Updated: Jan 14
We have talked a good bit here about the new dead ball and the recent success of pitchers around the league, but the biggest story in baseball last week was the Seattle Mariners calling up Jarred Kelenic, owned in about 80% of leagues, a top five ranked prospect in all of baseball. Kelenic, who the Mariners acquired from the Mets in the Cano/Diaz trade, should immediately contribute to all five categories in roto fantasy leagues and will be a must own player in points leagues as well. If able to stay up for the remainder of the season, Kelenic can finish as a top 50 fantasy player.
On Thursday, the Angels and the Twins will play a double-header, with both teams playing the first 8-game weeks of the young season. Notably, the Twins are scheduled to face a gauntlet of quality pitchers this and could be another offense to avoid, even with the added volume. If you are looking to add some of the two-start pitchers here, target J.A. Happ, owned in 20% of leagues and/or Michael Pineda, about 25% owned. However, be careful with Happ, who struggled against the White Sox, his Monday opponent, earlier in the season.
Our favorite bats this week project to be from the Atlanta Braves, who face the Mets at home without deGrom and the bottom half of a poor Pirates rotation. The top half of Atlanta’s lineup is mostly owned, but we will be targeting Austin Riley, 60% owned, William Contreras, 10% owned, and Ender Inciarte, only 1% owned.
Another team that stands out in our projections is the Cincinnati Reds, who have games scheduled for all seven days this week. The Reds also benefit from playing all seven of those games at home in a very hitter friendly Great American Ballpark. We would target Nick Senzel, 35% owned, and Tyler Naquin, 30% owned.
Three teams are scheduled only five games this week: MIL, KC, and STL. No bats from any of these teams stand out in any of our projections for the week. We would look to replace fringe bats from these teams in weekly roster lock leagues.
There are a number of other low owned hitters and pitchers who we are targeting this week. This list will continue to grow throughout the week, but for now we are keeping a close eye on the following players/situations:
- J.T Brubaker, still available in over 40% of leagues, was mentioned here last week and it is shocking to see him available in so many leagues after an impressive two-start week. We mentioned Brubaker last week and he delivered with 11 strikeouts over 11 innings pitched and a win.
- Brandon Crawford, owned in 30% of leagues, has played very well for the Giants this season and currently ranks as a top 100 player. Most shocking from the eleven-year veteran, Crawford already has 9 homeruns. He has only eclipsed 20 homeruns in a season once.
- Another shortstop we like, and mentioned last week after finally winning the leadoff job, is Miguel Rojas, now 50% owned. The Marlins shortstop can help lineups in category leagues that play BA or OBP.