- After several jaw-dropping homers early on, Bryce Harper entered a prolonged slump for most of April and May. Now, with the calendar turning to June, the Phillies' rightfielder is heating up.
The SI.com Fantasy Baseball Table Setter gets you ready for the week ahead with a focus on the hitters and pitchers who deserve extra attention in the coming days, and all the schedule details you need to get your lineups set for this week’s games.
Pitchers to Watch
Griffin Canning, Angels
Canning has been excellent in his last three trips to the mound, allowing two runs on nine hits in 18 innings, striking out 15 and walking three. That translates to a 1.00 ERA and 0.67 WHIP across the three-start sample. All told, the 23-year-old righty owns a 3.06 ERA and 0.96 WHIP with 34 strikeouts against nine walks in his first 32 1/3 MLB innings. Canning is slated for two starts this week, facing the A’s on Tuesday and Mariners on Sunday.
Hyun-Jin Ryu, Dodgers
Ryu spun another gem in his last start, this time tossing 7 2/3 shutout innings against the Mets, striking out seven while allowing four hits and one walk. He has allowed no more than two runs and one walk in all 11 of his starts this year, a streak last pulled off in 2016 by teammate Clayton Kershaw. Ryu takes a 1.48 ERA, 0.81 WHIP and 69 strikeouts against five walks across 73 innings into June. He’ll take the ball once this week, facing off with the Diamondbacks on Tuesday.
Zach Davies, Brewers
Davies bounced back from an ugly start his last time out, holding the mighty Twins scoreless across six innings, surrendering five hits and two walks. He has significantly outpitched his peripherals this year, and that’s cause for concern. Davies has never been a big strikeout guy and owns a 16.6% strikeout rate this season. His walk rate, meanwhile, is at 7.5%, and his soft-hit rate is just 13.2%. All that, combined with his track record, suggest major regression is on the horizon. He’s scheduled to face the Marlins on Tuesday and Pirates on Sunday this week.
Yusei Kikuchi, Mariners
Kikuchi put together four straight quality starts to kick off May, allowing six earned runs on 16 hits and six walks with 24 strikeouts across 26 2/3 innings in that stretch. He has been rocked in his two starts since then, surrendering 10 earned runs on 20 hits with just one strikeout in 6 2/3 frames. He’ll take the ball twice this week, squaring off with the Astros on Tuesday and Angels on Sunday.
Shane Bieber, Indians
Bieber got knocked around in his last start, allowing six runs on eight hits, including three homers, yet managed to get the win with his offense giving him 14 runs of support. Bieber has allowed at least five runs in three of his 11 starts this year, but when things don’t go totally off the rails for him, he generally takes care of his business. Bieber ranks ninth in the majors with a 30.3% strikeout rate, and will take a 3.67 ERA and 1.09 WHIP into a tough two-start week, drawing the Twins on Tuesday and Yankees on Sunday.
Hitters to Watch
Austin Meadows, OF, Rays
Meadows has been nothing short of one of the best players in the league this season, hitting .354/.431/.673 with 12 homers and 35 RBI in 172 plate appearances. He’s the 27th-ranked player in standard 5x5 fantasy leagues in what will go down as his first full MLB season. The Pirates would probably like a do-over on the Chris Archer trade, huh?
Kyle Schwarber, OF, Cubs
Schwarber is getting going with the power, hitting four homers in his last 10 games, but he's still just 8-for-41 with 17 strikeouts in that time. He also seems to be locked in, for the time being, as the Cubs leadoff man, hitting first in the team’s last 16 games. Schwarber has always had the tools to be a successful leadoff man, especially in the modern game, despite his struggles in the spot two seasons ago.
Derek Dietrich, 1B/2B/OF, Reds
Dietrich is enjoying a career year in his age-29 season, hitting .260/.366/.707 with 17 homers and 36 RBI in 149 plate appearances. He’s also in the vanguard of making baseball as fun as possible and injecting some much-needed personality into the game, something we here in the Table Setter support wholeheartedly. Dietrich is on an absolute tear over the last two weeks, going 14-for-40 with seven homers and 11 RBI in his last 10 starts.
Bryce Harper, OF, Phillies
At the end of play on May 21, Harper was hitting .224/.360/.454. Going into play on June 2, he’s hitting .248/.364/.481. Harper got to the latter from the former by going 15-for-40 with two homers and six doubles over his last 10 games. The season-long numbers are still a bit of a disappointment, but it looks like he’s breaking out of his spring malaise as the calendar turns to summer.
Bryan Reynolds, OF, Pirates
Lost amid Josh Bell’s breakout season, Reynolds is quietly putting together an impressive rookie year. The 24-year-old is hitting .345/.402/.569 with five homers, nine doubles and 17 RBI in 128 plate appearances. He earned a quick promotion from Triple-A Indianapolis, where he hit .367/.446/.735 in 57 plate appearances before joining the Pirates. That was his first taste of professional ball higher than the Double-A level, but he always displayed a strong hit tool, carrying a career minor league slash line of .312/.373/.472.
Pitchers scheduled to make two starts this week (alphabetical order by team)
Robbie Ray, Arizona Diamondbacks
Max Fried, Atlanta Braves
Dylan Bundy, Baltimore Orioles
Eduardo Rodriguez, Boston Red Sox
Jon Lester, Chicago Cubs
Kyle Hendricks, Chicago Cubs
Luis Castillo, Cincinnati Reds
Shane Bieber, Cleveland Indians
Jeff Hoffman, Colorado Rockies
Ryan Carpenter, Detroit Tigers
Corbin Martin, Houston Astros
Wade Miley, Houston Astros
Glenn Sparkman, Kansas City Royals
Trevor Cahill, Los Angeles Angels\
Griffin Canning, Los Angeles Angels
Walker Buehler, Los Angeles Dodgers
Pablo Lopez, Miami Marlins
Chase Anderson, Milwaukee Brewers
Devin Smeltzer, Minnesota Twins
Noah Syndergaard, New York Mets
Masahiro Tanaka, New York Yankees
Frankie Montas, Oakland A’s
Aaron Nola, Philadelphia Phillies
Steven Brault, Pittsburgh Pirates
Eric Lauer, San Diego Padres
Chris Paddack, San Diego Padres
Wade LeBlanc, Seattle Mariners
Madison Bumgarner, San Francisco Giants
Genesis Cabrera, St. Louis Cardinals
Blake Snell, Tampa Bay Rays
Drew Smyly, Texas Rangers
Clayton Richard, Toronto Blue Jays
Stephen Strasburg, Washington Nationals
Teams playing seven games: Red Sox, Cubs, Astros, Angels, A’s, Padres, Mariners, Rays, Rangers
Teams playing six games: Diamondbacks, Braves, Orioles, Reds, Indians, Rockies, Tigers, Royals, Dodgers, Marlins, Brewers, Twins, Mets, Yankees, Phillies, Pirates, Giants, Cardinals, Blue Jays, Nationals
Teams playing five games: White Sox