The Cardinals will presumably play a baseball game again. When it will happen just isn’t yet clear. The latest news is that Friday’s scheduled game against the White Sox has been cancelled. There’s some hope that the teams can play a doubleheader on Saturday, but that’s far from a sure thing, as Jon Heyman reported Thursday morning that there’s a new positive test involving a Cardinals’ coach. What a mess. This team hasn’t played since July 29.
My colleague, Drew Silva, brought up an interesting point on the most recent episode of the Rotoworld Baseball Podcast on what to expect from the Cardinals once they actually get back on the field. There’s no way they’ll be able to make up the games they missed, but they will surely play a bunch of doubleheaders as they attempt to get close. You’re going to want to get those players into your fantasy lineups on those days as you try to squeeze the most value out of your season. So try to think ahead right now, maybe looking at players who have been dropped during his down time.
Giovanny Gallegos (Yahoo: 58 percent rostered) looks like a great option for saves, as Kwang Hyun Kim is expected to move into the rotation. Meanwhile, Ryan Helsley was another one of the recent positive COVID cases for St. Louis. Perhaps the most interesting development comes from Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, who reports that the Cardinals plan to call up top prospect Dylan Carlson when they resume play. He’s largely been held back due to service time considerations, but that’s not an issue anymore and the Cardinals have a need with a couple of positive COVID cases in their outfield. I recommended stashing Carlson in Waiver Wired two weeks ago and stand by that now. He was still available in 75 percent of Yahoo leagues as of Thursday morning.
Have specific questions about your roster? Ask @djshort on Twitter.
(Players rostered in under 50 percent of Yahoo leagues)
Note: Percentages are from the morning of Thursday, August 13th
Jesus Aguilar 1B, Marlins (Yahoo: 19 percent rostered)
Welcome back, Mr. Aguilar. Well, hopefully, anyway. The 30-year-old has largely gone missing since the All-Star break in 2018, splitting last season between the Brewers and Rays while batting just .236 with 12 homers and a .714 OPS over 369 plate appearances. He was actually designated for assignment before the Marlins picked him up during the offseason. The change of scenery has worked wonders so far, as he’s slashing .311/.353/.622 with four homers and 12 RBI through 12 games. Yes, the power has been nice to see, but he’s also making a ton of contact. He’s struck out just six times in 51 plate appearances while sporting a contact rate of 87.5 percent. It would be unfair to expect him to maintain this, but everything is trending in the right direction again. Give him another chance in mixed leagues.
Jesse Winker OF, Reds (Yahoo: 13 percent rostered)
Winker has been on-base machine of late, batting .591 (13-for-22) with three homers, two doubles, four RBI, one stolen base, and five runs scored over his last eight games. Oh, he’s also been hit by two pitches. That gives him a .667 on-base percentage during this stretch. Getting on base is something Winker specializes in, as he owns a .384 mark for his career. He’s mostly batted fifth or sixth so far while Shogo Akiyama and Nick Senzel have seen the majority of the chances out of the leadoff spot, but the most important thing is that the addition of the DH has assured him of regular playing time. He’s hitting the ball harder than ever so far this year, but getting in the air more often in his hitter-friendly home stadium could really take him to the next level. We’ll just have to hope that what we’ve seen the past few days is a sign of progress.
Mitch Moreland 1B, Red Sox (Yahoo: 33 percent rostered)
There’s something to be said for boring veterans. Moreland is one of those players who tends to sneak up on us, though he probably deserves more credit than he gets. We know he mashes right-handed pitching. He did it last year to the tune of 18 homers and an .887 OPS over 275 plate appearances and he’s charged out of the gate this year with a 1.345 OPS and all six of his homers coming off righties. He’s always rated highly in terms of exit velocity, but he’s actually at the top of the board in barrels percentage so far this season. The 34-year-old missed Monday’s game with a knee issue, but fortunately he was back in there on Tuesday. He’s more useful in leagues which allow for daily lineup changes, but he’s well worth a pickup in the situation he finds himself in.
Pablo Lopez SP, Marlins (Yahoo: 20 percent rostered)
Now that things finally appear to be settling down with the Marlins after their COVID-19 outbreak, it’s time to take a closer look at Lopez. He’s been interesting in mixed leagues before. Remember, he had a 3.65 ERA (3.64 FIP) in an 11-start stretch last year before going down with a shoulder strain in mid-June. He wasn’t the same after that, but he’s healthy now and remains intriguing for the reasons we liked him in the very beginning. The command is very good, he possesses a dynamite changeup, and has a tendency to keep the ball on the ground. The development of a quality third pitch remains the big key to him breaking through as a trusted mixed league option, but he should be rostered in more leagues as is.
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Alec Bohm 3B, Phillies (Yahoo: 9 percent rostered)
Bohm is reportedly on the way to the majors, which is exciting for a number of reasons. For one, he can really hit. Selected No. 3 overall in 2018, the 24-year-old exposed for a .305/.378/.518 batting line with 20 homers over 125 games last season between three different levels in the minors. There’s been some question about his defense at third, but odds are that’s where the Phillies will put him initially, moving Jean Segura to second base. Scott Kingery has been the primary second baseman, but he’s just 4-for-40 (.100) to begin the year and this unique season doesn’t exactly lend itself to patience, especially for a team who has designs on the postseason. I mostly see Bohm as a fun lottery ticket with still two-thirds of the season remaining. Oh, the other reason I like Bohm? He’s a pun-maker’s dream. I’ll spare you right now, but get ready for me making you cringe for the next decade or so. More than I normally do.
Asdrubal Cabrera 2B/3B, Nationals (Yahoo: 22 percent rostered)
Remember what I just said about boring veterans? Cabrera also qualifies. The thought was that maybe he’d serve as an insurance policy to rookie Carter Kieboom this season and maybe that will still be the case, but he’s not giving up a regular job without a fight, as he’s hitting .300 (15-for-5) with three homers and 11 RBI over 14 games so far this season. This comes after a strong finish with Washington last year where he slashed .323/.404/.565 over 38 games. The switch-hitter continues to age gracefully and the multi-position eligibility only adds to his appeal. He’s already made three starts at first base this season, so he could soon earn that eligibility as well.
Framber Valdez SP, Astros (Yahoo: 36 percent rostered)
I’m not sure how much staying power Valdez has in mixed leagues, but he’s earned consideration with his recent outings. After allowing an unearned run over 6 1/3 innings of relief against the Angels on August 2, he spun seven innings of one-run ball with nine strikeouts against the Athletics last Saturday. Put it all together and he holds an impressive 2.04 ERA and 19/3 K/BB ratio over 17 2/3 innings on the year. Even in the small sample, the control has been great to see after he averaged 5.60 BB/9 last year. Meanwhile, he’s still getting the ball on the ground and inducing swinging strikes on his curveball and changeup. To be fair, this same small sample suggests he’s been a bit fortunate while giving up a lot of hard contact, but I wouldn’t hesitate starting him against the Mariners
Bunching these guys together because it’s still a bit up in the air about how playing time is going to shake out. Of course, Giancarlo Stanton is on the injured list right now with a hamstring strain which could cost him 3-4 weeks, but who knows given his history. We also have Aaron Judge sitting out with some vague lower body tightness which apparently includes everything in that general vicinity. Encouraging stuff. So right now, it makes sense to grab either or both of Frazier and Tauchman depending on roster need. Frazier garnered all the headlines last night against the Braves by going 3-for-4 in his return to the Yankees, including a long home run in his first at-bat. It has always seemed like opportunity has been the only thing separating him from a breakout. Tauchman was really good last season and has been solid when called up this year too, so he shouldn’t be ignored here. This is obviously a great spot for hitters.
Kevin Pillar OF, Red Sox (Yahoo: 16 percent rostered)
The thing about all of the veteran players I’ve mentioned so far is that you generally know what you are going to get. Well, at least as much as you can know in the game of baseball. Pillar has never been a category standout and never will be, but he has been a useful counting stat compiler. We even saw that last year during his time with the Giants when collected 21 homers, 87 RBI, 14 steals, and 82 runs scored over 156 games. Now he’s in an even better hitting situation with the Red Sox and playing time should be secure for a little while with the struggling Andrew Benintendi on the injured list. He’s not exciting, but boring wins leagues sometimes.
Rangers Hitters This Weekend
Nick Solak 2B/3B/OF, Rangers (Yahoo: 24 percent rostered)
Willie Calhoun OF, Rangers (Yahoo: 29 percent rostered)
Shin-Soo Choo OF, Rangers (Yahoo: 43 percent rostered)
Todd Frazier 1B/3B, Rangers (Yahoo: 11 percent rostered)
You could make a case that all of these players deserve consideration of mixed leagues independent of scheduling factors, but please note that the Rangers will mosey in to Coors Field for a three-game series against the Rockies this weekend. All of these players get an immediate short-term boost and you should do what you can to make room for them. Calhoun has been a little slow to get going, possibly a residual effect of him being hit in the face in the spring, but he’s 5-for-13 with six RBI over his last three games. Solak has also been heating up of late and offers across the board ability and useful versatility in mixed leagues. Choo will continue to get a lot of volume at the top of the lineup due to his on-base ability and Frazier is a proven power bat.
And Because We Have To, Here Are Some Relievers
Rowan Wick RP, Cubs (Yahoo: 47 percent rostered)
Chad Green RP, Yankees (Yahoo: 38 percent rostered)
Mychal Givens RP, Orioles (Yahoo: 24 percent rostered)
Gregory Soto RP, Tigers (Yahoo: 9 percent rostered)
I’ve decided to not spend much time thinking about closers this season. I sleep easier at night. Try some stuff. If it doesn’t work, move to the next option. Don’t take it too seriously. Wick is in a good position with the best team in the majors until this point. The other three pitchers mentioned here aren’t closers, but Green has provided standalone value before as a set-up man and Soto has looked like a monster with some added velocity this year. As for Givens, he might have some saves in his future with the way Cole Sulser has looked recently. It also helps that Givens has looked great so far this season.