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Groovin’ with Govier: Fantasy Baseball Roundup (5/23)

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Michael Govier

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Get into the groove as I take you on a stadium tour across the fantasy baseball realm! It is my hope that you will find this article both entertaining and informative. Don’t forget about our stellar season-long fantasy baseball coverage at FTN Fantasy. Save a couple bones with my promo code MJGOVIER when you sign up so you can get access to outstanding pieces like Matty Davis’ Weekly Hitter Planner. Also, I’ve started a weekly video complement to this article. Each week a new episode will be live at 6 p.m. ET every Saturday on the FTN Network YouTube channel. Take advantage of the live chat in real-time to ask questions related to this week’s article or any other fantasy baseball point of reference. 

 

It is my ultimate goal for you to absorb and apply winning fantasy baseball wisdom from each edition of Groovin’ with Govier. It’s similar to when Neo was offered the blue or the red pill. If you continue reading this, you take the plunge to find out how far my fantasy baseball analysis can take you. Every Tuesday we sail the seas of cheese in pursuit of the ultimate…a league championship! Now it’s time for me to match the intensity that Christopher Morel has shown over the last seven days. 

Christopher Morel Has Mastered the Game Of Baseball

Is It Me You’re Looking For?

The Mariners are getting a major lift from 26-year-old rookie middle infielder Jose Caballero! Where did this dude come from? Caballero was brought into the fold back in 2019 when the Mariners sent serviceable starter Mike Leake to the Diamondbacks to help Arizona shore up their rotation for a playoff push. So Caballero is likely familiar to most Mariner fans. This dude is definitely taking advantage of the moment. That moment happens to coincide with Seattle pleading for consistent offense from their bats. With 3 steals and a dong Sunday, followed up by another dong with 3-RBI Monday, Caballero is not only making his moment into something special, he’s giving Seattle a reason to play him over the absolute nightmare that unfortunately is Kolten Wong. What happened to Wong? Sure, he hasn’t quite ever figured out left-handed pitching, but that line is as long as any line for a bad-ass roller coaster in the dead of summer at Cedar Point. Wong has 3 XBH all season while connecting on 1 barrel in 75 BBE. The Mariners don’t have time for that right now. 

Caballero has an unimpressive minor league track record outside of his base thievery. The power seems fluky for sure, but he also is showing an ability to make plays when he knows he could be sent back down again if he doesn’t perform. His current play shows resolve. Caballero appears to have made the effort to be in the moment, not look beyond what’s in front of him and create an opportunity for himself despite little room for error. Mariner’s manager Scott Servais is stoked because Caballero could help Servais keep his job. Servais mentioned that Caballero said: 

All the little things that I do get noticed here at the big-league level — stealing bases, turning a double play, just getting on base and doing the little things. Oftentimes you get overlooked as you are trying to climb your way through the minor league ladder when you maybe you don’t put up gaudy numbers.” 

That’s an observation that makes a lot of sense to me. Especially in today’s prospect analysis realm which is going deeper than ever before with analysis on players as young as 16. Only a player like Caballero who has been grinding it out daily like Knish in Rounders could have the understanding he expressed about the little things being overlooked. Sure, at the high end of professional sports the less flashy or memorable things do gain less attention. 

Caballero will stall out eventually. We all know that day will come. Plus Dylan Moore’s rehab from an oblique injury is going smoothly as he ramps up his rehab next at AAA Tacoma. It’s looking more likely that Moore will return to the Emerald City during the Mariners’ current 10-game homestand. Dylan Moore whiffs with the best of them, but he can provide power and pop. Also, the cherry on top here is that Moore also has a small contract extension for three years at nearly nine million bucks. Seattle will definitely use Moore when he’s ready. As for Wong, who the hell knows. Only god knows why at this point. What is clear is that Caballero has usurped Wong at 2B with everyday playing time. I expect Wong to factor into this season at some point before the final curtain goes down on 2023. For now, ride Caballero as long as possible until the league finally adjusts to his strengths by starting to exploit his weaknesses. The adversity plus the passion Caballero plays with makes me want to be a better man. Yet, over the course of the season I don’t see Caballero as a breakout who provides consistent output. I love his attitude and can-do spirit, but fantasy baseball is about winning titles which also means it’s about winning cash. We can’t play favorites when it comes to bankrolls. 

Started from the Bottom Now We’re Here

This article was written Monday evening, May 22. As of that moment, there are six players with at least 100 AB who are yet to crush a dong. Homers are not everything, but they certainly are not nothing either. Two of these players, Jean Segura and José Abreu, were featured here last week on the list of the worst qualified hitters in wRC+. With Abreu, it’s not a question of if, but a question of when. With 243 career yambos, the question is how many taters can Abreu provide ROS to fantasy managers? Last week’s FTN Fantasy Baseball Pod featured guest analysts Eric Samulski and Sammy Reid with an excellent segment on why Abreu has been struggling. Definitely worth a listen. Segura actually rocked 20 homers back in 2016 when he also stole 33 bases! Those days are over, but I expect Segura to get his first dong this week during Miam’s four game series at Coors

The other four players who fit this profile are Josh Rojas, Christian Vázquez, Myles Straw and Donovan Solano. Straw and Solano are like dogs who catch cars: They wouldn’t know what to do with it if they caught one. Vazquez will run into a couple on occasion as he struggles to break the double-digit mark. Rojas is the guy I would hope to see more power from. He has 12 doubles on the year, but his HHR has sunk 8% from 2022 with a 5% reduction in his FB rate. Once upon a time Rojas inspired me to hope for more out of his bat when he cranked three homers in one game at Wrigley Field. That time was actually only a year ago, May 20, 2022. I’ve been chasing that magical day ever since, but it has only led to heartache. Try as I might, I can’t find anything meaningful in his profile to offer a glimmer of hope that the power in his bat will be activated. Like any big-leaguer though, Rojas will run into one soon. In fact, if any fantasy managers are looking for kicks to pass the time at work, a pool to predict when Rojas will run into his first yambo this year could really boost morale on the job! 

Too Many Cooks

This is a public service announcement. It is my hope that others will not suffer the same fate that I have resigned myself to this year. I am trying to help others avoid the pitfalls of my inability to maintain order within my own house. If I can help one fantasy manager, then hopefully I can prevent this from becoming: “I learned it by watching you!” situation. I am in 19 FAAB leagues with varying sizes, formats and platforms! All I ever wanted to do was provide quality, honest fantasy baseball analysis. In my attempt to make that a reality, I have made genuine connections with a lot of other fantasy baseball managers just like me. These people play in leagues of course and those leagues they play in lose managers from time to time. Here’s where I come in. I get asked by these awesome people I meet to join a league or replace a manager who went AWOL. Just say no was a bogus plan in the 1980’s and it turns out it’s a bogus plan for avoiding fantasy leagues as well. I need a quality control department to protect me from myself. I’m handling my fantasy baseball workload like the guys at Enron or Worldcom did. Someone needs to save me from myself! Take it from me. Don’t be a fantasy baseball butthead

 

Screenshots

Luis Urías, 3B/SS, Milwaukee Brewers

The Brew crew are preparing to send Luis Urías out on a rehab assignment this week so he can prepare for his return from a hamstring injury that happened on opening day. Urias has been on the 60-day IL and is first eligible to return Wednesday, May 31, a week before his 26th birthday. I wonder if there are others out there who pinch themselves when they realize Urias is still 25? Urias may be pinching himself when he returns because there are plenty of options for Craig Counsell to work with. Brice Turang hasn’t faltered completely as a rookie. Former Guardian Owen Miller is ascending on the waves of a torrid hot streak and even Mike Brosseau has veteran savvy. If Urias hits though, he’ll play. Milwaukee needs offensive production as they are bottom eight in wRC+ and bottom nine in batting average. 

Michael Brantley, OF, Houston Astros

Michael Brantley Fantasy Baseball Groovin' with Govier

There is a lack of excitement surrounding the prospects of Michael Brantley right now. He is traveling with the team after being shut down May 12 with further inflammation in his surgically repaired right shoulder. Houston’s Dusty Baker has no update on when Brantley will start hitting again. Injury timetables can be misleading or overly cautious as we saw with Bryce Harper and Jose Altuve. However, Brantley’s situation doesn’t inspire confidence. Plus he’s 36 years old. Fantasy managers will always be on the hunt for production, but look elsewhere than Brantley. 

Bobby Miller, SP, Los Angeles Dodgers

The Dodgers’ highly touted pitcher will make his debut Tuesday against Atlanta. Bobby Miller is the third Miller who is a top pitching prospect to make his debut this season. Miller’s numbers so far at AAA do not inspire confidence, so starting Miller will require a leap of faith that the Dodgers know what they are doing. They usually do, but I think it’s best to sit Miller to see what he can do first. If he pitches well, that’s great news! If he doesn’t pitch well against the Braves, then there is nothing lost. I know this logic is a bit wonky, but it works for me. Miller should be added in 14-teamers and deeper if he hasn’t yet already. 

Tyler Glasnow, SP, Tampa Bay Rays

All signs are pointing toward Tyler Glasnow making his season debut Saturday over Memorial Day weekend against the Dodgers, who beat the Rays in the 2020 bozo season World Series and could very well face off again in this year’s championship. Glasnow is a veteran on the Ray’s pitching staff now, but he still only has one season where he pitched over 100 innings. I am very skeptical of what Glasnow can provide over the rest of this season. 

Jonathan Davis, OF, Miami Marlins

My bozo Tigers made a trade with the Marlins, shipping the expendable Jonathan Davis down to Miami in return for a younger 23-year-old OF named Brady Allen. Allen is only a dynasty spec right now as he is in High-A ball. This move appears to be mostly for depth since the Marlins IL currently features outfielders Jesús Sánchez, Jazz Chisholm Jr. and Avisaíl García. Jonathan Davis is quad-A all the way. He can steal bases. That’s about it. I really only wrote this blurb because trades don’t happen every day, and I wanted to take advantage of the opportunity. 

Jesse Scholtens, SP, Chicago White Sox

Mike Clevinger has wrist inflammation, so Jesse Scholtens is back in business with the Pale Hose. Monday, Scholtens pitched 5 innings after following an opener. He gave up an earned run, 2 BB, 2 hits and 1 K against the Guardians in a 3-0 defeat. Clevinger feels good about returning to action after a minimum stay on the 15-day IL. Scholtens will get one, maybe two more starts before Clevinger returns. Pure streamer material here. At best. 

Aaron Civale/Triston McKenzie, SP, Cleveland Guardians

Aaron Civale Fantasy Baseball Groovin' with Govier

Both Cleveland hurlers have thrown rehab outings and will do so again this week. Both pitchers are at AAA Columbus right now with Aaron Civale expected to start Tuesday and Triston McKenzie Thursday.  McKenzie is eligible to return May 29, right in line with his schedule to pitch Thursday. Civale is on the 15-day IL, so he could be activated at any time. No matter when they return, both pitchers will likely return to the rotation with McKenzie having stronger job security than Civale. 

Brendan Rodgers, 2B, Colorado Rockies

I am going to keep harping on this: Injury timelines in MLB are overly cautious and players can return weeks or sometimes even months ahead of schedule. Brendan Rodgers was feared to be lost for the season when he hurt his left shoulder and had to have surgery in spring training. Right now the Rockies are garbo, and by season’s end they will still be garbo. But if you’re thinking about your playoffs already in H2H, then that’s a format where a Rodgers IL stash could make sense. Most everybody else will wait to see if he returns by August or early September. 

Mickey Moniak, OF, Los Angeles Angels

A former No. 1 overall MLB draft pick is creating some buzz out west for the Angels! Mickey Moniak is taking playing time away from Taylor Ward. Moniak is hitting leadoff in front of Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani. This is a great opportunity to play in. If Moniak can continue to raise his game going forward, manager Phil Nevin and company will not hesitate to use Moniak. Right now that trade for Noah Syndergaard is looking mighty fine. Moniak is creeping into 12-teamer territory right now. The only hesitation is that he still is fighting to play every day. 

Patrick Bailey, C, San Francisco Giants

Patrick Bailey was a first-round pick in the 2020 MLB Draft for the Giants. He was called up last Friday when Joey Bart hit the IL. I assumed Blake Sabol would do the bulk of the catching because his bat has more to offer, but Bailey has come right in and made an impact. Bailey has started the last three games at catcher. He cranked his first career bomb Sunday and has not looked lost at the plate. I want to see another week, but Bailey could become a problem for those rostering Blake Sabol.  

Jorge Mateo, SS, Baltimore Orioles

Poor Jorge Mateo. He has 3 hits (all singles) in his last 36 AB, plus he hasn’t hit a home run since April 30. The Orioles are the real deal! They are absolutely playoff contenders. I say this to remind fantasy managers who are rostering Mateo that if he continues to struggle, there are other options at Baltimore’s disposal. Their depth with position players is a tremendous strength. Mateo is not about to be optioned or anything, but he certainly doesn’t have the leash he once had when he first came to Baltimore in 2021. 

Eric Lauer, SP, Milwaukee Brewers

Eric Lauer has hit the IL with a right shoulder impingement which is not his throwing side. Lauer has been a bust this year, with the lone bright spot being 41 K’s in 42 IP (I really had to stretch). I have been way too loyal to Lauer this year and I have paid the price for it in many of my leagues. He’s an afterthought for now unless you have an IL spot to burn on your roster. I still hold out hope for him to finish this season strong, but it’s unclear at this moment when he will return. Tyson Miller, who previously pitched three times in relief earlier this month for the Brewers, was called up to fill out the roster. I wish Ethan Small would get another shot in the rotation, but apparently he’s happy pitching well enough at AAA. 

Clint Frazier, OF, Chicago White Sox

Welp, look who’s back? Another year, another opportunity for Clint Frazier. I noticed he was crushing at AAA recently when I was reviewing the hot hitters at AAA who might get a call soon in one of my previous articles. The story here is he is a talented player with power who strikes out near 30%. However, he also has never had a full season in MLB to show what he can do. Frazier’s injury history has included struggles with vertigo and concussions, which are no joke. The White Sox do present an opportunity for him to shine though. Keep an eye out. He may become viable in 14-teamers and deeper. 

Dinelson Lamet, SP, Colorado Rockies

Dinelson Lamet once showed promise, but now is just another “could have been” who is working at AAA for Colorado to possibly fill a role in the Rockies rotation which littered with injuries and poor performance. Lamet got hearts racing though when he pitched four shutout innings with four K’s last Saturday. This is going to happen whether it work or not. The only matter of relevance here is whether Lamet can be a starter who can go at least 5 IP on the road. If that becomes a reality, Lament will at least be a streamer candidate. There’s a lot that could go wrong here, but this is worth monitoring. 

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