- Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo have come alive over the last few weeks, and the Cubs have gotten hot in the process. Their recent stretch is worth keeping an eye on as you set your fantasy lineups this week.
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
Luke Weaver, Diamondbacks
The deal that landed Weaver is Arizona is appropriately known as the Paul Goldschmidt trade, but the Diamondbacks have to be happy with the return they received for the star first baseman. Weaver is taking full advantage of the change in scenery, pitching to a 2.98 ERA and 1.06 WHIP with 50 strikeouts against 10 walks in 45 1/3 innings. He’ll make one start this week, against the Pirates on Tuesday.
Kyle Hendricks, Cubs
Hendricks has been dominant in his last two trips to the mound, tossing 17 shutout innings with 10 strikeouts against zero walks. He’s lowered his ERA more than two full runs in that time, and now owns a 3.19 ERA and 1.28 WHIP in 42 1/3 innings on the season. Hendricks has always enjoyed pitching at Wrigley Field, and that’s no different this year. In four starts and 29 innings at home, he has a 0.62 ERA, 0.72 WHIP and 23 strikeouts against three walks. The Cubs, however, spend this entire week on the road, and Hendricks will make starts at Cincinnati and Washington.
Brad Peacock, Astros
We don’t have too many rules in the Table Setter, but one of them is that if you throw seven shutout innings with 12 strikeouts and your name isn’t Max Scherzer or Justin Verlander, you’re getting written about in the next edition. Peacock did just that in his last outing, dominating the Royals in a 9-0 Astros win. Now, to be fair, he got tagged for seven runs on eight hits in 3 2/3 innings by the Twins in his start before that, so Peacock is far from a sure thing. Missing bats is a skill he possesses, though, and that makes him intriguing. He’ll face the Tigers on Monday and Red Sox on Sunday.
Mike Minor, Rangers
Minor isn’t going to get much national attention this season pitching for a mediocre-at-best Rangers team, but he deserves a ton of love for what he has done thus far. The 31-year-old has a 2.68 ERA, 1.04 WHIP and 53 strikeouts in 53 2/3 innings, putting himself on track for the best year of his career. It’s remarkable to see him throwing the ball this well as a starter after missing two full seasons because of shoulder issues, making him a great story not matter what the Rangers do. He’ll make two starts this week, facing the Royals on Tuesday and Cardinals on Sunday.
Jack Flaherty, Cardinals
In that second start, Minor will face off with Flaherty, a pitcher who has been as disappointing as he has been surprising. Flaherty, thought by some (cough, me, cough) to be a Cy Young candidate, has struggled through eight starts and 41 2/3 innings, amassing a 4.32 ERA and 1.27 WHIP. The stuff is still there in obvious abundance, but he hasn’t been able to harness it, allowing eight homers on the season. The bet here is that he figures it out sooner rather than later, but it would be encouraging to see some evidence of that this week. Before facing the Rangers on Sunday, he’ll take the ball against the Braves on Tuesday.
Hitters to Watch
Edwin Encarnacion, 1B, Mariners
Encarnacion is well on his way to his eighth straight season with at least 30 homers, and his seventh in that time with at least 100 RBI. The veteran is hitting .237/.371/.519 with 12 homers and 27 RBI in 167 plate appearances this season. He’s been hot of late, as well, belting four homers in his last 10 games. He’ll cross the 400-homer and 1,200-RBI thresholds this season, something that once seemed impossible when he was flaming his way out of Cincinnati.
Trevor Story, SS, Rockies
Story came up three steals shy of a 30-30 season last year, and he looks determined not to miss out on joining that club this season. He has nine homers and eight steals in 174 plate appearances, to go along with a .277/.351/.516 slash line.
Hunter Dozier, 1B/3B, Royals
Dozier hasn’t stopped hitting all year. How consistent has he been? He has gone consecutive games without a hit exactly once, and those were the Royals’ first two games of the season. The late bloomer is finally coming on after being the eighth overall pick way back in the 2013 amateur draft, hitting .320/.417/.633 with nine homers and 21 RBI in 151 plate appearances this season.
Max Muncy, 1B/2B/3B, Dodgers
Muncy was hot last week, going 9-for-20 with three homers and 11 RBIs during a six-game hitting streak that was snapped last Thursday. He started up a new streak on Friday, getting hits in the second and third games of the Dodgers' series with the Nationals this weekend, and is up to .266/.360/.492 with eight homers and 28 RBI in 150 plate appearances this season.
Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo, Cubs
Over the first few weeks of the season, Javy Baez, Willson Contreras and Jason Heyward carried the Cubs while Bryant and Rizzo struggled. That has changed of late, and it’s no coincidence that the Cubs have risen to the top of the NL Central at the same time. Over the last 14 games, Bryant is 13-for-50 with six homers, 16 RBI and six more walks (15) than strikeouts (nine), while Rizzo is 18-for-57 with six homers and 15 RBI of his own. Before these parallel hot streaks, Bryant was hitting .232/.364/.366, and Rizzo was at .207/.363/.415. They’re up to .242/.392/.500 and .252/.379/.532, respectively.
Pitchers scheduled to make two starts this week (Alphabetical order by team)
Robbie Ray, Arizona Diamondbacks
Mike Foltynewicz, Atlanta Braves
David Hess, Baltimore Orioles
Andrew Cashner, Baltimore Orioles
Kyle Hendricks, Chicago Cubs
Reynaldo Lopez, Chicago White Sox
Sonny Gray, Cincinnati Reds
Shane Bieber, Cleveland Indians
Matt Boyd, Detroit Tigers
Ryan Carpenter, Detroit Tigers
Brad Peacock, Houston Astros
Danny Duffy, Kansas City Royals
Tyler Skaggs, Los Angeles Angels
Freddy Peralta, Milwaukee Brewers
Brandon Woodruff, Milwaukee Brewers
Jose Berríos, Minnesota Twins
Kyle Gibson, Minnesota Twins
Wilmer Font, New York Mets
Jonathan Loaisiga, New York Yankees
Mike Fiers, Oakland A’s
Aaron Nola, Philadelphia Phillies
Jerad Eickhoff, Philadelphia Phillies
Nick Kingham, Pittsburgh Pirates
Joe Musgrove, Pittsburgh Pirates
Chris Paddack, San Diego Padres
Yusei Kikuchi, Seattle Mariners
Jack Flaherty, St. Louis Cardinals
Mike Minor, Texas Rangers
Trent Thornton, Toronto Blue Jays
Jeremy Hellickson, Washington Nationals
Teams playing seven games: Orioles, Tigers, Brewers, Twins, Phillies, Pirates
Teams playing six games: Diamondbacks, Braves, Cubs, White Sox, Reds, Indians, Astros, Royals, Angels, Mets, Yankees, A’s, Padres, Mariners, Cardinals, Rangers, Blue Jays, Nationals
Teams playing five games: Red Sox, Rockies, Dodgers, Marlins, Giants, Rays