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Fantasy Forward: Joey Gallo’s power should keep him in Texas

Many injury issues to track after a full slate of games on Friday night. Miguel Cabrera left in after the sixth inning, and it’s being reported as a right groin strain, not anything to do with his back. Of course the headline, Madison Bumgarner will miss between 6-for-8 weeks after spraining his shoulder along with his ribs in a dirt bike accident. Those who spent a second round pick on the reliable pitcher will be scrambling on the waiver wire this weekend.

One second baseman returned, Jason Kipnis, and hit sixth, while another left after a rough slide by Manny Machado, sending Dustin Pedroia out of their game. Pedroia’s quotes were interesting, but he seemed to avoid any major injury. As for Machado, he may wear one tomorrow, stay tuned.

For those in dynasty leagues, Amed Rosario played third base at Double-A last night for the second time in his minor league career. Combine Jose Reyes hitting below .100 this season along with Wilmer Flores landing on the disabled list and connect the dots. Track this situation very carefully.

Other noteworthy transactions: James Shields, Lucas Duda and Brock Holt to the disabled list, Raul Mondesi Jr. optioned to the minors. Starting rehab assignments: Chris Tillman, Didi Gregorius and Jean Segura. Activated: Jackie Bradley Jr. and Trea Turner along with the aforementioned Kipnis. Got all of that?

Hitter’s delights

With Adrian Beltre still on the disabled list, Joey Gallo is flashing his power upside with a low batting average. Once not tolerable, it will be very interesting to see how the Rangers handle Gallo when Beltre returns. Gallo launched two home runs last night, one of which traveled 462 feet with a 116.2 MPH exit velocity. Dear lord. Teammate Robinson Chirinos hit two home runs as well, but outside of a mono league, this does not make a dent in fantasy production.

With the Cubs down three in the ninth, Anthony Rizzo came up clutch with a three-run home run which barely cleared the wall to tie the game. Kris Bryant drove in the game winner in the ninth inning and this may propel a hot streak for the team. Momentum matters.

Prior to his aggressive slide, Manny Machado hit his third home run of the season. But with his volatile temper along with the Red Sox being upset, this game may be a must watch tomorrow. Be careful for fantasy or DFS purposes if player’s get ejected.

While many overlook Aaron Altherr, his audition could extend through next week with Howie Kendrick not responding well. Altherr hit second on Friday night, finished with two hits. and holds a .360/.407/.600 slash line with a .432 wOBA for the Phillies.

Cleanup hitter Jacoby Ellsbury stole two bases for the Yankees in a loss. He has swiped six this year against three RBI’s. Interesting lineup construction.

Corey Dickerson hit his second leadoff home run and his fourth of the year. It’s a small sample size, but Dickerson’s .286 ISO right now would be a career high.

Injuries seem to side with fate and Mets fans who clamored for Michael Conforto to play more. He started in center and hit first. Conforto responded with a home run, his third in limited playing time, and carries a .345/.417/.690 slash line.

Everyone seems to forget how good Bryce Harper was in 2015. He’s healthy and hit his seventh home run with 20 RBI this year on Friday night. Add in he’s locked in right now.

With Raul Mondesi Jr. demoted, a clear path to playing time for Whit Merrifield at second base emerges. He started hot last year, and owns enough pop with some speed to warrant fantasy speculation in deeper mixed leagues. If he moves up in the lineup, interest grows. He went 2-for-4 on Friday night and has a home run and stolen base in his first 13 plate appearances with two walks and one strikeout.

Trevor Story is struggling, but hit a grand slam off Johnny Cueto (his first ever allowed) and looks to get hot at home this weekend. Charlie Blackmon benefited from home scoring for an inside the park home run when Hunter Pence fell on the warning track.

Veteran Albert Pujols made some history with his bases loaded double last night. It marked his 604th double which ties him for 13th all-time, and the three RBI pushed him into a tie with Manny Ramirez with 1,831 at 18th in history.

Diamondbacks leadoff hitter A.J. Pollock turned in a strong performance with three hits in six at-bats and a triple short of the cycle. He’s money at home against a southpaw, and with health, seems well on his way to a strong season for fantasy owners.

Take note of Joc Pederson hitting first against a right-handed pitcher in Arizona last night. He went 2-for-4 with a double and two runs scored. Interesting, as this should ensure Pederson sees more fastballs during his at-bats.

Corey Seager hitting in Arizona seems too easy; he responded with three hits, including a double and home run increasing his slash line to .308/.370/.523 on the season.

Both Marcell Ozuna and Giancarlo Stanton homered last night.

Another under the radar guy to check out, Yonder Alonso. He worked out with Robinson Cano this offseason, changed his swing for more lift, and hit his third home run of the season. Alonso is hitting .295 and batted second the last three games against right-handed pitching.

Did Jesse Chavez allow Jose Bautista to realize the season started? Bautista not only hit his first home run, but helped the Blue Jays win on his three run blast in the 13th inning. He’s still hitting .131, but any sign of hope helps, right?

In this same game, Troy Tulowitzki moved up to third on a wild pitch, grabbed his hamstring after the slide, and immediately removed himself from the game. Take note. Miguel Cabrera also left his game early with a reported right groin strain.



Starting pitching observations

After a slow start, Corey Kluber turned in his fourth complete game shutout in Chicago with nine strikeouts, three hits allowed, and two walks against the White Sox. He will be fine.

It’s strange to see Justin Verlander only work five innings in Minnesota, stranger to see him walk six batters with only six swinging strikes induced. His next start will be worth tracking.

Have the Orioles developed a starter? Dylan Bundy pitched well again versus Boston, lasting seven innings with six hits allowed, no runs, one walk and three strikeouts to lower his ERA to 1.37 this month.

Pitching a southpaw at home against the Royals seemed like a slam dunk until Cole Hamels gave up a run in the top of the first. He settled in for eight innings of work with three hits allowed, three strikeouts, and only allowed the one run for his first win of the season.

Just when everyone threw dirt on Adam Wainwright’s fantasy relevance, he struck out nine in five innings of work in Milwaukee. He also drove in four runs which included a home run to help his cause. Still nervous about his long term value, but for a night, Wainwright bounced back.

Overlooking Hector Santiago is easy to do, but he turned in another quality start, won his second game, and struck out six Tigers in 6.1 innings of work Friday.

Another pitcher flying well below the radar, Trevor Cahill recorded 12 ground ball outs and retired 15 Marlins in a row during the game, finishing with six strikeouts in seven innings of work. His change generated six swinging strikes and 11 overall during his 96 pitches. Cahill may be a home stream, but in the right match-up could be an option moving forward.

Not an ideal outing, but Sean Manaea battled at home to keep his team in the game with five hits allowed, three walks, one earned run and six strikeouts against the Mariners. Encouraging.

Bullpen musings

Once again, Hector Neris pitched the ninth inning with Joaquin Benoit as the setup pitcher. It did not come easy with him allowing a home run to Adonis Garcia along with two other hits after a rain delay, but Neris did record his second straight save. Bid accordingly.

In Cincinnati, Drew Storen pitched a scoreless ninth to lower his ERA to 1.08 and turned the game over to Michael Lorenzen. However, after giving up a three-run home run to Rizzo, the Reds bullpen blew the game. It’s a rough one in Cincy, and fantasy owners should track how Storen’s used going forward. If he can usurp the second spot in the pecking order, double-digit saves could ensue.

For the third straight day Brad Brach recorded a save. There’s no committee here. By the way, still no news on Zach Britton’s MRI.

Shawn Kelley saved his third game in four days in extra innings for the Nationals. He’s the lead closer, but if there’s a chance on Saturday, odds favor Koda Glover getting the chance to rest Kelley.

Trevor Rosenthal allowed a run in the eighth and Seung-Hwan Oh, looked like the Oh of 2016 with three strikeouts in Milwaukee. An encouraging outing for Oh’s owners. Breathe.

Cubs closer Wade Davis locked down his fourth save after a strong showing by Carl Edwards Jr. in the 10th inning.

Greg Holland saved his ninth game in 17 played for Colorado, money well spent so far.

Keep tabs on Brandon Kintzler. He finished his fourth save, but with a hit allowed and no strikeouts. Through seven innings this year, Kintzler’s 4:3 K:BB carries zero earned runs, but his FIP of 3.46 suggest regression will be in the offing.

As the A’s closer situation evolves, Sean Doolittle faced Robinson Cano, Nelson Cruz and Kyle Seager in the eighth due to match-ups, Santiago Casilla pitched the ninth for his third save. If your still holding on to Ryan Madson, it’s probably best to move on.

Statistical Credits: Fangraphs.com, MLB.com, BaseballSavant.com

 

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Greg Jewett
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

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