Daily Intel – 5/19/2018

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Arizona Diamondbacks

  • OF Steven Souza left last night’s game due to a recurrence of soreness in the right pectoral muscle that sidelined him earlier in the season. He’ll have an MRI today.
  • SP Clay Buchholz will start tomorrow’s game against the Mets.
  • 1B Paul Goldschmidt struck out in all four of his plate appearances and now has a 31.6 percent strike out rate. That’s a nearly double-digit jump from last year, and the trend isn’t showing improvement.

Atlanta Braves

  • OF/3B Jose Bautista went 0-for-3 with a strikeout last night. MLB.com’s Mark Bowman noted on Twitter than Bautista is 2-for-18 with 10 strikeouts against righties this year and is hitting .136 (30-for-220) against them since last year’s All-Star Break. If you have other options, we’d give Bautista 7-10 more games to show something better than this, and if he doesn’t it is time to move on.
  • SS Dansby Swanson will be activated from the disabled list today.

Baltimore Orioles

  • RP Zach Britton will throw a simulated game on Tuesday after throwing batting practice and taking fielding practice on Friday. If everything goes well there, he could be on a rehab assignment by next weekend and on track for a return before mid-June.
  • OF Adam Jones went 2-for-5 with two RBI and two runs scored last night. He’s been much improved this month, hitting .290 with three homers and eight RBI.

Boston Red Sox

  • We’re done with SP Drew Pomeranz in mixed leagues – you may have to just bench him in 15-teamers, but he can be dropped in anything shallower than that. Last night marked the fourth time in six starts this season where Pomeranz went five innings or less, as the Orioles tagged him for four earned runs on seven hits and three walks. His curveball, which he throws anywhere between 30 and 38 percent of the time in most starts, has delivered negative 3.9 runs of value so far this season, per FanGraphs. The last two seasons, it was a positive value pitch to the tune of 5.1 runs and 8.8 runs. Until he gets the curveball going, he’s not worth starting.

Chicago Cubs

  • SS Addison Russell went 4-for-4 last night and stole a base (his second of the year) to go along with a walk, RBI, and a run. He’s got 13 hits and eight walks in his last 10 games, boosting his OPS from .626 to .744.

Chicago White Sox

  • OF Nicky Delmonico was hit by a pitch that fractured a finger on his right hand. He’ll be out for the next month, at least. OF Leury Garcia has been starting most of the time, but this will ensure he’s in the lineup everyday moving forward until OF Avisail Garcia returns. Garcia took fielding practice on Friday but is still weeks away from a return. OF Adam Engel is also likely to get back to playing every day, and The Athletic’s James Fegan wrote on Friday that 2B/3B Yolmer Sanchez is could start getting more starts in the outfield, and this was before Delmonico’s injury.
  • SP Carson Fulmer was demoted to Triple-A last night after allowing eight runs on three hits, five walks, and two hit batters in two innings.

Cincinnati Reds

  • OF Jesse Winker was moved down to sixth in the lineup last night. He went 0-for 3 with a strikeout and is now hitting .156 with two doubles and two RBI in 50 plate appearances this month.

Cleveland Indians

  • 1B Edwin Encarnacion hit his first home run since his three-homer game on May 2. He had not started since Monday due to back spasms and neck stiffness, so maybe the time off will be a difference maker as he tries to raise his .215 batting average and low extra-base hit total (he has just three doubles besides the 10 home runs he’s hit).

Colorado Rockies 

  • SP Kyle Freeland allowed only a leadoff home run to San Francisco OF Gorkys Hernandez, then proceeded to shut the Giants out for the next 6 2/3 innings, allowing only four more hits and a walk to pick up his fifth straight quality start and fourth win of the season. Freeland will get the Dodgers on the road next and then the Giants at home and the Reds on the road. All three of those starts are good opportunities for Freeland to continue his stretch, and we’d recommend him in all mixed leagues.

Detroit Tigers

  • SP Michael Fulmer bounced back nicely last night after two rough starts. He shut out the Mariners for six innings before giving up two walks and a two-run single to start the seventh. The bullpen blew his win, but Fulmer struck out seven in his 6 1/3 innings.
  • SS Jose Iglesias picked up two more hits and stole two bases. He’s now got seven bags on the season and has hit much better in May, with a .304 average, nine RBI and seven runs scored. As injuries continue to pile up at the shortstop position, Iglesias is a decent deep league option because of his assured playing time and willingness to run.

Houston Astros

  • 2B/OF Tony Kemp got another start, hitting ninth, and went 2-for-4 with a double and an RBI. More importantly, he stole a base. Kemp had 13 stolen bases in Triple-A before his call up, and he is an immediate difference maker in that category if he gets even semi-regular playing time.

Kansas City Royals

  • Speaking of stolen bases, 2B/OF Whit Merrifield took three bags in a game for the second time this month as part of a 3-for-4 effort last night. Merrifield is on fire now, with hits in 11 straight, including five doubles and a home run.

Los Angeles Angels

  • SS Andrelton Simmons moved in to the two hole in the lineup last night, with OF Mike Trout moving to third in OF Justin Upton’s absence. It with Simmons’ first time hitting higher than fifth this year, and he went 1-for-5 with two RBI.

Los Angeles Dodgers

  • SP Clayton Kershaw threw from 120 feet yesterday and expects to throw a bullpen session in the next few days, per Andy McCullough of the LA Times.
  • With the rain out in DC yesterday forcing a doubleheader today, SP Ross Stripling will start game one today and SP Rich Hill will start game two.

Miami Marlins

  • SP Dan Straily shut out the Braves for seven innings last night, allowing only three hits, three walks, and a hit by pitch. He also struck out six, picking up 14 swinging strikes on 98 pitches. He got stronger as the game went on, retiring the last 11 batters he faced. Straily is still walking too many guys, but he’s done well to limit hard contact his last two times out. His next two outings are lined up to be at the Mets and at the Padres, two lineups that aren’t doing much right now. He’s an intriguing speculative add in deeper mixed leagues.

Milwaukee Brewers

  • 2B Jonathan Villar continued his big week with a 3-for-4 game last night, driving in a run and scoring twice. He has eight hits in 16 at-bats this week and has raised his average from .264 to .295.
  • RP Corey Knebel worked the ninth inning with an 8-3 lead last night, striking out two. Meanwhile, RP Jeremy Jeffress was asked to come on in relief of SP Brent Suter in the sixth, getting four outs and just allowing a single. Jeffress’ brief flirtation with the closer role is probably over, as he’s more valuable in to the Brewers in a role where he can get big outs when they need them.
  • 1B Jesus Aguilar went 3-for-4 with two home runs, three RBI, three runs, and a walk.

Minnesota Twins

  • 3B Miguel Sano is said to be moving close to a rehab assignment for his injured hamstring. If he can get there early next week, he should be back before the end of May.
  • OF Byron Buxton went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts last night and has only reached base three times in 24 plate appearances since returning from his injury issues last week.

New York Mets

  • SP Jacob deGrom put to rest any concerns about his health after a shaky last couple of weeks, striking out 13 over seven innings against Arizona last night. deGrom got 21 swinging strikes on 100 pitches and didn’t walk a batter. He’s now 4-0 with a 1.75 ERA this season.
  • OF Michael Conforto went 4-for-4, all singles, with two RBI.

New York Yankees

  • SS Didi Gregorius went 0-for-4 with a strikeout last night. He’s 6-for-55 this month with one RBI.

Oakland A’s

  • SP Brett Anderson left his start after one inning last night with right shoulder tightness. He’s likely to join SP Andrew Triggs on the disabled list, which Triggs landed on Friday before seeing a specialist today. Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle speculated that SP Kendall Graveman and SP Daniel Gossett are the most likely candidates to land in the two open rotation spots.
  • OF Dustin Fowler hit his first major league home run and stole his second base as part of a 2-for-3 night that included a walk, two RBI, and two runs scored.

Philadelphia Phillies

  • SP Jake Arrieta only went three innings last night, allowing five hits and two walks. He gave up four runs, but just two were earned. Arrieta again struggled to generate swings and misses, getting just two on 64 pitches and one strikeout overall. One positive is that Arrieta continues to be among the best starters in the game limiting hard contact, but he’s not someone you can feel confident starting every time out if he’s facing a lineup that is patient and puts the ball in play.

Pittsburgh Pirates

  • OF Austin Meadows went 2-for-4 in his major league debut with a stolen base.

San Diego Padres

  • SP Robbie Erlin will start Monday with SP Joey Lucchesi not ready to return from the disabled list.
  • RP Brad Hand threw 19 sliders out of his 20 pitches last night, and he overcame a leadoff double in the ninth inning to close out a four-out save, his 13th save of the season. The Padres gave Hand a contract extension recently but they’d be crazy not to see if they could get a huge trade package for him at the deadline, especially with so many contenders having either shaky closer options (Angels, Astros) or very limited bullpen depth (Red Sox, Cardinals).

San Francisco Giants

  • OF Gorkys Hernandez homered to lead off the game last night, giving the Giants their only run in a 6-1 loss. Hernandez is emerging as a decent option in NL-only leagues thanks to increased playing time this month. He’s got 37 plate appearances after getting 44 in March/April, and has hit .294.

Seattle Mariners

  • OF Nelson Cruz went 0-for-3 with a walk and two strikeouts. He continues to have a bad month, with nine hits in 59 plate appearances and only two home runs.

St. Louis Cardinals

  • SS Paul DeJong has a fractured left hand as a result of a hit by pitch on Thursday, and after having surgery on Friday he is likely to miss a couple of months. 3B Jedd Gyorko is likely to get the starts at shortstop moving forward, and on Friday he did so and went 1-for-4 with two RBI.
  • OF Marcell Ozuna walked two times last night, and though he isn’t hitting the ball as well as he was early in the season, he’s only struck out six times in his last 32 plate appearances, an 18.8 percent rate far lower than the 25 percent rate he was running in April.

Tampa Bay Rays

  • C Wilson Ramos slugged two home runs, one to dead center and one to the opposite field in right-center. He’s now on pace for a 23 home run, 79 RBI season, and if the Rays don’t stay in the wild card race Ramos will definitely be on the move to a contender that will ensure he continues playing every day. He’s arguably a top-five option at the position for the rest of the season.
  • RP Jonny Venters got five outs to close out the Rays’ victory last night, striking out three and allowing only a hit and a walk. Venters has quietly put together a very nice start to his first season back since 2012, and looks like a potential closing option if the Rays deal RP Alex Colome.

Texas Rangers

  • SP Cole Hamels was supposed to start today after being pushed back from Thursday’s start due to neck soreness, but he isn’t ready yet and SP Ariel Jurado will take on the White Sox today in his place. Hamels may be ready for the three-game set starting Monday against the Yankees, according to manager Jeff Banister.

Toronto Blue Jays

  • Last night made it three straight starts of decent or better for SP Marco Estrada. He went 6 2/3 innings, the longest he’s gone since March 31, allowed three runs, seven hits, and, for the first time this season, no walks. He also struck out six, the most in a start for him since April 6. Estrada is slowly starting to come around, and he’ll get tests in his next two outings against the Angels and Red Sox (his third start against Boston this year).

Washington Nationals

  • 2B Daniel Murphy is down on Florida getting ready to start playing in extended spring training games at some point this weekend. The process was ready to begin earlier in the week, but Murphy has been sick. Manager Dave Martinez said Murphy will start out with four or five innings before progressing to a regular game.

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