Fantasy Baseball Week Ahead: Trades alter starting pitcher landscape

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·7 min read
Fantasy Baseball Week Ahead: Trades alter starting pitcher landscape
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The trade winds have finally blown over on one of the craziest MLB trade deadline days in history. Not surprisingly, teams like Minnesota, Texas, Washington, Miami, Arizona, Pittsburgh, and the Cubs have clearly waved the white flag.

The microscope is on the players that changed teams, as well as the players gaining new opportunities. Those are the biggest impacts, obviously, but we shouldn’t forget about the “leftovers.” For teams that are already looking toward 2022, there are still two months of baseball to play and still viable fantasy options remaining.

The teams listed above would seem likely to lose more games down the stretch, especially in this new age of super teams beating up on them. For starting pitchers on those teams, that means the increased likelihood of poor run and bullpen support. It could also mean worse defense, particularly with teams like the Cubs and Nationals that traded excellent defensive players.

Among the most significant starting pitchers remaining from that group of teams are Kenta Maeda, Michael Pineda, Dane Dunning, Zac Gallen, Madison Bumgarner, Merrill Kelly, Joe Ross, Kyle Hendricks, Sandy Alcantara, and Trevor Rogers, with some other starting pitcher contributors here and there. 

This isn’t to say that fantasy managers should panic and trade these pitchers, but there is reason to downgrade expectations somewhat over the final two months as their respective teams “play for the future” and give inexperienced teammates more playing time.

-Anthony DeSclafani is one reason the Giants were buyers at the trade deadline, and he will surely be happy that his team only has to face the Dodgers three more times this season. He’s faced the Dodgers in five of his 21 starts this season, posting a terrible 9.43 ERA and 2.05 WHIP over 21 innings. DeSclafani’s cumulative numbers are still strong with a 3.10 ERA and 1.04 WHIP, which means he has a 1.78 ERA and 0.83 WHIP against the rest of the league. Going on the road in a two-start week at Arizona and Milwaukee, he looks like a must-play despite getting pummeled against LA in his last outing.

-Madison Bumgarner returned from a brief IL stint after the All-Star break, and he’s continued to fix his ERA since then. The former All-Star has a 2.00 ERA over his last three starts, albeit against the likes of the Cubs, Pirates, and Rangers. It’s worth noting that Bumgarner hasn’t missed many bats lately with velocity that’s been down significantly, but his overall 8.5 K/9 and 3.65 K/BB ratio draws comparison to his solid, post All-Star years with the Giants from 2017-2019. After a disastrous 2020 season, Bumgarner has been at least playable in deeper leagues.

-Jacob deGrom’s elbow setback was terrible news for the Mets and fantasy managers, but it does ensure that Tylor Megill will remain in the starting rotation. The 26-year-old right-hander has pitched like an ace so far, with a 2.04 ERA, 1.10 WHIP, and 9.9 K/9 over his first seven career starts after showing similar dominance between Double- and Triple-A this season. The former underrated prospect is far from smoke and mirrors, averaging nearly 95 mph on his fastball and should have plenty of juice left in his arm with only 75.2 innings so far this season. He looks like a fine play next week at Miami and Philly.

Going Twice…

Note: Probable pitchers as of Friday, July 30, and are subject to change.

American League

Strong Plays

Gerrit Cole: BAL, SEA

Lucas Giolito: KC, @CHC

Robbie Ray: CLE, BOS

Decent Plays

Lance McCullers: @LAD, MIN

Yusei Kikuchi: @TB, @NYY

Michael Wacha: SEA, @BAL

Kenta Maeda: @CIN, @HOU

Chris Flexen: @TB, @NYY

Dane Dunning: LAA, @OAK

Zach Plesac: @TOR, DET

Steven Matz: CLE, BOS

Jose Suarez: @TEX, @LAD

At Your Own Risk

Jordan Lyles: LAA, @OAK

Kris Bubic: @CHW, @STL

Garrett Richards: @DET, @TOR

Jorge Lopez: @NYY, TB

Wily Peralta: BOS, @CLE

Sam Hentges: @TOR, DET 

National League

Strong Plays

Zack Wheeler: @WAS, NYM

Anthony DeSclafani: @ARI, @MIL

Max Fried: @STL, WAS

Tyler Mahle: MIN, PIT

Decent Plays

Taijuan Walker: @MIA, @PHI

Tylor Megill: @MIA, @PHI

Kwang Hyun Kim: ATL, KC

Johnny Cueto: @ARI, @MIL

Madison Bumgarner: SF, @SD

Chad Kuhl: @MIL, @CIN

At Your Own Risk

Kyle Freeland: CHC, MIA

Patrick Corbin: PHI, @ATL

Paulo Espino: PHI, @ATL

Zach Davies: @COL, CHW

Matt Moore: @WAS, NYM

Taylor Widener: SF, @SD

Max Kranick: @MIL, @CIN

Jordan Holloway: NYM, @COL

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, August 3: Luis Patino vs. SEA

The highly talented Patino threw six scoreless innings against the Yankees on Thursday, and has a much easier assignment against the Mariners next week. The M’s have a .679 OPS against right-handers this season, fifth worst in MLB.

Tuesday, August 3: Eduardo Rodriguez @ DET

Rodriguez has provided reason for fantasy managers to drop him, coming off a terrible start vs. Toronto that pushed his ERA to 5.60. Still, the components have been far better than the results, and the Tigers struggles vs. southpaws (.712 OPS) give him a chance to get on track.

Saturday, August 7: Tyler Alexander @ CLE

Alexander has yet to reach five innings since joining the Tigers rotation, but the left-handed control artist has a chance to shine against Cleveland. The future Guardians have a .700 OPS against lefties, seventh worst in MLB. 

National League

Monday, August 2: Eric Lauer vs. PIT

Lauer was the victim of Milwaukee resting their young starters this week, throwing three innings in relief on Wednesday. He’s scheduled to toe the rubber on Monday against Pittsburgh, who have the second worst OPS against lefties this season. Lauer has a glistening 1.71 ERA over his last five outings spanning 26.1 innings.

Thursday, August 5: Rich Hill @ MIA

Hill’s performance over the last two months has provided reason to drop him, but next week’s start against the Marlins is a chance to add him again. The Marlins shipped out lefty mashers Starling Marte and Adam Duvall, and already had the third worst OPS against lefties this season.

Thursday, August 5: Touki Toussaint @ STL

Has Toussaint finally found his footing? The former top prospect has been excellent in his first two starts of the year, and gets an easier lineup in the Cardinals next week. St. Louis is in the bottom 10 in OPS against right-handers this season. 

Total Games

American League

5: OAK

6: BAL, CHW, DET, HOU, KC, MIN, TB

7: BOS, CLE, LAA, NYY, SEA, TEX

8: TOR

National League

5: LAD, SD

6: ATL, CHC, CIN, COL, MIL, STL

7: ARI, MIA, NYM, PHI, PIT, SF, WAS 

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.

Jose Abreu: Day-to-day (neck)

Nolan Arenado: Day-to-day (forearm)

Rafael Devers: Day-to-day (quad)

Pete Fairbanks: Placed on IL (shoulder)

Chi Chi Gonzalez: Placed on IL (COVID-19)

Mitch Garver: Day-to-day (hand)

Bryce Harper: Day-to-day (back spasms)

Nico Hoerner: Placed on IL (oblique)

Daniel Hudson: Placed on IL (COVID-19)

Eloy Jimenez: Day-to-day (groin)

Collin McHugh: Placed on IL (arm)

Jeff McNeil: Day-to-day (leg)

Victor Robles: Day-to-day (back)

Taylor Rogers: Placed on IL (finger)

Trea Turner: Placed on IL (COVID-19)

Jared Walsh: Placed on IL (abdomen)

Christian Yelich: Placed on IL (COVID-19)

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