Fantasy Forward: More injuries, Bellinger’s grand, is Rosario next?

It’s hard to believe no fantasy owner has yet to lose a starting pitcher this year due to injury. Saturday claimed Jameson Taillon as the latest member to head to the disabled list. Zach Britton received some good news from his MRI which revealed forearm inflammation, his elbow is intact. Rest will be prescribed meaning he could be out until Memorial Day with Brad Brach and Darren O’Day filling in.

No matter how bad your week went, it had to be better than Brett Anderson’s. He allowed 12 earned runs in 1.2 innings of work and will be headed to the disabled list himself with a bad back. Look for Eddie Butler (1.17 ERA at Triple-A) or Mike Montgomery to assume his spot in the rotation.

Mets shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera rolled his glove awkwardly making a play. He left the game and X-rays were clean in regards to his wrist, but will undergo an MRI on Sunday for his thumb. If he’s out for a prolonged period of time, Amed Rosario may be en route to the Mets. For now, Jose Reyes will shift to shortstop and Wilmer Flores to third, but keeper owners of Rosario along with Mets fans will be on tilt until the news breaks regarding Cabrera.

Mike Trout was a late scratch with a tight hamstring after lineups locked Saturday night. Keep tabs on him, but another day off on Sunday may be prudent to protect the team’s superstar. They won in walkoff fashion against Chris Devenski last night.

Hitter’s highlights

Despite only 11 games played, Cody Bellinger is making his mark on the Dodgers and in fantasy. With a grand slam in San Diego, he has driven in 14 with five home runs and also stole his first base on Saturday night. There will be no rush to get Adrian Gonzalez at this rate.

In a much more underscored manner, Yonder Alonso is enjoying a breakout year with Oakland. He hit seven home runs all of last year, but with two Saturday night, he’s at eight already this year. How? Alonso’s cut his ground ball rate by 18 percent, raised his fly ball’s hit by 16 percent, and his hard contact’s up to 40 percent this year. If he is still out there in your league, a .314 average and 1.043 OPS should play in 12-team formats.

Boston shook up the lineup with Andrew Benintendi hitting fourth. He responded with three hits and two RBI. This shift has Mookie Betts at leadoff, Dustin Pedroia second and Xander Bogaerts third.

Another below the radar first baseman, Logan Morrison, finished 2-for-3 on Saturday with his seventh home run. He’s slashing .275/.377/.538, carrying over his strong finish from last year’s second half.

Could Carlos Santana be emerging from his slump? On Friday, Edwin Encarnacion homered and yesterday, Santana hit one of two back-to-back shots off of Kelvin Herrera with Francisco Lindor to propel the Indians to a win.

Both Jose Abreu (5) and Manny Machado (8) launched home runs in their battle in Camden Yards. The wild card in this game – Trey Mancini’s sixth home run to push his RBI total to 17 this year.

It could be a daily segment, so here’s the Ryan Zimmerman alert. He tallied two more hits, his 13th home run, and his RBI total’s up to 34 this year with a .435 average and 1.382 OPS. Teammate Anthony Rendon joined in the fun with his fifth home run and three RBI (22 on the year).

After a slow start, Cameron Rupp homered for the second time in three games. In the two games with the home run, he’s recorded multiple hits as well.

Both Giancarlo Stanton (8) and Marcell Ozuna (9) launched home runs in New York during a loss. Both are pacing for over 40 this year despite the Marlins languishing in the standings.

Much maligned Jay Bruce went 2-for-5 with a double and three RBI. He’s hitting .291 with a .985 OPS.

With hits in eight of his last nine games, Billy Hamilton is on a heater. He has reached base in all nine games (three of the games resulted in multiple hits), he has scored runs seven straight, and his stolen base total leads the majors at 19.

Adam Duvall hit his ninth home run of the year against his former team which has a void in left field, kind of poetic. Eugenio Suarez continues to rake with two hits to push his average to .333 this year and his seventh home run.

St. Louis seems to like Sun Trust Park. Matt Carpenter homered for the second straight day (6 on the year) and he has driven in 14 runs over his last nine games.

Another revenge game occurred in Chicago with Starlin Castro hitting his sixth home run of the year against his former team. He’s hitting .381 with 19 RBI. I was a year too early on him. Aaron Hicks also hit his sixth home run in less at-bats, tied a career high with four hits, and his OPS crossed 1,000 yesterday. He’s pushing the Yankees for more playing time in a crowded outfield.

It took Mark Reynolds until July 21st last year to his hit ninth home run; yesterday he hit his 10th of the year. Nolan Arenado hit his eighth, and Charlie Blackmon racked up three hits with a double and a triple among them in a Rockies rout of the Diamondbacks.

Another player turning around a slow start, Carlos Correa notched his ninth extra-base hit in his last 12 games and has scored 10 runs in them to raise his average to .270 on the season.



Starting pitcher observations

Over his last five starts, Gerrit Cole has given up two earned runs or fewer in all of them. He worked seven strong innings with eight strikeouts last night and his reward, a 1 – 3 record in these outings. Baseball can be unfair.

Rick Porcello received run support and won his second game of the year. He pitched seven innings with six strikeouts. His peripheral numbers are better than last year despite his 3.95 ERA and 2 – 4 record.

Rays starter Jake Odorizzi had a strong week off of the disabled list. He also worked seven innings allowing three hits, one earned run with six strikeouts. His ERA is now 3.88 on the year.

Vanilla Leake won again to push his record to 4 – 1 with seven innings of work, three earned runs allowed with two walks and two strikeouts. His 1.79 ERA is a mirage, but he’s been solid to start the season.

A gem in Coors Field? Tyler Anderson struggled to start the year, but locked down Arizona with 10 strikeouts in six inning of work. At one point, he recorded six straight strikeouts and nine of his last 11 outs were via the whiff.

Dylan Bundy won his fifth game working six innings at home with six hits against, a walk, and three strikeouts. His ERA of 2.17 screams of regression to the mean moving forward, but he’s been steady as well.

Robert Gsellman won his second game, but, he allowed eight hits in five innings and only generated five swinging strikes in the process.

Clayton Kershaw moved to 5 – 2 on the year, but allowed four walks in 7.1 innings of work with nine strikeouts. Interesting.

Last but not least, Lance McCullers turned in another strong outing with two hits, four strikeouts and one run allowed (zero earned) against the Angels on the road.

Bullpen musings

Detroit continues to stand by Francisco Rodriguez, but something’s got to give soon. He blew his third save of the year in Oakland last night. His ERA is at 6.35 with a 5.24 FIP and 1.85 WHIP. Add in a spike in hard contact percentage allowed and it’s been a rough start to 2017 for the Tigers closer.

Cody Allen recorded his 100th career save in Kansas City. This year, his total’s up to eight. Remember when everyone took Andrew Miller ahead of him in drafts? Seung-Hwan Oh pitched a clean inning in Atlanta for his seventh save.

Brad Brach threw 42 pitches the two previous days so Darren O’Day filled in for the save. Both could have relevance while Britton’s on the disabled list.

Both Tony Watson and Bud Norris won games in relief due to their teams walking off in the bottom of the inning.

Statistical Credits: MLB.com, Fangraphs.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