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Late-season schedules are worth our attention

By Al Melchior | Data Analyst

The schedule-makers have given Scooter Gennett and his Fantasy owners a nice late-season gift. (USATSI)
The schedule-makers have given Scooter Gennett and his Fantasy owners a nice late-season gift. (USATSI)

For the most part, major league teams will have a fairly even split of home and away games over the final month-and-a-half of the season. As a result, Fantasy owners can assess the rest-of-season value of players pretty much the way they have done up to this point...with a few exceptions.

Some teams have an imbalance in their home and road schedules, and others will spend a disproportionate time in hitter's or pitcher's parks. For teams that will play a large share of their games in stadiums impacted by park factors, the impact on their players' values can be meaningful. Three players, in particular, stand out as likely winners due to their team's upcoming schedule, while another three stand to lose value.

Let's begin with the "losers" group. That way we can end this blog post on an upbeat note. Analysis of team schedules will begin with Fantasy Week 21 (Aug. 18-24).

Josh Donaldson: The A's play 20 of their final 38 games at home. That's barely more than half, so no big deal, right? They'll also play road series at the pitcher-friendly parks for the Angels and Mariners. Donaldson's power game has been much better away from O.co Coliseum, as he has hit 15 of 25 homers on the road. It stands to reason that he might hit for less power in other tough environments, too. He still has shown decent power at home, so owners shouldn't be eager to sell Donaldson cheaply. However, if you can get value befitting of a third baseman with his current stat line, it could be worth your while to trade him.

David Peralta: To be honest, I hadn't really been that interested in Peralta until I discovered that he had been hitting for power at Chase Field, posting a .226 Isolated Power there as opposed to a .100 mark on the road. I stumbled upon this a little too late. The Diamondbacks will spend the final week of August on a light five-game homestand, and then they will play only nine more games at home the rest of the way, with 17 away games in the season's final month. There's no point in pursuing Peralta in most leagues at this point, and if you own him, now is a good time to sell.

A.J. Pollock: Once Pollock returns from a fractured hand, he will suffer from the same unfriendly scheduling that could impact Peralta. He's still being stashed in roughly one-third of the leagues on CBSSports.com. Given that he has done a hugely disproportionate amount of his damage at home -- and that he has suffered a setback in his recovery -- you probably can find a better use for that DL or bench spot. Away from Chase Field, Pollock has a meager .254/.284/.366 slash line.

And as promised, here are three players who could be big late-season winners, thanks to some friendly scheduling.

Todd Frazier: Mired in a power slump since the All-Star break, now looks like a good time to try to buy low on Frazier, regardless of the schedule. That said, he will get some help in that regard. In addtion to 20 home games out of a remaining 38, the Reds will have road series at the Orioles, Brewers and Cubs. He does need to improve upon a 20 percent post-break flyball rate (per FanGraphs.com), but Frazier's track record suggests that improvement will come sooner or later.

Scooter Gennett: September should be especially kind to Gennett, as he will spend the entirety of three of the four weeks in hitter-friendly parks. Gennett has slugged .543 at Miller Park, as opposed to .415 on the road. He has shown good doubles power in general, but given his upcoming schedule, Gennett may provide owners with more homers and RBI than they were anticipating.

Brian McCann: It's no surprise that McCann has hit for power at Yankee Stadium, but an utter lack of thump elsewhere has put a damper on his season-to-date production. Not only will the Yankees play 23 of their final 40 games at home, but they'll also have series at Toronto and Baltimore. He should come at a bargain price and could have surprisingly robust production the rest of the way.

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