BBB Fantasy Baseball Preview (8/7-8/13)

This week, the Yankees head to Toronto for a three game set with the Blue Jays before returning home for a massive three game set against the first place Boston Red Sox.  Last week saw the Yankees struggle offensively, but they were able to salvage a series split against the Cleveland Indians after pulling out victories on both Saturday night and Sunday afternoon.  All in all, the Yankees went 3-4 last week against Detroit and Cleveland and will look to rebound this week as they set their sights on first place.  Last week’s stars included Chase Headley, Didi Gregorius and the bullpen, who, as a unit, were honored as MLB’s bullpen of the week after allowing just four earned runs and 15 hits over 21 and two-thirds innings of work, racking up 27 strikeouts against only three walks. Aroldis Chapman recorded two saves.


Photo Credit: Getty Images


This week’s matchups:
Monday 8/7: OFF
Tuesday 8/8: CC Sabathia (9-4, 3.81 ERA) vs. JA Happ (4-8, 3.92 ERA)
Wednesday 8/9: Masahiro Tanaka (8-10, 4.93 ERA) vs. C├ęsar Valdez (1-1, 7.63 ERA)
Thursday 8/10: Sonny Gray (6-6, 3.41 ERA) vs. Marco Estrada (4-7, 5.12 ERA)
Friday 8/11: vs. Boston; pitchers TBD
Saturday 8/12: vs. Boston; pitchers TBD
Sunday 8/13: vs. Boston; pitchers TBD

Jordan Montgomery was optioned to triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre yesterday, so I would expect to see the Yankees line up Jaime Garcia, Luis Severino, and CC Sabathia for the Boston series.  With the Red Sox using Chris Sale and Rick Porcello during a short two game series in Tampa this week, coupled with off days today and Thursday, I would expect them to use Eduardo Rodriguez, Drew Pomeranz and Chris Sale.  Boston purposely held Sale out of the four game series against the White Sox so he would be lined up to start on Sunday against New York.  Boston will likely push Doug Fister’s start back to Monday.

Players to start:
Didi Gregorius
The Yankees’ shortstop is the easiest must-start on this team right now as he continues to do it all both at the plate and in the field.  Gregorius started six games for New York this past week and hit .400 (10-for-25) with one home run, two doubles and four runs batted in.  He also just missed his second home on Saturday night, hitting an RBI double off the very top of the center field wall.


Dellin Betances
Few have been as harsh a critic of Betances’ as I have over the past two months, but the big righty looks absolutely locked in right now and is worth starting in your lineups this week.  Last week, Dellin threw three scoreless innings, striking out six (including an immaculate inning) against just one walk.  Over his last five appearances he has gone six innings without allowing a run, has struck out ten, walked three and opposing batters are hitting just .100 (2-for-20) against him.


Chad Green
With the Yankees’ bullpen being the main stars this past week, it’s only fitting to highlight two of the most standout performers.  Chad Green only appeared once this past week, relieving Jaime Garcia on Friday night, but was brilliant out of the ‘pen.  Green tossed 2.1 scoreless innings, allowing only one hit while striking out five without issuing a walk.  Green has been remarkably good all season, and sports a 1.32 ERA with a 0.73 WHIP and an incredible 25 strikeouts over just 13.2 innings pitched in the season’s second half. For category leagues that count ERA, WHIP and strikeouts, Green is a steal and is more than likely available.  Go out and get him.


Players to sit:
Gary Sanchez
It’s no secret by now that Sanchez is struggling mightily both behind and at the plate.  Sanchez leads the league in passed balls and is coming off an atrocious week in which, despite cracking his 17th home run of the year, he hit just .200 (4-for-20), with only one walk and six strikeouts. Sanchez has shown a concerning lack of discipline at the plate lately, frequently chasing pitches way out of the strike zone. Joe Girardi told the media that Sanchez would be starting behind the plate yesterday against Cleveland, and instead was benched. There might be more to this story that hasn’t yet been released so for now I’m holding him out of my lineup.

Photo Credit: AP Photo

Jacoby Ellsbury
Ellsbury appeared in six games for New York this past week, starting in five of them, and failed to produce much beyond a fluke bases-clearing triple in yesterday’s win (Abraham Almonte looked to have lost the ball in the sun).  For the week, Ellsbury hit just .235 (4-for-17)  with two strikeouts and two walks.  With Aaron Hicks possibly due back by the weekend series against Boston, Ellsbury’s time in the field will become more and more limited.  Hard pass here.

CC Sabathia
Admittedly, this last one is a bit more cautious than the others, but I’m a bit concerned using Sabathia this week, who should get two starts, against the potent lineups of the Blue Jays and Red Sox.  Sabathia looked better in his lone start last week, rebounding from two early home runs to give the Yankees six innings. However, since returning from the disabled list on July 4th, Sabathia has gone 2-2 with a 4.88 ERA, walked 13 men, and sports an ugly 1.375 WHIP.  The big man has done well against Boston this year (2-0, 0.00 ERA, 0.857 WHIP, 14 innings pitched), but struggled against Toronto (1-1, 7.62 ERA, 1.692 WHIP, 13 innings pitched).


Players to watch:
Sonny Gray
Gray had mixed results in his Yankees’ debut Thursday night, but all in all looked pretty solid against a potent Indians lineup.  So why am I cautious about starting him this week?  Simply put, the Toronto Blue Jays have very good numbers against him. Jose Bautista is 6-for-15 (.400) with one home run, Josh Donaldson is 3-for-8 (.375) and both Ezequiel Carrera and Russell Martin are 3-for-9 (.333) when facing Gray.  Gray took the loss in his most recent start against the Blue Jays on July 25th while still with Oakland, allowing four runs (all unearned due to Gray’s own fielding error) and five hits over six innings while striking out nine.

Chase Headley
The Yankees’ first baseman has looked very strong at the plate since the All Star break, but it remains to be seen how long he can sustain this success.  We’ve seen hot streaks from Headley before, but they are almost always followed up with some brutal stretches.  With the Yankees offense in shambles right now, they can ill afford to lose the production from one of their more consistent hitters. Headley started all seven games the Yankees played in last week and hit .308 with one huge home run and four runs batted in.

AP Photo/Phil Long

Aaron Judge
Judge is still striking out at an alarming rate (10 times in 20 at-bats last week), but he quietly recorded a hit in five of the six games he played in last week, with two of the five hits leaving the yard. After seeing his batting average plummet to start the second half, Judge has hovered around the .300 mark for the last few games and seems to be seeing the ball a bit better of late.  Obviously he needs to start squaring up the ball more and needs to cut down on his chase rate, but this week provided some promise that maybe, just maybe, Judge is starting to right the ship.   For a Yankees squad that is desperate for his impact production in the middle of their lineup, this would be a huge development for the team heading into one of their biggest stretches of games for the entire season.

Article by: Andrew Natalizio

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