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Fantasy Forward: Injuries and home runs everywhere

May seems to be picking up right where April left off in terms of injuries. For some good news, Miguel Cabrera not only returned to the lineup, he homered against Corey Kluber. Speaking of Kluber, many were concerned about his usage in the postseason carrying over to this year and he left his start early with a sore lower back. In the post-game interview, he slowly rose from his chair favoring the back, so a 10-day disabled list seems inevitable.

Cole Hamels did not make it to the mound feeling a sharp pain in his oblique during warm-ups. He thinks the injury may not sideline him, but with the shorter disabled list, monitor closely. Mets catcher Travis d’Arnaud left his game early with a wrist injury. Orioles catcher Welington Castillo, Indians outfielder Austin Jackson and Yankees first baseman Greg Bird all joined the litany of players on the 10-day disabled list. Jacoby Ellsbury did not play on Tuesday night due to a nerve injury in his elbow – he may not be far behind.

Zach Britton returned to the mound but allowed a hit and a walk, continuing a trend of traffic on the bases during his outings. Be sure to see if he’s using the curve, something still seems off with him. Now for a condensed version of the recaps due to a busy day ahead for yours truly.

Starting pitcher observations

Yankees pitcher Masahiro Tanaka won his fourth game, but did allow four runs to the Blue Jays at home. This may speak to Toronto starting to heat up more than Tanaka struggling. Since the start of the season, he’s turned things around pitching for a contract.

Same city but troubling results for Matt Harvey who gave up six earned runs in 5.1 innings of work in Atlanta with more walks (3) than strikeouts (2). He and teammate Travis d’Arnaud said it was his best “stuff” all year – not sold on it.

Chris Sale remains on another level this year. He recorded his fifth straight 10+ strikeout game last night with 11 in eight innings of work. His 1.38 ERA and league leading 63 strikeouts in 45.2 innings of work stands out evoking memories of Randy Johnson’s dominant 2001-2002 seasons.

It’s more of a deep league look, but Alec Asher turned in a quality start on the road opposing Sale and may stick in the rotation when Chris Tillman returns. We’re looking at you Ubaldo Jimenez.

After a horrific first inning, Tyler Glasnow settled down to defeat the Reds. However, he still allowed four walks during his start, and his 6.97 ERA hints at too many free passes cutting into his fantasy value. If you’re still using Scott Feldman, sorry.

Blisters seem to be everywhere and affected both starters in the Alex Cobb versus Edinson Volquez match-up. Cobb finished six shutout innings with two strikeouts for the win, and Volquez made history with eight walks and nine strikeouts during his 4.1 innings of work for the Marlins.

Jon Lester won his first game of the year, but could not work past the fifth inning against the Phillies. In bigger news, he threw out a runner on the bases. Mark this date on your calendar.

With an ADP in the 300’s during the preseason, could Ervin Santana be the biggest draft bargain in regards to starting pitching? He moved to 5 – 0 with a 0.66 ERA and struck out seven against the A’s last night.

Oakland’s Sonny Gray made it back to the mound for his debut, but allowed three home runs to Minnesota and four earned runs to take the loss. He’s encouraged by the outing and fantasy owners may speculate, but do so cautiously.

Southpaw Jose Quintana continues to be unpredictable tossing eight shutout innings in Kansas City with seven strikeouts to lower his ERA to 4.10. He’s better than he has shown and improved his record to 2 – 4 on the year.

Carlos Martinez won his first game of the year, but seemed to disappoint with only four strikeouts against the Brewers without Ryan Braun in the lineup. More encouraging, the one walk allowed in 105 pitches.

There’s a Padres pitcher you may want to notice. Trevor Cahill moved to 2 – 2 on the year, but his 3.60 ERA could be better with a 2.61 FIP, the swinging strike percentage at a career best 13.2 percent and a 57.3 ground ball percent. Definitely a stream option on the peripheral of mixed league attention with 37 strikeouts in 30 innings of work.

Alex Wood and Matt Moore reminded fantasy owners why owning them comes with a case of rolaids. Just when you think they can be trusted, they blow up your ratios. Matt Shoemaker deserved a better fate in Seattle, as did James Paxton. Each were let down by their respective bullpens. Do take note of Paxton’s five hits and five walks allowed in 5.1 innings of work. Traffic is not good.



Bullpen 

As alluded to, Bud Norris blew his first save but he’s been terrific. Hopefully this will be a blip. Edwin Diaz has been searching for his control all season, and it reared its ugly head again. Luckily for him the rest of the bullpen does not pose a threat at this time.

Meanwhile, Fernando Rodney locked down his seventh save amidst all the angst of owning him. Of course, his 11.45 ERA and 2.09 WHIP will do this to an owner.

Veterans Craig Kimbrel and Francisco Rodriguez each recorded their seventh saves along with Alex Colome. What a difference when Colome is only asked to get three outs in terms of performance. Jim Johnson saved his fifth game with a nice backdoor on out save.

Ken Giles had the night off and Luke Gregerson struggled to fill in needing Will Harris to lock down the win. There may be a change in the eighth inning bridge if Gregerson continues to give up runs.

Could a time share be brewing in St. Louis? Trevor Rosenthal saved his third game one day after Seung-Hwan Oh worked two innings in the prior game. Nothing official, but those desperate for saves can look at Rosenthal in deeper formats.

Hitter highlights

It was home run derby in the Bronx with Brett Gardner and Aaron Judge each hitting two against the Blue Jays. Also, Aaron Hicks launched a home run and could see an uptick in playing time with Jacoby Ellsbury hurting. Deeper league players should speculate.

Both Jake Lamb and Chris Herrmann homered in Washington. Lamb’s no surprise, but Herrmann could push himself into more at-bats with performances like Tuesday night’s.

Hanley Ramirez seems to be rounding into form with two home runs against the Orioles. Also, Mitch Moreland hit his 13th double of the year. Manny Machado is only hitting .226 but hit his sixth home run and makes for an interesting buy low player.

Pirates super utility player Josh Harrison stayed white-hot with his fifth home run and third in two days. Everyone had a hit in the game, except Josh Bell. Guess who I used in DFS?

Pitching to the top of the Braves order proves difficult in Atlanta. Ender Inciarte registered three more hits last night to push his average to .257 after his average cratering to .202 only 26 at-bats ago. Freddie Freeman continues to rake an hit his 10th home run as well.

Jay Bruce rewarded all the batter versus pitcher crowd with a home run off R.A. Dickey who he has owned during their careers. As a bonus, he blasted a ninth inning grand slam as well. Michael Conforto keeps showing why the Mets should have let him play more last year with two more hits to raise his average to .344 on the year.

Many were calling for Javy Baez and Kyle Schwarber to receive a day off due to their struggles. So, Schwarber homered and drove in three while Baez finished 4-for-4 with a home run and three RBI. It’s a frustrating game.

Hidden in the Phillies loss was Aaron Altherr’s home run. Through 51 at-bats this year, he is hitting .333 with a 1.051 OPS, three home runs and two stolen bases. His buy low window will be closing soon.

Another day, another Miguel Sano big fly. Over his last 41 games, Sano’s drove in 39 runs with 25 extra-base hits with a .288 average and 1.048 OPS. His home run landed in the ballpark restaurant. Mercy.

Speaking of flying below the radar, Yonder Alonso hit his fifth home run in 72 at-bats and his OPS moved up to .918 this year. He hit seven in 482 at-bats last year.

Two under the radar guys did well in Houston. Marwin Gonzalez hit two home runs including a grand slam to lead the Astros to a come from behind win. In the revolving door in the Rangers left field, it’s now Delino DeShields job. He also hit a home run in this game, but those looking for speed, should add him immediately.

Albert Pujols moved towards tons of historical landmarks last night. He is 151 hits from 3,000, 61 RBI from 1,900 in his career and seventh all-time in extra-base hits.

Statistical Credits: Fangraphs.com, MLB.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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