The Schedule Advantage — Final Week 2022

Last week, I discussed players from four teams to bump up in value as their teams were scheduled to play seven games. I realized that my local CBS league in which I commish for is actually combining this week with next week’s half week, so we’re no longer comparing seven game teams to five game teams. Instead, we’re looking at teams that are scheduled to play as many as 10 games versus some teams only scheduled for eight games.

A whopping eight teams are scheduled to play 10 games, while four are scheduled to play only eight. An extra two games of at-bats could be the difference between a prize spot and could easily be the deciding factor when debating between two hitters. Since four of the teams are the same I highlighted in last week’s article scheduled to play seven games this week, let’s review potentially available hitters on the other four teams.

Spencer Torkelson
Kerry Carpenter

Arguably the best college hitter in the last decade, Torkelson’s bat carries his profile entirely, but it has elite potential.

That’s how our Graduation TLDR described Torkelson. The top Tigers prospect and fourth ranked prospect overall surprisingly struggled in his rookie season, en route to just a .273 wOBA. While most of his skills and low BABIP aren’t too far out of line from what should have been expected given his minor league stats, his power has been a major disappointment. His .109 ISO and 6.5% HR/FB rate are well below probably even the most pessimistic of forecasts.

Clearly, you wouldn’t be starting him for a potential 10 game week because of the strong rookie campaign he has enjoyed. Rather, the hope is that over a small sample size, he might finally show what made him a top prospect in the first place. With a healthy maxEV over 110 MPH and a Barrel% of 7.8%, he seemingly deserves far better than that mid-single digit HR/FB rate. Maybe he gets hot over the final week and a half and enters 2023 as a sleeper and breakout candidate.

On the other hand, Carpenter failed to even make the Tigers top prospect list, but enjoyed a major power breakout at Double-A and Triple-A, which earned him a promotion. The power has continued with the Tigers, and he has made the most of it with a mid-40% FB%. The only concern here is that he figures to be benched against southpaws, and even against right-handers, the Tigers don’t seem all that interested in starting him against all right-handers. Of course, this is a team that has given 413 PAs and a middle-of-the-order batting slot to Harold Castro and his .293 wOBA, so it’s clear the Tigers aren’t interested in making the right lineup decisions. Still, Carpenter is a reasonable pickup is you need power.

Oswaldo Cabrera
Harrison Bader
Isiah Kiner-Falefa

Cabrera was the team’s 10th ranked prospect and he’s apparently impressed the Yankees enough to hold onto a starting job, despite just a .302 wOBA. While he hasn’t shown the speed he had in the minors, his power has been boosted by a near 52% FB%. He’s a good deeper league pickup given his spot in the middle of the Yankees linep.

Bader has finally made his Yankees debut and had already set a personal season high in steals, despite spending much of the season on the IL. His power had collapsed though, but perhaps moving to a more hitter friendly venue will turn that around. He’s an excellent pickup for the 10 games, especially if you need steals. Speaking of speed, Kiner-Falefa has swiped 20 bases for the second straight season, so he’s another good option if you’re hurting in the category.

Carlos Santana
Cal Raleigh
Jarred Kelenic

It’s been a bizarre time for Santana as a member of the Mariners. His wOBA has actually declined even further compared to his time with the Royals this year, but his HR/FB rate has nearly tripled, while his ISO has nearly doubled. Basically, all his metrics have either significantly increased or decreased. That’s kind of funny since his overall performance hasn’t changed much, but the shape of it has. Playing every day now and in the middle of the lineup makes him an easy add if you need power, especially if you play in an OBP league.

Raleigh is your man if you need a catcher and you need power. His 55.4% FB% is second highest among the 228 hitters with at least 350 PAs, while his 25 homers leads all catchers.

Kelenic or Torkelson, Torkelson or Kelenic? Both top prospects have been big disappointments, so speculating now is simply betting on the prospect pedigree an the light bulb turns back on for the final week and half. While Kelenic has shown more power than Torkelson over his short MLB career, he has struck out far more and posted a significantly lower BABIP than the already low BABIP Torkelson has. However, he steals bases, so that offsets some of the batting average downside. I’d take a shot here in most formats.

Josh Jung
Leody Taveras
Bubba Thompson

Jung is the team’s top prospect and was ranked 12th overall. After missing a significant chunk of the season to injury, he has finally made his long awaited debut. He has shown excellent power in the minors and has so far carried most of it over to the Majors. He should remain a fixture in the lineup the rest of the way.

Did you realize Taveras was back?! It’s actually been a little while now and he’s been fairly respectable for his fantasy owners. He’s cut down on his strikeout rate, while his maxEV has climbed again, though it hasn’t resulted in increased power. Add for the steal, the power is just a bonus.

If you realllllly need steals though, Thompson is your man. The 24-year-old failed to make the team’s latest prospect list, but has swiped 17 bases over just 148 PAs. The problem here is the .291 wOBA and even worse .215 xwOBA. I would guess the xwOBA is too low as it isn’t properly accounting for his speed. However, with awful walk and strikeout rate and nearly zero power, he’s not delivering much offensive value to the Rangers. So there’s real risk of him losing at-bats over the final week and a half.

Mike Podhorzer is the 2015 Fantasy Sports Writers Association Baseball Writer of the Year. He produces player projections using his own forecasting system and is the author of the eBook Projecting X 2.0: How to Forecast Baseball Player Performance, which teaches you how to project players yourself. His projections helped him win the inaugural 2013 Tout Wars mixed draft league. Follow Mike on Twitter @MikePodhorzer and contact him via email.

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