MLB 2017 Season Preview

National League West

FanPicks examines the National League West division for the upcoming Major League Baseball season. Get ready for fantasy baseball.

Arizona DiamondBacks

The D-backs have the core of a strong offense with do-it-all Paul Goldschmidt, power bats in Jake Lamb and Yasmany Tomas and speed/power guy A.J. Pollock, whose absence had a lot to do with the team’s unexpected struggles a year ago. For the D-backs to have any kind of chance in the stacked NL West, however, their young starters behind Zack Greinke will need to take another step forward, and signed free-agent Fernando Rodney must thrive as the closer.

Colorado Rockies

Being in contention is realistic if the young rotation continues to improve and the bullpen, unlike last year, becomes an asset. And the bullpen should be better with the addition of Mike Dunn and the return of Jairo Diaz as well as young pitching prospects like Jeff Hoffman, German Marquez and Kyle Freeland, who could be moved temporarily to the bullpen to fortify that area.

Los Angeles Dodgers

Going into the offseason, the Dodgers’ goal was simple — keep as much of the roster intact as possible. They went 3-for-3 in the most important parts of that process, re-signing Kenley Jansen, Justin Turner and Rich Hill. Given the likelihood of better health this year, another year of maturity for the young players like Corey Seager and the fruits of a loaded farm system, the Dodgers appear to be the most obvious threat to the Chicago Cubs’ reign over the National League.

San Francisco Giants

The Giants remain one of the league’s most stable and successful franchises. They should receive plenty of quality innings from their rotation along with clean defensive games from a dynamic infield — a great recipe for getting leads, winning series and marching back to October.

San Diego Padres

Petco Park is a great place for fans to enjoy craft beer and good food. Sadly, good baseball doesn’t appear to be on the menu anytime soon as the Padres trot out a young team. Yes, it’ll be great for fans who like to see top prospects. Manager Andy Green suggested late last year that everyone “embrace the process.” That’s not exactly what most fans want to hear after watching too much losing ball over the decades. There will be far more growing pains than big moments.

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Monday’s Late Night Games

Giants (79-70) vs Dodgers (84-65)

Los Angeles are sending ace Clayton Kershaw to the mound on Monday night. They open a three-game series against the visiting San Francisco Giants (Enter Contests), who are fighting for a spot in the postseason with 13 games to play. The Dodgers are leading their division rival Giants by five games in the National League West, while the Giants pursue the Mets in the National League  wild card race. They are one game back of New York and just a game ahead of St. Louis.

Diamondbacks (63-86) vs Padres (62-87)

The Arizona Diamondbacks are visiting  the San Diego Padres. This will be the first of six games between the last two teams in the National League West. They are both looking to avoid a last-place finish before the regular-season comes to an end. The Diamondbacks have won five of their previous seven contests. Thanks in part of their surging offense. They have a one-game lead for fourth place over the Padres, who were swept in three games by the Colorado Rockies.

Blue Jays (81-68) vs Mariners (79-70)

The Seattle Mariners are focusing in making up ground in the American League wild-card race when they take on the Toronto Blue Jays at home.  They open a three-game series against their northern opponents. The Mariners avoided the series-sweep against Houston thanks to a 7-3 victory on Sunday. They have won nine of 11 to close within two games of the slumping Blue Jays for the second wild-card spot.

Astros (78-71) vs Athletics (66-83)

After coming up short of a three-game sweep in Seattle, the Houston Astros look to recharge and continue their quest toward a wild-card spot in the American League. They start the second half of their six-game road trip Monday with the series-opener against the Oakland Athletics. Houston lost 7-3 to the Mariners on Sunday, but remain three games back of Toronto for the second wild card. A chance for them to close down the gap is a likely scenario, as they play their next seven contests against AL West bottom-feeders Oakland and the Los Angeles Angels before another confrontation with Seattle at home.

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August 18 MLB Rundown

Thursday Evening Matchups

FanPicks has your August 18 MLB rundown to get ready for today’s fantasy baseball contests. Get the info you need and play right here!

Astros vs Orioles

Astros second baseman Jose Altuve, who reached 1,000 hits against the Cardinals on Tuesday, has had a lot of success against Baltimore, just not recently. In Houston’s three-game sweep of the O’s earlier this season, Altuve went 1-for-13.

Dodgers vs Phillies

Dodgers shortstop Corey Seager has hit safely in eight straight games, going 15-for-36. Teammate Adrian Gonzalez is 18-for-40 with 11 RBIs and 12 runs scored during a 10-game hitting streak.

White Sox vs Indians

Cleveland’s first baseman Carlos Santana has a career batting average of .364 (4-for-11) off Rodon. Santana is the only Cleveland batter with double-digit career at-bats vs. the southpaw hitting over .200.

Marlins vs Reds

Veteran second baseman Brandon Phillips returned to the Reds lineup on Wednesday after missing the previous two contests due to injury and delivered the key hit with a go-ahead, two-run double in the seventh.

Nationals vs Braves

Nats outfielder Jayson Werth has reached base in 45 consecutive games. He has a chance to tie the franchise record if he reaches base on Thursday.

Twins vs Royals

Twins rookie right-hander Tyler Duffey goes for his second win over the Royals in six days.

Mariners vs Angels

Fourteen game winning pitcher Hisashi Iwakuma has dominated the Angels’ two biggest threats in large sample sizes. Mike Trout is hitting just .214 (9-for-42) and Albert Pujols only .133 (3-for-45) vs. Iwakuma.

Padres vs Diamondbacks

Arizona right fielder Yasmany Tomas isn’t having any issues at the plate as he went 3-for-4 with two homers and a career-best six RBIs in Wednesday’s 13-5 victory over the New York Mets. Tomas has slugged 12 homers in his past 19 games and has seven multi-homer games while belting 25 this season.

Mets vs Giants

Giants ace Madison Bumgarner has been superb against the Mets in his career by going 4-0 with a 1.03 ERA and 0.91 WHIP in five career outings. Mets counter-attacks with their ace Jacob deGrom, who is 3-0 with a 0.84 ERA in three career starts against the Giants. Pitching duel to be expected.

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August 10 Fantasy Baseball Preview

Wednesday Evening Matchups

FanPicks has your august 10 fantasy baseball preview to get ready for today’s MLB contest. Get the info you need and play right here!

Padres vs Pirates

Out of the starting lineup for three games due to a sore shoulder, Gregory Polanco provide a jolt in his return for the Pittsburgh Pirates. Polanco’s three-run homer was the decisive blow in Tuesday’s 6-4 triumph for Pittsburgh against San Diego. Penciled in at the cleanup spot for the first time in his career, Polanco continued his breakout campaign with his 16th homer to keep the Pirates 2 1/2 games behind Miami for the second wild card in the National League. Andrew McCutchen showed signs of breaking out of his funk by reaching base four times, including a season-high three via the walk.

Padres rookie Jabari Blash went 2-for-4 with a homer on Tuesday and is 7-for-24 since his recall from the minors after batting .120 during his first stint with the team earlier in the season. San Diego sents Edwin Jackson to the mound to oppose Ryan Vogelsong in a matchup of veteran right-handers.

Rays vs Blue Jays

J.A. Happ has provided quite the return on the Toronto Blue Jays’ investment this season. Signed to a three-year, $36 million deal in the offseason, Happ puts his string of a career-high nine straight victorious decisions on the line Wednesday versus the Rays. The 33-year-old’s 15 wins this season have comfortably surpassed his previous best total in 2009, although none have come at the expense of Tampa Bay. Happ settled for a pair of no-decisions versus the Rays in April before getting shredded for a career high-tying eight runs on seven hits in a 13-2 shellacking on May 16. Evan Longoria, who is batting .385 in his career against Happ, collected three hits and as many RBIs in Tuesday’s 9-2 victory over Toronto. The 30-year-old is 6-for-15 with two homers, five RBIs and four runs scored in his last four games.

Yankees vs Red Sox

The Yankees are trying to balance moving the youth onto the roster while gracefully shuffling the veterans out the door, and Alex Rodriguez did not get into the game on Tuesday. The 14-time All-Star, who is set to be released by New York after Friday’s game, is expected to at least play on Thursday and could get an at-bat or two on Wednesday.

Reds vs Cardinals

Billy Hamilton is running wild on the basepaths and looks to increase his major league-leading steals total. The speedy Reds center fielder has stolen nine bases over his last three contests, including five in the first two games of this series, to increase his season total to 48. Hamilton, who is 6-for-11 with four walks and six runs scored during his three-game spree, is an astounding 20-for-22 stealing against Cardinals star Yadier Molina, who is considered one of the top throwing catchers in the game. Hamilton reached base four times and scored three runs to fuel Tuesday’s 7-4 win, which occurred one day after St. Louis staged a five-run rally in the bottom of the ninth inning to post a 5-4 victory. Molina went 2-for-4 with a homer on Tuesday to improve to 7-for-14 over his last four games and has reached base in each of his last 22 contests.

Rockies vs Rangers

Prince Fielder, in his third season with the Rangers, is walking away from the game after undergoing neck surgery on July 29. It is the second surgical procedure on his neck in a 26-month span. The Rockies were without right fielder Carlos Gonzalez for the past two games. He’ll likely be held out once again on Wednesday.

Angels vs Cubs

Jason Hammel will be activated from the bereavement list to make the start and looks to improve upon his 6-1 record and 2.24 ERA at home. He has won four straight starts to set a career-high for wins after tossing six shutout innings against Miami on Aug. 2. The 33-year-old has allowed four runs and 16 hits in 24 innings during the winning streak and hasn’t given up more than two runs in a start since July 1. Hammel is 1-3 with a 6.59 ERA in six games (five starts) against the Angels, with the last meeting in 2013.

Astros vs Twins

Dallas Keuchel tossed his first shutout of the season in his last turn and looks to post a second consecutive strong outing. The reigning American League Cy Young Award winner gave up just three hits in a 5-0 victory over the Texas Rangers while recording his fourth career shutout. Keuchel has experienced a bumpy campaign and was rocked for seven runs in five innings by Detroit in his previous turn. Astros All-Star second baseman Jose Altuve went 4-for-4 in Tuesday’s 7-5 victory over the Twins after being rested Monday to end his consecutive games streak to 202. Minnesota has won seven of its last 10 games behind the red-hot Brian Dozier, whose solo shot and two RBIs on Tuesday gave him six homers and 13 RBIs during the stretch.

Braves vs Brewers

Braves Erick Aybar carries a 14-game hitting streak. He has provided a breath of fresh air for his cellar-dwelling club. Aybar collected two singles in Tuesday’s 2-1 victory for Atlanta, which has won four in a row and six of seven overall. The 32-year-old Dominican traditionally has struggled versus the Brewers, going 8-for-36 in nine career encounters and 0-for-3 versus Wednesday starter Chase Anderson. Ryan Braun went deep on Tuesday for the fourth time in seven outings, during which he has recorded 11 RBIs.

White Sox vs Royals

Jose Quintana has won nine games in each of the last three seasons and will look to reach double-digit victories for the first time against the Royals. He lost six consecutive starts while receiving a total of eight runs of support earlier this season, but he is 4-0 since July 3 thanks to some increased offensive support. Losers of 12 of its last 17 overall, Kansas City sends Ian Kennedy to the mound to face Quintana.

Orioles vs Athletics

Baltimore had just three hits in Tuesday’s 2-1 loss with the run coming on a homer by center fielder Adam Jones, who has five hits in the series and is 11-for-22 during a five-game hitting streak. Orioles All-Star right fielder Mark Trumbo, who is tied for the major-league lead with 31 homers, is just 7-for-57 with one blast over his past 15 contests.

Tigers vs Mariners

Two former American League Cy Young Award winners will square off in Seattle. Detroit sends 2011 winner Justin Verlander, who also was the AL MVP that season, to the mound against Seattle ace Felix Hernandez, who captured the Cy Young the previous year. Verlander has won each of his last five decisions and recorded at least nine strikeouts in four of his last five outings overall, while Hernandez is 2-0 in four turns since returning from a calf injury that landed him on the disabled list.

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August 9 Fantasy Baseball Preview

Tuesday Primetime Matchups

FanPicks has your august 9 fantasy baseball preview to get ready for today’s MLB contest. Get the info you need and play right here!

Padres vs Pirates

Pirates center fielder Andrew McCutchen, benched for three games last week, is 3-for-21 over his last six contests. To make matters worse, right fielder Gregory Polanco has not started in each of the past three games due to a sore left shoulder. Padres left fielder Alex Dickerson homered Sunday to extend his hitting streak to five games.

Indians vs Nationals

Max Scherzer will toe the slab for the Nats, and he’s undefeated in his last five appearances. Scherzer (12-6, 2.87 ERA) allowed three runs on four hits, striking out 11 in eight innings in an 8-3 win at Arizona his last time out. He absolutely owns the Indians, with a record of 4-0, 3.46 ERA in his last eight starts against them.

Rays vs Blue Jays

Devon Travis is doing his best to carve out a full-time role as the Toronto Blue Jays’ leadoff hitter. The 25-year-old looks to follow up a career-best four-hit performance in the opener and give manager John Gibbons added incentive to keep him atop the lineup. Travis, who is 12-for-22 with three homers and seven RBIs during his five-game hitting streak, drove in a run in Monday’s 7-5 triumph and has four homers and eight RBIs in his 12 games as the club’s leadoff hitter. Brad Miller, who recorded a two-run double on Monday for the Rays, is 10-for-25 with three homers and nine RBIs during his seven-game hitting streak.

Yankees vs Red Sox

The modern chapter of the rivalry between the Boston Red Sox and the New York Yankees kicked into high gear in the offseason between 2003 and 2004, when Alex Rodriguez was at the center of the controversy. Rodriguez, who ended up with New York that winter, will begin his final series in Boston Tuesday. Rodriguez has 696 career home runs but is suffering through the worst season of his career at age 41 and has no place in the Yankees future after the team elected to go younger at the trade deadline and start inserting the youth into the major league roster.

Giants vs Marlins

Brandon Crawford did his best to give ailing manager Bruce Bochy quite the get-well gift by recording Major League Baseball’s first seven-hit performance in 41 years in the series opener. With Bochy  expected to exit the hospital and return to his post in the dugout, Crawford will look to continue the hit parade on Tuesday. He collected a triple, a double and five singles, with his last base hit plating Brandon Belt in the 14th inning for an 8-7 victory. The 29-year-old recorded only six hits in his previous 11 games for the Giants. Miami’s Christian Yelich fell a triple shy of the cycle on Monday but improved to 17-for-40 with 12 RBIs and eight runs scored in his last nine games.

Diamondbacks vs Mets

Zack Greinke’s return from an oblique injury that forced him to miss more than a month should help Arizona’s struggling staff, and the former Cy Young Award winner declared himself ready to go after a rehab start at Triple-A Reno last Wednesday. Greinke surrendered three or fewer runs in six straight starts, including an abbreviated two-inning stint on June 28 before being placed on the disabled list. He is 3-1 with a 2.48 ERA in six career starts against the Mets.

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Fantasy Baseball MLB August 5 Preview

Friday Late Matchups

FanPicks has your MLB august 5 preview to get ready for today’s fantasy baseball contest. Get the info you need and play right here!

Blue Jays vs Royals

The Toronto Blue Jays have won three games in a row and eight of 11 to pull within a single percentage point of the number one spot in the American League East. The surging Blue Jays look to continue their torrid stretch, opening a three-game series versus the reeling Kansas City Royals.

Braves vs Cardinals

The St. Louis Cardinals are getting healthy but are looking for a push in their battle for a National League wild-card spot against the Atlanta Braves. Leadoff hitter Matt Carpenter is expected to participate in the opener after missing 29 games with a strained right oblique. They’ve already had backup earlier this week, when infielders Jhonny Peralta and Brandon Moss came off the disabled list.

Marlins vs Rockies

The Miami Marlins have had a day off to recover from a catastrophic defeat and will try to turn things around against Colorado Rockies. The Marlins kicked off their six-game road trip with three straight losses to the Chicago Cubs, none as bad as Wednesday’s 5-4 defeat.

Brewers vs Diamondbacks

The Arizona Diamondbacks want to end a disappointing run of pitching performances. They’ll host the Milwaukee Brewers for the next few day’s in three-game series set. The bottom-place Diamondbacks have given up 46 runs during a four-game losing streak. Their opponents, on the other hand, recorded nine tallies per contest over the last seven.

Cubs vs Athletics

Chicago Cubs shortstop Addison Russell once dreamed of playing at Oakland Coliseum. Dream will become a reality for him when his squad begin a three-game interleague series against the Oakland Athletics. A former A’s prospect, Russell has blossomed into a key player for the major league-best Cubs. Chicago has now four straight victory and won seven of their last eight.

Red Sox vs Dodgers

The Boston Red Sox are set on closing out a 11-game West Coast trek with a winning record. They will be begin a three-game series against the host Los Angeles Dodgers. Boston is 4-4 on the trip. Versatile Brock Holt delivered the tiebreaking RBI single in the 11th inning of Thursday for a 3-2 victory over Seattle, which split even the four-game series.

Angels vs Mariners

The Seattle Mariners are seeking to make up ground in the American League wild-card race. They are entering a stretch in which seven of their following 13 games are against the soaring Los Angeles Angels. Seattle is just 2-4 versus the Angels this season and Los Angeles is a 12-7 since the All-Star break.

Phillies vs Padres

Philadelphia’s Jeremy Hellickson was a prime candidate to be moved prior to Monday’s trade deadline, but the veteran right-hander will be staying around after-all. He’ll take the ball in Friday’s three-game series opener against the Padres in San Diego. Hellickson stretched his unbeaten streak to three starts (2-0) despite giving up three runs and nine hits in 5 2/3 innings of a 9-5 victory in Atlanta on Saturday.

 

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