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Ben Rosener's Fantasy Baseball Beat: Jurickson Profar And Paul Blackburn News Updates

paul blackburn fantasy baseball rankings draft sleepers starting pitchers waiver wire

The offseason is officially no more, but Spring training is here, and with it comes the daily influx of baseball news that fantasy managers have missed in the last few months. Lineup news, actual games happening, constant waiver wire moves, pitching assignments, and bullpen usage.

Baseball is back and so too is fantasy baseball, with drafts either starting in the near or not-too-near future for many. This column aims to cover any and all fantasy baseball news, big or small, and how it pertains to your fantasy team. Spring training or the regular season, it's covered here.

Has a player who’s usually been hitting in the middle of a lineup suddenly batting eighth or ninth for an extended period? The fantasy implications will be covered here. The same goes for injuries and injured placements and whether or not you should consider picking up a player who was recently called up. Basically, any kernel of fantasy news and its relevance to fantasy managers could be covered here. Today, the news of the day is the fantasy impact of the Rockies reportedly having an interest in Jurickson Profar and Paul Blackburn's reported fingernail injury.

Editor's Note: Our incredible team of writers received 13 award nominations by the Fantasy Sports Writers Association including Baseball Writer of the Year, Football Writers of the Year, Golf Writer of the Year and many more! Be sure to follow their analysis, rankings and advice all year long, and win big with RotoBaller! Read More!


(Potential) Fantasy Baseball Impact Of The Rockies Reportedly Being Interested In Jurickson Profar

The Colorado Rockies are reportedly interested in free agent outfielder Jurickson Profar, per a tweet from The Denver Post’s Patrick Saunders on March 10. Saunders tweeted the following:

Profar spent the last three seasons with Colorado's divisional rivals in San Diego. Most recently, he hit .243 with a .331 on-base percentage, 15 home runs, and five stolen bases in 658 plate appearances for the Padres.

As of now, Colorado is dealing with respective reported injuries to outfielders Sean Bouchard and Randal Grichuk. Per a tweet from MLB.com's Thomas Harding on March 9, Bouchard has a "left distal biceps rupture." Harding tweeted the following:

According to an article from Harding on Tuesday, Grichuk will reportedly miss time as well. Harding wrote the following in the article:

"Grichuk said on Tuesday that he underwent surgery for a bilateral sports hernia a week ago. Grichuk said if all goes well with his rehab, he should be ready for game action in six weeks, but it will likely delay the start to his regular season."

The fit with Profar and Colorado on paper certainly makes sense from an actual baseball standpoint. It isn't quite as ideal of a potential pairing from a fantasy standpoint, however. That being said, Profar's ability to make plenty of contact certainly wouldn't be a bad thing on a Rockies team that plays half of their games at Coors Field.

Last season, the veteran finished with just a 15.7% strikeout rate and a whiff rate that checked in at 18.7%. Both metrics ranked in the 79th percentile or better league-wide. Profar has also topped an 11% walk rate in each of the last two seasons, giving him a solid floor in leagues where the on-base percentage is part of the scoring.

The now former Padre might not be the 20-home run threat he was earlier in his career, especially if he repeats his 2022 barrel rate (4.0%), but if he signs with the Rockies, he could see his RBI (58) and runs scored (82) totals rise with a regular role in Colorado.


Fantasy Baseball Impact Of Paul Blackburn's Reported Fingernail Injury

Staying out West, we switch briefly to the American League West. More specifically, we're switching to the Oakland A's, a team that's dealing with a reported injury to arguably their best starting pitcher.

The San Francisco Chronicle's Matt Kawahara tweeted the following on Tuesday:

Blackburn was solid for Oakland last season, logging a 4.28 ERA and a 4.21 FIP in 111.1 innings of work while adding 89 strikeouts compared to 30 walks and 15 home runs allowed. Rather surprisingly, Blackburn thrived away from the spacious Oakland Coliseum but struggled at home.

Paul Blackburn's 2022 Home vs. Road Splits

  • Paul Blackburn At Home: 39 IP, 8.31 ERA, 8.08 K/9, 2.31 BB/9, 1.62 WHIP, FIP, wOBA, .358 BABIP
  • Paul Blackburn On The Road: 72.1 IP, 2.12 ERA, 6.72 K/9, 2.49 BB/9, 1.06 WHIP, 3.57 FIP, wOBA, .249 BABIP

However, with the injury now, the A's and fantasy managers might have to look elsewhere early in the season. Oakland doesn't have the most fantasy-friendly opening slate of games where streaming candidates are concerned. First up is three games against a much-improved Angels lineup that will welcome back Mike Trout and Anthony Rendon, as well as offseason additions Gio Urshela, Hunter Renfroe, and Brandon Drury.

Following the Angels series, the A's will have to deal with the Guardians for three games. Cleveland added Josh Bell and Mike Zunino in the offseason to their position player core. Bell (.349 xwOBA) in particular seems likely to feature in the top half of Terry Francona's lineup alongside Steven Kwan, Jose Ramirez, and Andres Gimenez.

After those three matchups, it's a successive series against the Rays, Orioles, and Mets.

So in short, not ideal.

Elsewhere, the A's don't have a ton of experienced rotation depth, with Kyle Muller, JP Sears, Ken Waldichuk, and Adrian Martinez the most likely candidates, at least speculatively speaking, to step in should Blackburn miss any starts.

Muller has had the most success of the group in the Majors, most notably logging a 4.17 ERA and a 3.66 FIP in 36.2 innings spanning nine appearances (including eight starts) for Atlanta during the 2021 campaign. However, the left-hander also struggled in a brief stint in the Majors last season, allowing 13 hits, 11 earned runs, eight walks, and a pair of home runs in 12.1 innings for the National League East club.

Ultimately, given the early-season matchups, fantasy managers are probably best off looking elsewhere for streaming options to replace Blackburn should he miss time.

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