Cleveland Indians Fantasy Report: Week Four


The Cleveland Indians return home for Week 4

After a long road trip that took them through most of the AL Central and ended in a rough game against Detroit, a return to some home cooked meals and a series against a suspension ravaged Kansas City is just what the doctor ordered for the Cleveland Indians. Let’s take a look at what happened in Week 3.

More from Away Back Gone

Moss-ter Mash!

I have long touted Brandon Moss as a viable fantasy option and an on-the-field upgrade over the horrible 2014 platoon of an injured Ryan Raburn and Good Guy David Murphy, but we saw exactly what he can do on Friday in Detroit. Two home runs and seven RBIs against Shane Greene and the Tigers let fantasy owners see what could be, and what hopefully will continue, in the future for Moss. With a .780 OPS and 11 RBI on the year, Moss’s numbers are on the upswing. Hold onto him if you have him, because the time to buy low was last week.

Apr 24, 2015; Detroit, MI, USA; Cleveland Indians left fielder

Michael Brantley

(23) hits a single in the first inning against the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Brantley is back!

Week 3 also saw a return to awesome for Michael Brantley. The Indians left fielder missed most of weeks 1 and 2 with back spasms, but Week 3 saw his return to excellence. Over the last 14 days (8 games) Brantley is hitting .419/.455/.516 with 5 RBI and a stolen base. He has yet to hit a home runs yet this season, but the power will come for Brantley. Last year might have been a bit of an outlier, but there is still plenty of time for him to get to 20 HRs, though I would not expect more. Enjoy the higher average and hope the power will come.

Raburn continues to roast lefties

Though he may not be fantasy relevant right now, Ryan Raburn could see his stock go up in DEEP AL only leagues and should warrant a longer look in DFS leagues when then Indians go up against a left-handed pitcher. Rayburn has produced a slash line that should earn him more playing time if it weren’t just against those lefties: .385/.391/.731. That slugging alone would place him 6th in all of baseball if he had the requisite at bats. If he were to continue this all season long, he should warrant a spot on AL only benches, but until then, just let him continue to rake.

Apr 18, 2015; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Cleveland Indians starting pitcher

Danny Salazar

(31) pitches against the Minnesota Twins in the first inning at Target Field. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports

Salazar sensational again

Salazar went seven strong innings on Friday, baffling the Detroit hitters to the tune of 11 strikeouts and only one run allowed. The good fellows over at Brooks Baseball show that Salazar had approximately the same mix of pitches he threw at Minnesota: dominated by fastballs, including some splitters to keep them off balance. On that splitter, he saw an astounding whiff rate (47.4%) and a 80% SNIPs rating (strikes not in play). Salazar pitches Wednesday against Kansas City, and looks to continue to build off of this amazing start. Get him in your lineups, but like Moss, you might have missed your buying window.

Corey can’t buy a win

Eventually, it will happen; the law of large numbers indicates that Corey has to get a win eventually. It’s not his fault, he’s been pitching great with a 2.38 FIP and a 10.08 K/9. Unfortunately, his defense has been letting him down. A .333 BABIP and 10.5 HR/FB ratio are higher than last year, but more in line with his career numbers. If you drafted Kluber in the 3rd or 4th round, it’s tough to sell, but this might be more of the Kluber we see this year with last year being his ceiling.

Week 4 preview!!

A seven game week will definitely help out those in weekly leagues. Those looking at 2 start weeks are the Klubot and Trevor Bauer. Bauer’s spot is tentative, however, after he was scratched from his start Saturday. There are no other options on the big league team so if Bauer does miss his start Tuesday, a roster move would be needed. Shawn Marcum and Bruce Chen remain options in Columbus. Salazar, TJ House and Carlos Carrasco start in the middle of the week, with House being the pitcher who should NOT be started in fantasy leagues.

Apr 23, 2015; Chicago, IL, USA; Kansas City Royals starting pitcher

Yordano Ventura

(center) talks with Chicago White Sox second baseman

Emilio Bonifacio

(64) as Chicago White Sox players fight with Kansas City Royals players in the seventh inning at U.S Cellular Field. Mandatory Credit: Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports

Kansas City’s rotation is hardly set, as almost half of it is under suspension/appeal for being involved in a bench-clearing brawl over the weekend with the White Sox. Yordano Ventura and Edison Volzquez have received 7 and 5 game suspensions, respectively. The starters are not expected to appeal and will more than likely take their suspensions. Lorenzo Cain and Kelvin Herrera were also suspended, with the Herrera suspension being more impactful and coinciding with Greg Holland‘s DL stint. The once mighty Royals bullpen is down to Wade Davis for a few days. Jason Vargas will pitch Monday, the 1st of three lefties to be seen by the Tribe in Week 4. A day off for Brandon Moss might be likely early in the week. Jeremy Guthrie is scheduled for Tuesday in a return to Cleveland that few saw coming after he almost washed out with Arizona. Ventura is scheduled to pitch Wednesday, but only time will tell if he makes that start.

Toronto comes to town sporting 2 left handed pitchers in Daniel Norris and Mark Buehrle to start off the 4 game series along with Aaron Sanchez and Drew Hutchison pitching Saturday and Sunday. Norris went seven innings, setting a career high in his rookie season, striking out 7 and allowing no home runs in his second consecutive starts. Buehrle has gotten tons of run support in every outing this year, which helps his 3-0 record. He has only seven strikeouts on the year, while giving up only 4 walks. One of those numbers is surely to change after Friday. Sanchez has had an up and down rookie season, starting 1-2 and securing his first win of the season against Baltimore last week. Throwing 5-6 different pitches and a fastball in the mid 90’s, you would think he would get more swings and misses, but according to Brooks Baseball has only 17 whiffs on the year. In comparison, Corey Kluber got 16 swing and misses on Opening Day against Houston.

Buy Low/Sell High

I’m going to start adding this section to the weekly analysis and highlight one Indians player of each you should try to buy low on and one you should sell high on.

This week’s buy low is Jason Kipnis. If you listened to me in the preseason, I suggested drafting Kipnis in the 5-6th rounds. Even though he is off to a slow start, the potential for a 20/20 season still remains. He has yet to hit a home runs and has only two steals on the year, but he continues to shoot the ball the opposite way, which keeping fielders honest and not setting up on a shift.

This week’s sell high would be Carlos Carrasco. It’s been a tough year for Cookie, and while it pains me to say this since I have him on two of my five teams, he is a sell high candidate. He got beat around early and often by Detroit on Sunday and got pulled from his start on Tuesday after 60 pitches for a cramping issue. It appears to be nothing, but still, keep an eye on his situation and see if someone else buys in. Don’t make a deal unless you are getting paid handsomely.

Next: The Missing Weapon in Cleveland: Crowd Noise