Fantasy baseball – Weekend preview June 29-July 2

The second series of this year between the first-seeded Texas Rangers and their AL West rivals and reigning World Series champion Houston Astros marks the penultimate weekend of the first half of the 2023 MLB season. After that weekend, there is just one week of games left in the regular season and then baseball focuses on the All-Star break. The All-Star Game takes place on July 16th at T-Mobile Park in Seattle.

The rising Rangers, who have not made the playoffs since 2016, are one of baseball’s biggest upsets. They lead the league by runs scored and are among the leaders in the ERA despite losing RHP star Jacob deGrom. RHP Nathan Eovaldia far less noticed new free-agent signing is aiming for his tenth win Friday night and is among the best pitchers in fantasy baseball.

The rival Astros have also battled their own injuries to starting players and key offensive players with 2B Jose Altuve has been at risk for the past few weeks and OF Yordan Alvarez has been out since early June with an oblique strain. LHP Framber Valdez is enjoying a career season and is expected to face Rangers LHP Martin Perez on Sunday afternoon.

Altuve has been struggling for the past few weeks and fantasy execs are panicking when he shows up on ESPN most dropped list. He’s not at the top of the list, but Altuve has hit 59 homers, stole 23 bases, and scored 220 runs over the past two full seasons. If he hits well, the Astros score runs. Rookie C Yainer Diaz has also taken a regular role, splitting time at DH while Alvarez was out and 1B Jose Abreu has bounced back from a slow start.

It could be a bigger weekend for the Astros given that they currently don’t have a spot in the AL playoffs, but the Rangers wouldn’t mind proving a point against their state rivals. Beginner 3B josh young struggled in June and became one of the most dropped third basemen in the ESPN leagues, which is probably a mistake. Meanwhile 3B Ezequiel Duran, in his second season, boasts an OPS of .900 and five multi-hit games in the past week. Stick with Jung rather than Duran, but maybe it’s worth using both in deeper formats.

Other important divisional battles

  • Boston Red Sox LHP James Paxton and Toronto Blue Jays RHP Jose Berrios This AL East series probably starts Friday night. Paxton, who fielded just six times in the majors from 2020-2022, has been a revelation in eight starts with the Red Sox, but he stopped his last game after four innings with knee pain. The Red Sox probably won’t take any chances here, but for now, they’re claiming he’ll pitch. Berrios is having an excellent catch-up season but fantasy managers might not be able to forget how poor he was in 2022 as he continues to be available in many leagues.

  • The Miami Marlins can’t catch the flagging Atlanta Braves in the NL East this weekend, but it’s an important streak for the surprise second-place team, which has picked up more points this season. Rookie RHP Eury Perez takes on veteran RHP Charlie Morton – 19 years his senior – on Saturday afternoon, while reigning Cy Young winner Sandy Alcantara takes on this year’s potential Cy Young winner Spencer Strider on Sunday. Alcantara, whose move failed him, has allowed five runs in three of five appearances and boasts an inflated 4.82 ERA.

Five more pitching matches to watch

  • Cal Quantrill (Guardian) at Justin Steele (Cubs), Friday: It’s the first game of the Friday promotion and an early start at Wrigley Field (2pm ET), so get the daily lineups! Right-hander Quantrill is returning from a month-long stint in IL with a shoulder problem, although fantasy managers should remain cautious. First off, Quantrill isn’t a huge strikeout option. Left-hander Steele has won both games since leaving be IL stint, and he certainly looks like an NL All-Star.

  • Shane McClanahan (rays) at Bryce Miller (Mariners), Friday: McClanahan, the No. 1 pitcher on the player evaluator, left last Friday against the Royals (against his will) after just 3⅔ innings due to shortages in midfield, but the team claims the southpaw is ready to pitch. Miller, a right-hander who hit just three in his first six big-league starts, has since netted three in two of his last three appearances and has been somewhat inconsistent. Miller has just 43% of his players left in ESPN leagues, and he’s facing a top offense.

  • Bailey Ober (twins) at Kyle Bradish (Orioles), Saturday: The consistent RHP Ober appears to be giving the Twins six innings and three runs earned every time, though it remains available in 60% of the leagues. Readily available RHP Bradish has suddenly become a strikeout pitcher, amassing seven or more whiffs in three of four starts, and ranks in the top 20 starting pitchers on the 30-day Player Rater.

  • Tanner Bibee (Guardian) at Marcus Stroman (Cubs), Saturday: Yes, more Guardians Cubs! The RHP Bibee has won three starts out of four and has a 3.79 ERA in 11 starts in his rookie season. In his last two starts, he has surpassed the 100-pitch mark, hitting 13 batters in 11 innings. RHP Stroman, who retired from action last Sunday with a blister on his right index finger, has been one of the top 10 fantasy starters this season.

  • Zac Gallen (Diamondbacks) at Reid Detmers (Angels), Sunday: Gallen is another top contender for the NL Cy Young award. He has won his last three starts and ten overall this season. Apparently Detmers can’t buy himself a win as he only has one out of 14 starts. This one came during a recent four-outing streak in which he only allowed three runs over 25⅔ innings and 34 strikeouts. Get it now before the victories arrive.

Five hitters to watch

  • Jordan Westburg, SS, Baltimore Orioles: Westburg just came out of Triple-A this week and has already started at both second and third base. We always like more defensive versatility, and Westburg could soon move up the line-up as well.

  • Henry Davis, C, Pittsburgh Pirates: The first pick of the 2021 amateur draft certainly didn’t seem overwhelmed in his short stint in the majors, and it will be interesting to see if the franchise gives him time behind the plate. Davis had the right field in his grip, but with the OF Bryan Reynolds star retiring from the IL this weekend, things could change.

  • Maikel Garcia, SS/3B, Kansas City Royals: Garcia leads all Royals batsmen in fantasy points for the past two weeks, which is impressive both because he’s a rookie and because he has yet to bat for power. Roto managers love the stolen bases.

  • Joey Votto, 1B, Cincinnati Reds: The rising Reds are hosting the San Diego Padres and maybe three right-handers, meaning left-hander Votto should be in the lineup. We should have a better idea of ​​whether his early surge in power is real or not.

  • CJ Cron, 1B, Colorado Rockies: Cron recently left the IL himself, but fantasy executives don’t seem keen on him — despite his 57 home runs over the past two seasons, including 41 in Denver home games. The Rocky Mountains host the Tigers at Coors Field this weekend.

Emma Bowman

Emma Bowman is a USTimesPost U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. Emma Bowman joined USTimesPost in 2023 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing

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