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Fantasy Baseball Takeaways: Chris Bassitt rolling along

·4 min read
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Chris Bassitt has to be the best pitcher hardly anyone talks about, so let's talk about him.

Bassitt threw seven bagels at the Rangers on Wednesday (3 H, 1 BB, 7 K), scoring his ninth win and taking his ERA down to 3.04. His WHIP is a tidy 1.03. If you rank all starting pitchers in banked 5x5 value, Bassitt comes in at 14th.

Bassitt’s stuff doesn’t blow anyone away. His average fastball is a modest 93.2 mph. But he’s pushed his strikeout clip over one per inning, he still has elite control (2.28 BB/9), and he’s been pretty good at keeping the ball in the park. (If you subscribe to xFIP — and I don’t — he’s been too lucky with the homers. The xFIP stat says Bassitt should have a 3.89 ERA. Bassitt’s Savant-suggested ERA is more in line with my thinking, 3.20.)

As you’d expect, Bassitt’s best foot comes at home, in roomy Oakland — 2.55 ERA, 0.93 WHIP. The ERA jumps almost a run on the road. The division probably turns into a wash; the Astros and Angels score plenty of runs, the Mariners and Rangers don’t. I suspect many fantasy managers drafted Bassitt as a support arm, but he’s a fantasy No. 3 at worst going forward.

OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 01: Chris Bassitt #40 of the Oakland Athletics pitches against the Houston Astros during their Opening Day game at RingCentral Coliseum on April 01, 2021 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Chris Bassitt has turned into an ace for Oakland. (Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

Jared Walsh clobbers a cookie 

Jared Walsh has a jagged platoon split, as so many lefties do. But tell that to an Aroldis Chapman meatball. Walsh clobbered a grand slam off Chapman, Walsh’s second homer of the night, as the Angels surged past the Yankees in the ninth inning.

Walsh is up to 20 homers on the year, with a .282/345/.568 slash. No one in the OC misses Albert Pujols. But back to the split we mentioned — Walsh is a .335/.409/.665 monster against righties, but a .172/.198/.366 hitter against lefties. If you have the luxury of sitting Walsh against lefty starters, it’s prudent to do so.

It became a footnote to this game, but Shohei Ohtani was roughed up in his brief start (two outs recorded, seven runs). His ERA jumped to 3.60 on the year. For as much fun as the batter/pitcher story is — and Ohtani sure seems like the AL’s MVP to this point — I still think his maximum value to the Angels would come as a dedicated position player. Alas, I don’t think anyone’s close to that point. One of the reasons the Angels landed Ohtani in the first place was their willingness to meet his insistence of being a two-way player. 

Anyone have a good Anthony Rendon theory? Obviously, he’s been hurt a big chunk of the year, but after another collar, he’s down to .233/.322/.364.

Willy Adames crushing for Brewers

We had a Willy Adames video shortly after his trade to Milwaukee, but perhaps we need another one. Adames has been a .280/.362/.523 dynamo with his new team, clocking seven homers in 37 games. The Brewers bounce him around the lineup; lately, he's been slotted in the 2-5 area.

I’m willing to give Adames a pass for his messy start with Tampa Bay; given the looming presence of uber-prospect Wander Franco, how could he ever relax? And keep in mind, Adames has wins on his resume. He was a 20-homer man just two years ago, and he posted an .813 OPS in last year’s abbreviated season. He’s still just 25.

You can add Adames for free in roughly three-quarters of Yahoo leagues.

Cole Sulser percolating in Baltimore 

I grant you the Orioles are a losing club and they’ve been mixing and matching with their bullpen; it's not the first place we look for pitching help. But Cole Sulser is still worth a look in competitive save-chasing leagues. Sulser grabbed another handshake Wednesday, his second in three outings, and for the year he has a playable 2.05 ERA and 1.08 WHIP. The league is batting just .191 against him.

We’d like to see better control from Sulser — 12 walks in 30.2 innings. But he also has 43 strikeouts, and the type of K/9 rate we love in the late innings. And score one for smart pitchers; Sulser matriculated at Dartmouth. The Big Green alum is rostered in just four percent of Yahoo leagues.

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