Daily Intel – 6/25/2018

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Arizona Diamondbacks

  • RP Brad Boxberger picked up the save yesterday, allowing only a single in the ninth inning. After some rough patches with his velocity, Boxberger’s fastball hung around 91 mph yesterday, the same range it has been for the bulk of the season when he was performing better. We’re not that worried about his job…yet.

Atlanta Braves

  • OF Ender Inciarte has been back at the top of the order for the last three games. Inciarte’s batting average has been hanging in the .250-260 range for most of the month, but if he can hold on to this spot in the lineup when OF Ronald Acuna Jr. returns, he’ll remain a top-20 option at the position.

Baltimore Orioles

  • 1B Chris Davis had a positive overall weekend back in the lineup after sitting for almost two weeks. Despite an 0-for-4 day yesterday, he did hit a double and a home run over the weekend and walked twice on Friday.

Boston Red Sox

  • OF Mookie Betts was back in the lineup after missing Saturday’s game with an illness. He went 0-for-3 with three strikeouts.
  • SP Chris Sale was dominant yesterday, striking out 13 Mariners over seven shutout innings, and allowing only four hits and a walk.

Chicago Cubs

  • OF Albert Almora Jr. homered yesterday, part of a three-hit day that also included two singles. Almora Jr.’s batting average on balls in play is .378, well above league average, but he’s always been the type of hitter that’s posted a higher BABIP. He should be able to maintain a batting average above .300, which will get him to 90 or so runs scored on the season.

Chicago White Sox

  • SP Carlos Rodon only needed 99 pitches to go eight strong innings yesterday, limiting the A’s to seven hits and two runs, striking out three and walking none. Both of Rodon’s fastballs were living too high in the zone to be a success plan long-term, but it is hard not to be impressed with this level of success so early in his return, especially with the strong velocity he is showing. Rodon gets the Rangers on the road next over the weekend, and we’d be fine starting him in most formats. If you have safer alternatives and need them, we would be fine with not taking the risk in a homer-friendly park.

Cincinnati Reds

  • The Reds have won seven in a row on the strength of a very good lineup. OF Scott Schebler and C Tucker Barnhart have settled in as the top two hitters at the top of the order, and both guys reached base multiple times yesterday (Schebler twice and Barnhart three times).

Cleveland Indians

  • More production at the plate for OF Rajai Davis – he went 2-for-2 with a stolen base, two runs scored and an RBI yesterday.
  • SP Adam Plutko had a productive return to the major league rotation, going six innings in a win yesterday against Detroit. He allowed six hits, no walks, and two runs, striking out four.

Colorado Rockies 

  • SP German Marquez had another bad start at home, allowing six runs (five earned) over 3 1/3 innings on nine hits and three walks. He struck out six. We still trust Marquez on the road and would start him this weekend at the Dodgers.

Detroit Tigers

  • SP Matt Boyd has been hit around twice in a row, giving up eight hits and two walks over three innings, leading to six earned runs. Boyd’s slider, which has been by far his best pitch this season, was put in play for hits four times yesterday. Boyd doesn’t have a good enough fastball to succeed if that slider is giving up multiple hits per game, and for now we’d recommend benching him in his next start at Toronto to see if he can get his stuff back on track.

Houston Astros

  • 1B Yuli Gurriel doubled his season’s home run total over the last two days, going deep in back-to-back games over the weekend. Gurriel is an elite contact hitter and has shown the ability to produce power before; there’s a good chance the two doubles and two homers he’s produced over the last two games are the start of a nice run that boosts his current .429 slugging percentage. He also has multi-hit games in five of his last 10 starts.

Kansas City Royals

  • 1B Lucas Duda homered in his second game back off the disabled list yesterday, his lone hit in three at-bats out of the cleanup spot. Duda is probably not long for Kansas City, but if he gets traded to a good hitters park where he can play every day, he should have some value in the power categories down the stretch.

Los Angeles Angels

  • SP/RP Felix Pena was solid in his second start since joining the Angels, getting 15 swinging strikes and 15 called strikes on 83 pitches, and lasting five innings while allowing eight hits, a walk, and three runs. He struck out six. Pena may not get another turn in the rotation with SP Tyler Skaggs due back today and SP Garrett Richards on the mend, but the 28-year-old has shown enough signs of strikeout ability to be worth a look if he gets an extended shot in an injury-prone Angels’ rotation.

Los Angeles Dodgers

  • SS/OF Chris Taylor sat again yesterday with a hamstring injury, and while a disabled list stint is still 50/50 at this point, SS/OF Enrique Hernandez took advantage of the opening yesterday. Leading off and playing short, Hernandez went 3-for-6 with two solo homers and three runs scored. If you have Taylor in a weekly league, it may be best to sit him this week if you have an alternative, in case the Dodgers decide at the last minute to put him on the DL.

Miami Marlins

  • SP Caleb Smith last just more than an inning yesterday before leaving due to left shoulder tightness. If you have him in a weekly league, we’d go ahead and bench him with his status unclear.

Milwaukee Brewers

  • 3B Travis Shaw’s balky right wrist was an issue again yesterday, and he left the game early after fouling a ball off and showing clear pain. This is feeling like something that will either bother Shaw and impact him at the plate or will send him to the disabled list.

Minnesota Twins

  • RP Fernando Rodney had another perfect outing in his surprisingly great season yesterday, striking out all three Texas batters he faced for his 17th save of the year.

New York Mets

  • OF Brandon Nimmo was hit by a pitch on the hand yesterday in the third inning and left the game. Initial X-rays showed nothing broken, and Nimmo said he felt OK, but there will be an MRI today to ensure there’s nothing severe that would cause a disabled list stint.

New York Yankees

  • C Gary Sanchez injured his groin late in yesterday’s game and is likely going to need a disabled list stint.
  • SP Domingo German had trouble commanding most of his four-pitch mix yesterday, with only the curveball working somewhat effectively. The result was a three-inning beatdown from a cold Tampa Bay lineup, which hung nine hits and six runs on him. German’s next start is home against Boston over the weekend, and we would not use him in any format.

Oakland A’s

  • 1B/OF Mark Canha homered yesterday for the third time in six games. Canha runs hot and cold, and while there is a lot of swing-and-miss in his game right now, there’s a good chance he’ll produce a stretch of weeks with multiple home runs should he continue to get playing time.

Philadelphia Phillies

  • 1B/OF Rhys Hoskins went 2-for-4 with a two-run homer and a stolen base last night. He’s been killing the ball since coming off the disabled list on June 9, hitting .320 with a 1.057 OPS in 50 at-bats.

Pittsburgh Pirates

  • OF Corey Dickerson went 0-for-3 with a strikeout yesterday. Other than a two-double game on June 16, Dickerson hasn’t had an extra-base hit since June 1, and he hasn’t homered since May 4.

San Diego Padres

  • C Austin Hedges was activated off the disabled list after missing an extended period with elbow issues. He started and hit seventh, going 0-for-4 with a strikeout.

San Francisco Giants

  • RP Dereck Rodriguez, as we expected after his first start, has taken advantage of the opposition not having a book on him and a relatively easy schedule to produce a good statistical profile so far. Yesterday’s start at home against the Padres was his best yet – seven innings, four hits, a walk, one run, six strikeouts – and while his upcoming schedule isn’t quite as easy with the Diamondbacks, Cardinals, and Cubs, the Arizona start is at their park and the latter two starts come at his hitter friendly home park. If you own Rodriguez, we’d continue using him. If you don’t, there’s no need to go out and add him.

Seattle Mariners

  • 3B Kyle Seager went 0-for-3 with three strikeouts yesterday, and after a hot stretch earlier this month, he’s morphed in to something of an all-or-nothing hitter. He’s got five hits in his last five games and eight in his last 10, but he’s also struck out seven times in his last five games and 16 times in his last 10 games.

St. Louis Cardinals

  • SP Luke Weaver showed improvement on his four-seam fastball yesterday – although he allowed four hits on the eight times it was put in play, only one of them went for extra bases, and he was able to get eight swinging strikes and 12 called strikes over the 67 times he threw it. Considering the absolute sinkhole the pitch was in his last few starts, any minor step forward like this worth monitoring. For the day, Weaver went five innings and struck out nine, allowing five hits, two walks, and two earned runs. 75 of his 104 pitches were strikes.

Tampa Bay Rays

  • OF Carlos Gomez has been better at the plate recently – his 2-for-4 day yesterday included a double, a walk, two RBI and two runs scored. He’s reached base in his last eight games, but the power still isn’t showing up, with only three doubles over that time.
  • RP Sergio Romo worked two innings yesterday, so we’d expect him to be unavailable for tonight’s opener of a two-game set against the Nationals.

Texas Rangers

  • SS Isiah Kiner-Falefa got his second start this week at catcher. It looks like he’s going to be doing this at least twice a week, sometimes three times, which makes him eligible at catcher in most leagues by the second week of July. When he gets that eligibility, we’d rank him in the top 15 at the position, so long as he continues to get another start or two each week in the infield.

Toronto Blue Jays

  • DH Kendrys Morales homered again yesterday in a pinch hit appearance. Morales has three homers this week and four for the month of June to go with five doubles. He’s been showing much-improved power since ditching the glasses he started in spring training, and while his value is limited by his lack of an actual position to play him at in fantasy, you could do worse in terms of high-upside power lottery ticket if that’s the category you need to beef up on.

Washington Nationals

  • 2B Daniel Murphy had his first really good game since returning from the disabled list, going 3-for-4 with a walk and two RBI. He is solidly entrenched as the everyday first baseman right now, usually batting fifth, with 2B/SS/3B Wilmer Difo playing second base.

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