately, though he stumbled a bit in his last start, giving up four runs to the Twins after a pretty good run in which he tossed QS in three of his prior four outings. His ownership rate in ESPN jumped 10 points in the process though. In the three QS, he allowed just three runs while posting a 20:3 K:BB over 19 innings (three starts). In one of those starts he pitched 8 shutout innings against the Reds giving up 4 hits and a walk and adding 7 K’s and a W. That followed two starts against KC and Boston where he gave up a total of 3 runs on 10 hits, only 2 walks and 13 K’s in 11 IP, going 2-1 in that stretch. Next week he gets the Chisox in Detroit on Thursday. The Sox are batting to a wOBA of .314 with a .248 BA against lefties on the road, but, their 24.5% K Rate against Lefties is what makes this a Fantasy Must-Start .
Jakob Junis, RHSP, KCR (19.1% owned in ESPN) @ TB WEDS: After a brief stay on the DL earlier in the year, Junis is starting to hit his stride again. Over his last two weeks, covering three starts, he has a 2.20 ERA, 1.10 WHIP and nearly a 12 K/9 against only 5 walks. The only knock on Junis is that he seldom goes six innings, so the odds of getting a W or even a QS are low, but he’ll give you good production none the less. He gets the Rays in Tampa Wednesday. The Rays are hitting to a wOBA vs righties at home of .312 with a .251 BA against, a .134 ISO and a 21.6 K rate making this a near Fantasy Must-Start.
Reynaldo Lopez, RHSP, CHW (15.8% owned in ESPN) @ DET FRI: In two starts prior to last week, Lopez started showing us what he can do. Both those starts were dominant. First, he torched the Royals for seven innings of two run ball on five hits and two walks with four K’s, then, he topped the Yanks for seven innings, giving up only one run on four hits and two walks with six K’s. Last week he hit a small speed bump against the Tigers giving up four earned runs in five innings on seven hits but only one walk. He seems to be finally hitting his stride in 2018 and he gets the same Tigers on Friday. The Tigers are hitting to a wOBA of .302 with a .247 BA against righties at home, and also have a .148 ISO and 21% K rate making this a fantasy Must-Start. He has a start today (Sunday) against the Royals first though. The Royals have a nearly identical set of stats against righties on the road, with a .302 wOBA, .247 BA and .148 ISO.
From the Abyss: Players less than 10% owned in ESPN Leagues who could help you in Week 19:
Steven Matz, LHSP, NYM (8.5% owned in ESPN) Vs SF TUE & Vs WAS SUN: Matz was out for a while with a forearm strain, but came back last week pitching two wholly ineffective innings, giving up six runs (4 earned) against the Phils. He is s recently injured NY Met. That sentence alone should send me running screaming for the nearest exit, but i am a glutton for punishment, and I like Steven Matz. So, while this may be a risky pick here, it could also change the last few weeks of your season. Matz is a talented pitcher and will not be hanging out under 10% owned if next week goes well. I think it will as he gets two nice match-ups. First he gets the Giants at home in NY. The Giants are hitting to a 26th in the MLB wOBA of .286 with a .234 BA against lefties on the road in 2018. They only have a .121 ISO and a 22.7 K rate vs lefties as well so Matz could pile up some K’s as well. His other start, Sunday, is against the Nats in NY. That sounds scary at first glance, but the Nats (23rd in MLB) are no better than the Giants on the road vs lefties. The Nats are hitting to a wOBA of .293 with a .228 BAA and .138 ISO vs lefties on the road with a 23.7% K rate. I’m boldly going there as he has been on my DL in most of my leagues.
***Two Start Pitcher***Lucas Giolito, RHSP, CWS (7.3% owned in ESPN) @ MIN MON & @ DET SUN: Once a prized prospect, the 24-year-old seems to be turning a corner lately with quality starts in five of his last last seven. Giolito took advantage of a prime matchup against the Tigers, who have been the worst offense in baseball against right-handed pitching (62 wRC+) since June 1. He lines up for two favorable starts next week, going to Minnesota on Monday and then to Detroit to face this same Tigers team next weekend. The Twins are hitting to a .332 wOBA and .259 BA at home vs righties. Then he gets the Tigers again in Detroit on Sunday. The Tigers are hitting to a wOBA of .302 with a .247 BA against righties at home, and also have a .148 ISO and 21% K rate making this a fantasy Must-Start.
***Two-Start Pitcher***Brett Anderson, LHSP, OAK (4.5% owned in ESPN) Vs TEX TUE & @ MIN SUN: I’m not sure why more people have not bought into what Anderson has been
doing in Oakland since getting the call. His last start, against the Mariners was arguably Anderson’s best outing of the season, going almost eight shutout innings with only five hits and no walks allowed, though he was forced to settle for a no-decision. The 30-year-old has now registered three quality starts in five appearances since the All-Star break, compiling a solid 2.27 ERA over that stretch. The Rangers are hitting to a wOBA against lefties on the road of .281 with a .216 BA and .119 ISO against lefties. The Twins at home are a bit tougher, hitting to a .322 wOBA and .265 BA against lefties at home. They do have a 24.7% K rate at home vs lefties however. If you have other options, however, I I would not fault you if you sat him for the Minnesota game.
Touki Toussaint, RHSP, ATL (7.2% owned in ESPN) @ MIA THU or FRI: Can lightening strike twice? In his MLB debut last week vs the Marlins, Toussaint went 6 IP and gave up only one run on two hits, two walks and four K’s. He nailed his first MLB win in the process. He is not only getting the Miami Marlins again for his 2nd MLB start but, but it is in Miami, where the Marlins have a .290 wOBA and .248 BA against righties at home at the Trop. At this point this is only a “probable” start and we don’t know yet which day he will get the call for. Even more appealing is that the Fish have a 20.5% K-rate vs righties and only a .105 ISO. Toussaint will think pitching in the MLB is easy if all the teams are the Marlins. The right-handed 22-year-old has impressed across five starts with Gwinnett since being called up to the Triple-A level in early July, logging a 2.01 ERA and 1.19 WHIP with 32 strikeouts in 31.1 innings.
That’s it for WEEK 20. Thanks for reading, and as always, I’ll be on Reddit today talking spot starts and all things fantasy baseball. Or you can email me directly at email@example.com or Tweet me at @joeiannone2
Major League Fantasy Baseball Radio Show: Join host Cole Freel and Kyle Amore live on Sunday August 19th, 2018 from 8-9:30pm EST for episode #133 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.
Major League Fantasy Football Radio Show: Join host Corey D Roberts live August 16th, 2018 from 8-9:30pm EST for episode #89 of Major League Fantasy Football Radio. Call in number is 323-870-4395 press 1 to speak with the host. This week we will take a close look at some possible ADP steals in our drafts this season.
My guest this week is Andy Macuga. He is the former Head Football and Baseball Coach for Borrego Springs H.S. out in the San Diego area. Andy is also a 6 year veteran of Major League Fantasy Sports leagues and a frequent radio guest.