Daily Intel – 5/25/2018

Lots of off days yesterday, 14 in fact, so we’ll begin the weekly look at two-start pitchers and waiver wire options for some of those teams. We’ll get to the rest over the weekend.

Arizona Diamondbacks

  • Two-start pitchers: SPs Matt Koch and Zack Godley will get two starts at home next week against very weak opponents – the Reds and Marlins. We highly recommended Koch as a streamer to add in all formats, and while we mentioned earlier this week our hesitation with starting Godley moving forward, these are games where he should be starting in all formats.
  • Waiver wire: OF Jarrod Dyson (36% owned) is playing every day and is an elite speed option.

Atlanta Braves

  • Two-start pitchers: SP Brandon McCarthy and either SP Luiz Gohara or SP Max Fried will start twice next week at home against the Mets and Nationals. We like McCarthy in all formats, even with tough pitching matchups against SPs Jacob deGrom and Gio Gonzalez. The Gohara/Fried decision should be made this weekend, based on whether Gohara comes back from a trip home in Brazil to visit family. Fried is an NL-only play, while we’d use Gohara in 15-team mixed leagues. The matchups are SPs Steven Matz and SP Jeremy Hellickson. 
  • Waiver wire: SS/3B Johan Camargo (5% owned) is playing every day with Jose Bautista being released earlier this week, and he’s got a good contact profile that should make him worth owning in deeper mixed leagues for at least a few weeks.

Baltimore Orioles

  • OF Adam Jones has had an under-the-radar great month. After going 3-for-6 yesterday with a home run and three runs scored, Jones is now up to .270 on the season and on pace to hit 29 homers and drive in 81 runs.
  • SP Dylan Bundy struck out 14 White Sox yesterday en route to his second career complete game. Bundy only allowed three baserunners, but they all scored on a three-run home run by DH Jose Rondon. 

Boston Red Sox

  • 2B Dustin Pedroia will be activated today and should be in the lineup against the Braves.
  • We hoped last week’s start against Baltimore was a move back toward April’s SP Rick Porcello, but he was in deep trouble in the first two innings last night against the Rays, and he was lucky to get out having only allowed four earned runs (six total) on eight hits and two walks in 3 2/3 innings. Last night, his two-seam fastball was the mediocre-to-bad pitch it was last year, not the above average or better pitch it was earlier this season and in his Cy Young 2016 season – of the 10 times the Rays put it in play, six of the two-seamers went for hits.

Chicago Cubs

  • Two-start pitchers: SPs Tyler Chatwood and Jon Lester will get two road starts each against Pittsburgh and the Mets. Lester is a must-start in all formats against SP Ivan Nova and SP Steven Matz. We wouldn’t use Chatwood anywhere except NL-only leagues – he gets SP Chad Kuhl and SP Jacob deGrom. 

Chicago White Sox

  • SP Lucas Giolito had produced a moderate bounce back over his last five starts following a two-inning, nine earned run disaster against Houston on April 21. His ERA was 9.00 after that game, and he got it down to 6.42 entering yesterday. That all was erased by the middle of the second inning, as the Orioles hung seven earned runs on Giolito in 1 1/3 innings. He allowed six hits and three walks and didn’t strike out a batter. With SP Carlos Rodon pitching yesterday at Triple-A in his rehab stint, it seems possible that Rodon starts in place of Giolito next time their turn comes up.

Cincinnati Reds

  • In their first game with a lead and RP Raisel Iglesias missing, RP Amir Garrett was asked to stretch over multiple innings, and while he did well closing out the seventh and getting through the eighth with two strikeouts, he gave up a two-run homer to OF Austin Meadows in the ninth to cut the Reds’ lead to 5-4, and was immediately replaced by RP Jared Hughes. Hughes got the last two outs and earned the save. As we mentioned yesterday, Garrett is our favorite in this bullpen without Iglesias, with Hughes also having value.

Cleveland Indians

  • SP Mike Clevinger has thrived this year with his slider as an elite pitch that he only needs to throw about 20 percent of the time, but when he makes mistakes on it last night like he did against the Astros, things can go wrong quickly. SS/3B Alex Bregman hit the pitch for a back-breaking three-run homer and Clevinger allowed two more hits on it to start the sixth, and that ended his night with a line of 5 1/3 innings, five earned runs, seven hits, three walks, and four strikeouts.

Colorado Rockies 

  • Waiver wire: SP German Marquez (14% owned) is an elite starter away from Coors Field, so if you have a reserve spot to use on a pitcher that you may only be using every other week, Marquez is a great option to add.

Detroit Tigers

  • Two-start pitchers: SPs Matt Boyd and Michael Fulmer are the Tigers’ top two starters, and they each get two starts this week at home against the Angels and Blue Jays. Both lineups are in the upper half of the league against righties, but we’d still start Fulmer everywhere. Against lefties, they rank 18th and 19th in OPS, respectively, entering yesterday’s games. Boyd’s been good recently, so if you want to take a risk – Boyd left his last start with oblique issues and has walked three batters or more in four outings this year – Boyd has some nice upside to balance the risk on. We’d start him in 12-team leagues and larger, and weigh him with your other options in 10-team leagues.

Houston Astros

  • SS/3B Alex Bregman now has an eight-game hitting streak to go with two homers and seven RBI in his last five games. His May production – 21-for-72 (.292), 11 walks, three homers, eight doubles – is more along the lines of what most expected when he was a top 40 consensus draft pick this spring, and what we expect him to be for the balance of the season.

Kansas City Royals

  • If anyone was still holding on to SP Danny Duffy, congratulations, your risk paid off, at least last night. Duffy went 7 2/3 innings and held the Rangers to four hits, two walks, and one earned run, striking out five. The difference for Duffy last night was generating weaker contact most of the night – 10 of the 19 balls the Rangers put in play left the bat at below 90 mph, which is almost always going to end in an out. Duffy will need to generate more swings and misses to get back to relevance in shallow mixed leagues, but hey, this was a good first step.

Los Angeles Angels

  • SP Shohei Ohtani will not make a start this week after having his outing against the Yankees on Sunday scrapped. The reason is “workload management,” and his next start is TBD. He will continue to hit, which he did well yesterday, hitting two doubles, walking twice, and scoring twice. He now has an OPS of .991 to go with his .319 batting average.

Los Angeles Dodgers

  • Waiver wire: SP Ross Stripling (46% owned) is likely to be a staple in the Dodgers’ rotation for at least the next few weeks, and with 25 strikeouts over his last 21 1/3 innings to go with a 2.95 ERA and 1.17 WHIP over that time, there is upside to be had when he’s starting.

Miami Marlins

  • Two-start pitchers: SPs Caleb Smith and Dan Straily have both been in good form recently, making them both strong options with two starts on the road at pitcher-friendly parks in San Diego and Arizona. Smith will face SPs Eric Lauer and Matt Koch, while Straily draws tougher matchups against SPs Tyson Ross and Zack Godley. We’d start Smith in all leagues and start Straily in 12-team leagues and larger.

Milwaukee Brewers

  • OF Ryan Braun went 1-for-4 with a single in his return to the lineup.
  • SP Zach Davies was not good in his return from the disabled list, allowing six hits, two walks, and four earned runs in four innings. His velocity was fine, and his pitch chart shows he succeeded in keeping the ball down most of the time, but his stuff isn’t sharp right now and he should be benched or even cut in all mixed formats.

Minnesota Twins

  • 3B Miguel Sano was activated from the disabled list and will start tonight against Seattle.

New York Mets

  • OF Brandon Nimmo was great again last night, going 4-for-4 with three extra-base hits and an infield single. He’s reached base in eight consecutive plate appearances and is carrying a MLB-best .450 on-base percentage.
  • Manager Mickey Callaway said before yesterday’s game that RP Jeurys Familia is still the team’s closer.

New York Yankees

  • Two-start pitchers: SP Domingo German is only recommended in AL-only leagues as he faces Houston and SP Justin Verlander at home and SP Alex Cobb and the Orioles on the road. SP CC Sabathia gets those same team matchups, with the pitching opposition being SP Charlie Morton and SP Dylan Bundy. We wouldn’t start Sabathia in any mixed league shallower than 12 teams.

Oakland A’s

  • OF Dustin Fowler went 2-for-3 with an RBI and stole his third base of the season. That’s a pretty good number considering he’s had less than 40 plate appearances so far since being called up. Fowler should be in consideration in all leagues if you need a steals boost.

Philadelphia Phillies

  • Two-start pitchers: SP Jake Arrieta is a must-start in all formats for two road starts against the Dodgers (SP Kenta Maeda) and Giants (SP Andrew Suarez). SP Vince Velasquez is the Phillies’ other two-start pitcher, and while there’s very little predictability in Velasquez’s start-to-start performance, we think these matchups are good enough to recommend him in all leagues. He gets TBD for the Dodgers on Monday and SP Ty Blach for the Giants on Saturday.

Pittsburgh Pirates

  • OF Austin Meadows went 3-for-4 with a home run, his third homer in four games. Encouragingly, he hit the homer off a same-sided pitcher (RP Amir Garrett). OF Starling Marte’s return is going to drive the Pirates’ decision on Meadows, but we think it’ll take a multi-game slump for them to consider moving Meadows back down to Triple-A.

San Diego Padres

  • Waiver wire: Both SPs Jordan Lyles (28% owned) and Clayton Richard (8% owned) will have their recent hot streaks tested this weekend with starts against the Dodgers, but regardless of the outcome there, they both get almost-perfect matchups next week, home at pitcher-friendly Petco Park against a bad Miami team.

San Francisco Giants

  • Two-start pitcher: SP Andrew Suarez should be benched in all leagues, including NL-only, for his two starts at Colorado against SP Chad Bettis and home against the Phillies and SP Jake Arrieta. 

Seattle Mariners

  • OF Mitch Haniger returned to the lineup after missing Wednesday’s game with a bruised wrist.
  • SS Jean Segura went 3-for-4 yesterday, his sixth multi-hit game in his last 10 starts. Segura hasn’t stolen a base since his four-steal day against Texas on May 15, but his high-contact skills make him one of the two or three best shortstops in fantasy right now.

St. Louis Cardinals

  • Waiver wire: OF Tyler O’Neill (15% owned) has hit .409 with three homers, six RBI, and six runs scored in the last week. His playing time is far from assured, but we think this is a scenario where O’Neill will be playing for as long as he hits, so the risk is minimal for adding him – if he slows down at the plate, you can drop him and get the next hot hitter that may be under-owned.
  • SP Alex Reyes threw seven one-hit shutout innings in his final rehab start last night, striking out 13. He must be added in all leagues before his return to the majors next week.

Tampa Bay Rays

  • SP Nate Eovaldi will make his season debut on Monday or Tuesday against Oakland.
  • SP Blake Snell takes a new step forward with each outing this season – he dominated the Red Sox for six shutout innings last night, striking out eight and allowing only three hits and two walks. He’s been dominant at home this year and his curveball continues to be good enough to offset his extremely high fastball usage (54 percent of his pitches).

Texas Rangers

  • OF Delino DeShields went 1-for-3 with a walk and a run scored last night, but it is a little alarming that he just two extra-base hits (both doubles) in his last 16 games.

Toronto Blue Jays

  • With the lack of upside and continued unpredictability from start to start, it seems foolish to hold on to SP Marco Estrada any longer in mixed leagues. We had some hope after his last three starts, but yesterday’s four earned runs on nine baserunners in 4 1/3 innings makes us uncomfortable starting him against even an average lineup. There are probably higher upside pitchers or more effective streaming options you could use in shallow mixed leagues. Estrada gets Boston next on the road.

Washington Nationals

  • Waiver wire: OF Adam Eaton (54% owned) was seen on the field a few times this week doing pregame work, and while his timeline is still late June, it could be accelerated, and he’s too elite of a talent that will be put in a lineup spot to produce the minute he comes back. If you are lagging in runs scored or batting average, Eaton is a smart stash.

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