MLB News and Notes With Fantasy Implications
Just like the rest of the world, baseball is in a constant state of flux. Justin Johnson is here to smooth things out with the latest MLB news and notes that that are trying to upend your fantasy baseball season.
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Latest Fantasy Relevant MLB News
- The Braves placed Ronald Acuna Jr. on the IL on August 15th due to wrist inflammation. There is no timetable for his return.
- Ozzie Albies took some swings on Monday, but he is still feeling discomfort in his wrist that has had him on the IL for two weeks ago.
- Mike Soroka underwent successful surgery on his torn Achilles. Likely a long shot to start the 2021 season on the mound, Achilles injuries can take a year or longer to return to health.
- Max Fried has stepped up in the absence of Soroka, looking like he has taken the next step that so many fantasy analysts were calling for. He shut out the Miami Marlins on Sunday, pitching 6 1/3 innings and striking out seven.
- Mark Melancon looks to have the closer role locked down for now. Melancon has yet to give up a run through seven innings pitched. Meanwhile, Will Smith has struggled through four appearances after returning from the COVID-IL a week ago.
- Nick Markakis was placed on the COVID-19 list after potential exposure to the virus. He has tested negative thus far.
- The Miami Marlins have been the surprise team of 2020 so far. Currently 9-7, the Marlins are only a game behind the injury-riddled Atlanta Braves.
- Staff ace Sandy Alcantara has been cleared for reinstatement. After testing positive for COVID-19 nearly two weeks ago, he will return to the teams alternate site to get ramped back up. He is slated to face live hitters today. Expect Alcantara to pitch for the Marlins before the end of the month.
- Pablo Lopez and Elieser Hernandez have picked up the slack in the absence of Alcantara. Lopez pitched six innings of two-run ball against the Braves on Friday, while Hernandez pitched five shutout innings against the Braves, recording nine strikeouts.
- Corey Dickerson was placed on the bereavement list on Sunday, and he will be out for three to seven days.
- Monte Harrison hit his first big league home run on Saturday. Dubbed as a potential 20-30 player, Harrison has struggled through 11 games, hitting .167 with a frightening 48.1% strikeout rate.
New York Mets
- Jacob deGrom was a late scratch last week, but it looks like he is in line to make his return today on Wednesday. The fantasy ace had been dealing with neck stiffness but looks to be good to go.
- Jeff McNeil returned to the lineup Monday after being carted off the field last week. In what was a scary incident, McNeil crashed into the outfield wall, causing a deep bruise to his knee.
- David Peterson was a late scratch on Tuesday and was immediately placed on the IL due to left shoulder soreness. Many were hoping the rookie was in for a breakout season, but that looks to be in jeopardy going forward.
- Pete Alonso hit two home runs on Monday against the Miami Marlins. After struggling through most of the year to this point, this is the type of production Alonso’s fantasy owners want to see.
- Dominic Smith has been one of the hottest hitters in baseball over the past week, hitting a home run in four consecutive games. He has also accumulated 10 RBI over his last six games. Currently locked in the middle of the Mets lineup, he should be owned everywhere.
- Aaron Nola looks to be a front runner for the NL Cy Young and looked every bit the part once again in Saturday’s win against the Mets. He pitched seven shutout innings, striking out eight in the process. He currently has a 2.05 ERA, and a league-leading 35.5% strikeout-minus-walk rate.
- On the other end of the spectrum, top prospect Spencer Howard struggled once again and was removed from his last start early due to a blister that developed on his finger. The 24-year-old rookie has struggled with his command so far, but anxious owners may want to give him another start before cutting ties.
- Hector Neris blew his second save of the season last Friday, and he now owns an 8.31 ERA through five innings pitched. While normally this would be cause for concern, there is no one in the Phillies bullpen pitching well currently. Neris is safe, for now.
- J.T. Realmuto hit his 8th home run on Friday. He is looking like an elite value considering the next closest catcher has hit five home runs.
- Juan Soto continues to dominate opposing pitchers, hitting his seventh home run in only 12 games played. Arguably the best hitter in baseball, Soto is quickly making a claim to enter top-five overall pick status in 2021 drafts.
- Rookie Luis Garcia hit his first career home run on Monday. The consensus number two prospect for the Nationals is filling in for the injured Starlin Castro, who is out for the season following wrist surgery.
- Daniel Hudson blew his second save of the year and currently owns a 7.88 ERA through eight innings. With Sean Doolittle currently on the IL and having his own struggles, Tanner Rainey needs special attention going forward, as he has been dominant in 2020.
- Max Scherzer had a game of extremes on Sunday. He gave up five earned runs, but struck out 10 batters in the process. He currently owns a 3.71 ERA and will look to get back on track
- The cubs currently sit at 14-7, and lead the NL Central by 3 1/2 games.
- Jeremy Jeffress picked up the save for the Cubs on Monday. Rowan Wick then picked up the save on Tuesday. Craig Kimbrel has also pitched well lately, so who knows what Chicago will do going forward, but Wick seems likely to have the majority of save opportunities.
- Tyler Chatwood landed on the IL due to issues with his back. Seemingly the hottest pitcher in baseball through his first two starts, Chatwood’s outlook has fallen off a cliff for 2020.
- Ian Happ homered for the second time in three games yesterday. He is off to a solid start to the season, hitting .297 with five home runs.
- The Reds will return to action today in a doubleheader after having two games against the Pirates postponed, and one game against the Royals delayed. The postponement was due to a positive COVID-19 test within the clubhouse on Friday.
- Luis Castillo will start the day game, and Trevor Bauer will get the night game of the doubleheader. Good luck to the Royals as they face two of baseball’s most electrifying pitchers on the same day.
- Mike Moustakas is expected to return today after missing a plethora of games with a quad injury.
- Before the suspension of play for the Reds, Jesse Winker had arguably been the hottest hitter in baseball. He has had multi-hit performances in seven of the past eight games, including five home runs in that time span. Make sure he is owned in your leagues
- Corbin Burnes re-joined the starting rotation, and he performed well against the Minnesota Twins on Tuesday. Burnes lasted five innings, only giving up three hits to a dangerous lineup. This should cement his spot in the rotation for the time being, as Eric Lauer was optioned to the alternate site.
- Luis Urias has returned after being on the COVID-19 list. Prior to Tuesday, Urias had played in six games, and he’s hit .474 in that time span. Urias was a consensus top 50 prospect, so monitor him going forward.
- Christian Yelich has returned to form after struggling the first few weeks. He has hit safely in seven of his past eight games, with two home runs and a stolen base.
- Logan Morrison was designated for assignment on Friday, and he elected to become a free agent. No teams have signed him as of yet.
- The Pirates returned on Tuesday against the Cleveland Indians after having their weekend games postponed against the aforementioned Cincinnati Reds.
- Before the series was suspended, Brian Reynolds hit his first home run of the year on Friday. The 2019 breakout star has struggled to date, only hitting .183 and striking out 30% of his plate appearances.
- Keone Kela was activated off the COVID-19 list on Thursday and pitched a clean inning against the Reds that day. He is still the favorite for saves in Pittsburgh.
St. Louis Cardinals
- The Cardinals finally returned to action on Saturday after over two weeks of postponed games due to a COVID-19 outbreak within the clubhouse. They defeated the White Sox 5-1 and then 6-3 in a doubleheader.
- Making his big league debut was top prospect Dylan Carlson, who went 1-for-6, hitting a double for his first big league hit. As of Tuesday, Carlson is hitting a pedestrian .118 in his first five big league games.
- Tyler O’Neill had a big day in the Cardinals return, going 3-for-8 and hitting a home run. The power-hitting outfielder is trying to prove his worth at the big league level, despite having plenty of doubters.
- Paul deJong and Yadier Molina were cleared to return from the COVID-19 IL on Tuesday. They should be back up quickly.
- The Diamondbacks may have a true ace on their staff. Zac Gallen turned in another dominating performance against the Athletics on Monday. He pitched seven innings, only gave up one run on three hits and struck out eight. Through five starts, Gallen has an excellent 2.40 ERA and hasn’t had more than one walk in a game since his first outing of the year.
- Madison Bumgarner threw 46 pitches in a simulated game Monday as he tries to ramp back up following a back strain. He is currently on the IL.
- Their offense has picked up as of late after looking like one of the worst offenses in baseball through the first few weeks. They haven’t scored less than four runs in their last nine games.
- David Dahl was scratched with lower back tightness on Tuesday. Sam Hilliard will take his spot in the lineup. Dahl is often injured, so this could lead to a potential call up for top prospect Brendan Rodgers if it requires an IL stint.
- Kyle Freeland looks to have officially returned to his 2018 form that saw him maintain a 2.85 ERA in 202 innings pitched. Through five starts in 2020, Freeland has a 2.56 ERA, with the Astros being his latest victim on Monday. Freeland pitched six innings and only gave up two runs, on his way to a quality start.
- Trevor Story hit a mammoth home run on Monday and looks to have made those who made the early pick on him happy with their selection. He is hitting .326 with seven home runs and four steals on the year.
- We finally have a true leadoff hitter for the Rockies. Garrett Hampson has hit leadoff in ten consecutive games now. He has hit safely in eight of those, and pitched in three stolen bases.
Los Angeles Dodgers News
- The Dodgers are 17-7, and look like they have a strong argument to be considered the best team in baseball. They are currently on a seven-game winning streak and have looked dominant during that stretch.
- Mookie Betts has been absolutely dominant this season. He has had multiple hits in four of his past five games, including a three home run game last Thursday.
- Edwin Rios was placed on the IL on Tuesday with a strained left hamstring.
- Will Smith was placed on the IL two days prior to Rios. He was cited as having neck inflammation.
- Keibert Ruiz was immediately called up after Smith hit the IL, and he delivered in a big way in his first big league at-bat, hitting a home run off of Julio Teheran. Ruiz is one of the Dodgers’ three best prospects and could provide excellent numbers at the catcher position.
- Ross Stripling looked terrible on Monday, giving up eight hits in three innings, and giving up four runs. Stripling could quickly lose his rotation spot with Tony Gonsolin looking solid so far.
San Diego Padres
- We have learned about an “unwritten rule” in baseball following Fernando Tatis Jr.’s grand slam on a 3-0 pitch in the midst of a blowout. Whether or not you agree with the rule, Tatis had a monster game, going 2-for-5 and driving in seven runs. He is fantasy baseball’s best player to date.
- Wil Myers returned to action on Tuesday, and hit a grand slam himself. He had missed the last two games with back tightness.
- Adrian Morejon got the start for San Diego on Tuesday, and the rookie pitched very well. He pitched three shutout innings, and struck out four. Morejon was routinely hitting 97 on the radar with his fastball, and looks the part of a top-end starter in the future.
San Francisco Giants
- The Giants have a star player, and he wasn’t on many people’s radars heading into 2020 drafts. Mike Yastrzemski hit his sixth home run of the year on Tuesday and is now batting .311. He has scored 21 runs and drove in 19 RBI. Both rank him top 10 in baseball.
- Trevor Gott looked to have a stronghold on the closer position heading into the weekend. However, he has been hit hard over his past three appearances. He has given up five, four, and two runs respectively in each of those appearances.
- Jeff Samardzija is expected to resume throwing today. He is currently on the IL with a right shoulder impingement.
- Donovan Solano is legitimately chasing .400, as we are nearly halfway through the year, and the Giants infielder is currently hitting .392. He has been a nice surprise for the Giants.
- Anthony Santander has been one of the best players in fantasy this year. The twenty-five-year-old had two home runs on Tuesday, both off of Blue Jays super prospect Nate Pearson. It was Santander’s second multi-home run game in his past three, and he is now up to seven on the year.
- John Means came off the bereavement list on Sunday following the passing of his father. He threw 34 pitches in his return.
- Austin Hays was placed on the 10-day injured list on Sunday with a rib fracture. This far into the season, the 25-year-old Hays has struggled, only hitting .203 with one home run.
- Hunter Harvey is expected to return soon. He could possibly see save opportunities at some point this season.
Boston Red Sox
- The Red Sox currently own the second-worst record in baseball, sitting at 6-18 on the year. There is very little excitement currently surrounding the team.
- Alex Verdugo has been a bright spot for the Red Sox. Currently hitting .282 on the season with five home runs, Verdugo looks like a future keystone player for the Red Sox.
- Rafael Devers has hit safely in five of his last six games. While the third baseman has struggled overall, he has started performing better recently.
New York Yankees
- Giancarlo Stanton is expected to miss two to three more weeks following a hamstring strain that has kept him out over the past week.
- His fellow bash brother, Aaron Judge, was scheduled to hit yesterday. He is currently on the injured list but could be back by Saturday.
- Luke Voit has picked up the slack for the missing sluggers, as he has an eight-game hit streak, with three home runs in his past two games.
- Aroldis Chapman was activated off the COVID-19 IL on Monday, and he pitched one inning, giving up one run and struck out two.
Tampa Bay Rays
- We will not see the Rays top pitching prospect this season. Brendan McKay will have shoulder surgery today, ending his 2020 season.
- Injuries continue to pile up for the Rays bullpen. Jose Alvarado went to the IL on Sunday, Andrew Kittredge appears to be headed for Tommy John surgery, and Oliver Drake has been on the IL. Drake is expected to resume throwing soon though.
- Charlie Morton has been on the injured list since August 10th, but he is expected to return by the weekend.
- Tyler Glasnow continues to struggle, as he gave up five runs on eight hits in only four innings against the Red Sox on Friday. Currently the holder of a 7.04 ERA, it has not been a good year for the flamethrower.
- Nick Anderson secured his third save of the year on Sunday. The question remains if he will be designated as the closer, but with the plethora of injuries in the bullpen, the Rays are running short of options.
Toronto Blue Jays
- Teoscar Hernandez was held out of the lineup on Tuesday due to back tightness.
- Nate Pearson had a rough outing against the Orioles on Tuesday, giving up five runs on four hits. The rookie owns a 6.61 ERA through 16 innings pitched.
- Rowdy Tellez entered the concussion protocol after leaving Monday’s game. He was struck in the head at first base.
- Oscar Mercado was optioned to the alternate site on Monday. In a somewhat surprising move, the 25-year-old was coming off a successful season in 2019. He did not carry that over in 2020, as he was hitting .111 on the season.
- Mike Clevinger and Zach Plesac were optioned to the team’s alternate site on Friday. After the two showed little regret for violating protocols after going out to a bar in Chicago, there are rumors that some in the clubhouse do not want to play alongside either. This will be interesting to follow.
- Shane Bieber continued his Cy Young pace on Saturday, striking out 11 in seven innings against the Detroit Tigers. Through 34 2/3 innings, Bieber owns a 1.30 ERA and has struck out a league-high 54 batters.
- Franmil Reyes has really been heating up, as he has four multi-hit performances in his last six games. The mammoth man is now hitting .300 on the year and is up to five home runs.
Chicago White Sox
- Luis Robert had a two home-run game on Monday, and then he had his hand evaluated on Tuesday after suffering the injury diving for a ball in the outfield. The X-ray came back clean, and the rookie is expected to be fine.
- Yasmani Grandal is expected back by the end of the week. He left Monday’s game complaining of back tightness.
- Tim Anderson had a huge game on Tuesday, going 4-for-5 with a home run, a double, and three RBI. He has picked up where he left off 2019, as he is currently hitting .379.
- Dane Dunning will be called up today to start against the Tigers. The 25-year-old rookie is coming off of Tommy John surgery and hasn’t pitched in a competitive game since 2018. Monitor this start closely.
- The Tigers made headlines after calling up three of their top five prospects on Monday in Casey Mize, Tarik Skubal, and Isaac Paredes.
- Skubal started on Tuesday against the White Sox, and he was roughed up, allowing two runs on seven hits across two innings. It was not an ideal start for the lefty.
- Mize will take to the mound today. The Tigers prospect was the number one overall pick in the 2018 MLB Draft and brings a lot of upside to a team that needs the pitching help.
- Nike Goodrum returned to the lineup Tuesday after only missing one game due to back tightness.
Kansas City Royals
- Veteran Matt Harvey is being called up today to start a game during the Royals’ doubleheader against the Reds.
- Star catcher Salvador Perez has been dealing with blurred vision over the past two days. He missed Sunday’s game because of it, and then he had to leave Monday’s game after symptoms returned.
- Hunter Dozier hit his second home run on Monday. It was his second in two days. The Royals hitter only returned on August 9th after being on the COVID-19 injured list all season.
- Kenta Maeda had a no-hitter broken up in the 9th inning on Tuesday. He ended the game with 12 strikeouts in eight innings pitched, only allowing that one hit. Maeda is currently a Cy Young candidate, as he owns a 2.27 ERA across 31.2 innings.
- Nelson Cruz homered twice on Monday, and he hit four in a three-day time span. The 40-year-old is now hitting .337 with eight home runs and 21 RBI. We haven’t seen a player perform this well as a 40-year-old since David Ortiz.
- Josh Donaldson worked out on Monday, which is good news. He has been sidelined since July 31st with a calf injury.
- Luis Arraez exited Tuesday’s game with an apparent knee injury. He has missed a few games already for this injury.
- Yordan Alvarez landed on the injured list with knee soreness. The knee held him out of the season until he returned on Friday last week. He was only able to play two games before re-aggravating the knee. This is concerning. [Editor’s Note: It was announced last night that Alvarez will have season-ending knee surgery next week.]
- Justin Verlander played catch on Monday. It was rumored that Verlander would be out for the season when he landed on the injured list in July, but Verlander has failed to verify those reports. The fact he has been throwing leaves the door open for the 37-year-old.
- George Springer was scratched from Tuesday’s game with wrist soreness. He has been dealing with this issue throughout the season.
- Blake Taylor earned the save on Monday, and he appears to be the handcuff to Ryan Pressly as the Astros closer.
Los Angeles Angels
- Anthony Rendon picked up two more hits on Tuesday, and he has been one of the hottest hitters in baseball over the past week. He had homered in five of six games prior to Monday.
- Mike Trout hit his 10th home run on Monday, and is second in baseball, only trailing Fernando Tatis Jr.
- Tommy La Stella hit the walk-off home run on Monday, and he himself has been extremely hot. Since being moved up to the two-hole nine games ago, La Stella has hit safely in eight of those games. He has hit three home runs in that time span.
- Jason Castro was held out Tuesday with a stiff neck.
- Ramon Laureano returned from his suspension on Tuesday after charging the Astros dugout last week. He went 0-for-4.
- Frankie Montas was roughed up for nine earned runs in only 1.2 innings against the Diamondbacks. He had missed his turn in the rotation due to back tightness, so this is something to be monitored.
- The Athletics are 16-8 nearly halfway through the season and look to be the heavy favorites to win the AL West with the Astros suffering injury after injury.
- Kyle Lewis continues his jaw-dropping play, as he went 1-for-3 on Tuesday, stealing a base in the process. He is hitting .344 with five home runs and 17 RBI. He should be considered the front-runner for the AL Rookie of the Year award.
- Yusei Kikuchi is expected to make his next scheduled start on Thursday after being scratched from his start last week. The lefty had felt discomfort in his neck.
- Evan White has hit three home runs in his past four games. Hopefully, the talented rookie is starting to turn a corner after struggling this far into the season.
Texas Rangers News
- Lance Lynn continues to be one of the few bright spots for the Texas Rangers. He dominated the Rockies in Colorado on Saturday, striking out six over nine innings pitched, and only giving up one earned run. Lynn now sports a 1.11 ERA through five starts.
- Otherwise, it has been negative news for the Rangers of late. They have lost three straight games, giving up 30 runs in the process.
- Willie Calhoun sat out for the second consecutive game and has really struggled to return to form after being hit in the jaw in spring training.
- Robinson Chirinos was placed on the injured list Friday.
Also check out Chris Clegg’s Players to Buy and Sell in Dynasty Leagues!
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