Daily Intel – 6/12/2018

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Arizona Diamondbacks

  • SP Robbie Ray is going to kickoff his rehab assignment Thursday with a start at High-A. He will need at least two, most likely three, rehab starts before returning to the majors.
  • 3B Daniel Descalso has started four of the last six games and has seven hits in that time, including a triple, three RBI, and two runs scored yesterday. Descalso only has 28 plate appearances this month but already has four extra-base hits, six runs scored, and 10 RBI, so he could be in line for a playing time boost even with 3B Jake Lamb healthy.

Atlanta Braves

  • Interesting note on SP Julio Teheran from Mark Bowman of MLB.com as Teheran preps to come off the disabled list this weekend – Teheran said that the time off, which will only turn out to be about two weeks, will be helpful less because of the healing on his injured thumb but more because of time to rest his sore arm, which he believes has caused his velocity dip this year. Bowman points out that Teheran’s 89.2 mph average fastball is 108th out of 127 pitchers who have thrown at least 750 pitches, so we’ll see if the velo ticks back up to the 91-92 mph range that it sat out most of the last four years.

Baltimore Orioles

  • SP Dylan Bundy shutout the Red Sox for eight innings last night, almost completely cutting out his curveball (used less than 4 percent of the time after entering the season with a usage rate over 10 percent) and relying on his four-seam fastball much more than he has for most of this season (64 percent, compared to a 48 percent usage rate entering the game). Bundy allowed only three hits and two walks, striking out seven. There was a little luck involved – the Red Sox hit three line drives with hit probabilities of 63 percent or higher than ended up as outs – but Bundy had a good formula going and he’s put his season-long numbers back on a well-above-average pace after a rough patch in May.

Boston Red Sox

  • OF Mookie Betts made a surprise return to the lineup last night, at least a few days earlier than anyone expected, leading off and playing right field. He went 1-for-5 with a strikeout.

Chicago Cubs

  • SP Yu Darvish played catch yesterday and will give a full bullpen session a shot today. This is his first mound work since going on the disabled list, so even if everything goes well he’s still two or three weeks away from returning.
  • OFs Jason Heyward and Albert Almora Jr. both had three hits last night. Heyward had two singles, a double, and three RBI, while Almora had three singles, two RBI, and a run scored.

Chicago White Sox

  • 2B Yoan Moncada is struggling – he struck out three times on 10 pitches last night – and as James Fegan of The Athletic pointed out after the game, he is hitting .200 with a .249 on-base percentage and .309 slugging percentage in his 27 games since returning from the disabled list.

Cincinnati Reds

  • Before Sunday’s game, OF Billy Hamilton said he is considering giving up the idea of switch hitting. He said this a few years ago, noting specifically that he was considering dropping hitting left handed, but he didn’t make a mention on Sunday which side he’d dump now. He’s been equally awful from both sides this year, so we’re not sure how it’ll help in the short-term.

Cleveland Indians

  • Both 2B Jason Kipnis and 1B/DH Edwin Encarnacion were out again yesterday. Both injuries – neck for Kipnis, ankle for EE – are said to be minor.
  • Make that two dominant starts in a row for SP Carlos Carrasco after his shaky month in May – he struck out 11 White Sox last night over seven innings, allowing no runs, two hits, and a walk. What’s interesting is that Carrasco switch his pitch mix up between the two dominant starts – against Milwaukee last week, he threw his slider 25.7 percent of the time, his curveball 12 percent of the time, and his changeup 22 percent of the time. Last night, those pitches were used 18.5 percent, 21.3 percent, and 14.8 percent of the time, respectively. Carrasco’s slider usage last night was his lowest since April 6.

Colorado Rockies 

  • RP Adam Ottavino threw a 20-pitch bullpen session over the weekend, and while there is still no exact timetable for his return, he is eligible to be activated at any time.

Detroit Tigers

  • SP Jordan Zimmermann was good in his rehab start at High-A, going 5 1/3 innings, throwing 60 strikes on 89 pitches, and striking out six. He allowed a run on seven hits and no walks. This was his third rehab start since going on the disabled list on May 7, and he should be in line to return to the Tigers’ rotation later this weekend or early next week.

Houston Astros

  • SS Carlos Correa should return to the lineup today against Oakland after missing all four of the Astros’ games against Texas.

Kansas City Royals

  • 1B Lucas Duda may start a rehab assignment this week, as Jeffrey Flanagan of MLB.com noted that he’s been taking grounders and hitting in the batting cage.

Los Angeles Angels

  • Conflicting reports on SP/DH Shohei Ohtani yesterday – first, Pedro Gomez of ESPN said in the morning that Ohtani was having Tommy John surgery, which would almost certainly put him out until 2020. Then, Jon Morosi of MLB.com said later in the day that the Angels are “cautiously optimistic Shohei Ohtani will play again this season — at least as a hitter and possibly in both roles.” If you only have Ohtani as a pitcher, we’d cut him in all but AL-only leagues.
  • OF Mike Trout fouled a ball off his foot in the eighth inning yesterday, and he not only stayed in the game, but he hit a 460-foot home run in the same at-bat. He did have X-rays after the game that came back negative, so we’ll see if the Angels play it safe and give him a day off today.

Los Angeles Dodgers

  • Confirming something we mentioned yesterday – SP Kenta Maeda will start tomorrow at home against the Rangers in his return from the disabled list after missing three weeks with a right hip strain.

Miami Marlins

  • 3B/OF Brian Anderson’s power continues to slowly ramp up, as we speculated it might earlier this month.  Hitting second last night, Anderson went 3-for-4 with a solo home run, two doubles, two RBI, and three runs scored. Anderson really should be owned in all leagues, regardless of size and format.

Milwaukee Brewers

  • 1B/OF Eric Thames was activated yesterday, but both he and OF Domingo Santana sat on the bench, with OF/1B Ryan Braun playing left field and 1B Jesus Aguilar starting at first. Those are four guys vying for two spots, with Aguilar and Santana being able to play only one of the two available defensive positions. It’s going to be hard to predict playing time for these guys over the next couple of weeks, until a pattern develops.
  • SP Junior Guerra was solid again last night, limiting the Cubs to a run, five hits, and two walks over six innings, striking out four. Guerra has delivered four straight quality starts and hasn’t allowed more than three earned runs since May 9, a stretch of six starts.

Minnesota Twins

  • 1B Joe Mauer will begin his rehab assignment from a cervical neck strain (and concussion symptoms) today at Triple-A. Meanwhile, OF Byron Buxton ran the bases on Sunday and is at least a week away from starting a rehab assignment.

New York Mets

  • SP Jason Vargas will be skipped today, with SP Zack Wheeler starting and getting lineup up for a two-start week, according to Anthony DiComo of MLB.com. Vargas should start one of the weekend games in Arizona, depending on SP Noah Syndergaard’s availabiliy.

New York Yankees

  • SP Jonathan Loaisiga or SP/RP David Hale will take SP Masahiro Tanaka’s open rotation spot starting Friday against Tampa Bay. Loaisiga has never pitched above Double-A. He was 3-1 with a 4.32 ERA there this year after being promoted from High-A Tampa, where he was 3-0 with a 1.35. Hale hasn’t started a game in the majors since 2015.

Oakland A’s

  • SP Trevor Cahill is not a lock to start on Friday as currently scheduled, even after manager Bob Melvin noted on Sunday that Cahill’s made progress in his minor Achilles’ injury. If he doesn’t go Friday, SP Chris Bassitt should be back up from Triple-A on an emergency basis to get the start.

Philadelphia Phillies

  • Over the weekend, Phillies top prospect SP Sixto Sanchez was placed on the disabled list with right elbow inflammation. Per Todd Zolecki of MLB.com, the Phillies don’t believe it is serious, but Sanchez will rest a few weeks before being evaluated again. It is never not worrisome when a guy known for elite velocity pops up with issues in his throwing elbow.

Pittsburgh Pirates

  • 2B/3B Josh Harrison was hit by a pitch in the back yesterday and left the game. He was 0-for-2 with a walk and a run scored prior to his departure.
  • C Francisco Cervelli was out again after taking a foul ball off the jaw on Saturday, and C Elias Diaz has back-to-back multi-hit games in his place. Diaz is hitting .301 with an .814 OPS in limited playing time (89 plate appearances) so far this year.

San Diego Padres

  • 2B Cory Spangenberg went 1-for-3 with a walk and a solo home run last night. He’s having a good month so far, hitting .276 (8-for-29) with three homers, two doubles, six runs scored, six RBI, and a stolen base.

San Francisco Giants

  • SP Jeff Samardzija’s return from a shoulder injury is going well enough for him to begin a rehab assignment later this week – he threw 40 pitches yesterday and said he felt better than he has all year. If everything goes well in the rehab start, he should be good to start in weekly leagues next week.

Seattle Mariners

  • DH Nelson Cruz hit two home runs last night, driving in three – he is on a tear right now, with five homers, seven RBI, eight runs scored, and six walks over the last seven days. Over his last 17 games, he’s hitting .323 with a 1.048 OPS and a 43 percent hard contact rate, per ESPN.

St. Louis Cardinals

  • After hitting five home runs in the first two months of the season, a stretch of 216 plate appearances, 1B Jose Martinez has five already in 36 plate appearances this month after a huge game yesterday against the Padres. Martinez went 3-for-4 – his sixth multi-hit game in his last seven starts – with a homer, two runs scored, and two RBI. He’s also only struck out twice this month and has walked four times.

Tampa Bay Rays

  • 2B/SS Daniel Robertson was placed on the disabled list with what he deemed the “mildest of the mild” strain of his right hamstring. The resulting move? The exciting return of the team’s top hitting prospect, SS Willy Adames. Adames hit sixth and went 1-for-2 with a walk and two RBIs.
  • 1B Jake Bauers hit second in the order again and had his first huge day as a big leaguer, hitting a game-winning two-run home run in the fourth inning and adding a double and two walks. He scored three times.
  • SP Chris Archer has been shut down from throwing a simulated game today after still feeling soreness in his side after a bullpen session on Saturday. That makes a return next week unlikely.

Texas Rangers

  • We gave up on OF Willie Calhoun in our 12-team leagues a couple of weeks ago, but this note in the Dallas News yesterday makes us wonder if all owners stashing him in single-season leagues should give up. Calhoun, who is slugging under .400 after posting a .527 slugging percentage last year, is apparently “hurting himself by trying to pull everything,” according to a scout quoted in the article. Calhoun also “has shown no signs of making necessary adjustments.”

Toronto Blue Jays

  • OF Teoscar Hernandez has delivered elite-level power for more than two months now – his home run last night was his 11th of the season, and his third already in June. After a big dip in OPS from April to May – 1.054 to .649 – Hernandez has bounced back nicely this month with an OPS over 1.000 in nearly 40 at-bats so far.

Washington Nationals

  • A reminder: 2B Daniel Murphy is likely to come off the disabled list today to play DH for this week’s stretch in AL parks for the Nats. Check lineups at around 5 pm – Murphy should be started everywhere if he’s in.

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