Indians play five times -- but twice in Colorado
If you look at your lineup and see one of your Indians' players with just five games on the schedule, don't fret.
Sure, you might have a comparable player with seven games – say, Jose Ramirez vs. Addison Russell – but don't just bench your Cleveland players. They open up the week with a pair of games at Coors, and you never want to miss out on that opportunity.
One good game in the thin air of Denver can help make up for more than two missed games, so keep Francisco Lindor, Edwin Encarnacion, Ramirez, Michael Brantley, and Carlos Santana in your lineup. Jason Kipnis, Yan Gomes and Bradley Zimmer might be too fringe-y to rely on.
The Indians aren't the only team with five games on the schedule, this week; they are joined by the Rangers. The Mets only have five days' worth of games, but a double-header against the Braves on Saturday gets them to six.
5 games: CLE, TEX
6 games: ARI, BAL, BOS, CHW, COL, DET, LAA, LAD, MIN, NYM, NYY, PIT, SD, SEA, TOR
7 games: CHC, CIN, HOU, KC, MIA, MIL, OAK, PHI, SF, STL, TB, WAS
8 games: ATL
Is SunTrust a hitter's park?
Speaking of the Braves, they play eight games this week, all of them at home. Given the way the park has played, this could have huge ramifications for the Braves' players. It's early in the park's history, but Sun Trust Park is starting to develop a reputation as a hitter's park. The Braves' pitchers have gotten rocked at home, allowing 5.95 runs per game there to 4.66 in 29 road games.
Seems open-and-shut, no? Well, not exactly. If it is some kind of hitter's paradise, nobody told the Braves' hitters themselves, who have been only marginally better at Sun Trust Park, sporting a .755 OPS, vs. a .725 mark on the road. Is there some reason to believe Sun Trust Park only benefits opposing players? Of course not!
So, is the Braves' new home the kind of offensive environment we should expect to dramatically alter players' fortunes, the way Chase Field or Miller Park does? It's too early to say for sure – most park factors or based on multiple years of stats – but ESPN.com's park factors have Sun Trust playing as the seventh-best hitter's park in baseball so far, with BaseballProspectus.com's rating it as No. 1.
This is a small sample, one that could be thrown off by a few especially poor performances. The evidence is leading one way, but we haven't seen much evidence that it is helping Braves' hitters yet, so a few especially poorly timed Julio Teheran meltdowns could be impacting things. Keep Matt Kemp in your lineup, and consider Ender Inciarte and Matt Adams viable options with eight games, but don't rush out to stack your lineups with Braves just because they are home.
Two-start Tanaka and Quintana
Last week, I asked if you could trust a two-start Matt Harvey, with favorable matchups. The first went well enough, as he allowed just one run in six innings to the Pirates, so unless Friday's start is a disaster, it seems to have worked out.
We'll ask the same about two other disappointing starters who have two starts in Week 9: Masahiro Tanaka and Jose Quintana. Both were considered fairly safe, dependable options coming into the season, but neither has been anything close to that this season. Quintana has the better matchups of the two, mostly thanks to a first start against the strikeout-prone Rays. He takes on the Indians in his second outing, however, and that is the one that makes him tough to rely on. Quintana has had trouble keeping the ball in the yard, and the Indians can light up the scoreboard in a hurry.
Tanaka has two matchups like that, with the Red Sox and Orioles on the way. What makes the struggles of Tanaka and Quintana so tough to figure is that there isn't any kind of glaring issue with either. Their velocity is mostly where we hoped it would be, both are still generating solid strikeout and swing-and-miss numbers, and their control hasn't been bad. It seems to be more of a command issue, which is the kind of issue that can fix itself without much notice.
I still believe in both Quintana and Tanaka in the long run, so while I know you are scared off, the lack of any glaring, obvious problems, makes me want to stick with them. Even this week.
Super Two Deadline Looming
If you've been following Scott White's season-long prospects report column, you should be familiar with the top names still honing their craft in the minors. We've had Ian Happ, Cody Bellinger, Bradley Zimmer and Jose Berrios among those getting the call already this season, not to mention prospects like Aaron Judge and Andrew Benintendi, who started the season with the big club. There have been plenty of rookies who have made an impact for Fantasy in the early going, but we're also still waiting for some.
Typically, we see a slew of rookies break camp with their team after earning a job out of spring training. After that, things tend to slow to a crawl as teams try to hold their most promising prospects back for a few months to gain that extra year of arbitration due to the Super Two rules. There is no real Super Two "deadline," because it is based on how many players reach a certain threshold of playing time, but teams typically want to wait until after May to make sure they are clear of it.
We're there. Or nearly there. Maybe. We can't know for sure, but we're just about at the point where teams can safely call up their top prospects without worrying about service time issues. Don't expect a deluge of top prospects to hit the majors in the next week, but we should start hearing more about guys like Gleyber Torres, Chris Shaw, Yoan Moncado, Amed Rosario and others getting their chances soon.
Check out Scott'sfor the other big names you should know. They may be making an impact in the majors soon.