If you were just to look at Shane Bieber’s ratios, 4.58 ERA with a 1.42 WHIP, the thought of actively targeting him in American League only fantasy baseball leagues might seem somewhat underwhelming. Looking at the last 31-days (5 starts), a painful 6.41 ERA likely leads many to recoil even further in the thought process of acquiring Bieber.
The underlying skills that Bieber has displayed this season have been drastically better than the end result.
A strong first-pitch strike percentage and swinging strike rate give credence to Bieber’s walk and strikeout percentages. An unfortunate hit rate and strand rate have been the primary culprits behind Bieber’s poor results despite solid underlying metrics.
The skills being displayed by Bieber are not that different from the skills shown during his minor league career. When attempting to acquire a underpriced asset, targeting a pitcher with a history of displaying the low-walk, ground ball skill set is a great place to begin.
Bieber is a target not only for this year but also makes for a great 2019 and beyond keeper play.
Devon Travis is the type of fantasy baseball asset that at least one owner in every fantasy baseball league will want a piece of… Just in case, right?
Travis has shown average skills, which isn’t to take anything away from his skill set, while on the field. Unfortunately, Travis has been hurt far too often to establish a reliable production baseline.
When Brandon Drury was traded to the Toronto Blue Jays it appeared Travis could get squeezed for some playing time. Travis did his best to hold onto his playing time by hitting .297/.338/.500 over 64 at-bats. The underlying skills for Travis’ hot month are right at league average levels. Also in Travis’ favor is an unfortunate DL trip for Drury, which is expected to keep him out for a month.
A player like Travis, often injured and with average skills, is a necessary evil in American League only formats. When active and playing well Travis is the type of mid-tier performer that contending rosters scoop late or via FAAB. The coin flips the other way however when Travis is targeted and a premium is paid for his best case season, following a productive year such as the one we’re witnessing now.
If you find yourself contending with Travis on the roster, now is the time to consider your options. If your chips are all in, hang onto Travis and worry about next year then. If you’re simply hoping to cash and even that could be a stretch, look to sell Travis on his hot month.