It’s the first week of Period 4, everyone has a clean slate. Nine Golden Tickets have been awarded, three more are on the line the next four weeks. Here are some of the choices the Touts are counting on for a place in the Finals.
Dan Strafford (FNTSY Radio, @DanStrafford)
Pitcher: Max Scherzer – While his price point may be a tad prohibitive, it’s hard to see a pitcher in a better spot than Mad Max tonight. It is true that the Marlins are simply middle of the pack when it comes to K% against RHP on the year, but Scherzer sports a 38.9% K rate against right hand batters. The Marlins could potentially run out eight right handers in their lineup tonight. For cash games, a Scherzer/Bumgarner pairing may be pretty popular.
Hitter: Aaron Hicks – If we’re paying up for Scherzer, we’re going to have to find some cheaper bats to chase homeruns with on this slate. While Hicks isn’t a bargain, at 4k he represents one of the cheaper Yankees options on the night. Over his career, Clayton Richard has yielded 1.27 homeruns per nine to right handed batters. New York has an implied total of 7.3 runs. Hicks has sufficient power from the right side against left handed batters and should see the underbelly of the Jays bullpen early.
Todd Zola (Mastersball, @toddzola)
Pitcher: Madison Bumgarner – Chalkier than a batter’s box before the game starts but I don’t care. The Rox have struggled on the road versus LHP for the past several seasons.
Hitter: Franmil Reyes – Today’s DFS is all about the homer, so is the Orioles pitching staff. Reyes is reasonable priced from the five-hole.
Jeff Boggis (Fantasy Football Empire, @JeffBoggis)
Pitcher: Madison Bumgarner – There are a couple of expensive starting pitchers tonight, that I would love to roster, but struggle to complete an entire lineup that I feel comfortable with. That being said, I’m starting Madison Bumgarner (SF): $8,200 vs. COL. He’s at home and facing a Colorado team that is a lot worse on the road than at home when facing left-handed pitchers. The rockies have a 30.0% strikeout rate versus lefties on the road, which is the 2nd worse in MLB.
Hitter: Giancarlo Stanton – Giancarlo Stanton is back and hit his first home run of the season last night. He faces lefty Clayton Richard tonight and Stanton owns a lifetime .500 BA against him. Only $4,600 tonight. Yes please.
Ray Murphy (BaseballHQ, @RayHQ)
Pitcher: Andrew Heaney – Pretty nice spot for Heaney at home for the Reds, will take a shot at him re-discovering the high-K form he flashed in his first couple of starts off the DL.
Hitter: Francisco Mejia – I really like the SD stack in general, but Mejia at 3300 in Camden (vs crappy O’s pitching) is a true gift.
Jeff Erickson (Rotowire, @Jeff_Erickson)
Pitcher: Madison Bumgarner – Joining the heard on MadBum. Struggling with my choice as the second pitcher – I’ve switched my choice there multiple times, but I’m trying to find someone cheap so that I can afford as many Yankees as possible.
Hitter: Aaron Judge – Judge hasn’t homered yet since his return, but it’s Clayton Richard at home, and he’s underpriced at $4,700.
Anthony Aniano (Rotoballer, @AAnianoFantasy)
Pitcher: Shane Bieber – Bieber has 116 Ks in 91IP including 20 strikeouts in his last 2 starts. Kansas City is 25th in runs per game and OPS and averages 8.6 strikeouts per game.
Hitter: Jose Altuve – For $3,900 he faces Trevor Williams who allowed 7 runs in his last start. Altuve has 7 hits over his last 4 games including a home run and 2 doubles.
Steve Gardner (USAToday Fantasy Sports, @SteveAGardner)
Pitcher: Jake Arrieta – Arrieta has been hit-or-miss all season, but I’ve heard some “bad stuff ’bout the Mets” lately so I’m all-in on a Philly rout tonight.
Hitter: Jose Altuve – Just off the IL and just $3900, I like Altuve and the Astros against Pittsburgh’s Trevor Williams. The former AL MVP has seven hits in his last four games, including a homer on Sunday.
This week’s question revolves around some of the young arms making their debut recently.
Several young pitchers have debuted recently including Adbert Alzolay, Zac Gallen, Logan Allen and Jordan Yamamoto. Who of this group interests you the most and are there any other young hurlers to keep tabs on?
Mike Podhorzer (Fangraphs, @MikePodhorzer): Neither of the four really excite me enough to consider adding in 12-team mixed leagues or shallower. But Gallen is the most interesting solely because his strikeout rate spiked at Triple-A this year and it was fully supported by a surge in SwStrk%. That validates the legitimacy of the 30%+ strikeout rate, as it’s unlikely driven by good fortune, or a heavy reliance on called or foul strikes. Still, his pre-2019 metrics were pedestrian enough that I’d only consider investing in 15-team mixed and deeper. Otherwise, he’s really no better than your cookie cutter streaming option that’s seemingly always available in shallower formats.
Doug Dennis (BaseballHQ, @dougdennis41): These are good questions for NL-only 12 team leagues. I am in leagues where I have lost Kyle Hendricks and Pablo Lopez in the last week and innings are of course at a premium. In leagues like that, owners replacing starters must take a flyer on pitchers like Gallen, who have had terrific Triple-A metrics this season. Yamamoto is no slouch, either and I certainly did snap him up the week before and am hoping for the best. Logan Allen came into 2019 as the one you would take from this list, and his is probably already on reserve lists in these deeper leagues. Allen might have the most staying power as well. Finally, I do not have any confidence that Alzolay can hold the job because the Cubs are trying to win now and have a veteran group, so once Kyle Hendricks comes back, Alzolay will almost certainly go back.
Tim McCullough (Baseball Prospectus, @TimsTenz): None of the four really excite me in shallow leagues (12-teams or less) but I’d consider adding Gallen and perhaps Yamamoto in 15-team leagues. Gallen in particular has the skill set that I look for in a fantasy pitcher. At the very least I’d like to see more. The young arm I’m still waiting on is Jesus Luzardo. Once he’s healthy I’m expecting a top 5 pitcher to emerge.
Phil Hertz (BaseballHQ, @prhz50): I’m with Tim on shallow leagues. In an NL-only, I might go with Allen as my top choice.
Perry Van Hook (Mastersball, @): I am going to disagree with my Tout brethren about these young pitcher being added in 15 team leagues – Having seen Yamamoto pitch in the Arizona Fall League and watched his progress, I was all in on him last week in the Tout Mixed Draft League. Unfortunately I lost my bid for him in my home NL only league, but I will try again for Gallen this week. BTW Gallen was one of the best pitchers in the minor leagues to date this year and his first outing was fine. Sure their W potentials on the Marlins is not great but a look at free agent pitcher lists in 15 team mixed will not give you many better choices.
Todd Zola (Mastersball, @toddzola): I side with Perry. We old fogies may not like it, but today’s fantasy game isn’t designed to wait and see. Someone will take the chance. Conservative gets you middle of the pack. It’s unclear if Allen will stay up, but at some point he will be and it’s worth being aggressive. It’s worth being aggressive on Gallen right now. I don’t see the whiffs from Yamamoto so he’s third for me. Other than the obvious Luzardo, Forrest Whitley and Dylan Cease, I’m monitoring Justus Sheffield as the Mariners are pot-committed to give him a chance (he’s still struggling at Double-A) and my longshot is 26-year old southpaw Kyle Hart, a Red Sox farmhand. Hart isn’t dominant, but he’s done well in Double-A and now with Pawtucket. He’s old for the levels, but if Brian Johnson struggles, I can see Hart getting a shot, especially if Nate Eovaldi has another setback.
Glenn Colton (Fantasy Alarm, @GlennColton1): Gallen for me. 1.77 ERA and 12:1 K/BB in PCL. And now he gets to pitch in a pitcher’s park. Sign me up.
Tim McLeod (PattonandCo, @TimothyLMc): I’m with Perry and Todd. A quick look at the Free Agent pool of available SP in 15-team Mixed Leagues and it becomes apparent that these kids simply can’t be ignored. Allen and Gallen are my preferred choices with Yamamoto just slightly below those two. Alzolay will be heading back to Triple-A when Hendricks returns, so minimal interest. Jesus Luzardo, Dylan Cease, and even Brendan McKay have my attention for the second half. I know McKay is a Ray, which normally means we don’t see him early, but in a close race they might need that arm in September.
Charlie Wiegert (CDM Sports, @GFFantasySports): Yamamoto was impressive in two starts against the Cardinals. I’ll be interested in seeing how he does against the Phillies Sunday . If he shuts them down also, he could be major league ready. There is hesitation , as he ( as Gallen) pitch for the offensively challenged Marlin, whose bullpen is also less than desirable.
Patrick Davitt (BaseballHQ, @patrickdavitt): I like Gallen of the four. MiLB 2019: 1.77/0.71 in 91.1 innings, .153 BAA, 112 K against 17 walks, all in the PCL. I’m especially positive here because he bumped his K/9 from around 9 K/9 pre-2019 to 11.0, cut his walks from 2.4 bb/9 to 1.7, and as a result saw his Command Ratio leap from 3.8 to 6.6. I’m starting to get the feeling that MIA might be onto something in drafting and developing pitchers. I’ve seen analysis noting that Allen’s awful 5.15/1.44 decimals were inflated by two horrendous starts to open the year, which was true (11 earnies and 18 baserunners in 5.0 innings (19.80/3.60); since then: 3.84/1.26). But here’s the thing: In those nine subsequent starts, he had two more stinkers (5.1 combined innings, 11 hits, a walk, 5 HR), making him seem risky from a consistency perspective.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (ESPN, @SultanofStat): Zac Gallen seems to be the consensus choice and it’s one that makes sense: He’s got a wide-open path to a rest-of-year rotation spot, he’ll call one of the most pitching-friendly environments his home, and he could probably double his current innings total (majors and minors) before the Marlins think about shutting him down. Sign me up, including for Logan Allen if I’m ranking them. As for “what’s next,” I don’t think Jesus Luzardo is getting enough attention. Had he not gotten hurt, he’d have made the A’s out of spring training, and the Frankie Montas suspension does open up a spot for Luzardo as soon as he’s healthy.
Scott Engel (Rotoballer, @scotteTheKing): I like Yamomoto. He has some really good movement on his pitches and he is not easy for opponents to pick up. Allen was impressive as well and while he works in a pitcher’s park, I want to see more before I commit to backing him
Nando Di FIno (The Athletic, @nandodifino): I am very much on board with Zac Gallen. I think the strikeout breakthrough is real and he’s exhibited nice enough control through the minors for me to feel safe in him translating that to MLB. But what stands out to me most is his 1.77 ERA this season in the PCL. The ERAs in the PCL are insane right now, and meanwhile here’s Gallen with a sub-2 ERA. I don’t think you can ignore that. When everyone else is getting completely pounded to cartoonish levels, you have a pitcher who is an extreme outlier now coming into a home park that should play to his strengths. As far as anyone else to watch? I would’ve said Elieser Hernández, but he’s also up. Maybe J.P. Feyereisen, if the Yankees make a deal and he’s part of the package that goes to a team without a closer?
Jeff Boggis (Fantasy Football Empire, @JeffBoggis): Jordan Yamamoto is my click to pick. He now has won his first 3 games he’s piched in at the major league level this season. Impressive victories over the Cardinals twice, and now the Phillies.
Scott Swanay (FantasyBaseballSherpa, @fantasy_sherpa): Alzolay and Allen interest me more than Gallen and Yamamoto. However, there are a number of other options who could be returning from the IL or minors at some point this summer who’d also interest me – e.g. – Manaea, Reyes, De Leon, Lamet, Luzardo, and Puk. All else being equal I’d rather have a pitcher who hasn’t missed an extended period of time due to injury, but I feel the ceiling of the pitchers in the second group generally exceeds the ceiling of the pitchers in the first group, and at this point in the season, the ceiling concerns me more than the expected projection.
Anthony Aniano (Rotoballer, @AAnianoFantasy): Of the group mentioned Zac Gallen intriques me the most. In AAA he averaged over 11 K/s per 9 and less than two walks per nine innings. However the most impressive stat is less than 1 home run allowed per 9 innings. Anthony Kay of the Mets is someone I am monitoring. The dysfunction continues and players like Vargas and Wheeler could possibly be traded by mid-July and Kay is the Mets best pitching prospect.He dominated AA this season and has struggled a bit in 5 AAA innings but as he adjusts the lefty with high strikeout potential could receive a late season call-up.
Vlad Sedler (Fantasy Guru Elite, @rotogut): As far as fantasy relevance for this season, I’d rank them Gallen, Yamamoto, Alzolay, Allen. Gallen is the clear favorite of the group because of his pedigree and domination in Triple-A thus far. He’s the guy most likely to be an SP2 and top-100 overall pick in your fantasy drafts two years from now. Yamamoto has certainly dazzled through his first couple starts, but these final rotation spots are competitive and he’ll have to keep cruising in order to keep it. Alzolay and Allen are talented but are much more likely to be demoted – Allen likely first since he could still use some more seasoning in the minors and Dinelson Lamet should be back in the rotation soon.