Daily Intel – 6/17/2018

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Arizona Diamondbacks

  • The velocity for SP Pat Corbin continues to be down, and while he was able to make some hay last night with 13 swinging strikes and just three balls in play (all outs) on 38 sliders, both his two- and four-seam fastballs averaged just under 90 mph, and the latter pitch was put in play for hits five out of eight times, including a three-run home run and two doubles. For the night, Corbin went six innings and allowed five runs on eight hits and two walks, with seven strikeouts, and over his last four starts he’s allowed 17 runs over 23 2/3 innings.

Atlanta Braves

  • SP Julio Teheran was activated off the disabled list yesterday in advance of his return start today, and the corresponding move was a disabled list stint for SP Mike Foltynewicz, who will miss at least one start with right triceps tightness after leaving Tuesday’s game early. The earliest he’ll be able to return is next Saturday, June 23.
  • 2B Ozzie Albies went hitless again yesterday and is now 8-for-58 this month with 11 strikeouts.

Baltimore Orioles

  • OF Adam Jones has been making a lot of contact this month, with his 3-for-5 day yesterday being his sixth multi-hit game in his last 11 starts, but the double he hit yesterday was his first extra-base hit since June 2. Jones’ value is being diminished by an awful lineup around him that isn’t creating run-scoring or RBI chances, but if he gets traded to a contender next month he could be a difference maker in fantasy leagues down the stretch.

Boston Red Sox

  • SP Steven Wright gave up his first earned run in almost a month yesterday, but it was the only damage he allowed over seven strong innings as a hard-luck loser against the Mariners. He allowed five hits and two walks overall, striking out four. Wright’s knuckle ball is more than 2 mph in velocity this year, and it is generating 9.5 runs of value so far according to Fangraphs after being a -16.5 pitch last year. It’s impossible to judge the consistency of knuckleballers, but Wright looks to have everything going well right now. He should be owned and started in all leagues.

Chicago Cubs

  • OF Jason Heyward went 1-for-5 yesterday, but the “one” mattered – a two-run homer, his seventh extra-base hit already this month in 54 plate appearances.

Chicago White Sox

  • C Kevan Smith is settling in to what looks to be the primary playing time role behind the plate. Since getting his season started on June 5, Smith has started eight times; he has hits in all of those games, and his two-hit day yesterday made it his fifth multi-hit game out of eight. All but one of those hits have been singles, but Smith also isn’t striking out, so if you’re looking for a high-contact option in two-catcher leagues that could help your batting average, Smith may be a good speculative flyer.

Cincinnati Reds

  • It was another game with multiple home runs allowed for SP Luis Castillo, with Pirates 3B Colin Moran and C Elias Diaz hitting solo shots off of him yesterday. Diaz also gave up two doubles and two singles in five innings for three earned runs total. He only struck out two. Castillo has a rough stretch coming up on the way to the All-Star break, with starts vs the Cubs, at Atlanta, vs the White Sox, at the Cubs, and at the Cardinals.

Cleveland Indians

  • SP Carlos Carrasco left yesterday’s game in the second inning after being hit in his pitching arm with a comeback liner. He was in a lot of pain and went for X-rays at a hospital immediately, and while the initial diagnosis was a contusion, there could be a further issue uncovered today if/when swelling subsides. We would not expect to have him for weekly leagues not week.
  • SP Shane Bieber will be recalled today to start against Minnesota. The Twins hit him well in Bieber’s debut (four runs in 5 2/3 innings), so we’d avoid streaming him for now.

Colorado Rockies 

  • SP Kyle Freeland is probably the best Rockies pitcher to own, simply because he rarely has the blowup start that plagues a lot of pitchers who call Coors Field home. After yesterday’s fantastic performance at Texas, where he went seven innings and allowed only two runs on eight hits and a walk with three strikeouts, Freeland has now gone nine of ten starts allowing three runs or less, and he’s gone at least six innings in nine of his last 10 starts, as well.

Detroit Tigers

  • SP Jordan Zimmermann didn’t allow a baserunner in his first four innings yesterday, his first start back off the disabled list, but he gave up a double and three singles in the fifth inning and all four of those runners scored, leaving him with a pedestrian pitching line over four innings.

Houston Astros

  • INF/OF Marwin Gonzalez is killing the ball right now – after a 3-for-4 day yesterday, he’s now hitting 13-for-30 (.433) this month with a 1.333 OPS. Also key, he only has five strikeouts this month after striking out 29 times in May and 25 times in April.
  • Good recovery start for SP Dallas Keuchel yesterday – he went six innings with two unearned runs allowed, striking out five. A big part of that was getting first-pitch strikes on 20 of 25 batters faced, as he was under 65 percent on first-pitch strikes in his last two poor outings against Texas and Seattle.

Kansas City Royals

  • 2B/OF Whit Merrifield stole his 15th base of the season yesterday as part of a 2-for-3 day that included a double and an RBI. Merrifield has multi-hit games in four of his last five starts and is one of fantasy’s top five or six options at second base.
  • With OF Jorge Soler set to miss months with a foot injury, 1B Hunter Dozier moved in to Soler’s cleanup spot yesterday. He went 0-for-3 with three strikeouts.

Los Angeles Angels

  • Surprisingly, SS Andrelton Simmons was activated off the disabled list yesterday without needing a rehab assignment in the minors. He was also put right back in the lineup, starting at short and batting fifth. He went 0-for-4.

Los Angeles Dodgers

  • SP Alex Wood pitched well yesterday with an extra day of rest, limiting the Giants to a run on four hits and two walks over 5 2/3 innings for just his second win of the season. Wood only struck out two, but he did generate 11 swinging strikes on 85 pitches and his command was good for most of the day, as he succeeded at keeping the ball down on the zone. Wood gets the Mets next in New York on Friday, a good matchup for him to be used in most formats.

Miami Marlins

  • With RP Kyle Barraclough unavailable due to usage over the last few days, it was RP Brad Ziegler working multiple innings to set up RP Drew Steckenrider for the save chance, which he converted, allowing a leadoff walk and finishing the game with a double play and a fly out.

Milwaukee Brewers

  • OF Domingo Santana is the early playing time loser in this week’s return of 1B/OF Eric Thames. He sat again yesterday and has only started twice this week – Monday and Tuesday against the Cubs.

Minnesota Twins

  • OF Eddie Rosario went 4-for-4 yesterday with just his second stolen base since May 6. He also tacked on a walk, a double and a solo home run with four runs scored and two RBI. Rosario’s step toward the elite has been best defined this month by his improving plate discipline – after ending May with a 40-to-7 strikeout-to-walk ratio, he’s at 6 strikeouts-to-8 walks this month.

New York Mets

  • The lineup order continues to get shuffled for the Mets, as SS Amed Rosario hit leadoff yesterday and OFs Brandon Nimmo and Michael Conforto were dropped to fifth and seventh, respectively. Rosario went 1-for-5 with a double, while Nimmo and Conforto both went 2-for-4, Nimmo tacking on a stolen base and Conforto driving in four with a double and a three-run homer.
  • RP Jeurys Familia will be activated off the disabled list today after missing the minimum 10 days with a sore right shoulder.

New York Yankees

  • 1B Greg Bird has reached base six times in three games after being dropped out of the number three spot in the batting order. He went 1-for-2 yesterday with two walks and a run scored.

Oakland A’s

  • 3B Matt Chapman was placed on the 10-day disabled list yesterday with a sore right hand, the same type of problem he dealt with late last season and during the spring this year. SS Franklin Barreto was recalled to take his roster spot and started at second base yesterday, with 2B Jed Lowrie moving over to take Chapman’s spot at third.

Philadelphia Phillies

  • SP Zach Eflin was cut short yesterday at 73 pitches when manager Gabe Kapler lifted him for a pinch hitter (the move did work, as the Phillies got two runs with two outs in the inning to extend a 2-0 lead to 4-0),  but he was solid for the five innings he lasted, striking out six and allowing only a run on three singles and a walk. Eflin’s velocity was down a bit for all of his pitches, but he was still higher than his averages last year, so we’re not too worried about that yet. He’s got a couple of tests coming up at Washington and home for the Yankees.

Pittsburgh Pirates

  • OF Austin Meadows was back in the lineup after sitting out two of the last three games. He hit second and went 2-for-4 with a double and a single.
  • 2B/3B Josh Harrison went 2-for-4 with a two-run home run as well as a single that he came around to score on.

San Diego Padres

  • 3B Christian Villanueva went 0-for-3 with three strikeouts yesterday, lowering his batting average to .223. He’s been terrible this month, with just four singles in 34 plate appearances, two runs scored and one RBI. If you can bench him for an alternative in a weekly league next week, we’d do that.

San Francisco Giants

  • 1B Brandon Belt was activated off the disabled list yesterday after missing a little over two weeks due to an emergency appendectomy. He hit cleanup and went 0-for-4.

Seattle Mariners

  • SP Wade LeBlanc delivered his best start of the season last night, shutting out the Red Sox for 7 2/3 innings for his third win of the year. He allowed only two singles on the night while striking out nine. LeBlanc’s cutter has been an elite-level pitch for the last two outings, and he’s made some progress on his curveball, which he only throws about 7 or 8 percent of the time but has still given him a realistic fourth pitch to use. He’ll get the Red Sox next on the road on Friday, then the Orioles on the road the following Wednesday, before getting a two-start week at home against the Angels and Rockies. LeBlanc is risky, but if you can stomach high-risk/high-reward, there’s enough here right now to say he’s a guy that should be at the top of your list.

St. Louis Cardinals

  • OF Marcell Ozuna homered again yesterday. He now has a .404 average, seven homers and 17 RBI this month.
  • Control issues continue to haunt SP Carlos Martinez – he walked six in five innings yesterday, and he was lucky that those walks combined with seven hits allowed only resulted in three runs.

Tampa Bay Rays

  • SP/RP Ryan Yarbrough has been heading toward more a fly ball lean over his last three outings, and it hurt him yesterday as the Yankees hit back-to-back solo home runs off of him to put the game out of reach in the fifth inning. Yarbrough’s two-seam fastball hasn’t been there for him for most of the last month, and with that being his hardest pitch in terms of velocity, his off-speed stuff is suffering because hitters are waiting on it. This is not unexpected for a guy making his first full go through the majors, and at this point it is probably best to leave Yarbrough for AL-only leagues.
  • 2B/3B Christian Arroyo was placed on the disabled list with a strained oblique yesterday, opening a spot for SS Adeiny Hechavarria to be activated. It’ll be worth tracking to see how his return impacts SS Willy Adames.

Texas Rangers

  • 2B Rougned Odor has hit fifth in consecutive games, the first time he’s been that high in the order since early April. He went 1-for-3 with a triple and a walk yesterday, scoring the Rangers’ first run as they came back to win 5-2 after being shut out for the first six innings.

Toronto Blue Jays

  • 2B Devon Travis homered for the second consecutive game yesterday, and it was off three-time Cy Young winner SP Max Scherzer, no less. He also added a single in three at-bats.
  • RP Tyler Clippard got the save yesterday with RP Ryan Tepera unavailable after working 2 2/3 innings over the previous three days.

Washington Nationals

  • 2B Daniel Murphy played the field for the first time yesterday, getting the start at first base. He went 0-for-4 at the plate and still has reached base just twice in 16 plate appearances since returning on Tuesday.

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