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Fantasy Baseball: Two-start pitcher guide for MLB week ahead

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Public perception of player value in fantasy baseball is fluid. Popular opinion of a player from April 1 to June 1 can change drastically for numerous reasons.

Brady Singer is a clear example. The former top prospect entered draft season as a late sleeper, showing some positives last season with more than one strikeout per inning and ERA metrics (4.04 FIP, 4.30 SIERA) that were far better than his 4.91 ERA.

Unfortunately, Singer failed to break camp in the starting rotation, and was eventually demoted to Triple-A after less than a month. With some time to get stretched out, Singer returned to the Royals starting rotation in mid-May and hasn’t looked back.

Over five starts, Singer has a 3.94 ERA and glistening 29/3 K/BB in 29.2 innings. He’s avoided walking any betters in four of his five starts, and has also produced an impressive 53% groundball rate. Singer’s peripherals would be getting far more attention if not for his struggles keeping the ball in the park, with seven home runs allowed in 35.1 innings.

Singer has shown a slight uptick in velocity and an effective slider, but ultimately he’s simply doing a better job of throwing strikes than his first two seasons when he had a cumulative 3.6 BB/9 in 39 starts. The control has the potential to move the needle even if Singer’s ability to miss bats is only in line with what we saw earlier in his career. Even on MLB’s worst team, Singer has a chance to provide far more value in 2022 than anyone thought possible entering the year.

Royals pitcher Brady Singer is rostered in only 24% of Yahoo Fantasy Baseball leagues. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Royals pitcher Brady Singer is rostered in only 24% of Yahoo Fantasy Baseball leagues. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

-Dane Dunning was another pitcher whose ERA metrics were better than the results last season, but fantasy managers have yet to see the pay off in 2022. He’s netted only one win in 12 starts, and Dunning’s 4.41 ERA is only slightly better than his 4.51 ERA from last season. Like Singer, Dunning has shown control improvement this season, though not quite to the same extent. His 2.8 BB/9 is only slightly better than last year, and he continues to be one of the unluckier pitchers in MLB with a .319 BABIP. He’s shown more reason to patient with a 3.68 FIP and 3.54 SIERA, adding hope he can get on track with an upcoming two-start week against Houston and Detroit.

-Stephen Strasburg returned from thoracic outlet syndrome on Thursday, and the results weren’t pretty. He allowed seven runs in 4.2 innings against the light-hitting Marlins, and the velocity was down even from where it was last season with a fastball that averaged only 90 mph. Obviously, Strasburg has time to build up more arm strength, but the recent velocity is further reason to by wary after Strasburg had a 5.74 ERA and 1.54 K/BB ratio in seven starts over the last two seasons. His upcoming two-start week against division rivals Atlanta and Philadelphia is far from enticing.

-Next week marks the third full Coors Field week of the season for the Rockies. As usual, the Rockies are raking at home with a .786 OPS, so it’s a great time to get your Rox players active with a week of home games against the Guardians and Padres.

Going Twice…

Note: Probable pitchers as of Friday, June 10, and are subject to change.

American League

Strong Plays

Justin Verlander: @TEX, CHW

Nathan Eovaldi: OAK, STL

Alek Manoah: BAL, NYY

Nestor Cortes: TB, @TOR

Logan Gilbert: MIN, LAA

Decent Plays

Shane Bieber: @COL, @LAD

Brady Singer: @SF, @OAK

Corey Kluber: @NYY, @BAL

Noah Syndergaard: @LAD, @SEA

Johnny Cueto: @DET, @HOU

Alex Faedo: @CHW, TEX

Dane Dunning: HOU, @DET

At Your Own Risk

Chris Archer: @SEA, @ARI

Chris Flexen: MIN, LAA

Yusei Kikuchi: BAL, NYY

Taylor Hearn: HOU, @DET

Jordan Lyles: @TOR, TB

Kyle Bradish: @TOR, TB

Jared Koenig: @BOS, KC

National League

Strong Plays

Sandy Alcantara: @PHI, @NYM

Aaron Nola: MIA, @WAS

Decent Plays

Miles Mikolas: PIT, @BOS

Alex Wood: KC, @PIT

Zach Eflin: MIA, @WAS

Merrill Kelly: CIN, MIN

Ian Anderson: @WAS, @CHC

Josiah Gray: ATL, PHI

Blake Snell: @CHC, @COL

Adrian Houser: @NYM, @CIN

David Peterson: MIL, MIA

At Your Own Risk

Mitch Keller: @STL, SF

Mike Minor: @ARI, MIL

Kyle Hendricks: SD, ATL

Stephen Strasburg: ATL, PHI

Justin Steele: SD, ATL

Antonio Senzatela: CLE, SD

Streamer City

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

American League

Thursday, June 16: Rich Hill vs. OAK

Hill just keeps on trucking at age 42, and is coming off a very good performance vs. the weak A’s lineup with one run allowed in six innings. He gets another shot against Oakland next week, who sport a poor .644 OPS vs. southpaws.

Friday, June 17: Devin Smeltzer @ ARI

Smeltzer hasn’t eaten many innings, but he’s done more than enough to keep a spot in the Twins rotation. Arizona’s lineup has a .625 OPS against left-handers, second worst in MLB.

Saturday, June 18: Brad Keller @OAK

Keller’s performance has been mediocre after a poor April, though he is coming off a strong start. Oakland has been even worse against right-handers as lefties, with a league-worst .579 OPS.

National League

Tuesday, June 14: Zach Davies vs. CIN

Davies has allowed three of fewer runs in each of last three starts, including his most recent outing against the Reds. He gets another shot against the Tyler Stephenson-less Reds lineup that has a sub-.700 OPS against right-handers.

Wednesday, June 15: Spencer Strider @ WAS

Strider remains in the Atlanta starting rotation, though his stay has been an experience due to erratic control. There remains more than enough strikeout upside to keep him in fantasy lineups, especially against a Nats lineup in the bottom half of MLB with a .700 OPS against right-handers.

Thursday, June 16: Michael Swarmer vs. SD

Swarmer is finally getting his MLB opportunity at age 28, making the most of it so far. The Padres lineup has struggled despite team success with a .653 OPS against right-handers, so Swarmer has a chance to keep his success going in his first time around the league.

Total Games

American League

6: BOS, CLE, CHW, HOU, KC, MIN, NYY, OAK, TB

7: BAL, DET, LAA, TEX, TOR

8: SEA

National League

5: LAD

6: ARI, ATL, CIN, COL, MIA, MIL, NYM, SF

7: CHC, PIT, SD, STL

8: NYM, 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.

Pete Alonso: Day-to-day (hand)

Johan Camargo: Placed on IL (knee)

Jeimer Candelario: Placed on IL (shoulder)

Alex Cobb: Placed on IL (neck)

Brandon Crawford: Day-to-day (quad)

Nelson Cruz: Day-to-day (back)

Travis d’Arnaud: Day-to-day (forearm)

Hunter Dozier: Day-to-day (oblique)

Enrique Hernandez: Placed on IL (hip)

Danny Jansen: Placed on IL (finger)

Andrew Kittredge: Placed on IL (elbow)

Starling Marte: Day-to-day (quad)

Collin McHugh: Placed on IL (COVID-19)

Mike Moustakas: Placed on IL (COVID-19)

Bailey Ober: Placed on IL (groin)

Chad Pinder: Day-to-day (neck)

Nick Senzel: Day-to-day (back)

Tyler Stephenson: Out 4-6 weeks (thumb)

Robert Suarez: Placed on IL (knee)

Mike Trout: Day-to-day (groin)

Christian Walker: Status unknown (head)

Kolten Wong: Day-to-day (calf)

Mike Zunino: IL likely (shoulder)