Daily Intel – 7/26/2018

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Arizona Diamondbacks

  • OF A.J. Pollock went 1-for-4 yesterday with a solo home run, and he’s posted a .429 batting average (9-for-21) in five games since the All-Star Break, with eight runs scored.
  • SP Robbie Ray was fantastic over seven innings in taking a no decision yesterday, allowing only one run on two doubles, two singles, and a walk. He struck out nine and generated 11 ground ball outs, a season high. This was Ray’s best start in terms of doing things that provide hope for his starts moving forward, and we’d be comfortable starting him in all formats next week with two home starts against the Rangers and Giants.

Atlanta Braves

  • With the Braves being off yesterday, there are two updates on injured starting pitchers: SP Brandon McCarthy still isn’t close to returning due to knee issues, and if you are holding on to him in NL-only leagues, we’d say it is safe to move on. SP Mike Soroka is still two weeks away, at a minimum, from beginning a throwing program. He’s in the same boat as McCarthy.

Baltimore Orioles

  • SP Chris Tillman declined his assignment to Triple-A and will become a free agent, most likely ending his time as an Oriole. Keep an eye on where he ends up, because if he ever gets another start in the majors, we’d start every hitter you can against him.

Boston Red Sox

  • The Sox acquired SP Nathan Eovaldi from the Rays about an hour before he was scheduled to start against the Yankees. He is slotted in to SP Brian Johnson’s slot in the rotation and will start on Sunday against the Twins; Johnson will start today for the final time and move to the bullpen. Eovaldi should be owned in all leagues if he wasn’t already.

Chicago Cubs

  • The bullpen alignment yesterday with a late inning tie and, then, one-run lead, saw RP Carl Edwards Jr. work the seventh and eighth innings for the win and RP Pedro Strop work the ninth, his third save chance in less than a week. Unlike his last chance on Saturday, which he blew, Strop converted yesterday, allowing just a single in an inning to close out the 2-1 win. If the Cubs don’t acquire a closer in the next week, Strop will end up being worth owning in all formats thanks to RP Brandon Morrow’s injury issues.

Chicago White Sox

  • 1B Jose Abreu has hits in four straight games after going 2-for-4 last night with a double. It’s a good step toward regaining some of the value he lost in a stretch between June 1 and the All-Star Break where he only hit five home runs and dropped almost 50 points in batting average.

Cincinnati Reds

  • OF Adam Duvall went 2-for-3 with a double, home run, two runs scored, and a walk yesterday. With news that OF Jesse Winker may be headed to the disabled list with a shoulder issue, Duvall is gaining momentum as a valuable source of power in shallow leagues.

Cleveland Indians

  • Newly-acquired RPs Adam Cimber and Brad Hand combined to close out SP Trevor Bauer’s two-hitter yesterday, with Cimber getting two outs in the seventh and Hand getting the final four outs of the game for his first save as an Indian, including three strikeouts.
  • 2B/3B Jose Ramirez went 0-for-2 yesterday, but in a sign of his truly transcendent fantasy season, he walked twice and turned that in to two stolen bases and two runs scored. He’s got 22 steals on the year.

Colorado Rockies 

  • It is safe to say that SP Jon Gray is back to his full value level and worth owning and using in all leagues. He held the Astros to a double, two walks, and one earned run last night over seven innings, striking out six.
  • The Rox acquired RP Seung Hwan Oh from Toronto, and he’ll serve as a middle innings reliever to support relief ace RP Adam Ottavino and closer RP Wade Davis. 

Detroit Tigers

  • C John Hicks was behind the plate yesterday for only the fifth time since June 13th, and perhaps not coincidentally he had his best game in weeks, going 2-for-3 with two walks, a double, and two runs scored. He’s barely hitting above .200 for the month but remains worth using in all two-catcher leagues because of his volume playing time.

Houston Astros

  • 2B Jose Altuve left last night’s game with soreness in his right knee, though he said he thinks he’ll be able to play tomorrow. Still, this is an issue that has been bothering him for a few days, and may explain why he’s only attempted two steals since June 28.

Kansas City Royals

  • 2B/OF Whit Merrifield went 2-for-5 yesterday with a triple, a single, two runs scored, a walk, an RBI, and a stolen base.
  • The good vibes around SP Danny Duffy ended yesterday, as he allowed seven earned runs on nine hits and two walks in 5 2/3 innings. Regression was to be expected after Duffy only allowed one run in his previous 20 innings, but it was a little disconcerting to see him struggle at his pitcher-friendly home park against a bad lineup. Duffy is lined up to start next against the White Sox, but there’s a very real chance he’s traded before then. He remains a risk-filled matchup play in mixed league formats.

Los Angeles Angels

  • DH Shohei Ohtani is warming up at the plate, hitting a home run last night for the second consecutive start. He has hits in four of his five starts since the All-Star Break.
  • SP Tyler Skaggs was great over six innings last night, striking out nine and allowing only four hits, no walks, and an earned run. He’s now 8-6 on the season and has six quality starts in his last seven outings.

Los Angeles Dodgers

  • SP Walker Buehler was called back up from Triple-A yesterday for his first start since July 13, allowing five earned runs on five hits and a walk over 4 2/3 innings, taking his third loss of the year. He struck out five. Buehler has seemingly ditched his changeup again after throwing it close to 20 percent of the time over his last two outings, so he’s going to have to find a way to make his curveball more effective if he’s going to succeed long-term.

Miami Marlins

  • OF Magneuris Sierra was recalled earlier this week with 1B/OF Garrett Cooper going on the disabled list. If Sierra can get regular playing time with Cooper and OF Lewis Brinson still out, he could have value for deep mixed league owners looking for speed, as he had 14 steals over 86 games in Triple-A this year.

Milwaukee Brewers

  • SP Freddy Peralta was recalled from Triple-A for his first start since July 11, and he was worse than he was in that short outing (3 2/3 innings, three earned runs), allowing seven earned runs on four hits and four walks in six innings. Peralta is throwing enough strikes with his four-seam fastball, which is his pitch of choice about 75 percent of the time, but hitters are waiting on it now, as he can’t find a way to work a third pitch (usually, a changeup) in to the mix.

Minnesota Twins

  • SP Ervin Santana was decent in his first start of the season, throwing 60 of his 97 pitches for strikes and going five innings, allowing seven hits, a walk, and three runs. He struck out five. Santana’s command was not good, with pitches all over the strike zone and misses both very high and very low. He also only generated seven swinging strikes on those 97 pitches, and all of his pitches were down considerably in velocity from last year. We wouldn’t own him anywhere but AL-only leagues, for now.

New York Mets

  • A twist in the Mets’ bullpen, as RP Robert Gsellman, who we presumed would be the closer moving forward, working the final two outs of the seventh inning in yesterday’s game before ceding to RP Anthony Swarzak, who closed out the game with three strikeouts in the eighth and ninth inning to earn his second save.
  • OF Yoenis Cespedes will have surgery on both of his heels and will be out until at least Opening Day next year, with the potential to miss up to two months of the 2019 season.

New York Yankees

  • C Gary Sanchez won’t return to the lineup until late August or early September, according to general manager Brian Cashman. If you are in a shallow league and need a reserve spot, there’s a case to be made to dump Sanchez. It’d be hard to do that in 12-team leagues and larger, though.

Oakland A’s

  • OF Khris Davis did it again last night, single-handedly carrying the A’s to a 6-5 win with a three-run homer that cut the Texas lead from 5-1 to 5-4, and a two-run homer with two outs and two strikes in the top of the ninth to give the A’s the lead they eventually won with. Davis now has 27 homers and 77 RBI on the season.

Philadelphia Phillies

  • RP Seranthony Dominguez picked up his 10th save of the season yesterday, but for the second time this week he’s displayed some concerning command issues. On Monday, he walked three of the five batters he faced. Yesterday, he walked two of the six batters he faced and uncorked two wild pitches.
  • 1B Carlos Santana went 2-for-3 with a triple, a run scored, a walk, and three RBI yesterday.

Pittsburgh Pirates

  • OF Starling Marte was hit by a pitch on his left hand in the second inning of yesterday’s game and had to leave after getting thrown out on a stolen base attempt. He’ll get evaluated today, though he said after the game he felt better.

San Diego Padres

  • C Austin Hedges went 2-for-4 with a solo home run and a single yesterday. He’s now hitting .333 in July (17-for-51) with three home runs and seven RBI, a performance that should help him temporarily hold off newly-acquired top prospect C Francisco Mejia. 

San Francisco Giants

  • 1B/OF Brandon Belt left yesterday’s game with a knee issue and will miss this weekend’s series, at the very least.

Seattle Mariners

  • 2B/OF Dee Gordon went 1-for-2 with a run scored and, thankfully, his first successful stolen base attempt since July 2nd, a span of 62 plate appearances where, almost as shockingly, Gordon hasn’t walked once.

St. Louis Cardinals

  • OF Dexter Fowler had another solid game yesterday, going 1-for-2 with two walks and two runs scored.
  • SP Jack Flaherty has only gone beyond five innings once in his last six starts, but yesterday he did strikeout eight batters in five innings. That’s after he struck out nine in five innings in his last start. Flaherty’s dominance has ticked up since the start of June, with 68 strikeouts in 50 2/3 innings, but he’s also allowed nine home runs in that period. We like Flaherty in most outings, but there is a need to be careful when he faces strong lineups and/or is in a bad park for right-handed pitchers.

Tampa Bay Rays

  • SP Jalen Beeks was acquired by the Rays in a deal for SP Nathan Eovaldi. Beeks is a good fit for the Rays, as a polished product that is ready for a hybrid relief/starter role. He’s had one of the best seasons in Triple-A so far this year, striking out 117 batters in 87.1 innings with a 2.89 ERA and 1.09 WHIP. Beeks could be up this weekend for the Rays’ series in Baltimore, and would have instant value in AL-only leagues and, potentially 15-team leagues.

Texas Rangers

  • C Robinson Chirinos hit a three-run home run yesterday and has hits in seven of his last eight starts.
  • 2B Rougned Odor went 1-for-3 with a walk, a run scored, an RBI, and his ninth stolen base of the season. He was also picked off. Odor could steal another dozen bases or so in the final two months of the year with his current base running approach.

Toronto Blue Jays

  • 2B/SS Lourdes Gurriel Jr. is doing a lot of good work with his newfound regular playing time. He went 2-for-4 yesterday and now his multiple hits in seven consecutive starts dating back to July 11. He’s hitting over .400 this month in more than 50 at-bats and should be locked in to full-time at-bats the rest of the way as the Jays throttle down and begin preparing for 2019.

Washington Nationals

  • After allowing 17 runs in his final three starts before the All-Star Break, SP Tanner Roark had his best start of the season yesterday against a good Milwaukee lineup in a tough environment for pitchers at Miller Park. He struck out 11 over eight scoreless innings, allowing only three hits and a walk. He’s now set up for a good two-start week at home next week against the Mets and Reds. If you want to take a risk on a starter and need, say, wins to catch up in the standings, Roark is worth taking that risk on.

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