Sheryl Crow once sang “a change would do you good.” The year was 1996, when yours truly turned 13 years old. Yes, I am partly still in love with Sheryl. Anyway, who knew she was a baseball fan? Clearly these lyrics were meant for Aaron Sanchez...23 years later. That would also make her a psychic, though. I wonder if that would have been a bigger hurdle than the 22-year age gap between us. We will probably never know.
Just two short weeks ago, yours truly was in the middle of the pack in Fake Teams and Friends. And then I swung a trade for Paul Goldschmidt and Jeff McNeil, sending Jacob deGrom and Harrison Bader to Zack. The two new additions aren’t the only reason—Jose Berrios, Shane Bieber, and German Marquez have all pitched out of their minds since upper management (me) traded away deGrom. The boys have really stepped up. Anyway, now I’m up to third place, chasing down Punk is Dead and Bases Loaded (who have essentially been top two all season). Zack is only 2.5 points behind me, as this league is proving to be a wire-to-wire contest. The second half should be epic. Here’s the public link if you want to check it out. And coming to the world soon should be our inaugural Fake Teams and Friends fantasy football league!
The Money Adds
These are the guys we spent money on. Remember, we all began the season with a $100 FAAB budget.
$21 Dustin May (LAD - P) to Hackensack Bulls
$10 Aaron Sanchez (Hou - P) to No Cigar
$7 Adam Duvall (Atl - 1B, OF) to Punk is Dead
$3 J.D. Davis (NYM - 1B, 3B, OF) to No Cigar
$3 Archie Bradley (Ari - P) to Punk is Dead
$3 Trevor Richards (TB - P) to Bases Loaded
$2 Kevin Pillar (SF - OF) to Ghoji
Unless you lived under a rock for the last two days, you know the Houston Astros tossed a combined no-hitter against the Mariners on Saturday. MLB trade deadline acquisition Aaron Sanchez—who many probably considered an afterthought alongside Zack Greinke—hurled six innings of no-hit ball, striking out six along the way. With the Astros repeatedly taking incoming pitchers and boosting them to new heights, I don’t see how Aaron Sanchez isn’t the top pitching add everywhere in fantasy baseball right now. Just think over the recent list: Gerrit Cole, Charlie Morton, Wade Miley...Sanchez could be the next guy to make a leap forward. I think you add him in any sized league. Can’t afford not to do so.
My love for Sanchez is no disrespect to Dustin May. May is a quality add, a youngster who should offer plenty of innings for the Dodgers as they coast their way into the playoffs. He made it 5 2⁄3 innings in his debut against the Padres, allowing four runs and striking out three. He actually had the lead heading into the sixth inning, when he was undone by Eric Hosmer (single) and Josh Naylor (double). “Gingergaard” had 24 strikeouts over his 27 1⁄3 Triple-A innings this year, good for a 7.90 K/9. That’s a 21.1% strikeout rate. I think you’ll take it if he’s anywhere around the 20% mark in the majors. Don’t expect a ton of strikeouts, but do expect that he can help you in wins and ratios.
Garrett (Punk is Dead) has been touting Duvall for a bit now, so I’ll point you his way:
Grab Adam Duvall if you need an OF spot, especially for power.— Garrett Atkins ☠⚾️ (@13atkins13) July 31, 2019
Garrett is leading FTF and also ranks 18th overall in The Great Fantasy Baseball Invitational so far. A heck of a season so far. Anyway, Duvall is a quality power add, with five homers over nine games since his call-up. Just don’t expect the batting average to be overly helpful, not with a career 27.3% strikeout rate. This is a streaky power hitter, not dissimilar to one Austin Riley, who finds himself in a prolonged slump. Still, you can add Duvall on the cheap and ride the wave while it lasts.
J.D. Davis looks like a shiny add for fake baseball purposes, as the resurgent Mets need his bat in the lineup with the absence of left fielder Dominic Smith. Smith is projected to be out for three more weeks with a left foot injury, so the door is open for Davis to make his mark. Davis has shown neutral splits so far in 2019, slashing .304/.373/.489 against lefties and .293/.362/.479 against righties. He’s probably still a sneaky add in your league, as he’s only owned in 6% of Yahoo leagues. I like this move quite a bit, and the positional flexibility is a nice bonus.
Punk is Dead dropped a closer out of a job (Roenis Elias) for the new closer in Arizona, Archie Bradley. At least, it seems like the job is Bradley’s right now. It’s how you have to act anyway, if you are in saves speculation mode. And aren’t we all perpetually in said mode? I was excited to add Bradley for a buck in TGFBI last week. Bradley’s walk rate has ballooned to 4.93 per nine after sitting at 2.51 and 2.59 over the last two years...but his strikeout rate has also jumped up to 11.68 per nine (9.42 and 9.74 over the last two years). He isn’t allowing home runs at the same rate as a year ago, either. It might be a bumpy ride, but overall this is a nice play for saves.
Trevor Richards has been demoted to Triple-A Durham, but it might not be all bad. The Rays apparently view him as a starter, as Richards will be stretched out in the minors. As a stretch run stash in deep leagues, you could do much worse than Richards with the Tampa Bay Rays—who have a habit of getting the most value out of their pitchers, a la the Houston Astros.
Kevin Pillar has a habit of averaging his way into 15/15 seasons. Three years ago it was 16/15. Last year it was 15/14. So far in 2019, he has 13 homers and nine steals. Of course, all of that comes with a career triple slash of .258/.294/.399. To Pillar’s credit, he has beefed up his zone swing rate this year, up to 74.1% after averaging about 65% for the duration of his career. So that’s something. However, he currently has a sore left hip and lower back tightness after crashing into Philly’s outfield wall this past Thursday. Assuming he can crack the lineup today or in the next couple of days, I suppose he makes a decent end-of-your-roster play. But don’t chase upside here, especially not in Oracle Park. Bench depth only, in my opinion.
The $0 Adds
Tim Beckham (Sea - 2B, 3B, SS, OF) to Punk is Dead
Mike Tauchman (NYY - OF) to Punk is Dead
Drew Smyly (Phi - P) to The Last of Us
Homer Bailey (Oak - P) to The Last of Us
Jose Osuna (Pit - 1B, 3B, OF) to The Last of Us
Aaron Civale (Cle - P) to Zack’s Okay Team
Griffin Canning (LAA - P) to yours truly
Josh Naylor (SD - 1B, OF) to yours truly
Welp, Canning to the DL with elbow inflammation. Ughhhhh. This news broke the day after this transaction was completed, which is always awesome. Still, it sounds like no major damage here, so we may see Canning back sooner rather than later. He’s worth a stash, as he seemed to turn a corner in his last start, hurling six innings of shutout ball against the Tigers. He’s up to a 25.4% strikeout rate and 7.7% walk rate. His 13.6% swinging strike rate would rank 13th among starting pitchers if he qualified. He’d be tied with Kyle Gibson and Patrick Corbin, and just ahead of German Marquez, Charlie Morton, and Noah Syndergaard. Fine company to be in, if you have the space to stash him.
Aaron Civale gets a a start today (Monday) against the Rangers, and I suppose another later in the week if all goes well. I’d proceed with caution this week, but long-term Civale may stick. He’s gotta be a better option than Danny Salazar, after all...
Last but not least, Isan Díaz is the most added player in the fake game right now. The Marlins have called him up, as Díaz has nothing left to prove in Triple-A, with a .300+ batting average and 26 homers at that level. Let’s just hope the Marlins let him play every day over the likes of Starlin Castro and Jon Berti. Díaz wasn’t an add for us this week, as he was an add previously—Ghoji stashed him a while ago. Tip of the ole ballcap to ya, Ghoji.