Cleveland Indians Fantasy Report: Week Six
Week 6 brings the St. Louis Cardinals to Cleveland for interleague play
Can something be depressing and also encouraging at the same time? I say yes, because Week 5 of the baseball season definitely brought joy and heartache to the Cleveland Indians. Let’s recap.
Danny does the damn thing
I might not ALWAYS be right, but I will definitely let you know when I’ve made a decisively right call and I definitely told you all last week to make sure Danny Salazar is a must start due to his two start week. With Sunday’s absolute demolition of the Minnesota Twins, Salazar saw his strikeout-to-walk rate soar to 9.6, which is out of this world. He has become a complete pitcher, not just someone that tries to overpower hitters.
Salazar will get his next start Friday against Texas in Texas. If there was ever a time to sell high on Salazar in fantasy, it would be immediately. That isn’t to say that I think he will keep this up, but This is the absolute height of his value and he would garner the most in return in trade right now.
May 10, 2015; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Indians second basemanJason Kipnis
(22) hits an RBI triple in the fourth inning against the Minnesota Twins at Progressive Field. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports
We are all Kipnis-esses
Another thing I had right for the year was Jason Kipnis. I have long been a proponent of the JK Kid and touted him early and often this year as a potential return to All Star levels. Since he has taken over as the leadoff hitter, he has made me look smarter than I already am. This past week saw him collect 10 more hits, four for extra bases, with three RBI, four runs scored and three stolen bases. That amounts to a .345 batting average and a .414 on base percentage. The stolen bases are a welcome sight, giving Kipnis value in all five roto categories. If you have an opportunity to buy Kipnis, go for it, but most owners that stuck with him aren’t going to be selling.
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Santana shuffling is only a small sample size
Carlos Santana was moved to the second spot in the lineup this week, which had sabermetric writers/fans salivating at the thought. However, it also had those long traditionalist fans throwing hissy fits about the slow moving Santana moving out of his cleanup spot. In the long run, it is better for Santana, the team and you fantasy owners for Carlos to be moved up in the lineup. Traditionally, number two hitters see more plate appearances per game, which maximizes fantasy value, and when hitting behind someone as hot as Kipnis and ahead of someone with the contact control of Michael Brantley, you’re going to see plenty of good pitches to hit. His numbers in the 2-hole scream small sample size, as it has only been 6 games. A .227 batting average does not seem like much of a good line, but he does have a .308 OBP along with six RBI on the week. Hopefully Terry Francona continues to use Santana in the number two slot and the top three continue to hit the way they have. Buy in on Santana where available. Some fantasy owners don’t take lineup slot into consideration and might see his .230 batting average on the year and back away.
Klubot needs some conditioning
Not every call is right, and I will own up to my misses as much as I’ll own up to my hits. Corey Kluber has not been what he was last year, and while that may be disconcerting for most, I see a buy low opportunity. Kluber had another rough start Thursday, giving up five runs most in the first inning. Kluber settled down and went back to work after the rough first, striking out seven on the evening. It was a sign of hope for Kluber owners that he was able to get back on track. Hopefully he can avoid the bad first, which has been a problem for all Cleveland starters this year.
Buy low on Kluber. He will face the St. Louis Cardinals next time out on Wednesday and had good showings in interleague play last year. In 5 games, Kluber had a 10.5 K/9 with a 4-1 record and an ERA of 1.83. Let’s hope that the Cardinals coming to town is exactly what the doctor/cyborg creator ordered.
Week 6 preview!
Another Monday off day slots Carlos Carrasco as the lone 2-start pitcher for the Tribe and has decent matchups in the Cardinals and Rangers. I would make sure he is owned and started in weekly leagues. Trevor Bauer will pitch on Thursday against the Cardinals and try for his 3rd win. Opposing the Indians will be Lance Lynn, John Lackey and Michael Wacha. Lynn is having a great year, sporting the highest K/9 rate of his career with 10.7. Expect to see Brandon Moss, he of the 21 RBI, in the lineup all week with these righties on the mound.
Cleveland will travel to Texas over the weekend. It will be their first West Coast trip, and their only trip to Globe Life Park, which I admit is the first time I realized they changed the name from The Ballpark at Arlington. Parkfactors.com rates Globe Life Park as an extreme hitters park, with little foul territory and the thin Texas air. The starters for Texas are scheduled to be Wandy Rodriguez, Colby Lewis and Nick Martinez. Expect the Moss/Ryan Raburn swap to be Friday with the left-hander on the mound. The bats should also see some bumps with the trip to Texas.
Corey Kluber will again make my buy low option. Until he starts to pitch like he did last year, he will continue to move down rankings and people’s opinions. He has demonstrated that his velocity is steady, and that the struggles from this year seem to be due to extenuating circumstances: Yan Gomes‘ injury/transition to Roberto Perez and sequencing secrets being spread around the league, and lack of run support. I absolutely think Kluber will get his act back together sooner rather than later.
As stated above, Danny Salazar is my sell high. He has a ridiculous K/9 and strikeout-to-walk ratio right now and just appears to be mowing through hitters. His value will probably not be higher than it is currently, and a trade of Salazar for a pitcher under performing and a hitter to fill a hole in a lineup. Target someone like Gio Gonzalez or Alex Wood, someone who could produce strikeouts similar to Salazar. Happy hunting.