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Fantasy Baseball Outlook: Week 10

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Fantasy Baseball Outlook: Week 10

June is here! Congratulations, you've only got four months left until you bring home that sweet fantasy baseball trophy. Hopefully, you've take our advice in the early going and have started to build a nice lead in your league's standings. If not, no worries. It's not to late to start dominating your league, and even the smalled piece of advice can have a big impact on the margins of your roster.

It's a light week on the MLB schedule, so this will be a little shorter than usual. Never fear, though. As I said, little nuggets can make a big difference. Good luck this week!

NOTE: Don’t expect to see guys like Bryce Harper or Trea Turner mentioned too often. They are clear must-starts every week. Don’t overthink it.

Week 8 (5/21-5/27)

One Nationals pitcher to start: The usual guys (Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg, and Gio Gonzalez)

None of the fringe starters in the Nats rotation (and I do mean fringe in fantasy terms; each starter has been excellent in real life) will pitch twice this week, and the matchups are good, but not good enough to give a strong recommend to anyone beyond the must-starts. It's obvious, but that doesn't make it wrong. Start these three with confidence, as you do every week, and hold off on the other guys for this period.

One Nationals position player to start: Juan Soto

I'm including the 19-year old phenom just two weeks after advising you to sit him. We stand by the logic, but it appears Soto is the rare teenager who is ready to hit major league pitching. He's hitting .349/.429/.558 with a wRC+ of 167 two weeks into his career, and has more than earned an everyday spot in a strong Nationals lineup.

Eventually, major league pitchers will adjust to Soto, but for now, it's perfectly acceptable (and even encouraged) to ride the hotshot rookie's hot streak.

One Nationals pitcher to sit: Everyone besides the usual guys

As mentioned above, this is a straightforward week for the Nats pitching staff. Look elsewhere when filling out your rotation beyond the top three guys. 

One Nationals player to sit: Matt Adams, 1B

Adams has been a revelation to countless fantasy owners this season, and it's always fun when a low-profile player swings above his weight for a while. That said, Adams fouled a ball off his foot on Saturday and didn't play on Sunday, and with Mark Reynolds swinging a hot bat off the bench the Nats have no incentive to rush Adams back before he's fully healthy. With only five games slated for this week, and Adams potentially banged up for a few of them, it's definitely not worth using him.

Any 2-start pitchers for the Nationals this week?

Nope. As mentioned above, there are only five games scheduled this week.

Any 2-start pitchers worth streaming around MLB this week?

Sean Manaea of the Oakland Athletics has regressed in a major way since his stellar April, but May is now behind us and he's got some nice matchups this week in the form of the Rangers and the Royals, two of the six worst offenses in the American League. It's a pretty light week for streaming options, but in case anyone decided to drop Manaea after his horrid May, it's worth remembering that pitchers are humans two, and sometimes the simple transition between months can have a nice mental bounceback effect for guys in a slump.

If he had two poor matchups, we'd probably avoid him, but it's worth throwing Manaea back in your lineups for this week, recent struggles be darned.

One player you might not realize you should pick up: Ross Stripling, SP (Dodgers) 

As a reliver-turned-starter who still has relief pitcher elgibility, Stripling is already appealing in points leagues thanks to his dual-eligibility. As a nice bonus, he's been pitching really well so far in 2018, and looks like this year's version of Alex Wood (though that comparison is a little too easy given they play for the same organization).

Regardless, Stripling currently has a 1.68 ERA with 59 strikeouts in 48 innings, so his stuff has played up this season even with the move out of the comforts of the rotation. With the Dodgers' littany of health woes in their rotation, their appears to be a clear need for Stripling to keep making starts, and as long as he keeps mowing down hitters, he'll make a sneaky-valuable addition to any fantasy roster.

One player you might not realize you should drop: Hanley Ramirez, 1B (Unemployed) 

This is almost too easy. Ramirez was designated for assignment by the Red Sox in a stunning move last week, and fantasy owners can take this as a clear sign to drop the former star shortstop. The Sox are competing for a World Series this year and have a ton of money committed to Ramirez, so they had as much incentive as anyone to hold onto him in the hopes that he can turn around his horrid May. Yet, they were willing to waive him after his most recent hitless streak. 

Some fantasy pundits recommended holding Ramirez to see where he lands, but please feel free to drop him. Frankly, he wouldn't have lost his job win Boston if there was much left in his bat, and he's either going to end up in a worse lineup (don't forget just how much hitting with the Red Sox has helped his and everyone else's numbers) or on another good team that won't have any patience with him. If you decided to keep Ramirez on your bench for the time being, now is the time to re-evaluate that decision and find a better high-upside player for your roster. 

MORE NATS NEWS:

- Great Expectations: Looking at Soto's future
- Rankings Update: Where did the Nats fall?
- Harper Homers: See every Bryce Bomb

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MLB return: Schedules of other leagues show how much baseball is scrambling

MLB return: Schedules of other leagues show how much baseball is scrambling

The NBA appeared to pull things together Wednesday, following the NHL.

Basketball is expected to return July 31 in Orlando with an inventive, though truncated, format. A quick eight-game wrap to the regular season will be followed by the playoffs, according to ESPN. All in one place. The NHL will not start training camp before July 1. It has not determined when the playoffs may begin. The league shelved the regular season but will use “hub cities” for a playoff tournament when they deem it safe. No date has been set yet.

Meanwhile, Major League Baseball is trying to launch itself via a much quicker, and earlier, timeline.

Officials want to play at the end of June or start of July. They are currently haggling to get there.

Multiple reports earlier in the week said the league was considering a 50-game schedule. This is not an authentic pursuit of playing just 50 games. Rather, it was a fist clench from league commissioner Rob Manfred against the players’ insistence their prorated salaries will be the lone salary cut. Manfred is suggesting if that is true, then he has the right to dictate scheduling.

The players previously suggested a 114-game schedule. The number between the two proposals -- 82 -- remains the most-likely outcome.

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But, baseball continued its jousting and contorting and time loss Wednesday, jeopardizing the entire process. After rejecting the 114-game proposal, the owners said they would not send a counter, according to The Athletic. Further, the league said it has started talks with owners about playing a shorter season without fans, The Athletic reported. This brings the 50-game scenario back into play.

The calendar is not baseball’s friend in the near-term or around the bend. Pushing the season further into the fall and winter increases risk and logistical problems. It also cuts the offseason down.

Blitzing toward a start time with multiple questions about health and the coronavirus still unanswered delivers another set of problems. Baseball needs to race to a start so it can have a legitimate season and acceptable chance at a finish. Most of the prospective money for the season would be delivered by the playoffs. Playing without a postseason would fall into the “something-is-better-than-nothing” category, but barely. Playing a short season would also only amplify the risk-reward questions for the players. Why put so much on the line for 50 games? Or even 82?

And, don’t think both sides are not currently keeping score for the winter of 2021, after the current collective bargaining agreement expires. A brutish labor fight was already coming. Rule changes, perhaps league realignment, the typical eye-gouging over the splits of cash. The core of mistrust for players remains in place: The owners have not shown their full financial situation. Until that changes, both sides will be shouting from bunkers, no-man’s land in between them, whispering to each other how vile the other side is. Agreements are hard to come by in those circumstances.

Sunday marks the close to the first week of June. Players want three weeks of spring training. They also want to start the season sometime between June 30 and July 4. Which means if they can’t suddenly construct a bridge in the next handful of days, they have a week to pull everything together. The other leagues used creativity, an expanded timetable and risk reduction to present viable ways forward. Baseball has deployed none of that to this point.

Stay connected to the Capitals and Wizards with the MyTeams app. Click here to download for comprehensive coverage of your teams.

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Potential Nationals draft pick Cole Wilcox shows pitchers are athletes too

Potential Nationals draft pick Cole Wilcox shows pitchers are athletes too

With a little over a week left until the start of the 2020 MLB amateur draft, teams are combing over every bit of game footage they have to finalize their top targets for the first round.

Georgia right-handed pitcher Cole Wilcox, who’s been matched up with the Nationals in several mock drafts, made sure scouts got a look at another video of him showing off his athleticism—albeit one off the diamond.

Wilcox has apparently taken offense to the popular opinion that pitchers aren’t athletes. Hoping to put that narrative to rest, he made sure the camera was rolling when he pulled off this impressive trick shot.

The Nationals are slated in the first round at No. 22 overall, putting them right in the middle of the target range in which Wilcox is expected to be picked. If he’s still available when they’re on the clock, his display of athleticism certainly won’t be counted against him.

Stay connected to the Capitals and Wizards with the MyTeams app. Click here to download for comprehensive coverage of your teams.

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