Hold/Fold: Only The Contenders

“Hey, hey, hey, hey, hey stoopid
What ya tryin’ to do
Hey, hey, hey, hey, hey stoopid
They win you lose
Hey, hey, hey, hey, hey stoopid” ~ Alice Cooper “Hey Stoopid”

I’m not calling anyone stupid, but that right there is how I feel about the fantasy baseball playoffs. Especially the one-week matchup variety. I’ve long been of the opinion that if the playoffs are to matter, they should be held before teams start to clinch and rest guys, or chasing teams start to fade and look at younger guys.

I won in the first round of my 30 team league. I didn’t care to set my lineups, so I did dumb things like leaving Wheeler on the bench and other things.  Then yesterday, out of my entire lineup, Anthony Rizzo played, and I got 1 at-bat from Kepler. Danny Santana, Brian McCann, Jon Berti, Alex Dickerson, etc, etc. None of them played. The matchup still finished in a tie, but as the higher seed, I moved on. Did I actually win though? Of course not. It was pure luck. I had a great week pitching and a lousy week at the plate, the other team had the reverse, so my lack of Sunday at-bats never mattered. If it had been the other way around, yesterday would have killed my team.

Where am I going with this? It’s nearly impossible to give advice for the playoffs. All anyone can really do is look at Wild Card contenders and think that at least their best players will probably play. So here we go.

Hold ‘Em

Seth Brown

He won’t keep hitting near .400. But Piscotty has a high ankle sprain that he is struggling to return from, so outfield at-bats are available. He is hitting and is at least the strong side of a platoon. He’s got probably a 70-75% chance of being in the lineup, so if you need an injury replacement, he’s interesting.

Nico Hoerner

What I know about Nico Hoerner could fit in a thimble, and leave a thimbleful of space left. What I do know is someone has to play shortstop in Chicago as they desperately try to hang on to a Wild Card spot.

Matt Joyce

The Braves outfield situation is a mess. They are basically going with the hot hand everywhere besides Acuna. Joyce has been the hot-hand. He may sit against lefties, Markakis or Ender may come back, or none of that may happen because Riley and Ortega are struggling mightily. All I really know is Joyce hit 2 home runs this weekend and has reached base safely in like 95% of his starts. You could do worse.

Chris Bassitt, Alex Young, Zac Gallen, Aaron Civale, et all

It’s not the stud prospects or the established vets who are carrying this year’s Wild Card contenders. It’s unheralded arms who keep turning in solid start after solid start. If you need innings, or if you are just looking to improve your chances, don’t be afraid to give one or all of these guys a shot. The moment hasn’t been too big for them yet, so there’s a good chance they can keep performing under pressure.

Howie Kendrick

He probably isn’t available. But all the man does is hit. And as he’s eligible at 1b, 2b, and 3b, and with the Cubs MI a mess, Mike Moustakas hurting, Dansby scuffling since returning from injury… there’s probably an infield spot where you could use the production.

Fold ‘Em

This is non-keeper or dynasty league advice only.

Other Braves Outfielders

Riley, Ortega, Culberson, Duvall, Camargo . . . who really know who is going to draw a start on any given night? No one does. I liked Matt Joyce above, but he could also belong here. Acuna is generally going to play. Joyce will so long as he’s hot. Beyond that, there aren’t enough at-bats to go around, and if someone gets hot, they’ll take the lion’s share. Wait and see if that happens and grab that guy. Otherwise, move on.

Mike Moustakas

He’s a big-time bat who the Brewers refuse to place on the Injured List, but he can’t swing. So he’s a defensive replacement taking up a valuable roster spot without ever getting any at-bats. Maybe he heals and can help, but is that really what you want to bank your season on?

Max Kepler

See Moustakas, Mike. Also, I’m even less optimistic here than I am about Moustakas.

Mike Soroka

Obviously, you don’t want to do it. But Soroka seems to be tiring. With the Braves out to a huge lead in the division, it wouldn’t surprise me if he averaged just one start a week these last 3. It’s up to you if that is worth it.

Didi Gregorius

He’s on the wrong side of a playing time situation in the Bronx. His playing time might actually tick up if the Yanks decide to rest Torres, LeMahieu, and Urshela. On the other hand, it could fall even further if they decide they want those bats as hot as possible for the playoffs. There is absolutely no way to know how it will shake out.

 

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Seth Bias

Written by 

I'm Seth. I love baseball, especially the Braves, and rock n' roll on vinyl. Books, sandals and tacos too, though I find most of my money for those things going to vinyl these days. Once turned Prince Fielder into Justin Verlander and Paul Goldschmidt in a dynasty league. Also ashamed to say I once cut Jose Ramirez. I don't hate your favorite team unless your favorite team is the Nationals or Phillies. May or may not have cried when David Justice hit that home run in game 6 of the 95 World Series - though if you actually ask me, I'll claim I did not.

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