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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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Adam Eaton calls Todd Frazier ‘childish’ after the ex-teammates get into it again

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Adam Eaton calls Todd Frazier ‘childish’ after the ex-teammates get into it again

NEW YORK -- Normal is not something the Nationals do this season.

Monday’s pivot from the mundane -- an otherwise run-of-the-mill 5-3 baseball game -- came when Adam Eaton was jogging toward the visitors dugout in the bottom of the third inning when he stopped to respond to New York third baseman Todd Frazier, whom Eaton said was chirping at him all night.

This is not new. The two were teammates on the Chicago White Sox in 2016 and did not get along. Last year, Frazier and Eaton also had an exchange. The one Monday night at Citi Field prompted several members of the Nationals to hop over the dugout railing while Frazier and Eaton were being restrained near the first base bag. First base umpire Mike Estabrook cutoff Eaton who was walking toward Frazier after initially heading to the dugout following a 4-6-3 double play which ended the inning for the Nationals. When Frazier came toward the Mets dugout from his position at third base, the two began their spat.

Afterward, Frazier declined to comment in the Mets’ clubhouse, saying only, “It was nothing.” Eaton took the opportunity to expound on his displeasure with the incident, its continuation and Frazier himself.

“Yeah, I don’t know,” Eaton said. “Gosh, who knows what goes through that guy’s mind? He’s chirping all the way across the infield. He must really like me, [because] he wants to get my attention it seems like every time we come into town, he really cares what I think about him. I don’t know what his deal is, if he wants to talk to me in person or have a visit or what it is. But he’s always yelling across the infield at me, making a habit of it.

“He’s one of those guys who always says it loud enough that you hear it but can’t understand it. So, he’s making a habit of it. I ignored him a couple times chirping coming across, but I had it to the point where I’m not going to say the saying I want to say but you got to be a man at some point. So, I turned around, had a few choice words with him. It’s funny, I was walking towards him, he didn’t really want to walk towards me but as soon as someone held him back then he was all of a sudden he was really impatient, like trying to get towards me. Just being Todd Frazier. What’s new?”

Asked if he is surprised such exchanges are still happening three years after they played together, Eaton said he was.

“Yes, absolutely,” Eaton said. “He’s very childish. I’m walking with my head down, play’s over, I’m walking away. I can still hear him. I’m a 30-year-old man with two kids, got a mortgage and everything. He wants to loud talk as he’s running off the field. At the end of the day, I got to be a man about it. I tried to stay patient with the childishness, but it is what it is. I got to stand up eventually.”

He did, and what could have been merely Game 47 for a struggling team turned out to be something else.

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Patrick Corbin’s rough beginning a hole Nationals can’t emerge from

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Patrick Corbin’s rough beginning a hole Nationals can’t emerge from

NEW YORK -- The Washington Nationals lost to the New York Mets, 5-3, Monday to drop their record to 19-28. Here are five observations from the game…

1. A wondrous, very Mets day preceded the game.

Their general manager, Brodie Van Wagenen, held a press conference to announce...Yoenis Cespedes -- already out because of dual heel surgeries -- suffered multiple ankle fractures during a ranch accident over the weekend. Van Wagenen then went on to profess his support for maligned New York manager Mickey Callaway -- for the most part. Last, and most important to writers, three boxes of donuts were in the press box with a note: “Have a great series! -- BVW”.

Things are always a little different in Flushing. That was a problem for the Nationals.

In what could be labeled a “reverse-lock” situation, Washington’s $140 million starter, Patrick Corbin, was outpitched by unknown and often ineffective Wilmer Font, whom the Nationals smacked around just five days ago. The Nationals, as they often do, dragged themselves back into the game after trailing 4-0. A Juan Soto single drove in Anthony Rendon in the eighth to cut the lead to 4-3. Rendon was on base four times.

And, again, it was just enough to produce a close loss. Washington put two runners on with none out against dynamic New York closer Edwin Diaz before Kurt Suzuki flew out, Trea Turner grounded into a fielder's choice and Adam Eaton flew out.

The Nationals drop to nine games under .500 following one-run and two-run defeats. They also fell to 2-14 in series openers.

2. A rough, short evening for Corbin.

He trudged through the night on 98 pitches. Corbin lasted just five innings. He walked three, gave up four earned runs, struck out seven.

His night was a mess early. Amed Rosario and Pete Alonso homered in the first inning. Two walks in the third -- one with two outs -- led to two more runs scoring. He zipped through the fourth and fifth before being removed.

Corbin has endured two blowups this season in an otherwise quality first two months: Monday and April 29 against St. Louis. The latter outing featured four walks and a homer allowed against one of the league’s better offenses. Monday’s bad outing came against a Mets lineup which did not feature Robinson Cano to start and entered the evening 21st in wOBA.

Bad timing. Bad night.

3. Tanner Rainey made his Nationals debut Monday. He was interesting.

Rainey gave up a hustle double to pinch-hitter Cano -- yes, hustle and Cano -- but otherwise showed a sharp fastball-slider combination.

Rainey was the return for Tanner Roark in the offseason trade that sent Roark to Cincinnati during the Winter Meetings.

He has command trouble. He also throws 98-100 mph with ease. Asked in spring training where that velocity comes from, Rainey said his legs and weight lifting. No secret sauce. He lifted more, he threw harder. And he subsequently repeated the process.

Rainey’s velocity will always intrigue. The question is if he can command his two-pitch arsenal enough to become an actual bullpen weapon. The baseline tools are there.

4. A shuffle in the relief corps is coming.

Tony Sipp (oblique) was activated from the 10-day injured list Monday. Dan Jennings was designated for assignment. That experiment is over. Jennings signed a minor-league contract April 15. He was in the majors April 30. He’s gone less than a month later. He did not pitch well.

The Nationals claimed right-handed Javy Guerra off waivers Monday. Guerra was designated for assignment by Toronto. Guerra pitched 14 innings for the Blue Jays this season, with a 3.86 ERA and 3.17 FIP. In other words, distinctly better than most in the Nationals bullpen.

Washington expects Guerra to arrive in New York on Tuesday. Kyle McGowin is likely to be sent back to Triple-A Fresno to make room. So, two fresh pitchers in the bullpen early in the week.

Trevor Rosenthal should also be back shortly. He is expected to throw an inning for Double-A Harrisburg on Tuesday. Rainey will likely be sent back to the minor leagues to make room there.

And, a situation in West Palm Beach, Fla., to keep an eye on: reliever Austen Williams had to be shut down to allow his shoulder to rest. Williams threw 40 pitches at the spring training facility the first week of May, when he appeared on his way back from the 10-day injured list. However, he has stopped throwing after experiencing further shoulder soreness. He was placed on the injured list April 19 because of a sprained right AC joint.

5. Matt Adams worked with the team on the field Monday, which he expects to do the next two days.

He’s on the verge of being activated before the week is out.

“I watched him [Monday] and he took some really good swings,” Martinez said. “We’ll see how he feels [Tuesday]. I’m assuming that he might be a little sore, because he did take some swings and he’s going to continue to do baseball activities [Monday]. But we’ll see how he feels.”

Adams’ 15-day absence has handcuffed Martinez in multiple ways. Take Sunday. Right-handed slider-thrower Steve Cishek on the mound. Left-handed hitters’ OPS against Cishek is 143 points higher than right-handers. But, no Adams meant no left-handed pinch-hitter.

Those issues should be over soon.

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