Fantasy Baseball recap: Ohtani steals the Sho

Angels Ohtani

Sunday’s MLB slate was almost an afterthought early on Sunday with both the Masters and Wrestlemania seemingly grabbing the headlines. However, potentially the greatest story in sports right now stole a lot of those headlines back. Shohei Ohtani was incredible once again, this time with the ball rather than the bat.

Sunday’s slate was packed with action and still Ohtani stands head and shoulders above everything else which is testament to just how good he was. He has fast become one of the most marketable players in American sports. So starting with the Sho himself let’s break down Sunday’s notable fantasy headlines.

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As I say Sunday was so incredible that this is going to be a marathon Monday morning recap and even then I am not going to be able to give everyone the write up they deserve here.

1. Ohtani deals against the A’s

Ohtani flirted with a no hitter on Sunday and finished with an impressive seven innings, 12 strikeouts, one hit and one walk. So far this season he has thrown 13 innings, struck out 18 while giving up three earned runs, four hits and two walks.

That as a pitching line is impressive enough to make him a very valuable player but if you play in daily leagues on ESPN or CBS where he is just one player then that is not even the full story. Kyle and I discussed Ohtani’s hitting on the podcast this week. He has already hit three home runs and is hitting the cover off the ball seemingly every time he comes up to the plate.

I mentioned in pre-season that he could challenge for top half of the first round and maybe even #1 overall pick in those daily format, sadly I got scared and did not follow my own advice, and right now he is in that conversation. I have seen at least one person saying they wouldn’t give up Ohtani in that daily line-up change format for Kershaw or Scherzer.

Personally I still would because I don’t expect Ohtani to give you the consistency those two would but I can full understand why you wouldn’t. The story that is surrounding Ohtani right now is worth owning and enjoying alone. Honestly I really do think you should sell high because right now you can name your price on him and in most cases probably get it. The story is a lot of fun but if you want to win your baseball league then cashing in on this start would be a prudent move.

2. Jameson Taillon shuts out the Reds

On any other day this would be a headline but today it is a footnote in the Ohtani Sho (sorry I’ll stop). The Reds do not have a good line-up and Taillon is a decent pitcher but this is more than I expected. Taillon struck out seven across nine innings whilst giving up just one run and two walks. He now has two good pitching performances on the season, nine strikeouts in 5.1 innings versus the Twins, and at 88% owned on Yahoo he needs to be owned in all leagues.

3. Eugenio Suarez injury

The downside of Taillon’s outing for fantasy owners is that he hit Eugenio Suarez with a pitch and fractured Suarez’s thumb. Suarez is going to be out for a little while which is a blow to owners who got him at a great price in drafts.

More bad news is that it appears it will be Alex Blandino and not Nick Senzel who the Reds will call up. Hopefully Suarez can be back in 4-6 weeks but if you are the Suarez owner I am looking to add Senzel who may just be held back another week for service time issues.

4. Sean Newcomb stuns the Rockies (and us)

I like Newcomb a lot as an upside pitcher this year but not a chance was I starting him in Colorado. However, I clearly should have because he struck out nine in six shutout innings. He gave up just five hits and had no walks in an impressive performance. He is someone I am adding speculatively in a lot of places after this but given the hitter friendly way SunTrust Park has played in 2018 he is not a must own yet.

5. Kenley Jansen strikes out the side

It has been a rough start to the season for Jansen and his owners. He gave up four earned runs in his first two outings and then allowed two base runners in his third. Last night he got back on track with a three strike out, one hit outing against the Giants. He is supposedly healthy but the velocity is still down so this is a storyline to watch. I am not selling yet but I am definitely nervous everytime I see him come out to pitch.

6. Other starting pitching notes

  • Jose Quintana had a bounce back outing against Milwaukee in Miller Park. I am still not 100% confident because the Brewers are struggling offensively right now but this was a promising performance.
  • Luke Weaver was really good against the Diamondbacks. Arizona are hitting well so far in 2018 making this really nice for those who took a gamble on Weaver in drafts.
  • Another nice outing for Charlie Morton and he should probably be owned in every league right now.
  • Tanner Roark had a rough outing on Sunday night baseball. We have seen one good and one bad outing, plus he struck out nine last night, so there should be no immediate panic. I think you will see him dropped for a sexier name in a lot of leagues and he might be a shrewd pick-up.
  • Mike Clevinger was good again against the Royals. Ignore the relatively low strikeout rate because the Royals are a contact heavy team. Clevinger is a guy with a ton of upside that I have added in a lot of places lately.
  • Taijuan Walker recovered well in his first start after a rough first innings. Last night gave up one earned across six innings which is promising. Only three strikeouts is a big limiting factor in his upside and reason why I am not rushing out to add him yet.
  • Reynaldo Lopez followed up a good first outing with a mixed second. The five strikeouts in seven innings was nice but the five walks are a little more concerning. Still worth an add in deeper leagues because of his strikeout upside but the control issues could lead to some rough outings.
  • Matt Harvey was pretty bad on Sunday night and given that in the first outing the result was better than the stuff this has not encouraged me. Right now I think Harvey is a tough guy to own when there is so much young upside around elsewhere

7. Saves saves saves

  • Brad Brach got his second save last night. He appears to still be the top closing option after a wobble in his first outing. He did give up two walks however which make five for the season and are a little bit of a concern. With plenty of options in that bull pen any more slip ups and he might be replaced. May be worth seeing what you can get in a trade for him.
  • Brad Ziegler still appears to be the closer in Miami despite his bad outing against the Cubs last week. Owning him won’t be pretty and in the long run the saves may not be worth the damage he does to your ERA and strikeout rate.
  • Shane Greene struck out one to get his second save of the season. I think Greene is a cannot win closer to own. If he’s good he will be traded for future pieces at the deadline and if he’s bad then he ruins your ratios and loses the job.
  • Brandon Morrow now has two saves in two days. He has looked fine but the Cubs weird start to the season has meant he has not seen many chances to save games until now. He has some competition in that bullpen but I think he is safe in the job. Opportunities on a team with an offence and rotation this good may be sparse but they should win plenty of games and he should have 30 saves come the end of the year.
  • Brad Peacock rounds out a day of Brads in this section. Peacock got the save for Houston last night after Giles had pitched the previous two days. I think Peacock is too useful in the multi innings role to get this job full time but it is certainly a situation to watch with Giles having a wobbly start to the year.


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