April 11, 2021.
Fantasy baseball Week 2 is here and the fantasy season can finally have a bit of normalcy. After a chaotic opening “week”, which lasted 11 days and had team’s playing an uneven number of games, there are no teams scheduled to play fewer than six games this week.
There were a few big stories of note from Week 1. Fernando Tatis Jr. injured his shoulder and is opting for rest and rehab. He could be back as soon as the end of the month, but it is unlikely that the Padres push their star shortstop back too fast. If you drafted Tatis, do not panic. He can still come back and contribute in most of your fantasy week. For now, the Padres are playing Ha-Seong Kim, owned in about 30% of fantasy leagues, at shortstop, but we would not be eager to sign him just yet.
The Chicago White Sox bats have started the season white hot. In particular, we want to highlight Yermin Mercedes, currently 78% owned, who went undrafted in most leagues. His power seems to be for real. If he’s still available in your league, I would strongly consider Mercedes. Although only eligible at DH or Utility, he is currently the 20th ranked player in standard categories leagues.
Los Angeles Angels star Shohei Ohtani made league history when he started the game, striking out 7 batters over 4.2 IP and hit second in the lineup, with a homerun for the AL team at home. No pitcher has hit second in the lineup since Jack Dunleavy for the St. Louis Cardinals in 1903. Ohtani’s night ended after a scary collision at the plate with the not so slender Jose Abreu. Manager Joe Maddon says that Ohtani will be fine and should pitch again as scheduled. His next scheduled start would come Sunday.
Now looking forward to Week 2, we have another week with weather contributing as a large factor.
Early in the week, there is a large amount of expected rainfall throughout the country. However, low temperatures will likely be the bigger threat to fantasy lineups. Again, this relatively cold weather will effect most of the country, but it could have the biggest impact on the Red Sox, who have multiple cold, wet games scheduled In Boston and early in the week in Minnesota. It may be another week before Alex Verdugo owners see his bat come to life, but a homerun on Sunday was nice to see.
On the mound, there are currently 47 different starting pitchers scheduled to have multiple starts this week. This means fewer owners could be streaming pitchers and owners without these SP will have innings to make up. This rather long list includes a few staff aces: Shane Bieber, Gerrit Cole, Yu Darvish, Lucas Giolito, Tyler Glasnow, Zach Greinke, Sandy Alcantara, Hyun Jin Ryu, Kenta Maeda, and Aaron Nola.
Coors Field continues to be a hitter’s paradise. There have been 83 runs scored there so far this season in only 7 games. The New York Mets will travel to Colorado to play the Rockies at Coors for a series lasting April 16-18. With the games at Coors and the Mets being scheduled to only play against right handed starting pitchers this week, we like Brandon Nimmo, owned in only about 27% of leagues, to be very popular. We also like Dominic Smith, who is roughly 90% owned, to have a big week for New York as well.
Another team that projects well in our models for Week 2 is the Baltimore Orioles, who benefit from having a game on all 7 days. The O’s also play some of the worst pitching staffs in the league this week with four games vs the Mariners and three vs the Rangers. In three of those games, the O’s are expected to face left handed pitching. If so, look for Ryan Mountcastle, about 75% owned, to have a big week. Leadoff man Cedric Mullins, owned in only 25% of leagues, seems to have been given the job an everyday basis.
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:
- Tampa’s Joey Wendle, owned in about 20% of leagues, has started the season as a top 100 fantasy player. His eligibility at 2B, 3B, and SS could help teams in need of depth.
- The Marlins continue to put out good young pitchers. In his last start, Trevor Rogers, now over 55% owned, beat the Mets and struck out 10 batters in 6 innings of work. We had Rogers in our Notes last week.
- Kansas City Royals outfielder Michael A. Taylor, less than 40% owned, has a hit in 7 consecutive games to start the season and is currently a top 80 player in fantasy.
- Johnny Cueto, about 18% owned, turned back the clock in his last outing, throwing 8.2 innings with 7 Ks and only 1 ER. He takes the mound once this week to face his former team, the Cincinnati Reds.