Fantasy Baseball Pickups: Shane Bieber and others to add

Cleveland Indians’ Shane Bieber highlights this week’s look at fantasy baseball pickups (AP Photo).

Shane Bieber: He tossed seven shutout innings Friday and now owns a 22:3 K:BB ratio over three starts. The WHIP hasn’t been pretty (1.36), but that’s thanks mostly to a .408 BABIP that’s sure to come down. Bieber was having a dominant season in Triple-A, posting a 1.38 ERA and 0.70 WHIP with a 55.8 GB%. It’s just three starts (with a favorable schedule), but Bieber’s 25.0 K-BB% would rank No. 7 among starters if he qualified, and that’s accompanied by a strong 12.0 SwStr%, so he’s well worth grabbing right now and only owned in a quarter of Yahoo leagues.

Kendrys Morales: He has multiple hits in each of his past four starts, homering in two of the last three. Morales has been off to a poor start, but he’s averaged 27 homers and 95 RBI over the past three seasons and has been batting cleanup lately. Morales’ average exit velocity (94.1 mph), Hard Hit% (58.5) and Barrel% (12.2) all rank top-25, which suggests he’s been hitting far better than his raw numbers might indicate, so he’s someone to target on waiver wires before it’s too late.

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Domingo German: He was a popular add after an impressive first start to his career but was likely soon dropped after subsequently failing to record a quality start in his next four outings. But German has turned it around in three starts since, posting a 3.32 ERA and a 0.74 WHIP with a 28:2 K:BB ratio over 19.0 innings. German allows too many homers, which could continue to be a problem pitching in Yankee Stadium, but those are eye-popping stats, and he’s clearly quite talented. His 15.8 SwStr% would rank second among starters behind only Max Scherzer if he qualified, which he’s not far off from doing. His 20.3 K-BB% is better than Carlos Carrasco, Charlie Morton and Aaron Nola. German’s ERA should continue declining, and he should start racking up wins with help from one of baseball’s best offenses. He’s a must-own in all formats yet still available in 58 percent of leagues.

Brent Suter: He’s allowed three runs or fewer in each of his past seven starts, and while not always going deep into games, Suter has pitched seven innings in back-to-back outings, and his season WHIP is down to 1.15. The tall left-hander features an underwhelming fastball but owns a 9.6 SwStr% to go along with a 67:17 K:BB ratio over 82.1 innings this season. Homers will likely remain a problem given his home park, but Suter is 6-1 over the last month, and he owns MLB’s lowest average exit velocity (83.6 mph) among 196 qualified starters. His Hard Hit% (25.6) is also top-five, so his .270 BABIP may not regress any more than his 14.3 HR/FB% will. Suter is available in more than 75 percent of leagues.

Ketel Marte: After showing promising signs at the end of 2017, many expected a breakout season from Marte, who instead was hitting .205/.263/.291 over the first 127 at bats of the year. He’s hit .281/.333/.526 over 135 at bats since, including a scorching June that’s featured him posting a 1.079 OPS and an 18-5-18 line over 20 games. He’s been moved up to fifth in Arizona’s lineup and sports an impressive batting eye for a 24-year-old. Marte doesn’t have a ton of power/speed upside, but he’s developing into a nice player who’s eligible at 2B/SS and still widely available.

Avisail Garcia: He’s back off the DL and is batting second in Saturday’s lineup. Garcia was a major regression candidate after hitting .330 last season thanks to an MLB-high .392 BABIP, but that doesn’t mean he can’t still be a valuable fantasy asset with a drop in batting average (and it should be noted Garcia’s career BABIP is a strong .338). He has 19 strikeouts without a walk this season, which isn’t ideal, but he was tearing up his rehab assignment and just posted a 137 wRC+ last year that tied Justin Upton for No. 22 in baseball, yet Garcia is barely 20 percent owned.

Closer Talk: Mark Melancon recently became the third different Giant to record a save in as many chances, and while Sam Dyson was unavailable and remains in the mix, it’s Melancon with the huge contract. With Hunter Strickland out 6-8 weeks, Melancon (2.35 ERA, 1.04 WHIP) could be a hugely valuable fantasy closer from here on out…Tim Hill got Kansas City’s first save Friday after Kelvin Herrera was traded, while Kevin McCarthy worked the seventh inning. KC’s situation remains fluid…Pedro Strop remains freely available (18%) for those searching for saves while Brandon Morrow is out, and those even more desperate can turn to Sergio Romo, who sports a 5.28 ERA on the year yet has recorded four saves over the past week and a half…Jordan Hicks is the hardest thrower in the game, has started to figure it out (2.12 ERA, 0.82 WHIP, 23:5 K:BB ratio over the last 17.0 innings) and owns the lowest Brls/PA in major league baseball (impressive that a starter is tied with him), so he looks like a future dominant closer for years to come (Bud Norris took a loss during his last outing).

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