Week Ahead: First-Class Mahle

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
Seth Trachtman
·7 min read
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.


This content is not available due to your privacy preferences.
Update your settings here to see it.


The Reds suffered two huge offseason losses in Trevor Bauer and Raisel Iglesias, leading to pessimism from many of their fans.

While the loss of Iglesias has already been felt early in the year, particularly over the last two days with a bullpen implosion, the starting rotation has pitched well overall without Bauer. Through 18 games, they have a 3.70 ERA, 10th in MLB. The performance of Tyler Mahle is one of the biggest reasons why the rotation has continued to hang in despite the loss of Bauer, Luis Castillo’s struggles, and the absence of Sonny Gray for the first two weeks.

Mahle has effectively been Cincinnati’s ace to this point, with a dominant 1.74 ERA, 0.87 WHIP, and 31/9 K/BB in 20.2 innings. These results are the yet another sign of his recent progression as a pitcher.

The right-hander has seen a significant jump in velocity and strikeout rate each year since 2019, with a fastball that is nearly averaging 95 mph this year, almost a full mph better than last year’s 10 appearances. The opponent slugging percentage on that pitch is down 200 points this year compared to 2020, a direct reflection of the velocity improvement.

As an extreme flyball pitcher in a hitter’s park, there’s still some reason to be nervous about Mahle’s long-term ERA. However, if he continues to miss bats at anything close to his current rate, the Reds have found a viable Bauer replacement. He will be tested at the beginning of a two-start week against the Dodgers, but the early dominance means that Mahle is worthy of using in most leagues against even the toughest of lineups.

-Jordan Lyles has already been mentioned here before, but his early-season success deserves more praise. He’s coming off a quality start at the Angels on Tuesday and has shown off pinpoint control this season, with 18/3 K/BB in 21.1 innings. The ERA (4.64) still isn’t pretty, as a result of five home runs allowed, and that certainly remains a concern based on Lyles’ history of allowing the long ball. Still, he showed as a quality starting pitcher in 2019 between Pittsburgh and Milwaukee (4.15 ERA and 1.32 WHIP in 28 starts), and the early performance and improved slider shows he could be on his way to another solid year, making him worthy of rostering in deep mixed and AL-only leagues.

-Things haven’t gone as well for Corey Kluber, another veteran pitcher hoping to rebound in 2021. After two injury-plagued seasons, he has a 5.40 ERA and 14/11 K/BB in 15 innings. So far, Kluber has shown significantly less velocity than past years, averaging only 90 mph on his fastball. The poor control is especially disturbing for a pitcher who led the AL in BB/9 in 2017 and 2018, and there’s been little recent sign of progress. It’s getting to the time that not only fantasy managers, but also the Yankees, could look to cut their losses.

-I usually point out in this spot when the Rockies have a full week of games at Coors Field. It’s not quite as favorable, but based on early-season results and minor league park factors, the Blue Jays Dunedin home deserves an asterisk for hitters. Dunedin has been the top hitter’s park in the Florida State League, and the Jays hitters have posted an OPS that is 123 points higher in home games so far, albeit in a small sample size. All five of Toronto’s games next week will be “home” at TD Ballpark in Dunedin.

Going Twice…

Note: Probable pitchers as of Friday, April 23, and are subject to change.

American League

Strong Plays

Jose Berrios: @CLE, KC

Carlos Rodon: DET, CLE

Sean Manaea: @TB, BAL

Decent Plays

Cristian Javier: SEA, @TB

Jose Urquidy: SEA, @TB

Jordan Lyles: LAA, BOS

Michael Wacha: OAK, HOU

Zach Plesac: MIN, @CHW

Frankie Montas: @TB, BAL

Spencer Turnbull: KC, @NYY

At Your Own Risk

Mike Foltynewicz: LAA, BOS

Rich Hill: OAK, HOU

Corey Kluber: @BAL, DET

Justus Sheffield: @HOU, LAA

Domingo German: @BAL, DET

Jose Urena: KC, @NYY

Garrett Richards: @NYM, @TEX

Bruce Zimmermann: NYY, @OAK

Ross Stripling: WAS, ATL

Dean Kremer: NYY, @OAK

Brad Keller: @DET, @MIN

National League

Strong Plays

Corbin Burnes: MIA, LAD

Walker Buehler: CIN, @MIL

Julio Urias: CIN, @MIL

Trevor Rogers: @MIL, @WAS

Zack Wheeler: @STL, NYM

Decent Plays

Tyler Mahle: @LAD, CHC

Zach Eflin: @STL, NYM

Ian Anderson: CHC, @TOR

Charlie Morton: CHC, @TOR

Anthony DeSclafani: COL, @SD

Adam Wainwright: PHI, @PIT

Austin Gomber: @SF, @ARI

At Your Own Risk

Adrian Houser: MIA, LAD

Daniel Castano: @MIL, @WAS

Zach Davies: @ATL, @CIN

Merrill Kelly: SD, COL

Trevor Williams: @ATL, @CIN

Chi Chi Gonzalez: @SF, @ARI

Editor’s Note: Drafting is only half the battle! Get an edge on your competition with our MLB Season Tools - available in our EDGE+ Roto tier for $3.99/mo. (annually) or $9.99/mo. (monthly) - that are packed with rankings, projections, a trade evaluator, start/sit tools and much more. And don't forget to use promo code WELCOME10 to get 10% off. Click here to learn more!

Streamer City

The following pitchers are generally available in over 50 percent of fantasy leagues and have favorable match-ups this week:

American League

Tuesday, April 27: Jakob Junis @ PIT

Junis wasn’t great in this start this week, but still has a 3.71 ERA and a nice chance to rebound against Pittsburgh. The Pirates have a .680 OPS, 19th in MLB, and even that might be overachieving.

Wednesday, April 28: Alex Cobb @ TEX

Let’s just say that the Rangers lineup hasn’t hit well this season. They currently rank third worst in OPS (.650), and there’s not much indication that’s going to pick up much. Cobb should be able to bounce back from a disappointing outing on Thursday.

Wednesday, April 28: Logan Allen vs. MIN

If the Twins lineup has a weakness, it’s been against lefties this season. Minnesota has just a .662 OPS against southpaws, while Allen has been mostly effective early in the year.

National League

Thursday, April 29: Luke Weaver vs. COL

Once again, Weaver has been frustrating this season. His matchup at home against the Rox couldn’t be much more enticing, though, as Colorado has a .646 OPS against right-handers and a pitiful .546 OPS on the road.

Friday, April 30: Jon Lester vs. MIA

Lester will make his Nats debut next week. That’s usually not a great situation with what will probably be a limited pitch count, but the Marlins are extremely banged up, without regulars Starling Marte, Brian Anderson, and Jorge Alfaro.

Friday, April 30: John Gant @ PIT

Gant gets a chance to feast on the aforementioned Pirates lineup late in the week. He’s struggled with his control in three starts, but this is an opportunity to take advantage of the matchup.

Total Games

American League

5: TOR

6: BOS, CLE, CHW, KC, LAA, MIN

7: BAL, DET, HOU, NYY, OAK, SEA, TB, TEX

National League

5: ATL, CHC, NYM, PIT, SD, WAS

6: ARI, CIN, MIA, SF

7: COL, LAD, MIL, PHI, STL

Editor’s Note: Don’t forget to download the NBC Sports EDGE app to receive real-time player news and updates. Plus, it allows you to easily track your favorite players. Get it here!

The Infirmary

Here’s some injuries to prominent players from the last week, and other players to watch for in the coming week. You can get a full listing of injured players at NBCSports Edge’s Injury Page.

Ronald Acuna Jr.: Day-to-day (abdomen)

Jorge Alfaro: Placed on IL (hamstring)

Jose Altuve: Placed on IL (COVID-19)

Brian Anderson: Placed on IL (oblique)

Brandon Belt: Day-to-day (quad)

Brandon Crawford: Day-to-day (oblique)

Stefan Crichton: Day-to-day (hand)

Ke’Bryan Hayes: Injury setback (wrist)

Ender Inciarte: Placed on IL (hamstring)

Max Kepler: Placed on IL (COVID-19)

Chad Kuhl: Placed on IL (shoulder)

Dinelson Lamet: Placed on IL (forearm)

Tim Locastro: Placed on IL (finger)

Lance Lynn: Placed on IL (shoulder)

Starling Marte: Placed on IL (oblique)

Lance McCullers: Day-to-day (illness)

Mike Moustakas: Placed on IL (illness)

Brandon Nimmo: Day-to-day (hip)

Joc Pederson: Placed on IL (wrist)

Gary Sanchez: Day-to-day (hand)

Miguel Sano: Placed on IL (hamstring)

Anthony Santander: Out 2-4 weeks (ankle)

Jean Segura: Placed on IL (quad)

Donovan Solano: Placed on IL (calf)

Juan Soto: Placed on IL (shoulder)

Stephen Strasburg: Placed on IL (shoulder)

Chris Taylor: Day-to-day (back)

Mike Trout: Day-to-day (elbow)

Gio Urshela: Day-to-day (back)