Road Trip Week 6

Road trip week 6

Injuries are starting to pile up to a ridiculous degree. Hard cuts are going to need to be made and spots are going to need to be filled. That’s why we are, once again, here to help you with those decisions. There are still a lot of guys who are underperforming that you should wait on, but we are getting very close to the point in time in which you are going to have to accept that it is what it is, move on. But for the yellow lights this week, today is not that day. So buckle up because we aren’t even close to being done. 

Green lights

Trevor Larnach: 

If you listened to us this offseason, you knew that prospects with great names make great players. Our case in point is Trevor Larnach. He just got the call to Minnesota to fill in for the oft injured Byron Buxton and the freshly injured Alex Kiriloff. It’s not a lock that he is up for good but with two holes in the outfield and no timeline on either injury, he could be up for a significant amount of time which would allow him a chance to earn a spot with his ridiculous power and godly plate discipline. This could be a league winning add. -CB

Trevor Larnach: A name so nice, you gotta read about it twice. When I think about the ceiling and floor for what Larnach will be, the answer is the same: At my wedding. He’s an incredible guy, with an incredible name, and incredible hitting skills. He might not stick now, and that’s ok, but he should be juiced until Kirilloff and/or Buxton come back, and safely in the stash zone for keeper leagues. -MR

Andrew Benintendi: 

Benny Biceps is a lot of things: A world champion, beautiful, and somehow from Arkansas. It is still up for debate if “good at baseball” is on that list, but so far, since finding a new home in Kansas City, Benintendi has been nothing but productive. His strikeout (20%) and walk (8.9%) rates look like his 2019 rates, which were serviceable, are becoming more in line with his 2018 rates of 16% and 10.7%, respectively. It’s not really a stats thing, but Benintendi is only 26 years old, and has now been in a locker room with three of the best hitters of the last decade in Big Papi, JD Martinez, and now Whit Merrifeild. While he almost certainly picked up things from the first two, Whit is what Benny truthers always thought he could become, and if he can pick up a few things from Ol’ 2-hit Whit, then we may finally see everything come together for the former first rounder. Until then, just ride him as he trends towards his 2018 (121 WRC+) self. -MR

Avasail Garcia: 

Avasail is so boring. He doesn’t hit bombs and he doesn’t steal bases. He just makes high quality contact. I had really come to appreciate this about him entering the 2020 season, where of course he fell apart and was less than useless. This of course threw me off the scent to such an extent that I wasn’t even looking at his numbers this season. Well turns out he is who we thought he was in 2019 when he was an A+ roster stuffer. Grab Garcia and just let him cook. He will never be your best player, but will always be better than your worst. -CB

Yellow Lights

Matt Chapman 

           For the past few years, you have been able to set your watch to Matt Chapman’s play in Oakland. He’s an elite glove, and has never turned in a WRC+ lower than 117, with a career average of 125 WRC+. The issue is that that low point came last year, when Chapman injured his hip and played through it until he required season ending surgery. He hit just .120 in the 2nd half last year. 35 games into 2021 and Chappy still looks off. He is taking walks again, but his strikeout rate mirrors his 2020 career high of 35%, which is 10 points higher than his career average. His batting average is also at a career low of .195. His isolated power, a calling card of Chapman’s, is also at a career low of .186. He’s striking out a lot, and when he does get hits, there isn’t a lot of pop behind them. He has managed to keep the boat afloat, turning in a 101 WRC+ for the season so far, and I personally think he will get right as the season goes on and he gets more healthy, but he is worth fantasy manager’s attention for the next week or so. -MR

Cavan Biggio

         Biggio is an enigma. He has shown flashes of being a 20-20 lock over a full season, swings at everything, but only strikes out at an average rate, and takes walks like a veteran. As the third wheel of the Blue Jays pedigree tricycle, Biggio has been showing people he has potential to be a lead dog all on his own, but thinks looks a little off this year. His strikeout rate is at a career high 29.5%, and his isolated power is only .129, also a career low. All is not lost for Biggio though, he has a career low .293 BABIP, and his contact profile looks very similar to that of his previous, productive seasons. He’s young and pressing, but give him a little more time to have some balls drop and stabilize that BABIP, and the rest should fall in place. -MR

Brandon Lowe: 

Lowe has been a full time member of the Rays since 2019 and he has been a revelation. He hits for power with a decent 270ish average with good enough plate discipline. At least he had until the 2021 season. Now he is batting .186 with .354 SLG. As you know, those of us in the biz refer to that as really bad. There are signs that he can turn this around though. The primary of those being that his BABIP is 80 points lower than his career average. He is worth watching though, because his power numbers are surprisingly low and if that doesn’t rise when his batting average inevitably does, then we may have a problem. -CB

Red Lights

Gary Sanchez: 

Gary Sanchez’s 162 game average has him hitting 43 bombs. That’s insane! He has so much power! Best catcher ever or greatest catcher ever? Wait, he is a terrible defensive catcher? Who cares? He is a wizard with the bat! His batting average since the beginning of the 2018 season is .199? That’s not good, but when you have power like that the numbers will be there at the end of the season! He hasn’t played in 110+ games since 2017? Uh, yeah you do need to play in games. The power makes up for that though! He hasn’t had a SLG over 365 since 2019? Yeah I think I’m going to drop him. -CB 

Luis Robert:

I wasn’t in on Robert this offseason and the book is still out on how good he is going to be, but unfortunately that is a book that will have to be written next season. Robert is out for 3 to 4 months and that means he won’t be seeing a field until at least August and September. It doesn’t matter how high his ceiling is. In a redraft league you can’t afford to burn a roster spot all season for a guy who might be back in time for the fantasy playoffs. -CB

Triston McKenzie

        Baseball oldheads have been complaining about three-outcome batting for a few years now, but nobody thought about three-outcome pitching. Triston McKenzie is that, personified. Over 6 appearances this year, McKenzie has turned in a stellar 12.9 K/9, an obscene 8.3 BB/9, and an astronomical 1.9 HR/9. If Mckenzie is pitching, the seven guys behind him can crack a beer and chat with fans. While that K rate is awesome, the walks and bombs have led to a 4.9 ERA and a 1.61 WHIP.  I still think Triston Mckenzie can be the next very good Indians pitcher, but it might take a little while. -MR