Fantasy Forward: Injury news back to the forefront

For a short time, the injury bug seemed to take a backseat to the Giancarlo Stanton home run binge, Joey Votto’s on-base streak, and Aaron Judge’s strikeout record. Miguel Sano will head to the disabled list with the Twins still vying for a playoff spot playing eight games in the week ahead. Another power hitter providing a scare: Joey Gallo collided with teammate Matt Bush and both players entered baseball’s concussion protocol. Gallo could meet the team in Los Angeles with a non-displaced nasal fracture as long as his re-examination goes well.

Both Carlos Correa and Lance McCullers could rejoin the Astros by the end of the month. Correa took swings against a pitching machine along with ground balls nearing a rehab stint. McCullers will need at least two starts in the minors once he’s cleared, so stay tuned. Clayton Kershaw will throw a simulated game of three innings in Pittsburgh on Monday morning nearing a rehab stint of his own. Greg Bird is on target to play nine innings in Triple-A on Monday with Starlin Castro scheduled to play seven in the field during the same game in Rochester.

  • Verlander is still dealing in Detroit

Not only did Justin Verlander retire the first 13 Dodgers he faced, reports surfaced he used a new pitch during the game. Verlander added a cut-slider to his arsenal and mixed it in with his slider. During the game, his slider velocity ranged between 85-to-92 MPH according to Tigers beat writer Jason Beck. Apparently one can teach an old dog new tricks.

As for his performance, Verlander worked eight innings while giving up two hits, one earned run, and a walk with nine strikeouts. He also recorded 12 swinging strikes on his 112 pitches.  Verlander has won three of his four starts in August with a 2.48 ERA, 0.72 WHIP and 33 strikeouts against four walks. Open the wallet if paying for his services Houston.

  • Snell’s surging 

After a rough start to his major league career along with pitching in the minors and majors this year, Blake Snell may be emerging in time for the Rays run for a playoff spot. For the first time in his career, Snell won consecutive starts with his strong seven shutout innings on Sunday with eight strikeouts. He limited the Mariners to two hits and two walks. This marks his third straight start with at least six innings pitched, his sixth consecutive start with two walks or fewer, and lowered his ERA to 3.42 over his last eight outings.

  • Fallen Yankees

Aaron Judge extended his dubious streak, striking out for the 37th straight game. His collapse in the second half combined with pitchers working him inside have culminated in the streak. Judge looks like a player who could use a day off, but keeps going out there with the Yankees fighting for a playoff spot.

Aroldis Chapman appeared in the sixth inning for the first time since September of 2011 on Sunday in Boston. Chapman did work 1.1 innings striking out two and giving up a walk. It’s a step in the right direction for the displaced closer, but time will tell how long it takes him to reclaim his closer role with the team – especially with the margin for error so slim.

  • Rhys still raking

Playing for the Phillies may mask the strong start by Rhys Hoskins, but the fantasy owners who added him continue to reap the benefits. Hoskins launched his fifth home run in his first 11 games in the majors. It’s impressive since Hoskins started his career without a hit in his first 12 at-bats. Since then, he’s nine for 26 (.346) with a .923 slugging percentage. Most impressive? Hoskins eight walks compared to his seven strikeouts in his first 11 games. An approach rare at this stage of development.

  • Gio Gonzalez wins his 12th

With Max Scherzer on the disabled list, could the ace of the Nationals be Gio Gonzalez? He won his fourth straight start throwing 6.2 innings in San Diego, allowing five hits, one run (unearned) and a walk with eight strikeouts. Over his last four starts, Gonzalez owns a 0.33 ERA with 23 strikeouts in 27.2 innings. As of Sunday, Gonzalez ranks third in the National League in ERA (2.39), fifth in WHIP (1.12), and is tied for 10th in strikeouts (150).

  • Plundering Pirates

Josh Bell is heating up once again. He went 2-for-4 with a home run (21) and four RBI in Pittsburgh’s win over St. Louis in Williamsport. During his last 11 games, Bell is 13-for-33 (.394) with three doubles, two triples, two home runs and 13 RBI.

Teammate Starling Marte recorded his sixth straight multiple hit game going 2-for-3 with three runs scored and reached via a hit-by-pitch. Within the streak, Marte is 13-for-25 (.520) with eight runs, a triple, homer, three RBI, and four stolen bases. His speed’s been a welcome boost, and if the Pirates wish to wreak havoc on the playoff chase, they need a healthy and active Marte to do so.

  • Speaking of speed, two other targets

There’s little chance Marte’s on the waiver wire, but Delino DeShields could be. He’s reached base in each of his last eight games with 12 hits in his last 32 at-bats (.375) with six runs, three doubles, two RBI, and five stolen bases. Hitting lead-off for the Rangers with Carlos Gomez on the disabled list only enhances his value going forward. Due to his availability, DeShields makes for a solid target for teams looking to boost their stolen base production.

Another player who may not be on the wire much longer, Kevin Kiermaier. It feels like owners await his breakout each year, but since his return, Kiermaier is five for 12 with three runs, a double, home runs, and an RBI. He has hit eight homers and stolen 10 bases in only 65 games this year with a .336 on-base percentage. Batting atop the Rays order and healthy when other players may be fatigued, Kiermaier makes for an intriguing target for the fantasy stretch run.

  • Wilson Ramos rebound

Returning from ACL surgery along with trying to learn a new pitching staff without spring training proves to be a daunting task for a catcher to overcome. Wilson Ramos did not focus on his swing and it showed. Last Monday, Ramos watched video and noticed a mechanical glitch in his swing. Since then, Ramos has four consecutive multiple hit games with a double, two home runs and a .550/.609/.900 slash line in his last 20 at-bats. He is one of the players Mike Sheehan recommended added for the stretch run.

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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