Week 14 for fantasy baseball is in the books. This was the week we found out that Carlos Gomez was named a starter for the All-Star game, as was Matt Wieters. Suck it twice Brian McCann! Also, we had our first big blockbuster trade of the season with Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel landing in Oak Town. Real life trades make for an interesting plot twist in the fantasy realm, and the Crackerjacks will keep you up to date on those twists and how to interpret them on a fantasy level.
On to this week’s fantasy baseball thoughts.
- Andrelton Simmons found his stroke this week and has a modest seven game hitting streak heading into week 15. Simmons’ recent hit streak runs parallel to getting bumped up to number two in the Braves lineup. Long story short, I like Simmons to be a Top-10 SS for the remainder of the season.
- J.D. Martinez is still swinging a hot bat. If you need an OF, give him a look. However, if you already own him, try selling him immediately to someone looking for an OF.
- Kole Calhoun has a hot bat as well, and I prefer him over JD Martinez the rest of the way.
- Steve Pearce may have the hottest bat of them all. I think you can ride the hot streak with Pearce, but long term, I still prefer Calhoun in this group of hot bats. Martinez and Pearce have elevated BABIP’s that will come crashing down at some point.
- Pearce could be a nice target for Edwin Encarnacion owners if they were playing him at first. Encarnacion is headed to the DL for 2-4 weeks.
- Shin-Soo Choo showed signs of life this week. I think he could be a nice buy low target for your second half stretch run.
- Jayson Werth had a nice week as did Ryan Zimmerman. Having Bryce Harper back in the lineup may have energized them. Now someone just needs to energize Harper.
- Coming into Sunday’s game, Curtis Granderson was batting .279 with a .373 OBP as the Mets leadoff man. Throw in three home runs and a SB, those numbers look a lot more attractive than what he has done in other slots. Small sample size beware, but I do like me some leadoff hitters with pop in fantasy.
- Marlon Byrd showed this week he still has value. That value could go up if he is traded and surrounded by a better supporting cast.
- Albert Pujols is likely to have 20 HRs at the break. He is not what he used to be, as the .265 AVG highlights, but the old man is still Top-10 in HRs in the AL. With that said, I am selling Pujols as I think his body and production wears down in the 2nd half.
- For those of you in dynasty leagues or formats that allow you to stash minor leaguers, the Samardzija trade is a little bit of a head scratcher. Starlin Castro, who is doing a decent job, was all ready rumored to be expendable with Javier Baez and Arismendy Alcantara biting at his heels…or ears in the Cubs system. Add Addison Russell to that mix and Castro’s days in Chicago could be over after this season depending on how major league ready the prospects sit in the eyes of the Cubs front office. I would guess if you own Baez and Russell, not much will change, but I think Russell will benefit being in the NL.
- Jeff Samardzija made a fine debut in Oakland. I like this trade for Samardzija, despite the move to the AL. I think the AL-West offers more pitchers parks than most divisions and the opposing lineups on the west side are not as intimidating as they have been in the past.
- I do think you should keep an eye on Dan Straily as a late season sleeper. A move to the NL should help. However, his command will be the deciding factor on how useful he will be for your fantasy team.
- Jake Arrieta is officially the ace of the Cubs, and he is worthy of such a role.
- I mentioned Jesse Hahn in my week 12 review, suggesting he could be a solid stream option depending on the matchup, after this week’s performances and reading this, I think he is better than a streamer option at this point. But again, be wary of the 2nd half and young arms.
- Taijuan Walker gets a pass in the young arm category as he has not had to submit himself to the full season grind. His command was an issue yesterday and coud be for the remainder of this year. Keep your expectations low, just like you should have with Andrew Heaney.
- Mat Latos should have plenty left in his arm to have a great second half.
- Mike Minor is awful. Now buy low comment here, just a declaration of awfulness.
- You know what awful is? Jose Quintana being owned in just 40% of Yahoo leagues. Get on board people.
- Vidal “I am El” Nuno and Brandon McCarthy swapped teams. Not much to talk about there fantasy although Vidal Nuno is a nice stream option when he throws against San Diego. Aren’t they all?
- Speaking of streaming options, Colby Lewis has 21 Ks and 0 BB in his last 18 innings. He is still getting hit hard, and the Twins and Mets have the ability to bosst a pitcher’s esteem, but he could be knocking some rust off and has shown in the past to post solid K/9 numbers.
- Trevor Rosenthal took some lumps this week and has some worried about his ability to hang on to the closer’s role. Luckily for Rosenthal owners, Jason Motte gave up four runs in an inning of work yesterday to ease any closer controversy rumors.