Fantasy Baseball News and Notes – September 14, 2020
As we enter the second to last week in the baseball regular season, there continues to be a plethora of news and notes from all 30 MLB teams. Make sure to pay close attention, as these players who are making headlines will carry a lot of weight heading into the 2021 draft season. If you are still paying attention and not completely lost in football, you are already ahead of the game. Get your read on with Fantrax MLB news and notes as of Monday, September 14.
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Latest MLB News and Notes
- The Braves scored an unreal 29 runs last Wednesday against the Miami Marlins. It was tied as the second-highest total since 1900, only trailing a 30-run outburst from the Texas Rangers in 2007. Adam Duvall hit three home runs, giving him his second three home run game on the year. He is the only Atlanta Brave to ever accomplish that feat.
- The Braves continue to be hit by injuries, particularly in their starting rotation. First, Max Fried went to the injured list with back spasms. Now, new acquisition Tommy Milone has been added to the injured list. Milone had left elbow inflammation.
- Ozzie Albies returned on Wednesday after being on the injured list for a month with a right wrist bone bruise. He went 3-for-6 with a home run and a stolen base in his return. Also of note, Albies has stolen in a base in three of his four games since being activated. He is capable of stealing a lot of bases, but he simply does not attempt as many steals as other high-end base stealers. If Albies continues to run, his fantasy value will receive a massive upgrade.
- Ian Anderson dominated the Nationals on Saturday, pitching seven scoreless innings of shutout ball. He struck out nine. On the year, Anderson has pitched 22.0 innings and maintains a 1.64 ERA and a 0.91 WHIP. With the Braves looking for pitchers to step up in the absence of Mike Soroka and Max Fried, Anderson has done his fair share.
- Sixto Sanchez dominated his old team on Sunday. Sanchez, a former prospect under the Phillies, pitched a complete game (seven innings) and only gave up three hits, allowing one run. The elite prospect has looked like just that through his first five starts, holding a nice 1.69 ERA and 0.91 WHIP.
- Isan Diaz was recalled on Thursday. The starting second baseman opted out of the season after a COVID-19 outbreak within the Marlins clubhouse at the beginning of the year. He was granted permission to join the team after deciding to return to the Marlins recently.
- Jon Berti hit the injured list, which is the reason Diaz was called up. Berti has stolen eight bases on the year, putting him among the league leaders currently. Berti suffered an injury to his finger. He should not be on the injured list for long, as the Marlins are in contention for a playoff spot.
- Pablo Lopez has seen his ERA skyrocket after his past two starts, most recently allowing seven earned runs in only 1.2 innings pitched against the Braves. Prior to his past two starts, Lopez hadn’t allowed more than two earned runs through six games started. He will look to get back on track to finish the year.
New York Mets
- Jacob deGrom put on a show on September 11, as he pitched six innings, of three-hit ball, striking out nine. deGrom looks like a near-lock to win the NL Cy Young award, as he owns a 1.67 ERA with 79 strikeouts through 54.0 innings pitched.
- Jeff McNeil had himself a week, hitting four home runs and driving in 10 runs. Prior to last week, McNeil had zero home runs, and only 11 RBI. He is a solid candidate to stay hot to end the year.
- Michael Conforto and Dominic Smith continue to teat the cover off the ball. On the year, Conforto is batting .341 with nine home runs. Smith is hitting .328 with an impressive eight home runs and 36 RBI despite not starting the season in the lineup.
- Reliever Robert Gsellman suffered a season-ending rib fracture. Gsellman has seen better seasons, as he owned an ugly 9.64 ERA in 14.0 innings pitched.
- Bryce Harper is having a shockingly good stolen base season after stealing three more bags this past week. Already with eight stolen bases, Harper is over halfway through his 2019 total in a fourth of the games. He has also hit eight home runs and scored 31 runs.
- Rookie Alec Bohm continues impressing after he hit .400 over the past week in 32 plate appearances. He drove in eight. On the year, the third baseman is hitting .327 in his first 28 games played. He looks every bit the hitter that his prospect-pedigree told us he was. He will be a hot commodity come 2021 draft season.
- Spencer Howard was sent to the injured list following his bout with shoulder stiffness. The Phillies top pitching prospect has struggled mightily with his command this year. He owned an ugly 5.92 ERA in 24.1 innings pitched.
- Max Scherzer pitched his 98th career 10-plus strikeout game, passing Sandy Koufax. On the day, Scherzer pitched 7.0 innings of shut out baseball. On the year, the future Hall of Famer owns a 4.04 ERA and a 1.40 WHIP, while striking out 79.
- Trea Turner is quickly making up for any owners who were frustrated with his lack of stolen bases. Turner swiped four bases this past week. That gives him nine on the season, and he is also hitting .357 with nine home runs. He looks to be a lock in the first round of fantasy drafts next year.
- Juan Soto’s torrid 2020 pace has scared opposing pitchers, as he walked in 47.4% of his at-bats this past week. While he didn’t hit a home run, Soto stole two bases and upped his batting average to .358 on the season.
- Alec Mills stole the show on Sunday, as he pitched a no-hitter against the Brewers. Mills struck out five and walked three along the way. He has had a good season, as he owns a solid 3.93 ERA and 1.06 WHIP.
- The Cubs bats had a pretty bad week, as they only hit four home runs total.
- However, two of those home runs came in a clutch moment, and off of the best closer in baseball. Down one run, Jason Heyward took Brewers closer, Josh Hader, deep for a three-run, go-ahead home run on Saturday. That home run snapped a seventeen-inning scoreless streak for the Cubs.
- Despite the lack of offensive production, the Cubs are in the lead of the NL Central and look poised to take on all comers backed by their staff ace Yu Darvish.
- Sonny Gray is going to the injured list after struggling in back-to-back outings. Gray was placed on the IL due to a back strain. It is not expected to be season-ending, as Gray should return shortly after his 10 days.
- Trevor Bauer will replace Sonny Gray in his rotation turn against the Pirates. Bauer was lights out in his most recent start, going 7.2 innings and striking out 10. The enigmatic figure has returned to his 2018 form, as he owns a 1.74 ERA through 51.2 innings pitched. He has also struck out an impressive 71 batters.
- In what is supposed to be a top-end batting lineup, the Reds struggled this past week with their bats. Only Shogo Akiyama hit over .300 on the week. (After typing this, the Reds scored 10 runs in their victory over St. Louis on Sunday).
- Akiyama also stole two bases. On the season, the Japanese star has struggled, only hitting .220 with zero home runs. He has contributed in the steals department, as he has a total of six.
- The Brewers could have one of the best one-two punches forming in all of baseball. We already knew how good Brandon Woodruff was following his 2019 season, and he is coming off his best start to date in 2020. Woodruff pitched 7.0 innings of shutout baseball against the Cubs, striking out 12 batters.
- The other half of that duo is Corbin Burnes, who is a completely new pitcher following his poor 2019 season. Against the Detroit Tigers in his most recent start, Burnes pitched seven innings and struck out 11. He shut out the Tigers, continuing his scoreless streak to 19 innings (three consecutive starts). On the year, Burnes has a 1.99 ERA in 45.1 innings pitched.
- Their lineup, however, has disappointed for the most part. Christian Yelich hasn’t played up to par. Keston Hiura continues to strike out too much. And no one else has really stepped up.
- With that said, Ryan Braun looked solid this past week, hitting two home runs and driving in six runs in four games.
- Josh Bell was 10-for-20 over the past week, hitting two home runs along the way. The first baseman has struggled in 2020, as have most Pittsburgh Pirates. He will look to end the season on a high note, as his draft stock is sure to plummet heading into 2021.
- Joe Musgrove had a positive outing against the White Sox last Tuesday, pitching four innings and giving up no runs. He struck out five and walked two. In what has been an injury-riddled season for Musgrove, he will look to build up his pitch totals before heading into the offseason.
St. Louis Cardinals
- Closer Giovanny Gallegos was placed on this injured list after suffering a right groin strain on Thursday. Gallegos had four saves in 13 appearances.
- Alex Reyes looks like a strong contender to replace Gallegos as the teams closer. The injury-prone elite prospect Reyes has had an excellent 2020 out of the bullpen. in 13.1 innings, he has struck out 17 while maintaining a 2.70 ERA. He could get fantasy owners much needed saves down the stretch. Also watch out for John Gant, Genesis Cabrera, and Andrew Miller.
- Tommy Edman had himself a week, hitting three home runs, scoring seven runs, driving in six RBI, and stealing a base. The utility man has yet to truly break out like many anticipated, but he could provide some value to end the season.
- The Diamondbacks continue to have one of the worst offenses in all of baseball. Now without Ketel Marte for possibly some time, there doesn’t seem to be much hope for Arizona bats. If you have a pitcher going against them, make sure to fire them up with confidence.
- Zac Gallen’s streak of giving up less than three earned runs finally came to an end, as he gave up four earned runs to the Giants last week. In his very next start on Saturday, Gallen was blown up by the Seattle Mariners. He gave up seven earned runs in only five innings. It is a concerning stretch for Gallen, as he looked to be one of baseball’s best players prior to this past week.
- Stefan Chrichton could be in line for saves to end the year, as he recorded the save against Seattle on Friday. Through 21.2 innings, Crichton owns a 2.91 ERA, but an ugly 1.43 WHIP.
- Trevor Story is second in all of baseball with 14 stolen bases on the season. He stole five just this past week. Overall, Story is a top 10 fantasy producer, as he has also hit 10 home runs, scored 35 runs, and drove in 24 RBI.
- Kyle Freeland produced an excellent two-start week, pitching a six-inning shutout against the Padres last Monday, and then pitching six innings of two-run ball against the Angels Saturday.
Los Angeles Dodgers
- Even though rookie sensation Dustin May had a scary injury after being struck on the foot by a line drive, the flamethrower is slated to start as early as Wednesday.
- Walker Buehler went to the injured list with a right index blister. This is his second trip to the injured list this season. Replacing him in the roster is Mr. Pouty Face himself, Joe Kelly.
- Kenley Jansen blew his second save of the season on Saturday. He allowed five runs to the Astros in a game the Dodgers were winning by three upon his entrance. He is only one month removed from being the national league reliever of the month in August, so this shouldn’t worry his owners.
San Diego Padres
- Trevor Rosenthal picked up two saves over this past week and looks to be the full-time closer. Rosenthal has returned to form after being one of the best closers in baseball with the Cardinals several years ago. He has a 2.55 ERA in 17.2 innings and has struck out 27 batters. He has nine saves including his time with the Royals and has yet to blow a save.
- Trent Grisham stole three more bases last week and is up to seven on the season. Combined with a .269 batting average, eight home runs, and 32 runs scored, he has been one of the best draft-day bargains in the game.
- Mike Clevinger pitched a complete game shutout on Sunday (seven innings), showing the Padres what they paid for. He struck out seven and allowed just two hits.
San Francisco Giants
- The Giants Corey Dickerson received a false positive, which was the reason the Giants games were suspended prior to Sunday’s doubleheader.
- Donovan Solano continues his rapid pace of collecting hit after hit. After having three, three-hit games in his past six, Solano is up to a .352 batting average on the year. He has been a pleasant surprise, along with the rest of his Giants teammates.
- Pablo Sandoval was released on Thursday, and it could be the end for the 12-year veteran. Sandoval started his career with the Giants, and looks to have possibly ended it with them as well.
- There hasn’t been much going right for the Orioles as of late, as they were swept this weekend and now sit 5 1/2 games out of the final wildcard spot.
- Two bright spots for the Orioles have been D.J. Stewart and Ryan Mountcastle. The two sluggers enjoyed themselves a solid week. Stewart has an unreal six home runs in his last eight games. Mountcastle upped his batting average to .368 on the year. He has also hit four home runs in only 20 games. He will be a mid-to-late round target heading into 2021.
Boston Red Sox
- Chris Sale started throwing this past week following Tommy John surgery in March. That is an excellent trend for him to possibly be ready in time for the 2021 season. The Red Sox have missed their ace gravely, as they are one of baseball’s worst teams.
- Rookie prospect Bobby Dalbec hit a home run in five consecutive games prior to Saturday, an extremely impressive output. One of the Red Sox top hitting prospects, Dalbec showed his elite raw power grade that so many services rave about. He will look to continue hitting home runs to close out the season.
- Rafael Devers has really been hitting the ball well the past few weeks, and notably, hit the hardest-hit ball of his career last Tuesday. Hit at 116.5-mph, Devers hit was the fourth hardest-hit ball of the 2020 season. Overall Devers is hitting .280 with 10 home runs and 31 RBI. He has restored his high end draft capital heading into 2021 drafts.
New York Yankees
- Luke Voit tied Mike Trout for the MLB lead in home runs with 16 on Friday. Both players remained tied for the league lead. Voit has been truly exceptional in the wake of major injuries to his fellow Yankees stars. He is hitting .277 with 32 runs scored and 37 RBI to go with those home runs. Voit could be a high-end draft pick if he ends the year at this pace.
- Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton are nearing a return, as the dynamic duo looks to contribute to the Yankees playoff run. Neither player has had a history of health, and both have been on the injured list multiple times this season.
- Masahiro Tanaka looks to have taken on the role as staff ace this season after his five-inning, one-run performance against the Orioles, Tanaka now has a 3.16 ERA in 37.0 innings pitched. The Yankees will need him to continue to pitch well, as they need a true ace to lead them in the playoffs.
Tampa Bay Rays
- Rays first baseman Ji-Man Choi hit the injured list and will be out for the rest of the regular season. Choi strained his hamstring. He had been struggling to date.
- It opens the door for top hitting prospect Nate Lowe, however. Lowe had a solid week, going 5-for-12 with two home runs and five RBI in five games.
- Diego Castillo picked up the save Sunday against the Red Sox, giving him four on the season. Overall, the right-handed flamethrower has been excellent in an injury-riddled bullpen, maintaining a 2.04 ERA in 19 games.
Toronto Blue Jays
- Bo Bichette returned from the injured list on Sunday after missing over a month. Bichette went 1-for-4 in his return. For managers that waited patiently for Bichette’s return, they will hope Bichette can give them the value he was returning before hitting the injured list.
- Ken Giles also returned from the injured list, giving up one earned run in one appearance, striking out two. Of note, Rafael Dolis still got the save on Sunday despite the return of Giles. Dolis on the year has four saves, a 1.69 ERA, and 25 strikeouts in 21.1 innings pitched.
Chicago White Sox
- The Chicago White Sox currently have the best record in the American League, and look to only be getting better. They are one of baseball’s most exciting teams and will be a must-watch in the playoffs.
- A big reason for their success is the ability of so many in their lineup to get hot and stay hot. This past week, Jose Abreu went 6-for-17, hitting two home runs, scoring seven runs, and driving in seven. He has been one of baseball’s top fantasy players.
- Tim Anderson continued his torrid pace in 2020, as he looks to reclaim his batting average title. After going 7-for-17 last week, Anderson is now up to a .358 average, leading the Yankees D.J. LeMahieu by five points.
- Francisco Lindor and Twins reliever Sergio Romo got into a verbal altercation. Lindor hit a popup to left field and began smiling at Romo. Romo approached Lindor, and they started shouting at each other. Lindor was fined, and Romo was suspended for one game.
- Jose Ramirez looks to be the only hitter for the Indians that is trying to be productive, as he went 4-for-12 on the week, hitting two home runs and stealing a base. Ramirez hasn’t returned the batting average you would expect, as he has only hit .259 this season. However, he has 11 home runs and 10 stolen bases. That is more than enough from the power and speed department.
- The Tigers called up a high-end prospect in outfielder Daz Cameron. The son of former all-star Mike Cameron, Daz was a former first-round pick of the Houston Astros. Now with the Tigers, Cameron has played in five games this season. He has gone 1-for-16 to start his career. While not an ideal start, look for the power-speed combo that Cameron can provide.
- Jeimer Candelario has been swinging a hot bat. Just this past week, he went 9-for-22, hitting three home runs, and driving in nine RBI. On the season, he is hitting .320, with seven home runs, and 28 RBI.
- Top prospect Casey Mize had a solid start against the Chicago White Sox on Friday. He pitched 5.1 innings, striking out five, giving up two earned runs.
Kansas City Royals
- The Kansas City Royals have won five consecutive games as they look to battle out of last place in the AL Central.
- Helping the Royals cause is Adalberto Mondesi. After stealing a grand total of six bases this past week, Mondesi now leads baseball in stolen bases with 16. His bat is also getting hot, as he hit four home runs, while also going 7-for-23. Mondesi is only making his future value more confusing for fantasy players heading into 2021.
- Brady Singer nearly had a no-hitter on Thursday against the struggling Cleveland Indians. He made it into the eighth inning before giving up a hit. Overall, he pitched eight innings, while striking out eight. He is an excellent streaming option to end the season.
- Greg Holland is locked in as the closer, as he got three saves just this last week. On the season, the veteran has five saves and is maintaining a 2.13 ERA in 25 appearances.
- Nelson Cruz tied the league lead in home runs on Sunday with 16, joining Mike Trout and Luke Voit. The 40-year-old continues to hit like one of baseball’s best and doesn’t look to be slowing down.
- Kenta Maeda continued his campaign to be the AL Cy Young winner after pitching seven innings of shutout baseball against the Indians. He struck out seven and only gave up four hits. On the year, he has a 2.43 ERA in 55.2 innings, striking out 63.
- Byron Buxton had a solid week, going 3-for-8, hitting three home runs, and driving in five RBI. This has been one of Buxton’s healthier season’s, but he has still been on the injured list.
- The Astros rallied from three down to defeat Kenley Jansen and the Dodgers on Saturday in an impressive comeback. It is one of the few things that has gone right for the Astros as of late, as they are now below .500, and trail the Athletics by 6 1/2 games.
- Michael Brantley is the only bat of note that has done anything worthwhile over the past week after he went 7-for-22 with a home run.
- On the opposite end of the spectrum, Alex Bregman and Kyle Tucker struggled mightily, going a combined 2-for-34 on the week.
- Cristian Javier looks to be one of the lone bright spots in their starting rotation, as he reeled in yet another solid start. He pitched five innings against the Athletics, giving up two earned runs. On the season, Javier has a 3.38 ERA in 42.2 innings pitched. He has struck out 37.
Los Angeles Angels
- Jared Walsh had a big week for the Angels, going 7-for-17 with four home runs and eight RBI. The Angels’ first baseman has always been known to swing a hot bat, and he is finally getting those at the major league level.
- Dylan Bundy can’t be stopped. After pitching 7.1 innings and striking out 12 Texas Rangers batters, Bundy has elite numbers across the board. In 58.0 innings pitched, Bundy has a 2.48 ERA, a 0.91 WHIP, and 67 strikeouts.
- Chris Bassitt has made the most of his opportunities in the starting rotation this season and produced a solid two-start week. Across 13.0 innings pitched, Bassitt only gave up one earned run. He struck out 12. Overall, Bassitt has a 2.92 ERA in 49.1 innings. Bassitt has shown he belongs in a major league rotation, and hopefully, the Athletics now see that after debating starting the season without him in the rotation.
- Matt Olson returned to form this past week, hitting three home runs and driving in an insane 12 RBI. This week Olson went over the Mendoza Line, in an otherwise abysmal 2020 season.
- Catcher Sean Murphy has been excellent as of late. Just this past week, the young A’s backstop had two home runs and six RBI. He will look to carry some momentum heading into the 2021 draft season, as he could climb into the top group of catchers.
- If you don’t know who Ty France is, get to know him. He swings one of the best bats in all of baseball and is now getting regular playing time at the top of the Mariners lineup. France had himself a week, going 8-for-20, hitting two home runs, and driving in four.
- Justus Sheffield pulled off another quality start, giving him back-to-back solid performances. Most recently, he pitched seven dominant innings against the Diamondbacks, striking out seven.
- The Rangers continue to be one of baseball’s worst and most boring teams for fantasy purposes. In what has been a disappointing season all around, the Rangers are 17-30, and second to last in runs scored.
- Lance Lynn doesn’t care how bad the Rangers have been. For as bad as his team is, he has been that good. Against the Angels on Tuesday last week, Lynn went 7.0 innings, striking out six. After his first bad start of the season two weeks ago, Lynn got back to form. On the year, he has a 2.52 ERA across 64.1 innings pitched, striking out a nice 69 hitters. Lynn should be a trade target in the off-season unless the Rangers decide to be buyers, which looks unlikely.
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