Fantasy Baseball AL Player Notes: Red Sox replace Leon as starting backstop

Red Sox manager John Farrell announced that Sandy Leon will no longer be the Red Sox primary catcher, but will start when either Chris Sale or Rick Porcello is on the mound. Meanwhile, Christian Vazquez will get the majority of the starts. Leon can be safely dropped in most formats as playing in only 40% of the games is not likely to lead to enough fantasy production. The diminished role for Leon is a result of his 9-51 start in which he managed only 3 XBH’s and walked just once. We knew he would fall from his .392 BABIP from last season, but maybe we didn’t realize how much. With a career .247/.308/.354 slash line, there’s no reason to assume he’ll win back the starting catcher job in the near future.

Jonathon Lucroy, C, TEX

With Lucroy being ice cold to start the season and Robinson Chirinos off to a blistering start, Lucroy has started seeing a few too many days off for his fantasy owners’ liking. He has only played in 6 of the Rangers’ last 11 games, and that’ probably not unrelated to the fact that Lucroy currently owns a .528 OPS compared to Chirinos’ 1.273. Things have to settle back into normalcy at some point. After all, Lucroy currently holds a career best 7.6% K% and a phenomenal 3.6% SwStr% for the season but is being held back by a .211 BABIP after posting a BABIP of at least .287 in each of his first 7 seasons. Meanwhile, Chirinos is striking out a career high 30% of the time and has yet to crack a .240 BA in his career. I don’t think you can drop Lucroy, but if you can afford to roster another catcher for days that he doesn’t play than that would probably help until things get back to their normal order.





Roberto Osuna, RP, TOR

Osuna converted his second save in as many days on Sunday, a big step in securing his spot as the Blue Jays closer after blowing 3 of his previous 4 save opportunities. His talent is not really the question right now as his 8:0 K:BB ratio and 3.08 xFIP through 8 IP this season indicate that he is still a very good pitcher. But after the rough stretch to start the season, he seemed about one more bad outing away from being removed as the team’s closer, and of course once you lose it, you may not get it back. Yes, that’s how it is with relievers, one or two outings can affect their fantasy value for the whole year. Fortunately for Osuna owners, those one or two outings have gone the right way for him and he looks like a good bet to continue as a solid closer moving forward.

Eduardo Rodriguez, SP, BOS

Rodriguez was dominant against the Cubs on Sunday allowing 1 ER in 6 IP while striking out 9. Rodriguez’ K/9 is now up to 11.96, good enough for top-10 in all of baseball. Of course, he has weaknesses as well, such as his ugly 5.40 BB/9 and his disturbingly high 55.6% FB% which is just asking for homeruns. So no, he’s not an ace. But his 15.0% SwStr% entering Sunday backs up his strong K% and pitching that well against the Cubs is especially impressive. Rodriguez has to at least be considered in most formats.

Brian McCann, C. HOU

McCann is off to a solid start in 2017, hitting .279 with 3 HR’s and 13 RBI through his first 19 games. On Monday he’ll have a nice matchup against RHP Andrew Cashner who has a nice 2.93 ERA this season, but behind that is an awful 6.23 xFIP and 8:13 K:BB ratio. Since 2013, 71 of McCann’s 92 HR’s have come against RHP’s, making him a nice daily choice for a relatively low price. DraftKings Value Play Salary $3,400.

Written by Menachem Greenfeld: a Mathematics major at the University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC) and he has always had a passion for sports and statistics.

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