The new Nate Freiman, the improved Clayton Kershaw, the red-hot Jose Altuve, and more from the weekend, plus what to watch today.
The Weekend Takeaway
When the A’s boarded their flight to New York last Sunday, they’d lost back-to-back games just once since the end of May. But after the Mets served them their second losing streak of the month with a 10-1 beating in the first contest of a nine-game road trip, it seemed that Bob Melvin’s squad might take a small stumble as it reached the halfway mark of the regular season on the Atlantic seaboard.
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Sam checks in on his predictions about which players you'd fall for this year.
Just after the World Series last year, I told you who your five favorite players were going to be this season, now that Koji Uehara’s on a major label . A prediction that isn’t revisited is just an opinion, so in the interest of accountability it’s important that we periodically make sure that one of these players has become your favorite player. So, nearly two weeks into the season, is one of these players your favorite player? Yes! One of them is. Here are your New Favorite Player power rankings:
You and Uehara had a good thing, and you'll never forget his 89-percent strike rate in three-ball counts. But while you’ll never stop loving him, your guys’ relationship has probably peaked. Now your mom is starting to ask you about him, and once that happens it’s time for a new squeeze, one your mom knows nothing about. Who will your favorite player be next year? A few suggestions:
The A's bring up a power-hitting outfielder, though his window to contribute meaningfully may not open until next year.
The Situation: After posting a strong .302/.390/.445 slash line in 132 games at Triple-A Sacramento, Choice has received his first call to Oakland. It’s a true September call-up, as Choice isn’t being brought up with the expectation that he’ll receive regular at-bats in the club’s chase for a postseason berth. As reported by A’s beat writer Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle, Choice’s call “is a reward for a solid season by a high-profile prospect.”
That doesn’t necessarily mean Choice can’t make an impact or work his way into some playing time. Oakland’s outfield situation is tenuous at present, with Chris Young and Seth Smith underperforming while Josh Reddick is on the shelf for at least another week. As a result, regular first baseman Brandon Moss has taken over in right field––filling in for Reddick––with Daric Barton and Nate Freiman working the first-base platoon. While the unstable situation could yield a slight window of opportunity for Choice, it’s more likely that his first serious look comes next spring.
Paul presents a few likely-available hitters whose platoon splits against left-handers could help bolster your fantasy lineup.
As injuries cut deeper into the player pool with each passing day, fantasy managers are left to fend for themselves, to pick up the pieces and push on with their ballclubs. There are obviously different ways teams can plug in the holes that are guaranteed to strike everyone at some point during the season. The most direct approach is, of course, via trade—trading from surplus to plug the hole. Hitting the waiver wire is the most readily available option for mixed leaguers, and it doesn’t cost any of your current talent. The freely available talent won’t be as good as what you could get by trading some assets… or will it?
Today’s piece is going to apply to the mixed-league crowd and specifically those of you in leagues of 12 teams or fewer. We are going to focus on split advantages and leveraging those to increase the probability of replacing your broken All-Star with near-All-Star production. Sorry, single leaguers, but your waiver wires are usually picked clean of the prime meat by May 1 and bone dry by Memorial Day. This will also play well for the daily fantasy crowd, as these guys will often be extremely cheap options who can deliver premium production in the right matchup.