Fantasy Baseball Viewer's Guide for Tuesday
With a juicy Tuesday slate (17 games) on the fantasy schedule, here’s some of what will be on my TV sets and computer screen:
Bagels on parade in New York
If you enjoy a New York bagel, the Giants and Mets (weather permitting) have a doubleheader that could scratch that itch. Alex Cobb and Tylor Megill throw in the opener, with Logan Webb and Max Scherzer set for the nightcap. The two lowest totals on Tuesday’s slate come in this game — the first number is 7, the second total is 6.5. Good luck, batters.
I wish I had drafted more into the San Francisco rotation this year — they were pricy, and maybe I play in too many leagues with Giants fans. There’s intelligence in that organization that I believe in — both in the front office and on the coaching staff — and a special sauce that I want to season my rosters with. We want to backline bet with these fellows.
Run Scoring and the Two Hernandez-es
When I work on 5x5 roster construction, I always want to be dominant in the runs-scored column. That usually means I’ve assembled good players in juicy lineups, and I’ve acquired hitters who mostly command good batting slots.
Of course, you can still score a bunch of runs simply from the right location. Compare a couple of leadoff men, Cesar Hernandez and Enrique Hernandez (no relation).
Cesar has slotted first in every game this year, the catbird seat in front of offensive savant Juan Soto. It’s helped Hernandez score eight times despite a puny .250/.280/.250 line. Assuming the Nationals don’t run him from this spot, Hernandez is going to be 5x5 valuable all year. Is Hernandez more the .345 OBP man that he’s been for his career, or the .308 problem we saw last year?
If Cesar Hernandez ever loses that leadoff spot, run to get the replacement. Logan Thomas might be that guy; given how well he handled the leadoff gig in the final third of 2021, I’m surprised he didn’t get the post to begin this year.
Enrique Hernandez was slightly above-average as a hitter last year, a .250/.337/.449 slash with an OPS-plus of 106 (where 100 is the indexed average). He scored 84 runs in 134 games, then went ballistic in the playoffs. The October run ensured Hernandez would keep the leadoff spot to open 2022, even if the loaded Red Sox lineup had other more qualified candidates.
Hernandez hasn’t hit much through 10 games (.163/.250/.349), though he’s still crossed the plate eight times. Boston manager Alex Cora is a patient man and a Hernandez fan. This story is likely to turn around soon enough, but it’s refreshing that Hernandez is still giving us some value before his bat actually warms.
Valdez ground balls versus Sandoval change-ups
The Angels and Astros will get a dedicated screen at 8:10 pm ET, as I scout Framber Valdez and Patrick Sandoval. Valdez is one of my most-rostered pitchers — I love that dreamy ground-ball rate, which makes up for other ills — but I missed Sandoval consistently, perhaps not fully factoring just how dynamic his change-up became at the end of 2021. If that pitch becomes a wipeout offering, Sandoval can start trimming his platoon splits and become more effective against right-handed batters.
Sean Murphy catching on
Although Sean Murphy has been proactively added in leagues for a week or so, I’m surprised he’s still right around 50 percent in Yahoo. Murphy has started every game this year — eight at catcher, three at DH — and that’s gold in the mixed-league world, a catcher who can get to 500 or more at-bats. We saw Murphy’s power develop last year, and although he’s never going to win a battle title — especially in Oakland’s cavernous ballpark — his career .225 average isn’t a kill shot, especially at the catcher position.
This year, Murphy’s off to a .256 start with a couple of homers. He’s currently ranked No. 5 along catchers on the Yahoo player rater.
Murphy isn’t just a member of the Oakland lineup, he’s usually batting third or fourth. That matters, even on a team not expected to print runs. Even if your league requires just one catcher, Murphy makes a lot of sense, stepping into his age-27 season.