Daily Intel – 6/9/2018

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Arizona Diamondbacks

  • 1B Paul Goldschmidt had another big night, going 3-for-5 with two home runs, a double, three RBI, and three runs scored.
  • OF Jon Jay led off in his first game with the Snakes, playing right field and going 0-for-4 with a walk, a run scored, and three strikeouts.

Atlanta Braves

  • C Kurt Suzuki went 1-for-3 with a double, a walk, and an RBI last night. He’s got 12 hits in his last eight starts, six of them going for extra bases, plus eight RBI.

Baltimore Orioles

  • The timeline on RP Zach Britton’s return was seemingly accelerated yesterday, with Steve Melewski of MASN reporting that Britton’s back-to-back outings requirement in his rehab was scheduled to be completed Friday, which means the Orioles would likely activate him on Monday.
  • OF Craig Gentry started his second consecutive game last night and went 3-for-3 with a double and a steal – he’s got nine stolen bases in 101 plate appearances, so any semblance of regular playing time will make him worth adding for speed-starved mixed league owners, even in shallow leagues.

Boston Red Sox

  • SP Chris Sale had struggled in his previous two starts, but he went eight dominant innings last night against the White Sox, allowing a run on six hits and a walk. He struck out 10, his first double-digit strikeout game since May 11.

Chicago Cubs

  • SP/RP Mike Montgomery was good again for the third consecutive start since taking SP Yu Darvish’s spot in the rotation on May 28 when Darvish got hurt. He limited the Pirates to a run on seven hits and a walk yesterday over six innings. Montgomery isn’t a big strikeout guy – he only had 13 in almost 25 1/3 innings out of the bullpen and has 10 in 17 2/3 innings over his three starts – but he’s now worked his way up to 95 pitches and he’s getting a ton of ground balls. With a good offense behind him, Montgomery has value in deep mixed leagues and should be considered for his next outing Wednesday at Milwaukee, a team that ranks 29th in OPS against left-handed pitchers.

Chicago White Sox

  • After his last start on Sunday, we said SP Dylan Covey would need to use his slider and curveball more to sustain his impressive first few starts this season, and that started last night – over 20 percent usage on the slider (season rate is around 14 percent), and 13.75 percent usage on the curve (season rate is under 7 percent). Maybe it is coincidental, but Covey shut out the Red Sox for six innings, limiting them to three hits and a walk while striking out seven. Covey is a smart speculative add in deep leagues, even with two straight starts against Cleveland coming up.

Cincinnati Reds

  • OF Scott Schebler led off for the second consecutive game, and his hot stretch continued with a 4-for-6 night that included two doubles and a run scored.

Cleveland Indians

  • We recommended 2B Jason Kipnis as a waiver wire option yesterday, pointing out his improved performance since mid-May, and yesterday he delivered a game-winning three-run home run in the ninth inning.
  • SP Trevor Bauer was dominant again, going 113 pitches over eight innings and striking out 12 Tigers, allowing only seven hits and a walk.

Colorado Rockies 

  • SS Trevor Story hit his 12th home run of the season last night and also added a double, his fourth and fifth extra-base hits in his last six starts.

Detroit Tigers

  • SP Michael Fulmer bounced back with seven good innings last night, allowing only an RBI double, four singles, and a walk while striking out seven. Fulmer also cut his fly ball rate for the second consecutive start, which is a hopeful sign that the recent spate of home runs allowed may just be a minor blip.
  • OF Leonys Martin was back up at leadoff after a recent stretch lower in the batting order, and he went 2-for-4 with a double, a stolen base, and a run scored.

Houston Astros

  • C Brian McCann was activated from the disabled list after missing a couple of weeks with right knee soreness. He batted eighth and went 1-for-4.

Kansas City Royals

  • OF Jorge Soler suffered a bruised left big toe and left last night’s game early. X-rays were negative, so he’s day-to-day at this point.

Los Angeles Angels

  • DH/SP Shohei Ohtani was diagnosed with a grade two UCL sprain in his right throwing elbow, and at this point a post-All Star Break return looks like the best-case scenario. Ohtani had a grade one sprain in the spring, so this is obviously getting worse despite the PRP injection he received earlier in the year – don’t cut Ohtani as a pitcher just yet, but at this point we’d give equal odds to two completely divergent outcomes – Ohtani returning this season and Ohtani not pitching again until 2020.

Los Angeles Dodgers

  • SP Rich Hill will throw a four-inning simulated game today in his recovery from blister issues – if everything goes well, he should be able to skip a rehab start and return to the rotation late next week.
  • 1B Max Muncy, OF Joc Pederson and 1B/OF Cody Bellinger all homered again last night, continuing their respective recent hot stretches.

Miami Marlins

  • Hopefully you took our advice and added 3B/OF Brian Anderson – his three-hit night yesterday was his seventh multi-hit game in his last 11 outings, and he added his third double in his last five games. Anderson’s .304 batting average is extremely valuable because it comes with volume – he’s played in every game this season and is on pace for nearly 670 plate appearances.

Milwaukee Brewers

  • 1B/OF Ryan Braun has produced in single-game bursts for most of this season – last night’s two-homer, five-RBI performance was his eighth multi-RBI game, accounting for 23 of his 29 RBIs on the year. If you own Braun, you just keep him in the lineup when he’s healthy, because these games are going to keep happening and you don’t want to play matchup lottery guessing when that’ll be.

Minnesota Twins

  • 3B Miguel Sano was dropped to seventh in the order after hitting third in every game but one this season. He went 1-for-4 with a double but did strikeout three times – in his 13 starts since returning from the disabled list on May 25, he has struck out in 21 of his 53 plate appearances.

New York Mets

  • SP Noah Syndergaard will not start Sunday after his injured finger swelled up while playing catch yesterday. He’ll start his throwing program up again Monday with hopes of returning next weekend. RP Seth Lugo will start in his place on Sunday against the Yankees; if you have Syndergaard in weekly leagues, you’re going to be in a tough spot on Monday but we’d be safe and sit him.

New York Yankees

  • OF Brett Gardner had a good defensive game in center field last night and won the game at the plate in the eighth inning, a two-run homer breaking a 1-1 tie as the Yankees topped the Mets. Gardner has six multi-hit games in his last nine starts and four home runs in his last 10 starts.

Oakland A’s

  • We said last Saturday that SP Frankie Montas was an elite one-start streaming option for this week, and he delivered 7 2/3 innings of good ball last night, needing only 96 pitches to get through his start with five strikeouts. He shut out the Royals until 3B Mike Moustakas hit a two-run home run with two outs in the eighth inning. Other than that, Montas only allowed five singles and a walk. Next up, a big test at home against the Astros on Thursday afternoon. With the way Montas is going, we’d start him in AL-only leagues. With starts after that lined up on the road against San Diego and the White Sox, Montas should be added in mixed leagues before next week, though whether you start him against Houston depends on your risk tolerance level.

Philadelphia Phillies

  • SP Vince Velasquez had slightly diminished velocity on his four-seam fastball (his main pitch) and his slider last night, and while that wasn’t the main reason the Brewers destroyed him – 10 runs on nine hits and two walks in 3 2/3 innings – it didn’t help. Prior to last night, Velasquez was at least average in six straight starts, so don’t completely shy away from him yet – a home start against Colorado on Wednesday is a good matchup in which Velasquez should be used.

Pittsburgh Pirates

  • OF Austin Meadows got his third start in the Pirates’ last four games and hit second yesterday, going 2-for-4 with a strikeout and a caught stealing.

San Diego Padres

  • 2B/OF Jose Pirela is 18-for-50 over his last 13 starts after a two-hit game yesterday. Pirela’s power is down from last year – he had 23 homers between Triple-A and the majors – but his hard contact and line drive rates are at the same level and he’s got 16 doubles, so it wouldn’t surprise us if a small stretch of home runs came soon.

San Francisco Giants

  • Alex Pavlovic of NBC Sports Bay Area updated SP Johnny Cueto’s rehab status: he threw a 35-pitch bullpen session yesterday, will throw two more bullpens, one live batting practice and then a minor league rehab stint. He could be back when eligible on June 30.
  • 2B/OF Alen Hanson got his first start since coming off the disabled list last weekend, starting at third base and going 2-for-3 with a triple, two runs scored, an an RBI. Continue to keep an eye on Hanson for playing time opportunities – he’s a bench guy right now, but he’s come right back off the DL and kept on hitting like he did earlier this year – in his four late-inning replacement appearances this week, he had hits in all of them, including two doubles, a homer, and four RBI.

Seattle Mariners

  • SP Marco Gonzales limited the Rays to two runs on five hits and no walks yesterday, and his ERA continues to drop – entering his May 17th game against the Tigers, he was at 5.31. After last night’s win, his fourth straight, Gonzales’ ERA is down to 3.28. He’s only owned in 52.7 percent of ESPN leagues, which is usually a good indicator of ownership levels in more shallow leagues – that number is too low. Gonzales is, at worst, an elite-level matchups play, even though his strikeout rate has dropped over the last month or so.

St. Louis Cardinals

  • SS Yairo Munoz continues to get every day playing time, and he hit his third home run of the season yesterday – also his third in his last 39 plate appearances. Munoz is swinging and missing a lot – 16.4 percent of the time – and his contact rate is low at 70.8 percent, but he’s making hard contact at a rate that is overcoming the lack of contact and high ground ball rate. He’s a decent volume play in 15-team mixed leagues.

Tampa Bay Rays

  • 1B C.J. Cron has only two hits in his last 20 at-bats, but they are both home runs – his shot last night also gave him RBIs number 34 and 35 on the season. Cron is still making good contact – only four Ks in his last 36 at-bats, so we expect him to get his batting average back closer to .275 soon while being able to maintain his low-to-mid 30s home run pace.

Texas Rangers

  • OF Shin-Soo Choo went 2-for-3 with a leadoff home run, a single, a walk, and two runs scored. Choo is a top-30 outfield in roto formats and top-15 in points leagues, with a high-strikeout rate the only blemish on his season-long performance so far.

Toronto Blue Jays

  • RP Ryan Tepera was asked to protect a 4-1 lead with two outs in the eighth inning last night, and he succeeded in closing out his third save in the last two weeks. Tepera is the guy to own in the Jays’ bullpen right now.

Washington Nationals

  • SP Stephen Strasburg left last night’s game with right shoulder inflammation, an issue he’ll get an MRI for today and also one that he said has been bothering him for several starts. If that’s true, a disabled list stint is almost a certainty.

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