D.C. United at Philadelphia Union odds, picks and prediction

Previewing Saturday’s D.C. United at Philadelphia Union odds and lines, with MLS betting picks, tips and best bets.

In one of several MLS games Saturday, D.C. United (5 wins, 6 loss, 1 draws) will travel to take on Philadelphia Union (5-5-3) at Subaru Park in Chester, Penn. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. ET. Below, we preview the D.C. United vs. Philadelphia Union odds and lines, and make our best MLS bets, picks and predictions.

D.C. United is coming off an absolutely abusive performance against Toronto FC. They defeated them 7-1 and have been rolling as of late winning three of their last five.

They’ll be without F Paul Arriola, though, as he’s both injured and with the USMNT. He’ll be a huge loss as he has two goals and an assist so far this season. Just his presence is impactful for the United.

As for the Union, they’ll be looking to get back to their winning ways. They’ve drawn three in their last five. One of the best teams in the East, they’ll be wanting to find a way to get three at home.

D.C. United at Philadelphia Union: Odds, picks and predictions

Odds via BetMGM; access USA TODAY Sports’ betting odds for a full list. Lines last updated at 2:40 p.m. ET.

  • Money line: D.C. United +260 (bet $100 to win $260) | Philadelphia Union -110 (bet $110 to win $100) | Draw +260
  • Over/Under: 2.5 (O: -120 | U: -110)

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Prediction

Philadelphia Union 2, D.C. United 0

Money line (ML)

BET on the PHILADELPHIA UNION (-110) because they’re the superior side.

With United down one of their more experienced players, the Union should be able to capitalize. Philadelphia is sitting third in the East, and they’re much better at home winning 3 of 6 performances.

The Union ranks top five in the league in save rate and interceptions. They allow under a goal per game with D Jakob Glesnes leading the charge.

On top of their prowess in defending, the United just aren’t great on the road, losing four of their six matches. Playing a skilled opponent, I don’t see United coming out with even a draw in this one.

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Over/Under (O/U)

BET on the UNDER (-110) because, as noted, the United numbers are a bit inflated, and the Union’s strength lies in their backline. The Union has allowed 12 goals in 13 matches. Even United isn’t a big-time scoring team.

Taking away that 7-goal performance and the United have just 10 goals in what would then be 11 games. That’s underwhelming to say the least. Down Arriola, I expect a low-scoring match.

Given how both rank in the bottom three in passing accuracy, there’s no reason to think this will be a heavy-scoring match.

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Want some action in this one? Place an MLS bet with BetMGM today. For more sports betting picks and tips, visit SportsbookWire.com. Please gamble responsibly.

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Gannett may earn revenue from audience referrals to betting services. Newsrooms are independent of this relationship and there is no influence on news coverage. This information is for entertainment purposes only. We make no representations or warranties as to the accuracy, completeness, or reliability of any content.

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Fantasy Baseball Sleepers: Count on these closers to shine

Which fantasy baseball closer sleepers can take your team over the top in 2021?

It is fantasy baseball season! Below, we’re focusing on fantasy baseball sleepers at the closer position.

The saves landscape has changed a lot over the last few years, as many teams are turning to multiple arms to handle ninth-inning duties. It makes the top-tier closers more valuable than ever, but that’s being reflected in their fantasy baseball draft prices.

In NFBC Main Event drafts so far, five relievers are going of the board by pick 80, and four more before pick 100. Let’s look at a few later options who should return solid value.

If you’re serious about winning your fantasy baseball league, you need BaseballHQ.com on your team. Winning fantasy baseball sleepers, picks, plus facts and flukes. Save $15 off a 2021 Draft Prep subscription at BaseballHQ.com; use code SBW21 checkout. Subscribe now!

Fantasy Baseball Sleepers: Closers

LHP Will Smith, Atlanta Braves

Smith began the 2020 season on the COVID-19 list, and returned to post a 4.50 ERA in 18 appearances. He still missed plenty of bats, though, and had a sub-1.00 WHIP.

With last year’s closer Mark Melancon now with the San Diego Padres, the door is open for Smith, who saved 34 games with the San Francisco Giants in 2019, to handle closer duties. The Braves have several other quality lefties in the bullpen to play matchups, and Smith appears to have the edge over Chris Martin in the closer battle, a job he can definitely thrive in.

RHP Anthony Bass, Miami Marlins

Bass spent some time in the closer role for the Toronto Blue Jays last season and saved seven games for them, including four in September.

He’s not a big strikeout guy, but his swinging strike rate has improved the last two seasons (11.5% in 2020), and he keeps the ball on the ground at a high rate (62.3% in 2020). Manager Don Mattingly has typically deployed one reliever to close out games, and signs point to that being Bass to open the year.

RHP Jordan Romano, Toronto Blue Jays

With closer Kirby Yates already going down for the season, no replacement has been formally announced in Toronto.

Romano is the logical replacement and has the skills to run with the role. He recorded a 36.8% K% and 1.23 ERA a season ago, leading to his 30-save potential mentioned in Baseball Forecaster. It’s a scenario that is well within the realm of possibility now, making Romano a solid investment.

RHP Nick Wittgren, Cleveland Indians

Most fantasy managers assumed all winter that RHP James Karinchak would serve as the team’s closer but Manager Terry Francona has been hesitant to anoint the hard-throwing right-hander and has given Wittgren some rave reviews this spring.

During his two seasons in Cleveland, Wittgren has put up a 2.99 ERA and 1.057 WHIP. There’s no guarantee he will claim the ninth-inning job but he is going outside the top 300 in most drafts and is a worthy gamble.

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For more sports betting picks and tips, visit SportsbookWire.com. Please gamble responsibly.

Follow @RuddHQ on Twitter. Follow SportsbookWire on Twitter and like us on Facebook.

Gannett may earn revenue from audience referrals to betting services. Newsrooms are independent of this relationship and there is no influence on news coverage. This information is for entertainment purposes only. We make no representations or warranties as to the accuracy, completeness, or reliability of any content.

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Fantasy Baseball Sleepers: Count on these relievers to shine

Which fantasy baseball sleepers at reliever can take your team over the top in 2021?

It is fantasy baseball season! Below, we’re focusing on fantasy baseball sleepers at the reliever position.

Non-closing or part-time-closing relievers were becoming a big piece of the pitching pie before the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, with the shortened 2020 season and the careful approach that will surround ramping back up in 2021, the talented almost-starter/almost-closer types will eat up more innings than ever before.

So, in a fantasy baseball draft or auction, its a spot where value can be highly leveraged. The results posted by relief pitchers are volatile but value can be had and it’s best to get a pair and a spare in the process.

If you’re serious about winning your fantasy baseball league, you need BaseballHQ.com on your team. Winning fantasy baseball sleepers, picks, plus facts and flukes. Save $15 off a 2021 Draft Prep subscription at BaseballHQ.com; use code SBW21 checkout. Subscribe now!

Also see: Count on these starting pitcher sleepers to shine

Fantasy Baseball Sleepers: Relievers

RHP Trevor May, New York Mets

A year ago with the Minnesota Twins, May logged 38 strikeouts over just 23 1/3 innings. The 31-year-old has seen a velocity spike post-Tommy John surgery (which he had in 2018), and last season he upped his slider usage and the results were impressive.

May is quite good against lefty bats and figures to be used in key roles up to and including spot closing duties.

LHP Amir Garrett, Cincinnati Reds

Garrett has a great fastball, but he’s another reliever who upped his value by increasing slider usage. The 6-foot-5 port-sider made that move going into 2019 and in two seasons since (74 1/3 IP), he has registered a 3.03 ERA and 12.6 K/9.

He’s a candidate to get some saves in 2021 with the Reds moving on from RHP Raisel Iglesias, who’s now with the Los Angeles Angels. Baseball HQ projects Garrett to rack up 80 strikeouts this season.

RHP Chris Martin, Atlanta Braves

Martin is a late bloomer who figures to have a crack at a lot of high-leverage innings this summer. The 34-year-old right-hander has excellent control and owns a 2.81 ERA and 10.4 K/9 over his last 77 appearances.

He toils for an Atlanta club with a lefty closer in Will Smith, and that may slot him for an uptick in situational save chances. Baseball HQ pegs Martin as a solid source of strikeouts and ERA production.

RHP Freddy Peralta, Milwaukee Brewers

Peralta went two-or-more innings in half of his 14 relief appearances last season. His indicators show he has out-pitched his ERA each of the last three years, and that includes his 3.99 ERA posted in 2020.

Peralta is another candidate for extended progression now that a plus slider has been added to his repertoire. Thursday, the Brewers announced Peralta would begin the season as the team’s No. 5 starter, so peg him as a swing man overall and a flexible source of production for a fantasy roster.

LHP Joely Rodriguez, Texas Rangers

Texas RHP Jose Leclerc (elbow) is expected to miss significant time due to the amount of discomfort in his right elbow.

Rodriguez, who pitched in Japan in 2018 and 2019, returned to MLB last season to log a 2.13 ERA and 17 strikeouts in 12 1/3 IP for the Rangers. The 29-year-old southpaw cranks out ground balls and strikeouts. He’ll be given a wide berth to build on his 2020 return and possibly garner a handful of saves.

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For more sports betting picks and tips, visit SportsbookWire.com. Please gamble responsibly.

Follow SportsbookWire on Twitter and like us on Facebook.

Gannett may earn revenue from audience referrals to betting services. Newsrooms are independent of this relationship and there is no influence on news coverage. This information is for entertainment purposes only. We make no representations or warranties as to the accuracy, completeness, or reliability of any content.

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Fantasy Baseball Sleepers: Count on these starting pitchers to shine

Which fantasy baseball starting pitcher sleepers can take your team over the top in 2021?

It is fantasy baseball season! Today we’re focusing on fantasy baseball sleepers at the starting pitcher position.

Coming off the shortened 2020 season, starters will be plentiful in number if not innings pitched. Every team will be looking to be creative in utilizing their pitching the best way they can. Some starters will pitch in a more traditional role, but we could see openers and three-inning guys, six-man rotations, and a slew of frequent spot starters.

There is a scarcity of reliable starters who will fill the traditional slots, but a lot of room to fill in with sleepers and projects around the margins.

If you’re serious about winning your fantasy baseball league, you need BaseballHQ.com on your team. Winning fantasy baseball sleepers, picks, plus facts and flukes. Save $15 off a 2021 Draft Prep subscription at BaseballHQ.com; use code SBW21 checkout. Subscribe now!

Fantasy Baseball Sleepers: Starting Pitchers

LHP Jordan Montgomery, New York Yankees

Montgomery returned to action last season after missing most of the previous two seasons due to Tommy John surgery. The large lefty flashed improved velocity and worked three pitches (fastball, slider, changeup) into bat-missing performances while making 10 starts.

Montgomery registered a swinging-strike rate of 12.9% while doing well to avoid hard contact (28.4% hard hit). A post-hype candidate, the Yankees southpaw was undone by a .320 BABIP and a 65.0% left-on-base figure. Baseball HQ projects a 4.03 ERA and 142 strikeouts for 2021.

RHP Ian Anderson, Braves

Anderson is a talented 22-year-old right-hander who dominated Class High-A and AA in 2018-19. He is one of the most talented young arms in the game.

The changeup is the Atlanta hurler’s bread-and-butter pitch and he deftly crafted it and a decent fastball and curve into a 29.7% strikeout rate and a 52.5% ground-ball rate in a 32 1/3-inning 2020 season. Anderson is also tough on lefty-hitters; that and the ground-ball stuff should help him maximize his innings in 2021 and beyond.

RHP Triston McKenzie, Cleveland Indians

The former first-round draft choice logged a 3.24 ERA in 33 1/3 IP for Cleveland in 2020. The sample was small, but the talent looms large.

McKenzie benefited from a .217 opponent batting average on balls in play, but he was also somewhat undone by a lofty home run rate on fly balls. The 23-year-old exhibits impressive command of a fastball-slider-curve-changeup mix. That mix yielded a nifty 12.4% swinging-strike rate bolstering an 11.34 K/9 figure.

LHP John Means, Baltimore Orioles

Means added over two miles per hour to his fastball last year and put up solid Statcast measures, but much of his growth was overlooked due to a 4.53 ERA. The soon-to-be 28-year-old left-hander throws strikes at a 34% rate and can get righties out. He logged a big September with a .601 OPS against.

The fourth-year major leaguer is a “sleepier” sleeper based on the club he plays for and his status as a late bloomer but the potential is certainly there for above-average production at a fraction of the cost.

RHP Elieser Hernandez, Miami Marlins

Hernandez gets overlooked in a Miami rotation including RHP Sixto Sanchez, RHP Sandy Alcantara, and RHP Pablo Lopez in a rotation full of talented 20-somethings. The 25-year-old has strikeout and walk rates trending the right way and last season he logged 11.92 strikeouts and 1.75 walks per nine while posting a career-best 13.w% swinging-strike rate.

Hernandez made just six starts last year due to a lat strain which ended his season Sept. 1. His repertoire might fit nicely into a short-inning starter role.

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For more sports betting picks and tips, visit SportsbookWire.com. Please gamble responsibly.

Follow SportsbookWire on Twitter and like us on Facebook.

Gannett may earn revenue from audience referrals to betting services. Newsrooms are independent of this relationship and there is no influence on news coverage. This information is for entertainment purposes only. We make no representations or warranties as to the accuracy, completeness, or reliability of any content.

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Fantasy Baseball Sleepers: Count on these second basemen to shine

Which fantasy baseball second basemen sleepers can take your team over the top in 2021? We highlight 5 second baseman to target in your fantasy baseball draft.

It is fantasy baseball season! Today we’re focusing on fantasy baseball sleepers at the second base position.

Gone are the days where it’s important to address your middle infield early in drafts. With strong options available throughout the draft, fantasy managers can load up on the best players available, regardless of position early on, and fill in the holes later. Here’s a look at a few second basemen who represent good values.

If you’re serious about winning your fantasy baseball league, you need BaseballHQ.com on your team. Winning fantasy baseball sleepers, picks, plus facts and flukes. Save $15 off a 2021 Draft Prep subscription at BaseballHQ.com; use code SBW21 checkout. Subscribe now!

Fantasy Baseball Sleepers: Second Base

Kolten Wong, Milwaukee Brewers

Though he has never quite lived up to the hype offensively, Wong has established himself as a solid regular. He appears set to lead off the majority of the time this season, in a great park for hitters and in a division loaded with right-handed starting pitching. With an ADP of 223 in March 15-team NFBC drafts, there’s plenty of room for profit and very little downside.

Jake Cronenworth, San Diego Padres

After an impressive debut in which he hit .285/.354/.477 last year, Cronenworth was popular in early drafts. He had an NFBC ADP of 153 in 15-team leagues through the end of December. His ADP dropped to 229 following the team’s additions of 2B/OF Jurickson Profar and 2B/3B Ha-Seong Kim. Cronenworth has continued to rake this spring. His positional versatility should keep him in the lineup enough to justify the cost.

Jonathan Schoop, Detroit Tigers

Schoop is a reliable source of power, averaging 27.5 home runs per 600 plate appearances throughout his career, along with a .259 batting average. Last year was his first season with the Tigers, and he hit .278 with eight home runs in just 44 games. Schoop should see close to everyday at-bats in 2021, and is sure to provide plenty of pop once again. Bottom line, he is a steal beyond pick 300, where he often goes.

Enrique (Kiké) Hernandez, Boston Red Sox

He hit just .230/.270/.410 across 148 plate appearances for the 2020 World Series champion Los Angeles Dodgers, and his playing time was sporadic down the stretch. But Baseball HQ shows his xBA was a more respectable .251, and he now finds himself with an opportunity for consistent at-bats in Boston. If spring training lineups are any indication, Hernandez looks like the team’s preferred option to lead off. He is a good bet to return a profit in the later rounds, and offers multi-position eligibility as an added bonus.

Josh Rojas, Arizona Diamondbacks

He has struggled in the majors so far, hitting .206/.295/.271 in 227 plate appearances. Rojas hit .332 with 23 homers and 33 steals in 479 plate appearances between Double-A and Triple-A in 2019. He leads the league in plate appearances this spring, an indication the Diamondbacks wants to see what they have in him, at least while OF Kole Calhoun is out and IF/OF Ketel Marte is in the outfield. Rojas is a gamble late in drafts, but one with a lofty ceiling.

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For more sports betting picks and tips, visit SportsbookWire.com. Please gamble responsibly.

Follow @RuddHQ on Twitter. Follow SportsbookWire on Twitter and like us on Facebook.

Gannett may earn revenue from audience referrals to betting services. Newsrooms are independent of this relationship and there is no influence on news coverage. This information is for entertainment purposes only. We make no representations or warranties as to the accuracy, completeness, or reliability of any content.

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5 fantasy baseball sleepers to bank on in 2021

Highlighting five fantasy baseball sleepers for you to target in your 2021 draft.

It is fantasy baseball season! Here, we’re highlighting five fantasy baseball sleepers you’ll want to target on draft day.

There’s no greater joy in fantasy baseball than hitting on the next big thing. Grabbing the right late-round sleeper pick can help you win your league no matter where you chose from in the first round and what went wrong in the middle rounds. It’s also a great way to find a new favorite player and can provide a reason to cheer for a new MLB team, or at least pay attention.

If you’re serious about winning your fantasy baseball league, you need BaseballHQ.com on your team. Winning fantasy baseball sleepers, picks, plus facts and flukes. Save $15 off a 2021 Draft Prep subscription at BaseballHQ.com; use code SBW21 checkout. Subscribe now!

Also see: How to win your fantasy baseball draft: 5 tips you need to know

5 fantasy baseball sleepers to target

San Diego Padres 1B/OF Wil Myers

The 30-year-old posted a career-best .318 ISO and 91.0 exit velocity in 2020. His 15 home runs in 55 games nearly matched his 18 in 155 games in 2019.

He’s slated to bat sixth for San Diego and will have plenty of RBI opportunities. He’s a good bet to outperform his 10th-round average draft position (ADP).

Milwaukee Brewers OF Lorenzo Cain

Got in just 21 plate appearances over five games in 2020 before opting out of the rest of the season due to COVID-19 concerns. He’ll return to the top of the Brewers’ batting order this season and is slated to hit second behind new 2B Kolten Wong.

Cain may no longer be a top source of stolen bases, but he excels in plate discipline and the heart of the order has been beefed up behind him. He’ll challenge for the league lead in runs.

San Francisco Giants 2B/3B/SS Donovan Solano

Solano is a late-round steal flush with positional eligibility. He’s poised to be the No. 3 hitter for an improving Giants club after breaking out last year with a .326/.365/.463 line over 54 games.

He hit just three homers in 2020 but already has three this spring with a .326 batting average, .376 OBP and 1.306 OPS through 31 at-bats.

Los Angeles Angels SP Alex Cobb

The Angels will hope to work similar magic with Cobb this season as they did with SP Dylan Bundy last year after bringing both over from the Baltimore Orioles. Cobb reunites with manager Joe Maddon.

Cobb has a 3.88 career ERA and 3.81 xFIP, but he’s coming off a 10-start 2020 campaign with a 4.30 ERA and 4.21 xFIP. He has eight strikeouts and no walks this spring.

New York Mets RP Trevor May

May enters the season as the setup man for Mets closer Edwin Diaz and should be stashed on draft day as a potential saves source.

Diaz rebounded from a woeful 2019 campaign to post a 17.53 K/9 and 1.75 ERA last year, but the Mets will have him on a much shorter leash amid higher expectations. Should he show signs of early regression, May and his stellar 14.66 K/9 and 2.74 xFIP from last season will get a look in the ninth.

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For more sports betting picks and tips, visit SportsbookWire.com. Please gamble responsibly.

Follow @EstenMcLaren on Twitter. Follow SportsbookWire on Twitter and like us on Facebook.

Gannett may earn revenue from audience referrals to betting services. Newsrooms are independent of this relationship and there is no influence on news coverage. This information is for entertainment purposes only. We make no representations or warranties as to the accuracy, completeness, or reliability of any content.

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Avoid these 3 fantasy baseball busts

Flagging three fantasy baseball busts you’ll want to avoid on draft day.

It is fantasy baseball season! Here, we’re flagging three fantasy baseball busts you’ll want to avoid on draft day.

The term “bust” can be used to mean many different things in fantasy baseball and all fantasy roster managers will have their own personal threshold for what qualifies as a bust. For our purposes, we’ll apply it to players who won’t live up to their average draft position (ADP), and we’ll look at three different players from varying tiers of the draft.

If you’re serious about winning your fantasy baseball league, you need BaseballHQ.com on your team. Winning fantasy baseball sleepers, picks, plus facts and flukes. Save $15 off a 2021 Draft Prep subscription at BaseballHQ.com; use code SBW21 checkout. Subscribe now!

Also see: How to win your fantasy baseball draft: 5 tips you need to know

3 fantasy baseball busts to avoid

Cleveland Indians SP Shane Bieber

The reigning American League Cy Young winner isn’t on here to be needlessly bold.

Bieber’s accolades from the shortened 2020 season have him going as the No. 9 overall pick and No. 3 starting pitcher in drafts by ADP. With the 2021 schedule reverting back to a full 162 games and expanding away from the regionally-based 2020 format, Bieber’s set up for a disappointing follow-up campaign.

His breakout season was helped by playing a considerable portion of his schedule against the AL Central rival Detroit Tigers and Kansas City Royals, and mixing in some interleague games against the Cincinnati Reds and Pittsburgh Pirates. In all, 37 2/3 of his innings came against teams with sub-.500 records.

The Indians’ loss of SS Francisco Lindor and his 1.0 oWAR and 0.6 dWAR will also have an impact on both Bieber’s ERA and win total.

New York Mets OF Michael Conforto

Conforto’s expected to hit third in an improved Mets lineup, and he’ll serve as the everyday right fielder after playing 54 of 60 games and slashing .322/.412/.515 last season. All but the .515 slugging percentage were career highs.

The line was greatly helped out by a career-best .412 BABIP. Conforto’s career average is just .305, and he posted a .290 BABIP over 151 games in 2019.

He’s being drafted as the 18th outfielder in the middle of the sixth round. That’s a little too steep after both his walk and strikeout rates went in the wrong direction in 2020.

Atlanta Braves C/1B Travis d’Arnaud

The catcher position is one of the most difficult to draft every year. The 2021 season seems no different, as the position is led by J.T. Realmuto (Philadelphia Phillies) and Salvador Perez (Kansas City Royals) but drops off quickly. Those are the only two catchers with a sub-100 ADP.

D’Arnaud is in the middle of a group of eight catchers going between picks 104 and 194. He’ll hit in an unimpressive bottom-third of the Braves’ lineup. His career-best .321/.386/.533 slash line last season was buoyed by an inflated .411 BABIP as his strikeout rate jumped to 27.2%.

If you’ve waited this long for a catcher, keep waiting.

Bet on MLB online, legally! Get some action on the 2021 MLB season at BetMGM Sportsbook in CO, IA, IN, MI, NJ, PA, TN, VA and WV. New customer offer: Risk-free first bet! Terms and conditions apply. Bet now!

For more sports betting picks and tips, visit SportsbookWire.com. Please gamble responsibly.

Follow @EstenMcLaren on Twitter. Follow SportsbookWire on Twitter and like us on Facebook.

Gannett may earn revenue from audience referrals to betting services. Newsrooms are independent of this relationship and there is no influence on news coverage. This information is for entertainment purposes only. We make no representations or warranties as to the accuracy, completeness, or reliability of any content.

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These 9 fantasy baseball rookies will be a steal in 2021

We highlight 9 fantasy baseball rookies for you to target in your 2021 draft.

It is fantasy baseball season! Here, we’re highlighting 9 fantasy baseball rookies you’ll want to target on draft day.

It’s always fun and a moment of pride to land one of baseball’s top prospects in your fantasy draft. Whether you followed them in the minor leagues or not, you can be a fan from the get-go in the majors. Most importantly, you can brag to your friends and league mates you knew the success was coming.

If you’re serious about winning your fantasy baseball league, you need BaseballHQ.com on your team. Winning fantasy baseball sleepers, picks, plus facts and flukes. Save $15 off a 2021 Draft Prep subscription at BaseballHQ.com; use code SBW21 checkout. Subscribe now!

Also see: How to win your fantasy baseball draft: 5 tips you need to know

9 fantasy baseball rookies to target

Tampa Bay Rays OF Randy Arozarena

Endeared himself in the hearts of many with his outstanding 2020 postseason performance in which he hit 10 home runs in 20 games and was named ALCS MVP. Baseball HQ has him projected for 29 homers and 22 steals over 563 at-bats in 2021.

Pittsburgh Pirates 3B Ke’Bryan Hayes

Set to open the season No. 2 in the Pirates’ lineup, Hayes will be given plenty of leash for a team bereft of impactful talent. He hit five home runs over 24 games last year and is projected for 24 homers and an .823 OPS this season.

Chicago White Sox 2B Nick Madrigal

Will be a key piece of a White Sox team with big hopes for 2021 after slashing .340/.376/.369 over 109 plate appearances in 2020. He has never shown power at any level, but he refrains from striking out and is projected for 17 stolen bases.

Texas Rangers OF Leody Taveras

Four home runs and eight steals in just 33 games last season. Strikeouts are an issue, but the Rangers can afford to be patient.

St. Louis Cardinals OF Dylan Carlson

Slated to open the season near the bottom of the Cards’ lineup but should quickly work his way up the order. He’s projected for 21 homers and 14 steals with a .758 OPS.

Toronto Blue Jays C Alejandro Kirk

A .375/.400/.583 line over nine games late in 2020 wasn’t enough to guarantee Kirk an Opening Day spot with the Jays, but he should quickly usurp C Danny Jansen. Kirk showed up to spring training in much better shape and has two homers with a .996 OPS through 22 at-bats.

Atlanta Braves RHP Ian Anderson

Began his MLB career with wins over the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox and finished with a 1.95 ERA over 32 1/3 innings. It’s fair to expect slight regression, but he showed excellent command and limited home runs.

Miami Marlins RHP Sixto Sanchez

Had just 7.62 strikeouts per nine innings last year but walked just 2.54 per nine with only three home runs allowed over 39 innings. Wins may be tough to come by with Miami, but he’s projected for a 3.78 ERA with 119 K’s over 138 innings.

Seattle Mariners OF Jarred Kelenic

May not start the season in the bigs but will quickly force the M’s hand despite their possible desires for service time manipulation. A former No. 6 overall pick of the New York Mets, he totaled 23 homers and 20 steals over three levels of the minors in 2019.

Bet on MLB online, legally! Get some action on the 2021 MLB season at BetMGM Sportsbook in CO, IA, IN, MI, NJ, PA, TN, VA and WV. New customer offer: Risk-free first bet! Terms and conditions apply. Bet now!

For more sports betting picks and tips, visit SportsbookWire.com. Please gamble responsibly.

Follow @EstenMcLaren on Twitter. Follow SportsbookWire on Twitter and like us on Facebook.

Gannett may earn revenue from audience referrals to betting services. Newsrooms are independent of this relationship and there is no influence on news coverage. This information is for entertainment purposes only. We make no representations or warranties as to the accuracy, completeness, or reliability of any content.

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Buyer beware: Avoid these fantasy baseball busts this season

Highlighting potential fantasy baseball busts you’ll need to avoid in your drafts for the 2020 MLB season.

[jwplayer YUKDWTWZ]

The 2020 fantasy baseball season will be one like never before and will require owners to have near-perfect drafts. Below, we call attention to the players most likely to be a bust in 2020 and who you should be avoiding in your fantasy baseball drafts.

There’ll be no time to wait on slow-starters and early-season slumps in the 60-game MLB season. This means it’ll be incredibly important to avoid a draft bust, particularly in the early rounds.

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2020 fantasy baseball busts to avoid

Mar 5, 2020; Scottsdale, Ariz.; Cleveland Indians third baseman Jose Ramirez. (Photo Credit: Matt Kartozian – USA TODAY Sports)

Jose Ramirez, 3B, Cleveland Indians

Here is where the term “bust” comes under scrutiny every year. By all means, draft Ramirez. He’s a fantastic player, but he won’t be worth a mid-second-round pick in 2020.

He has slashed .272/.347/.469 in the first half of the season for his career, compared to a .288/.356/.504 line in the second half – that split was even worse in 2019. Part of the problem is likely due to the cold March and April weather in Cleveland, but it’s also a sign he usually starts the year behind pitchers. There’s no time for that in a 60-game season.

Mitch Garver, C, Minnesota Twins

Garver crushed 31 home runs in just 93 games and 359 plate appearances for the Twins last year. He did it with a .357 ISO and 29.0% home run to fly ball ratio compared to his .146 and 8.0% marks across 103 games in 2018.


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Salvador Perez, C, Kansas City Royals

Perez’s start to the season is already in jeopardy after testing positive for COVID-19. Though he’s asymptomatic, he’s also recovering from a season lost to an elbow injury. Expect a serious power decline from his 27-home run seasons of 2017 and 2018.

Mallex Smith, OF, Seattle Mariners

Smith offers little fantasy value outside of his great contributions in the stolen bases category. He’s also another poor starter with a career .629 OPS (on-base plus slugging percentage) in March and April.

Jon Berti, IF/OF, Miami Marlins

Berti is viewed by some as a sleeper this season after stealing 17 bases in 73 games last season. He struck out in 25.4% of his plate appearances, walked in just 8.4% and can’t get on base consistently enough to contribute at the same pace in the shortened campaign. He had a .273 batting average in 2019, but it was mainly the result of an inflated .360 BABIP (batting average on balls in play).


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Josh Hader, RP, Milwaukee Brewers

Hader is one example of the high-priced closers to fade this season, along with the saves category. There’ll be fewer opportunities in the unpredictable season as teams use less-defined pitcher roles. The mid-round pick isn’t worth leaving better and more predictable hitters on the board.

German Marquez, SP, Colorado Rockies

Two factors work against Marquez. He’ll play 30 of his 60 games in the hitter-friendly Coors Field, where he has a career 5.01 ERA compared to a 3.72 mark on the road, and he has also performed best in the second half of the season. Owners won’t be able to sit through those rough starts this season.

Zac Gallen, SP, Arizona Diamondbacks

Gallen was viewed as a favorite sleeper target by many back in March. He pitched to a stellar 2.81 ERA, but 4.15 xFIP across 15 starts and 80 innings in 2019. He won’t have the necessary time to develop in his shortened sophomore season and can’t be expected to pick up right where he left off.

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