Fantasy Forward: Marte suspension, Price may not be right and Severino’s surging

In a shocking development, Starling Marte will be sidelined until July 18th due to testing positive for a banned performance enhancing substance. Pittsburgh, already reeling from the Jung-Ho Kang DUI transgression will now forge ahead without its top player on offense. Andrew McCutchen moves back to center with Adam Frazier shifting to the outfield in the near term with spring training sensation Jose Osuna being promoted to platoon with Frazier in left field.

The news also clears more playing time for Josh Harrison at second base and he hit second in the first game without Marte. Those hoping for a Austin Meadows promotion, use Gregory Polanco’s June 10th call-up back in 2014 as a blueprint for his arrival.

Progress seemed positive regarding David Price during his throwing sessions, until this article surfaced, shared by Peter Gammons this morning. Within it, Price will not throw from a mound but reverted back to long toss. Not only does this set back his tentative arrival for Boston, fantasy owners need to scale back their awaited start total to below 20 on the season. Less than ideal.

Oakland’s Sonny Gray will pitch on Saturday for Stockton in an effort to ramp up for a return. He may need one or two more rehab starts before the A’s will activate him. Fantasy owners should watch this from the side until good reports emerge. Logan Forsythe left last night’s game with a “big toe” injury. He may miss a couple of games, which translates into Chase Utley playing this weekend. Now for the recaps.

Starting pitching highs and lows

  • Although Luis Severino took the loss on Tuesday night, he’s the youngest Yankees pitcher since Al Downing in 1963 to record back-to-back games with at least 10 strikeouts. Over 20 innings pitched this year, Severino’s 27:2 K:BB may be his most impressive statistic to open the season. Of course his teammate, Michael Pineda, taught fantasy owners it takes more than a strong strikeout to walk rate to succeed. As for Severino, still a positive step in his development.
  • On the opposing side, the White Sox claimed Miguel Gonzalez off waivers from Baltimore last year. Since July of 2016, Gonzalez owns a 2.75 ERA in 98.1 innings of work with the team. He beat the Yankees last night, and his ERA for this season sits at 2.84. Deep league or mono leagues may want to take note.
  • Tampa Bay’s Matt Andriese out-dueled Michael Fulmer at home giving up four hits and one earned run, a solo shot by Miguel Cabrera, with one walk and five strikeouts. Andriese’s ERA of 3.38 is respectable, and he’s an overlooked member of this staff.
  • Ace Max Scherzer won in Atlanta striking out seven in as many innings. His ERA lowered to 1.37; so far so good with the preseason finger injury worries.
  • Vanilla “Leake” won again for the Cardinals, holding the Pirates to one earned run during 6.1 innings of work. He only struck out one, but turned in his third consecutive quality start, won his second game in three starts, and his 0.84 ERA seems in line with his 1.73 FIP. Not exciting, but a stable back-end of a fantasy rotation.
  • Arizona’s Shelby Miller burned many fantasy owners last year. However, it may be time to kick the tires again. He beat the Padres on the road with five strikeouts in 7.1 innings of work with one earned run allowed. His ERA of 3.50 and FIP of 2.90 seem of interest.
  • Yu Darvish looked to be on the way to a strong outing in Oakland; then the wheels came off the bus as he could not finish the sixth inning and was tagged for four earned runs. This allowed Andrew Triggs to tally his third win of the year, and he has yet to give up an earned run. Be careful of Triggs moving forward. He’s been very good, but the 9:4 K:BB along with a 4.09 xFIP do hint at some regression. There’s much to like in his 57.1 ground ball rate, hopefully this mitigates the conflation of his stats moving forward.
  • Wei-Yin Chen hurled seven hitless innings in Seattle for his second win of the year. The upside fantasy owners chased last year showed up in this one.

Bullpen musings

  • If you missed the game last night, Blake Treinen allowed two hits, two walks and an earned run before Dusty Baker could get him out of the game. Shawn Kelley entered to clean up the mess for his first save of the year. Post game comments by Baker indicate a change will occur in the ninth inning. Odds favor Kelley taking over, but those sitting on Koda Glover will continue to wait, which may still pay off at some point – unless the team adds a closer near the deadline.
  • Seung-Hwan Oh recorded his second consecutive save on Tuesday, but allowed three hits in the process. He did strike out a batter but he has lost around two MPH on each pitch and seems to be pitching with traffic each outing. Stashing Trevor Rosenthal seems crazy, but you never know.
  • Greg Holland proved he’s human last night. He did secure his eighth save, but allowed two earned runs on three hits and two walks. Due to his huge volume to start the year, this blip will be absorbed by his owners when the runs represent the first earned ones he has allowed this season.
  • “Baby Bedrock” Cam Bedrosian earned a two inning save for the Angels in Houston. He struck out three during his appearance, and with the news of Huston Street going on the 60-day disabled list, his audition in the role lengthens.
  • Wade Davis seems to be settling in as the Cubs closer after a rough spring. He did not record a strikeout last night, but has not been scored upon this year either.

Hitters delights

  • Fresh off a four hit game, Freddie Freeman‘s now reached base in 10 consecutive plate appearances (six hits, four walks). Thinking he will build on his breakout from last year rather fall privy to the regression monster – time will tell. For now, he’s slashing .426/.518/.872 after 13 games with four doubles, one triple and five home runs.
  • Nomar Mazara made the record books with his 17th RBI in 14 games and not being 22 yet. He’s the first player since Carlos Delgado to do so, and only the fourth player all-time. Seems as though many overlooked the talented Rangers outfielder this preseason.
  • It’s odd to see Avisail Garcia‘s surge continue, but he’s 25, has reached base safely in all 13 of his games, and is scratching the surface of his talent. Garcia hit a home run in the seventh inning off of Severino for his third of the season. He’s hitting .440 which will come back to earth, but time may be running out to speculate on him for fantasy.
  • Over his last six games, Jose Ramirez is 14-for-27 (.519) with seven runs, a double, three home runs and 10 RBI. Mercy. Teammate Edwin Encarnacion hit his second home run last night, and if he heats up, along with Jason Kipnis back this weekend, good luck pitching to the Indians.
  • Off to a traditional slow start, Joey Votto homered and finished with two hits in three at-bats and a walk. The window to try and buy low from an owner will begin to shrink, try.
  • Trevor Story hit a home run and will hope a return to Coors will get his back going. He’s struck out an alarming 38.6 percent of the time to start the year. Colorado also promoted Pat Valaika, so competition for at-bats may be nearing unless he reverts back to last year’s form. Story has the talent to do so.
  • Kole Calhoun seemed off to a normal start but is hitless in his last 18 at-bats and took a golden sombrero last night. He encapsulates the Angels struggling offense.
  • Fun stat: Nolan Arenado is 6-for-7 when hitting in the first inning this year according to the team’s beat writer with two home runs, two doubles and three walks. While this is great, it begs to question, why isn’t he hitting third anyways? Come on Colorado.

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Greg Jewett

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I am a father, PE teacher & fantasy baseball writer. Using saber metrics & information to evaluate players & trends is exciting to me."Passion is the oxygen of the soul." Bill Butler