Daily Intel – 6/27/2018

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Arizona Diamondbacks

  • 3B Jake Lamb has ripped off multi-hit games in three of his last four starts, going 2-for-4 last night with a double, a walk, two runs scored, and an RBI. He’s shown some improvement at the plate in the last week or so, and his power history is good enough to put him on your radar to monitor over the next week or so. He has the ability to put together a stretch of weeks with elite-level power numbers.

Atlanta Braves

  • OF Ronald Acuna played in a rehab game with Triple-A last night and should be back in the lineup Friday, as the Braves have an early start today and an off day tomorrow that have pushed back the timetable a little. OF Ender Inciarte, who has been hitting leadoff in recent days, including a 1-for-4 game last night, will likely move back down in the order to accommodate Acuna’s return.

Baltimore Orioles

  • SS/3B Tim Beckham got his second straight start at third base last night after returning from the 60-day disabled list on Monday. He hit eighth in both games, and so far he is 1-for-7 at the plate with a double.

Boston Red Sox

  • C Christian Vazquez went 2-for-4 last night with a solo home run, and is now hitting .294 with an .882 OPS thi smonth.

Chicago Cubs

  • Updating two injury items from yesterday: RP Brandon Morrow said he’s feeling good enough to be activated today. 3B Kris Bryant wasn’t feeling better after taking dry swings on Monday, so he hit the 10-day disabled list with his left shoulder issue. He’ll be eligible to return next Tuesday.
  • 2B/SS Javier Baez got the start at third base in Bryant’s place, and he also hit third in the lineup, going 4-for-5 with two homers and five RBI.

Chicago White Sox

  • OF Avisail Garcia hit his first home run yesterday since coming off his 60-day disabled list stint. He’s got a hit in all four of his starts since returning on Friday.

Cincinnati Reds

  • OF Jesse Winker went 3-for-4 with two RBI last night. We predicted a power surge earlier this month, and that hasn’t come completely to fruition yet, but he is hitting .313 (21-for-67) in June, with 14 walks, 12 strikeouts, 17 RBI, four homers, and eight runs scored. He remains one of our top choices for a second half breakout.

Cleveland Indians

  • SP Corey Kluber posted the rarest of rare duds last night, never getting on track early after a 90-minute rain delay before the game. He only last 1 2/3 innings, with the Cardinals hanging six hits, a walk, two homers, and six earned runs on him. Kluber gets a two-start week next week at Kansas City and home for Oakland.

Colorado Rockies 

  • 1B/OF Ian Desmond went 2-for-4 with a home run last night. It was his 12th home run away from Coors Field.

Detroit Tigers

  • The Tigers bullpen has let them down on consecutive nights, first on Monday with previously-dominant RP Joe Jimenez showing cracks, and last night with closer RP Shane Greene allowing a double and two singles in 1/3 of an inning of work, turning a 7-7 tie in the ninth in to a 9-7 loss.

Houston Astros

  • OF Josh Reddick has been sitting against lefties, which hurts any chance at restoring his fantasy value in all formats, as he’s been making good contact this month since returning from the disabled list on June 6. He went 3-for-4 last night with a double and a run scored, and he has multi-hit games in five of his last seven starts.

Kansas City Royals

  • 2B Adalberto Mondesi went 2-for-3 last night with a double and his first home run of the season. He’s started five of the Royals’ last six games, splitting time at second base (three starts) and shortstop (two starts).

Los Angeles Angels

  • SS Andrelton Simmons picked up a hit last night, his sixth time getting one in eight games, but his power his been absent since returning from an ankle injury a few weeks ago. He does hit have an extra-base hit in 48 June at-bats.

Los Angeles Dodgers

  • OF Matt Kemp went 0-for-3 with a walk yesterday and is mired in a mini-slump, with just two hits and two walks in his last 26 plate appearances.

Miami Marlins

  • SP/RP Elieser Hernandez returned to a starting role after spending most of this month in the bullpen, going four innings and striking out a season-high eight. He allowed four hits, two walks, and two runs.

Milwaukee Brewers

  • SP Freddy Peralta went seven one-hit, shutout innings last night against the Royals, striking out 10 and only walking one. This is mostly a matchups thing against a brutal lineup, as Peralta was all over the zone and continues to rely way too much on his four-seam fastball (73 of 102 pitches) to see this type of dominance continuing long-term.
  • 1B Jesus Aguilar homered again last night, also adding a double. He has eight homers this month, 17 on the season, and is slugging .615.

Minnesota Twins

  • SP Lance Lynn got hit a little harder than we expected against the White Sox, allowing eight hits, a walk, and four earned runs in five innings, but his dominance trends remain on the upswing, with eight strikeouts on 15 swinging strikes and 13 called strikes over 90 pitches. His start-to-start effectiveness hinges on his four-seam fastball, which hitters have slugged .545 against this year, though it has been better over the last month or so.

New York Mets

  • 3B Wilmer Flores went 2-for-5 with three RBI last night, continuing his momentum from his pinch-hit appearance on Monday where he launched a three-run homer.
  • SP Steven Matz posted his fourth quality start this month, limiting the Pirates to three runs on six hits and no walks over seven innings. He struck out seven.

New York Yankees

  • OF Aaron Hicks keeps mashing this month, hitting a leadoff homer to open last night’s win and also adding a single, two RBI, and two runs scored.
  • OF Giancarlo Stanton had his third straight multi-hit game last night, going 2-for-5. He’s now hitting .268 on the season, with his recent hot streak setting his season-long paces at 40 homers, and both 97 runs and RBI.

Oakland A’s

  • 2B Jed Lowrie was someone we recommended during his ultra-hot stretch in April, because we figured that if he stayed healthy, he was going to be a producer all year. If he didn’t stay healthy, which has been the story of his career, then you were free to drop him and move on. After a late May to mid-June stretch where he homered once in six weeks, he’s bounced back in the last two weeks  – last night’s 4-for-4 game included his fourth home run in his last seven starts, and he also has a double, 10 RBI, and six runs scored in that period.

Philadelphia Phillies

  • SP Jake Arrieta bumped his cutter usage up to a season-high 34.6 percent last night, but it wasn’t enough to overcome another bad night with his sinker, a pitch OF Aaron Hicks hit out to open the game and the Yankees put in play for hits three more times. In all, Arrieta’s main pitch got nine strikes, 15 balls, and was put in play nine times – that is not going to be viable for his fantasy relevance to remain strong in shallow mixed leagues. Arrieta draws good matchups coming up – the struggling Nats come to Philly this weekend, then he gets road outings at pitcher-friendly Pittsburgh and Miami before the All-Star Break. We’ll know by then how you can handle him in the second half. He finished last night with five innings worked, nine hits allowed, six runs allowed (three earned), with a walk and five strikeouts.

Pittsburgh Pirates

  • OF Gregory Polanco went 2-for-4 last night, hitting a home run for the second consecutive game. Polanco changed his batting stance two weeks ago, and in the 39 plate appearances since then he’s got nine hits, nine walks, three homers, and has only struck out seven times.

San Diego Padres

  • 2B/OF Cory Spangenberg got the start at third base last night, pushing 3B Christian Villanueva to the bench. This is the second time in five games that has happened, so it is fair to assume that manager Andy Green is prioritizing Spangenberg’s playing time, which should result in a 15-20 percent decrease in at-bats for Villanueva if he’s sitting twice a week.

San Francisco Giants

  • SP Derek Holland has allowed just eight earned runs in 26 2/3 innings this month, limiting the Rockies to a run on six hits and two walks yesterday while striking out a season-high eight.
  • RP Sam Dyson got the save last night with RP Mark Melancon and RP Tony Watson sharing the eighth inning setup duties.

Seattle Mariners

  • SS Jean Segura has been very good at the plate this month, with a 3-for-4 night last night boosting his June batting average to .337 with an .843 OPS. Where he’s scuffled is on the bases – after posting a 12-for-14 success rate on steals in the first two months of the year, Segura was caught stealing last night for the fourth time in June, compared to just two successful attempts.

St. Louis Cardinals

  • If you had the guts to start SP Carlos Martinez against Cleveland after his stretch of terrible performances, congratulations. He rewarded you with his best start since coming off the disabled list, going six innings and allowing two runs on six hits and a walk with eight strikeouts. His cutter and fastball were both much better than they had been in his four starts since June 5, and he picked up 19 called strikes and 17 swinging strikes out of his 103 pitches. If you benched Martinez, go ahead and put him back in without reservation.

Tampa Bay Rays

  • SP Nate Eovaldi had some trouble turning over an order for a third time in his previous starts, but yesterday he was so good that he only needed to face 21 batters – three above the minimum – over six shutout innings to get his second win of the year. He didn’t allow a hit until a double by OF Bryce Harper with two outs in the sixth. Eovaldi finished having allowed just that one hit, two walks, and striking out nine, with very good velocity throughout his 100 pitches. Eovaldi gets the Astros next, no easy test, but after that it is road games at the Mets and Twins, both outings that should produce value if you’re looking to speculate on a high-strikeout option.

Texas Rangers

  • Maybe the threat of INF/OF Isiah Kiner-Falefa taking playing time behind the plate has motivated C Robinson Chirinos. He homered yesterday for the second time in three starts, and he’s 6-for-13 at the plate in the last week with those two homers, two doubles, six RBI, and four runs scored. Chirinos has top-shelf power for the catcher position, so keep an eye on him if he’s starting to heat up. Summer games in Arlington are a great source of unexpected power numbers.

Toronto Blue Jays

  • SP Ryan Borucki made his major-league debut on the mound last night, delivering a quality start in a tough spot at Houston. He went six innings and allowed two runs on six hits and four walks, striking out three. Borucki was the Blue Jays’ number four prospect entering this season, according to John Sickels of Minor League Ball. He seems like he has the pedigree to be a good fantasy option if he gets starts the rest of the way. Here’s Sickels’ scouting report: “missed most of 2013-2015 with injuries including Tommy John but has been healthy and effective for two years now; low-90s sinker plays up due to contrast with plus change-up, decent breaking ball; throws all pitches for strikes, good feel for his craft; could be a fine number three starter if health issues don’t recur.”

Washington Nationals

  • The Nats’ offense is completely lost right now, having now been shut out more in 2018 than they were all of last year following yesterday’s 1-0 loss at Tampa Bay. OF Adam Eaton went 0-for-3 with a strikeout and has only one hit in his last 14 at-bats, having struck out five times in that span. He did play both games in the Rays’ series after sitting out three of the last four games last week, but Eaton is a hard guy to start in shallow mixed leagues right now.

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