Fantasy Baseball Preview – April 26th to May 2nd

April is coming to a close which is a great sign that better weather is on the horizon. Knocking on wood, there should not be any more games being played in snow. This is great news for sluggers as it seems like pitchers have had the advantage thus far. Last week we some some incredible performance from the likes of Jacob deGrom, Dustin May, and Maddison Bumgarner (to name a few).

Looking ahead to this week, there is plenty of narratives to watch for. While some might be in the basement of their league, remember, we are still very early in the season and there is no need to panic, just yet. Let’s dive into this upcoming week ahead.

Two Start Pitchers

This is a list of all pitchers who need to be considered for fantasy – not every single pitcher.

Start em’:
Lucas Giolito (CWS) – DET/CLE
Corbin Burnes (MIL) – MIA/LAD
Max Scherzer (WAS) – TOR/MIA
Walker Buhler (LAD) – CIN/MIL
Jose Berrios (MIN) – CLE/KC
Julio Urias (LAD) – CIN/MIL
Trevor Rogers (MIA) – MIL/WAS
Charlie Morton (ATL) – CHC/TOR
Ian Anderson (ATL) – CHC/TOR
Tyler Mahle (CIN) – LAD/CHC
Zack Wheeler (PHI) – STL/NYM
Sean Manaea (OAK) – TB/BAL

Proceed with caution:
Frankie Montas (OAK) – TB/BAL
Christian Javier (HOU) – SEA/TB
Zach Plesac (CLE) – MIN/CWS
Zach Efflin (PHI) – STL/NYM
Domingo German (NYY) – BAL/DET
Adam Wainwright (STL) – PHI/PIT
Corey Kluber (NYY) – BAL/DET

Take a shot if you need to:
Justus Sheffield (SEA) – HOU/LA
Anthony DeSclafani (SF) – COL/SD
Austin Gomber (COL) – SF/ARI

Leaving Cincinnati for the much friendlier confines of San Francisco’s Oracle Park can certainly help, but what’s encouraging about Disco’s results thus far is that three of his four starts have been on the road. Instead, he’s inducing a career high rate of ground balls by relying more on his sinker. He’s also throwing more curves, and the pitch has a ridiculous 36% whiff rate so far

Kyle Bishop –

Waiver Wire Adds – Hitters

J.D. Davis (NYM-OF) – 49% Yahoo
His batting average has climbed to .414 on the season through the first 10 games and 33 plate appearances. While Davis has never shown much power thus far in his career, 2021 tells a different story. He has adjusted his swing which has resulted in an increase in hard contact %. Statcast shows a 52.6% HardHit% and 26.3 Barrel% (both are career highs). This has led to a .742 xSLG and .490 xwOBA (you guessed it, both highest of his career). These power numbers will translate into more extra base hits and RBI’s as this loaded lineup heats up.

Adolis Garcia (TEX – OF) – 34% Yahoo
A DFS darling, Adolis Garcia has been hitting in the heart of this Texas lineup and seemingly, still flying under the radar. The Rangers have a heavy does of power-hitting lefties in the lineup, but lack threat from right-handed hitters. Adolis Garcia clobbered 32 long-balls in 2019 at AAA in Memphis, so we know the power is there. Currently with five homers this season, the only draw-back is the plate discipline. Just a 3.9% BB rate and a 29.4% K rate, Garcia may slide down in the order against right-handed pitchers. That being said, Texas is not flush with experienced bats who can take his spot. Expect good power numbers going forward with Garcia, but temper expectations with the batting average.

Alex Kirilloff (MIN – OF) – 31% Yahoo
It is possible you missed the boat on Kirilloff. However, he hasn’t recorded a hit yet through 14 plate appearances. If you don’t know about him, he is regarded as one of the top prospects in the Twins organization and the kid can hit. This could be a buy low candidate if the current owner in your league does not have patience. Otherwise, if he’s on the wire, add him with confidence. He has been hitting fifth in the lineup with plenty of protection. Results will come.

Pavin Smith (ARI – 1B, OF) – 10% Yahoo
Hitting at the top of the Diamondbacks order, Smith provides stability in multiple fantasy categories. He owns a 120 wRC+ and .351 wOBA. He led off yesterday against a lefty in Drew Smyly, which shows confidence that he is not just a platoon advantage hitter. First base is not the deepest position and Smith might be the best option on the waiver wire, currently, for depth.

Josh Harrison (WAS – 2B, 3B) – 6% Yahoo
Again, second base is a very slim position for fantasy. There are not a ton of great options here. Harrison has moved up in the lineup for the Nationals as Juan Soto remains on the injured list. Batting well over a .300 average, the savvy veteran has adjusted his grip, apparently, which has led to a much more controlled approach. This is evident by his .342 BABIP – his highest since 2014. Even without Soto, the Nats have a good lineup. Hitting either leadoff or second in the order will generate fantasy production from Harrison.

Hot and Cold Streaks

Following the hot and cold streaks are important. They won’t last forever and playing your league like the stock market will net you a huge reward. This section can translate into a “buy low, sell high” type of scenario. Here are some of the hottest and coldest players in the league, based on fantasy categories over the last seven days, relative to ADP.

Alex Brandon/Associated Press

Fernando Tatis Jr. – .385 AVG, 5 HR, 7 RBI, 9 R, 4 SB
Bryce Harper – .435 AVG, 3 HR, 3 RBI, 8 R, 1 SB
Adolis Garcia – .333 AVG, 4 HR, 9 RBI, 5 R, 0 SB
Jesse Winker – .400 AVG, 3 HR, 6 RBI, 4 R, 0 SB
C.J. Cron – .450 AVG, 3 HR, 8 RBI, 4 R, 0 SB

Jacob deGrom – 1 W, 15K, 0.00 ERA, .22 WHIP (1 CGSO)
Madison Bumgarner – 1 W, 7K, 0.00 ERA, 0.00 WHIP (1 CGSO)
Sean Manaea – 1 W, 7K, 0.00 ERA, 1.00 WHIP (1 CGSO)
Zac Gallen – 1 W, 12K, 2.13 ERA, 0.87 WHIP (1 CGSO)
Brandon Woodruff – 2 W, 15K, 0.75 ERA, 0.67 WHIP

Mookie Betts – .227 AVG, 0 HR, 1 RBI, 4 R, 1 SB
Trea Turner – .190 AVG, 0 HR, 1 RBI, 0 R, 2 SB
Freddie Freeman – .118 AVG, 0 HR, 0 RBI, 0 R, 0 SB
Manny Machado – .160 AVG, 0 HR, 2 RBI, 1 R, 1 SB
Marcell Ozuna – .000 AVG, 0 HR, 2 RBI, 1 R, 0 SB

Kenta Maeda – 0 W, 1K, 21.00 ERA, 2.67 WHIP
Luis Castillo – 0 W, 7K, 5.00 ERA, 1.89 WHIP
Zack Wheeler – 0 W, 6K, 6.35 ERA, 1.41 WHIP
Zach Plesac – 0 W, 4K, 10.80 ERA, 1.40 WHIP

Closer Corner

Arizona Diamondbacks
A team to keep a close eye on. Currently, Stefan Crichton is the undisputed closer, with two saves on the season. However, he has not been good (5.63 ERA) and was hit in the hand with a comeback last week. X-rays were negative, but keep a close eye on the situation. Next in-line would be Kevin Ginkel who has had a blown save already, but has better peripheral numbers. He also has four holds, indicating he can get the job done.

Oakland A’s
The Athletics finally lost a game yesterday at the hands of Baltimore. They enjoyed a remarkable 13-game win streak. The closer situation is certainly by committee, but the ownership disparity is not warranted. Lou Trivino has 2 saves and 2 holds with a 1.38 ERA and 0.86 WHIP on the season and is 61% owned on Yahoo. Meanwhile, Jake Diekman is 34% owned and has recorded; 2 saves, 2 holds, 2.89 ERA, and 1.07 WHIP. Diekman is a lefty and Trivino is a righty. This will be a situational committee for the foreseeable future.

Seattle Mariners
Another closer by committee situation. Currently, the Mariners are running with a three-headed monster. Going into the season, Rafael Montero was the lead dog. This year, he has the most saves, with 3. But he also has the most blown saves, with 3. Keynan Middleton has been in the mix as a late inning closer, owning 2 saves thus far. But he has a 4.50 ERA, 0.88 WHIP and has not recorded a hold. That leaves Kendall Graveman. He also has 2 saves on the year to go with 2 holds. The difference is he has yet to allow an earned run. He has the most strikeouts (10) and holds (2). While it is not cemented yet, he could easily prevail as the established closer in the coming days/weeks.

Final Thoughts

This has been the year of the pitchers, which comes as no surprise based on the “deadened ball” rumors. We are witnessing some absolutely dominant performances. Including 8 complete game shutouts, less than a month into the season. Early advice is to break ties with some of the “stud” pitchers you may have drafted early, to bolster your hitting categories. Average pitchers are having All-star outings and can be found on the waiver wire or through trades by offering name value players.

Keep in mind that the weather is heating up. Places in the mid-west and south (Texas specifically) will start seeing the ball fly a lot more and home run numbers should increase. The Atlanta Braves have been one of the more mysterious teams this year. They started off horribly. Then had a massive offensive outpour. Then back to being horrible. The inconsistency of guys like Freddie Freeman and Macel Ozuna might have owners furious.

As injuries continue to mount. Keeping a close on the waiver wire is key. There are plenty of good bats and arms out there. Most importantly, anyone hitting in the top of the order is worth considering at this time. In addition, the ever revolving bullpen situation for teams.

Good luck this week. If you have ant questions, reach me on twitter @j_maw.

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