Fantasy Baseball Weekend Wrap: Marcus Stroman shines

Dalton Del Don
·5-min read

Marcus Stroman making the leap

Stroman and his sinker have returned stronger than ever after opting out of last season, as he’s benefitting from throwing in the NL and arguably the league’s best pitcher’s park after spending the vast majority of his career in the tough AL East. The Rockies have MLB’s worst offense to start the season, but Stroman’s eight shutout innings Sunday still deserve extra credit for coming in Coors Field, which has boosted offense as much as ever early on. Stroman’s K rate hasn’t overly impressed (especially given the historical levels this season), but he leads baseball with a 64.9 GB% (thankfully Francisco Lindor’s defense hasn’t slumped like his bat).

Stroman looks like a top-25 type fantasy starter moving forward.

Apr 6, 2021; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; New York Mets starting pitcher Marcus Stroman (0) pitches during the second inning against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports
Marcus Stroman is inducing more grounders than any pitcher in baseball (USA TODAY Sports)

Down Goes Stephen Strasburg

After getting hit hard during his last start that featured a noticeable drop in velocity and footage of Strasburg grabbing his shoulder, it comes as no great surprise to see him land on the IL with right shoulder inflammation. Strasburg threw the fifth-most pitches during the regular season in 2019 before hurling an additional 36.1 innings in the playoffs, which might finally be catching up to the injury-prone righty (it resulted in a World Series MVP, to be fair). His up-and-down career (that began with a memorable 14:0 K:BB performance during his debut) has hit another hurdle, and given his past it’s hard to be optimistic at this point. There’s nothing fantasy managers can do other than wait, but at least he only cost a sixth-round draft pick this year and not a second.

Waiver Wire Roundup

Reviewing some popular weekend pickups:

Huascar Ynoa, Atlanta Braves – He was hit hard during his last start against a Cubs offense that’s struggled this season, but Atlanta’s bullpen gave up three homers after replacing him during that game, and Ynoa has otherwise been highly impressive while posting a 1.00 WHIP. The 22-year-old is an intriguing prospect who’s averaging 96.9 mph with his fastball and should benefit pitching in the NL and for a Braves offense sure to wake up soon. It’s been just three starts, but Ynoa ranks top-15 both in GB% (52.5) and CSW (35.6%), revealing plenty of upside moving forward. He’s available in 50% of Yahoo leagues and should get a real shot in Atlanta’s rotation with Max Fried, Mike Soroka and Drew Smyly all injured.

Zach McKinstry, Los Angeles Dodgers – With Cody Bellinger set to miss more time than expected with a hairline fracture in his fibula (and with second base opening up in the short-term with Gavin Lux going on the IL), McKinstry is looking at regular playing time in MLB’s best lineup. His bat is off to a hot start, and he’s still available in 65% of Yahoo leagues.

Jed Lowrie, Oakland A’s – He just turned 37 years old, but Lowrie is finally healthy after knee injuries ruined his last two seasons. Locked in as Oakland’s second baseman and No. 3 hitter, Lowrie is a must-add in all fantasy leagues at this point. He entered Sunday with an expected batting average (.394) and xwOBA (.499) both in the top 2% of the league, with nearly as many walks as strikeouts. He’s still out there in more than 40% of Yahoo leagues.

Avisail Garcia, Milwaukee Brewers – Garcia showed up in “the best shape of his life” after a down first season in Milwaukee and any playing time issues have been cleared up with both Christian Yelich and Lorenzo Cain going on the IL this week. Garcia is one season removed from going .282-20-10 in just 125 games while playing in an extreme pitcher’s park in Tampa Bay. He’s now hitting third with the Brewers in a hitter’s park that’s perennially among the league leaders in boosting home runs for righties. Garcia homered Sunday yet remains available in 90% of Yahoo leagues.

Alex Cobb, Los Angeles Angels – He doesn’t share quite the same pedigree as teammate Dylan Bundy, but Cobb is similarly a once fine prospect who’s out of Baltimore and in a much better environment in Anaheim. Cobb has a 17:2 K:BB ratio over 11.2 innings despite a brutal schedule that includes road starts in Dunedin and a KC park that’s lapped the field as MLB’s best for offense to open 2021. Cobb ranks top-30 in CSW, and his .393 BABIP feels especially unlucky given LA’s defense.

Cobb’s 4.63 ERA comes with a 2.13 FIP. Go get him if he’s still available in your league.

David Peterson, New York Mets – He opened eyes last week with a dominant 10:0 K:BB performance against a Phillies lineup he had just faced. Peterson is clearly worth grabbing in fantasy leagues as a former first-round pick who currently ranks fifth in CSW, is flashing increased velocity and should benefit greatly from pitching in a highly favorable situation in New York.

Alex Wood, San Francisco Giants – He’s likely to return to the IL at some point, but Wood looked sharp during his Giants debut Sunday and is worth adding while healthy. San Francisco has returned to its pitching park ways (extremely) early on, and the Giants have become an organization that really helps starters (not just Kevin Gausman but also Anthony DeSclafani and Aaron Sanchez — two other possible waiver wire adds).

Kendall Graveman, Seattle Mariners – He didn’t record the Mariners’ last save (Keynan Middleton), but Graveman looks like the favorite to close in Seattle right now with Rafael Montero already blowing three opportunities. Graveman’s velocity remains way up since moving to the pen, and he’s an option for save chasers.

Rafael Dolis, Toronto Blue Jays – With Julian Merryweather joining Jordan Romano on Toronto’s IL, Dolis is another possible waiver wire option for those searching for saves, albeit this may be more short term.

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