As we head into fantasy playoff season, and the last few weeks of our Roto Leagues, the time has come to concentrate all our efforts on the leagues we still have a shot at. Hopefully you do have some. I have three of my five teams still in the money, but could also lose all three today. It also means that this is the last “Pick Your Spots” of the 2018 season. After this week there are only a couple weeks to go. If you have gotten that far you don’t need my or anyone else’s advice anymore. It is showtime. Good luck no matter what you are playing for.
I’ve been ranting about Kyle Gibson for weeks now. DON’T START KYLE GIBSON THIS COMING WEEK. He gets the Indians in Cleveland and then the Rangers in Texas. They are the 3rd and 4th best teams in baseball against righties at home with .350 and .336 wOBA’s against righties at home respectively.
There was a Sonny Gray sighting this weekend when the Yanks used him in the 2nd game of Saturday’s double header against Baltimore. But Aaron Boone rightly sent him back to the pen for the immediate future. Remember that next time you want to hang on to a pitcher one more week. Sometimes you just have to be glad you got what you got and move along. This is one of those times. But you look pretty smart if you spotted Gray Saturday as he pitched a shutout into the 7th. I’d say he is lucky that performance is not too high on his wife’s list of needs, or Sonny would be in trouble.
The Touki Toussaint experiment/experience may be over in Atlanta for 2018, but remember his name (how can you forget it?) next Spring when the Braves will likely have an opening or two in their rotation.
Let’s see what we can find on the scrap heap for Week 21. It playoff time now. 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 22:
German Marquez, RHSP COL (42.8% owned in ESPN) @ SD SAT: Do you need to know much more than this about German Marquez? From ESPN “Marquez continued his tremendous run of starts — both at and away from Coors Field — by inducing 17 of his 21 outs via either groundball or strikeout. He has failed to record a quality start only once in his last 10 starts — four of which have come at Coors Field. That said, while his ERA is still an unsightly 5.81 when he pitches at home, his recent track record suggests he is trustworthy regardless of venue.” But, next week he pitches in pitcher friendly Petco Park in Sand Diego. The Padres are only hitting to a .289 wOBA with a .230 BA against righties at home. Their .129 ISO and 25.5% K rates make this a fantasy Must-Start. His ownership is low because people are STILL afraid of Coors Field. IF he is on your wire grab him now. In case no one noticed, the Rockies have assembled a fairly competant starting rotation who also have success at home. Buy in already.
CC Sabathia, LHSP, NYY (38% owned in ESPN Leagues) Vs CHW WED: The Big Lefty is
still cranking out quality starts, and is still an important cog in the Yanks playoff push. CC’s last two starts have been Ace-Like even though there was a 10 Day stint on the DL in between to rest his balky knee. In those two starts, CC went 12 innings total, with six hits, only two runs, five walks and a ridiculous for him 15 K’s. He also snagged a W in one of them and is now 7-4 on the season. Next week he gets the White Sox on the road in Yankee Stadium. CC faced those same Chisox at home in Chicago a few weeks ago and struck out 12 of them with only one run in almost six innings. The Sox hit lefties well on the road with a .326 Woba and .260 BA against lefties on the road. However, they have a low .148 ISO and a very high K-Rate of 24.7 giving me all the faith I need in the big guy. He should get his share of K’s and as long as he keeps it on the ground and keeps the walks down this should be a great playoff spot start for you.
Matt Boyd, LHSP, DET (24.4% owned in ESPN) @ KCR WED: If you used Boyd this past week hopefully you hung on to him as he has another Fantasy Must-Start this coming week against the Royals. Boyd has become a regular in my articles lately, and was brilliant last week pitching 6 shutout innings against the White Sox. We picked on the AL Central last week and for good reason. Next week he gets the Royals in Kansas City on Wednesday. The Royals are batting to a wOBA of .295 with a .250 BA against lefties at home, and their .103 ISO and 23.3% K Rate against Lefties is what makes this a Fantasy Must-Start .
Jakob Junis, RHSP, KCR (15.2% owned in ESPN) @ DET TUE: 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 Tigers in Detroit Tuesday. The Tigers are 28th in the MLB hitting to a wOBA vs righties at home of .306 with a .246 BA against, a .148 ISO and a 21.0 K rate making this a near Fantasy Must-Start.
Anthony Desclafani, RHSP, CIN (21.3% owned in ESPN) Vs MIL THU: Yeah, I’m still on this wagon. Desclafani is a little bit of command away from dominating again, not just competing. He is still giving up too many HR, but all his other peripherals suggest he is not far off. If you trust guys who don’t walk batters this is your man. He has three (3) walks in his last 28 innings pitched over four starts and only 12 walks in his last 10 starts. Next week he gets the Brewers at home in Cinci. The Brewers are hitting to a .309 wOBA and .253 BA against righties on the road. Even with all their power, they only have an ISO of .148 against righties and a 24.7% K-Rate giving Desclafani a chance to add to your scoring next week. Sure, we also get one last end of season peek at Ms Desclafani.
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) @ SF SAT: After pitching two wholly ineffective innings, giving up six runs (4 earned) against the Phils, Matz righted the ship going five innings (87 pitches) against the Giants. Last week I said. “So, while this may be a risky pick here, it could also change the last few weeks of your season.” Matz was touched up for a two-run home run in the first inning, but he settled down quickly and allowed just one baserunner the rest of the way. Matz was throwing the ball well for the most part before his forearm injury, and Tuesday’s effort makes him appear to be nearly back to full strength for the first time since July. Matz is a talented pitcher and will not be hanging out under 10% owned if next week goes well. He still has a tough start today vs the Nats and then next week he gets those same Giants at home in SF. The Giants are hitting to a wOBA of .314 with a .262 BA against lefties at home in 2018 so Matz will have to be sharp. I’m betting he will be and he is on all my rosters right now.
***Two Start Pitcher***Brian Johnson, LHSP, BOS (6.6% owned in ESPN) VS MIA TUE & @ CWS SUN: Johnson
often has trouble going deep enough for a W or even a QS, but next week’s match ups are going to be hard to ignore, and he is likely hanging out on your waiver wire. Johnson gets two nice match ups next week in Miami in Boston on Tuesday. The Fish are hitting to a Road wOBA vs lefties of .314 with a .256 BA and a .138 ISO. They also have a 21.8% K rate giving Johnson a chance at some K’s. Then he gets the White Sox in Chicago which is a Fantasy Must-Start. The Sox are hitting to a wOBA of .285, near last in the MLB, with a .226 BA against lefties at home. Their .113 ISO does not scare anyone and their league leading 28.8% K rate will reward Johnson if he can get in some innings.
Andrew Suarez, LHSP, SFG (6.7% owned in ESPN) Vs NYM FRI: I used Suarez a lot in the first half of the season and he almost never disappointed. He certainly fell off in the 2nd half and that was predictable considering he is not a power pitcher by any means. But in two of his last three starts he has been brilliant, throwing 13 shutout innings against the Dodgers and Rangers. He did have a five run clunker in between against the Reds, but such is life for a spot starter. Next week he gets the Mets at home in SF on Friday. The Mets are hitting to a wOBA of .314 with a .242 BA against vs lefties on the road. I love the .149 ISO against and the 24.2% K-Rate to give Suarez a QS and a few K’s to go along with it. Sure, one last end of season look at his girlfriend too.
***Two-Start Pitcher***Francisco Liriano, LHSP, DET (3.2% owned in ESPN) @ KC TUE & @ NYY SUN: No, Liriano has not bee pitching great lately, and he is not getting blown out either as he Liriano has now lost his past four starts, a stretch in which he’s posted a 6.88 ERA across 17 innings of work. At least he made it into the sixth inning for the first time since July 4 in his last start. But I look to veterans this time of year, and that is exactly what Liriano is. He’s gotten the job done for me a few times already this season and next week he gets the Royals in KC on Tuesday. The depleted Royals have only scored 19 runs in the past six games and are averaging less than four runs per game in the past two weeks. On the season they are hitting to a poor wOBA of .295 with a .250 BA against and a .103 ISO. Their 23.3 whiff rate should give Liriano some chances to add you your K’s for the week. The Yankees are another story on Sunday and if you have other options for Sunday I’d recommend exploring them before trotting Liriano out there. If he is going to leave next week with his 10th loss of the season in tow, that may be the game he gets it in. The Yanks are hitting .347 wOBA and .258 BA against lefties at home, with a league leading .219 ISO and a 22.6% K rate. Tread lightly there.
That’s it for WEEK 22. 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 Brian Roach, Jr, and Cole Freel live on Sunday August 26th, 2018 from 8-9:30pm EST for episode #134 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. This will be our final fantasy baseball show of the 2018 season. Come join us to give our final thoughts on the season as well as the fantasy playoffs and roto league strecth runs.
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.
Major League Fantasy Baseball Show Episode #167, 6/23/2019 Host Brian Roach, Jr., Co-Host Cole Freel, Guest Kevin Bzdek
Major League Fantasy Baseball Show Episode #169, 8/4/2019 Host Cole Freel, Guest Joe Iannone
@brandonziman You are more than welcome Brandon. You were a fantastic writer and a joy to work with. As we move through a very big transition for us hopefully we can continue to work with one anither.