Fantasy Baseball Takeaways: Nick Senzel among pickups to consider

·5-min read

Nick Senzel deserves your attention

Senzel hasn’t produced much this year and was caught stealing Tuesday for the fifth time this season, but there’s a lot to like moving forward. He had three hits while in the leadoff spot Tuesday, when he also started another game at second base. The No. 2 pick has walked nearly as many times as he’s struck out this year and has an expected batting average that’s in the top 10% of the league. It’s also encouraging he’s already attempted to steal seven times. Nick the Stick gets to play in a home park that’s boosted HR for RHB an MLB-high 30% over the last three seasons and is now also 2B eligible in Yahoo formats. THE BAT X projects .274 with 16 homers and 14 steals over the rest of the season (with an IL stint included). Senzel curiously remains available in more than 70% of leagues.

Shohei Ohtani truly is a unicorn

Ohtani had his best start of the season Tuesday, holding an Astros offense that leads MLB in wRC+ to just one run with a 10:1 K:BB ratio over seven innings on the road. He produced a 39% CSW while also batting second in the lineup. Ohtani’s control could improve, but he now has a 2.10 ERA and a 1.21 WHIP with a 14.03 K/9 rate as a pitcher in 2021. He’s also been a top-five fantasy hitter with the best Barrel% in MLB this season. Ohtani has also recorded the second-hardest hit baseball and ranks second among all hitters in expected homers. He’s a true superstar. 

There’s a real argument the Angels have the two most valuable players in baseball.

QUICK HITTERS

Adbert Alzolay remains stuck on one win this season after another no-decision Tuesday, but he continued to pitch well with a 6:0 K:BB line. He now sports a 0.88 WHIP and ranks top-25 in CSW this season, while his K-BB% would be top-15 if he threw a few more innings to qualify. The addition of a slider has been huge for Alzolay, who benefits from throwing in the National League and in a pitcher’s park. He has the profile of a starter far too good to still be available in 75% of Yahoo leagues.

James Karinchak has disappointed fantasy managers thanks solely to losing the closer’s job, as he’s been as dominant as any pitcher in baseball this season while allowing just one run with a 0.43 WHIP and a 31:4 K:BB line. Karinchak’s 56.6 K% is second only to Aroldis Chapman, and he’d quickly become one of the most valuable fantasy pitchers with a role change. Unfortunately, closer Emmanuel Clase has also pitched extremely well, allowing a run in just one of 17 appearances while posting a ridiculous 73.3 GB%.

Robbie Grossman racked up five RBI on Tuesday, and his .381 OBP looks a lot better than his .233 batting average. His walk rate is in the top 2% of the league, and he’s hitting the ball harder than ever while batting leadoff. Grossman has three homers, and his seven steals would lead the National League. He’s rostered in just 15% of Yahoo leagues, and outfield is arguably the thinnest position after catcher.

Gavin Lux finally hit his first homer of the season Tuesday, highlighting just how poor his start to the year has been. After recording a .194 expected batting average last season, Lux entered Tuesday’s game with a Barrel% in the bottom 5% of the league. His Statcast numbers look scary and as blue as the Dodgers, but he’s too young with too strong of a pedigree/resume to give up on … Chris Taylor, meanwhile, is on pace to finish batting .294 with 131 runs scored, 18 homers and 18 steals.

Jorge Soler homered with six RBI on Tuesday, although he’s still hitting just .200/.280/.374 after the big game. He’s one season removed from clubbing 48 homers and is currently sporting an exit velocity and Hard Hit% in the top 2% of the league. Kauffman Stadium has played extremely favorably for right-handed batters in 2021, so Tuesday could be the start of a hot stretch for Soler. He entered Tuesday as the third-most unlucky hitter when it comes to homers vs. expected homers this season.

Jordan Romano recorded his first save of the season Tuesday, and he’s the favorite to close for Toronto right now with Rafael Dolis joining Julian Merryweather on the IL. Romano hasn’t pitched well this year (he ranks No. 241 among relievers in CSW), but given his current role, he’s well worth adding in all leagues in which saves matter. Romano is available in more than 50% of Yahoo formats.

Madison Bumgarner had another strong outing Tuesday, holding the Marlins scoreless over seven innings in a win. He’s posted a 29:1 K:BB ratio over his last four starts and suddenly sits with a 1.01 WHIP this season. MadBum recorded a whopping 42% CSW and averaged a full 2 mph more with his fastball during Tuesday’s outing, so he appears to only be getting stronger. A favorable schedule has helped, but it’s tough to remain skeptical about his comeback at this point. I’d like to personally extend an apology to a true legend.

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