FANTASY PLAYS: Rosario (and glut) for Mets; Odor improves
The MLB trade deadline passing puts baseball and your fantasy season in its home stretch. A few closer situations changed, a top prospect arrived and a logjam didn’t get fixed.
Amed Rosario, NYM - Widely considered baseball’s top prospect, Rosario finally got the call from the Mets, even though they weren’t able to find a taker for Asdrubal Cabrera. Now that Rosario is in the bigs, what can you expect from him in fantasy? The easy answer is that Rosario profiles similarly to Francisco Lindor. Before you do backflips because you grabbed Rosario in your league, understand that Lindor is Rosario’s potential. For the rest of this season, Rosario will have some speed bumps and be more of an 80 percent version of Lindor — still valuable in any league size or format. Overall, Rosario has the ability to hit for a high average with mid-teen home runs and 25-plus stolen bases. With two months left, Rosario is a must own, especially with the poor production from shortstops overall.
Rougned Odor, TEX - Odor had been disappointing owners for most of this season thanks to an extremely poor average of .221. On top of that, Odor had been pacing behind all of last year’s numbers — until recently. Since June 30, Odor is hitting .262 with 12 HRs, 22 runs and 21 RBIs. He’s been even hotter over the last two weeks, hitting .317 with seven home runs, 11 runs and 13 RBIs since July 23. That puts Odor back on his 33 home run pace from last year while falling barely short of his 89 runs and 88 RBIs (if he only plays 150 games). The interesting part is that Odor hasn’t stolen a base since June 29. Whether that’s intentional or not, as he focuses on his plate approach, it does lessen his appeal just a tad. However, with a mid-.200 average and elite power for a second baseman, Odor is back to being a top option at the position and high pick in 2018.
Mets Logjam - Not only were the Mets unable to trade Cabrera, they couldn’t find a deal for Jay Bruce or Curtis Granderson, which keeps the team unable to call up Dominic Smith or play everyone consistently. Someone from Wilmer Flores, Yoenis Cespedes, Michael Conforto, Bruce and Granderson has to sit each day — and that’s before Smith’s arrival. Hopefully for the Mets, and fantasy baseball fans, the team can make a trade in August with Bruce and/or Granderson passing through waivers. That would open things up and free time for Smith regularly. Smith isn’t your prototypical power first baseman despite looking as though he should be one. Smith is more like Josh Bell, which is valuable, but keep expectations in check.
Brandon Kintzler, WSH - Given the Nationals’ success this season, and failures in the bullpen, the Kintzler trade raised the most interest in fantasy baseball. Kintzler was already racking up saves with the Twins, and now he’s on a superior team. Before you go gaga over him, know that Kintzler won’t cure the bullpen woes on his own, and may even add to them. Kintzler is fortunate to have a 2.78 ERA considering his 4.08 expected fielding independent pitching and awful 8.8 SOBB (strikeout percentage minus base on balls percentage). Kintzler has walked more batters than he’s struck out over the last month, which isn’t that hard when your strikeouts per nine innings is just 2.7. Is that someone you would consider a reliable closer? Additionally, the Nationals already bolstered their bullpen with Sean Doolittle and Ryan Madson and Madson has been pitching quite well (1.83 ERA, 24.1 SOBB). The Nationals don’t need Kintzler to be their closer, and even if he’s given the chance, there is too much risk given his metrics. If you are a Kintzler owner and reaped the save rewards to date, sell high by selling now.
The Brewers bats have cooled of late, striking out plenty while also staying off the scoreboard more often. Be cautious when streaming from the Twins and Reds however, as Milwaukee’s hitters could wake up and neither team has terrific streamers. The Padres seem to be a permanent fixture with streaming pitchers. The Reds and Dodgers face them next week. The White Sox have little talent left after the trade deadline and with injuries. Go ahead and fire up all of the Astros and Royals facing them.
This column was provided to The Associated Press by Jake Ciely of the Fantasy Sports Network, http://FNTSY.com