Philadelphia Phillies, fantasy goldmine
The Phillies have won four straight and scored 13 runs in Boston on Tuesday, as the Red Sox sport a historically bad team ERA. Rhys Hoskins finally hit his first homer of the season, and there should be much more to come from one of the unluckiest hitters in baseball so far in 2020 ... Alec Bohm reached base in four of five plate appearances and looks ready to help fantasy managers in a big way down the stretch.
Bryce Harper homered and stole a base, and we might be looking at the monstrous campaign many have been expecting since 2015. Harper has cut his K% way down (14.7% is by far a career low) and is currently second in MLB in wRC+ (213), and since he also steals bases and has a .338 expected batting average, it’s hardly a stretch to say Harper could easily finish as fantasy’s No. 1 player this year. The NL MVP race is quite competitive right now between Harper, Fernando Tatis Jr., Mookie Betts and of course, Mike Yastrzemski.
J.T. Realmuto already has a career-high for homers in a month and is in the top 2% of the league in Barrel% and expected slugging. He hits cleanup behind Harper (who currently has a .486 OBP), has the DH now to help accrue more ABs, and plays in a park that’s increased HR for right-handed bats an MLB-high 26% over the last three seasons, so JTR is setup well for a massive upcoming contract. Given the fantasy catcher landscape is as dire as ever (Pedro Severino is currently the No. 2 catcher, while Martin Maldonado and his two homers and .222 BA is No. 6), Realmuto is quite clearly one of fantasy baseball’s most valuable players.
Scott Kingery’s playing time hasn’t yet taken a huge hit thanks to Jean Segura’s injury (and there’s still a chance he shifts to center), but he was removed after just two ABs on Tuesday. He’s been struggling while recovering from COVID and also dealing with a shoulder ailment, so Kingery is understandably being dropped in many fantasy leagues despite having such bullish projections before the season … Jay Bruce (3% rostered) hit his fourth home run Tuesday and looks like the more valuable fantasy player right now (and if you’re looking more for speed than power, then Roman Quinn (1% rostered) is your waiver wire Phillies option).
Zach Eflin was hit hard and lasted just four innings Tuesday, but it was hardly unexpected in Fenway, and he now sports a 2.76 FIP on the season despite three starts against the AL East. Eflin entered top-20 in CSW, so he’s an intriguing pickup who’s available in more than 80% of Yahoo leagues thanks to a 5.14 ERA that’s going to drop dramatically moving forward.
Home Cooking and Blue Jays
Last week I talked about how three humidors were secretly installed, and far wiser voices than myself have said the effect can work both ways, and ultimately the impact should be small (nor will we have a big enough sample this season) … If there were any sweeping conclusions I’d make about any early season Park Factors, it’s that Buffalo might be Coors Field in the AL, and I added Travis Shaw, Rowdy Tellez and Randal Grichuk (who homered for the fourth time in five games Tuesday) in all leagues possible … The Yankees lost their first game at home this season after starting 10-0, which is against this year’s theme, as home winning% is the second lowest it’s ever been (and something to consider in DFS, as home pitchers aren’t getting the same usual K zone benefits).
Fernando Tatis Jr., baseball hero
One day after breaking the silly unwritten rules by hitting a grand slam on a 3-0 pitch, Tatis Jr. had the audacity to steal third base up 6-0 on Tuesday night (a game that ended 6-4), as he’s quickly becoming baseball’s most likable player. He also happens to lead MLB in Hard Hit% by a significant margin while adding video game numbers with 17 homers/steals over just 25 games despite playing in Petco. Tatis Jr. is fantasy baseball’s No. 1 player right now, and he’s 21 years old.
Add Tommy La Stella
La Stella homered for the second straight game and is settling in as Anaheim’s No. 2 hitter in front of Mike Trout. La Stella has walked twice as often as he’s struck out this year, and Angel Stadium has played as baseball’s best park for left-handed power since changing its fences a few seasons ago (and ranks No. 2 behind only Coors Field in boosting run scoring so far in 2020). So this is a pretty terrific setup for La Stella, who’s rostered in just 15% of Yahoo leagues.
Frankie Montas had a bad day
Montas got obliterated for nine runs over just 1.2 innings in a loss in Arizona, as his ERA jumped from 1.57 to 4.74 after the ugly outing. Montas entered with the fourth-best CSW in baseball, so this start can be totally ignored, as rough as it was.
Kenta Maeda loses no-hitter in ninth
Maeda lost a no-hitter in the ninth inning during an absolutely dominant performance Tuesday night that featured eight straight strikeouts and just one ball leaving the infield through eight innings. Maeda is a health risk but is also perfectly capable of finishing as a top-10 fantasy starter, especially given his situation in Minnesota.
Brandon Lowe keeps hitting
Lowe homered for the fifth time in six games, recording 12 RBI over that span. He entered Tuesday ranked top-five in Barrel% and wRC+, so Lowe is the real deal, and batting second behind Austin Meadows is a good spot.