Fantasy Forward: Stanton’s home run pace and Harvey’s suspension

In one of the wildest starts to a fantasy baseball season one can remember, Sunday did not entail too many casualties to injury, but Matt Harvey showing up to the stadium expecting to start discovered he was suspended. Give the Mets some credit for remaining tight-lipped about the reasoning, but pressing Adam Wilk into a spot start proved less than ideal.

During this game, Martin Prado and Miguel Rojas both left the game for the Marlins. Prado’s expected to land back on the disabled list with Rojas joining the day-to-day list like the rest of us. Cleveland’s Michael Brantley left his game with a sprained ankle, but it’s not considered severe. Both Bryce Harper and Mike Trout did not play on Sunday, but should be available for the fantasy week ahead.

Mets fans hoping for the Amed Rosario show to arrive in New York await word on whether or not Asdrubal Cabrera will land on the disabled list. St. Louis promoted Magneuris Sierra to the majors due to their outfield depletion to injuries. His glove’s ready; the bat remains to be seen. Cincinnati sent down rookie Amir Garrett in order to protect his innings for the season, do not fret. San Diego postponed a game due to rain for the third time in franchise history.

Hitter highlights

Every year fantasy owners wait for the 50 home run season from Giancarlo Stanton. After hitting two home runs on Sunday in New York, he’s on pace for 54 this year with 135 RBI. To save you the math, he’s up to 10 home runs with 25 RBI through 30 games this season.

After a nine game hiatus, Eric Thames hit his 12th home run. Teammates Jonathan Villar and Keon Broxton each stole their seventh bases of the year.

Eno Sarris wrote about Yonder Alonso adjusting his swing and approach in the off-season. It seems to be working. He hit his ninth home run of the year to match his career best, which took 155 games in 2012. His increase in fly ball rate along with hard contact spike seem to ensure he will reach double digits in home runs for the first time in his career. Is 22 or more in play? Time will tell. By the way, he is also hitting .311 with a 1.053 OPS.

Pirates right fielder with first base eligibility Jose Osuna hit his first home run of 2017. He will face four left-handed starters next week. Another one or two could be en route for those in deep leagues.

Tommy Pham seems to catch fire upon promotion every year. He launched two home runs in Atlanta on Sunday to lead the Cardinals to a win in extra-innings. Matt Carpenter homered for the third straight game, has in four of his last six, and raised his RBI total to 20. He did foul a ball of his shin late, but should not miss any time.

Freddie Freeman hit his 11th home run, but will not be pitched to in high leverage situations late in games. Be aggressive early Freddie.

Boston’s onslaught on offense resulted in 10 runs in the ninth inning to crush Minnesota. Mookie Betts (3), Dustin Pedroia (2), Andrew Benintendi (5) and Sandy Leon twice (4) all left the yard. Mitch Moreland pitched in with four RBI.

Not to be outdone, Kennys Vargas hit his third home run since his recall with a .294 average and .912 OPS to start the year. He has teased before, but is nearing mixed league interest.

It was only a matter of time before Carlos Santana turned things around. After homering in the ninth inning on Saturday, he recorded three hits in four at-bats on Sunday with the game’s only RBI. We’re still waiting Edwin.

In a throwback performance, Jayson Werth finished 4-for-5 with two home runs and three RBI to raise his average to .292 on the year. But, it was Aaron Altherr who delivered the shot to change the game with a three-run home run off of Matt Albers to tie the game which the Phillies would eventually win. Washington needs to address its bullpen, soon.

After a rare day off, Jose Altuve returned to hit a three run home run, his fifth, to raise his average to .304. Evan Gattis hit his third home run and is hitting .304? What? In this same game, Yunel Escobar hit two home runs as well. Confused yet?

Cincinnati seems to find an under the radar power hitting outfielder every year now? Last year Adam Duvall broke out, and now Scott Schebler has hit nine home runs. Zack Cozart chipped in with his second homer and his OPS of 1.034 confounds as well. Can he maintain the surge?

Kyle Seager hit his second home run of the year to propel the Mariners to a win. James McCann hit s home run off of a right-handed pitcher for his sixth, but he’s still hitting below .150 for the year.

Starting pitcher observations

Amidst all the controversy surrounding the Mets, Jose Urena fired six shutout innings with one hit allowed and two strikeouts. You cannot make this stuff up.

Another encouraging outing by Alex Cobb in a loss. He worked eight innings allowing four hits, two earned runs and two walks with three strikeouts to lower his ERA to 3.56 on the year.

Making his 2017 debut, Chris Tillman lasted five scoreless innings with five hits, three walks, and four strikeouts against the White Sox.

Zach Davies won in Pittsburgh working 5.2 innings with seven strikeouts and lowered his ERA to 5.16 with a 3 – 2 record. Still cautious to buy in on him.

Cardinals Michael Wacha turned in a quality start in a no-decision. Wacha pitched six innings allowing five hits, two earned runs and two walks with six strikeouts.

How good have Chris Sale and Ervin Santana been? They allowed a combined nine earned runs with three walks each, but leave the game with ERA’s below two. Sale’s record improved to 3 – 2 with a 1.92 ERA. Santana took his first loss with his ERA rising to 1.72 on the year. One of them will stay close to this level all year.

With the Indians needing a starter to fill-in, Mike Clevinger stepped up with 5.2 shutout innings in Kansas City with five strikeouts. Of course, the downside lies in the four walks allowed.

Taijuan Walker allowed three runs in Coors Field, but only one was earned. He only struck out one, but with his ERA at 3.83 after starts on the road in Washington and Colorado, things should improve. Tyler Chatwood fired a second strong outing by a Rockies pitcher, allowing two hits, one earned run, three walks with five strikeouts over seven innings.

How bad is the Giants offense right now? Scott Feldman worked a complete game shutout giving up four hits, one walk and struck out five. Then the team bus broke down on the way to their plane. Time’s are tough for San Francisco.

Bullpen musings

If Francisco Rodriguez holds on to his job this week, fantasy owners who spent precious FAAB or waiver priorities on Justin Wilson will be upset. Rodriguez blew back-to-back saves this weekend giving up three runs in one-third of an inning on Sunday to raise his ERA to 8.49 this year. Detroit has held firm with their embattled closer, but he seems lost right now.

Roberto Osuna locked down his fourth save, but did allow a hit and a walk with two strikeouts. Brad Brach got the call with two runners on in the ninth and induced a double play to end the game for his seventh save. Indians closer Cody Allen saved his ninth with a walk and a strikeout. His ERA, 0.69 – somewhere Gronk’s smiling.

Greg Holland moved to 13-for-13 in save chances this year. Ken Giles worked a clean inning with two strikeouts for his eighth save. In a much-needed clean save, Edwin Diaz struck out two as well for his sixth.

Two setup pitching notes. Corey Knebel struck out the side again for the Brewers on Sunday. He’s been lights out of late with 25 strikeouts in 16.1 innings pitched this year. Will Harris worked two innings with Luke Gregerson not being used by the Astros on Sunday.

Philadelphia hinted Pat Neshek could get a save chance, but he pitched 1.1 innings before Hector Neris worked two innings for the win on Sunday. Stay tuned, or just avoid this bullpen. The latter’s where I lean.

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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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