Fantasy baseball Weekly Planner: The arrival of Myers and Wheeler
It's like clockwork, but the most-owned minor-league hitter and pitcher are both slated to make their major-league debut on Tuesday. In a doubleheader. In mid-June. Super Two worries are gone and it is finally time to get a piece of the next wave of fantasy stars.
Here's a caveat, however: Rays slugger Wil Myers and Mets' pitcher Zack Wheeler are not going to perform to their hype.
Hype doesn't win fantasy leagues; performances do. So, we have to give Myers and Wheeler the appropriate length of leash. There is about a one percent chance that either of the two sets the fantasy world on fire like Yasiel Puig and Shelby Miller have.
Long term, both talents are just as good, maybe even better. But fantasy owners often deal with small sample sizes, and we want immediate results.
Myers and Wheeler owners have wanted immediate call-ups since spring training. They have waited two and half months for them to arrive. You have to give them at least two-and-half weeks to prove worthy of must-start status in all fantasy leagues.
Myers, despite being the No. 1 rookie to target in March drafts at SI.com, will need more time before you can trust him right away in smaller mixed leagues. He is a must-own in all fantasy leagues, especially if you missed out on Yasiel Puig. It will be virtually impossible to make that kind of immediate impact, but if you look at the big picture, Myers is potentially the best rookie slugger we are going to get in the majors this season. Yes, he can be better than Puig over the long haul, but that doesn't mean you start him over Puig right away.
Wheeler will get the start in Game 2 of the Mets' doubleheader in Atlanta on Tuesday. Anything close to a quality start will make him a must-start two-start pitcher the following fantasy week.
These are rookies -- ones with elite potential -- so you have to own them. Just make sure they actually earn your immediate trust.
SP Yovani Gallardo, Milwaukee Brewers -- Because of walks and general ineffectiveness, Gallardo was called a sell candidate in this space. And that was a sell-low, never a good policy. He has rebounded with back-to-back victories and scoreless starts. It should give the out-of-contention Brewers a big-time trade piece that can turn them into a contender very quickly, if they choose to trade him. Gallardo is a top 25 fantasy starter, maybe not the top-10 ace many thought he could become, but he's still worthy of second or third-tier status among starters. It is late to trade for him in the immediate future, but if he has a bad start or two, a deal to an elite contender can make him a big-time piece during fantasy crunch time.
SS Troy Tulowitzki, Colorado Rockies -- If you have owned Tulo, you have to be resigned to what's become an inevitability: He plays hard; he plays a high-impact position; and he gets hurt. Always. This particular injury is potentially dangerous because it is a fractured rib. Ask Jacoby Ellsbury and his owners how troublesome that can be. You can feel good, come back in the prescribed 4-to-6 weeks and suffer a relapse of the injury. Tulo owners will cross their fingers, but a potential fantasy MVP just went down on a moment's notice. You always have to proceed with caution on a player so prone to freak injuries like this.
SP Gerrit Cole, Pittsburgh Pirates -- We have to admit, there was some concern in this space that Cole's mediocre strikeout-to-walk ratio would make him a suspect fantasy option. While Sunday's start was lackluster, you cannot complain with two victories in two major-league appearances. Cole is a viable starter in all fantasy leagues at the L.A. Angels. Cole deserves to be active in more than a mere 47 percent of CBSSports.com fantasy leagues.
C Mike Zunino, Seattle Mariners -- He wasn't setting the Triple-A world on fire, but the former Florida Gator makes the major leagues just over a calendar year after being drafted in the first round. That rarely happens for any player. Much less a hitter. Never a catcher. This bodes well for Zunino long term and he has already homered in his first two games in the majors. Catcher is a position where even a slump won't hurt you. Your alternatives are mediocre. Zunino was a .238 hitter in Triple-A. It is his power you will really care about.
1. OF/1B Kyle Blanks, San Diego Padres -- His breakthrough shouldn't have been all that surprising this season. It has taken him years to establish himself as a power threat for the Padres. It just so happens he turns 27 this year.
2. 2B/SS Josh Rutledge, Colorado Rockies -- This spring favorite gets a second chance after Tulo goes down with yet another season-damaging injury. He returned with a homer and certainly can still help mixed-league owners.
3. OF/1B Mike Carp, Boston Red Sox -- Like Blanks, this wild tear comes in his age-27 season. He has earned his full-time at-bats and spots on mixed-league rosters.
4. RP Kenley Jansen, Los Angeles Dodgers -- Don't worry about that blown save Saturday. He is the Dodgers' closer now and a must-have in all mixed-leagues. His ownership is far too suppressed relative to his talent and role.
5. 1B Adam Lind, Toronto Blue Jays -- The past three years haven't been kind to him statistically, but he is looking like he is in 2009 form right now. He stands a good chance of sustaining this, especially since he is just 29 years old.
1. SP Michael Wacha, St. Louis Cardinals -- He picked up his first career victory in a quality start and unfortunately lost his rotation spot. It gives him a good chance to be back in the majors before the All-Star break. Keep him stashed if you have ample reserve spots in yearly leagues.
2. SP Tyler Skaggs, Arizona Diamondbacks -- His long-term future is a lot more intriguing than his potential fantasy value for the rest of this season. You're justified cutting him.
3. SP Kevin Gausman, Baltimore Orioles -- He will be the first of these rookie starting pitchers to get a recall. Keep him stashed in deeper leagues where you need a starter over the next couple of turns.
4. RP Brandon League, Los Angeles Dodgers -- He picked up the save Saturday in extra innings, but he is out of the closer's role. It is Jansen's job now and there should be no going back. League is not worth owning outside of deeper leagues that use true middle men.
5. OF Vernon Wells, New York Yankees -- Hopefully you have sold on him long ago. The Wells of the Angels days has been here for a month now. It might not get better. Cut him in small mixed formats.
Most viewed (Rotoworld):
1. OF Yasiel Puig, Los Angeles Dodgers -- We got the news we wanted to hear Sunday: Puig will stay in the majors even when Matt Kemp (hamstring) and Carl Crawford (hamstring) return from the DL. That's bad news for Andre Ethier.
2. SP Tony Cingrani, Cincinnati Reds -- Clearly he belongs, but the Reds still said they will send him down now that Johnny Cueto is on the DL. At the very least, Cingrani isn't slated to start this week. He wasn't sent down Sunday either, though. He might stick in the bullpen or get sent down before Monday's series opener against the Pirates.
3. SS Hanley Ramirez, Los Angeles Dodgers -- He at least has avoided a DL stint. His day-to-day hamstring issue and his poor numbers keep him from being a true option to start in mixed leagues this week.
4. OF Ryan Braun, Milwaukee Brewers -- He is out until at least late June, if not July, with his thumb issue. Logan Schafer is scorching and worthy of picking up in mixed leagues in Braun's absence.
5. SP Gerrit Cole, Pittsburgh Pirates -- Sunday's outing wasn't great but you cannot argue with a rookie call-up going 2-0 in his first fantasy week. Clearly, he's a must-own and a decent start this week at the L.A. Angels.
Most traded (CBSSports.com):
1. SP Cole Hamels, Philadelphia Phillies -- Despite the loss Sunday, he has posted three consecutive quality starts. It is still a good time to jump on board. BUY
2. OF Matt Kemp, Los Angeles Dodgers -- It looks like another week on the DL for Kemp, but he is targeting a June 24 return. The shoulder might be more worrisome for fantasy owners than the hamstring. You might want to sell this week on the promise of a healthy return. We are unlikely to see a first-round Kemp, but someone who might believe it can come and give you solid return. SELL
3. SP Matt Cain, San Francisco Giants -- If you throw out a couple of starts, he has been quality for over a month. That's still well short of expectations. It is tough to pitch as well as he did as a 27-year-old. It may not be worth trading him or trading for him. HOLD
4. OF Josh Hamilton, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim -- He hasn't been brutally bad, but he hasn't been that good either. There is still an opportunity to get in on the ground floor here. BUY
5. SP Gio Gonzalez, Washington Nationals -- He is not quite as elite as a year ago, but he should continue to prove to be a steady member of any fantasy rotation. HOLD
Filling a middle-infield spot -- With Jedd Gyorko (groin) on the DL, I need a stopgap infielder. Eric Sogard usually doesn't move the needle, but I need steals and a short-term starter with a weak crop of free agents at the position. Sogard should at least come cheaply and he is versatile.
1. Eric Sogard, Oakland Athletics
2. Munenori Kawasaki, Toronto Blue Jays
3. Cody Ransom, Chicago Cubs
Taking a flier on Logan Schafer -- With Braun out, Schafer is going to get starts. He is scorching hot and is worth a starting spot in mixed leagues right now.
Taking a shot on Mike Carp -- He is too hot to be ignored as a potential stopgap. With seven players on the DL, I have ample roster space to take a temporary flier.
If you play in those daily fantasy leagues, here are the players by position that yours truly will be going with for Monday's games. If you want to challenge me, hit me up on Twitter: @EricMackFantasy:
SP -- Shelby Miller
SP -- Jason Vargas
C -- Brian McCann
1B -- Ryan Howard
2B -- Gordon Beckham
3B -- David Freese
SS -- Starlin Castro
OF -- Mike Trout
OF -- Alex Gordon
OF -- Josh Hamilton
DH -- Salvador Perez