Daily Intel – 5/9/2018

Want most of this information by 8 am Eastern every day? Subscribe to the email version of Fantasy Baseball Now by emailing fantasybbnow@gmail.com and putting “Subscribe to FB Now” in the subject line.

Arizona Diamondbacks

  • OF Steven Souza picked up his first two hits of the season and walked in yesterday’s 8-5 extra-innings win for Arizona at the Dodgers. It has been four games, but an encouraging part of Souza’s performance thus far has been the lack of strikeouts. He K’d twice in his first game, but hasn’t done so since in 11 plate appearances. This after he K’d 179 times last season in 607 plate appearances.

Atlanta Braves

  • This was mentioned as a possibility yesterday, but SP Luiz Gohara was called back to the majors for a relief role. If you were holding on to him in mixed leagues, you can dump him now if you need the roster spot, because he’s going to need a mix of good performance (which he didn’t show in his rehab starts in Double-A and Triple-A) and injury to get a shot in the rotation again.
  • SP Sean Newcomb dominated an all-right-handed starting lineup for the Rays, going six scoreless innings and striking out six while allowing just two hits and three walks.

Baltimore Orioles

  • SP Dylan Bundy became the first pitcher in major league history to give up four home runs without recording an out, a footnote in the fantasy nightmare that was his start last night. In all, he allowed five hits, two walks, and seven earned runs. He didn’t throw a first pitch strike or get one swinging strike on his 28 pitches. Bundy has to be benched for his Sunday start at home against the Rays.
  • 2B Jonathan Schoop returned from the disabled list and hit cleanup last night, going 1-for-5 with a run scored and two RBI.

Boston Red Sox

  • SP David Price will not start tonight due to a return of the numbness in his hand that caused his April start against the Yankees to be cut short. SP Rick Porcello will be moved up a day to start in his place.
  • OF Jackie Bradley Jr. struck out in all three of his plate appearances last night. He’s got 31 strikeouts on the season, 12 of them coming his last seven games. He’s pressing, and with 2B Dustin Pedroia close (but not too close) to returning, we’re wondering about the possibility of OF Andrew Benintendi shifting over to center field full time and 2B/3B/OF Eduardo Nunez moving to left field once Pedroia is healthy. Bradley is slightly below average defensively this year per FanGraphs metrics, so it isn’t like he’s a Buxton/Kiermaier/Pillar-level defender that can overcome his current black hole of a performance on offense.

Chicago Cubs

  • 2B/SS Javier Baez sat out yesterday after experiencing groin tightness late in Monday’s game, but manager Joe Maddon said Baez will probably return to the lineup today.
  • Two encouraging games in a row for 2B/OF Ian Happ, who went 1-for-3 with a run scored last night and only one strikeout.
  • RP Carl Edwards Jr. continued his dominant season, picking up three strikeouts (with a walk) in a perfect eighth inning yesterday to earn his first win. He’s now struck out 30 in 17 innings and allowed just one run.

Chicago White Sox

  • It took one inning – the top of the second of last night’s White Sox home game against Pittsburgh – to erase the kinda-good vibes SP Lucas Giolito had given his fantasy owners in his last two starts, where he threw a combined 12 innings only walked four and gave up five runs. The Pirates tagged Giolito for four hits (plus a hit by pitch) and four runs in the inning. Giolito made it through the third and fourth innings unscathed, but that was it for him after 98 pitches. He finished with seven hits and two walks allowed, with three strikeouts.

Cincinnati Reds

  • The Reds acquired SP Matt Harvey from the Mets, and general manager Dick Williams said they see Harvey as a starting pitcher. We’ll see how that goes.
  • In positive news for the Reds’ rotation, SP Luis Castillo posted another better-than-average outing, going 5 2/3 innings and allowing three hits, a walk, two earned runs, and striking out seven. He got 16 swinging strikes on 81 pitches, including 10 on his changeup in just 22 uses of the pitch. That changeup was by far his most valuable pitch last season, so getting this type of performance out of it is a good sign that he could be returning to the regular levels of performance we saw in 2017 that made him so popular in drafts entering this season.

Cleveland Indians

  • SP Corey Kluber wasn’t his best self last night, allowing a home run to opposing pitcher SP/RP Brent Suter that ultimately served as the winning run for Milwaukee. Kluber finished a six-inning outing having allowed five hits, a walk, two home runs, three earned runs, with four strikeouts. He also only had eight swinging strikes in 95 pitches, a 9.5 percent rate below his season average of 10.9 percent and well below his rate last season of 15.6 percent.

Colorado Rockies 

  • SP Jon Gray had his best home start this season and his third good start in a row, going seven scoreless innings against the Angels and striking out eight. He allowed just a walk and four hits. Gray has now allowed just a single earned run in his last three outings, a 20-inning span that has also seen him strike out 25 and walk just three. Even more encouraging is his groundball-to-flyball ratio in his last two starts – 21 to 10. Gray is close to becoming a starter that you keep in your lineup every time, regardless of matchup or venue.

Detroit Tigers

  • OF Leonys Martin sat out yesterday’s game due to a swollen left knee. He’ll have further tests done today to determine the damage.
  • SS Jose Iglesias has hits in five of his last six games after going 1-for-2 with a home run, a walk, two runs scored, and two RBI.

Houston Astros

  • The Astros had a lead to protect for four innings last night after SP Lance McCullers gave them five innings and 89 pitches. The outcome was just about perfect considering how bad the bullpen has been recently. The two lone bright spots so far this year – RPs Brad Peacock and Chris Devenski – delivered perfect innings in the sixth, seventh, and eighth, and RP Ken Giles closed it out in the ninth with his most efficient save chance this year, needing just 11 pitches to earn his fourth save.
  • INF/OF Marwin Gonzalez has multi-hit games in three straight after going 2-for-4 with an RBI lats night.

Kansas City Royals

  • 3B Mike Moustakas had gone 10 games without a home run entering last night, but he wiped that away quickly with one of four Royals’ first-inning home runs off Baltimore SP Dylan Bundy. He added a second homer in the fifth inning and finished the night 3-for-6 with five RBI and two runs scored.
  • OF Alex Gordon went 4-for-5 with a home run, three RBI, and two runs scored, and he’s quietly put together a strong run since returning from the disabled list on April 24, going 17-for-50 (.340 average) with three home runs.

Los Angeles Angels

  • RP Keynan Middleton began his rehab assignment in Triple-A yesterday, and it may be that he only needs one appearance before returning. If he is back this week, keep an eye on his velocity to see if this elbow issue is still looming.
  • OF Justin Upton hit his third home run in six games and has nine RBI in that span, along with eight hits. He’s still striking out a ton, but his power stroke seems to be coming around, and he’s now on pace for a 32-homer, 106-RBI season after looking pretty feeble in April.

Los Angeles Dodgers

  • 3B Justin Turner should be back in the lineup for his season debut next week when the Dodgers travel to Miami. He hit off a pitching machine yesterday and should start a minor league rehab stint later tomorrow or Friday.
  • RP Kenley Jansen entered in the ninth inning with the Dodgers down one run, pitched a scoreless inning, then came back out for the tenth after they tied it and threw another scoreless inning. He struck out one and allowed one hit and has allowed just one run in his last eight innings since a blown save at San Diego on April 17.

Miami Marlins

  • 1B Justin Bour hit his third home run in seven games and also walked twice last night.

Milwaukee Brewers

  • RP Corey Knebel has rejoined the team in Milwaukee and is likely to be activated tomorrow.
  • SP Wade Miley couldn’t make it out of the first inning due to a right oblique strain. He’ll almost certainly head to the disabled list.
  • RP Josh Hader was dominant again last night, going two perfect innings with three strikeouts to earn his fifth save of the year.

Minnesota Twins

  • RP Ryan Pressly pitched two more perfect innings yesterday in relief of SP Jake Odorizzi, who earned the win after a five-inning outing where he allowed one run, two hits, two walks, and struck out three. Pressly’s ERA is now down to 0.92 over 19 2/3 innings, and he’s struck out 26. Based on ERA, WHIP, and strikeout ability, Pressly is a top-25 relief pitcher in fantasy right now. It’s the fact that he has zero wins and zero saves that is suppressing his value. As we’ve seen from guys like Mets RP Robert Gsellman, who has four wins in a similar role to Pressly, getting win-opportunities as a middle reliever is a fickle and unpredictable thing. Pressly should be rostered in all 15-team mixed leagues, especially because he’s not very far away from getting a chance to close if RPs Fernando Rodney and Addison Reed continue to give up runs in short outings like they have over the past few weeks.
  • OF Max Kepler hit his 11th double of the season and scored a run yesterday. He’s been hitting third in the lineup every day for over a week now, and should be owned and started in all formats.

New York Mets

  • The Mets acquired C Devin Mesoraco in their trade of SP Matt Harvey. 
  • 3B Todd Frazier was placed on the disabled list with a left hamstring strain, opening the door for 2B/SS/3B Jose Reyes to play every day for at least a week or two.

New York Yankees

  • OF Giancarlo Stanton hit two home runs last night in his first two at-bats, and later walked. Stanton has now gone two games without a strikeout after running a streak of seven straight games with a K (14 total Ks in that period).
  • The Yankees’ bullpen had another relatively smooth performance last night after a couple of days of struggles last week – RPs David Robertson, Chad Green, and Aroldis Chapman threw three scoreless innings combined, allowing just two hits and striking out three. Robertson got the win, his third, and Chapman got the save, his eighth.

Oakland A’s

  • SS Marcus Semien went 2-for-3 with a walk, two runs scored, and a stolen base last night. He’s hit in five straight and eight of his last nine.

Philadelphia Phillies

  • SP Aaron Nola dominated last night, throwing 75 of his 109 pitches for strikes, generating 26 swinging strikes (one of the best numbers any starter has posted this season), and striking out 12 in seven innings of one-run ball for his fifth win of the year.
  • OF Aaron Altherr was back in the starting lineup in right field and hitting cleanup, and he hit his fourth home run of the season, a solo shot off Giants’ SP Derek Holland. 

Pittsburgh Pirates

  • OF Starling Marte stole a base last night after going 10 games without one. He also added three hits, a run scored, and an RBI.

San Diego Padres

  • SP Clayton Richard had his first truly valuable fantasy start since his opener in March 31, striking out eight in eight innings and allowing three earned runs on seven hits.
  • 3B Christian Villanueva had another hitless game in four at-bats, and is now hitless in his last six games (five starts), a span of 22 plate appearances.

San Francisco Giants

  • OFs Mac Williamson and Hunter Pence do not seem close to returning soon, so OF Gregor Blanco has became an under-the-radar option for fantasy owners in need for stolen bases. Blanco is hitting leadoff and has attempted a steal in two of the last three games, getting picked off last night.

Seattle Mariners

  • SP James Paxton is pitching at another level right now, throwing a no-hitter in Toronto last night that saw his second-to-last pitch of the game clock in at 100 mph. He only needed 99 pitches to accomplish this feat. That’s two straight games now where Paxton has improved his pitch-per-inning and pitch-per-batter efficiency, a small but important step toward fantasy ace status.
  • C Mike Zunino hit his second home run in three games, a two-run shot that accounted for his lone hit of the night. With Zunino, any small sign of a potential power streak is worth watching, because he could get really hot, really fast.

St. Louis Cardinals

  • 1B/OF Jose Martinez was the lone bright spot in the Cards’ 7-1 home loss that saw them collect just two hits and commit three errors. Martinez hit a solo home run in the first inning off Minnesota SP Jake Odorizzi, and he also drew a walk. On the downside, he also made his fifth error of the season.

Tampa Bay Rays

  • SP Blake Snell posted another fine start at home, pitching 6 1/3 innings and allowing four hits, two walks, and striking out five. His lone mistake was allowing a solo home run to Atlanta OF Ronald Acuna Jr. For his career now, Snell has pitched 134 1/3 innings at home and posted a 2.88 ERA with 141 strikeouts. He gets Baltimore next on the road this weekend.

Texas Rangers

  • 3B Adrian Beltre had hits in four straight and seven of eight when he last played on April 24, and he picked up where he left off last night in his first game off the disabled list, hitting three singles in four at bats and driving in two.
  • SP Mike Minor had a terrible first inning, allowing five earned runs, but bounced back to shutout the Tigers for the next six innings. His final line in his second loss of the season was seven innings, seven hits, five earned runs, no walks, four strikeouts.

Toronto Blue Jays

  • RP Roberto Osuna was placed on administrative leave by the league office after news of an arrest on domestic battery surfaced Tuesday. Several players have faced suspensions for these issues before, and that’s not even covering the potential legal consequences Osuna is facing. He has a hearing in court on June 18. All real-life issues aside, the fantasy implications are large: Osuna probably won’t be pitching again any time soon, and there is no obvious next option in the Toronto bullpen. RP Ryan Tepera has been the setup guy, but he’s never closed, while other options in the bullpen include plenty of guys who have closed – RPs Seung Hwan Oh, Tyler Clippard, and John Axford. If you have to make an add now, we’d say Tepera, but if you can wait til the weekend, do so.

Washington Nationals

  • 1B Ryan Zimmerman returned to the lineup after dealing with stiffness in his side for a few days. He hit cleanup and went 2-for-4 with a run scored. 1B/OF Matt Adams was able to stay in the lineup in left field and picked up one hit – an RBI double – and a run scored.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s