An eventful holiday weekend is ahead.
Baseball’s two most victorious teams since the start of the 2020 season, the Los Angeles Dodgers and Tampa Bay Rays, will face off Friday through Sunday at Tropicana Field in Tampa Bay in a three-game series in what is a rematch of the 2020 World Series. The series has big implications for the fantasy scene as it will feature the debut of Rays star Tyler Glasnow in 2023, whose pitch is slated for Saturday. As an added feature, the “Sunday Brunch” game, starting at 11:35am ET, is a “scout but don’t start” opportunity for Kiley McDaniel’s numbers 15 (Gavin Stone) and 16 (Taj Bradley). Outlook at the beginning of the year.
The talented but underperforming New York Mets offensive travels to Colorado’s Coors Field for three games in hopes of starting a hot streak. The Houston Astros, who have just been suspended from two straight games in Milwaukee but have won 11 of their last 14 games, clinched a soft landing with a three-game away streak against the ailing Oakland Athletics. The Astros’ opponents in the 2023 World Series, the struggling Philadelphia Phillies, are hoping to capitalize on the momentum of Wednesday’s 6-5 extra-inning comeback win in the crucial next seven days of their game schedule, which began with the four- Games away game this weekend starts series against the Atlanta Braves.
With all these great Memorial Day weekend storylines, what are our fantasy analysts looking at in terms of lineup perks? Tristan H. Cockcroft and Eric Karabell comment.
Cockcroft: Glasnow can be so difficult to gauge due to his likely limited number of pitches (57 and 67 pitches in his last two rehab starts) and the Rays’ tendency to lean on the bullpen, but he’s just plain good and effective against matches armed . In his last 23 starts in the big league, he has surpassed 25 fantasy points six times, more than 15 times and only three of those rounds has he gone under 10. Oh, and by the way, the Rays granted him 90 pitches or more in only 16 of those 23 missions. He will be active for me, damn it, “bad matchup”.
Speaking of pitching skills, can you name the only baton in baseball that has restricted opponents to three runs or fewer since Mother’s Day? every game?
carabelle: Well I know it’s not the Phillies! I suspect it’s Michael Kopech and the Chicago White Sox who have had the luxury of going up against the terrible offensives of the Guardians and Royals during this period. This weekend they travel to Detroit to take on Riley Greene’s Tigers. I want to believe in Kopech, Lance Lynn and company, but I need to see how these guys and Dylan Cease compare to better offense. For me, the big story surrounding the White Sox is the potential return of cancer-free closer Liam Hendriks this weekend. People come first.
My eyes will be on the other Chicago team, by the way, because I need to see more of Cubs slugger Christopher Morel most added player in the ESPN standard leagues, and he won’t exactly struggle with top pitching at home against the Cincinnati Reds this weekend. Unfortunately, Morel failed to hit a home run on Wednesday, ending a five-game long-ball streak. He swings so hard at everything and he sure misses a lot, but he has undeniable and surprising power on all fields, with nine homers in 13 games. I have no shares.
I have a feeling this is obvious, but maybe it’s all just an elaborate ruse. What are you saying?
Cockcroft: Well done sir! I agree with you on the long-term approach to the White Sox, but at least I’m all for their pitching this weekend as the Forecaster ranks the Detroit Tigers as the best matchup for opposing righty pitchers. And, hey, like you said at Hendriks, he will provide an obvious boost that could provide some momentum in the long run.
I have three Morel stocks, two of them from preseason because the downgrade at the end of spring was a downright absurd decision. He is not The good, and I didn’t expect him to be anywhere near as good either, but what stood out was his positional flexibility (OF/2B on ESPN for now, but he might add 3B and/or SS off depending on the playing threshold of your league) as well as his likelihood of hitting an 80th percentile barreling and 75th percentile sprinting speed by the end of the year is rated by Statcast, meaning he’s a high-floor guy who’s suited to all formats.
There’s no real competition for this type of player, but as far as fantasy impact goes, The is our modern day Tony Phillips or Ben Zobrist – and these guys would have stuck with it any our rosters. And I agree with you that the Cubs’ encounters this weekend, especially for the right-handers, continue to be excellent (a 10, in fact, especially when you factor in Thursday’s game against the seemingly finished Carlos Carrasco) .
Oh, and while we’re on the subject of nerve-wracking Mets starters, the dilemma in this Coors series is: Let’s start Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander, who are generally in the top 10 drafted starting pitchers, who aren’t even in the Top 30 belonged? SP players since their respective returns (Scherzer from suspension and Verlander from injury) during the Mets’ early May trip to Detroit?
carabelle: My general take on Denver’s top starting players and away games is keep them active and hope for the best. And yes, I still see Scherzer and Verlander as top starters. Despite an awfully small sample size, Verlander has a 1.20 ERA on his two starts at Coors Field, while Scherzer has a 6.39 ERA on six starts there, albeit with more whiffs than innings.
Incidentally, the Rockies are hardly an offensive juggernaut even at home, where they hit .274 (fifth among MLB teams in home games) but are tied in 22nd on home runs and ninth on runs . I understand the potential for ERA/WHIP damage, but who’s scaring us Elias Diaz? Jurickson Profar? I say stick to the Mets pitching this weekend and hope stuttering starling Marte Chase Anderson and Austin Gomber enjoy. Marte looks awful, and without the stolen bases he’d be free agent fodder in most leagues.
I think the 1998 World Series Gotham rematch series is pretty interesting because the San Diego Padres 3B could bring Manny Machado back from the IL and don’t we all think this team is about to heat up? Why not start against your Yankees? Sunday’s matchup between Yu Darvish and Gerrit Cole is a winner, but I’m also very excited for RHPs Joe Musgrove and Michael Wacha to open the series. Musgrove is still missing a “quality start” on five occasions, and right-handers are batting .400 and batting .771 from him. Serve, Harrison Bader! It can’t go on like this, can it? Wacha, on the other hand, has only allowed one run in his last four starts. Did these guys switch places? LOL!
Should Fantasy Managers Trade for Manny Machado?
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Cockcroft: I’m also starting with both Scherzer and Verlander after they looked so good in their doubleheader rounds last Sunday, but each fantasy manager’s league settings have a big impact on the answer (think starting caps, league depth/alternatives, etc .). Also The stats: These two have only made one start together from the aforementioned Coors stats since early 2018.
By the Padres Yankees series, do you mean Juan Soto’s audition for the Yankees? I’m kidding, I’m joking… or maybe not?
All this Musgrove hassle is nonsense. May I interest you in a bright, shiny Wacha for your Java Joe? I’ll even cover your Lehigh Valley IronPigs game of Saturdays Are For The Bacon to sweeten the deal. Musgrove’s entire ascent was derailed by that broken toe, and watching him he just looks like a pitcher returning to his best form, especially by hitting the (admittedly underperforming) fastball heavier and his signature slider lighter becomes.
I know my Yankees well and this has all the potential of a “monster bounceback performance” that seems to come out of nowhere and while I can’t fully endorse Musgrove given the stats, I’ll definitely be watching it closely and make my trade talks in advance.
carabelle: Agreed. Everything will be fine. And what can go wrong this weekend when you turn 29 all year in a row? Happy birthday turkey leg.
Cockcroft: Haha Thank you! I guess I’ll accept that I was 25 in the years of Tony Phillips and Ben Zobrist, but I’ll be 29 in the age of Morel.