Fantasy Forward: Adams in Atlanta, Braun’s back and Estrada surges

In what seems like a merry-go-round of a rotation, the Dodgers demoted Julio Urias to the minors to pave the way for a Kenta Maeda return later this week. Milwaukee activated Ryan Braun and played him on Sunday, so those who own him can activate him for Week 8. Steven Matz will need at least two more rehab starts so the Mets will not have him back until June. This means the Tommy Milone experiment will continue… yikes. Looking to fill-in for Freddie Freeman, the Braves traded for Matt Adams who merits a look in leagues of 15 teams or more as a corner infielder.

When trying to fill injury needs, sometimes one has to lose a trade. For example, a head-to-head roster of mine with limited moves for the season (replete due to injuries) I did have three first basemen. With Justin Turner to the disabled list, only Jose Reyes could be available from waivers on Tuesday, so I offered Ryan Zimmerman for Nick Castellanos. The Tigers third baseman’s, due for some positive power migration to the mean and Zimmeran’s playing with house money right now. He accepted, now my team does not possess a black hole at third. Time will tell. Off to the recaps.

Starting pitcher observations

Despite winning the swinging strike total for the day with 20, Chris Archer took the loss at home against the Yankees and C.C. Sabathia. Archer allowed three earned run with 12 strikeouts on 108 pitches. Sabathia only generated nine swinging strikes, but limited the Rays to two runs (one earned) on four hits and one walk with six strikeouts. It’s a funny game.

Aaron Nola and Chad Kuhl turned in nice performances in a game where weather could have meant a postponement. However, Nola worked seven innings with five strikeouts and lost on a bases loaded hit batter. Kuhl provided a much-needed bounce back start working five innings allowing one hit, to walks and striking out five.

Every year Marco Estrada is under appreciated, but he struck out 12 in 7.2 innings in Baltimore, lowered his ERA to 3.30 and produced 16 swinging strikes, nine with his change. Wade Miley pitched seven innings allowing six hits, three runs (zero earned) with a walk and three strikeouts.

Stephen Strasburg solved Sun Trust with 11 strikeouts over 7.2 innings. His 19 swinging strikes placed second on the day with nine on his curve. Jaime Garcia matched him but fell short. He pitched eight innings allowing seven hits, three runs (one earned) with eight strikeouts and 14 swinging strikes.

Adam Wainwright won at home against the Giants with a 6.1 inning effort giving up five hits, one earned run, three walks and striking out six to lower his ERA to 4.81.

Off to a bumpy start to 2017, Jake Arrieta turned in a strong outing at home giving up an unearned run over six ining with six strikeouts. He generated 15 swinging strikes with six from his slider.

Eduardo Rodriguez continues his ascension in the fantasy ranks with his third win. He pitched eight innings giving up six hits, three earned runs, one walk and struck out eight.

Unpredictable Derek Holland hurled a gem in Seattle with six strikeouts in eight innings giving up one earned run. He only induced two swinging strikes. The Mariners need an enema.

Brandon McCarthy and Clayton Richard also pitched well in the afternoon. McCarthy pitched six innings using only 75 pitches giving up three hits, one walk, one earned run and striking out five. Richard won a complete game against a hot Diamondbacks offense allowing five hits, one earned run and struck out six.

Yu Darvish struggled with his command but battled through five innings giving up five hits, two earned runs, four walks and he struck out seven en route to his fifth win. His ERA sits at 2.83 but he should be able to work deeper into games.

Bullpen musings

Another day, another Greg Holland save. He’s up to 19 this year without a blown one with his ERA now below one (0.96). Dellin Betances struck out three over 1.1 innings for his second save of the season. Tony Watson turned in a clean outing for his 10th save.

Roberto Osuna allowed two hits with zero strikeouts but held firm for his sixth save of the year. Washington turned to Koda Glover for the save on Sunday and he responded giving up a hit with a strikeout in 1.1 innings of work.

Rangers closer Matt Bush pitched in back-to-back games on Thursday and Friday but it was Keone Kela for the save on Sunday. He’s still working through usage issues, so it’s likely Bush may not have been available. For those in deeper leagues, Kela’s the handcuff.

Hitter highlights

Colorado enjoyed their time in Cincinnati. D.J. LeMahieu went 4-for-5 on Sunday with a double, home run (2) and raised his average to .299 on the year. Carlos Gonzalez will be going crazy soon. Add him now via trade if possible. He hit his third home run and sits on the precipice of positive regression.

For the Reds, Joey Votto and Scott Schebler hit their 12th home runs. Devin Mesoraco finished 2-for-3 with a double and raised his average to .317 this year.

Angels onslaught against Tommy Milone. Cameron Maybin scored three runs on two hits and doubled. Andrelton Simmons hit his fourth home run with three RBI. C.J. Cron broke the ice this season making his first home run count with a grand slam. Jeffrey Marte launched his third and some guy named Trout homered (14), stole a base (9) in the rout. Two Mets homered. Jay Bruce hit his 11th and Curtis Granderson his fourth.

If it were April, more would notice the heater Brett Gardner’s on. He’s hitting .362 with six home runs in May. Teammate Didi Gregorius finished 4-for-4 to raise his average to .322 to start the year.

Speaking of hot this month, Devon Travis is hitting .371/.385/.645 this month with 10 runs scored and 10 RBI. There’s more hits to come as his BABIP migrates to the mean. Adam Jones went 3-for-4 for the Orioles with his seventh home run to provide all of their offense.

Will the Nationals move Trea Turner from the lead-off spot? He’s hitting .236 on the year with a .665 OPS. Not exactly setting the table. Daniel Murphy’s heating up with home runs in three of his last four played. Dansby Swanson drove in both runs for the Braves and he’s recorded a hit in 12 of his last 13 games. More important, he hit second in the contest.

Jason Kipnis went 2-for-5 with an RBI as the lead-off hitter. Edwin Encarnacion’s another player to target in trades. A hot streak awaits. He finished 2-for-4 on Sunday with three runs, a double, RBI and a walk. Yan Gomes homered (3) and drove in five for the Indians.

Jose Altuve launched his seventh home run. He’s also stolen nine bases, now hitting .307 with 21 RBI. Marwin Gonzalez (10), Carlos Beltran (4) and Alex Bregman (2) all homered as well in a loss.

During their doubleheader, Salvador Perez went 3-for-8 with three home runs and four RBI. He’s up to 11 on the season. Eric Hosmer finished 4-for-8 with his fourth home run and Brandon Moss homered twice in Game 1 to push his total to eight.

Brian Dozier went 4-for-9 in the two games with two runs, two RBI and two doubles. Miguel Sano added three hits in eight at-bats with three RBI. Both Max Kepler and Robbie Grossman hit their fourth home runs of the year in Game 2.

Eduardo Nunez extended his hit streak to eight and homered for the second time in 2017. Brandon Crawford hit his third dinger as well. Matt Carpenter sparked the Cardinals offense with his ninth homer and two RBI.

Jonathan Villar returned to lead-off, went 3-for-4 with a walk and his ninth stolen base of the year. Travis Shaw hit his ninth home run and he’s hitting .290 with a .882 OPS.

Chicago mixed up the batting order with Ben Zobrist leading off and he homered to start the game. Kris Bryant finished 3-for-3 with two home runs (10) and two RBI. Ian Happ remained in the majors and the lineup, finished 2-for-5 with two doubles. He’s hitting .346 with a 1.153 OPS for the Cubs. Willson Contreras also recorded three hits with a double and three RBI.

Could Hanley Ramirez be heating up? He went 3-for-4 on Sunday with two runs, two RBI and a double. He’s hit in four straight but five for his last eight. Keep an eye on him for DFS. Christian Vazquez was 3-for-5 with two runs, a double and stole his second base. Mitch Moreland launched his fifth home run as well. For Oakland, Chad Pinder doubled, homered (5) and is hitting .286 on the year with a 1.025 OPS. I’m not kidding.

Fantasy owners can be fickle, so when Tim Anderson started slowly, then missed time on the bereavement list, some gave up on him. He’s hit safely in nine of his last 10 games with seven multi-hit games in them. His average prior to this hot streak, .198, after Sunday, it’s .264. Patience. Nelson Cruz hit his 11th home run to represent the Mariners offense’s output.

Flying below the shadow cast by his outfield, Justin Bour hit his 11th home run, went 3-for-4 and is improving against left-handed pitching. Yasmani Grandal and Adrian Gonzalez recorded three hits apiece for the Dodgers with Gonzalez driving in three. He’s also landing on waiver wires. The power may be down but he produces RBI.

Mike Napoli homered for the third time in five games on Sunday night to help the Rangers get back in the win column.

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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