Fantasy Forward: Stroman’s hurt and all rise for the Judge

Attrition continues to plague starting pitching with Marcus Stroman leaving his start in New York with discomfort in his armpit. Winds were blowing out in New York, but his outing was off to a rough start. During this same game, Aaron Judge became the youngest player to hit 13 home runs in his first 26 games. He may have fun in Wrigley Field this weekend as well.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, reports surfacing suggest Yoenis Cespedes could have an extended stay on the disabled list due to his hamstring problem. Stay tuned, but his owners may need to make alternate plans immediately. Targeting a player in a buy low spot like Domingo Santana makes perfect sense. He is six for his last 15 (.400) with three home runs and seven RBI for the Brewers.

Add Sean Doolittle to pitchers to land on the disabled list. Tigers leadoff hitter Ian Kinsler left yesterday’s game early with a tight hamstring. Monitor his progress as news surfaces.

Starting Pitcher Observations

Imagine how good Robbie Ray could be if he pitched in an environment like the Nationals ballpark. He struck out 10 with one walk to lower his ERA yet took the hard luck loss. Pitching in Arizona makes him a risk to ratios at times, but the strikeout stuff is for real. Opposing him, Gio Gonzalez struck out eight but walked seven in a role reversal of sorts, but escaped with only one earned run allowed. Beware of bad Gio when he emerges.

In a Rich Hill-esque performance, according to Baseball Savant, Drew Pomeranz threw 44 curves of his 99 pitches yesterday with seven strikeouts and eight swinging strikes via the curveball. He’s whiffed 34 in 27 innings this year.

Carlos Carrasco turned in a solid but not spectacular outing on the road to move to 3 – 2 on the year. He allowed five hits, two earned runs, one walk and struck out five.

Like Ray above, Blake Snell can be lights out with strikeouts with nine yesterday, but the six hits and three walks in five innings kills the WHIP. Until he’s more efficient, Snell is a stream play only in fantasy.

Another role reversal in Cincinnati with Rookie Davis hurling five shutout innings, but walked three against two strikeouts. Jameson Taillon allowed eight hits and six earned runs in the loss, but his ERA only rose to 3.31.

On the surface, Jacob deGrom’s last couple of outings prove frustrating. His 3.68 ERA should merge with his 3.10 FIP, but he needs to rein in the walks. deGrom’s 10.3 walk percentage sits at a career worst right now. Kick the tires with his owner as a potential buy frustrated target.

Houston saw something with Charlie Morton and it’s starting to come to fruition. He has struck out 20 over his last two starts and won both of them. The 3.97 ERA does not jump off the page, but the 3.13 FIP suggests better days may lie ahead. Add in the 10.5 swinging strike percentage with the velocity increase and things look pretty good.

Jake Arrieta won his fourth game of the year with seven strikeouts. But, his ERA of 4.63 with a FIP of 3.79 this year and 3.52 last year may be his ceiling during his walk year. Tread lightly.

It’s hard to quit a guy like Nate Karns due to his upside but tempered by volatility. He turned in a one hit, one walk performance against the White Sox during six shutout innings with seven strikeouts. If he can build on the 59 percent ground ball rate this year and his 3.82 xFIP there is something here, but only for deeper or mono formats.

This Jeff Samardzija is the one fantasy owners drafted for upside this year. He struck out 11 on the road allowing an unearned run on three hits with zero walks. Samardzija generated seven swinging strikes with the slider and four each with his fastball and curve for a total of 15 of his 101 pitches. He can be frustrating, but his 5.03 ERA is accompanied by a 3.68 FIP.

Bullpen Musings

Craig Kimbrel saved his 10th game with a clean inning and three strikeouts. Aroldis Chapman locked down his sixth save with a strikeout in a clean outing as well.

The Cody Allen experience almost came into effect, but he saved his seventh game with two walks and two strikeouts. His control can escape him at times.

Wade Davis remains unblemished this year; he saved his seventh game, but did give up a walk to look human.

Edwin Diaz allowed a home run, but struck out the side for the save. He has allowed runs in back-to-back outings and in four of 11 appearances this year.

Mark Melancon recorded his sixth save in Los Angeles, but gave up two hits.

Hitter’s Highlights

Also reaching a milestone in New York, Matt Holliday hit his 300th career home run and his fifth of the year. Fantasy owners will keep a keen eye to see if it’s Holliday or Chris Carter who plays first base in Chicago this weekend.

Could Steve Pearce be heating up? After an abysmal start, he is five for his last eight with three home runs. He can be streaky so those playing DFS should pay attention.

Marcell Ozuna launched his eighth home run and it measured an approximated 468 feet in Tampa Bay. Mercy.

Are home runs up again? Well, Billy Hamilton hit his first in 319 at-bats, so they have to be right?

Mets fans screamed for Michael Conforto to play more, and he’s responded with 12 hits in his last 30 at-bats (.400), six runs, three home runs and 10 RBI. Of course, this same passionate fan base also wanted to release Jose Reyes. He has scored eight runs while hitting .370 in his last 27 at-bats with three home runs and 10 RBI as well. Patience.

It’s difficult to give up on Kennys Vargas, and he showed why last night. He’s displayed more power as a right-handed hitter but from the left side against Oakland, finishing 2-for-4 with a home run (2) and five RBI. Teammate Byron Buxton turned in baseball’s fastest triple this year (10.73 seconds), and is eight for his last 29 with seven runs and two stolen bases.

No one pays attention to Yonder Alonso, but he’s hitting .307, hit his sixth home run last night, and the A’s need to move him up in the order.

Marwin Gonzalez can be used almost anywhere in Yahoo fantasy due to eligibility rules. He’s white-hot right now, going seven for his last 15 with five home runs and 11 RBI. He is streaky, but ride the wave. Carlos Correa showed signs of life last night with four hits in five at-bats, a double and his third home run to raise his average to .255 on the year.

Two Mariners homered, Robinson Cano (5) and Jean Segura (2). Kole Calhoun answered for the Angels as well.

So far the results on Ian Desmond returning from his hand injury are positive. He went 3-for-5 last night with two home runs off of batting practice pitcher Jered Weaver.

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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

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