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The Jr Circuit: Week 1

Welcome back baseball. A look at my most owned players, noteworthy news & pitching matchups for the coming week.

San Francisco Giants v Los Angeles Dodgers Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images

We did it. We made it. This morning I woke up and had a cup of coffee on my deck with the sun shining down on me. For those in warmer parts of the country, perhaps this isn’t a huge deal. Living in the Pacific Northwest however, these days, especially the first handful are extra special. The realization quickly set upon me that today marks a drastic change in my life for the next six months.

For me, there’s baseball season and then the rest of the year. During baseball season I’m never bored. There’s always something that could be worked on, watched, or analyzed. Sitting here watching the Yankees and Rays debut the 2017 season, it dawned on me following a Logan Morrison home run that I could check my fantasy baseball stats. Of course I’ll have at least some will power and wait until the end of the night as is my typical routine in season. You see, much of the reason I don’t play DFS is because of the fact that I’d constantly want to check my team.

I mean, each and every minute.

But why? Whatever is going to happen will happen regardless. I find it best to just check in towards the end of the night, find out how you did that day and what players you have left playing; then tune in for a little late night baseball. Just a personal preference, but one that I hadn’t felt for five months or so.

Welcome back baseball.

You still care not for people’s feelings.

Pitching Matchups to Target:

Pitching Matchups to Avoid:

  • Eduardo Rodriguez vs Pittsburgh Pirates (Chad Kuhl)
  • Matt Boyd vs Boston Red Sox (Rick Porcello)
  • Luis Severino vs Baltimore Orioles (TBD)
  • Andrew Triggs vs Los Angeles Angels (TBD)
  • Raul Alcantara vs Texas Rangers (A.J. Griffin)
  • Kendall Graveman vs Texas Rangers (Yu Darvish)
  • Sean Manaea vs Texas Rangers (Martin Perez)
  • Ariel Miranda vs Houston Astros (Joe Musgrove)
  • Martin Perez (2 start) vs Cleveland Indians (Carlos Carrasco) & Oakland Athletics (Sean Manaea)
  • Zack Greinke (2 start) vs San Francisco Giants (Madison Bumgarner)
  • Patrick Corbin (2 start) vs San Francisco Giants (Johnny Cueto)
  • Shelby Miller vs Cleveland Indians (Josh Tomlin)
  • Bartolo Colon vs New York Mets (Jacob DeGrom)
  • Mike Foltynewicz vs Pittsburgh Pirates (TBD)
  • Brett Anderson vs Milwaukee Brewers (Jimmy Nelson)
  • Rookie Davis vs Philadelphia Phillies (Clay Buchholz)
  • Amir Garrett vs Philadelphia Phillies (TBD)
  • Edinson Volquez vs Washington Nationals (Stephen Strasburg)
  • Zack Wheeler vs Miami Marlins (Wei-Yin Chen)
  • Gerrit Cole vs Boston Red Sox (Rick Porcello)
  • Jameson Taillon vs Boston Red Sox (Chris Sale)
  • All San Diego Padres’ Pitchers this week (at Dodgers, home Giants)

The avoid list is rather long this week. Personally, I don’t mind running a 5/4 or 6/3 SP/RP split in leagues that use the typical nine pitching slot roster setup. Between the first start of the year (nerves, still ramping up, etc) and not wanting to put myself into an early hole, I am pretty cautious with the arms that I run out early in the season. This of course assumes that I’ve built my rosters with enough options to avoid some of the names, even higher-end ones, mentioned above.

Current News I’m Monitoring:

  • Tyler Glasnow Cracks Opening Day Rotation: The Pirate’s top prospect will break camp with the big league squad. Having traded away Glasnow in my 15-team dynasty league this offseason, I’m intrigued to watch his early season development. Glasnow’s minor league numbers are absolutely insane, but his control issues in the big leagues have me slightly concerned. I fully acknowledge he could take a large step forward this season. The trade for those interested was Madison Bumgarner (expensive) for Tyler Glasnow (cheap).
  • Yandy Diaz Gets a Chance in Cleveland: With Jason Kipnis starting on the DL, Jose Ramirez will shift over to cover second base for the Indians. This leaves a hole at third base and prospect Yandy Diaz is expected to fill said hole. Diaz has a solid line drive approach at the plate and could hit for a high batting average immediately. For those in OBP leagues, Diaz has also displayed an above-average batting eye at the dish. His power numbers are not expected to be high, however, his all around boring production, with slight upside, could push Diaz into CI consideration in 15-team mixed leagues soon.
  • Drew Smyly Will Start the Year on the DL: Curse Word - As a Mariner fan, this one hurts. That said, we all knew some sort of injury was certainly possible with Smyly. There’s a reason I own zero shares of the guy after all. Taking Smyly’s rotation spot will be Ariel Miranda. In my opinion Miranda just doesn’t miss enough bats. Over 58 IP last season, Miranda posted a 3.88 ERA, however, his expected ERA was a full run higher. Miranda can be safely ignored outside of AL only leagues with a bench.
  • Roberto Osuna to Begin the Year on the DL: Well, that’s not what we had hoped for. Stepping in for Osuna should be veteran reliever Jason Grilli. While Grilli still has the shadow of skills necessary to close games, the Jays are hoping that Osuna will only miss the minimum amount of time (10 days). Also in the mix for saves in Toronto (and with better skills) is Joe Biagini. Between Osuna going down with injury and both Seung Hwan Oh & Mark Melancon blowing saves on opening day, the Closer market appears to be firing up early this season.
  • Dalton Pompey Placed on DL with Concussion: Following the release of Melvin Upton, it appeared a healthy Pompey could slide in and take some of the playing time. Unfortunately, a hard head-first slide in the WBC rocked Pompey and he’s been unable to take the field since. If Pompey is able to show that the concussion is behind him, he makes for a decent speed stash, who now has an easier route to playing time with Upton out of town.
  • Tim Beckham Starting for now in Tampa Bay: With Matt Duffy hitting the DL as expected, Tim Beckham will receive another chance to show he’s the man in Tampa Bay. Beckham went 1-4 with a double and run scored during Sunday’s opening day action. If Duffy’s injury ends up keeping him on the shelf for longer than expected, Beckham still has 15-15 upside with playing time and a fast start.
  • Pedro Alvarez to Begin the Season in the Minor Leagues: Don’t sleep on Alvarez. I know it’s easy to poke fun at a guy who was a top prospect, flopped with the bat some, couldn’t handle third, then couldn’t handle first and is now attempting to play the outfield, but the dude can rake against right-handed pitching (.848 OPS over 299 at-bats last season & an .801 OPS career vs right-handed pitching). At some point the Orioles could call on Alvarez and fantasy owners in deep leagues or those with daily lineups should be ready to pounce.

The Players I own the most:

As we kick off the season, here’s the players I’ve acquired the most shares of this season. For those who missed my portfolio of teams in my Welcome to the Jr Circuit post, feel free to jump back in time and check it out.

  • Matt Carpenter - 4 Shares
  • Eric Thames - 3 Shares
  • Kevin Kiermaier - 3 Shares
  • Russell Martin - 3 Shares
  • Aaron Judge - 3 Shares
  • Pablo Sandoval - 3 Shares
  • Jason Heyward - 3 Shares
  • Sean Doolittle - 3 Shares
  • Chris Devenski - 3 Shares
  • Brandon Belt - 2 Shares
  • Max Kepler - 2 Shares
  • Tyler Naquin - 2 Shares
  • Kyle Schwarber - 2 Shares
  • Mitch Haniger - 2 Shares
  • Billy Hamilton - 2 Shares
  • Willson Contreras - 2 Shares
  • Yasmani Grandal - 2 Shares
  • Buster Posey - 2 Shares
  • Kyle Seager - 2 Shares
  • Danny Valencia - 2 Shares
  • Andrew Benintendi - 2 Shares
  • Brandon Phillips - 2 Shares
  • Lance McCullers - 2 Shares
  • Madison Bumgarner - 2 Shares
  • Felix Hernandez - 2 Shares
  • Jharel Cotton - 2 Shares
  • Matt Andriese - 2 Shares
  • Zach Davies - 2 Shares
  • Andrew Triggs - 2 Shares
  • Francisco Rodriguez - 2 Shares
  • Jose De Leon - 2 Shares
  • Joe Musgrove - 2 Shares
  • Joe Jimenez - 2 Shares

The major takeaways from the above list:

I’m all in on Matt Carpenter this year. In fact, I even included Carpenter in my bold predictions article.

With a low cost, I decided to take a chance on Pablo Sandoval, Aaron Judge & Jason Heyward three times. With Sandoval and Heyward we’re talking about players who have displayed well above-average skills in recent years. Judge is the typical rookie who was hyped, failed in a small sample and semi-forgotten during draft season. All are low-risk lottery tickets. Lottery tickets you found on the ground outside of the gas station. Acquisition cost was next to nothing.

You can also see that I was pretty unwilling to play in the back-half of the catcher pool. Anything over a 12-team mixed league this year with two catchers, many of the league’s owners are going to roster sub-par catchers. Since the majority of my leagues are 15-team mixed or AL only, I jumped into the pool early and often. Between Russell Martin, Willson Contreras, Buster Posey and Yasmani Grandal, I’m hoping that the majority of my teams have at least one above-average producer at the catching position. I also own single shares of Jonathan Lucroy, Matt Wieters & Welington Castillo, to round out my entire catching portfolio for the 2017 season. My success will largely hinge on the ability of these catchers to continue to produce at elite to near-elite levels.

On the pitching front, I tried to limit my exposure to any one arm by only selecting them in two leagues. The pitchers who broke this rule (Sean Doolittle and Chris Devenski) all had reserve round type acquisition points and won’t hurt my team if they fail. If Doolittle regains a closer role (or continues getting holds in some of my other leagues) or Devenski receives a shot in the rotation, both could be huge gets and I don’t mind the additional exposure.

MLB The Show Update:

I’ve been playing The Show 2017 since it came out last week. While work and life in general has kept me from playing nearly as much as I’d like, I’ve logged enough hours to have some quick opinions. The first being, it’s still a great game. For anyone debating the purchase of a PS4, I highly recommend it. In fact, The Show is the only reason I purchased a PS4 to begin with. I was a huge fan of Diamond Dynasty in The Show 2016. Since 2017 has come out however, I’ve been playing Franchise Mode early on. It might have something to do with the Seattle Mariners fielding a roster that is actually fun to play with, but I can’t get enough. Through five games my squad is 4-1 with some insane offensive numbers. If the real life Mariners are able to hit and run the bases like their virtual counterpart, 2017 is going to be a great season.

In Closing:

I’d just like to say welcome back to BBQ’s, Baseball, hanging with friends and everything else these next six months brings your life. Before we know it the All-Star Break will be upon us and next we’ll be watching Wild Card Games. Try to enjoy each day of the season. It will be long at points and your team's future may seem dark at other points, but it’s always worth attempting to battle on and improve your team.

You never know what the next day of baseball will bring.