Daily Intel – 5/23/2018

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Arizona Diamondbacks

  • OF Steven Souza went back to the disabled list with a strained right pectoral, even after appearing in Monday’s game to pinch hit.
  • SP Matt Koch struck out a season-high five in 5 1/3 innings of one-run ball, but took the loss yesterday against Milwaukee. This was an encouraging outing when you consider that Milwaukee was his opponent last week when he gave up eight earned runs and four homers in 4 1/3 innings. Koch only remains relevant in deep mixed and NL-only leagues, but he’s pitched well in some tough matchups (Houston, Philly) and is gaining relevance.

Atlanta Braves

  • SP Brandon McCarthy went 5 2/3 innings to pick up his fifth win of the year last night, striking out five and allowing only a run on four hits and two walks. McCarthy looked to be on track to lose his fantasy relevance after allowing 14 runs in two starts earlier this month, but he’s bounced back nicely and even improved his dominance right his last two times out, with 13 Ks in 11 2/3 innings.

Baltimore Orioles

  • Last week’s awful start in Boston now looks like a small blip for SP Kevin Gausman, as he struck out a season-high 10 over 6 1/3 shutout innings against the White Sox last night. Gausman literally did not throw one pitch above the top of the strike zone, according to his Baseball Savant pitch chart, and his splitter was dominant all night, garnering 17 swinging strikes on the 41 times he threw it.

Boston Red Sox

  • 1B Hanley Ramirez went hitless on Tuesday and is now batting just .181 (13-for-72) in the month of May.

Chicago Cubs

  • It wouldn’t stun us if SP Tyler Chatwood was removed from the starting rotation for a short period to get his mechanics in order. After last night’s horrific start – 2 2/3 innings, four hits, four runs, six walks, one strikeout – Chatwood now has a major-league high 40 walks in 45 2/3 innings. He’s walked at least five batters in six of his starts.

Chicago White Sox

  • RP Nate Jones worked the ninth inning of a one-run game last night and got the save, striking out two and allowing a hit and a walk. Jones is the only reliever worth owning on this team right now and should be closing until a potential trade to a contender in July.

Cincinnati Reds

  • C Tucker Barnhart, whose previous high in the batting order was fifth (just once this season), moved up to second last night. He went 3-for-4 with two singles, a double, and two runs scored.

Cleveland Indians

  • 1B Yonder Alonso got to hit cleanup last night with DH Edwin Encarnacion not playing in a National League park. He took advantage by going 3-for-4 with three RBI and two runs scored.
  • RP Andrew Miller worked last night after having his back lock up on him over the weekend. He threw six pitches and allowed a hit and got one out.

 

Colorado Rockies 

  • SS Trevor Story stole his eighth base of the season last night after reaching base just once on a walk. It led to him scoring a run. Story stole 20 or more bases in his final three full minor league seasons, and this new layer to his game should ensure he remains a top option at short if/when he falls off his current home run pace of 33.

Detroit Tigers

  • 3B Jeimer Candelario will begin his rehab assignment from a wrist injury today in Triple-A.
  • SP Matt Boyd was only able to go four innings last night, suffering oblique spasms in the fifth inning after walking the first two batters in the frame.

Houston Astros

  • 1B J.D. Davis showed why he could be a very valuable fantasy asset in his first start back after being called up from Triple-A. He struck out in his only at bat, but he walked in all three of his other plate appearances and came around to score every time.
  • 1B Yuli Gurriel went 2-for-5 with two runs scored and has seven hits in his last four starts. The power still isn’t there, but his .281 batting average is pretty valuable in most roto formats considering that a .270-.275 average would have you on top of the category in 12-team leagues right now.

Kansas City Royals

  • 2B/OF Whit Merrifield got his third start at first base last night – odds are you won’t be using him there if/when he gains eligibility, but it would be nice to have another two slots (1B and CI) to use him at.

Los Angeles Angels

  • SP Garrett Richards was undone by a combination of bad defense and his own spotty command, giving up five runs in the first inning, but only one earned after an error by OF Chris Young, to take his third loss of the year. Richards was better after the first, not allowing another run, but he only threw 58 of his 92 pitches for strikes and ended up lasting just five innings.

Los Angeles Dodgers

  • OF Yasiel Puig homered for the fifth time in eight games last night, also adding in two walks to give him six walks in his last seven games. We hope you added Puig last week when we recommended it after his back-to-back homer games, but if he’s still available we’d add him and play him until he goes two or three games without a hit.

Miami Marlins

  • SP Caleb Smith has probably his second best outing of the season, striking out eight over 6 2/3 innings and allowing just three hits, two walks, and an earned run. Smith got squeezed on the strike zone a little bit last time out and it unraveled him completely. He was a little bit better with his command yesterday and it made a big difference.

Milwaukee Brewers

  • RP Corey Knebel worked a scoreless ninth inning last night for his second save in as many nights, and he now looks to be in total control of the closer role for the Brewers moving forward. Relief ace Josh Hader also went two scoreless innings, striking out two and allowing a hit and two walks.

Minnesota Twins

  • 3B Miguel Sano began his rehab on Tuesday in Triple-A and went 3-for-4 with a home run.
  • SS Jorge Polanco, currently serving an 80-game PED suspension, is eligible for a 20-game minor league rehab assignment starting June 12. He’s worth stashing in 12-team leagues and larger starting at the beginning of June.

New York Mets

  • OF Jose Bautista signed with the Mets on Tuesday morning, started in left field on Tuesday night, and went 1-for-3 with a double and a run scored. He also struck out twice. This move makes very little sense with the Mets current roster structure.

New York Yankees

  • 2B Gleyber Torres continues to be stuck at the bottom of the Yankees’ batting order despite hitting his seventh home run of the season last night. He also added a single and is now hitting .330 with a .996 OPS.
  • OF Aaron Judge went 0-for-3 with two strikeouts last night in Texas and is in a small slump, having gone 2-for-21 with nine Ks in the last seven days. Judge is only hitting .210 with a .650 OPS in 91 plate appearances on the road this year.

Oakland A’s

  • SP Daniel Gossett has been called up and will start tonight. Gossett wasn’t great in two major league starts earlier this season, but he’s got 42 strikeouts in 38 2/3 innings at Triple-A with a 1.63 ERA.
  • OF Khris Davis’ groin strain was classified as Grade 1, the least-severe, but he’s still likely to be put on the disabled list today.
  • SP Trevor Cahill has had a dozen ground ball outs in consecutive starts now, and last night’s haul helped him go seven innings with just four hits, two runs, and two walks allowed. Cahill is doing an increasingly good job in generating soft contact, which will help him in to the summer and help solidify his value away from the pitcher-friendly Oakland Coliseum.

Philadelphia Phillies

  • Start distance continues to be an issue for SP Vince Velasquez, who needed 89 pitches to get through just 4 1/3 innings last night before being pulled. Velasquez struck out nine, but he only threw first-pitch strikes to nine of 22 batters, and that put him in a spot where he was giving the Braves pitches to hit later in counts. He ended up allowing two runs, one earned, on six hits and three walks.

Pittsburgh Pirates

  • OF Austin Meadows homered for the second straight game, his lone hit in four at-bats last night.
  • SP Jameson Taillon is doing things that would make you believe he can put together ace-level production some day, but he keeps being undone by varying factors in all of his starts. He struck out eight in six innings last night, but he was in the middle of the zone too much and the Reds hung six runs on him, including a grand slam by 2B Scooter Gennett.

San Diego Padres

  • SP Eric Lauer may have held on to his rotation spot with six good innings last night against the Nationals – he struck out seven and allowed only a run on six hits and two walks. Lauer’s big issue remains a lack of diversity in his pitch mix – he threw four-seamers 57 out of 99 times last night, and cutters 30 times. We think Lauer has some long-term value if he can refine his changeup and/or curveball, but we wouldn’t be comfortable using him in any format besides deep NL-only leagues.

San Francisco Giants

  • SS Brandon Crawford built on his hot May with a two-hit night last night, including a two-run home run off Astros ace SP Gerrit Cole. He was also caught stealing.

Seattle Mariners

  • 2B/OF Dee Gordon has a fractured right big toe and is on the 10-day disabled list, but manager Scott Servais said yesterday he doesn’t think Gordon will miss more than the 10 days required by the DL stint. Gordon has been dealing with the injury since an initial fracture took place on May 9 when he fouled a ball off his toe.
  • OF Mitch Haniger was hit on the left wrist by a pitch and left yesterday’s game, but X-rays were negative. He should only be day-to-day at this point.
  • It’s been a while since we’ve mentioned RP Edwin Diaz, but you can make the case that he’s fantasy’s most valuable closer for the rest of the season based on his performance. Last night was save number 16 and came in a dominant tenth inning where he threw 13 of his 16 pitches for strikes and sandwiched a ground out between two strikeouts.

St. Louis Cardinals

  • It might be time to start talking about the end of RP Greg Holland – he can’t get anyone out right now. Last night he entered the game in the ninth inning down 3-1, and he proceeded to allow three hits and a walk before leaving the game without having recorded an out. Two of those four runners scored. RP Bud Norris has no competition and is one of the safest relievers in fantasy right now, but the Cardinals are absolutely going to have to trade for relief help at some point, and that could threaten Norris’ save opportunities.

Tampa Bay Rays

  • SS Willy Adames, the Rays best hitting prospect, debuted last night and started at short, hitting fifth. He’ll likely only be able for a couple of days with 2B Joey Wendle on paternity leave, but he did take advantage by hitting his first major league homer off SP Chris Sale. He also struck out three times. This is a clear sign that the Rays are ready to bring Adames up soon when he’s clear of service time concerns. He’s a smart add and stash in most mixed leagues.
  • SP Jake Faria left last night’s start with a strained left oblique and will almost definitely land on the disabled list today.

Texas Rangers

  • SS Elvis Andrus was cleared to begin swinging a bat, an early step in his return, but still a positive one. He should be back around June 11.
  • SP Cole Hamels returned from his neck injury and continued his great bounceback season, allowing four hits, two walks, and two runs (both solo homers) in seven innings, with seven strikeouts. Hamels continues to get very little value out of his four- and two-seam fastballs, but he’s made up for that with a much-improved cutter and curveball. At this point, it is hard to find a matchup where you’d want to sit Hamels.

Toronto Blue Jays

  • 2B Devon Travis returned to the big leagues after nearly a month in Triple-A, where he did not perform very well with a .210 batting average and an OPS of .508. He started at second, batted ninth, and, not surprisingly, went 0-for-3 with two strikeouts.

Washington Nationals

  • 1B Mark Reynolds hit cleanup and played first base for the second straight night, with 1B/OF Matt Adams sitting against a lefty. Reynolds went 2-for-4 with a strikeout. With 1B Ryan Zimmerman nearing a return and Adams not getting full-time at-bats as it is, he’s probably fine to cut in 12-team and shallower leagues.

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