Hey, have you guys heard about this guy Rhys Hoskins? Sounds like he’s doing good things and stuff. Mashin’ taters. Jackin’ dongs. Whatever euphemism you choose, he is doing it and doing it well. Anyways, go pick him up. That’s my expert fantasy advice. See you guys next week!
Just kidding. But what kind of self-respecting, unpaid, doing-this-as-a-hobby fantasy baseball blogger would I be if I didn’t mention him though?
All joking aside, do you actually comprehend how good Rhys has been? Like 16R/11 HR/24 RBI in 76 plate appearances good? Like .298/.408/.828 triple slash in his first month of pro ball good? He’s making 2nd half 2016 Gary Sanchez stop and be like…dang yo.
HIS ISO IS AT .531! WTF?!!!
Ok. Taking a deep breath and stepping off of the hype train temporarily. There is absolutely nothing I can say that hasn’t already been said about Rhys Hoskins. He’s really good right now. The Phillies are 100% totally irrelevant this season, so they have exactly zero reasons to not play the kid and get him all the reps they can.
Juice. This. Orange.
If you were lucky enough to grab him of course…and really if you are still reading fantasy baseball articles at this point in the season, he has been owned for two weeks. For dynasty, it’s not rocket science. Now is obviously NOT the time to buy. His value may never be higher. Don’t get me wrong…I am not saying this is a fluke. I believe this is very real. His profile was all legitimate power in the minors, so believe in this power. Just not…you know…531 ISO power, know what I mean? Ask Aaron Judge about regression if you don’t believe me. Want to draft Hoskins in one of the top 5 rounds next year? Be my guest. I won’t be trying to grab him that early though.
Enough about Rhys Hoskins, though. Let’s talk about something you guys don’t know. Or are slightly less familiar with. Or you just need a reminder about. Anyways, we’re coming down the home stretch with just a month and some change left in the regular season. It’s hard to believe, but it is true. With that in mind, here’s what I’m paying attention to as I gear up for the playoffs.
You hate them. I hate them. They are the bane of everyone’s fantasy existence, but they are a part of the game like it or not. Let’s start at the top.
Clayton Kershaw most recently made a rehab start at AAA-OKC this past Saturday, and he looked like the same old Clayton against the Omaha Storm Chasers. He went 5 IP, gave up 1 ER on just 2 hits, and struck out 8. The Dodgers say he will be activated later this week and will either start Friday or Saturday for the division leading Dodgers. Expect the cakewalking Dodgers to be very cautious if there is the slightest hint of a set back. They are 465 games above the next closest team in the West and have no reason to push him before the playoffs. I don’t need to tell you what to do once he’s healthy. Moving on.
Next, we shift our focus to Houston and Lance McCullers Jr.
Quick note…thoughts and prayers to all those affected by the storm in that area. That being said, let’s get back to the distraction of fantasy baseball.
McCullers last pitched July 30th before a back injury kept him out most of August. He reportedly had a wild outing at AAA-Fresno last Friday and will probably need another start or two before he’s cleared to re-join the major league club. Reports currently suggest the ‘Stros are targeting September 5th as his return, but I’d venture to say it’s a little later than that. Either way, I’m stashing. Stay patient, McCullers owners.
It’s been a minute since we saw Trea Turner, but that hasn’t slowed the Nationals down one bit as they are cruising to an NL East crown this season. Turner joined the AAA club this past week, and although he played limited innings, he is reportedly still on track to re-join the club some time later this September. There is still no definitive timetable for his return, and considering the substantial division lead, he could leave owners holding the bag down the stretch. If you need to make a push right now and can’t wait, I’m ok with you dropping him in re-draft leagues.
If you want to get super sneaky, then go check if Ian Desmond is on the waiver wire right now. He was in one of my leagues until a few days ago. And that’s a league where more than half of us are still making moves. Damn you, Ben! Desmond was activated literally today, he plays his home game at Coors, they score a lot, and you know what to do from there.
And finally, no injury section would be complete without Bryce Harper. You can look at it this way, Nats fans. Wouldn’t you rather have literally everyone get injured now instead of later next month? Anyways, Harper’s knee has kept him from participating in any baseball related activities, so it could be a minute before the boy wonder returns. We’ve talked about the Nats large divisional lead, so that makes me very nervous in re-draft leagues where I need the spot. I’d wait another week or two if you have the DL spot to burn though.
INNINGS LIMIT CANDIDATES
You’ve got a guy on your team. He’s pitching well. He’s putting together a nice season, in fact, when all of a sudden…INNINGS CAP. Boom. The guy gets shut down. It’s annoying, but it’s the state of the game these days. And hey…no one wants to see a dude’s arm fall off at the age of 27. Here are a few guys you should monitor as they approach an innings cap.
The obvious one is Jordan Montgomery. It’s technically already happened considering he was sent down to AAA last week. He’s pitched a total of 134 innings this season, and while that may not seem like a huge number, remember that Montgomery is 24. The Yankees have a great pool of young talent and want to do everything possible to keep them healthy in the long run. This doesn’t mean Montgomery won’t be called upon down the stretch as the Yanks make a playoff push. However, we are too late in the season to deal with such inconsistencies! That’s why he’s already been cut across the board in my re-drafts.
As for former Marlins second baseman Luis Castillo, who now pitches for the Reds, he’s dangerously close to the 165ish innings cap that the Cincy brass mentioned earlier this season. He’s at 157 2/3 IP right now, so a shutdown should be coming any day now. Castillo is brimming with talent, and while his usability may be dwindling in 2017, he’s a big target of mine for 2018.
Zack Godley makes this list too but not because of youth. He’s a 27 year-old “prospect” who has never had this kind of workload, so be cautious. The Diamondbacks are very much alive in the Wild Card hunt, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see them rest him a turn or two in order to save the arm for the playoffs.
Keep an eye on Jacob Faria and Jose Berrios as well. Both are terrific targets in dynasty as they offer tremendous upside, but if their teams fall out of the Wild Card race, expect those two youngsters to see less and less action.
STRETCH RUN HELPERS
Good to see that Kevin Gausman finally decided to join us! After a horrendous start to the season, Gausman has now turned 6 of his last 8 appearances into quality starts. His velocity appears to be inching back, and he has been flashing high-strikeout games to prove it. Even after all of this, his ERA is just now under 5.00. Woof. Still…I like the turnaround and I think you can cautiously start to MAYBE trust him. Like…”your girl hurt you real bad but she’s super sorry and wants you back and you miss her” kind of trust.
As we head to Chicago’s South Side, we find two favorite targets of mine in Lucas Giolito and Carlos Rodon. Giolito has only made 2 appearances with the big league club this year, and while he wasn’t flawless against the Twins last week, he scorched the Tigers on Sunday in an impressive outing. He’s only tossed 128 innings this year, and the White Sox are out of it, so I’m willing to bet Giolito gets opportunities down the stretch. Time to see what the prospect has.
As for Rodon, he had quietly rolled off 5 consecutive quality starts before stumbling to the Tigers last week. A shoulder injury kept him out for most of the first half, and he appears to just now be getting back to full strength. The velocity and strikeouts are trending upward, so jump on him now before the price rises.
Greg Bird is back! He returned on August 26th after being shelved since May 1st. When he’s been healthy, he’s been very good for the Yankees. There lies the problem though. Injuries kept him out all of 2016, and now, it looks like we won’t get much from him the rest of the season. Joe Girardi has hinted they will be working him back slowly to end the year. If that’s true, Bird is definitely a sneaky 2018 play. If you’re feeling lucky, you could stash him and hope he catches a nice power streak here in September.
Bonus: I love Semien! Marcus Semien of course! He’s a consistently underrated power-speed guy because he hits for low average, but he’s actually had a really strong second half and is hitting .286 in August. He’s heating up at the right time, and he contributes in power, speed, and now average! See? Don’t you love Semien too?!
That’s all I got this week. My head-to-head playoffs start next week, which is lit. Hoping I can bring the crown home this season. Hope you bring yours home too! See you next week, fam.
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