MLB DFS August 5 2019

Pitcher Spotlight- Charlie Morton at home is the way to go.

The top two pitchers for the slate are Lucas Giolito and Charlie Morton.  Giolito has the better matchup against the high strikeout rated Detroit Tigers.  Morton gets the nod for me facing the free-swinging Toronto Blue Jays at the Trop.  Morton has been great all season, he has excelled at home.  Over Morton’s last ten starts he has struck out at least ten in 8 of those games. The Blue Jays have legit power in their lineup, but they don’t walk much so the power can be limited as well as it can be negated by the potential K’s.  

Stack I’m looking at: Cleveland Indians

This is a gamble against Mike Minor.  The Indians have been one of the hottest teams in the league and Minor has been on a second half decline.  Minor has given up four runs or more in each of his last four starts.  The Indians will also be a low owned stacked with guys like Mike Montgomery, Merrill Kelly and Rick Porcello on the mound.  I am going to target the middle of the order with Jose Ramirez, Francisco Lindor and of course the lefty masher Jordan Luplow. You can fit them in at an affordable cost.

Stackable Teams: Boston Red Sox and Tampa Bay Rays

JD Martinez is a must start against Mike Montgomery whom has been a gas can all season. JD’s stats versus lefties are elite on all levels.  If you can fit him in with Morton and some nice smaller stacks around him, you are looking at a cashable lineup.

Sneaky Stack: Milwaukee Brewers

Moustakas is too cheap on this slate. The Brewers have a nice potential night versus a high contact pitcher in the Pirates Agrazal.  He gives up a nice hard contact and ISO versus left-handed power bats.

P: Charlie Morton, Tampa Bay Rays, $10,700

P: Eric Fedde, Washington Nationals, $5,600

C: James McCann, Chicago White Sox, $3,400

1B: Ryan O’Hearn, Kansas City Royals, $3,000

2B: Mike Moustakas, Milwaukee Brewers, $4,200

3B: Jose Ramirez, Cleveland Indians, $4,800

SS: Francisco Lindor, Cleveland Indians, $5,400

OF: Jordan Luplow, Cleveland Indians, $4,400

OF: JD Martinez, Boston Red Sox, $5,100

OF: Sam Travis, Boston Red Sox, $3,400

MLB Draftkings Breakdown August 2

Pitching:  Give me Lance and I will figure out the rest.

This is not a slate where we are going to have tough decisions on which stud to play.  Lance Lynn is the highest priced pitcher due primarily to his recent dominance and the pure trash that is the Detroit lineup against righties.  Lynn is averaging 12K/9 during the 2019 season and the Detroit lineup is full of right-handed hitters.  The only lefties that are in the lineup for Detroit are guys like Jeimer Candelario and Niko Goodrum, both don’t strike fear into an opposing pitcher.  The lone downside to Lynn would be playing in Texas were the ball will most likely be flying out at a pretty good rate.  With the Tigers high strikeout percentage, the potential of homeruns is negated by the fact that it’s likely Lynn will reach double digits. 

Sneaky Stack Option: Chicago White Sox

The obvious stacks today are the Astros against Kickuchi and ofcourse both the Giants and the Rockies in Coors.  The sneaky stack of the night is the Chicago White Sox versus the bipolar Jason Vargas. Vargas has had his moments of glory in both real life baseball and the fantasy side of baseball.  He will make his first start for the Phillies and from the outside it looks like a great matchup with the struggling Chicago White Sox. 

Vargas could be chalky in the matchup but I think that Chicago is a sneaky way to fit in the best pitchers and the highest upside one offs.  Chicago has good power with Jose Abreu, Eloy Jimenez and the always fun to watch and start Tim Anderson.  Vargas has a slight downgrade in ballpark when compared to New York, that along with a negative hard-hit percentage.  This is a gamble but isn’t all DFS a gamble?

One-offs to target: AJ Pollock, Robinson Cano, Josh Donaldson and Aaron Judge.

Robinson Cano- Price play with high upside against the struggling Trevor Williams.  They continue to bat Cano 4th

AJ Pollock- .450 wOBA and a .604 slugging percentage versus lefties.  

Aaron Judge- Judge is at his lowest price of the season, just $3,900 versus a lefty. Judge is struggling but a matchup with the Boston Red Sox which should light the fire for all the Yankees.

Josh Donaldson- The reverse splits for Donaldson are surprising.  His inability to hit lefties is surprising as his career versus lefties is actually very strong.  At just 4.3K his is worth the price.  

August 2 Draftkings Lineup

P: Lance Lynn, Texas Rangers, $11,700

P: Kevin Gausman, Atlanta Braves, $8,300

C: James McCann, Chicago White Sox, $3,500

1B: Jose Abreu, Chicago White Sox, $3,700

2B: Robinson Cano, New York Mets, $3,200

3B: Josh Donaldson, Atlanta Braves, $4,300

SS: Tim Anderson, Chicago White Sox, $3,900

OF: Eloy Jimenez, Chicago White Sox, $3,500

OF: Aaron Judge, New York Yankees, $3,900

OF: AJ Pollock, Los Angeles Dodgers, $3,500

The Nationals- The Underrated Winner of the Trade Deadline

The Nationals lost Bryce Harper in the offseason, rather than try and find a real replacement for the star power they filled in other needs and made them stronger.  Adding Patrick Corbin, strengthening their already stout rotation, also adding Brian Dozier to fill a need on the infield that has been a problem for a long time.  

They started the season in a funk, dealing with injuries and inconsistent play. Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg, Juan Soto, Anthony Rendon, Ryan Zimmerman and Trea Turner all spent time on the DL.  On May 24ththe Nationals were 12 games under .500. Manager Dave Martinez was sitting on the hottest of seats, it looked as if the Nationals would have to consider selling and selling anything and everything.  

Washington has begun to turn it around but had one fatal flaw. They currently have the worst bullpen in all of baseball with an ERA of 5.97 and a BAA of .274.  With the bats getting healthy the one thing holding them back was bonafide gas can of a bullpen.  They addressed those issues during the final day of the trade deadline. They added pieces that under the radar of most will be huge pickups down the stretch run of the season. 

Roenis Elias

You can look at Roenis Elias’s numbers and not be blown away.  4.14 ERA going along with .419 wOBA given up to lefties are not numbers you would look for in a late inning reliever, but Elias brings more to the table then just a specialist.  His ability to shut down right-handed bats is intriguing.  The converted starter has held righties to just a .341 slugging percentage and a .243 wOBA.  He has found a way to get out the reverse side of the plate.  Elias also added a surprising 14 saves in 16 opportunities on a team that literally seemed to have given up.  He has proven himself to be a stable force in the backend of the bullpen.

Daniel Hudson

The Toronto Blue Jays unloaded a lot of pitching over the trade deadline and Daniel Hudson could be the quiet prize of them all.  Hudson is a strikeout machine against righties averaging 11.71 K/9 this season. Hudson has been a journeyman throughout his career, currently in the midst of a career year, he will most likely be given the chance to take over the 8thinning duties in front of closer Sean Doolittle. 

Elias, Hudson and fireballer Hunter Strickland were not flashy moves by the Nationals.  Their lack of farm system depth was not going to allow them to make a move for the likes of All-Star Shane Greene, but these are underrated moves that will fill a need that was holding back the Nationals.  The aforementioned Greene was picked up by their division counterparts the Atlanta Braves, who seem to have a lock on the NL East barring in major injuries.  Still I believe that this Nationals team will end up having one of the most successful trade deadlines that no one is talking about.  Suring up the bullpen was the one thing that they HAD to do to continue their monumental recovery from a disastrous start to the season.  

Five Most Disappointing Players of 2019- MLB

Khris Davis, Oakland Athletics

It was only a season ago when Khris Davis finished 8thin the AL MVP voting.  Mashing 48 homers Davis became the power bat in an emerging lineup.  The cog in a machine of a soon to be great offense in Oakland.  The specious Coliseum was no match for his raw power. The Athletics were so inspired by his season that they signed him to a two-year extension worth over $33 million. When they did this, I openly tweeted that Oakland just got a steal.  A young player that has been averaging 40 homers for multiple years for a discount as well as not having to go through the trouble of dealing with the problem of free agency.

The Athletics have overcome a slow start despite Davis’s slash line of .224/.290/.390.  Davis has been a complete disaster with a wRC+ 50 points behind his career average. The Athletics have been lucky to have Ramon Laureano become an offensive force.

Aaron Sanchez, Toronto Blue Jays

The Blue Jays were not coming into this year looking to contend. Aaron Sanchez was supposed to be a player they could look upon to bring back some valuable pieces to help the rebuild along with their already existing young core.  Sanchez came out of the gates looking like a guy that would be moved to a contender in no time, starting out the year with a 3-1 record with a 20.6% strikeout rate, 15.3% walk rate, 2.32 ERA, 5.45 SIERA, and 0.3 fWAR in 31 innings. Then the wheels fell off Sanchez. Sanchez currently leads the league with 14 losses while sporting a 5.09 xFIP.  

Sanchez went from potential trade chip to a potential DFA in less than two months.  

Noah Syndergaard, New York Mets

Thor was supposed to help the Mets compete for an NL East crown in 2019, but that’s not the season Noah Syndergaard of the Mets have gotten.  Not to say Syndergaard has been terrible but a 4.33 ERA was not what the Mets were looking for.  They wanted to see steps in the right direction similarly to Jacob DeGrom. That has not been the case for Syndergaard.  Statistics are similar but the biggest problem for him has been batting average against with runners in scoring position. His xFIP has went up by an entire run in the 2019 season.  

Syndergaard has now been forced to deal with the rumors that he is available in trade scenarios.  The distraction has been a problem for the team along with the lack of direction for the team.

Kyle Freeland, Colorado Rockies

The Rockies were everyone’s darling team last season.  Kyle Freeland was the leader of a pitching staff that stepped up to make them a legitimate contender.  Freeland entered the season looking to repeat his dominance, that is not how the season has gone.  Freeland, 26, has found himself in the midst of a major regression 2-6 with a 7.13 ERA and 1.56 WHIP in 12 starts before being farmed out.

The minors haven’t seemed to help Freeland find what he was missing as the second half hasn’t changed much. With Freeland’s decline the Rockies have declined falling further out of contention as the summer goes on. Freeland’s most baffling number is the power he has given up.  Last year he posted an impressive .76 homeruns per nine.  That number has ballooned to a 2.09.  In a place like Colorado there is no wiggle room for mistakes and Freeland has been making a lot of them.  The Rockies are still within striking distance of a Wild Card Spot, they will need Freeland to step up and be some form of his 2018 self.

Matt Carpenter, St. Louis Cardinals

The Cardinals believed that they had the perfect combination at the top of their lineup with Matt Carpenter, coming off of a career season in 2018, followed by newly acquired 

Paul Goldschmidt.  The plan was to have them bat one and two in front of power bat Marcel Ozuna.  Carpenter has looked lost at the plate for the entire season, his total WRC+ has dropped from a 138 in 2018 to an 86 in 2019.  His on-base percentage is down 50 points compared to last season.  Carpenter’s struggles attributed to the slow start of the Cardinals offense. 

Injuries have played a role in Carpenter’s struggles, but an overall lack of confidence seems to be the most telling signs.  His swing and miss rate has gone up as well as his pitch recognition.  The Cardinals have found a way to play through his struggles and still compete but a return to form of their 2018 MVP candidate would be huge for the stretch run.  It is not looking likely though as Carpenter’s most recent numbers in the minors have not shown that he is major league ready.  The Cardinal need his production to be a legit contender. 

July 26 MLB Draftkings Lineup

P: Zack Greinke, Arizona Diamondbacks, $10,500

Probably the most obvious pick on the slate.  Most likely will be the highest owned pitcher.  Facing the Marlins in Miami, a pitcher friendly park.  Greinke has hit double digits in fantasy in each of his last 5 games.  The Marlins don’t hit righties well, plain and simple. 

P: Daniel Mengden, Oakland Athletics, $6,200

The middle tier of pitching is a toss-up, so I am going to go with the player with the highest potential upside.  The Rangers are the highest per game strikeout team in all of baseball, averaging over ten strikeouts per game.  In 55 career at-bats against Mengden the Texas lineup has a 25%K-Rate and just a .233 WOBA.

C: Martin Maldonado, Chicago Cubs, $2,800

You have to have a punt play every now and then.  Maldonado versus a lefty in a hitter friendly ballpark makes a lot of sense.

1B: Luke Voit, New York Yankees, $4,800

Yankees stack.  Keep it simple. Voit is five for seven in his career versus Andrew Cashner.  Unless he is out of the lineup, he is a must play.

2B: Gleyber Torres, New York Yankees, $4,900 

Yankees stack. This play is based solely on Torres’s ownership of Andrew Cashner. In his short career Gleyber is six of thirteen with two bombs.

3B: Joey Wendle, Tampa Bay Rays, $2,700

One of my two low cost plays of the slate.  Wendle is coming off of his best game of the season since returning from injury. Wendle brings some speed and potential power from a lineup that may be a sneaky stack tonight. His cost is the main reason for this play.

SS: Jonathon Villar, Baltimore Orioles, $4,000

Jonathon Villar is building off of a huge 38-point night.  Villar gets a matchup with late notice starter Nick Tropeano. Villar brings both pop and speed to your potential lineup in a good spot versus a sub-par starter.

OF: Aaron Judge, New York Yankees, $5,500

Yankees Stack. If you are trying to stack one team you need someone towards the top of the order. Judge at a steep price is my pick. Always a home run threat. 

OF: J.D. Martinez, Boston Red Sox, $4,500

JD hits lefties.  I can list all of the stats, but I will only include the simple ones.  .412 ISO versus lefties.  He faces James Paxton; he is a lefty.  End of story.

OF: Jorge Soler, Kansas City Royals, $4,200

Soler is a reverse split player.  Higher ISO, Average and Slug facing righties. Zac Plesac gives up power to righties.  I wouldn’t look to stack the Royals but a one off with power like Soler makes a lot of sense at a very affordable price.

Potential Stacks:

New York Yankees

Tampa Bay Rays

Keep an eye on:

Atlanta Braves

Five Backup Rb’s that could be Fantasy Relevant

Ito Smith, Atlanta Falcons

Ito Smith had a nice 2018 season, filling for the injured Devonta Freeman.  Smith was still forced to play second fiddle to Tevin Coleman but was able to average 3.5 yards per carry and add four touchdowns, doing so with just 90 carries on the season. 

With Coleman now in San Francisco Smith should be secured as he #2 behind Devonta Freeman.  The Falcons defense was an atrocity last season.  Constantly playing from behind forced Atlanta to abandon the run game.  Assuming they don’t have the same injury trouble of the defense Atlanta should have a chance to be a good team next season.  Which means they will commit to the run more.  Freeman, the usually durable and versitale back will give up some carries to Smith to avoid injury.  I like Smith’s chances to be a late round selection especially for Freeman handcuffs.

Carlos Hyde, Kansas City Chiefs

The great mystery of Carlos Hyde will continue in Kansas City.  Is Carlos Hyde a legit option as a RB1.  He will split time in KC to start the season behind last season’s end of the year darling Damien Williams.  Williams has never seen more then 13 carries in a game or more then 50 carries in a season. 

Chief running backs are always a target for me in any format as Andy Reid loves to punch it in on the goal line.  The arm of Patrick Mahomes also opens up the middle of the field and the check downs. Hyde has the talent to be a top back if Damien Williams can’t be consistent.

Darrell Henderson, Los Angeles Rams

This one is simple, there is word out that Todd Gurley may not be 100% going into the season. Henderson was a college star at Memphis rushing for 1,909 yards and 22 touchdowns in his final season.  Henderson’s transition to the NFL should be seamless in the Los Angeles system. Last season we saw how CJ Anderson got off his coach and was able to make an impact for the Rams. 

Todd Gurley is the obvious #1 back but if anything happens to Gurley, Henderson will be a steal for anyone that takes him. 

Chase Edmonds, Arizona Cardinals

Once upon a time there was a future star named David Johnson.  Johnson had a tough season; injuries and a rather odd game plan slowed the offense and the fantasy scoring in check.  Edmonds stepped in for the injured Johnson and showed that he can be productive.  With Kliff Kingsbury at the helm everyone on the field becomes fantasy relevant.  Edmonds is a handcuff to start the season but can quickly become a featured back as the season progresses.

David Montgomery, Chicago Bears

The Bears shocked many by moving workhorse back Jordan Howard in the offseason.  Presumably opening it up for their spread offseason and a large amount of Tarick Cohen.  While Cohen will be a must in a PPR format, a sleeper will be 3rdround draft picks out of Iowa State David Montgomery.  

It’s hard to believe that the Bears will just feature Cohen as a solo back. Mike Davis was signed in the offseason to be a bruiser back, but he has been around the block and not found his niche in the NFL and there is no reason to think he will in this system. Look at Montgomery late in case you are not a believer in Cohen.

MLB DFS Lineup July 19 (Draftkings)

P: Jacob DeGrom, New York Mets, $10,600

The Giants have been hot up until their matchup against Thor last night.  The Giants team total is set at a pedestrian three runs tonight in San Francisco, a very pitcher friendly park.  DeGrom is not the highest priced pitcher on the slate, which means you will save some money.  San Francisco is still striking out at over 26% as a team even with their recent hot streak.  

P: Tyler Mahle, Cincinnati Reds, $6,000

The Cardinals are hot, but they still feature a watered-down lineup with a lot of strikeouts.  Tyler Mahle is way better against righties than lefties and the Cardinals will feature only a few lefties that are not overly scary DFS players Dexter Fowler, Matt Wieters and Tommy Edman.  

C: Gary Sanchez, New York Yankees, $4,600

Kyle Freeland has given up five earned runs or more in six straight starts.  Sanchez’s price has come down due to recent struggles but a matchup with the homer happy Kyle Freeland is a great play.

1B: Joey Votto, Cincinnati Reds, $3,400

Adam Wainwright has troubles versus lefties.  With multiple options in the Cincinnati lineup. I have chosen Joey Votto who over 49 at-bats versus Wainwright has hit him to a tune of a .995OPS.  Votto has been a disappointment all season but at this cost against a pitcher getting killed by lefties he makes almost too much sense.

2B: Cavan Biggio, Toronto Blue Jays, $3,900

Stacking against Kyle Freeland and Jordan Zimmerman are a theme for today’s lineup.  Biggio has been put in the middle of the order for the Blue Jays since his call up.  All six of Biggio’s homers have come against righties. I am looking for him to go yard tonight. 

3B: Vlad Guerrero Jr., Toronto Blue Jays, $3,700

Power. Power. Power. Vlad brings ridiculous power to the table against Zimmerman.  End of story.

SS: Corey Seager, Los Angeles Dodgers, $3,900

Seager has not returned to his rookie year form after a litany of injuries has slowed him down. His struggles have forced a lower cost at a prime position on a big slate.  Seager will face rookie Zac Gallen who

OF: Aaron Judge, New York Yankees, $5,300

Judge may be the chalkiest of chalk plays in a Yankee stack.  Freeland has a real issue with giving up bombs and Judge will happily oblige him. Look for a double dinger day.

OF: Lourdes Gurriel Jr., Toronto Blue Jays, $4,900

Lourdes is the light to our firecracker Blue Jays stack.  Gurriel hits in bunches and an already juicy matchup with Jordan Zimmerman should be a great showcase of one of the hotter hitters in baseball over the last few weeks. He is the highest price Blue Jay for good reason, and he will show it tonight.

OF: Matt Beaty, Los Angeles Dodgers, $3,600

Beaty is coming off one of his best games of the year posting 26 fantasy points against the Phillies including a homer and three runs scored.  Beaty has a low price tag and high upside against Zac Gallen.  Check the starting lineup before you finish your lineup.  If he is in it, he is a must start at just $3.6K.

Stackable Teams:

Blue Jays

Yankees

Brewers

Sneaky Stack:

Pirates

Angels

Three Bats the Cardinals should Target

Trey Mancini, Baltimore Orioles

The Orioles stink.  That’s a simple fact.  They are going nowhere and need to be in full rebuild mood.  One of their few assets is 1B/OF Trey Mancini should be available and can make an immediate impact in the middle of the Cardinals lineup.  Mancini has an impressive stat line of .281/.340/.500, most notably is the slugging percentage.  The Cardinals have ranked in the bottom of the league in Slug and Isolated power all season.  

Adding power is a need for the Cardinals and Mancini fills in that need.  The Orioles will take pretty much any prospects you can offer, they need everything so you can offer anything.

Eric Sogard, Toronto Blue Jays

Eric Sogard is not a flashy name by any means, but he is a solid major league player that has been hitting all season.  Sogard was an afterthought in the offseason when the Blue Jays signed him but slow starts and injuries from their starters forced the veteran into service and he has rewarded them with a .371OBP and a 2.1 WAR from a guy that no one wanted.  

Sogard has shown some surprising power in 2019 hitting 10 homers in 2019 which is one shy of his career total. Sogard,33, is not a new kid on the block but he is currently in the middle of a career season and can fill in a slot at the beginning of the order. The leadoff spot has been a problem all season for St. Louis, adding Sogard would give them a player that has an .883 OPS when batting first.  Sogard’s price tag will be moderate as he is 33-year-old journeymen.  Worth a prospect just outside of your top 20. 

Eduardo Escobar, Arizona Diamondbacks

I am a fan of Eduardo Escobar; I was hoping St. Louis would take a run at the switching hitting utility man. Escobar has quietly put up great numbers for the Diamondbacks launching 19 homers and has a .879OPS.  Escobar will fill in nicely for the injured Matt Carpenter providing the power that Carpenter has not shown during 2019 and his ability to play multiple positions will allow Mike Schildt to utilize his other assets. 

Escobar also has a serviceable contract at 3year-$21million. The Diamondbacks have seen what the young Cardinals can do with two impact players Carson Kelly and Luke Weaver already on the roster, so you know they have spent time scouting the Cardinals system. Escobar is an impact bat without the impact notoriety.

NBA: Four Winner in Free Agency and the Knicks

The first day of NBA free agency played out like a fantasy draft on 2K.  With 40% of the league available it wasn’t about teams trying to make themselves better as it was about teams trying to build themselves.  An array of stars swapping cities took over the sports world, blockbuster sign and trades along with monumental decisions have swung landscape of the league.  While arguably the biggest name in free agency Kawhi Leonard still sits on the top of every teams wish list there were still a number of clear winners on day one….and there was the New York Knicks.

Brooklyn Nets

The Nets will not immediately see the impact of their moves to begin free agency.  The additions of Kyrie Irving, Kevin Durant and Deandre Jordan headlined the day’s events.  Brooklyn fans have a right to be excited, they will though have to find a way to be patient.  Kevin Durant must be allowed to fully recover from his ruptured achillies tendon.  Still with the moves made by Brooklyn they are set to be a staple in the Eastern Conference for the next four years.

Assuming Durant doesn’t play this year, the Nets should still have a solid top five seed in the East. The underrated signing of Deandre Jordan and veteran Garret Temple will be great locker room leaders to go along with the at times frustrating personality of Kyrie Irving.  Brooklyn has great young pieces as well with Caris Levert, Rodans Kurucs and Jarrett Allen.  Joe Harris will provide great shooting and Spencer Dinwiddie may be the best backup point guard in the NBA.  

Brooklyn crushed day one of free agency.  Unless there is an injury, they should be setting for next season already.

Utah Jazz

The Jazz mad some “noise” picking up underrated veteran point guard Mike Conley in a trade with Memphis before free agency.  They continued to develop their roster on day one with the additions of Bojan Bogdanovic and Ed Davis.  While the Conley move was a step in the right direction, Utah just added to players that will immediately step into their rotation and fit in.  

Bogdanovic took over as team leader of the Indiana Pacers last season after the injury to Victor Oladipo left them team without a primary scorer.  Stepping straight into the role Bojan averaged a career high 18.4 ppg while shooting a career high 42% from behind the arc. He will step into a situation in Utah where he will be second fiddle to Donovan Mitchell but will have a veteran core of proven performers along with him. 

Ed Davis, was a bruiser for the Brooklyn Nets last season. Not the flashiest of players, Davis is a rebound machine averaging eight boards a game while playing just about 17 minutes per game.   Davis will be able to step right in for the dominate Rudy Goebert giving opposing front courts nightmares on the glass.

New Orleans Pelicans

David Griffin is showing his worth over and over again.  While there were no major additions made by the Pelicans, sometimes it’s the smallest ones that make an impact.  New Orleans was able to add veteran shooter JJ Reddick to a roster full of youth and also full of mediocre shooters. Reddick is entering his age 35 season, he will not be asked to go out and take over a game, he will simply be the outlet when the Zion show causes the defense to pack the middle.

The Pelicans have had a solid offseason in a time that could have been disastrous. They wanted a veteran and a shooter and they got exactly that.

Philadelphia 76ers

Philly did not look like they were going to do much after a lack luster draft and a slow start to their conversations with key free agents.  GM Elton Brand magically turned a negative into a positive on Sunday signing Al Horford, Tobias Harris and working out a trade with the Miami Heat for Josh Richardson. The trade for Richardson means that despite losing Jimmy Butler they were still able to get a quality asset.

The additions of Richardson and Horford provide strong defensive capabilities, they do however lack the shooting of a JJ Reddick whom had more threes then Horford and Richardson combined last season.  The 76ers will still have a chance to sign a few more shooters to friendly contracts, if they do that, they will be looking at a great chance to take the East.  Depending on the decision of a certain NBA Champion of course.

And then there is the New York Knicks

To call the Knicks losers in day one of free agency is an understatement.  Not because the players the signed are bad.  Bobby Portis, Julius Randle, Taj Gibson and Reggie Bullock are a solid core for a team if you have a star to build around.  The Knicks openly told their fans that they were going after the big names, clearly, they were not.  Playing the waiting game is not an option in New York.  Based on the deals they signed it would look as if they are trying to wait two years to make moves when free agency is going to be great again.  This is New York and you just got embarrassed by a team that plays 30 minutes away.  Sorry Knicks fans you deserve better.

Three Ideas to Fix the Cardinals Offense

The St. Louis Cardinals are not likely to go out and make a big splash in the trade market.  The need for more offense will have to come from within. The obvious answers to fixing the offense will be Paul Goldschmidt and Matt Carpenter returning to their career norms. Eventually you would assume they will improve but what else can the Cardinals do to improve the offense right now? 

Call up Tyler O’Neill and Play Him

Tyler O’Neill has strikeout issues.  It’s been talked about for what seems like years.  What O’Neill brings to the table is instant offense.  557 career minor league games O’Neill has 137 bombs as well as a .556 slugging percentage. The Cardinals rank bottom five in Isolated Power and Slugging Percentage behind teams like the Kansas City Royals and Toronto Blue Jays. 

The Cardinals outfield have (or had) one guaranteed spot taken with Marcell Ozuna playing closer to the All-Star form of 2017.  Dexter Fowler and Jose Martinez have had moments where each have shown that they are capable taking over right field long-term, but those moments are becoming rare.  Harrison Bader’s defense has been the only thing keeping him in the lineup his .208/.324/.384 numbers can’t be hidden behind his defense. 

O’Neill has to be given a chance to play every day for at least a few weeks, if he can’t supply the offense that is needed the worst thing that happen is adding another strikeout to a lineup that is already proficient in that category.  Jose Martinez would provide more value late in pinch hitting situations and Dexter Fowler can split time with Bader depending on the matchup up. 

Kolten Wong can’t play against lefties, especially at home.

Kolten Wong has always been a player I thought was going to break out.  In April Wong looked like this was the season he was going to live up to the expectations. Quickly Wong has come back down to earth.  Wong has been incredibly miserable at the plate in St. Louis, sporting a .198 batting average to go along with a wRC+ of 48.  Wong’s defense has been elite but with the offense struggling the way it is something has to change.  Matt Carpenter has been sitting recently but that has not made changes to the offense, the next likely candidate to hit the bench would be Kolten Wong.

Tommy Edman and Yairo Munoz would be the likely candidates to step in for Kolten.  Edman jumped onto the scene getting 8 hits in 24 at bats to begin his career mixing in a homer and two stolen bases. Munoz has dealt with some injuries to start the season which has limited his usage to start the season. In 2018 though Munoz surprised me with a .350 OBP, the usually prevalent free swinger was able to get on base more often than Wong while also providing more power in the middle or end of the lineup.  

Yadi needs to be seventh and no higher.

St. Louis fans love of Yadier Molina has blinded them to his offensive inefficiencies.  Yadier Molina is sporting an .662 OPS while still being put into the middle of the order on most nights.  Regression is going to happen as players get older, Yadi was fighting the endless battle against time for the last few years and coming out on top. His age coupled with a thumb injury that sidelined him for a few weeks have begun to hamper the future hall of famer. While his presence in the lineup is still crucial from a leadership standpoint, the Cardinals front office has to look past the aura of career greatness and focus on the facts.  Molina is not hitting.  He has not hit for most of the season.  Continuing to put him in the middle of the lineup is a mistake that is easily correctable by the simple use of a pencil and an eraser.  Yadier Molins is a seven-hole hitter until he gives a reason not to be.    

Batting Molina 7thleaves you with ability to have Bader or Wong batting in the 8th hole in a bunt situation leading off an inning. Yadi’s thumb may heal and he gets back to the solid major league hitter we have seen over the last 5 seasons, for now he has to be moved.