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More Fantasy Baseball: Hitting category fixes

With the rise of Daily Fantasy, it feels like the Fantasy community as a whole has become much sharper with pitcher matchups. This is true when comes to starting pitchers versus a given team, of course. But where I’ve really noticed it has been in the way Fantasy owners view performances against bad offenses.

That helps explain why no one was running to the waiver wire last night for Jordan Lyles.

Lyles held the Marlins to two runs over seven innings Thursday to pick up his second win of the season. It was the Marlins, yes, but this wasn’t the first time Lyles has looked good this year. In his first start of the season he only gave up one earned run to the Cardinals. Five days later he shut out the Rockies for 7.1 innings while striking out 10. All told, Lyles has made five starts since the Padres moved him to the rotation and owns a 3.64 ERA with 9.4 K/9. 

I wrote after Lyles’ second start that there were some encouraging signs underlying his performance, and most of those still hold true. He’s still throwing his off-speed stuff more than ever and he’s still getting more swinging strikes than he ever has. He does seem to have lost some of the velocity he had earlier in the year, but he’s still pounding the zone and getting ahead of hitters.

I’m not ready to say that Lyles will be start-able all year in Fantasy, but he definitely deserves to be owned in more than 26 percent of leagues.

Seranthony Dominguez is going to surrender a run at some point. He may even walk someone. He’s also going to get the occasional two-inning save, it seems. After another scoreless outing on Thursday, Dominguez has thrown 13.2 innings of scoreless ball, striking out 15 while allowing just two hits. He’s getting a ton of swinging strikes (18.2 percent) and ground balls (55.6 percent).

I don’t expect Dominguez will be named the closer anytime soon, but I do think he figures to see more of a Josh Hader-type role in the Phillies bullpen, and I expect double-digit saves. He should be universally owned and started in categories leagues, and he’s a decent option in points leagues because he pitches multiple innings per outing.

Don Mattingly is finally tired of watching Brad Ziegler lose baseball games. Enter Kyle Barraclough, the first contestant in the search for the new Marlins closer. Barraclough has thrown 187.1 big-league innings and owns a 2.69 ERA and 11.8 K/9. He has a 1.48 ERA this season, but before you spend all of your FAAB, there are some red flags here.

According to FIP, Barraclough’s best year was 2016, and his second best year was 2015. This year he has a 4.07 FIP and his K rate has been around 27 percent for the past two years. That’s not a bad K rate for a pitcher with good control, but Barraclough owns a BB/9 over five. This may not end well.

In a league where you’re desperate for saves, Barraclough is a must-add, no doubt. I’d spend 10-15 percent of my FAAB on him. But in a standard points league, or a league where there are saves available on the waiver wire, I would take a more cautious approach.

I didn’t want to write about Wade LeBlanc I’m not convinced he’s good at all. But it’s June 1, he’s got a 2.60 ERA, and he’s 13 percent owned. We at least need to take a longer look. 

The good is that LeBlanc has shown elite control (1.8 BB/9) and limited hard contact (26.8 percent). The bad is he still has a well-below-average strikeout rate (19.1 percent), he’s only reached six innings twice all year, and his peripherals still say he’s average at best. 

At the beginning of the year I wasn’t considering LeBlanc anything more than a pitcher to attack with my hitters. That perception has changed. I’d now consider him a streamer depending on the matchups. Next week he’s at Houston, so you can leave him on the waiver wire.

I had really hoped that Paul DeJong’s DL stint would mean consistent plate appearances for Jedd Gyorko, but it looks like Yairo Munoz has other ideas. A walkoff home run on Thursday extended his hitting streak to six games, and since May 22 he owns a .452/.485/.677 slash line. 

At the very least, Munoz has earned himself the lion’s share of work at short until DeJong returns. That makes him close to a must-own in NL-only Roto leagues and someone I would consider in a mixed Roto league of 16 teams or more. Munoz has decent speed and good contact skills, so while I don’t think he’ll keep this up,  he should be a decent source of average with a few steals.

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