Daily Intel – 5/14/2018

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Arizona Diamondbacks

  • Yesterday makes four starts out of his last six where SP Zack Godley wasn’t great for fantasy purposes. He allowed three home runs in 6 1/3 innings, totaling four runs to go along with seven hits and a walk. Godley is throwing his knuckle-curve 40 percent of the time, about a four percent boost from last season, and the pitch isn’t performing nearly as well. Until he can get that going, he is a spot starter in shallower mixed formats.

Atlanta Braves

  • 2B Ozzie Albies went 0-for-5 yesterday with a strikeout, and while he’s still doing just fine at the plate, it is interesting that in 57 plate appearances this month he’s got 11 strikeouts and just one walk. In April, he had shown pretty decent patience with seven walks in 107 plate appearances.

Baltimore Orioles

  • Hey, look at the bright side if you started SP Dylan Bundy is weekly leagues – after yesterday’s seven-innings of shutout dominance, his ERA for the week is 9.00. Considering he entered the game with a weekly ERA of, literally, infinity after his no-out, seven-run debacle on Tuesday, an ERA of 9.00 is pretty good. Bundy allowed two hits and four walks yesterday, striking out seven. Nevertheless, we’re benching Bundy for his next start over the weekend at Boston.

Boston Red Sox

  • We own SP Drew Pomeranz in a few 12-team mixed leagues, and after yesterday’s outing, he’s probably got two starts of leash left to show something before getting cut. He allowed five hits and five walks in four innings, giving up three runs. He did strike out six, which is a glimmer of hope, but it seems like every positive in his starts is offset by two negatives, whether it is home runs, lack of strikeouts, or inability to work deep in to games.

Chicago Cubs

  • 2B/SS Javier Baez stole his fifth base of the season and drove in two runs yesterday. Baez has been running more recently, and while his power output will definitely flatten out from his current pace, he’s got some growth to make in steals that will keep his value in elite territory moving forward.

Chicago White Sox

  • We’re probably ready to cut ties with SP Lucas Giolito in 15-team mixed and shallower formats – yes, he won yesterday, and he only allowed two hits and three runs in 5 2/3 innings, but his mechanics look off and he’s unable to get the strikeouts he needs to provide value. After yesterday’s seven-walk outing, he now has 32 on the season in 41 2/3 innings.

Cincinnati Reds

  • The Reds somehow swept the Dodgers in a four-game series in Los Angeles, and Sunday’s finale came on the backs of what would have to be considered a perfect pitching performance for fantasy owners: SP Luis Castillo continued to right himself with six innings and eight strikeouts, allowing just two runs; RP Amir Garrett struck out four in 1 2/3 innings of perfect work, and RP Raisel Iglesias finished it off for his seventh save of the season.
  • OF Billy Hamilton returned to the lineup last night, hitting ninth, and had maybe his best game of the season with two hits, a walk, a run scored, and three stolen bases.

Cleveland Indians

  • 1B/DH Edwin Encarnacion went 1-for-3 with two walks yesterday, but he’s still got just one extra-base hit, a double, since his three-homer barrage on May 2. Encarnacion is still on a 37-homer pace, but it is a little worrisome that he hasn’t been able to string together a small run of games with an extra-base hit or two. His swinging strike rate is at a career high and his contact rate remains at a career low, and he’s swinging at far more pitches outside of the strike zone than ever before – his career average was around 24 to 26 percent, and this season he’s over 30 percent.

Colorado Rockies 

  • Just when we were this close to getting ready to feel comfortable starting SP Jon Gray every time out, regardless of Coors Field, he goes out and gives up six runs in 5 1/3 innings on 10 hits. Now, Gray did strikeout 10, which partially redeems the damage he did to your ratios, but it is still a reminder that teams with even a few dangerous bats like Milwaukee can make the best pitchers look bad in Colorado.

Detroit Tigers

  • An update on the sore left wrist that has plagued 3B Jeimer Candelario this season: an MRI came back ok, he will likely be available for today’s game against Cleveland. Still, though, the issue is one that could plague him moving forward, and the surgical fix for it would be something that takes multiple months to recover from.

Houston Astros

  • C Evan Gattis homered again yesterday and is now working with a five-game hitting streak in which he’s only struck out twice. If Gattis is available in your one-catcher league, grab him now because this has all the makings of the start of a hot streak.
  • SP Dallas Keuchel dominated in seven shutout innings yesterday, allowing just three hits and a walk, striking out eight.

Kansas City Royals

  • It is impossible to own SP Danny Duffy at this point because of the volatility in his start-to-start performance. After his one-run outing on Tuesday, he came back yesterday and allowed 13 baserunners and nine runs in 3 1/3 innings. There are middle relievers with far more value and safety in the deepest of mixed leagues – there’s no reason to roster Duffy.

Los Angeles Angels

  • RP Keynan Middleton could only throw 12 pitches yesterday before calling for the trainer and leaving the game in the eighth inning. After the game, it was reported he had elbow discomfort and will have an MRI today.
  • SP Shohei Ohtani has now delivered two strong starts after his consecutive bad outings in mid-April. Yesterday he threw 103 pitches in 6 1/3 innings, striking out 11 and allowing only one run on three hits and two walks. He’ll get the Rays next weekend at home.

Los Angeles Dodgers

  • OF Yasiel Puig finally hit his first home run of the season yesterday, raising his OPS to a shockingly low .534.
  • 2B Chase Utley had another hitless day yesterday out of the leadoff spot. He’s got six hits in his last 43 plate appearances with just three walks – we expect 2B/3B Logan Forsythe to move right back to his everyday starting role in place of Utley at second base when he returns to the majors on Tuesday.

Miami Marlins

  • 1B Justin Bour has quietly put up a solid month in every category but batting average. He hit a three-run pinch-hit home run yesterday and now, in 42 plate appearances this month he is hitting .200 but has an on-base percentage of .429 and a slugging percentage of .600 with four home runs, eight RBI, and six runs scored.

Milwaukee Brewers

  • OF Ryan Braun went 0-for-5 with four strikeouts yesterday, and is now in a 15 game stretch where he is hitting .160 with an OPS of .478. It is a bit worrisome that Braun couldn’t do anything besides hit a double and score one run with 12 plate appearances in Colorado. At this point, with six road games at Arizona and Milwaukee coming up this week, we’d be fine with sitting Braun down and playing someone else until he can show something positive.
  • SP Freddy Peralta had a fantastic major league debut, striking out 13 Rockies in 5 2/3 scoreless innings, allow just a hit and two walks. SP Chase Anderson was the guy he replaced, but that is expected to be a short-term issue with Anderson likely to return on Saturday. Still, we’d be stunned if the Brewers didn’t give Peralta a shot to stick in the rotation at this point – there just isn’t enough high-end talent to keep him out if he can produce.

Minnesota Twins

  • Make that three starts chock full of fantasy value for SP Fernando Romero, who struck out six in five innings of one-run ball yesterday, picking up a no decision. Romero’s command wasn’t as sharp as his first two outings, but he still limited the Angels to only four hits and three walks.

New York Mets

  • SP Jacob deGrom returned from the disabled list yesterday, but the combination of a rain delay and a 45-pitch first inning where the Phillies fouled off 20 pitches collaborated to end his day early. He actually only threw that first inning before being removed, a move manager Mickey Callaway said had nothing to do with injuries and everything to do with the aforementioned timing and weather factors.

New York Yankees

  • OF Giancarlo Stanton delivered hits in all four of his at bats yesterday, including a home run, while also driving in three.
  • 1B Tyler Austin is now hitless in his last 24 at bats after yesterday’s 0-for-4 effort.

Oakland A’s

  • If you’re waiting for 1B Matt Olson to find some sort of rhythm at the plate, you have to start asking how much patience you can have. He went 0-for-4 yesterday with three strikeouts and has now gone hitless in seven of his last nine starters and has just one home run since April 17. With 1B/OF Mark Canha continuing to hit well – he hit his sixth home run of the season yesterday – we wonder if Canha will start seeing some more time at first so OF Stephen Piscotty can get back in the lineup when he returns from the bereavement list.

Philadelphia Phillies

  • RP Edubray Ramos worked the ninth inning with a two-run lead yesterday and earned his first save of the season with a walk and a strikeout. Kapler said Saturday that RP Hector Neris is still the closer, but if you own him and your league is short on available saves options, you’d be best served going out and grabbing either Ramos or RP Tommy Hunter as a backup, even though Hunter isn’t working in the most high-leverage of situations right now.

Pittsburgh Pirates

  • C Francisco Cervelli hit leadoff yesterday for the first time this season, moving way up from his normal number six spot in the lineup. He’d never led off before in his career, but manager Clint Hurdle said he did it for “inspiration,” and Cervelli responded by…striking out three times in four at-bats. Seriously, though, Cervelli may be the best option for leadoff right now, as he’s working on a career best strikeout-to-walk ratio and is making more contact than any other Pirates hitter. If this move sticks, Cervelli could threaten the top five at the catcher position this season based on playing time volume alone.

San Diego Padres

  • We pointed out yesterday that RP Brad Hand may be in for a struggle if asked to pitch on Sunday after throwing two innings on Saturday, and sure enough, he allowed a solo home run and two walks, but managed to escape the ninth inning with his 11th save of the season.
  • OF Travis Jankowski stole his third base of the season – he should be added if you need speed because of his skill and leadoff current placement in the Padres’ lineup.

San Francisco Giants

  • SS Brandon Crawford is continuing to claw back in to fantasy relevance, picking up another multi-hit day yesterday with three hits in four at bats, including a double, along with a run and an RBI. In his last 15 games, Crawford is hitting .357 with an OPS of .849.

Seattle Mariners

  • 2B Robinson Cano suffered a badly broken hand on a hit by pitch yesterday, and surgery is already being discussed as an option, which would put his return timeline at months, not weeks. Either 2B/OF Dee Gordon is moving back to second base from center field, or an option not relevant to fantasy (like 2B/OF Taylor Motter) will pick up at-bats at second in Cano’s absence. If you own Cano in a shallow mixed league and he ends up having surgery, you may need to cut him unless you have the bench space to hold him.

St. Louis Cardinals

  • Yesterday, we recommended adding SP/RP Alex Reyes off the waiver wire but did expressed a little concern about the lack of obvious opportunity in the rotation. After SP Adam Wainwright’s outing yesterday, maybe that isn’t as much of a factor. Wainwright only went 2 1/3 innings, throwing 79 pitches and allowing six walks, three hits, and two runs. After the game, Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported that Wainwright was returning to St. Louis due to pain in his elbow. SP Jack Flaherty is still ahead of Reyes in the pecking order for what will likely now be an open rotation spot, but it would really surprise us if both guys weren’t in that rotation by the All-Star Break.

Tampa Bay Rays

  • OF Denard Span had a hit and two walks yesterday, and he continues to raise his already career-high walk rate, which is now over 16 percent. Span is an underrated option in on-base percentage leagues and his playing time looks very safe.

Texas Rangers

  • 3B Adrian Beltre left yesterday’s game with a recurrence of the left hamstring injury that put him on the disabled list earlier this season. After the game, he said he was feeling the same level of discomfort as he was with the original injury, but he wasn’t sure if it was in the same spot. That sure sounds to us like another DL stint is coming.

Toronto Blue Jays

  • C Russell Martin went 3-for-4 yesterday, his first multi-hit game since April 6. Martin had one of his better weeks of the season this week, going 5-for-17 with a home run, two doubles, and three RBI, so we’ll see what he can do this week and if it is the beginning of a recovery.

Washington Nationals

  • 1B Mark Reynolds made his debut with the Nats after a Triple-A call-up and went 3-for-4 with two home runs, including a game-winning two-run shot in the eighth inning. Reynolds is a notoriously streaky hitter, so if he has a couple of good games this week he could be worth an add in very deep mixed leagues – with 1B Ryan Zimmerman on the disabled list, the team could put Reynolds at first and keep 1B/OF Matt Adams in left field with OF Adam Eaton out.

 

 

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