Daily Intel – 5/11/2018

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Arizona Diamondbacks

  • 1B Paul Goldschmidt went 0-for-5 with two strikeouts last night, lowering his batting average to .218 and his OPS to .744. He’s got just two hits and six walks in his last 40 plate appearances. There are some warning signs here on Goldy – his strikeout rate is up about eight percent from the last three seasons; his batting average on balls in play, while low for his career standards at .309, is still above league average; and he’s making less contact with pitches he swings at in the strike zone. We’re not saying this is going to be what he’s like all year, but we also wouldn’t call him a “buy low” candidate.

Atlanta Braves

  • We try our best here not to mention guys who are obviously owned everywhere and are playing well all the time, but 1B Freddie Freeman’s 5-for-5 night last night in which he hit his sixth homer and drove in his 27th and 28th runs on the season merit a mention.
  • OF Ender Inciarte has made his way up to sixth in the lineup now, and he keeps delivering stolen bases, picking up his 16th last night in a 3-for-5 effort with two doubles, a run scored, and an RBI.

Baltimore Orioles

  • OF Adam Jones went 3-for-4 with a home run, double, three RBI and three runs scored, continuing his six-game hitting streak. Jones still isn’t walking nearly enough to feel comfortable about his batting average, but he’s making better contact over the last 10 days or so. We think he’s right on track to deliver the type of production most fantasy owners expected from him as a third or fourth outfielder in mixed leagues.

Boston Red Sox

  • SP Eduardo Rodriguez struck out eight in five shutout, one-hit innings, but he needed 93 pitches to do it. Rodriguez still has only gone beyond six innings once this season despite throwing 104 or more pitches in four of his seven starts. From a fantasy perspective, Rodriguez reminds us a lot of Tampa Bay SP Chris Archer, who has never been able to elevate his value to the top level of fantasy starters, despite a high strikeout total, because he rarely delivers starts beyond six innings.
  • SP David Price should be able to start tomorrow after missing Wednesday’s game against the Yankees with his recurring left hand issue.

Chicago Cubs

  • RP Carl Edwards Jr. has been someone we’ve mentioned a few times here this year as an elite non-closing reliever, and this article from Cubbies Crib does a nice job explaining how he’s taken a big step forward this season.

Chicago White Sox

  • No news for the White Sox on their off day before they face the Cubs, so we thought it’d be worthwhile to take a quick look at whether SP Reynaldo Lopez’s decent start has any shot at sustainability that would yield value for fantasy owners. In short: he’s obviously not going to pitch to a 2.44 ERA, but he’s showing enough improvement with his slider and generating a good amount of soft contact, both signs that he could be able to overcome his lack of strikeouts to remain a matchups play in even shallow mixed leagues.

Cincinnati Reds

  • SP Matt Harvey will make his Reds debut and start tonight against the Dodgers.
  • 2B Scooter Gennett homered for the third time in as many games last night, and his OPS is now sitting at .830 after a pretty slow start in the power categories.

Cleveland Indians

  • RP Andrew Miller has not had any lingering hamstring issues coming out of a simulated game on Tuesday, so if you own him we’d keep an eye on the roster moves in Cleveland, because Miller could be back on the roster today or at some point this weekend.

Colorado Rockies 

  • SP German Marquez remains an absolute stay away in home games – last night’s 4 2/3-inning outing where he allowed 15 baserunners and five runs only furthered that. He has allowed 38 baserunners and 18 earned runs in 15 2/3 innings at home this year (10.34 ERA), while on the road he’s allowed 27 baserunners and five earned runs in 23 1/3 innings (1.96 ERA). He’ll get the Padres in San Diego next and is a nice option in that start.

Detroit Tigers

  • Next week, we’ll be looking at some of the top prospect performances for each team in the high minors so far, but this Jeff Seidel column in the Detroit Free-Press is a good introduction to OF Christin Stewart, a 24-year-old outfielder with seven home runs and a .380 on-base percentage in his first 29 games at Triple-A.

Houston Astros

  • This is a tough team to analyze when it comes to the fantasy value of their top prospects, solely because they have a ton of depth on the major league roster and future playing time openings look scarce. That said, Jake Kaplan of The Athletic does a nice analysis here on the start to the season for the Astros’ top hitting prospect, OF Kyle Tucker, along with other Triple-A bats like 1B J.D. Davis1B Tyler White, and 2B/OF Tony Kemp. 

Kansas City Royals

  • 2B/OF Whit Merrifield is in a good groove on the bases right now, stealing his ninth base of the season last night after going 2-for-3 with a walk. He now has seven stolen bases in his last 11 games.

Los Angeles Angels

  • 2B Ian Kinsler has been dropped to sixth in the lineup, with SS/3B Zack Cozart now leading off. The first two games of this lineup change seem to be helping both guys – Kinsler went 3-for-4 last night with a home run, two runs scored, and two RBI after picking up a hit and a walk on Wednesday, while Cozart had two hits, including a homer, on Wednesday, and walked last night.

Los Angeles Dodgers

  • SP Walker Buehler had another nice start last night, allowing five hits and two runs in six innings, and striking out eight. He threw 70 strikes in 93 pitches, 12 of them being swinging strikes. His FanGraphs pitch value on his four-seam and two-seam fastballs are among the best in the majors after just 22 innings, and the only batter last night to put either pitch in play for a hit was former MVP 1B Joey Votto, who had one hit on each type of pitch.

Miami Marlins

  • RP Drew Steckenrider relieved SP Caleb Smith in the sixth inning last night. So that’s issue one for anybody holding out hope that Steckenrider will get a shot to close sometime soon. Issue two is that he faced seven batters, only retired one of them, and the other six crossed home plate. His final line: 1/3 of an inning, four hits, two walks, six earned runs, two home runs allowed. Steckenrider isn’t even worth holding in NL-only leagues right now due to his diminished role.

Milwaukee Brewers

  • RP Corey Knebel worked the eighth inning last night, striking out two and walking one, but it was RP Jeremy Jeffress who continued to steal the show at the back-end of the Brewers’ bullpen, striking out all three Rockies he faced on 14 pitches to pick up his fifth save. Jeffress has allowed one run in 21 innings this season, and while manager Craig Counsell has expressed a desire to get Knebel back to the closer role, we aren’t sure it’ll happen soon with Jeffress pitching like this. Jeffress needs to be owned in all leagues.

Minnesota Twins

  • 2B Brian Dozier had one of his best games of the season last night, going 4-for-4 with a double and a three-run home run off Angels ace SP Garrett Richards. Dozier is starting to come back around after a multi-week power outage – he has four extra-base hits in his last six games.

New York Mets

  • 1B Dominic Smith was called up to take the roster spot off OF Jay Bruce, who is on paternity leave. RP Buddy Baumann was acquired off waivers recently and will replace RP Hansel Robles, who is on the disabled list with a right knee issue.

New York Yankees

  • SS Didi Gregorius went 0-for-5 with an RBI fielder’s choice last night. He’s got five hits and three walks in his last 48 plate appearances.

Oakland A’s

  • SP Kendall Graveman is expected to start tonight for Oakland, taking the place of SP Trevor Cahill, who hit the disabled list Wednesday with an elbow impingement. Cahill shouldn’t miss more than the minimum 10 days, but it isn’t encouraging that a guy with a long injury history is having issues just a few starts back in to his transition from reliever to starter.

Philadelphia Phillies

  • SP Vince Velasquez struck out 12 in six innings yesterday, recovering from two early home runs allowed to finish the day allowing just five hits, a walk, and three runs. Velasquez still ranks among the majors best starters when it comes to limiting hard contact, but yesterday is another example of how quickly his command can come and go. He’s a risk to start in your lineup every single week, so judge his value based on his likelihood to earn a win and the strikeout numbers of the lineup he’s facing.

Pittsburgh Pirates

  • SP Nick Kingham was sent to Double-A to start on Monday, keeping him on track to return to the Pirates’ rotation next Saturday when the team needs a fifth starter again.

San Diego Padres

  • C Austin Hedges was sent to have an MRI on his right elbow, which has had him out since April 30. Meanwhile, C Raffy Lopez, who is platooning in Hedges’ place with C A.J. Ellis, homered for the second time in four games. He also has five hits, a walk, four runs, and three RBI in that time. Lopez is not a bad short-term option in two-catcher deep leagues.

San Francisco Giants

  • OF/2B Alen Hanson hit his third home run in 12 games since being called up. His early batted-ball profile points to more hard contact, more fly balls, and a more conscious effort to pull the ball, meaning his early returns of more power but a sub-.300 on-base percentage may be more real than you’d normally think after a 12-game sample size.

Seattle Mariners

  • OF Mitch Haniger hit second last night with 2B/OF Dee Gordon sitting out with a toe issue, and he delivered his second stolen base in as many games. Haniger has a good Speed score based on FanGraphs metrics, so it isn’t outlandish to think he could add 10 stolen bases to his already-impressive power profile.

St. Louis Cardinals

  • SP Carlos Martinez has a strained muscle in his back and was placed on the 10-day disabled list yesterday. Based on reporting from Ben Frederickson of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, it is likely this is a minimum stay for Martinez, so he could get a start late next week.
  • SP Adam Wainwright will likely return from his elbow injury to start on Sunday against San Diego.

Tampa Bay Rays

  • SP Anthony Banda, one of the key pieces Tampa Bay picked up from Arizona in the OF Steven Souza trade, will be up for this weekend’s series in Baltimore. Banda may not be up beyond that, as the Rays need a 26th man for tomorrow’s doubleheader, but the lefty starter has a shot to be fantasy relevant later this season and should be considered a candidate for a major league rotation spot in 2019.

Texas Rangers

  • RP Tim Lincecum pitched in his second rehab game at Triple-A on Wednesday, with Jeff Wilson of the Fort-Worth Star Telegram tweeting that his velocity “topped out at 90 mph.” He’s at least a few weeks away from the majors, and RP Keone Kela doesn’t seem likely to lose the closer job in the near future, so Lincecum has no immediate path to fantasy relevance.

Toronto Blue Jays

  • C Russell Martin hit his sixth home run of the season last night, and his third in his last seven starts. Martin is hitting flyballs at a 37 percent rate and has hard contact rates nearing his career best – he could be a smart buy-low option in two catcher leagues where he was dropped, as we don’t expect him to be batting under .160 for much longer.
  • OF Curtis Granderson returned to the lineup, going 0-for-2 with a walk out of the leadoff spot.

Washington Nationals

  • OF Adam Eaton has ankle surgery on Thursday, and there is no timetable for his return. The best we’ve seen is that he “has a chance” to return this season – with that type of ambiguous timeline, we’d cut him in all mixed formats unless you have DL-specific slots that are open.
  • C Matt Wieters left yesterday’s game with a left leg issue that came about as he ran to first base on a single. He’s going for an MRI today, but he guessed after the game that it may be a hamstring. We expect a 10-day disabled list stint.

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