Fantasy baseball pickups – Reds, redbirds, and more

The St. Louis Cardinals, who have led the major leagues seven straight seasons, have pulled some distance from the rest of the National League Central and extended their lead to a season-high five games after Saturday’s win.

Competing against easier competition — the Cardinals have been 15-5 against sub-500 teams since early July — has played a role, but don’t let that detract from the team’s recent run, especially given the Cardinals’ schedule is full of similarly easy ones competitions for the future. In fact, 18 of the team’s next 21 games will come against teams that are at least 16 games under .500.

As noted in the Week 19 Forecaster, Cardinals players are excellent pick-ups for the week ahead, but that’s especially true for one of their lesser-known stars, a player who has snagged a good share of leadoff starts as well as every day. bats lately. He tops the list of recommended pickups this week:


Lars Nootbaar, OF, Cardinals (93.4% available in ESPN leagues): He received a well-deserved mention in said Forecaster, but fantasy managers may not recognize it how He has improved his stock a lot in the last few weeks. Nootbaar has started each of the team’s last 24 games, as well as 26 of 27, and has batted .310/.458/.563 with three homers, 13 RBIs, two stolen bases and 19 runs scored in the early span. That’s got him an edge against righties, No. 9 hitter against lefties, a commonplace role, and consider that 72% of Cardinals opponent rotations in their next six series are righties. Nootbaar’s contact quality has increased greatly over these last 24 games as he has had 50% hard contact and 15% statcast barrel rates during that time, both top 25 qualified numbers during that time span. Also, after Juan Yepez was demoted to Triple-A Memphis after recovering from a forearm injury, right field belongs entirely to Nootbaar as long as he keeps batting.


Eduardo Rodriguez, SP, Detroit Tigers (33.8% Available): August was generally a good month for pitchers rejoining their respective big league rotations – Jacob deGrom, Lance McCullers Jr., Jesus Luzardo and Dustin May represent four other such examples – but Rodriguez’s return is one of the most actionable for fantasy. His roster percentage in ESPN leagues was down below 60% just a week ago, and he’s one of those guys who will have the workload of a full-time starter every fifth day for the rest of the year. Since returning from the banned list for personal reasons, Rodriguez has dominated during his recent rehab stint in the minor leagues with a 1.29 ERA and a 34.4% strikeout rate in three starts while increasing his pitch count increased to 72 in the last game. He then made quick work of his return to the Tigers’ rotation Sunday with the Los Angeles Angels, delivering five shutout innings and 18 fantasy points on 78 pitches. Little has changed in Rodriguez’s skill set since preseason, a period in which he had improved year-on-year in the k-to-go ratio with solid advanced metrics for 2021 and there is every reason to believe that he could fight for top 30 starter status from that point forward. Finally, this could be his remaining schedule: in Texas, home against Seattle, with the Angels, in Kansas City, home against the White Sox, in Baltimore, home against Kansas City and Minnesota.


Jake Fraley, OF, Cincinnati Reds (92.7%): Don’t sleep on the Reds just because they’ve traded most of their big-name players and have long since turned the page to 2023 (and arguably beyond). Fraley benefited greatly from the trades of Tyler Naquin and Tommy Pham and the season-ending injury to Joey Votto (teamwide first base/DH shuffling) and started eight straight games while hitting .355/.460/. .807 with four runs home and 12 runs scored. Fraley has hit .237/.352/.456 against righties and .231/.350/.408 at the Reds’ friendly home ground this season, the optimal games to use him in. He has taken the team lead against righties and No. 2 hitter against lefties, a Nootbaar-like extended role, and Fraley’s Reds are playing 5 of 7 games against righties in Week 19, with games against the weak pitching staffs of the Washington Nationals, Colorado Rockies, Chicago Cubs and Pittsburgh Pirates in their next seven series.

Additional Notes on Week 19:

  • May’s return to the Los Angeles Dodgers rotation was more impressive than Rodriguez’s, but the right-hander’s workload is far more likely to be overseen by the two over the remainder of the year given he’s younger and less experienced at handling heavy workloads has and comes from the Tommy John operation. Still, May’s nine strikeouts and 13 swings and misses, each the second most in his 20-start career (the swings and misses finished second), bode well for his prospects for the rest of the season, and he wins the Miami Marlins are back in their pitching-friendly spot in his second start.

  • The Philadelphia Phillies put Seranthony Dominguez (triceps) on the 15-day injured list on Sunday, once again challenging their narrower role. David Robertson, who made the Cubs’ best 14 saves before the trade, came through the ninth inning in each of the Phillies’ Saturday and Sunday games, successfully converting the former but blowing the latter. His performance on Sunday was somewhat of a mystery considering he had thrown 36 pitches the day before, and perhaps the Phillies will respond accordingly and continue to roll him out as their full-time closer for now. Given how favorable the team’s Week 19 schedule is, Robertson should be started broadly. Fantasy baseball pickups – Reds, redbirds, and more

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