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Fantasy Baseball Players To Watch For The Week Ahead (June 17 - June 23)

Austin Riley - Fantasy Baseball Rankings, Draft Values, MLB News

We're through another week of baseball, so rejoice in those victories and lament those losses for a moment; learn from what was successful and from what did not work, then let's get prepared for the week ahead. There are lots of articles out there outlining waiver wire adds, two-start pitchers, players to stash, and more, but this one aims to isolate certain players that I'm watching, for one reason or another, to help you get ready for the week ahead.

For those keeping track of some of last week's topics, Dansby Swanson went ice-cold (again), Garrett Crochet was electric (again), and Drew Thorpe's debut went well (his second start, not so much).

Taking a look ahead to this week's action, we'll touch on some intriguing hitters below, both for DFS and season-long leagues. There are also some enticing pitching matchups this week, pitchers that have regression in their future, and more. I've got my eye on these guys, and perhaps you should too.

Be sure to check all of our fantasy baseball lineup tools and weekly lineup resources:

 

Players to Watch: Hitters

Bryan Reynolds

What I'm watching: Hit streak

After an 0-for-4 day at the plate on Sunday, Alex Bregman's 16-game hit streak came to an end, leaving Bryan Reynolds as the league's new leader. Reynolds extended his hit streak to 14 games after going 1-for-4 on Sunday. During Reynolds' streak, the switch-hitter is 20-for-59 (.339) with five doubles, a triple, and two home runs. He now owns a .268-9-38-27-5 line with a .336 wOBA and 117 wRC+ on the season and, as anticipated, has been a solid multi-category contributor.

Austin Riley

What I'm watching: Does he keep rolling this week?

Austin Riley's season thus far has been somewhat of a disappointment, especially for fantasy managers who drafted him for power and run production. While he's underwhelmed, it also isn't out of the ordinary. For his career, the two-time All-Star has a .252 BA in June and September, the lowest of any month. However, July and August are his best, hitting .292 in those months. On Sunday, Riley belted his sixth home run of the season, with one coming in each of the last three games. So, it appears he's heating up at the right time. Riley could be a buy-low candidate if you find a disenchanted manager to trade with.

Carlos Correa and Steven Kwan

What I'm watching: Is there anyone hotter right now?

I won't harp on Steven Kwan much, I already broke him down in my "Breakout Watch" article this past Friday. What has he done since then? Only gone 8-for-13 (.615). Incredible run the 26-year-old is on over an 11-game hit streak, second-longest behind only the aforementioned Bryan Reynolds, in which he's gone 23-for-43 (.535).

Carlos Correa is a bit more of a surprise. After coming off a down year last season where he slashed .230/.312/.399 with a .309 wOBA and 96 wRC+, Correa is proving he can still produce. And lately, he's on fire, hitting safely in nine of his last 10 games. Over that stretch the 29-year-old has gone 21-for-42 (.500) with two home runs, 10 RBI, 10 runs scored, and nearly as many walks (4) as strikeouts (5). On the season, the 2x All-Star owns a .298/.364/.476 slashline with a .361 wOBA and 137 wRC+.

 

Key Matchups: Hitters

These hitters caught my eye when looking over batter vs. pitcher matchups, and I kept rolling with the table format below as it seemed easier on the eyes. Most of these guys are already rostered in a majority of leagues, so you aren't running out to snag them off the waiver wire, but they could be targets for your DFS lineups. While sometimes there isn't enough matchup history worth looking at, there is frequency with these, and with frequency comes familiarity. These pitchers likely don't have any more tricks up their sleeves versus these batters.

 

Players to Watch: Starting Pitchers

Bryan Woo

What I'm watching: Will he pick up where he left off?

Bryan Woo was a bit of a sleeper pick in fantasy drafts, but then missed the first several weeks of the season, throwing cold water on some excitement that had built up. He came off the IL and pitched great, only to have his last turn through the rotation skipped as a result of forearm discomfort. The MRI came back clean though and he'll start Wednesday against the Guardians. So far this season, Woo has a sparkling 1.07 ERA, 0.53 WHIP, and a 2:24 BB:K over six starts (33 2/3 IP).

Bailey Ober

What I'm watching: Another start against the A's

Bailey Ober was the model of consistency last year, basically working five to six innings and allowing three or fewer runs. Only four times in 28 starts did the righty allow four or more earned runs. This year has been more of a rollercoaster, with the 28-year-old allowing four or more earned runs in a game five times already through just 14 starts. Many of his stats are little changed from last year, so it's hard to pinpoint what exactly ails him, but perhaps that gives credence to why his FIP, xFIP, and SIERA (4.28. 4.13, and 3.87) were much lower than his actual ERA (5.13) heading into Sunday's start.

The one stat that stands out is his LOB%, which went from 79.1% to 66.1%, which was well above average to well below average (71.7%). Clearly, if he can stop baserunners from scoring at such a high rate, his ERA should adjust. Maybe it has already begun to do so: on Sunday he went six-and-a-third innings against the A's, allowing one earned run on six hits and two walks while striking out eight, lowering his season ERA to 4.81. Ober gets to face those same A's in his next start in Oakland, don't give up on him yet in redraft leagues, and get ready to fire him up in DFS.

Tyler Anderson and Patrick Sandoval

What I'm watching: Is regression coming?

In looking at Ober's numbers, it got me thinking, "Who else has a large discrepancy between ERA and FIP?" Turns out, there are Angels at the top and bottom of the list. Tyler Anderson has a 2.58 ERA on the year but a 4.68 FIP, 5.06 xFIP, and 5.18 SIERA. The lefty has a low 5.6% K-BB% yet, unlike Ober, has been able to strand a whopping 87.0% of runners. A blowup game may be coming.

On the other hand, teammate Patrick Sandoval has a bloated 5.24 ERA but a 3.82 FIP, 3.86 xFIP, and 4.03 SIERA. He's given up eight home runs already on the year after giving up 12 all last season, but his K-BB% is 13.7% compared to last season when it was 8.3%, so there's clear improvement there. With a .342 BABIP and 64.9% LOB%, there's room for Sandoval's numbers to improve from here on out.

Neither one has an easy task this week, however, with Anderson's next start lining up with the Brewers and Sandoval's lining up with the Dodgers.

 

Players to Watch: Relief Pitchers

Justin Martinez

What I'm watching: New scoreless streak on the horizon?

After seeing Matt Strahm's scoreless outing streak come to an end earlier in the week, I again got to thinking, "Who else has a scoreless streak going?" These types of pitchers may not be closers, so they aren't going to earn saves for you, but they can help with other stats like ERA, WHIP, and Ks. In this case, I came across Justin Martinez of the Diamondbacks. He hadn't allowed an earned run since April 30, a stretch of 15 games in which he posted a 0.00 ERA, 1.16 WHIP, and a 30.7% K% (23 K in 19 IP). On Sunday, the 22-year-old finally gave up a run but still has a 0.69 ERA on the season.



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