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10 fantasy baseball thoughts from the first week in July

Time to pick up Austin Voth?

Getty Images/Pete Rogers Illustrations

With baseball quickly approaching (we hope), here is your weekly dose of fantasy baseball thoughts.

1) I keep seeing Austin Voth’s name come up as the potential 5th starter for the Washington Nationals. With Joe Ross out for the season and Erick Fedde’s continued struggles it makes sense that the 28-year-old Washington Huskie might get a shot at a full season of play. He had a 1.29 ERA during Spring Training, and last season he pitched an admirable 43 innings with a 3.30 ERA, two wins and a 9.07 K/9.

2) With the continued uptick in home run hitting I keep wondering if we see someone pass Sammy Sosa’s 20 home runs that he hit in June of 1998 (Giancarlo Stanton and Rudy York each hit 18 each in a month). Given a short time frame, I guarantee we see some players willing to swing for the fences and exert more effort since the timeline is crunched. Should we be more inclined to buy into streaks as a “full season” thing this year?

3) Jonathan Lucroy was added to the Boston Red Sox recently and while he hit .232 AVG last year and sits behind Christian Valquez and Kevin Plawecki, he is a player I can’t quit. I don’t mean that I will be rostering him, but I will be watching to see if he gets a chance as a veteran catcher on an extremely talented young team.

4) Nolan Jones, one of the better prospects in the Indians system, was added to the 60-man roster, putting him closer to playing time. At Double-A last season, he batted a modest .253 AVG with a more respectable eight home runs, 33 runs and 22 RBI across 49 games played. His 14.7% walk rate shows a patient approach, and he sported a .213 ISO with a 5.8 Spd score (above average). I think he needs time to develop, but I’m seeing promising things in the lower leagues.

5) The Brewers joined the Athletics, Giants and others to allow people to pay for cutouts of themselves in the audience. I don’t think this affects much from a fantasy perspective UNLESS someone can put a drum in their picture for each time the Astros come to town. Do you think teams will allow it?

6) Does the universal DH open up Yoenis Cespedes for the rest of us??

7) Among first basemen with at least 100 games played, the YankeesLuke Voit—who is in a very hitter-friendly park—ranked top 10 in walks and on-base percentage...and bottom 10 in home runs and RBI. This seems like the inverse of what it should be, especially considering how talented he is. I’m hoping this is all a byproduct of the persistent injuries that have limited his full power. I’m hoping in this shorter season where he should be completely healthy, we can get an accurate view of what he is capable of.

8) I wrote a month ago about how the Franklin Barreto patience chart is almost up and he was showing in spring training that the Josh Donaldson trade was not all a waste. The recent trade of Jorge Mateo should open up another potential spot for him, with second base up for grabs. Tony Kemp might take the spot, but I believe Franklin will show in the first month of the restart whether or not he’s worth any consideration for the few that are still holding out hope.

9) Dinelson Lamet’s ADP is sitting around 150 these days as the SP35. A few reminders on the 27-year-old: Last season he only pitched 73 innings, but across that he had 105 strikeouts (or about 1.4 Ks per inning), his 4.07 ERA was respectable, and he allowed just 62 hits (which is less than one per inning). Now for the bad: He allowed 30 walks or about 0.40 walks per inning, his record was 3-5, and he allowed 1.48 HR/9—so while he’s striking out a lot of batters and allowing few hits, he is walking a lot of batters and allowing a decent number of home runs.

10) Low-A level batter Hunter Bishop has caught the attention of quite a few people. He’s currently positive for COVID-19 and I’m not sure if he plays this season. The top 10 pick from 2019 MLB draft has cracked a few top 100 prospect lists. He adjusted his swing, which brought out some power. It’s very early, but his adaptability is promising.