As we enter the final full week of the season, streaming starting pitchers to try to maximize your wins and strikeouts might either become a viable strategy for you now or has been a strategy you have been executing for some time already. So let’s review the probable starters for Tuesday’s games that are owned on 30% or fewer teams in CBS leagues and conclude with a STREAM or NOT decision, assuming a 12-team mixed league.
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Yesterday, I discussed the teams scheduled to play eight games next week and the players widely available who might be worth a pickup, depending on your alternatives. Today, let’s identify the teams with the fewest games next week and which hitters you might consider benching, or even outright dropping, as a result. The advice here is aimed at shallower (12 teams) mixed leagues with weekly transactions.
Next week is the last full one of the MLB season! Sheesh has the season gone quickly. We still have make-up games to be played so four teams will be playing eight games apiece. Remember that this isn’t as much of a boost as it would have been in previous seasons, as doubleheaders last just seven innings, so each extra game via doubleheader means just five more innings, rather than nine. In addition, a doubleheader might give a manager an opportunity to rest a player you think is a regular, completely canceling out the supposed advantage of the extra game(s). In fact, that could actually hurt, because the game they actually played was two innings less. Still, when you are teetering between two hitters, the extra game(s) could be the deciding factor on who to start for the week.
After tackling the new American League regulars yesterday, let’s now dive back into the National League to discuss the hitters who are now seeing every day playing time.
It’s only been a week since the first edition of this series, and yet there are enough new regulars to post an update. With just two weeks left in the season, playing time is paramount. Don’t get stuck starting a bench player unless you literally have no other options.
With such a short season, playing time is even more paramount than it usually is. Instead of a missing game being just 0.6% of the season, it’s now 1.7%. That’s a significant difference. So it’s worth it to look to a team’s schedule to try to take advantage. Do this by seeking out teams scheduled to play the most games in a given week and rostering/starting those hitters. Obviously, that doesn’t mean bench a six game Mike Trout to start an eight game Brian Goodwin, but when you’re past the top couple of tiers at a position, then games scheduled should be a deciding factor.
Yesterday, I discussed a slew of American League hitters who suddenly find themselves with regular playing time. Today, let’s check in on the National Leaguers currently with full-time jobs.
Phew, it’s quite difficult to keep up with all the roster moves, injuries, and playing time changes. In this crazy season, guys who haven’t even appeared above High-A ball are getting promoted and given significant roles. It’s nuts! If you’re not paying close attention, you may have missed some of the hitters who have become every day players. With only three more weeks of the season, playing time is king and jettisoning that guy who finds himself on the bench for the rando now getting regular at-bats is key to a strong finish. So let’s review some of the American League guys you might not have realized are now playing every day.
Yesterday, I identified and discussed the qualified hitters who had raised their fly ball rates (FB%) the most versus last season. All else being equal, more fly balls leads to more home runs. Fantasy owners like home runs. Unfortunately, not every hitter has decided they wanted to participate in the fly ball revolution. So let’s check out the hitters who have sadly departed and experienced the biggest declines in FB% versus last season. This could help explain disappointing home run totals so far.
An underreported avenue to increased home run output is FB%. It’s one of the three variables that directly drive HR/AB, along with strikeout and HR/FB rates. Since the denominator in fly ball rate is all balls in play, it stabilizes much more quickly than HR/FB rate, which uses the smaller denominator of just fly balls. So when evaluating a significant HR/AB change, put more weight on fluctuations in FB% than HR/FB rate when determining how sustainable the change is. With that background out of the way, let’s identify and discuss the hitters who have raised their FB% marks the most versus last season.