- Getting you ready for the week to come in fantasy baseball.
It’s our first Monday of the 2019 MLB season, which means the return of the SI.com Table Setter. Every week in the Table Setter, we’ll get you ready for the next seven days of MLB action. From the nuts and bolts of two-start pitchers and games played for each team, to the in-depth analysis of players you need to watch, the Table Setter will have you ready for the week to come in your fantasy baseball league.
We’ll have a lot more to dive into once the season is more than a weekend old, but there’s still plenty to consider as we begin the first full week of the 2019 campaign.
Pitchers to Watch
Freddy Peralta, Brewers
Peralta struggled in his first start of the season, allowing four runs on six hits and three walks in a loss to the Cardinals. The 22-year-old was a popular endgame selection in drafts over the last month after an impressive 14-start debut with the Brewers last year, highlighted by 96 strikeouts in 78 1/3 innings. We’re not going to jump to any conclusions after a start or two, but he’s not someone who deserves a long leash from the fantasy community. If his next couple of turns are as ugly as the first one, it wouldn’t be rash to cut him loose. Peralta is slated to take the ball on Wednesday in Cincinnati.
Corbin Burnes, Brewers
Peralta’s rotation mate had a better start to the season, striking out 12 batters in five innings. Sure, Burnes allowed four runs and three homers in five innings, but the 12 strikeouts are the main takeaway from his first start of the year. He sat in the mid-90s with his four-seamer and sinker, and he got 16 whiffs on 37 sliders thrown. Burnes flashed that swing-and-miss stuff in the spring, and it’s a large part of why he’s in the rotation. He’ll make his next start on Saturday against the Cubs.
Sandy Alcantara, Marlins
Alcantara started the season with a bang, tossing eight shutout innings while allowing four hits, striking out six and walking none in a 3-0 win over the Rockies. The first four hitters in Colorado’s order—Charlie Blackmon, David Dahl, Nolan Areando and Trevor Story—went a combined 1-for-12 against Alcantara, the lone hit a single by Dahl in the first inning that was quickly erased by a 5-4-3 double play off the bat of Arenado. Nearly half of Alcantara’s pitches were sliders, and the offering had a usage rate of just 22.2% last year. That’s something to keep an eye on over his next few starts. His next outing is scheduled for Saturday in Atlanta.
Lucas Giolito, White Sox
Giolito looked like the once-elite prospect that he is in his 2019 debut. He took a no-hitter against the Royals into the seventh inning, finally allowing a one-out single to Alex Gordon. He ended up surrendering two more hits and two runs in the frame, but that didn’t take much of the shine off his first start of the season. All told, he allowed those two runs and three hits across 6 2/3 innings, striking out eight and walking one. The velocity on his average four-seam fastball was 94.1 mph, up two mph from last year, and he completely ditched his sinker. Those are the types of substantive changes that could help him realize his front-of-rotation potential. Giolito will next take the mound on Saturday against the Mariners.
Yonny Chirinos, Rays
Chirinos was one of the poster children for Tampa Bay’s flexible pitcher usage last season, making 18 appearances, including seven starts, tossing 89 2/3 innings while spending most of the second half of the season pitching after an opener. The team will deploy him as a traditional starter this season, and he looked great in his first outing of the year. Chirinos held the mighty Astros to one run on two hits over seven innings, striking out six and walking none. His pitch mix and velocity stayed in line with last year, with a heavy reliance and sinkers and splitters, and a slider mixed in for good measure. He’s in line to take the ball on Saturday against the Giants.
Hitters to Watch
Domingo Santana, OF, Mariners
Santana is off to a great start in his first season with the Mariners, going 8-for-26 with three homers, two doubles, 10 RBI and two steals in 31 plate appearances. He has struck out eight times but drawn five walks, a balance that would be more than palatable over the full season. Santana’s power is his prime draw so it’s great to see him with three homers, but the two steals are what really jump off the page here. He swiped 15 bags in his monster 2017 season with the Brewers, so there’s reason to believe he can be a 30-15 player this season.
Christian Yelich, OF, Brewers
He has to regress, they said. He just has to. Well, turns out Yelich laughs at the regression monster. He homered in each of his first four games of the season, driving in eight runs and walking six times against one strikeout. The reigning NL MVP picked up right where he left off last season, and is a homer on Monday away from setting a new record for consecutive games with a home run to start a season.
Javier Baez, 2B/3B/SS, Cubs
Speaking of last year’s NL MVP race, the runner-up to Yelich had himself a nice opening weekend, too. Baez went 6-for-14 with two homers, six RBI and two steals in the Cubs’ three-game series with the Rangers. His homers came in the same game, and he swiped two bags in five times on base, suggesting that he’ll be as free to run as he was last year when he stole 21 bases.
Wil Myers, 3B/OF, Padres
Most of what happens early in a baseball season is just noise, just like anything that happens in a small sample at any time in a baseball season. One thing that is worth giving credence to is how often a player runs. Myers attempted two steals in the Padres’ opening weekend series and was successful on both of them, a good sign that he will continue to run and threaten the 20-steal mark this year. Fernando Tatis also attempted two steals in the series, so it’s safe to say Andy Green will keep the reins off his base-stealers this season.
Kolten Wong, 2B, Cardinals
Wong also pilfered a couple of bags in his team’s first series to go along with a two-homer game on Opening Day. What’s more, he started every game at second base, going 8-for-14 with a walk in the four games against the Brewers. He hit toward the bottom of the order in all four games, and while that’s unlikely to change with Matt Carpenter, Paul Goldschmidt, Paul DeJong and Marcell Ozuna seemingly locked into the top-four spots in the Cardinals’ lineup, Wong can be a significant fantasy asset if he’s playing every day.
Two-start pitchers (alphabetical order by team)
Merrill Kelly, Arizona Diamondbacks
Sean Newcomb, Atlanta Braves
David Hess, Baltimore Orioles
David Price, Boston Red Sox
Chris Sale, Boston Red Sox
Kyle Hendricks, Chicago Cubs
Tanner Roark, Cincinnati Reds
Anthony DeSclafani, Cincinnati Reds
Chad Bettis, Colorado Rockies
Tyson Ross, Detroit Tigers
Brad Peacock, Houston Astros
Chris Stratton, Los Angeles Angels
Julio Urias, Los Angeles Dodgers
Caleb Smith, Miami Marlins
Zach Davies, Milwaukee Brewers
Steven Matz, New York Mets
Domingo German, New York Yankees
Aaron Brooks, Oakland A's
Mike Fiers, Oakland A's
Chris Archer, Pittsburgh Pirates
Matt Strahm, San Diego Padres
Drew Pomeranz, San Francisco Giants
Drew Smyly, Texas Rangers
Shelby Miller, Texas Rangers
Sean Reid-Foley, Toronto Blue Jays
Marcus Stroman, Toronto Blue Jays
Teams playing seven games: Red Sox, Reds, A’s, Rangers, Blue Jays
Teams playing six games: Diamondbacks, Braves, Orioles, Cubs, Indians, Rockies, Tigers, Astros, Angels, Dodgers, Marlins, Brewers, Mets, Yankees, Pirates, Padres, Giants, Rays
Teams playing five games: White Sox, Royals, Twins, Phillies, Mariners, Cardinals, Nationals