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Fantasy Baseball Outlook: Week 7

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Fantasy Baseball Outlook: Week 7

It's May 14th, the season is more than six weeks old and the Nats are finally playing great baseball. As fun as it is to follow a team that seemingly can't lose, it's also still important to focus on your fantasy team (if you care about winning, that is). This is the time of year when apathy starts to set in for fantasy owners who have gotten off to slow starts, and it's up to you to take advantage.

It's never easy paying close attention to everything going on throughout Major League Baseball during the grind of the regular season, but don't let that keep you from putting forth your best possible roster. As always, we're here to help. It's your team, and your decisions you ultimately have to deal with, but that doesn't mean you can't turn to us for advice every once in a while.

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 7 (5/14-5/20)

One Nationals pitcher to start: Max Scherzer

Yes, this is the most duh advice we could possibly give. Obviously, you're starting the number one player in most fantasy scoring formats this season. This is mainly to highlight the fact that there are no borderline playable starters on the Nats worth using this week.

The rotation as a whole has been great this season, but with only five games on the docket and all coming against the Yankees and Dodgers, this is a week to avoid everyone but the studs.

One Nationals position player to start: Pedro Severino, C

With Matt Wieters hurting, Severino has a clear opportunity to get most of the starts, and that rings especially true given the matchups this week. With only five games, Severino could find himself with every catcher at-bat this week, and he has ranked against lefties all season long with a .389 batting average.

Catcher has been a notorious wasteland in fantasy baseball this season, so anywhere you can find quality at-bats is worth looking into. Severino almost certainly isn't owned in your league, and he should provide value over the next five games at least.

One Nationals pitcher to sit:  Jeremy Hellickson

Hellickson has pitched well this season, especially during the month of May so far. That said, it's been well-documented that Dave Martinez wants him to avoid facing opposing lineups for a third time through the order, and the limit on his innings is probably too much to overcome for him to be valuable in a one-start week.

Innings are the biggest market inefficiency in Major League Baseball right now, and starting a pitcher who is all but guaranteed to give you fewer than six innings in a given week isn't the way to exploit the current status quo.

One Nationals player to sit: Matt Adams, 1B

We recommended him last week, but this week we're singing a different tune. Not only are the Nats facing tough matchups in their limited number of games, but it's likely that three of their five games will be started by lefties. As dominant as Matt Adams has been this season, and it has been quite impressive, he has still struggled against southpaws, hitting just .250 with just one of his home runs.

It's fair to want to keep riding his hot streak while he's seeing the ball so well, but you have to play the odds here, and his numbers against lefties just aren't worth using in most lineups.

Any 2-start pitchers for the Nationals this week?

Nope. The Nats get both Monday and Thursday off, meaning they only play five games this week, so each pitcher will get just one start.

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

Jack Flaherty of the St. Louis Cardinals is my favorite option this week. One of the top pitching prospects in baseball, Flaherty is only as available as he is in most leagues due to a lack of opportunity in the Cardinals starting rotation. Now that a few of their pitchers are banged up, Flaherty is back in the big leagues.

He's the type of guy whose talent you trust in, regardless of Major League experience or matchup. In a week where a talent like that takes the mound twice? Sign me up, and hope that he performs well enough to earn consistent starts going forward. 

One player you might not realize you should pick up: Seung Hwan-Oh, RP (Blue Jays) 

Oh hasn't been the clear option to replace Roberto Osuna (who was recently arrested)  just yet, but he seems to be the more talented reliever over Tyler Clippard, and he has far more closing experience. The fact that he hasn't gotten the ninth-inning opportunities just yet means he might be available in your league, and if he is, he's worth a speculative add.

Saves are often difficult to come by in competitive leagues, so any time a guy comes along who could end up in the closer's role for a quality team, he's worth owning in all but the shallowest of formats. If he's available, pick him up right away, and if he continues to not earn save opportunities, he'll make for an easy drop the next time you need a roster spot.

One player you might not realize you should drop: Aaron Hicks, OF (Yankees) 

Hicks has been a popular sleeper candidate for a couple of years now, and early on this season, it appeared 2018 might be the season it finally happened. Unfortunately for him, as has been the case all too often, he found himself dealing with an injury right as he was getting hot. Now, he's struggling to find his stroke again.

Hicks is batting just .213 on the year, and his four stolen bases and spot in the best lineup in baseball aren't nearly enough to overcome his slump. Keep Hicks on your scout team in case he starts to get hot again, but for the time being, consider him very droppable if you're looking to make a change in your outfield.


- Cause For Concern?: How worried should Nats fans be?

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Nats prospect update: Three minor-leaguers sent to Kansas City for Kelvin Herrera

Nats prospect update: Three minor-leaguers sent to Kansas City for Kelvin Herrera

The biggest story in Nationals prospects this week is the three Washington lost to the Royals in return for closer Kelvin Herrera. Here’s a look at what the Nationals gave up to add more depth to the bullpen.

Kelvin Gutierrez, AA 3B

The infielder, formerly on the Nationals’ 40-man roster, has posted a .285/.344/.388 line through his six-season minor league tenure. One of his greatest strengths is his speed, with 55 career stolen bases and 14 extra-base hits this season. His other notable tool is his powerful arm strength, which may help explain his transition from shortstop to the hot corner.

Blake Perkins, High A OF

The Nationals chose outfielder Blake Perkins in the second round of the 2015 draft. He has quite a bit of room to improve at the plate, batting .234/.344/.290 this season in Hagerstown. However, what he lacks offensively, he makes up for in the outfield. According to Baseball America’s Kyle Glaser, Perkins has “plus speed, mature instincts, excellent routes and an above-average arm.”

Yohanse Morel, RHP

The biggest wild card of the group, Morel is a 17-year-old outfielder-turned-pitcher from the Dominican Republic. His fastball reaches 95 mph and he certainly has huge potential for growth. He has not yet pitched in the U.S. since making his professional debut in the Dominican Summer League in early June.

So, what did the Nationals gain?

Right-handed closer Kelvin Herrera is a two-time All-Star who is currently in the midst of a stellar season. In his Nats debut, he needed just six pitches to shut down the Orioles in the eight. The team is reportedly (and understandably) thrilled to have Herrera joining the roster. Adam Eaton said, "I'm so happy he's here and he's on my team and I don't have to face him anytime in the near future."

Latest Nationals News:

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Orioles weather long rain delay in 3-0 win over Nationals

Orioles weather long rain delay in 3-0 win over Nationals

WASHINGTON -- The rain was heavy and relentless. As the puddles grew deeper on the tarp at Nationals Park, the Baltimore Orioles were left to wonder if their bid for a rare road victory would be thwarted by, of all things, the weather.

During a season in which very little has worked in their favor, the Orioles withstood a long rain delay to beat the Washington Nationals 3-0 Wednesday night.

Baltimore led 2-0 after four innings when play was stopped. After a wait of 2 hours, 43 minutes, the game resumed with a few hundred fans from the announced crowd of 32,153 sprinkled around the lower seating bowl.

Mark Trumbo homered for Baltimore, and Andrew Cashner and four relievers combined on a five-hitter in a game that ended long after midnight.

"It was nice," Trumbo said. "I'm glad that we actually kept the game going. Had we not been able to, it might have been a wash. But it ended up being pretty big for us."

Baltimore ended a six-game losing streak to Washington that began last May, won for only the fourth time in 20 games and improved the majors' worst road record to 10-28.

This one was worth the wait.

"It's never easy, especially when you get over the hour mark, two-hour mark," Trumbo said. "Then you have to restart. It's almost two games in one, so, great job by our guys tonight."

The Nationals managed only two hits following the delay, both in the ninth inning.

"It happens. You can't do anything about the rain," manager Dave Martinez said. "You've got to come out and get yourself ready to play. I'm not going to make any excuses."

The rain delay cut short a solid pitching performance by Cashner, who allowed three hits and no walks over four innings in his return from an 11-day stay on the disabled list with back spasms.

Miguel Castro (2-2) followed with two hitless innings, Darren O'Day pitched a perfect seventh and Zach Britton got four outs.

Brad Brach allowed the Nationals to load the bases with two outs in the ninth before striking out Mark Reynolds .

Trumbo hit a two-run homer in the second inning off Gio Gonzalez (6-4), and for a while it appeared the drive would be washed out by the rain.

"One pitch. That was the whole game," Gonzalez lamented. "That was it."

Indeed, it all ended well for the Orioles, who added a run in the sixth when Adam Jones doubled off Shawn Kelley and scored on a sacrifice fly by Danny Valencia .