Daily Intel – 5/17/2018

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Arizona Diamondbacks

  • 3B Daniel Descalso hit a two-run home run yesterday, and he moved in to the third spot in the order with regular number three hitter 1B Paul Goldschmidt moving to cleanup in OF A.J. Pollock’s absence. Descalso has six extra-base hits in his last 10 games.

Atlanta Braves

  • SP Brandon McCarthy bounced back after a couple of poor outings, holding the Cubs to a run on five hits and two walks over six innings, striking out a season-high eight. He also had a season-high 13 swinging strikes on 85 pitches, including five on his four-seam fastball, which was his most effective pitch all night and needs to be moving forward for him to be better.

Baltimore Orioles

  • Fly balls continue to plague SP Andrew Cashner; with yesterday’s solo shot by Phillies 2B Cesar Hernandez, Cashner has now allowed 11 homers on the season and at least one in eight of his nine outings.
  • OF Adam Jones has an 11-game hitting streak after getting the O’s lone run on a solo shot yesterday. He’s hit three homers in his last 10 games and is now on pace for 27 on the season, which would put him right on line for expectations.

Boston Red Sox

  • SP Chris Sale only went five innings last night because he needed 102 pitches to get there, and while he’s on pace to set a career high in innings, Pete Abraham of the Boston Globe pointed out after the game that at the same point in the season last year, Sale had thrown 10 more innings and 83 more pitches. With Sale not being at his best in last year’s playoffs, it’ll be interesting to see if Sale’s workload continues to decrease over the next few months.

Chicago Cubs

  • 2B/OF Ian Happ was back in the lineup after sitting out consecutive games and three out of four games. He hit eighth and went 1-for-4 with a run scored. With the way OF Albert Almora Jr. is hitting and the value SS Addison Russell is providing defensively, it is going to take a major slump or long-term injury to get Happ to a place where he’s playing more than three or four days a week.

Chicago White Sox

  • We neglected yesterday to mention that 2B Yoan Moncada is back from his hamstring strain as of Tuesday, needing only the minimum 10-day stay. He walked once yesterday but did not have a hit in five plate appearances, and went 1-for-4 with a strikeout on Tuesday.

Cincinnati Reds

  • SP Matt Harvey was average in his second start since joining the Reds, getting a no-decision after allowing seven hits and three runs in four innings. Harvey did strike out five, though, and he picked up eight swinging strikes on just 76 pitches, a 10.5 percent rate that matches his season high.

Cleveland Indians

  • SP Trevor Bauer put his first bad start of the season behind him, bouncing back yesterday with eight shutout innings and 10 strikeouts against Detroit. He allowed just four hits and didn’t walk anyone, also getting 16 swinging strikes on 108 pitches. His fastball continues to perform better than ever before as a major leaguer, and it is the primary reason he’s moved in to borderline ace territory for fantasy purposes.

Colorado Rockies 

  • 2B DJ LeMahieu saw a hand specialist yesterday about his left thumb injury, so we should know today how long he’ll be out. Meanwhile, potential replacement 1B Ryan McMahon continues to play second in Triple-A, and he’s picked up multiple hits in six of last 10 games. McMahon would be a must-add in all formats if he gets called up to replace LeMahieu.

Detroit Tigers

  • OF JaCoby Jones left yesterday’s game with a left hip contusion suffered while running the bases in his first at bat. He’s day-to-day and will be reevaluated when the Tigers get to Seattle for their weekend series.

Houston Astros

  • C Evan Gattis homered again last night, a two-run shot that ended up being the entirety of the offense produced in Houston’s 2-0 win over the Angels. Gattis’ three home runs in the past five games have all been no-doubters, a good sign that he’s once again on track to recover from a poor start to the season, which has been his MO since he became a regular with Atlanta.
  • 2B/OF Tony Kemp was called up to replace OF Jake Marisnick, who was demoted to Triple-A. Kemp won’t be starting very much, but his progress bears watching in very deep mixed leagues, simply because of his good bat-to-ball skills.

Kansas City Royals

  • OF Jon Jay went 3-for-4 yesterday with a double and a walk, extending his hitting streak to nine games. Jay is hitting .373 this month but has only three extra-base hits out of his 22.

Los Angeles Angels

  • SP Garrett Richards made one mistake to Houston C Evan Gattis and it cost him the game, but he was otherwise great over seven innings, allowing just the two runs (both unearned due to a previous throwing error by 3B/SS Zack Cozart) on the Gattis’ homer, along with four hits and a walk. He struck out four.

Los Angeles Dodgers

  • SP Rich Hill will be able to start on Saturday after leaving last Sunday’s game early due to a blister issue.

Miami Marlins

  • RP Brad Ziegler saved his seventh game last night and has been on a pretty solid stretch since allowing three runs against the Dodgers in an inning of work on April 25. In eight games since then, Ziegler has worked 7 2/3 innings and allowed just two runs, striking out six and walking none. Ziegler became a popular drop in shallow mixed leagues a few weeks ago, but he’s clearly going to be closing games for a better-than-expected Miami team until he’s traded in July. If you need saves for any reason, he’s a pretty smart waiver add for the next 8-10 weeks.

Milwaukee Brewers

  • 1B/OF Ryan Braun continues to deal with a back issue, missing his third straight game yesterday and telling reporters that he’s likely to be on the disabled list soon. This will only solidify playing time opportunities for 1B Jesus Aguilar. 

Minnesota Twins

  • C Jason Castro will miss the rest of the season after surgery on his knee revealed more damage than originally thought, giving C Mitch Garver a chance to start in the majors for the first time in his career. Garver slugged .928 in 88 Triple-A games last year, and he had three seasons in the minors with 12 or more home runs, so unless the Twins make a trade for a catcher in the next week, Garver is a nice speculative option in deep mixed leagues or two-catcher leagues.

New York Mets

  • The Mets’ starting pitching continues to be incredibly unreliable, as SP Zack Wheeler got banged around yesterday in a four-inning start, giving up seven hits, three walks, and six earned runs. He did strike out seven, but his problem most of the day was not control but effectiveness and command with his stuff in the strike zone, as the Blue Jays hit Wheeler hard even in pitchers’ counts. As a result, RP Robert Gsellman made his 19th appearance in what was just the Mets’ 39th game, tacking on another inning to his league-leading relief innings total of 26.2. Gsellman could challenge his innings total of 119 2/3 from last season, and that was with 22 starts.

New York Yankees

  • The Yankees’ game with the Nationals yesterday and the resumption of Tuesday’s game were lost due to rain yesterday, so check your league’s rules on how the stats for Tuesday’s game will be treated – that game will be continued at 5:05 pm on June 18, before the makeup of last night’s postponed game. SP CC Sabathia, yesterday’s scheduled starter, will move to Friday on the road against the Royals. Because of that, SP Domingo German was bumped to next Tuesday and will be available out of the bullpen for the KC series, while SP Masahiro Tanaka goes from a two-start guy this week to a two-start guy next week, as he’ll open the series on Monday at Texas.

Oakland A’s

  • 1B Matt Olson is starting to turn some of his high hard-contact rate in to power, as he hit his second home run in three games last night and picked up a multi-hit game for the third time in six outings. Olson’s strikeout rate is still going to be an issue, but if he can get it closer to last season’s 27-28 percent instead of his current 31 percent, that could be the difference between a 25-homer season and a 30-32 homer season.

Philadelphia Phillies

  • Manager Gabe Kapler made headlines again yesterday with his bullpen usage. Holding a 4-1 lead in the ninth inning, RP Edubray Ramos started and struck out the first two Orioles he faced on three pitches. They weren’t scrubs either – it was 2B Jonathan Schoop and OF Mark Trumbo. After Trumbo’s swing and miss, Kapler came out of the dugout and removed Ramos for RP Hector Neris, who isn’t really the closer anymore despite Kapler’s refusal to say that publicly. Neris got 1B Chris Davis to ground out and end the game, and afterwards Kapler said that he liked Neris’ splitter against lefties and that Neris should “feel like a million bucks.” Bottom line, no Phillies reliever is worth starting in your lineup on a weekly basis, though Neris and Ramos should probably both be owned in most deeper mixed leagues.
  • SP Nick Pivetta struck out 11 in seven innings, allowing just one run on two hits and a walk. Pivetta has used his slider more in each of his last four starts, and it continues to rank as his most valuable pitch, per FanGraphs. If he can keep that up, his current value level doesn’t seem fluky.

Pittsburgh Pirates

  • SP Jameson Taillon was able to get through a full start yesterday after leaving his last outing with a cut on his finger. He allowed two solo home runs in 5 2/3 innings, but did strike out five.
  • OF Starling Marte is hopeful he can avoid the 10-day disabled list after suffering a strained right oblique on a swing Tuesday night, but these types of injuries are usually not ones to play through. We bet Marte ends up on the DL, even for a short stay, and INF/OF Sean Rodriguez will likely play center field every day while Marte is out.

San Diego Padres

  • With SP Joey Lucchesi on the disabled list as of Tuesday with a right hip strain, the Padres’ are waiting to see how this weekend’s series in Pittsburgh plays out in terms of weather and bullpen usage before deciding on whether they need to call up a starter for Monday or if they can shift someone in their current four-man rotation. Lucchesi may only miss one start.

San Francisco Giants

  • 3B Evan Longoria’s batting average is now at a season-high .256 after a 3-for-4 day yesterday, and while he’s still got an absurdly bad strikeout-to-walk rate of 37-to-4, Longoria is making good contact consistently now and his season long pace of 27 homers, 81 RBI and 74 runs looks realistic and sustainable.

Seattle Mariners

  • 30-year-old SP Christian Bergman got a spot start and threw seven shutout innings, striking out five and allowing two hits. Odds are he won’t get another start, but he’s had a decent year at Triple-A (41 Ks in 45 innings), so he could be worth a look in AL-only leagues if he gets another chance in an easy matchup.

St. Louis Cardinals

  • RP Greg Holland faced five batters yesterday and four reached base, leaving RP Bud Norris with the difficult task of entering with the bases loaded and one out in the eighth inning for a five-out save chance. Norris succeeded for his ninth save of the year, allowing just one inherited runner to score on a wild pitch but picking up all five outs without allowing a baserunner. Holland had four scoreless appearances before yesterday, but he still can’t be owned in any mixed-league format right now because blowups like this have become common.

Tampa Bay Rays

  • RP Alex Colome saved his ninth game of the season yesterday, continuing a solid stretch of about five weeks since allowing six runs in five outings in a nine-day span in early April. In the 14 appearances since then, Colome has pitched 13 2/3 innings and allowed just three runs, striking out 15 and walking just three.
  • 1B C.J. Cron homered again yesterday as part of a 2-for-4 day with three runs scored. He now has 10 home runs on the season to go with 26 RBI and a .289 average. Cron looks likely to be past 20 home runs by the All-Star Break.
  • OF Carlos Gomez is on the DL with groin tightness, which gives 3B Christian Arroyo has first chance to impress with the big-league club after being the center piece of the trade of 3B Evan Longoria with San Francisco this winter. Arroyo will probably play a couple of times a week while he’s up.

Texas Rangers

  • SP Bartolo Colon delivered another terrific start yesterday, lowering his season-long ERA after 7 2/3 shutout innings with just four hits allowed. The thing keeping Colon from confident relevance in 12-team mixed leagues is the lack of strikeouts, as he had just three yesterday and has only 15 in his last five starts, a span of 31 2/3 innings.

Toronto Blue Jays

  • OF Teoscar Hernandez got his second straight shot to hit in the cleanup spot, and he delivered with a 2-for-4 day that included a home run and three RBI.

Washington Nationals

  • The Nats’ game with the Yankees yesterday and the resumption of Tuesday’s game were lost due to rain yesterday, so check your league’s rules on how the stats for Tuesday’s game will be treated – that game will be continued at 5:05 pm on June 18, before the makeup of last night’s postponed game. SP Max Scherzer, yesterday’s scheduled starter, will move to Friday at home against the Dodgers.

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