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.
Now that March Madness is over, here are a few games to mark on your calendar this week to keep feeding your sports appetite.
After a thrilling season of college basketball we saw Stanford take home their first Women's NCAA Basketball title in 29 years while on the men's side Baylor handed Gonzaga their first and only loss of the season and earned the school's first Men's NCAA championship. Since we didn't have the tournaments last year due to the Covid-19 pandemic, it was amazing getting to see the highlights and the drama return, and both tournaments delivered on the promise of madness.
Gonzaga all season until they played Baylor tonight 😂 #NCAAChampionship https://t.co/2O2M1ZiXBy— El Maestro (@El Maestro) 1617678325.0
But now that we'll have to wait until next year to get more college basketball action, here's a rundown of some of the best matchups in the NBA as their season is getting closer to their postseason, and in the MLB where teams are just ramping up nearing the end of the first week of their season.
Utah Jazz vs. Phoenix Suns Wednesday April 7
We start with the top two teams in the NBA's western conference who play on Wednesday night. The Utah Jazz bring the league's best record to Phoenix to take on the second place Suns. If you haven't been paying attention to the NBA and are now craving more basketball, now is a perfect time to jump in.
That wasn't a typo you just read either; the Jazz and Suns are ahead of the likes of the Clippers and Lakers in the standings, and these are two very good teams you need to get acquainted with. If only someone could have suggested you do it sooner by, I don't know, writing a feature article about one of them in the first week of the season.
DEVIN BOOKER. Another 30 point performance. https://t.co/DN07ZaMsnd— Phoenix Suns (@Phoenix Suns) 1617675411.0
Chris Paul continues to make everyone around him better, including Alfonso Ribeiro in those State Farm commercials. But more importantly his presence has expedited the development of all of the young talent around him in Phoenix, resulting in the Suns being a team we talk about in terms of "they can win now" versus "they can win someday."
The Jazz are basically the Spurs during the Duncan era. They're a very fundamentally sound team that plays basketball the way you should play it, and it's not very fun to watch most of the time. But that's not a shot at them, it's a testament to their coaches and players for putting together an excellent game plan and executing it night in and night out.
Longest win streaks in the NBA this season: Utah Jazz - 11 Utah Jazz - 9 (active) Utah Jazz - 9 Hawks - 8 Bucks - 8 Nets - 8— John Keeffer (@John Keeffer) 1617514941.0
If you haven't seen these teams play it's a great opportunity to see two of the best fight it out as they battle for positioning atop the western conference.
Washington Wizards vs Golden State Warriors Friday April 9
I know what you're thinking. Why would I spend my Friday night watching a Wizards game? Well a lot of this rests on Bradley Beal returning to action who has missed the last five games with a hip injury. But if Beal is good to go against the Warriors, we'll get to see the aforementioned Beal go head to head with Stephen Curry. Beal is currently leading the league in points per game with 31.3 ppg, and Curry is third in that category averaging 29.4.
People seem to forget Steph Curry led the Warriors to 73-9 WITHOUT Kevin Durant— Ben Stinar (@Ben Stinar) 1617637387.0
Even if Beal is unable to go, my backup argument for watching this game is that you then get a matchup of Curry vs. Russell Westbrook who is fresh off leading the Wizards to a win over the Raptors behind the former MVP's triple double on Monday. Either way it's a low stakes game with some talented scorers, and it's going to be fun.
Russell Westbrook insane game: 35 PTS 14 REB 21 AST The first 35/10/20 game in NBA history. https://t.co/MnS5NHOAHH— StatMuse (@StatMuse) 1617067788.0
Atlanta Braves vs. Washington Nationals Wednesday April 7 3:35 pm EST
The reason I had to denote the time of this game is that it's the second game of the scheduled double-header we'll see between these teams on Wednesday. Due to some positive Covid-19 test results the series that was meant to start last week will actually begin today on Tuesday April 6.
GOT 'EM! Bryce Harper tried to stretch this into a double, but @Braves' Ronald Acuña Jr. had other plans 💪 https://t.co/bESXJlYJPY— FOX Sports: MLB (@FOX Sports: MLB) 1617481262.0
Furthermore, the reason that this game is on this list is that the Braves and Nats are going to play three baseball games in the span of about 27 hours. This is the last game on the schedule within that timeframe. That means we could very well see some weird stuff, and in baseball we love weird stuff.
We could see minor league call-ups whose only professional game is this one. We could see pitchers being used as pinch hitters. We could see position players being called upon to be relief pitchers, maybe even a half inning called by only one announcer because the other had to make a bathroom break run.
Considering we don't even know who the probable pitchers are for this one yet, it's a safe bet that we're going to get weird.
Washington Nationals vs Los Angeles Dodgers Saturday April 10
I promise you that I didn't intend to list three Washington sports games on here, but it's just how the schedules played out.
This day was supposed to be all about the star power that the Lakers and Nets were going to bring to Brooklyn in primetime, but thanks to injuries to LeBron James and Anthony Davis, it will instead be a game worthy of a blackout rather than a national spot.
So instead we turn to another L.A. team taking on an east coast powerhouse in the MLB, and if it's star power you want, these teams can bring it. Even though we don't have projected starting pitchers yet, it's likely we see Trevor Bauer toe the mound for the Dodgers, and it's unlikely we'll see Max Scherzer ready to go by then as he's going today in their season opener.
Hi hello Opening Day is TOMORROW Let's watch some *crushed* Juan Soto homers to get us ready 🙌 ⬇️ https://t.co/SWGADq3deS— Sarah Langs (@Sarah Langs) 1617236372.0
But on the offensive side there is an endless supply of power for both teams. Mookie Betts and Cody Bellinger lead the way for the 4-1 Dodgers while Juan Soto and Trea Turner highlight the lineup for the Nationals.
If you're bummed you're missing out on the Lakers and Nets matchup we've been waiting for, tune in for this one as it could turn into a barnburner of a Saturday night.
We've got good news and better news.
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There is never any shortage of outfield talent around Major League Baseball.
What makes the outfield such a fun position to take a deep dive into is there are many different ways that guys have found success. Some can do everything. Others use contact and speed to get on base and cause disruptions. Then there are the guys who prefer to hit the ball into the seats as often as they can to give their team a boost.
So which was is the best way? There's not an easy answer to that question. It all really just depends on the team that you have assembled around your outfielders and what you need them to do to be successful. Myself, Matt Hanson, and Tyler Austin did our best to put together our outfield rankings, so when your turn comes up in your fantasy baseball draft, you'll have a plan on who to draft if you are targeting an outfielder.
The Top 5 Outfielders in Baseball
It's either all or nothing with the 2018 NL Rookie of the Year. In 313 games, Acuna has 81 home runs and 194 RBIs, but he also has struck out 371 times. Last year's shortened season was a strange year to try and evaluate Acuna, as even though he hit just .250, he won his second straight Silver Slugger award.
What's crazy is that Acuna isn't even 24 years old yet. Expectations were so high after the 2019 season, that it was going to be impossible to live up to those expectations last year, especially considering MLB played a 60-game season in front of no crowds. Acuna is one of those players who feeds off the fans in the stands. As patrons return to baseball stadiums, expect Acuna's numbers to tick back up to what we saw from him in 2019. This year the Braves outfielder leaves no doubt that he is the best outfielder in baseball.
How much do the Boston Red Sox have to be kicking themselves for not getting more for Betts when they traded the outfielder to the Los Angeles Dodgers? The centerfielder felt like the piece that Los Angeles needed to finally win the World Series after losing the Fall Classic in 2017 and 2018.
Last year Betts finished second in the NL MVP voting, hitting 16 homers in 55 regular season games. An area where Betts can make some noise where he didn't last season is in the stolen base department. Last year Betts only swiped 10 bags. The regular season could have been an anomaly though, as Betts stole four bases in the World Series. If Betts can regain some of his baserunning prowess, he could be an even bigger monster for the defending World Series champions this year.
Mike Trout being third in the ranking of best outfielders in baseball should tell you just how loaded the position is. Even though it doesn't factor into fantasy baseball rankings, you have to wonder if Trout might be a little lower than he probably deserves because he has never been on a team that has won a playoff game. While Trout puts up huge numbers and stat guys always tout his WAR, he won't get quite as much respect until he makes some noise in the postseason.
It's scary to think that Trout could be in store for one of his best seasons. This will be the first year that Trout will have Anthony Rendon and Shohei Ohtani together with him in the lineup for a full season. Opponents will not have a very tough decision to make when it comes to what to do with Trout. As long as Trout stays healthy, he should have no problems smashing 30 homers for the sixth time in his career.
Washington Nationals outfielder Juan SotoJohn McDonnell - Getty Images
Much like Acuna, Juan Soto is one of the young faces of baseball. Soto isn't even 23 yet, but he already has had an amazing start to a career that could eventually see him in the Hall of Fame. Soto was a driving force for a Nationals team that won the World Series in 2019, and now will look to cement himself as one of baseball's cornerstones for at least the next decade.
So far in three seasons (313 games), Soto finished second in the NL Rookie of the Year voting in 2018, crushed 34 home runs in 2019, and led baseball with a .351 average last year. The sky is the limit for Soto, who is only going to improve as he sees more time on the field. If you are in a keeper league, Soto is one of the first players you should be looking at taking if he is available.
It's hard to believe that we are entering Harper's 10 year in the majors. Sometimes we take how good Harper is for granted since he often makes hitting look effortless. While Philadelphia hasn't made the playoffs in Harper's first two seasons with the team, it isn't because of a lack of effort from Harper, who hit 48 home runs and drove in 147 runs in his 215 games with the Phillies.
You can count on Harper to hit at least 30 homers and drive in at least 90 runs for Philadelphia. Even though Harper has been in the league for a decade, he is still in the prime of his career. Even though there is plenty of tape out on Harper, he continues to evolve and improve his game to stay in the conversation as one of the best players in baseball.
The Rest of the Top 25
Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Christian YelichGene J. Puskar - Associated Press
After two straight seasons of hitting over .300, Yelich really struggled to find his swing last year, hitting just .205 and driving in 22 runs. Expect a bounce-back season from Yelich this year. He might not win a Silver Slugger award, but he at least puts himself back in the conversation after earning the honor three times in four years prior to last season.
Unfortunately we compiled these rankings before Jimenez was injured. The young Chicago outfielder will miss at least four months after suffering a pectoral injury. Even though you'll want to avoid him in single-season leagues, Jimenez still has plenty of value in keeper leagues.
New York Yankees outfielder Aaron JudgeKathy Willens - Associated Press
When he is healthy, Aaron Judge is one of the most dangerous hitters in the game. The staying healthy part is easier said than done for Judge, who has missed significant portions of the last three seasons after winning the AL Rookie of the Year award in 2017. If Judge is able to play at least 140 games, he'll likely be approaching 40 home runs and 100 RBIs.
Tampa Bay Rays outfielder Randy ArozarenaTony Gutierrez - Associated Press
Arozarena is one of the trickiest players in fantasy baseball to assess. While it may seem like a no-brainer to target Arozarena, we have only seen a small sample size of the outfielder in the majors. Even though Arozarena lit up any pitcher he faced in last year's playoffs, pitchers should be able to adjust as they see more tape on him. Plus, you never know what Kevin Cash is going to do with his lineup, which always makes Tampa players tough to gauge.
Castellanos made quite an impression last year in his first year in Cincinnati, helping the Reds make the playoffs. Unfortunately, there has been a lot of change in Cincinnati during the offseason, which will likely make it tough for the Reds to be playing in October this year. With Joey Votto getting older, Castellanos is looking like the best hitter in the Reds lineup this year.
A fantasy baseball "sleeper" this year could very well be Teoscar Hernandez. While Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Cavan Biggio, and Bo Bichette get the headlines in Toronto, an argument could be made that Hernandez was the Blue Jays' best hitter last year. After hitting 16 homers and driving in 34 runs in 50 games last year, it'll be interesting to see what Hernandez can do in a full season.
There hasn't been a lot to get excited about in Seattle in quite some time. Kyle Lewis is changing that. Last year's AL Rookie of the Year burst onto the scene and gave Mariners fans some hope. Now Lewis will have to build off the hype that he generated last year. A fair projection for Lewis in his sophomore year would be around 25 homers, 80 RBIs, and a .270 average.
Boston Red Sox outfielder Alex VerdugoMichael Dwyer - Associated Press
Verdugo's stats might not bowl anyone over yet, but we have to remember that the Red Sox outfielder is just 24. Verdugo was the best player Boston got from the Dodgers in the Mookie Betts trade, and Verdugo showed glimpses of what he can do, hitting .308 in his first season with the Red Sox. Now that he'll be able to see regular playing time, this could be a breakout season for Verdugo.
Joey Gallo is like one of those cartoonish sluggers from Ken Griffey Jr. Baseball. It's either all or nothing from Gallo, who has 120 home runs in 473 career games. If Gallo was able to make regular contact he'd be higher on this list, but the Texas slugger has hit over .210 in just one of his six seasons in the majors. Gallo is a great add if you are looking for homers, he just isn't going to get you much else.
Michael Brantley is one of the most professional hitters in baseball. In his 12 seasons in the majors, Brantley has hit below .280 in just three seasons, and has posted a .300 average in six seasons. Houston lost George Springer in free agency over the winter, so even more pressure will be on Brantley to produce this year.
Even though the Orioles are a dreadful team, there are a few bright spots in the lineup. Anthony Santander has put together a couple solid seasons for Baltimore, hitting 20 homers in 2019 in 93 games, and following that up with 11 home runs and 32 RBIs last year. Santander isn't a top-tier outfielder, but he could be a solid addition that could pay dividends if he continues to grow as a hitter.
Keep an eye on FindBet.com for the complete top-50 outfielder rankings