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NFBC Main Event Tracker: Week 13 review

What to expect from Astros prospect Bloss
Eric Samulski and Scott Pianowski discuss the Houston Astros calling up pitching prospect Jake Bloss and what to expect out of the organization's No. 10 prospect.

Better week overall and good vibes all around, except for the fact that we still can’t buy a victory. The offense came through in a big way though and other than victories (and lack of strikeouts) it was an acceptable week on the pitching side of the ledger. It’s at least enough to start swinging momentum back in the other direction finally.

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Hitting Review

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Let’s check things out on the offensive side of the ball. Another week where we got middling production overall from the catcher position, with no homers or steals from William Contreras or David Fry. They combined for just one run scored and two RBI. That’s not what we’re hoping for.

Paul Goldschmidt did his job, socking a pair of dingers and driving in four runs. Lenyn Sosa was a trainwreck in his one-week trial, going just 1-for-18 (.056) with an RBI.

Ezequiel Tovar had a down week in terms of batting average, but still homered and scored four runs. We’ll take that. Jose Ramirez continues his push for American League MVP consideration, hitting .320 with a whopping seven runs scored, a homer, five RBI and three stolen bases. Studly.

Tyler O’Neill crushed three homers early in the week before fading over the weekend. Nothing to complain about there though. Teammate Jarren Duran carried the offense again – hitting .393 with two homers, three steals, five runs scored and five RBI. Nice.

Justin Turner wound up hitting .467 for the week while crushing a homer and scoring five times. Perhaps it’s too early to write him off completely. Isiah Kiner-Falefa moved up to the leadoff spot for the Jays on Saturday and cranked a pair of solo homers. Luis Rengifo swiped a couple of bases in his two games over the weekend.

Perhaps most importantly, Randy Arozarena had a terrific all-around week. He hit .333 (7-for-21) with a homer, five RBI and three stolen bases. He has been a streaky player in the past, so let’s hope that the good vibes continue into next week.

Jurickson Profar had a couple of runs and RBI while hitting .292 for the week, but no homers or steals and he missed a game and a half with a recurrence of his knee issue.

Jake Fraley played over the weekend and got a couple of hits, but where has his power gone? Just one homer on the season in 180 at-bats? Yikes.

Looking at our weekly targets, it was nearly green across the board as the only place that we came up short was in RBI (-5.9). We just barely eked out our target in runs (+0.1) while doing work in both home runs (+2.6) and stolen bases (+3.2) and beating our average target for once.

On the season, we’ve got a surplus in runs (+23) and stolen bases (+5) while we’re chasing ground in homers (-13), RBI (-33) and batting average – though the gap is narrowing there.

Pitching Review

Week 13 Pitching.png

Things were very slow to develop on the pitching side this week. We knew that would be the case, as we went into the week likely having just seven starts lined up, but man did things really seem to crawl along for the first half of the period.

On Monday night we did have a couple of starters take the hill to kick us off for the new week. As you’ll recall from last week’s column, we made the decision to hang onto James Paxton for what was likely going to be a single-start week against the Rockies at Coors Field. There was a small chance that the Dodgers could have shifted their weekend rotation around and thrown Tyler Glasnow on Friday and Paxton again on Saturday, but they called up Landon Knack to get a spot start on Friday instead.

Paxton rewarded our faith in him though, spinning an absolute gem in the high altitude at Coors Field – allowing just one run on two hits and a walk over seven stellar innings, racking up eight strikeouts and earning a victory along the way. We may have played with fire a bit on using the Big Maple this week, so it’s nice to see this one turn out well.

The first start of the week from Carlos Rodriguez – the weak streaming double that we added via FAAB this past weekend – didn’t turn out as well. He struggled mightily in his start against the Angels, surrendering five runs (four earned) on six hits and a pair of walks over 4 2/3 innings against the Angels. Rodriguez punched out three batters in that one. We had hoped for better – especially since he was squaring off against gas can Zach Plesac – but this one didn’t go our way.

After those two starts, we had no starters scheduled to take the hill until Friday, leaving the next three days up to our bullpen to do the work. They responded in spades.

Alexis Diaz made quick work of the Pirates on Tuesday night, retiring all three batters that he faced (including a strikeout) to secure our first save of the week. Trevor Megill wasn’t expected to be needed on Tuesday, as the Brewers entered the ninth inning with a 6-0 advantage, but after the Angels scratched out three runs and had two men on with two outs, Megill was called upon to put out the fire. He made it interesting, as Taylor Ward crushed a ball to the wall in center field, but Blake Perkins made a leaping catch at the top of the wall to bring it back and seal the game – and our second save of the week.

We had picked up a couple of saves on Tuesday and brought down the ratios at least a little bit, so there was renewed optimism on the pitching side heading into Wednesday. The relievers continued to do their part there. Josh Hader allowed one hit but otherwise worked a perfect ninth inning with a strikeout against the White Sox to pick up his first save in nearly two weeks. Megill then went right back to work and needed just seven pitches to work a perfect inning (with a strikeout) to preserve a two-run lead against the Angels. Four saves on the week through Wednesday is a beautiful sight.

Thursday wasn’t as eventful, but once again we had Josh Hader doing the heavy lifting. The hard-throwing southpaw retired all three hitters that he faced against the White Sox in the ninth inning – two of them via the strikeout – to nab our fifth save of the week.

Heading into the weekend we had a grand total of just 16 innings from our pitching staff. That came with 16 strikeouts, one victory, five saves, a 2.81 ERA and a 0.75 WHIP. Hopefully we could keep the ratios down through the weekend while piling onto that strikeout total and adding at least a couple of wins over our final five starts.

There had been high hopes heading into Friday with three of our best hurlers taking the hill. That excitement wore off pretty quick though. Erick Fedde pitched well in his start against the Tigers, but the White Sox fell behind 2-1 early on and didn’t score another run. Fedde went seven strong giving up just two runs on five hits and a walk while striking out three, but sadly didn’t earn a victory for his efforts.

Ryan Pepiot did get run support in his battle against the Pirates, as he carried a 4-0 advantage into the fourth inning on Friday. He wound up recording just one out in the frame, ultimately being pulled after allowing two runs on three hits and four walks in just 3 1/3 innings while punching out three. As an extra punch to the gut, the early run support from the Rays was more than enough to hang on in that one, meaning we missed out on a golden opportunity to gain a victory.

Kutter Crawford served up three solo homers in his start against the Reds – giving up just three runs in total on five hits and two walks over 6 1/3 innings in a losing effort. At least he contributed to the cause with seven strikeouts though. Also, as an added bonus with the Reds winning that one, Diaz came on and closed out a three-run lead in the ninth inning to snag his second – and our team’s sixth – save of the week.

Overall those hurlers on Friday combined for a 3.57 ERA, 1.19 WHIP and 14 strikeouts across 17 2/3 innings of work. The ratios are fine and we’ll take the strikeouts, but not getting a win there is really going to sting. We have just one win on the week and only two starts remaining – one of them being the questionable second half of Rodriguez’s double.

The last two starts of the week on Saturday didn’t save things the way we had hoped they would. Burnes gave up four runs over seven innings against the Astros with a solid WHIP and five strikeouts. Rodriguez then went out and got crushed by the Padres – giving up four runs with a terrible WHIP over four innings and just two strikeouts.

Hader and Megill each worked another inning over the weekend – each of them with a four-run lead to protect instead of three. Fortunately, both delivered clean innings and helped out the ratios despite the fact that they didn’t accrue additional saves.

Overall on the pitching side for the week, we obviously crushed our saves target (+3.3) and did some work on the WHIP target as well. The ERA came in a bit high and we missed badly in wins (-2.9) and strikeouts (-15.4).

Overall on the season, we’re now facing a small deficit in strikeouts (-15) are more than three weeks behind the pace in wins (-13) and have closed the gap in saves to just (-1). The ratios are what they are, but the good week in WHIP definitely helped the cause.


Alright, looking ahead to FAAB for this week, I’m having a very difficult time finding players that I want to drop. It seems like most weeks here we’ve had four or five options on the squad that we’d like to swap out – with a couple of others on the fringe if we needed extra options. That’s just not the case for this week.

That’s going to be a problem for a couple of reasons.

At first glance, there are two players on the team that look like relatively easy drops for this week. One of them is Carlos Rodriguez, the double that we picked up to stream over the past week. The other is Lenyn Sosa. Despite the fact that he’s in the White Sox’ lineup on most days, he had a brutal week in our lineup this week and I think there are better hitting options out there.

Can we really afford to add another hitter though? It’s a more difficult question than you’d think. As things currently stand, we have 11 pitches on our roster. Two of those aren’t active though, as we’re still waiting on Shane Baz to be recalled from Triple-A Durham and Justin Verlander’s neck issue landed him on the injured list. That means that if we swap out Rodriguez for another arm, that arm and all other healthy arms that we have on the roster must play for us next week. It also gives us no coverage if there’s an announcement on Monday or Tuesday that a pitcher isn’t going to make his scheduled start or will land on the injured list – a la Verlander this past week.

So at a minimum, we need to add one pitcher, but in a perfect world we probably want to add two. Another wrinkle to consider is the potential to sit a closer next week. I know, we have done it once already this season with Alexis Diaz and it blew up in our faces, I get that. I also understand that we’re probably going to lose Trevor Megill as a closer when Devin Williams returns at some point in July, so we’d be wise to just pile up as many saves as we can while we have three closers. That’s a fair argument as well.

However, we have had six or more saves in each of the last two weeks while we continue to plummet down the standings in the wins category. Josh Hader is only lined up for five games next week – two against the Rockies and three against the suddenly red-hot Grimace-fueled Mets in New York. If there’s ever a time to try to sit a closer to get an extra start (or two) in the mix, a five-game week is certainly the time to do so.

So potentially, we’re set to add two pitchers to the mix this week while dropping Rodriguez and Sosa. That seems to make sense provided we can find two pitchers that we want to add this week. Here’s what’s available.

The pickings are as slim as they’ve ever been. David Peterson draws a tough start against the Yankees (that we would have to use him for) and then gets a nice double the following week at the Nationals and at the Pirates. That’s worth having on the list given the other options. Luis Medina is a complete wild card and just as likely to tank our ratios as he is to add anything of value. He gets two starts this week, both on the road at the Angels and Diamondbacks. It’s playing with fire, but he’ll be in the mix.

Taijuan Walker landed on the injured list with a blister issue, which makes Spencer Turnbull an extremely attractive target on the pitching side. He’ll take on the Tigers with a bit of added motivation against his former squad this week. I’ll put in an actual bid here and hope that it’s enough.

Mitch Spence is never a good bet for wins pitching for the A’s. He gets a single against the Angels in Los Angeles and would double against the Angels and Orioles the following week. Speaking of the Angels, Chase Silseth is another complete wild card and has been hammered on his minor league rehab assignment, but he’s likely to start against either the A’s or Tigers this week. He should probably be on the list.

Kyle Hendricks is tentatively lined up for two starts on the road against the Giants and Brewers. Can he be trusted? How about Patrick Corbin, who is scheduled to do battle against the Padres in San Diego and the Rays in Tampa Bay. These are the types of decisions that you have to make when you don’t have reliable pitching options on your bench that you can stream in each week.

Let’s take a look at what’s available on the hitting front though, to see if there’s anything else worth fighting for.

The top name available is Jonathan India. We noted in last week’s column that it was surprising to see him dropped, and it turns out that our Main Event league is the only one in which India is available this week. It would be a nice time to have a bunch of FAAB available to make a play for him, but with just $268 remaining, it’s almost impossible for us to get into that fight.

Tyler Black was recalled by the Brewers this week and has started four straight games either at first base or designated hitter. It seems like the Crew have given up on the Jake Bauers experiment, as all of Black’s playing time has been to Bauers’ detriment. He’s got an intriguing blend of power and speed and playing everyday in the powerful Brewers’ lineup should lead to plenty of counting stats. Like India, we’ll put our best foot forward, but expect to come up short.

Jesus Sanchez was on our bid list last week, and I wish that we would’ve had him a bit higher as he had a monster week at the plate including three homers. He certainly warrants interest again this time around. Jake Meyers was dropped despite the fact that he’s still hitting well and playing everyday in the middle of the Astros’ lineup. Ben Rice is getting a chance to function as the Yankees’ first baseman (at least against RHP) while Anthony Rizzo is sidelined. All of those names are interesting. So are Hunter Goodman, Daniel Schneemann and potential stashes Jordan Walker, Parker Meadows and Xander Bogaerts.

So perhaps it makes more sense to just pick up one pitcher, and add a bat to replace Sosa, resigning us to the fact that we’ll use the five-game week from Hader and won’t have coverage if any of our starters goes down.

The other alternative is finding another drop on the hitting side. In terms of looking at percentage rostered, the easy suggestion would be Mickey Moniak. The problem with that, is that he has an incredibly juicy schedule lined up for next week. In the front half of the week, he gets four right-handers – three from the Athletics and Kenta Maeda. It doesn’t get any better than that. I get that he’s been pretty terrible overall for the season and some of the potential long-term upgrades would be better plays. Maybe he’ll find his way into a drop list. Maybe.

After that though, what are the options? Giving up on Max Kepler, Jake Fraley or Jo Adell? I’m not ready to cut bait with any of them just yet and think that if they were thrown back to the wolves that each would be among the top names available next week.

The other alternative, spurs a popular debate that happened amongst some high-stakes fantasy managers on X over the past week. Mike Kurland got some flak for dropping Ryan Jeffers – arguably a top-10 catcher – as he had two other strong options at the position with Sean Murphy back and preferred the better roster flexibility to carrying a third catcher that he couldn’t use. Some brilliant minds in the fantasy space stood by the King in his decision to drop the third catcher while other great players couldn’t fathom doing so. It’s not quite at the level of Jeffers, but perhaps as early as this week we have a decision to make with David Fry. Willson Contreras is progressing on his minor league rehab assignment and should be back any day now. Fry – despite the fact that he carried our offense for a couple of weeks – has cooled off considerably since then and is unlikely to crack our starting lineup if he’s not catching. If there’s word that Contreras is set to return early in the week, should we consider dropping Fry? He does have outfield eligibility and plays much more than your average catcher, I just can’t envision using him as an outfielder as all of his value comes from the production that he provides at the catcher position. As an added wrinkle to that wrinkle, Fry was also removed from Sunday’s game due to inflammation in his elbow and will head for further testing. It’s probably a wait a week and see type of situation.

Most likely we’ll stick with Rodriguez and Sosa as the drops for this week, with Moniak being a possibility on some bid lists if it means getting someone we don’t think should be available to us, or the chance of adding a potential double that we may sneak in.

FAAB Review

Like last week, I’m heading into the results cautiously optimistic. I don’t expect to land either of the top hitting targets (India or Black) but would love to somehow come away with Turnbull. More realistically though, it’ll probably be something like Hunter Goodman, Kyle Hendricks and Patrick Corbin.

Jesus Sanchez – who we really probably should have added last week – was the top pickup in the league this week, going to Phil Dussault for $62 ($20). Jake Meyers went for the same amount to league leader Griffin Benger with a runner-up bid of $11. Would have been nice to add either of them, but knew that they were out of our price range.

Phil also added Ben Rice for $44 ($33). He appears to be an attractive catching target as he’ll play regularly at first base while Rizzo is sidelined. He was on my list, but again nowhere near the price that he ultimately raked in.

Aroldis Chapman pulled in a $37 bid with a runner-up of $15. With David Bednar hitting the injured list on Sunday that makes complete sense. With three closers already in tow though, that wasn’t a place that I was looking for this week.

Disappointment hit home seeing Turnbull go for a bid of $36 ($34). He would’ve looked awfully nice on our pitching staff for next week. Now I get to root against him.

Phil added to his big week on offense by snagging Jonathan India as well for $35 ($20). We were in the range of the runner-up bid there. He has already added Sanchez, Rice and India to his squad this week and we’re only six names deep onto the list.

He wasn’t finished though. Phil also added Hunter Goodman for $28 ($14). Another savvy addition who should gain catcher eligibility this week. When you conserve FAAB early in the season, you can have weeks where you stockpile talent like this. He’s poised for a big move.

Is everyone sleeping on Tyler Black? Is there a chance that he could fall to us?

Heston Kjerstad pulled in a bid of $27 (unopposed). If he actually gets run this time around, that could end up looking like an absolute steal.

Phil went to the well one more time, adding Xander Bogaerts to his massive haul for the week. The bid on that one was $27, with our bid of $2 finishing as the runner-up.

Will Brennan went off the board for $20 ($8), then our reject from last week MJ Melendez reeled in $17 ($7). The second pitcher off the board for the week, Chase Silseth drew out $16 FAAB dollars with a runner-up bid of $2 (once again ours). Dominic Canzone pulled a bid of $16 ($7).

Maybe I was too high on him, but we did add Tyler Black to the roster with a bid of $16 ($8). Lenyn Sosa was the drop on that one.

David Peterson went for $12 ($6) and a few other names went that we didn’t have interest in. Then we get to another overpay on our end, Kyle Hendricks for $7 unopposed. Realistically, the bid should have been closer to $3, but he was one of the best among a group of terrible options this week. Carlos Rodriguez was the drop on that one.

We did make a third addition as well, a really cringy two-start week from Luis Medina for $3 (unopposed) with Moniak as the drop.

In total, we spent $26 on the three additions, which was probably too much given our budget. Really need to hope that the playing time that we saw for Tyler Black this week sticks and that these doubles don’t completely tank our ratios next week.

We’re now down to just $242 remaining for the season. Phil after his massive spending spree this week sits at $292. Benger is well ahead of us at $383 while Gill is one of just three teams lower than me with $137 remaining.

Taking a quick glance at the drops from around the league, a few interesting names do stand out. Jack Suwinski, Andrew McCutchen, Steven Matz, Hector Neris, Blake Perkins, Chas McCormick and Hogan Harris are all players that I could find myself interested in next time around.

Looking Ahead

We’re going to start on the pitching side again this week since that’s where the bulk of our juicy decisions are this time around.

Since we added two sketchy doubles to the mix in Hendricks (at Giants, at Brewers) and Medina (at Angels, at Diamondbacks), we now have some decisions to make.

We’re going to assume that there’s no new information on Shane Baz prior to setting lineups on Monday. Combine that with Verlander (neck) still chilling on the injured list, that gives us 10 potential arms for nine spots. So who sits?

Burnes and Crawford have been every week starts for us, and I don’t think there’s a real reason to change that up now. Crawford has been really struggling with the long ball, but the Blue Jays’ offense has struggled in general for most of the season, so perhaps it’s a get-right spot for him.

Pepiot really struggled his last time out. He draws a single at home against the Mariners on Wednesday. The Mariners strike out a ton as a team and Pepiot has been excelling in that category. He’s probably in.

Paxton has been outstanding in each of his two starts for us and he draws a terrific matchup against the White Sox in Chicago. Combined with the fact that he could double this week (adding at the Giants on Sunday) and he has to play as well.

Fedde has been great, especially at home. He’s at home this week, despite a brutal matchup against the Dodgers. He and Pepiot are behind the other three singles for me, but it’s close between the two of them.

That then leaves just the closers. Diaz gets a seven-game week (Pirates and at Cardinals) while Megill gets six games (Rangers and Cubs). Hader gets just five (two against the Rockies and three at the Mets). Given where we currently stand with the massive deficit in wins and strong totals in saves, sitting Hader this week looks like an option.

So our choices are either to sit Hader, sit either Pepiot or Fedde for their singles, or to sit one of the doubles that we just paid in FAAB to acquire. My early lean is to add the starts and sit Hader.

On the offensive side, we actually have a decision to make at catcher for the first time all season. Since we hung onto Fry for this week and Willson Contreras is set to return on Monday, we now have three stud catchers. Fry and the elder Contreras brother each get four games while William Contreras draws three. Early lean is to play the brothers and sit Fry – especially since he left Sunday’s game with elbow soreness. He gets two LHP to start the week though, and if he’s in Monday’s lineup perhaps we’ll work him in elsewhere.

Goldschmidt, Rengifo, Ramirez, O’Neill, Arozarena, Duran, Profar, Turner and IKF look like easy starts this week. That leaves just three spots that are up in the air – shortstop, one OF and UTIL.

Tovar has been in our lineup the entire season, but there’s at least reason for consideration here as he only gets two games the first half of the week – and they’re on the road against the Astros (Brown and Arrighetti). We could swap in Miguel Rojas for three against the weak hitting of the White Sox to take his spot if we chose to.

In the outfield, Jo Adell still possesses a dazzling blend of power and speed, but he’s mired in a massive slump at the moment. If there’s ever a time to awaken though, it’s with a four-game period that includes three against the Athletics and one vs. Kenta Maeda. He’s probably in. The alternatives would be Rojas, Fraley for 4 (one LHP), Kepler for 3 (one LHP) or Fry for 4 (two LHP).

All of those outfield options, as well as Tyler Black (3 vs TEX, one LHP) make up our options for the utility spot. Early leans are to keep playing Tovar for 2 and use Adell in the outfield. I’m completely torn on that final spot though. That will wind up coming down to what lineups look like on Monday.

Where we Stand

If you’ll recall from last week, we had tumbled down the standings a bit, finishing the week at 96 league points. That had us 28 points behind Griffin Benger for the top spot in the league and 2.5 points behind Carter Gill for second place, with a 6.5 point edge on the fourth place team. We wrap up Week 13 on a bit of a higher note, climbing up to 101.5 points in the league standings. That leaves us in third place, four points behind Gill in second and 20.5 behind Benger at the top. Our margin over the fourth place team has grown to 15.5 points. It’s not much, but it’s progress.

We also entered the week in 135th place out of 855 teams in the overall standings. We have climbed inside the top 100 overall to 91st. We also entered the week in 20th place in the CLQ standings. A tough week from our DC squad hurt the cause there, but we still finished the week in 20th place.

As always, I would love to hear your feedback on what you think of the article, the team, my decision making, the emotional roller-coaster, etc. If you’d like more insights into the CLQ or why those other two teams are struggling to keep us going there, let me know. Those that have reached out so far, I can’t tell you how much it’s been appreciated. This has probably been my favorite column to write in the 12+ years that I’ve been doing this. Just drop me a line on X (@DaveShovein) and I would be happy to discuss.