Here are what some talking heads think about fantasy baseball 2018:
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|Say Hey Kid||7||4||3026.5|
The Philadelphia Phillies headed into the ninth inning of Sunday's series finale against the Milwaukee Brewers with a five-run lead, seemingly headed for an easy victory at Miller Park. The day after recording his first save of the month, reliever Hector Neris was summoned to record the final three outs of the game, but he wouldn't be able to get the job done. The 29-year-old was absolutely terrible, giving up a home run, single and double to begin the frame. After recording two outs, he surrendered a three-run home run, cutting the lead to just one run. At that point, manager Gabe Kapler had seen enough, pulling Neris from the game. The Phillies would go on to finish the game, but Neris' future in pressure situations has to be in major trouble.
Seattle Mariners starter Mike Leake allowed five runs in six innings of work as the Mariners fell to the Red Sox on Sunday 9-3. Leake had been on quite a roll lately, allowing only seven runs over his last 35 2/3 innings pitched before getting knocked around by Boston. Leake (7-3) made a crucial mistake to Boston's Rafael Devers in the third inning Sunday, surrendering a three-run homer and his ERA jumped to 4.47 after the game. Leake will look to get back on track in his next start and remains a middle-of-the-road fantasy option moving forward.
Seattle Mariners designated hitter Nelson Cruz hit his 17th home run of the season in the Mariners 9-3 loss to the Red Sox on Sunday. Cruz now has seven home runs in the month of June and has driven in 12 runs over his last 17 games. The veteran slugger has bounced back from early season injuries and is beginning to produce closer to what was expected of him coming into the season. He now has 40 runs driven in on the season and is a major cog in the heart of an improved Mariners lineup.
Houston Astros catcher Brian McCann collected his first multi-hit game since May 15th in the Astros 7-4 win over the Royals on Sunday. McCann went 2-for-4, including an RBI single to drive home his 17th run of the season. McCann has gotten an increase in usage the past few days and has started three of the last four games. But the veteran is no longer an everyday player and backup Max Stassi has performed well enough to warrant a time share behind the plate moving forward. Manager A.J. Hinch is simply trying to get McCann going offensively after he hit his fifth home run on Thursday and now this two-hit effort on Sunday. McCann's age and eroding skills keep him off the fantasy radar right now as he adjusts to becoming a role player for a white-hot Astros team that has now won 12 games in a row.
The Pittsburgh Pirates third baseman Colin Moran hit his second home run in as many days Sunday. The red-bearded, left-hand hitter belted a 406 foot shot to center field off of Cincinnati starter Anthony DeSclafani in the second inning to give the Bucs the early lead. The homer was the only hit for Moran on the day. The third baseman now carries a slash line of .274/.326/.426; he is a solid option for fantasy owners with much better home vs away splits.
Houston Astros first baseman Yuli Gurriel went 2-for-5 in the Astros 7-4 win over the Royals on Sunday. Gurriel gave the Astros a 2-0 lead in the first inning with an RBI single and then added a softly hit infield single later in the game. Gurriel is hitting everything in sight and is 21-for-58 (.362) with one home run, five doubles and 12 runs batted in since June 1st. He is hitting the ball with more authority and is just one of many pieces in the Astros lineup that is scorching hot right now. He will not hit many home runs, hurting his fantasy value at first base, but is a gap-to-gap hitter who already has 17 doubles this season after smacking 43 in 2017. His lack of home run pop, however, continues to limit his fantasy value outside of deep, AL-only leagues.
Houston Astros designated hitter Evan Gattis added to his incredible offensive resurgence on Sunday, going 3-for-4 with a go-ahead RBI single in the eighth inning of the Astros 7-4 win. Gattis is tearing the cover off to the baseball and now is hitting .300 with seven home runs and an astounding 23 runs batted in over his last 16 games played. He has completely reversed course on what was turning into a disappointing season and now is tied for the team lead with 47 runs batted in. He is slugging .510 for the year and has been a huge factor in the Astros winning their last 12 games in a row. There should be plenty of skepticism that Gattis can keep this up but fantasy owners would be foolish to not try and capitalize on this hot streak now if he is available on the waiver wire heading into next week's action.
Houston Astros infielder/outfielder Marwin Gonzalez went 1-for-3 with an RBI in the Astros 7-4 win on Sunday. The Astros are the hottest team in baseball and Gonzalez may possibly be one of the hottest hitters in the game. He now is hitting .459 in the month of June (17-for-37) with one home run, three triples, four doubles and five runs batted in. Fantasy owners that have been patient with Gonzalez are finally beginning to see some rewards after the versatile player got off to a horrible start this season. Over the last two weeks he has resembled more the player that drove in 90 runs in 2017 than the player that came into the month hitting only .217. Gonzalez is a player on the rise and deserves a look, if available, off the waiver wire this week.
The Pittsburgh Pirates right fielder Gregory Polanco went 3-3 on Sunday afternoon against the Cincinnati Reds. Polanco put on a show in front of the Pirate faithful and his own father with a home run, a double, a walk, two RBI and an outfield assist. Pittsburgh would fall short late and lose the game six to eight. Polanco has nine homers and 34 RBI on the season, but his low batting average, .211, makes him hard to own in standard or shallow leagues.
Houston Astros third baseman Alex Bregman went 2-for-5 Sunday with two runs scored as the Astros capped off a perfect 10-0 road trip with a 7-4 win over the Royals. The two-hit effort now gives Bregman at least one hit in 13 of his last 14 games. He has three doubles, five home runs with 15 runs batted in during this span and is igniting the top of a suddenly white-hot Houston offense. The way the offense is going right now, expect plenty of chances for Bregman to score more runs and wreak havoc heading into the next week of fantasy action.
Houston Astros reliever Hector Rondon picked up his fourth save in six chances Sunday as the Astros won again 7-4. The offense is absolutely humming right now and the team may have found its closer for the foreseeable future. Rondon has not allowed a single run yet on the road this season in 13 1/3 innings pitched away from Minute Maid Park. Rondon is throwing some serious heat and has a ton of confidence right now. It is pretty clear the closer's job is his to lose after 2017 closer Ken Giles was used in the eighth inning of a tight game. Rondon will be a sneaky add to anyone's fantasy roster this week as the Astros have now won their last 12 games.
Cincinnati Reds first baseman Joey Votto turned in a solid game in his team's 8-6 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates on Sunday. Votto went 2-for-4 with two doubles and two RBI. The big game gives Votto a .302/.425/.444 slash line to go along with six homers, 32 RBI, 34 runs, and 14 doubles. While he hasn't brought much production in the power department this season, Votto remains one of baseball's best pure hitters and should continue to provide counting stats hitting in the middle of a Reds lineup that has been solid this season. He is still hitting the ball hard, posting a 39.1% hard-hit rate, although his fly ball rate is down to 27.5%, 10.5% lower than it was in 2017 when he had 36 round-trippers. If he starts putting a few more balls in the air the homers should follow.
Houston Astros shortstop Carlos Correa went 2-for-4 Sunday, including his 13th home run of the season as the Astros beat the Royals 7-4. The Astros capped off a perfect 10-0 road trip with a comeback victory thanks to Correa's 410-foot laser to tie the game in the eighth inning. He would later add a sacrifice fly to make it three runs batted in for the game and 47 on the season. Correa is really starting to heat up is now hitting .325 in the month of June with four home runs in his last 43 at-bats.
Minnesota Twins third baseman Eduardo Escobar stayed red-hot at the plate on Sunday. Escobar went 3-for-4 with three doubles and one RBI in his team's 4-1 loss to the Cleveland Indians. The big game raises Escobar's batting average to .302 with a .932 OPS, 30 doubles, 12 homers, 34 runs, and 45 RBI in what has been an impressive showing for the 29-year-old. Escobar entered Sunday's action leading all of MLB in doubles and added three more to his total to make sure no one overtakes him during the action on Sunday. Escobar is trending toward making the first All-Star game of his MLB career and is turning into an elite fantasy hitter in 2018.
Cleveland Indians rookie starting pitcher Shane Bieber missed a quality start by one out, pitching 5 2/3 innings, allowing just one run, but 10 hits and a walk. He struck out seven. Bieber was able to pitch around trouble, but 10 hits and a walk is certainly not a sustainable way to get outs. Bieber has been excellent in the minors this year, but he's had varied struggles in his two big league starts so far this year. He should stick in the rotation at least while Carlos Carrasco is on the disabled list.
Texas Rangers catcher Robinson Chirinos is back in the Texas Rangers lineup Sunday afternoon. Chirinos missed Friday's game due to a suspension and then received an extra day off Saturday. Chirinos should now resume his role as the Rangers primary catcher, with Jose Trevino serving as his backup. The right-handed hitter is having a tough season, with a .196 batting average in 196 plate appearances. However, he is still providing fantasy value due to his eight home runs in 2018. Chirinos' value is mainly in two-catcher leagues, but if he can hit more consistently then his power can make him a usable option in one-catcher mixed leagues.
Cleveland Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis is not in Sunday's starting lineup. He's only 2-for-14 since returning from a neck injury, so Sunday is likely a day off to try to get him right. It's been a struggle all season for Kipnis, who may start losing more playing time if Erik Gonzalez continues to play well. Gonzalez will get the start at second base on Sunday.
Los Angeles Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen earned his 17th save on Saturday in an exciting 3-1 game against the Giants. Jansen entered the ninth inning up two, and several batters later (after a Justin Turner throwing error and a walk among other things) Jansen had runners on second and third with two outs. He was able to get Pablo Sandoval to pop out to end the game. Jansen's final stat line was no hits, a walk, and a strikeout in an inning pitched. He remains a top fantasy closer and should always be in fantasy owners' lineups.
Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp had another solid day at the plate on Saturday against the Giants, going 2-for-3 with a single, a solo home run, and a walk. Kemp got things going in the second inning by smashing a Madison Bumgarner fastball into the left-field seats. The 33-year-old has been flexing his muscle in June, batting .326 with an impressive .696 slugging percentage, five HR, and 13 RBI in 53 plate appearances. He has proven to be a top fantasy option so far this season and should not come out of fantasy owners' lineups as long as he's starting.
San Diego Padres third baseman Christian Villanueva is out of the lineup Sunday against the Atlanta Braves. Utility infielder Cory Spangenberg will man the hot corner. Since his last homer on May 31, Villanueva is mired in a 4-for-31 funk (.129) with 12 strikeouts. Villanueva's average has dipped all the way to .223 and his OPS is below .800 for the first time this season. Stuck on 15 homers, his fantasy stock has plummeted accordingly and should be benched until he rediscovers his stroke. Villanueva will yield to Spangenberg, who's gone deep six times, stolen five bases and holds a .658 OPS in 137 plate appearances. Spangenberg is not a season-long fantasy option and a risky gamble in daily leagues.
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|CHC||Quintana L (6-4)|
|STL||Flaherty R (3-2)|
|Say Hey Kid||6/17 7:18 pm ET|
|Ezmoneymango 8||6/17 7:09 pm ET|
|Abe1||6/17 6:47 pm ET|
|Barves7||6/17 5:45 pm ET|
|**Acuna Matata**||6/17 2:55 pm ET|
|Longballers 250H2H||6/17 9:05 am ET|
|Green Monsters||6/17 1:44 am ET|
|stopdaRuckus||6/16 2:38 am ET|
|Rounding Third||6/15 7:17 am ET|
|Ty Cobb||6/11 11:51 am ET|
|MUNCHEES SLUGGERS||5/27 9:08 pm ET|
|Commissioner||4/26 12:46 pm ET|
|Grand Slam||3/28 9:47 pm ET|
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