Here are what some talking heads think about fantasy baseball 2019:
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New York Yankees first baseman Greg Bird (foot) is playing winter ball in the Dominican Republic and went 0-for-3 with a walk in his debut with the Gigantes del Cibao on Tuesday. Bird didn't play for the Yankees after April 13 due to plantar fasciitis. The Yankees could non-tender him this offseason to open up a spot on the 40-man roster. The 26-year-old has the talent, but he hasn't been able to stay on the field consistently due to injuries. New York also has other options at first base in Luke Voit, Mike Ford and DJ LeMahieu. A change of scenery would probably be the best-case scenario for Bird, but we'll have to wait and see what happens. He obviously won't be much of a fantasy option in next year's drafts.
Pittsburgh Pirates outfielder Starling Marte is expected to begin the 2020 season with the team, according to industry sources. Things should become clearer after executives meet at the general manager meetings and winter meetings, and the Pirates haven't exactly made their stance completely clear. The Bucs will exercise Marte's $11.5 million option for 2020, and his deal also includes a $12.5 million option for 2021. But Marte will likely remain as the team's center fielder with Pittsburgh not interested in a full-on rebuild. At 30 years old, Marte hit .295/.342/.503 with a career-high 23 home runs, a career-high 82 RBI and 25 steals. His season ended early due to a wrist injury, but Marte remains a special fantasy asset that can contribute across all categories. Even if Marte begins 2020 in Pittsburgh, he'll be a candidate to be moved at the July trade deadline.
Washington Nationals starting pitcher Anibal Sanchez will start Game 3 of the World Series on Friday against the Astros. Patrick Corbin pitched in relief in Game 1, so he won't be available at least until Game 4 on Saturday. Sanchez was quietly decent or the Nats this year in 30 starts (3.85 ERA, 1.27 WHIP), and he has been even better in the playoffs this year, allowing just one earned run while walking three and striking out 14 in 12 2/3 frames against the Dodgers and Cardinals. The veteran right-hander took a no-hitter into the late innings against the Cardinals in the National League Division Series. Don't expect that dazzling of a performance against Houston, but Sanchez has the stuff to surprise again if he can hit his spots.
Houston Astros shortstop Carlos Correa struggled in Game 1, striking out three times and stranding three men on base in the Astros 5-4 loss to the Nationals in the World Series. Correa has popped two home runs during this season's postseason run but, for the most part, it has been a struggle offensively. The 25-year-old is slashing only .174/.224/.348 through 46 playoff at-bats with a troubling 21 strikeouts. Correa has struck out in 11 of 12 postseason games and has punched-out multiple times in seven of those 12 contests. Correa will have a tough matchup in Game 2 against the Nationals Stephen Strasburg.
Houston Astros outfielder George Springer made history in Game 1, hitting a home run in his fifth straight World Series game in the team's 5-4 loss to the Nationals. Springer went 2-for-3 with a double, a home run, two walks, two runs scored and two runs batted in. There are few as dangerous as Springer in the World Series, who is now 13-for-32 (.406) with four doubles, six home runs, nine runs batted in and 10 runs scored through only eight championship games. The key to the Nationals success in Game 2 will be attempting to silence Springer at the dish.
Washington Nationals first baseman Ryan Zimmerman hit his fifth career postseason home run in the Nationals 5-4 Game 1 win over the Astros in the World Series. Zimmerman took the once-dominant Astros starter Gerrit Cole deep in the second inning of Game 1 and is a strong bet to make the starting lineup against Justin Verlander in Game 2. In 35 postseason at-bats this season, Zimmerman is slashing .286/.306/.543 with two home runs, three doubles and six runs batted in. The veteran now is slugging .515 lifetime in the postseason across 97 at-bats and will be a threat to go deep in Game 2.
Houston Astros designated hitter Yordan Alvarez will try and build off his 2-for-3 performance in Game 1 of the World Series. Alvarez also drew a walk and reached base three times for the first time in the postseason. The rookie is coming off an ALCS where he hit only .045 and is hitting .205 over the entirety of the postseason with only one RBI. After a fantastic regular season, this could be the last start for the young DH over the next few games after the series switches to National League rules. Alvarez posted a 1.140 OPS in 46 home games during the regular season.
Washington Nationals outfielder Adam Eaton will take a five-game playoff hitting streak into Game 2 of the World Series against the Astros Wednesday night. Eaton came up huge in Game 1, going 2-for-4 with an RBI, and creating a solid combo at the top of the lineup with Trea Turner. Eaton now is 6-for-21 (.285) during his hitting streak with one triple, two doubles, three runs scored and four runs batted in. Eaton also has delivered with runners in scoring position, going 4-for-12 in postseason play and will be a player to watch in Game 2.
Washington Nationals outfielder Juan Soto enjoyed a dominant Game 1 of the World Series, going 3-for-4 with a double, a home run and three runs batted in. Soto was hitting lasers all over the field, pacing the Nationals to a 5-4 Game 1 win. After a dip in production during the NLCS against the Cardinals, Soto is now 5-for-9 over his last two postseason games. The 20-year-old phenom is now slugging .568 in six road playoff games this season and shutting him down will be a focal point for the Astros success in Game 2.
Washington Nationals starter Stephen Strasburg will try and continue his fantastic postseason Wednesday night in Game 2 of the World Series. Strasburg is 3-0 this season in the playoffs with a 1.64 ERA and as 0.86 WHIP over 22 innings pitched. Strasburg has struck out 33 hitters to only one walk and has been a force every time he hits the mound. The 31-year-old has a lifetime 1.10 ERA in October and will try and give the Nationals a commanding 2-0 lead in the series.
Houston Astros starter Justin Verlander will take the bump in Game 2 of the World Series as the Astros try and tie the series at 1-1. It has been a solid, if unspectacular, postseason for the 36-year-old veteran after a dominant first start. Verlander pitched seven shutout innings on October 4 but has allowed 10 runs over his last three starts, spanning 16 1/3 innings. A lot of Verlander's poor starts have come on the road in the playoffs and possesses a 1.32 ERA in two postseason starts at home this season. If the Astros intend on protecting their home field advantage, they will need a sterling start from Verlander in Game 2.
Former C David Ross was hired as manager of the Chicago Cubs Wednesday, Oct. 23, according to sources.
Washington Nationals C Spencer Kieboom was outrighted to Triple-A Fresno Monday, Oct. 21.
Minnesota Twins 1B C.J. Cron (thumb) underwent a surgical debridement on his right thumb last week and is expected to be fully recovered in six-to-eight weeks.
Houston Astros first baseman Yuli Gurriel will hit fifth in Game 1 of the World Series against Max Scherzer and the Nationals. Gurriel has been quiet in the postseason but has crushed opposing pitching at home this season. Gurriel is hitting only .261 in the playoffs at Minute Maid Park but the slugger slashed .311/.351/.615 during the regular season with 19 doubles and 19 home runs. Gurriel will have a tough matchup but posted a .916 OPS against right-handed pitching this season.
Houston Astros outfielder Michael Brantley is starting and will hit third Tuesday night in Game 1 of the World Series against the Nationals. Brantley got off to a slow start to begin the playoffs but has turned it on over the last seven games. The veteran is hitting .346 during that span with five walks and has looked sharper at the plate. Brantley will face right-hander Max Scherzer in Game 1 and the veteran slugger slashed .323/.380/.549 against right-handed pitching this season.
Washington Nationals designated hitter Howie Kendrick will start and hit fifth in Game 1 of the World Series against the Astros. Kendrick will try to stay hot against some elite starting pitching and will face the dominant Gerrit Cole Tuesday night. Kendrick is coming off a NLCS MVP award and is slugging .474 in the playoffs with nine runs batted in. Kendrick has been money in the bank with runners in scoring position, going 5-for-10 with eight runs batted in during the postseason. The veteran, however, has a stingy Game 1 matchup.
Houston Astros third baseman Alex Bregman will start and hit cleanup against the Nationals in Game 1 of the World Series Tuesday night. Bregman hit only .157 in the ALCS and now will face Nationals ace Max Scherzer to open up the Fall Classic. The 25-year-old will be a top contender for the AL MVP this season but has been quiet in the power department in the playoffs. He does possess a .435 OBP over his last 35 at-bats but is hitting only .227 against right-handed pitching in the postseason. The World Series will feature some premium pitching from both dugouts, which could lead to some low-scoring games over the next week.
Washington Nationals outfielder Juan Soto will try and turn his mediocre postseason around when the team plays the Astros Tuesday night in Game 1 of the World Series. Soto enjoyed an elite offensive season but has struggled in the postseason. Through 38 playoff at-bats, Soto is slashing only .237/.326/.421 with only three extra-base hits. Soto will have a tough matchup in Game 1 against all-world starter Gerrit Cole. The 20-year-old slugger's road splits also depress his fantasy value in Game 1, posting an .877 OPS in 73 regular season road games compared to a 1.016 mark at home.
Houston Astros second baseman Jose Altuve has been fantastic throughout the playoffs and now will take his white-hot production into Game 1 of the World Series. Altuve is building upon an already impressive postseason career and is slashing .349/.417/.767 through 43 playoff at-bats with three doubles, five home runs, eight runs batted in and 10 runs scored. Altuve and Co. will face a very tough Game 1 starter in Nationals right-hander Max Scherzer. Altuve has produced against right-handed pitching in the playoffs, slashing .355/.429/.806 with six extra-base hits through 31 at-bats. Altuve is a must-play in DFS for Game 1.
No Games Scheduled
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