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Groovin’ with Govier: Fantasy Baseball Roundup (6/13)

MLB Fantasy



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 6PM 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 for questions you have for the following week’s action.


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 handle the weekly fantasy baseball news with care in search of the ultimate…a league championship! Now, just like Daniel Murphy proved this week, I need to keep grinding my way around the fantasy baseball realm to make it to the top!

Camden Crusher Gunnar Henderson Is Breaking Out!

Push It to the Limit

Yeah, I know the Elly De La Cruz hype has absolutely jumped the shark already, but I don’t care! This dude is so exciting to watch and even more enjoyable to roster in fantasy baseball. Every analyst or writer has to have their say. That’s how top of mind De La Cruz is right now. His talent and potential scream out for more mammoth dongs, around the diamond steals, shoot the gap extra-base hits, high-powered darts from his rocket fueled rotator cuff and next-level athleticism that will certainly lead to many robbed home runs in the near future. We are about to live through the summer of Elly De La Cruz 2023.

On top of that, his team is a lot of fun to watch right now. The Reds drubbed the Cardinals 8-4 Saturday in St. Louis (a sight I never tire of) while taking the weekend series outright. Matt McLain is not to be forgotten as he has hit safely in seven straight games and nine of 10 overall. The power is sure to come next as the summer swelters in the Queen City at arguably the most hitter-friendly ballpark in MLB. Jonathan India, Tyler Stephenson and Spencer Steer are all in the same boat as McLain going forward. Actually, it’s hard to find a Reds hitter who is not a player most fantasy managers would want in their lineup. Another factor when considering which Reds hitters to add relates to the NL Central being a gaping wound of a division. That National League territory is just waiting for a team to claim it, which is probably an unexpected surprise to Cincinnati’s front office. For the most part, I have no interest in Cincinnati pitchers outside of Alexis Díaz. Even the latest arrival Andrew Abbott was overpriced in FAAB this past weekend. That ballpark is a code red nightmare for starters going forward. I would not want to be in business with any of them unless they are pitching on the road. Abbott’s numbers look juicy at the moment, but in six weeks check back in with me. He will not be worth the price.

I Got Five on It

Coming into Monday, two teams playing in separate Western divisions had each put together a five-game winning streak: The Diamondbacks and the Athletics. The Dbacks are at the top of their division in the National League while the A’s are in the cellar in the AL version. Both divisions are competitive outside of the bottom feeder in each division (Rockies are the A’s counterpart), but the Dbacks are the leaders of the NL West pack as they are three games ahead of the perennially division-dominant Dodgers. 

The A’s swept the Brew Crew in Milwaukee over the weekend. Brent Rooker, just as I mentioned in this same article a week ago, is still showing to be the most productive power hitter in the Oakland lineup. When he gets in the lineup. He only played in the finale of the series after sitting out the first two games because I assume Oakland ownership just hates having anything hopeful happen to their franchise at all. Of course, when Rooker did play, he cranked a homer, his second of the week. Oakland is all about losing (they had a -194 run differential entering Monday night’s game against the Rays), but they also should be all about propping up talent like Rooker as trade deadline fodder. All of the remaining 1,057 Oakland fans should enjoy this hot streak. 

Corbin Carroll just took home NL Player of the Week honors as he stole three bags and clubbed three dongs, including two in one game last Friday at Comerica Park while also going 3-5 at the plate that night. Suddenly Carroll is now looking like a contender for the first overall pick in 2024 fantasy baseball drafts, as he is showing serious power to go along with his spellbinding speed and his excellent contact skills. I say suddenly because despite Carroll being a special talent with no concerns over prospect pedigree, his power stroke was the only question I had when it came to how his game would translate to MLB. If Carroll is an easy call for 30/30 with a .300 average, doesn’t Carroll slide right to the top of the fantasy charts with Ronald Acuña Jr.? Maybe, but it’s also worth noting we’re in a new era with the adjusted MLB rules for 2023. It’s not just because of the ease of stolen bases this year either. No, for Carroll’s status in 2024 I am more focused on the supposed return of the .300 hitter this year. Luis Arraez for example is getting a lot of love for his current flirtation with .400, which feels like something we haven’t experienced in forever! 

The seduction of the banned shift has created tickled pink pundits (definitely including me) who are cheering loudly for the anticipated and assumed return to the glory days of baseball when the batting champion was as exalted as any slugging home run champ in their day. We still need to see the data as the season plays out when it comes to the rise in batting average league wide (currently at .247, up from .243 during all of 2022). At the moment there are 19 hitters who have played in at least 45 games who are hitting .300 or better. Last year by June 20 (late start April 7) there were 20 players who met that same expectation. The end result was 11 players who ended up hitting .300 or better. The point of all this is that Carroll’s excellent 2023 batting average (as long as it stays that way) may be an even bigger boost to his 2024 value than we realize at the moment. Comparatively, Carroll projecting at .315 for example in 2024 may be even more tasty to fantasy managers in standard 5×5 roto leagues. It’s still early in June. I recognize that. Still, recency bias is a dangerous variable that every fantasy player is trying to avoid making decisions by. Let’s see how this scenario looks in mid-August. 



Sam Long, RP, Oakland Athletics

In the sweep of Milwaukee last weekend, Oakland pitcher Sam Long nailed down two saves. Formerly known as starter Sammy Long, Sam is now a castoff from the Giants who is still only 27 years old. I still think Lucas Erceg is the best arm in that bullpen, but Long may be in the mix right now. It’s also worth noting that Trevor May was ripped by the Brewers on Sunday after securing two saves in a row prior to Long’s back-to-back saves. 

Jorge Polanco, 2B, Minnesota Twins

Jorge Polanco is a talented middle infielder who can be an excellent asset in fantasy baseball. The problem is he has consistent challenges with his legs. Knee and soft tissue issues related to his hamstrings are ruining his otherwise stellar output this year. This hamstring issue is definitely worse than the last one because it’s coming after the previous one which tells me all I need to know. The good news is that Edouard Julien is back on the active roster for Minnesota. I expect he will stick around much longer than his previous stints. Julien is an excellent dynasty piece to have, but he will also show his redraft value in 14-teamers and deeper going forward.

Dairon Blanco, OF, Kansas City Royals

Dairon Blanco had a brief five-game showing in 2022 before being sent back to AAA Omaha. He was even removed from the 40-man roster for a time. This year though Blanco has been putting on a clinic at AAA, doing everything a hitter can do except crank bombs over the fence. Despite his paltry three dongs, he has stolen 47 bags in 53 tries for Omaha. Dude has mega speed! If he gets to play regularly, he will definitely provide steals in this running environment. 

Matt Manning, SP, Detroit Tigers

Detroit will soon have one of its core rotation members back when Matt Manning returns to the club after his rehab at Toledo. Manning pitched 1.2 innings Sunday in his rehab outing. Manning definitely has a few more starts to go before he returns. Barring setbacks, Manning should be on the active MLB roster by the end of June or first week of July. 

Ryan Helsley, RP, St. Louis Cardinals

What so far has been a disappointing season for the Cardinals closer has now turned into a possible nightmare as the flame thrower has been placed on the IL with forearm tightness. He will be shut down for about a week at least to see if he improves. Ryan Helsley looked unhittable at points in 2022, but this year he never got on track. He could end up being fine, but as someone who drafted Helsley with the highest of hopes, I am not optimistic about his output for the rest of the way during 2023.

Cody Morris, SP/RP, Cleveland Guardians

Look who’s back? Cody Morris showed he was ready to rock after his teres major strain caused him to miss the first two months of the season. Cleveland just demoted James Karinchak to the minors, meaning Morris could be of use as a pitcher in their bullpen who could secure holds. Normally a starter, Morris could carve out a role for himself despite a loaded rotation with players like Gavin Williams waiting in the wings who is still ahead of Morris in the hierarchy. 

Corey Julks, OF, Houston Astros

Houston has lost Yordan Alvarez to the IL with an oblique injury that has no clear timetable yet for a return. Enter Corey Julks. He’s been running the basepaths well lately with two swipes last Saturday and four over the last week. With Yordan out of the picture for now, Julks will see more playing time who can also swing a stick. Add Julks in 14-teamers and deeper if he’s available. 

Bryan Woo, SP, Seattle Mariners

Don’t get caught up in bad debut outings for rookie pitchers. Bryan Woo was ripped by the Rangers in his debut, but he showed what he’s all about last weekend against the Angels by striking out 7 over 4.2 IP. Fellow rookie Bryce Miller has been looking rough lately, but he stopped the bleeding for himself with a solid start Monday against Miami. Woo isn’t going anywhere though. He has a tasty matchup against the White Sox this week. 

Nolan Jones, OF, Colorado Rockies

Veteran Charlie Blackmon is on the shelf with a broken right hand. Enter Nolan Jones. Dude has already been ripping the ball as of late and now he has a clear path to crush the baseball at will. Jones was a Cleveland prospect who was shipped out last winter to the Rockies. There is a history here with his ability. Jones and Coors should be a dream matchup as the summer heats up. Even in 12-teamers, Jones is a player to consider adding. 

Liam Hendriks, RP, Chicago White Sox

Liam Hendriks Chicago White Sox Fantasy Baseball Groovin' with Govier

It’s a real bummer to see a guy bust his ass to come back from cancer only to see him hit the IL with a possible flexor strain. The silver lining is that Liam Hendriks is alive and well despite his misfortune. White Sox GM Rick Hahn says this appears to be similar to last year’s flexor strain that caused Hendriks to miss a month. If that’s the case this isn’t that bad for Hendriks’ 2023 outlook. For now, Kendall Graveman should be the reliever to add for possible saves even though he blew a save Sunday against Miami. 

Emmanuel Rivera, 3B, Arizona Diamondbacks

I have always admired Emmanuel Rivera’s stick. Dude can straight hit. He showed that in flashes while with Kansas City. This year he’s in Arizona and right now he is on a heater. Josh Rojas still hasn’t hit a homer this year and is losing playing time to Rivera because he flat out stinks. Rivera went 2-4 Monday night with 2 runs and 2 RBIs. He’s had five multi-hit games over his last eight. Pick this dude up now for corner infield support. 

Trevor Richards, RP, Toronto Blue Jays

People have been clamoring over Trevor Richards because he had 7 K’s over 3 IP last Saturday in a 9-4 loss against the Twins. Richards has always had a stellar changeup that fools hitters, but any talk of him becoming a starter is a dangerous game to play. Richards is best in smaller doses. I would be shocked if he became a reliable starting option for Toronto. 

Harrison Bader, OF, New York Yankees

Harrison Bader is knocking on the door for a return from the IL. He’s been running, hitting and throwing without issue. If he needs a rehab assignment, that will delay any immediate return. Whenever he returns, the question has to be about Bader’s ability to stay on the field. The 29-year-old played in 103 games in 2021, his most since playing in 128 in 2019. When healthy, Bader’s profile is tantalizing from a fantasy perspective especially with Yankee Stadium as his home park.

Carson Kelly, C, Arizona Diamondbacks

Arizona is really good this year and now they bring Carson Kelly back into the fold. Watch out MLB! He went 0-3 in his 2023 debut Monday night at home against Philly. Gabriel Moreno is hitting .280 without much power this year. Now that Arizona is serious about winning, Kelly could become more of a factor in the lineup going forward because he is a solid veteran presence. Of course, we all know he will get injured right when things are going well for him. 

Tommy Pham, OF, New York Mets

It’s that time again! Some hitters shine brightly for longer periods of time than others. Tommy Pham has his runs where he can contribute to every hitter category across all types of fantasy baseball leagues. With Pete Alonso out, Mark Canha is playing 1B more, allowing Pham to play regularly in the OF. The Mets are not in a position to be picky either. They need offensive output right now. Pham is obliging them. The only bummer is that the Mets have two off-days this week. 

Nick Solak, 2B, Detroit Tigers

It seems like my bozo Tigers are trying anything they can to improve their weak stable of hitting options across the organization (no disrespect to my guy Justyn-Henry Malloy at Toledo, who is the absolute hitting crown jewel of the organization). Nick Solak has had a similar experience this year to the currently scorching Gary Sánchez as both hitters have been claimed and let go by multiple teams this season. Solak made one appearance before being demoted to AAA for the returning Matt Vierling. That’s about it here.

Nate Pearson, RP, Toronto Blue Jays

A quick mention for the former phenom Nate Pearson, who is now happily back in MLB as a solid RP. Pearson got the W Sunday over Minnesota striking out three batters over 2 scoreless innings. Pearson may not be the stunning starter we hoped he would be, but being a dominant reliever is still a lovely consolation prize. Good to have him back.

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