Home Sports Fantasy baseball: Reds’ Tyler Mahle can provide playoff boost

Fantasy baseball: Reds’ Tyler Mahle can provide playoff boost

0


Though it feels like this strange 60-game season just started yesterday, the fantasy playoffs begin Monday. That’s not a typo: Fantasy playoffs begin Monday!

Your push for shortened fantasy season glory begins now, and you don’t have time to be picky about who helps you get there. Help can come in all shapes and sizes, and will not always come from the expected places (though, not much has this season).

It is time to get creative, especially with your rotation, dig deep and win a title.

Though Cincinnati’s Tyler Mahle entered 2020 with a career 4.88 ERA and though he hasn’t been racking up wins, he hasn’t allowed opponents to do much damage either. The 25-year-old has not allowed more than three earned runs in any of his first seven starts.

Among starters with a minimum of 30 innings pitched, he ranks 19th in strikeouts per nine (10.95), and that is partly because he is piling up swinging strikes.

Mahle, who is available in 75 percent or more of ESPN leagues, has had double-digit swings and misses in five of his seven starts, including 22 on Tuesday against the Cubs (he also struck out 10 in that game while taking the loss). This has led to a career-high 14.0 percent swing-and-miss rate, which ranks 13th in the majors (wedged between reliable aces Aaron Nola and Dinelson Lamet).

Though Mahle has an 11.5 percent swing-and-miss rate with his fastball, the damage is being done with his secondary pitches. Batters are swinging and missing 20 percent of the time against his cutter/slider.

Batters are hitting .185 with 20 strikeouts against Mahle’s fastball, which has an average velocity of 94.2 mph. But it is a pitch he is no longer dependent on. In fact, though he used the pitch more than 60 percent of the time in 2017 and 2018, and 56.7 percent in 2019, he is using it just 53.5 percent this year. His cutter/slider usage is up from around 20 percent to 33.3 percent, and opponents are hitting .114 against it while striking out 46 percent of the time.

Yes, Mahle has a 3.89 ERA, .217 BABIP, as well as a FIP (4.15) and xFIP (4.48), all of which indicate he has gotten lucky. He also has walked his fair share of batters (8.7 percent). However, with just three or four starts left, Roto Rage is willing to bet luck will continue to be on Mahle’s side.

Here’s a look at some other arms who can provide assistance in the playoffs:

  • Miami’s 21-year-old rookie Sixto Sanchez is 2-1 with a 1.80 ERA, 9.0 strikeouts per nine innings and a .231 opponent average over his first four starts. He has walked just 0.72 per nine innings, which ranks third in the majors among pitchers with a minimum of 20 innings pitched. He has not allowed more than three earned runs in any of his starts, and had two starts when he threw a total of 13 shutout innings while striking out 16 and walking two.
  • Since returning from his PED suspension, Michael Pineda is 1-0 with a 2.77 ERA, 12 strikeouts, three walks and a .191 opponent average. He will face the Indians on Sunday, who are hitting .225 as a team, and lines up to face the Cubs and Reds over his final two starts. (FYI: The Cubs are hitting .229 as a team, and Cincinnati entered Friday hitting a league-worst .210.)
  • Though Taijuan Walker has walked nine in his first three starts since being dealt to the Blue Jays (and 3.6 per nine over all his starts), he also is 1-0 with a 1.15 ERA, 11 strikeouts and a .211 opponent average in those appearances. Over his first eight starts this season, including his time with Seattle, he is 3-2 with a 2.95 ERA, 36 strikeouts and a .210 opponent average.
  • Pittsburgh’s Joe Musgrove is 0-4 with a 5.40 ERA while pitching for the team with the worst record in the majors. Though he is still building his arm back up after a bout with shoulder inflammation, he has a 2.57 ERA, nine strikeouts, a .231 opponent average and 15 percent swinging strike rate over his past two starts (seven innings).

Big Hits

Sean Manaea SP, Athletics

Lowered his ERA from 9.00 to 4.46 over his past five starts by going 4-0 with a 1.98 ERA, 21 strikeouts, just two walks and a .204 opponent average. Has won his past four starts.

Freddie Freeman 1B, Braves

In his first 11 games this month, he is 17-for-43 (.395) with five homers, 22 RBIs and a 1.347 OPS. He has hit .394 with 31 RBIs over his past 25 games.

Freddie Freeman
Freddie FreemanGetty Images

Ryan Mountcastle SS/ OF, Orioles

The rookie has at least one hit in 12 of his first 19 big league games — going 23-for-65 (.354) with four homers, 14 RBIs and a 1.004 OPS.

Marco Gonzales SP, Mariners

Won three straight decisions while maintaining a 2.57 ERA with 20 strikeouts, one walk and a .218 opponent average. He is 3-0 with a 2.25 ERA in his past four starts, and 5-1 with a 2.72 ERA in his past seven.

Big Whiffs

Pablo Lopez SP, Marlins

Allowed 14 earned runs over his past three starts, while going 0-3 with a 9.95 ERA, 13 strikeouts, six walks and a .288 opponent average.

Sonny Gray SP, Reds

Lost his past two starts while allowing 11 earned runs over just four innings (24.75 ERA) and a .478 opponent average. Has seen his ERA rise from 0.96 on Aug. 3 to 3.94 over his past six starts (2-3, 6.00 ERA).

Adrian Houser
Adrian Houser gets taken out of the game.AP

Adrian Houser SP/RP, Brewers

Has not won since Aug. 5 — going 0-4 with a 7.34 ERA, 23 strikeouts, nine walks and a .326 opponent average over his past six starts.

Austin Meadows OF, Rays

Entered Saturday with two hits in his previous five games (23 at-bats) while striking out 13 times. He was 4-for-34 (.118) with 16 strikeouts and a .426 OPS in his first nine games this month.

Check Swings

  • Over his past five starts, Milwaukee’s Corbin Burnes is 3-0 with a 1.23 ERA, 40 strikeouts (over 29 ¹/₃ innings), eight walks and a .137 opponent average.
  • As bad as it gets: Matthew Boyd has allowed 23 runs (22 earned) over his past six starts (1-5, 6.83 ERA), including 10 home runs. He has allowed the most homers in the majors (13), and entered Friday with the highest opponent average (.306) and second-worst WHIP (1.60) in the majors. One positive for the Tigers lefty: He did rank 17th in strikeouts per nine (10.10). Yay!
  • Pop quiz: Which pitcher entered Saturday tied for the major league lead in wins with AL Cy Young lock Shane Bieber and Yu Darvish? If you guessed San Diego’s Zach Davies, you probably cheated. Davies is 5-0 with a 2.27 ERA, 32 strikeouts and a .186 opponent average over his past five starts. He is 6-1 with a 2.03 ERA and .179 opponent average over his past seven. Add that to the oddity we call 2020.

Team Name Of The Week

Bye Bye Berti

Submitted by Joseph Carolla

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here