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Fantasy Baseball Players To Watch For The Week Ahead (May 20 - May 26)

Lars Nootbaar - Fantasy Baseball Rankings, Draft Sleepers, MLB News

Another week has passed and yet again I get to mention Shota Imanaga and  Ranger Suarez were excellent, while Seth Lugo did not want to be outdone so he went out and fanned 10 batters in his last start (now with 22 over his last two). None of these guys wants to blink first.

For those keeping track of some of last week's topics, it was somewhat of a mixed bag for both Max Kepler and Brent Rooker this past week, as they kept hitting, just not at the torrid pace that they had been. Brady Singer went 1-1 in his two starts, despite walking just two and striking out 15. Paul Skenes threw six hitless innings in his second start. And Jalen Beeks does appear to be the closer in Colorado.

Taking a look ahead to this week's action, we'll touch on some intriguing hitters below, both for DFS and season-long. We'll also check in on a veteran pitcher who simply stopped allowing runs, as well as yet another bullpen in flux. 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

Ketel Marte

What I'm watching: Hit streak

After a 2-for-4 day at the plate on Sunday, Ketel Marte's hit streak now stands at 18 games. What's odd about Marte's streak, though, is that he's seen his batting average drop from .307 to .292 during the streak because the switch-hitter collected just one hit in all but two of the games, hitting only .267 (20-for-75) over this stretch. He's been able to collect nine extra base hits in the 18 games, however, so they haven't been all singles. The D-backs take on the Dodgers and Gavin Stone, Tyler Glasnow, and James Paxton starting Monday with limited matchup history (2-for-4).

Rafael Devers

What I'm watching: Can he make it six straight with a homer?

Rafael Devers battled a sore knee earlier this season and hit just .188 with two home runs through his first 13 games. He took a week off and returned to the lineup on April 24. Since then, the two-time All-Star has gone 30-for-89 (.337), but it's the power stroke of late that has been most impressive. The 27-year-old homered on Sunday to make it five straight games with a long ball and nine straight games with a hit. The left-handed hitter will go up against Rays starter Taj Bradley on Monday, and it'll be a tall task to continue the streak against Bradley, as he's 0-for-7 with four K against the hurler in his career.

Lars Nootbaar

I mentioned Lars Nootbaar in my article that was posted Friday as someone that might be on the verge of a breakout because of the discrepancy between his actual batting average and expected batting average (xBA), plus the fact that some of his peripheral numbers still looked ok (i.e. Contact%, HardHit%). Since Friday, the 26-year-old is 4-for-12 (.333) with two home runs, five RBI, and four runs scored, so we might be on the verge of a breakout. The left-handed hitter is available in almost 70% of Yahoo leagues still if you believe in him.


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 seems 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

Robert Gasser

What I'm watching: Can he go 3-0?

After a successful debut, Robert Gasser followed that up with a successful encore in his second start last week, throwing five innings of one-run ball to earn his second win of the season. The lefty has looked good and will go up against Miami in his next start, who has the fifth-worst batting average in the league versus lefties and seventh-most strikeouts against them. The southpaw is rostered in just 19% of Yahoo leagues, so managers in need of pitching depth should consider picking him up. And yes, I'm still watching Paul Skenes as well to see what he does in his third start.

Yu Darvish

What I'm watching: Scoreless innings streak

Another dominant effort Sunday night against the Braves in which he allowed no earned runs over seven innings pushed Yu Darvish's scoreless inning streak to a remarkable 24 innings. The 37-year-old improved to 4-1 and lowered his season ERA to 2.08, WHIP to 0.90, and now has a 13:46 BB:K over 47 2/3 IP. The 5x All-Star's next start will come next Friday at home against the Yankees who are top-5 in the league in runs scored this season.


Players to Watch: Relief Pitchers

Reed Garrett / Adam Ottavino

What I'm watching: Which one will emerge as the short-term closer? 

Edwin Diaz has had a rough three-game stretch recently that saw him allow seven earned runs in just 2 1/3 innings pitched. According to Diaz, his confidence has been shaken, so the Mets are removing him from the closer role for now. That leaves a hole for someone to fill, so who will it be? Adam Ottavino has been mostly solid, even working a stretch of nine-and-two-thirds innings earlier this season where he did not allow a hit. Reed Garrett has been excellent as well (0.72 ERA, 11:41 BB:K) and even picked up a two-inning save on Sunday.


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