Daily Intel – 5/28/2018

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Arizona Diamondbacks

  • With this team in a massive tailspin right now, RP Archie Bradley isn’t getting much work at all – yesterday was just his sixth appearance in the last 17 days, and he only has 5 1/3 innings over that time. Worse off, he’s allowed five runs and three home runs in those 5 1/3 innings. It is hard to justify holding Bradley in shallow mixed leagues, especially weekly formats, with this small of a workload.

Atlanta Braves

  • OF Ronald Acuna Jr. suffered a knee injury late in yesterday’s game running out an infield single. He was down on the field for a while before leaving under his own power, but he’ll undergo further tests today.
  • It was interesting to see both of the Braves’ catchers – Kurt Suzuki and Tyler Flowers – start all three days in an AL park, with Suzuki at DH twice, including yesterday. Flowers homered yesterday and drove in three, while Suzuki had three hits, including an RBI double. Atlanta has five games left in AL parks this year.

Baltimore Orioles

  • SP Kevin Gausman couldn’t get his four-seam fastball going yesterday, as the Rays put it in play eight times and got hits on five of those balls and runs on four of them, including two extra-base hits by 1B Brad Miller. The result was Gausman’s second dud outing in his last three trips to the mound and his shortest start of the season – 2 2/3 innings, six hits, two walks, seven runs, just one strikeout. Gausman’s first-pitch strike percentage is way down from last year, and he only had seven yesterday out of 17 batters faced – when he gets behind, teams are sitting on his four-seamer and driving it like the Rays did yesterday.

Boston Red Sox

  • 2B Dustin Pedroia was moved up to the cleanup spot yesterday after hitting sixth on Saturday, as the Sox played with their lineup in OF Mookie Betts’ absence. Pedroia’s return hasn’t hurt 2B/3B/OF Eduardo Nunez yet, as he started at third in both games this weekend, with 3B Rafael Devers sitting on Saturday and playing at DH on Sunday.
  • SP Chris Sale had his worst start of the season yesterday, getting tagged for six runs on five hits and three walks by Atlanta over 4 1/3 innings. He did strike out eight, though.

Chicago Cubs

  • SP Tyler Chatwood lasted only 2 2/3 innings yesterday, allowing 11 baserunners (six hits/five walks) and three earned runs. He shouldn’t be started in any mixed formats, and probably shouldn’t even be owned beyond NL-only leagues unless you have a ton of bench/reserve spots.
  • 1B Anthony Rizzo has a nine-game hitting streak, though the last eight of those games are single-hit outings. Still, Rizzo is showing some encouraging signs at the plate, including having six walks and one strikeout in his last four games.
  • RP Mike Montgomery will start today’s game with SP Yu Darvish out.

Chicago White Sox

  • OF Daniel Palka picked up two more hits yesterday and has hits in eight of his last nine games, including four extra-base hits, four runs scored, and five RBI.
  • SP James Shields has six quality starts in his last nine outings, and after yesterday’s seven-inning, three-run effort, he’s gone 21 1/3 innings in his last three starts and lowered his ERA from 5.44 to 4.54, with 17 strikeouts and no homers allowed. Shields looked like a complete fantasy non-factor, but a much-improved cutter and changeup (the pitch that made him an ace in Tampa Bay) have him back on our radar for deep mixed leagues. He gets the Brewers at home next weekend and we’d be fine with starting him in 15-team mixed leagues.

Cincinnati Reds

  • OF Scott Schebler capped off a disappointing weekend in Colorado with an 0-for-4 day. He’s got two homers and two doubles in 80 plate appearances this month and should be benched in 12-team mixed leagues and shallower formats until he shows some semblance of power.

Cleveland Indians

  • 2B/3B Jose Ramirez was the fuel behind an incredible comeback win for the Indians. They started off the ninth inning down 8-3, and Ramirez worked a 17-pitch at-bat against Houston RP Ken Giles that ended in a double. That was Ramirez’s second hit of the day, his first being a two-run homer off Houston ace SP Gerrit Cole in the first inning.
  • 1B Yonder Alonso had his second straight day with a home run and two RBI. He’s got three extra-base hits and seven RBI in his last four starts.

Colorado Rockies 

  • OF Carlos Gonzalez had what was probably his best game of the season, going 4-for-4 with a home run, two RBI, and two runs scored. If you want a long shot bat to gamble on this week, Gonzalez and the Rox get six games at home.
  • Well, we said earlier this week that SP German Marquez should be owned in all leagues simply because of his elite-level performance in road starts, and he came out yesterday with an elite-level start at home, going seven one-run innings and limiting the Reds to five hits and two walks while striking out six.

Detroit Tigers

  • OF Leonys Martin is really cold right now, with only three hits and two walks in his 35 plate appearances since returning from the disabled list on May 18. We don’t see a point in holding on to him in 12-team mixed leagues.

Houston Astros

  • RP Ken Giles was too hittable again yesterday, throwing 21 pitches and failing to record an out, putting the Astros down a path that led to them blowing an 8-3 ninth inning lead and eventually losing 10-9 in 14 innings. Giles still hasn’t walked a batter in 16 innings this year, but when he struggles, it’s because he’s leaving his stuff in spots for hitters to drive. He now sports a 5.06 ERA on the season.
  • Cs Max Stassi and Evan Gattis continued their solid months of May with a home run each yesterday. Gattis also hit a single, drove in four, and scored twice.

Kansas City Royals

  • SP Jason Hammel picked up 10 strikeouts using his slider and two-seam fastball primarily yesterday, but the interesting thing was that he used the slider more often – 48 of his 102 pitches, compared to 45 for the two-seamer. Coming in to the game, he was only using the slider about 35 percent of the time, compared to about 53 percent for the two-seamer. He finished this start with 5 1/3 innings and no runs allowed, so we’ll see if this no usage pattern is the start of a trend that restores some value to him in deep mixed leagues.

Los Angeles Angels

  • OF Justin Upton missed yesterday’s game with a forearm contusion after being hit by a pitch on Saturday.
  • SP Garrett Richards had another awful outing against the Yankees, walking five and allowing three runs and three hits, throwing 70 pitchers before being pulled with one out in the third inning. Richards had gotten his control problems fixed this month after walking 16 guys in five April starts, but this was definitely a step back. He’ll face the Rangers at home next weekend.
  • SP Shohei Ohtani is tentatively lined up to start Wednesday in Detroit.

Los Angeles Dodgers

  • SP Walker Buehler capped a fabulous two-start week with seven dominant innings against the Padres yesterday. He allowed four hits and one run to go with eight strikeouts and no walks. One item to note in tempering your excitement on Buehler is that fact that he has feasted on easy matchups – he’s faced the Padres and Marlins twice each, along with home starts against Colorado and the Reds and a road start against the Giants. He’ll get tested his next two times out, first in a tough environment at Colorado, then at home against Atlanta.

Miami Marlins

  • 1B Justin Bour went 2-for-4 with a solo home run, his 10th of the year, yesterday. Bour has 23 walks this month and it continues to sap his power output, as yesterday’s homer was first since May 16. It was also his first RBI since that date.
  • SP Elieser Hernandez was effective in his third straight start, holding that Nationals to two runs on six hits and no walks over five innings. He still isn’t doing much in the strikeout department though, getting three yesterday. That keeps him limited to an NL-only option, at best.

Milwaukee Brewers

  • 1B Jesus Aguilar homered for the second straight game, driving in four and scoring twice as well. He’s homered in consecutive games and now has nine on the season to go with 30 RBI, a .325 batting average and .985 OPS.

Minnesota Twins

  • We didn’t think OF Byron Buxton would play yesterday after crashing in to the wall Saturday attempting to rob a home run. He did, though, and went hitless again in three at-bats. He’s now batting .157 with a .391 OPS, which is an impossibly bad number. If you have any other options in a weekly league, we’d sit Buxton this week.

New York Mets

  • 3B Wilmer Flores left yesterday’s game after two at-bats with lower back soreness. He was sent back to New York for tests rather than traveling with the team to Atlanta, so a disabled list stint could be likely, putting either OF/3B Jose Bautista or 2B/SS/3B Jose Reyes in position to play every day. 3B Todd Frazier is scheduled to begin a rehab assignment early this week.

New York Yankees

  • SP Masahiro Tanaka is usually at his best when the slider is his best pitch, and yesterday was no exception. He picked up five swinging strikes and nine called strikes on 35 sliders against the Angels, and the result was six solid innings where he struck out eight and allowed a solo home run, two singles, and three walks en route to his sixth win of the year.
  • OF Brett Gardner went 3-for-4 yesterday and has at least one hit in his last 10 starts.

Oakland A’s

  • C Jonathan Lucroy hit his first home run of the season yesterday. His hard hit rate is up 15 percent from last season, and his fly ball rate is low at 30.5 percent, but not so low that he should only have one homer on Memorial Day. We think Lucroy is in for a small power spike, especially with the A’s contending and unlikely to deal him, which is the only way he’d lose playing time beyond an injury.
  • SP Frankie Montas got his first start of the season and beat Arizona ace SP Zack Greinke, going six innings and allowing only a run on three hits and two walks. He struck out seven. The 25-year-old had a decent prospect pedigree at one time, and he’ll get at least one more start after this performance.  

Philadelphia Phillies

  • 1B/OF Rhys Hoskins went 0-for-4 with a strikeout yesterday. He’s now hitting .167 in May with 10 walks in 88 plate appearances, to go along with two home runs and nine RBI.

Pittsburgh Pirates

  • RP Felipe Vazquez struggled again yesterday, recording just one out and throwing 11 balls to just five strikes while walking two and allowing a hit. He ended up leaving the game with left forearm discomfort, a distressing item considering how badly he’s struggled in his last three outings, all blown saves. If Vazquez is out for a long time, RP Michael Feliz would seemingly be next in line for saves, but he’s allowed seven runs in two innings over his last three appearances.
  • SP Ivan Nova is questionable for tomorrow’s start, with SP Nick Kingham set to go in his place if Nova is out.

San Diego Padres

  • OF Franchy Cordero was placed on the disabled list yesterday with right forearm soreness. OF Hunter Renfroe will be activated tomorrow and should get the same playing time Cordero did in the outfield rotation with OFs Manny Margot, Travis Jankowski, and Franmil Reyes. 

San Francisco Giants

  • OF Gorkys Hernandez is someone we recommended on May 19 due to his contact profile, and he’s stayed hot since then – with two hits yesterday, he now has four straight multi-hit games and 15 hits in his last nine games, including five for extra bases.

Seattle Mariners

  • RP Alex Colome made his team debut and closed out the ninth inning of a 3-1 game for the save, as RP Edwin Diaz had the day off after working four of the previous five days.
  • SP Mike Leake generated 14 ground ball outs en route to eight innings of one-run ball yesterday. He limited the Twins to four hits while not walking a batter and striking out two. That’s three very good starts for Leake in his last four trips to the mound – he gets the Rays in both of his next two starts, this weekend at home and next weekend in St. Petersburg.

St. Louis Cardinals

  • 1B/3B Matt Carpenter went 2-for-4 with two doubles and a walk yesterday, and over his last 10 games he’s hitting .390 with an .1139 OPS.

Tampa Bay Rays

  • 1B/2B Brad Miller hit leadoff in all three games this weekend after the trade of OF Denard Span, picking up three extra-base hits in the series against Baltimore. Miller has been hitting better over the last two weeks, and he’s got a grip on every day playing time, so he makes for an intriguing power sleeper for deep mixed leagues.

Texas Rangers

  • OF Delino DeShields Jr. has hits in five straight games, and he stole his 10th base of the year yesterday.
  • 1B/3B Joey Gallo hit his 15th home run yesterday, including his fifth off a lefty. Gallo only hit seven homers off lefties all of last season. Still, though, he’s only hitting .135 off of them in 52 at-bats this year, and he’s scheduled to face three lefties in his first four games this week against Seattle, and will probably face at least one – SP Tyler Skaggs – in the weekend series against the Angels.

Toronto Blue Jays

  • RP Seung Hwan Oh was brought in with two outs in the seventh inning and the Jays holding a one-run lead. He got four outs with no blemishes, striking out two. That set up RP Ryan Tepera for the ninth with a two-run lead, and he closed out the game with a double play of C Jorge Alfaro after he walked OF Nick Williams.

Washington Nationals

  • 2B Daniel Murphy homered and drove in six yesterday in his second rehab game at Double-A Harrisburg. That came after a hit on Saturday that saw him run the bases effectively, going first to third when the batter that followed him put the ball in play. If Murphy has a good checkup with the Nats’ medical staff this week, it isn’t out of the question for him to be back in the lineup for the fantasy week beginning June 4.

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