Baseball sure can be a funny game and a tough one to predict. Who would have thought my two high-priced Yankees would be my worst players this week? Mark Teixeira has been hurt, so I guess he has an excuse, but Robinson Cano with three points total through 5 games? That is just awful. Thankfully, Sneaky Todd Frazier, Ryan Braun and Mike Trout have been huge all week to make up for the Yankees and the struggling Alex Rios. The Rays pitchers have been solid again leading the way for the Rays four-game sweep over the hated Angels. The week has not been fantastic, but pretty solid as I am leading by a good margin in my matchup and leading my league in point by a small margin.
The only team in Week 21 with five games is the Washington Nationals. The top-scoring pitching staff of the Nats will have to take a week off being a consideration here. This week is a bit less packed with seven-game weeks as only nine of the teams in MLB have seven games. This means our options for full weeks will be less than it has been and we may have to play a few six-gamers (after going through the positions and setting my lineup, I realized this was very much not the case!). Among the seven game teams, the Diamondbacks look like a solid option with all seven of their games at home this week. Do note that two of the games are a doubleheader on Wednesday so their hitters may sit in one of those games.
The Red Sox offense also looks like a solid play with six of their seven games at home, including three versus the lowly Royals. If the Red Sox have enough energy left after their daily players-only meetings, they should rake this week. The Reds also look pretty strong with three home game and two games in Arizona among their seven games. They do face Cole Hamels, Adam Wainwright, Jamie Garcia and Wade Miley, though. The Rangers look like the best schedule of the week with all seven of their games in the flyball-loving heat of Arlington. I imagine the Rangers have a huge week, especially since they get Minnesota and their brutal pitching staff for a four game series. Make sure to get your Rangers in this week. Finally, the Cardinals and Blue Jays also have seven games this week, which will provide us with a number of solid options also.
Catcher: Buster Posey continues to be the absolute cream of this crop. Posey is hitting over .410 for the last three weeks with a good amount of pop. The Giants only have six games this week, but he is producing enough to make up for giving an extra game to any other catcher. The two best seven game options look like Miguel Montero and Joe Mauer. Montero has been very solid recently and has a nice schedule with all seven of his games at home. Mauer has cooled off a bit recently, but does get a four game set at the Rangers over the weekend. This week looks to me like it is a call between these two guys. If you wanted to save some cap at catcher this week, Ryan Doumit has been good and also gets the four game set in Texas.
First Base: Albert Pujols has been the hottest first baseman the last three weeks with an insane ten homers in that time span. Pujols could be a play in a six game week, but at 1B, I will try and find a seven game option. All I know is that Mark Teixeira is leaving my lineup. Adrian Gonzalez has finally (Finally!) found his power stroke this year. He is hitting .365 the last three weeks with 23 RBI. The Red Sox get seven this week making AdGonz a very live play this week. Paul Goldschmidt continues to hit well and with the DBacks home all week, Goldy is a very solid option this week. Freddie Freeman is also a choice with seven games, but I think I would take Goldy over him in the price range if I had to choose between the two just based on the matchups this week.
Second Base: This position has been very weak lately, but I suppose Dustin Pedroia has been the best option as of late. This week looks like a week to play him or Ian Kinsler. They both have great schedules, but Kinsler has been awful recently. If you are beating on a hot streak for Kins, home for seven is the week to do it, but you need him to really wake up and be productive. The third option this week will also save you some cap and that is Aaron Hill. Hill is very streaky and had been struggling a bit until the last week. He has gotten back on fire and with seven homes games in Chase Field, Hill is a great option this week and saves you money over Kins and Pedroia.
Third Base: This all depends on how much cap you want to spend as we have three really strong options with seven games. The expensive option is Adrian Beltre with seven homes games. Beltre has been very poor recently, but games in Arlington tend to work magic on a great hitter like Beltre. The second great option this week is Edwin Encarnacion. Ency just has not slowed all year and has been hitting for power all season and has seven games this week. Finally, on the very cheap end of the spectrum is Todd Frazier. The Reds have a nice schedule and he has been very solid, including this week where he is currently the highest point producer on my team. I think those are the best options and it includes two cheap guys so I do not see any reason to pass on one of those three.
Shortstop: No one has been jumping off the page at SS recently. Jose Reyes, Derek Jeter and Starlin Castro have been the top three guys in the last few weeks, but no one has been going off. Playing schedule games would lead us to Elvis Andrus for his seven home games. Andrus has been hitting well average wise, but the dude has zero power and has not even been running much. But, with all those home games, he could have a lot of hits and runs this week and no other SS really jumps off the page. Among the other seven gamer options, Josh Rutledge has been nursing a sore quad, Zack Cozart is ok but not very exciting and Stephen Drew is still Stephen Drew. I suppose if you like Yunel Escobar you could play him, but he has been awful across the board recently. If you wanted to play a six gamer, I guess Jeter and Reyes are both good options, but I'd probably go Andrus and take the extra game. Shortstop just isn't strong this year.
Outfield: Mike Trout and Josh Hamilton have both been solid this week and I am certain to leave both in for this week. Hamilton has seven home games which makes him a slam-dunk to me now that he is out of his slump and Trout just abuses his price tag even though he only has six games. I know that leaves me with only one OF spot left (and maybe a flex), but we will look at the other options in case someone wants to fade Hamilton or Trout. Ryan Ludwick is somehow a beast right now. The Reds have seven games again and he has eight bombs and 23 RBI in the last three weeks. He would be a nice option to save some money this week. Nelson Cruz has started to get hot again and when he is hot, there is no one that can get him out (ask everyone who faced him in the playoffs last year). As I have stressed many times already, the Rangers schedule is beautiful this week and I really like Nellie as a play this week.
How about Jason Heyward? I am pretty sure when the experts in the roto community discuss post-hype sleepers in the future, the path of Heyward will be the key to the discussion. He continues to hit and with seven games this week for the Braves, Heyward is an excellent choice, but he does get most of his games in really bad parks to hit in San Francisco and San Diego. But wow has he been a great value in drafts this March after really hurting everyone who jumped up to grab him early last year. Carlos Beltran is an exceptional option to save some cash this week with the Cardinals' seven-game week. Beltran has been solid all year and continues to put up points at a very depressed salary. His teammate, Allen Craig, is also a very solid consideration this week. Craig has hit over .370 the last three weeks and he also has big power potential at any time. After going through the positions, we have a lot more really good options than I thought we would when I started. If you have some cap available, Matt Holliday is more expensive than Craig and Beltran, and while he has been cold lately, he can really explode when he is hot. All three St Louis OF's are plays this week.
Pitching: The first team that jumps out at me for this week is the Atlanta Braves. The Braves have been playing well as a team and their schedule this week looks nice for pitching with four games in San Francisco and two games in San Diego. Kris Medlen gets two starts this week (The Braves are currently using a six man rotation so only one guy gets two starts) and Medlen has been nothing less than exceptional since being inserted in the Braves rotation. The Reds continue to pitch and play well and this week features a two-step from possible Cy Young Johnny Cueto. They do face St Louis and get two games in Arizona, but they are definitely an option. The Cardinals have seven games, but with two starts from Jake Westbrook, I am passing out of principle. They also play three games in Cincinnati, which is usually a tough place to pitch, especially when the weather is warm.
The Red Sox are such a mess right now, I think I will pass on even considering their pitchers. Beckett is way off his game and their back-end starters are pretty fluid and have not been great. Texas is likely to win a lot of games, but I can't stomach throwing pitchers in Arlington all week. The only other possibility I saw was the Diamondbacks, but Chase Field can be a tough place to pitch and I don't love their staff right now. It looks to me like the Braves and Reds are the two best possible choices.
This week was a lot harder than I thought to piece together. I left a lot of options I really, really liked off the roster this week.
C: Miguel Montero ($8.3)
1B: Adrian Gonzalez ($9.0)
2B: Dustin Pedroia ($7.6)
3B: Adrian Beltre ($9.0)
SS: Elvis Andrus ($9.5)
OF: Josh Hamilton ($10.9)
OF: Nelson Cruz ($9.0)
OF: Mike Trout ($7.0)
Flex: Matt Holliday ($10.8)
P: Atlanta Braves ($18.3)