Cleveland Indians Fantasy Report: Week Five


Week Four saw a return to excellence in Jason Kipnis. Could the rest of the offense be far behind?

Week four is in the books with mixed results; the bats have come alive, to a point, while the starting pitching has seen some rough outings. Let’s first look back at Week four for your Cleveland Indians and get into Week five.

More from Away Back Gone

Jason Kipnis moves up and comes alive

Sometimes, lineup spots just click with hitters. Jason Kipnis seems to really enjoy being the leadoff man for the Tribe, a spot he hit briefly in last year while Michael Bourn was on the disabled list.

That kind of production is what we expected out of Kipnis coming into the year and is a sight that excites many a Tribe fan, myself included. Michael Bourn was removed from the spot, mercifully, last Saturday and since the promotion to the top spot, Kipnis has been one of the best hitters in the game. He has not been the prototypical leadoff man, only seeing 3.66 pitches per at bat, but being aggressive has its benefits. He has 3 HRs in his last 8 games, with 5 RBI and 6 runs scored, he has hopefully brought victory to those that were still holding on to him. It might be too late to buy in on him now. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

May 3, 2015; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Indians left fielder

Michael Brantley

(23) hits an RBI single during the fifth inning against the Toronto Blue Jays at Progressive Field. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

Dr. Smooth delivers

Michael Brantley continues to be on a tear since returning from the DL, slashing .338/.384/.485 on the year. He hit his first home run of the season this week and racked up 2 stolen bases as well. The power/speed combo will keep him near the top of fantasy league rankings for the year, as he is a legit 20/20 contender, while the high average can help make up for other holes in your lineup. You might be able to buy in on Brantley if his owner is frustrated with his lack of home runs, but his recent hot streak probably has owners holding onto him.

Kluber continues to battle, come up winless 

Cy Young winner Corey Kluber remains winless and has labored through the year. Over the last 14 days, opponents are hitting a ridiculous .397/.440/.605. off of him. His velocity has held strong, routinely hitting 93-95, so an injury does not seem to be the issue. If you were to ask Kluber, and beat writer Jordan Bastian did, he would say its his sequencing that is off.

If you look at last year’s numbers at this point in the season compared this year’s numbers, they are almost exactly the same.

Buy low on Kluber while you can. The high BABIP is a precursor of things reverting back to the mean. He had a BABIP last year of .316 and in 2013 of .329. If he can settle in between those two, he can still be a top 10 starting pitcher in fantasy. Someone in your league probably thinks the shine is off the apple and that last year was smoke and mirrors. Go after Kluber and hard.

Week Five preview!

An off day Monday gives us only one 2-start pitcher this week in Danny Salazar, who is going up against the Kansas City Royals on Tuesday and Minnesota at home on Sunday. The starter for Saturday is to be determined with TJ House hitting the DL last week. Options include Shawn Marcum and Bruce Chen in Columbus as well as Zach McAllister, but McAllister seems to have settled down in the bullpen and found a home. Those in leagues that value holds should definitely look to lock up ZMac.

Apr 26, 2015; Detroit, MI, USA; Cleveland Indians designated hitter

Ryan Raburn

(9) hits an RBI double in the second inning against the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

The Cleveland Indians are going up against two lefties to start the week in Jason Vargas and Danny Duffy. If you are looking for a hot hand, Ryan Raburn has slash line of .395/.415/.632 on the season, but only 4 of his 41 plate appearances have been against right-handed pitchers. With those two left-handers on the bump, Raburn could be a good plugin for those in daily leagues or DFS formats. Edison Volquez will get the start on Thursday, coming off a 2-1 loss to Detroit, where he struck out four and walked three.

The Tribe will return home to face Minnesota for a three-game weekend series on Friday. This could see the return of Nick Swisher to the 25 man roster off the disabled list, with a roster move forthcoming on Saturday for the starting pitcher as well. You don’t want any part of Swisher in fantasy until he proves himself healthy and rehabbed. The three righties facing the Indians, Mike Pelfrey, Phil Hughes and Trevor May, would all indicate starting days for Brandon Moss and at least one start for David Murphy. May comes into Sunday’s start with a 7.5 K/9 rate, the highest of the probable starters for the Twins.

Buy low

As I stated above, try your best to buy low on Corey Kluber, and all of the Indians starting pitching, if possible. The bullpen has given up some leads to rob the starters of wins, which won’t happen every game. Fantasy owners could be getting frustrated with the lack of wins out of Kluber, Carlos Carrasco and Trevor Bauer, but all will continue to provide good strikeout totals and double-digit wins by season’s end. Danny Salazar is a must start for fantasy owners this week with his 2-start week.

Sell High

With the win/loss column not looking the best, there are very few sell high candidates on the roster, but by following the rules (which I myself put in place) I would have to select Jason Kipnis. His current streak while hitting from the leadoff spot will cool off, but not by much. Maybe find someone who believes in The JK Kid more than you do and try to do a 2-for-1 deal, something like Kipnis for Brian Dozier, who is off to a slow start, and Jose Quintana or Ian Kennedy. Deals like this will help solidify your roster and round out holes while not losing much production from a weak position.