Baseball is a game of hot streaks and slumps, and as a fantasy baseball manager it's sometimes difficult to know when to part with someone on your roster to take a chance on someone new.
Here we'll examine three players you may want to consider moving on from if you have them rostered, and provide three potential replacements for them. Just like in real baseball, sometimes you have to make the tough moves in order to win. But if you don't know what the right moves are to make then you just end up looking like the Pittsburgh Pirates of your fantasy league.
Here's some advice for you so you don't become the Pirates of your league.
Cole Irvin Oakland A's SP (30% Rostered in Yahoo)
Cole Irvin was on his game tonight A's Postgame Live is airing right now on NBC Sports California and streaming he… https://t.co/7ec4GeS6Vv— A's on NBCS (@A's on NBCS)1620187381.0
Irvin hasn't allowed more than two runs in the past four starts and will carry a 3.09 ERA, 1.11 WHIP and 34/5 strikeout to walk ratio heading into his next one against Tampa Bay this weekend. To put how effective Irvin has been into perspective, he's averaging nearly a strikeout per inning while only .1 walk per inning.
Even if Irvin comes back down to earth a little, now is the time to pick him up while he's riding this hot streak. He is coming off a game against the hard-hitting Blue Jays where we saw him set his career-high in strikeouts with nine over eight innings. Take into consideration he has three quality starts (out of six) and his most recent loss was to the Rays who he sees again on Saturday. In that last appearance against Tampa he went six innings, striking out eight, allowed only two runs and earned a quality start in a loss.
If you're looking for a long term option at starting pitcher, Irvin presents a great opportunity to snag a hidden gem off waivers but don't expect him to last much longer if he puts in another strong performance against the Rays on Saturday.
Kyle Hendricks Chicago Cubs SP (88% Rostered in Yahoo)
Kyle Hendricks is dealing GAS to start this game! I’m so happy I drafted him somewhat high in fantasy baseball! He… https://t.co/M5Dfs5SPNG— Vinnie Parise (@Vinnie Parise)1619653359.0
Hendricks seems far removed from his 2016 season where he helped lead the Cubs to a World Series win and finished third in NL Cy Young voting. In the three seasons that would follow we'd see Hendricks' ERA slightly climb higher and his strikeouts decline. We thought we saw a glimmer of hope that his fortunes were reversing in the shortened 2020 season as he did well enough to finish ninth in NL Cy Young voting last year.
However, what we've seen from him this year is enough for us to have already raised the red flag, and at this point we're giving up. It seems early, but if you gave us the straight up choice between Hendricks and the aforementioned Cole Irvin, it's an obvious decision for us.
Hendricks' ERA currently sits at 6.07, but that's only after reducing it from 7.54 in just one game. Sure Hendricks pitched great against the Dodgers in that last start, but it appears that the great start from Hendricks is the anomaly now.
Shane McClanahan Tampa Bay Rays RP (25% Rostered in Yahoo)
So McClanahan is a tough one to put accurate value on as it stands today. What we do know is that he's looked impressive in his two starts this season. Yes, even though McClanahan is listed as a relief pitcher, he's getting starter reps in Tampa. Kind of.
McClanahan is one of the Rays' most valued prospects as a hard throwing lefty and we have seen their plans to limit the amount of pitches we'll get to see from him this season. Going only four innings in both of his starts this season he's amassed a stat line of 2.25 ERA, 1.13 WHIP and has a 10/2 strikeout to walk ratio. He has hit over 100 mph on the gun a few times and has displayed a 93 mph slider.
You may not get a ton of innings out of him or many crooked numbers in the win column, but he is a viable replacement for a reliever in your bullpen that has possibly lost their role as closer.
Alex Colome Minnesota Twins RP (47% Rostered in Yahoo)
@JasonPuckett20 Reminds me of the Alex Colome experience.— Casey Ferguson (@Casey Ferguson)1620191041.0
Speaking of closers who have lost their role, it's time to sell Alex Colome immediately. Twins manager Rocco Baldelli announced on Tuesday that he was moving Colome to a "lower-leverage role" making way for Taylor Rogers to assume the closer position. Now Rogers has also struggled in that role, but considering the struggles we saw out of Colome, it should be safe to assume Baldelli will give some time for the new pecking order to play out.
Don't keep Colome on your roster waiting to see what happens. Go drop him and grab Shane McClanahan for the meantime. Trust us, Colome will be on the waiver wire if you ever want to grab him again.
Willie Calhoun Texas Rangers OF (12% Rostered in Yahoo)
Career-high 9-game hitting streak for Willie Calhoun— Jared Sandler (@Jared Sandler)1619981049.0
If I were to tell you there was a player available in nearly 80% of leagues that has hit .318 with three home runs and five RBI over the last two weeks you would probably be excited to pick him up. Until I told you that player was Willie Calhoun of the Texas Rangers. At that point you would probably have an audible response of "Oh".
But don't sleep on Calhoun, especially when he's riding a hot streak like he is now. That is especially if you had stock in the recently injured Luis Robert.
Luis Robert Chicago White Sox OF (79% Rostered in Yahoo)
Luis Robert was examined today at Rush and a scan showed a grade 3 strain (complete tear) of the hip flexor. Furthe… https://t.co/jwb5TmSIbP— Chicago White Sox (@Chicago White Sox)1620079749.0
Robert suffered a very serious injury this past week, being diagnosed with a Grade 3 hip flexor strain. That doesn't sound as bad as it really is. It's a complete tear, and at this point surgery is still an option being kicked around the organization. The timetable for a return puts Robert out for another 12-16 weeks minimum, but surgery would likely end his season.
Robert and the team's decision may not be decided until later on in his initial recovery stage as they may decide to shut him down for the year if the team is falling out of contention in a very deep AL Central. It would be wise to try to keep him on the injured-reserve list if your league offers one, but if it doesn't or if you are just low on available IL spots don't shy away from dropping Robert.
Sure he was a top pick in your draft, but the likelihood that Robert returns this season is slim already, and by the time he'd be back you would be sacrificing a lot of production from any player that is just flat out healthy and available. Willie Calhoun is a solid option for at least a short-term replacement. Replacing someone like Robert won't be easy and it may require streaming throughout the rest of the season until you find the right player.
Start with Willie Calhoun, because compared to Robert he has one ability that the star prospect doesn't, and that's avail-ability.
With the first few weeks of the baseball season underway, we have a big enough sample size to begin deciding what players having hot starts are worth targeting for your fantasy squad.
As the MLB has dealt with some covid related issues since the start of the season, it's difficult to manage your fantasy team when you don't know if any of your players will be affected by a positive covid diagnosis or postponement of games due to teams finding widespread positive tests among their organization. Because of the unique conditions pro sports are in now, this list is reflective of targets that are filling roles that should provide stable production long term.
From a fantasy perspective in this short season, if players can manage a few stretches of solid production, they can end up a top 75 player over the course of 60 games. Here are a few players that are currently enjoying one of those kinds of stretches to begin the season.
San Francisco Giants v San Diego Padres Getty Images
Donovan Solano 2B/SS SF Giants (40% owned Yahoo) - The 2020 season has seen Solano get off to a fast start by amassing 15 hits and 13 RBI in 9 games. Splitting time between second and third base thus far, it appears that Solano has established an everyday role with the Giants. He was impressive in his playing time last season hitting .330 in 215 plate appearances. It's obvious that he can hit for contact, but Solano does lack power. The good news for fantasy owners is that Solano's defensive flexibility makes him an everyday play, and hitting sixth in the lineup should provide him a lot of opportunity to continue to drive in runs with the heart of the Giants lineup table setting in front of him.
It appears as though Diaz will be taking over closer duty in ColoradoAndy Cross, The Denver Post
Jairo Diaz RP COL (22% owned Yahoo) - With Wade Davis going on the IL without a clear timeline to return, the opportunity for Diaz to take over the closer role in Colorado has opened up. He may be a new name in fantasy, but he had 63 strikeouts across 57 2/3 innings in 2019 for the Rockies and managed 6 wins and 5 saves. Manager Bud Black also saw Colorado lose reliever Scott Oberg over the weekend due to health problems (blood clots) and his return this season is highly doubtful. The hard throwing righty, Diaz, will likely enjoy a long leash as Colorado is short on options, and he has experience closing games for the team already. If he is still on the waiver wire in your league, grab him while you can.
Tyler Chatwood Strikes Out 8 Batters in Season Debut www.youtube.com
Tyler Chatwood SP CHC (58% owned Yahoo) - In two starts this season, Tyler Chatwood has been nothing short of spectacular for the Cubs. Over 12 2/3 innings he has 19 strikeouts, 0.71 era, and 0.79 whip in 2 wins. While the chance of Chatwood sustaining this level of production would be unlikely to span an entire 162 game regular season, in this shortened season Chatwood has already made about 20% of the starts he will make for the entire 2020 regular season. He projects to have about 10 more starts this year and if he can manage to continue this run of play for a few more starts, then he could be in the running for NL Cy Young consideration and your fantasy team's MVP.
MLB: MAY 05 Athletics at Pirates Shelley Lipton/Icon Sportswire
Colin Moran 3B/2B PIT (51% owned Yahoo) - The Pittsburgh Pirates' Colin Moran had been leading the MLB in home runs up until Aaron Judge hit his sixth (league leading) homer over his last 5 games on Sunday. Moran won't get the attention his play has warranted due to the market he's in, but, as Josh Bell proved last season, that doesn't mean Moran cannot be a productive fantasy player for your team. It appears that the team feels confident putting Moran into the cleanup spot right behind Bell against both righties and lefties so far this season. If Moran maintains hitting for power, his second base eligibility could make him a steal as there are a shortage of second basemen that can hit for power the way Moran has shown early on this season.