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“Sauer Notes” Windy City Wrap Up: Central Division Week 7 Forecaster

AL Central

  1. White Sox 24-14
  2. Indians 18-17
  3. Royals 18-19
  4. Tigers 17-21
  5. Twins 10-27

Chicago White Sox

AA LATOSIf you are an owner of any of the White Sox hitters you will be a main beneficiary of their eight-game schedule next week. Furthermore, if you are an owner of Chris Sale, Jose Quintana, or Mat Latos you will benefit as they all will get a two-start week. We all know that if you own either Sale or Quintana they are obvious starts, even if they were to face-off against a lineup that had Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire, and Sammy Sosa in Coors Field. All joking aside, that’s just a true testament of just how dominant those two guys have been for the White Sox this season, and an integral part to their 24-14 start to the season. On the other hand we have Mat Latos who started the season red-hot and made the one-year $3-million-dollar contract look like a steal, but has since cooled off. He has not recorded a quality start in three appearances, and in those starts has given up 13 earned runs in 15.1 innings of work. Next week may be a week that he can get back on track as he will face off with Indians (vs. Mike Clevinger) and the Royals (vs. Ventura). Although, the Indians have been hitting better especially as of late (28 runs over last two games), without Michael Brantley this lineup is not one you need to shy away from. In terms of his second start against Kansas City, a team we would have feared in the past, is not so formidable thus far in 2016, and one we can presumably attack with the notion of possibly getting at least a victory, especially with how their starting rotation has faltered here on the early on.

Cleveland Indians

AA TOMLINYou may look at the standings and make the assumption that the Indians have made improvements from last season now that they sit above teams like the Royals and Twins who they finished behind in 2015. Nevertheless, their 18-17 record represents a near .500 winning percentage which is exactly in line with where they have finished the past two seasons. It pretty much is the rest of the AL Central that has shuffled around the past two seasons that may warrant a feeling of recent improvement and success. Teams like the Royals and Tigers have simply underachieved from where people thought they would be up to this point, and as far as the Twins go, they have just been a dumpster fire. This upcoming week they will have two pitchers in recent call-up Mike Clevinger and Josh Tomlin getting two starts for the Tribe. An unknown commodity at the big-league level is Mike Clevinger, but he has been recalled and will make his major league debut Wednesday night against the Reds. The 25-year-old right-hander has been nothing short of solid since joining the Indians’ organization. He moved up to Triple-A this season after dominating at Double-A Akron in 2015 (2.73 ERA, 1.057 WHIP) and he’s been able to maintain his effectiveness, working a 5-0 record with a 3.03 ERA at Columbus in 2016. Clevinger will be making his big league debut Wednesday against a Reds lineup that has the 10th-highest strikeout rate in the major leagues at 22.0 percent. It may be wise to see how he fares in his debut before picking him up for his two-start week. His counterpart, Josh Tomlin, definitely has the tougher of two-starts as he will get the same two teams in the White Sox (vs. Sale) and the Orioles (vs. Tillman), whereas Clevinger will get the easier match-ups in Mat Latos and Ubaldo Jimenez. We know Tomlin is the more established product up to this point, and by all means has had a really nice start to the season with a 5-0 record and a 3.82 ERA. We just know how dominant Sale has been and always was, and recently Chris Tillman as weird as it feels to write, has looked like an ‘ace’ over his last few starts.

Kansas City Royals

AA KENEDHere we lay again, a team with multiple two-start pitchers set to hurl next week. The Royals lineup has been a real disappointment this season, so for the idea in 2015 that you had a good chance of getting a win from your starter due to the propensity of this lineup to score runs seems like a far-fetched one. First we will discuss Ian Kennedy, who has arguably been Kansas City’s best starting pitcher, and possibly the only viable and reliable one up to this point. Coming off of his worst outing of the season against the Yankees in which he gave up seven earned runs, his ERA still sits at a solid 3.25 in 2016. His first start will be against the Twins (vs. Nolasco) in Minnesota, and his second start coming at home against the division-leading White Sox (vs. Sale). You can justify starting Kennedy in all formats as he is a good bet to get at least one quality start if not two, and definitely a solid chance to get a win in his first start against a scuffling bottom-feeder in Minnesota. Edinson Volquez is the other guy garnering two starts next week. Sitting 4-3 on the season, he has arguably been the Royals second best pitcher behind Kennedy, just holds a substantial amount more volatility than Ian. He will also face off with the same two teams as he will get Minnesota (vs. Nolasco) and then a home start with the White Sox (vs. Quintana). Feel free to start Volquez at your own discretion in rotisserie leagues, personally would just feel more comfortable doing so in a points-league format where you do not have to worry about your ratios possibly taking a big hit if he were to get shelled in either of the outings.

Detroit Tigers

AA PELFNow here is where we get into the “extra-risky” variety of a two-start pitcher. Mike Pelfrey will take the mound twice for the Tigers next week. He seemingly will get two plus match-ups as he will face off against two weak lineups. He first will take on the Phillies (vs. Velasquez) at home in his first start, while later in the week he gets a road start against the Athletics (vs. Hill). Nonetheless, in eight starts this season Pelfrey has failed to reach a quality start in seven of those appearances. When you have that tough of a time qualifying for a quality start you give yourself little-to-no chance for a victory, indicative by his 0-4 record. His ERA overall on the season is a whopping 5.49, but has been even worse in May given his 6.41 ERA over four starts. While one may see the Phillies and the A’s as a non-threat to ruin a starting pitchers night, it does not seem like it takes much for Pelfrey to talk a walk to the pine.

Minnesota Twins

AA NOLASWoof, all the hype surrounding Berrios and negative commentary towards the Twins management on waiting so long to bring him up does not look so hot no does it. We have gotten the pleasure of seeing a lot of these young pitching prospects come up to the big leagues and have decent success, or if you are the Mets, flat-out dominant. For Berrios, it was a different story, through his first four major league starts he sports an ERA resembling an okay point total for a mediocre point-guard in the NBA at 10.20. For all of the flack this organization received for not bringing this young-gun up last season when they had a chance to reach the postseason, makes you really question yourself and hammer home the prognostication of ‘us’ not being suited as a general manager. I digress, this upcoming week Ricky Nolasco will be the only pitcher for the Twins getting a two-start opportunity. In his first start he will get a home start against the reeling Royals (vs. Kennedy) which does not seem as a scary of a matchup as it once was. Secondly, he will then get a road start against the Mariners (vs. Walker) who are in the bottom half of the league when it comes to their batting average against right-handed pitching. If you are really digging deep to find some two-start pitchers heading into next week, this is about as far as I would reach, and would certainly put him ahead of a guy like Mike Pelfrey.

 

NL Central

  1. Cubs 27-9
  2. Pirates 20-17
  3. Cardinals 20-18
  4. Brewers 16-22
  5. Reds 15-23

Chicago Cubs

AA LACKIt’s all about the Windy City in the Central Divisions of baseball as we currently have the Southside and the Northside leading their respective divisions. While the Cubs may have the more potent lineup and rightfully so, both teams have relied heavily on their pitching staffs in 2016. Currently the Cubs sit number one in ERA (2.69) with the White Sox currently sitting fourth (3.20). Sitting behind Jake Arrieta and John Lester, starter John Lackey may be the forgotten man in the rotation. Lackey (4-2, 3.54 ERA, 0.97 WHIP) has pitched well all season for the Cubbies, and will reward his owners with a two-start performance heading into next week. First, we will talk a walk down narrative street as he faces off versus his former ball club in St. Louis (vs. Wainwright), whereas his second start will come at home against a weak Phillies lineup (vs. Velasquez). He definitely should be started in all formats until further notice, and you could pretty much substitute any names of the Cubs starters and put them in any two-start situation and still have yourself a viable starter. This team has no indication of slowing down any time soon as they still lead the majors in run differential (107) by a wide margin, with the next team being the other team that resides in the city of Chicago with the White Sox (37) differential.

Pittsburgh Pirates

AA LIRIAThe Pirates failed to gain any ground on division-leading Chicago, as they just lost a weekend series to the Cubs 1-2 in the confines of Wrigley Field. With that being said, they still sit second in their division and have had a strong start to the season. They also just got Jung Ho Kang back who has been tearing the cover off of the ball since his return. Furthermore, they have young studs to reinforce their pitching staff post the “Super Two” deadline in Tyler Glasnow and Jameson Taillon, so make sure those guys are picked up in your leagues. Meanwhile, Fransisco Liriano who is coming off of his worst outing of the season where he gave up three long balls in route to eight earned runs against the Cubbies in the weekend series. He will get a chance to redeem himself as he will try to reassert himself in a two-start week. Furthermore, it may not be the best of times for him to try to get back on track as he will face off against two solid lineups in the Diamondbacks (vs. Greinke) and the Rangers (vs. Hamels). To make matters worse he will go head-to-head versus two solid pitchers that could hold his Pirates lineup to minimal runs. In conclusion, I will always give the benefit of the doubt to most two-start pitchers with a solid history and this is no different. Roll out Liriano and hope that he gets back on track like he pitched to start this season, but do not be surprised if one of these opposing lineups take him for a ride.

St. Louis Cardinals

AA WACHThe Cardinals have benefitted largely from some clutch hitting and not so much on their starting pitching staff like they have in years past. You know if you are an owner of anybody other than Carlos Martinez or Jaime Garcia that this pitching staff has been below average to say the least. That being said we have two St. Louis pitchers projected to have two starts next week, both of which will have less than ideal match-ups. First we will take a look at the guy who has pitched better out of the two so far in 2016, that being Michael Wacha. Wacha on the season is 2-4 with a 3.23 ERA and a 1.39 WHIP. Both of these pitchers will face tough lineups in the Cubs and Nationals, as well as going head-to-head versus very solid starting pitchers. In his first start Wacha will be at home against the Cubs (vs. Hammel) then going on the road to face the Nationals (vs. Strasburg). Second of the two is mister Adam Wainwright who surely has had his struggles so far this season. Wainwright who somehow has three wins to put him at 3-3, has a horrid 6.80 ERA with a 1.60 WHIP and allowing hitters to hit .330 off of him. Not sure about you guys, but if I owned Wainwright (which thankfully I do not, and do not see a rapid turn around) I do not feel comfortable rolling him out at home against division-rival Cubs (vs. Lackey). If you are in a league with daily roster moves I would feel a little bit better throwing him out there on the road against the Nationals (vs. Gonzalez), but as I stated both are less than ideal situations.

Milwaukee Brewers

AA NELsFor a team going nowhere, they still have some fantasy relevant players with the obvious Ryan Braun and Johnathon Lucroy, to the deeper league type guys in Chris Carter, Jonathon Villar, and Domingo Santana. They will probably stay in the basement of this division simply because their starting pitching staff has no absolute stud, and probably four out of their five starters would be a spot start type guy on a winning team. Nevertheless, the one pitcher that has some value on the Brew Crew is Jimmy Nelson, and luckily for his owners will get a two-start week coming up. Far and away the best pitcher on this Milwaukee team Nelson has a 4-3 record while sporting a 3.51 ERA to go alongside a 1.17 WHIP. Nelson will get two quality match-ups heading into next week as his first start will be on the road in Atlanta (vs. Teheran) to face a scuffling Braves team who just fired their manager, then to get a home start against the team that finds itself below the Brewers in the Cincinnati Reds (vs. Finnegan). There is a good chance that he can at least get you quality starts as he has accomplished that in five out of his eight starts this season, also with a good shot at a win or two. This is the only pitcher besides closer Jeremy Jeffress that you need to pay any attention to on the Brew Crew for the foreseeable future.

Cincinnati Reds

AA FInWe knew that this team was not going to be very good after the fire-sale of a season that saw the departure of studs like Todd Frazier and Johnny Cueto. It seems as of if their only accomplishment can be jockeying Milwaukee to not finish last in the division. If for some reason the Brewers did not follow suit with a fire-sale of their own this season and kept the aforementioned hitters intact, that even finishing above the Brewers would be an improbable outcome. Enough about last place and let’s get into a player that can possibly help you end in first. Like the Brewers, the Reds really have a disastrous pitching staff, any time you are throwing guys like Alfredo Simon out there every fifth day, you know you got yourself a problem. Moving along, Brandon Finnegan will get two-starts for Cincinnati next week and although the first may be dubious on the outside going up against the best pitcher in the game in Clayton Kershaw and the Dodgers, if you dig deeper into the numbers it doesn’t look so bad. Although he may not get the victory as Kershaw could probably no-hit this team on his close-to best day, the lineup in which Finnegan will actually be battling is 19th in the majors in batting average at .244, and even worse when they are at home sitting at 24th in the league in average with a .227. In his second start he will face off against the struggling Brewers in the confines of his home park, and while the Brewers at home are good for ninth in batting average in the league at .265, we have a case of extreme splits as on the road they rank 28th in the league with a .227 average. He definitely is not a guy you can roll out and sleep like a baby at night, but he has a good shot to help out some of your ratios, or in a points league get you a quality start or win depending on how your league scores.

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(Click the Red link below to listen)

Major League Fantasy Baseball Weekly: Join Lou Landers and Kyle Amore live on Thursday May 19th, 2016 from 8-10pm EST for episode #14 of Major League Fantasy Baseball Weekly. This will run every Thursday as a live broadcast that will take live callers at 323-870-4395. Press 1 to speak with the host. Our Thursday night show will do some weekly recaps, player updates, and preview the coming week-end games.

Our guests this week are Hernan Batista and Bryan Luhrs. Bryan is the owner of Real Deal Dynasty Sports, a writer with MLFS, and a key member of our organization. Hernan is a frequent guest on our radio shows and an owner in MLFB1 and MLFB2.

You can find our shows on I-Tunes. Just search for Major League Fantasy Sports in the podcasts section. For Android users go to “Podcast Republic,” then download that app, and search for “Major League Fantasy Sports Show”

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(Click the RED link below to listen)

Major League Fantasy Baseball Show: Join Corey D Roberts on Sunday May 22nd, 2016 from 7-9pm EST for this week’s episode of the Major League Fantasy Baseball Radio Show. We are a live call in radio show so we encourage callers at 323-870-4395. Press 1 to speak with the host. Every week we will do a quick recap of Fr-Sat games, and a forecast of Monday through Thursday’s games.

Our guests this week are Zak Sauer and Calvin Martin, Jr.  Zak is a writer with majorleaguefantasysports.com, a co-host of our Saturday football shows starting in June, and the co-host of Sports Buffet’s radio show “Sports Talk” every Monday with Lou Landers. Calvin is the commish of MLFB3 and owner in MLFB1, MLFB4, and MLFBC.

“You can find our shows on I-Tunes. Just search for Major League Fantasy Sports in the podcasts section. For Android users go to “Podcast Republic,” then download that app, and search for “Major League Fantasy Sports Show”

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