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Marco Gonzales had developed into Seattle’s ace in the last two seasons, tallying over 200 innings in 2019, followed by a 3.10 ERA and league-best 9.14 K/BB ratio in the shortened 2020 season.
Despite all of that success, the lefty was a common drop by fantasy managers after only a month of this season, when he went on the injured list with an elbow injury and a sore 5.40 ERA. He missed all of May with the injury, forcing the hand of many fantasy managers lacking roster space.
Since returning on June 1, Gonzales has been back to his old self, making fantasy managers with a quick trigger regret their decision. Over 12 starts, Gonzales is 4-2 with a 3.55 ERA, 1.23 WHIP and 54 strikeouts in 66 innings.
Those numbers are strong, but Gonzales has been on another level this month. He’s had the aid of facing the anemic Rangers lineup three times in four starts, and it shows in his numbers. Gonzales has allowed only two runs in 27 innings with 21/4 K/BB, lowering his ERA from 5.48 to 4.10 in that span. It should be mentioned that Gonzales also faced one challenging opponent in August, shutting out the Yankees over 6.2 innings at Yankee Stadium.
The recent recipe for success has been similar to last year, as Gonzales has displayed elite control while also doing a better job of keeping the ball in the park. For the season, the long ball has still been a huge problem for him (1.7 HR/9), and Gonzales avoided allowing a home run only three times in 13 starts before August. The improved control streak has helped Gonzales carry the Mariners and fantasy managers over the last few weeks to the point that he’s a surefire play next week even with a better lineup like Oakland on the schedule.
-The transition from closer to the starting rotation at the trade deadline is one that Phillies lefty Ranger Suarez has taken in stride. He had an incredible 1.12 ERA in 27 relief appearances, but has managed to nearly pitch up to the same level as a starter with a 2.45 ERA in four starts. However, Suarez’s control has escaped him as a starter with 10 walks in 14.2 innings, and he has yet to make it through five innings. Some adjustment was to be expected with Suarez building up stamina, but the good news is that he’s actually maintained his excellent fastball velocity and dominant groundball rate. Among all MLB pitchers with at least 30 innings this season, Suarez’s 67% groundball rate ranks fifth and gives him far more margin for error while he avoids extra-base hits. He has an intriguing profile worth tracking, especially with Philadelphia’s sub-par upcoming schedule that includes Arizona, Washington, Miami, Colorado, and the Cubs.
-Daniel Lynch was on the short list of the top pitching prospects in baseball entering 2021, and he’s shown why since the Royals brought him back in late July for his second promotion. The left-hander put his struggles from earlier in the year behind him, and has allowed no more than three runs in any of his five starts since returning. In fact, the overall results have been excellent recently, with a 3-1 record, 2.35 ERA, 1.14 WHIP, and 24/11 K/BB in 30.2 innings. While far from dominant, it should be noted that Lynch’s schedule has been brutal, facing some of the AL’s top lineups including the Blue Jays, White Sox, Yankees, and Astros in consecutive order. He doesn’t get much relief with a visit to the Astros in his next outing, but Lynch should find his scheduled late-week start at Seattle enticing. If nothing else, Lynch has started to prove that he’s playable against any opponent.
-Young Nat Josiah Gray has been just as impressive since arriving to Washington in the Max Scherzer/Trea Turner trade. He has a 2.86 ERA and 1.05 WHIP in four starts with one strikeout per inning, and he’s also faced a series of brutal opponents in the Philadelphia, Atlanta twice, and Toronto. The long ball remains a huge concern for the extreme flyball pitcher, but he’s showing early that he can be an effective late-season option despite missing much of the first half to injury. Gray enters a viable two-start week with visits to Miami and the Mets.
Note: Probable pitchers as of Friday, August 20, and are subject to change.
Lance Lynn: @TOR, CHC
Carlos Rodon: @TOR, CHC
Marco Gonzales: @OAK, KC
Zack Greinke: KC, @TEX
Jose Berrios: CHW, @DET
Tanner Houck: MIN, @CLE
Alek Manoah: CHW, @DET
Daniel Lynch: @HOU, @SEA
Bailey Ober: @BOS, MIL
At Your Own Risk
Andrew Heaney: @ATL, @OAK
Eli Morgan: TEX, BOS
Spencer Watkins: LAA, TB
Jack Flaherty: DET, @PIT
Julio Urias: @SD, COL
Madison Bumgarner: @PIT, @PHI
Josiah Gray: @MIA, @NYM
Tyler Mahle: @MIL, @MIA
Tylor Megill: SF, WAS
Ranger Suarez: TB, ARI
At Your Own Risk
J.T. Brubaker: ARI, STL
Antonio Senzatela: @CHC, @LAD
Wil Crowe: ARI, STL
Jesus Luzardo: WAS, CIN
The following pitchers are generally available in over 50 percent of fantasy leagues and have favorable match-ups this week:
Friday, August 27: Dallas Keuchel vs. CHC
The ride hasn’t been smooth for Keuchel this season, with a mediocre 4.48 ERA and 5.4 K/9, but the chance to face the Cubs lineup is too good to pass up. The Cubs have the seventh worst OPS in August after their trade deadline firesale.
Saturday, August 28: Carlos Hernandez @ SEA
The hard-throwing Hernandez garners more fantasy consideration with every start, and he has his easiest opponent in a while when he visits Seattle next week. The M’s have the sixth worst OPS in MLB vs. right-handers, and Hernandez has a 2.28 ERA over his last four outings.
Saturday, August 28: Luis Patino @ BAL
The talented, young Patino has been somewhat inconsistent since joining the Rays rotation in late July, but he hasn’t had a more favorable matchup than the Orioles. Baltimore has the fifth worst OPS in MLB vs. right-handers.
Wednesday, August 25: Tyler Gilbert @ PIT
We can’t promise a good start, much less a no-hitter, every time the soft-tossing Gilbert takes the mound, but he has a chance to shine again with a visit to Pittsburgh next week. The Pirates have the second worst OPS vs. lefties this season at .649.
Thursday, August 26: Miles Mikolas @ PIT
Mikolas has some great schedule luck as he returns from injury, as he’s scheduled to face the Pirates in back-to-back starts. Hopefully, he can finish the season healthy after a string of injuries since last season, and the Pirates lineup is nearly as bad against right-handers (.667 OPS) as they are left-handers.
Friday, August 27: Erick Fedde @ NYM
As owner Steven Cohen can attest, the Mets lineup has been one of the worst in baseball this month with a .643 OPS. Fedde has been mediocre this season, but he’s had his way against New York in three starts with a 2.81 ERA in three starts, including two runs allowed in four innings at New York on August 12.
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5: DET, LAA, TB
6: BAL, BOS, CLE, HOU, MIN, NYY, OAK, SEA, TEX
7: CHW, KC, TOR
5: ATL, SD
6: CHC, CIN, COL, LAD, MIA, MIL, NYM, PHI, SF, STL, WAS
7: ARI, PIT
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.
Jake Arrieta: Day-to-day (hamstring)
Chris Bassitt: Out six weeks (face)
Yonathan Daza: Placed on IL (thumb)
Eric Haase: Placed on IL (abdomen)
Odubel Herrera: Day-to-day (groin)
James McCann: Day-to-day (back)
Freddy Peralta: Placed on IL (shoulder)
Patrick Sandoval: Placed on IL (back)
Kyle Tucker: Placed on IL (COVID-19)
Jesse Winker: Placed on IL (intercostal)
Mike Zunino: Day-to-day (teeth)