Daily Intel – 7/27/2018

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Arizona Diamondbacks

  • RP Brad Boxberger gave up back-to-back home runs in the ninth inning yesterday to blow his fifth save of the season, taking a 6-4 lead and turning it in to a one-run loss in the span of three pitches. It was Boxberger’s first run allowed since June 27, a span of eight appearances.

Atlanta Braves

  • OF Ender Inciarte was dropped to eighth in the order yesterday, the first time he’s been that low since June 19. He went 0-for-3 and remains without a stolen base, his most valuable asset right now, since July 4.

Baltimore Orioles

  • 2B Jonathan Schoop homered for the fourth consecutive game yesterday, going 2-for-5 with two RBI. He now has 15 home runs on the year and seven in July, as he’s posted a .702 slugging percentage this month.

Boston Red Sox

  • In what will be his final start, at least for now, SP Brian Johnson shut out the Twins for 5 2/3 innings, allowing four hits and three walks while striking out five.

Chicago Cubs

  • 3B Kris Bryant was placed on the disabled list with the same left shoulder issue that cost him time earlier this month. He’s going to have an MRI today and could miss more than the minimum.
  • 3B David Bote started at second base yesterday with 2B/3B/OF Ian Happ getting the start at Bryant’s position, and Bote should see close to regular playing time while Bryant is out. He went 2-for-4 with a home run, two RBI, and two runs scored.

Chicago White Sox

  • We mentioned yesterday that 1B Jose Abreu was coming out of a slump, and he extended that yesterday with a two-home run day, driving in three runs, scoring three times, and walking once.
  • OF Daniel Palka also homered twice yesterday, his 13th and 14th home runs on the season. Palka has seven home runs in July, but besides that he’s only picked up six hits in his other 54 at-bats this month, giving him a .213 batting average overall.

Cincinnati Reds

  • OF Jesse Winker will miss the rest of the season with a shoulder injury that will require surgery.
  • SP Tyler Mahle got beat up for the third straight start, allowing three earned runs, six hits, and a walk in just one inning of work. For July, he now has a 8.62 ERA and 2.11 WHIP over 15 2/3 innings of work. His next matchup comes Wednesday against Detroit, but we wouldn’t feel comfortable starting Mahle in any format shallower than 15-team mixed. He’s one more bad start away from being worth dropping in those shallower mixed formats, as well.

Cleveland Indians

  • RP Andrew Miller said he’s feeling good after his fourth minor league rehab appearances on Tuesday, and he’ll likely be tasked with back-to-back appearances this weekend before a potential return to the Cleveland bullpen next week.

Colorado Rockies 

  • SP German Marquez will return to the rotation on Sunday after missing most of this week on paternity leave.

Detroit Tigers

  • The Tigers will work with a four-man rotation over the next two weeks, as they have four days off in that span. That means SP Blaine Hardy is going back to the bullpen, at least temporarily, as SP Francisco Liriano could/should be traded before next Tuesday, re-opening a spot for Hardy.

Houston Astros

  • C Martin Maldonado was acquired from the Angels. Maldonado was playing every day in Los Angeles and is one of the top defensive catchers in the league, but we still don’t see this impacting C Max Stassi’s playing time volume.

Kansas City Royals

  • 2B/SS Adalberto Mondesi hasn’t been able to climb the batting order, getting slotted in the nine hole yesterday for his first start since July 15 (he missed time due to a family issue), but he continues to produce – his two hits yesterday gave him three consecutive starts with multiple hits and an overall six-game hitting streak, and he added his third steal of the month yesterday to get to six on the season.

Los Angeles Angels

  • C Martin Maldonado was traded to Houston, providing C Francisco Arcia with a chance to make his major league debut, which he made the most of with a 2-for-4 day that included a three-run home run, an RBI single, and a walk. Arcia is worth owning in all AL-only leagues and could prove to have value in two-catcher leagues if we see over the next two weeks that he’s getting 15-18 plate appearances per week.

Los Angeles Dodgers

  • In an up-and-down season, SP Rich Hill seems to have finally found his grove, posting what may have been his best start of the season yesterday in shutting out the Braves for seven innings on three hits and a walk. He struck out eight. For July, Hill has pitched 26 innings and struck out 31, posting an ERA of 2.42 and a WHIP of 1.12.

Miami Marlins

  • OF Cameron Maybin went 2-for-4 yesterday with an RBI, also getting picked off. The latter was his first unsuccessful stolen base attempt since May 28. He continues to have a strong month, hitting .328 overall with a .438 on-base percentage and five stolen bases.

Milwaukee Brewers

  • RP Corey Knebel had another rough outing, albeit one where he earned a save, yesterday, allowing two runs on two hits and a walk in 1 1/3 innings. He struck out three, which is a good sign considering he had only struck out two batters total in his previous 6 2/3 innings. Still, Knebel has allowed runs in four of his last eight outings, and it wouldn’t stun us if the Brewers acquired a reliever that could steal saves from him the rest of the way.

Minnesota Twins

  • SP Kyle Gibson had perhaps his best start of the season yesterday, going 120 pitches and eight innings on the road against a tough Boston lineup, limiting them to just a double, three singles, two walks, and one earned run. He struck out seven. Gibson is a trade candidate, and we’re believers in his breakout this year thanks to an improved slider; even a move to a more hitter-friendly park wouldn’t dissuade us from using him every time out.

New York Mets

  • 1B/3B Wilmer Flores is taking advantage of the every day playing time that has come with injuries to 1B/3B Todd Frazier and OF Jay Bruce – yesterday’s 2-for-4 effort, which included a home run, three RBI, two runs, and a walk, was his eighth game with a hit in his last nine starts since July 13.

New York Yankees

  • SP J.A. Happ was added via a trade with Toronto yesterday, as the Yankees off-loaded a roster piece (2B/3B Brandon Drury) and a close-to-ready minor leaguer (OF Billy McKinney). Happ has pitched better on the road (2.60 ERA) than at home in Toronto (5.22 ERA), but Yankee Stadium is a far worse park for lefties than Toronto, so we’re not sure Happ gains any bump from the trade other than being more likely to win if he pitch better and get past five innings.
  • OF Aaron Judge will miss at least three weeks after being hit by a pitch on the right wrist and suffering a chip fracture. Judge won’t need surgery, but this still will dampen his value even when he returns, as wrist injuries are notoriously damaging to hitters’ value.

Oakland A’s

  • 3B Matt Chapman went 3-for-3 yesterday with a solo home run, two doubles, a walk, and three runs scored. He’s hitting .429 in 31 plate appearances over the last seven days, with nine runs scored and five RBI.

Philadelphia Phillies

  • 1B/OF Rhys Hoskins homered twice yesterday to get to 20 on the season. He has six homers in his last six games and is hitting .295 with a 1.165 OPS over the last 15 days.
  • SP Ranger Suarez made his major league debut in a spot start, picking up the win despite allowing four runs over five innings on six hits and a walk. He struck out three. Suarez is only 22 years old and, more importantly, is a lefty, so we’ll be seeing more of him as a rotation mainstay soon, perhaps as early as 2019.

Pittsburgh Pirates

  • SP Nick Kingham lost a stretch of three consecutive quality starts yesterday, allowing six earned runs on seven hits and four walks over three innings against the Mets. He only struck out one.

San Diego Padres

  • The Padres have been connected to SP Chris Archer in trade talks over the last week; a move to Petco Park would give Archer a tremendous boost in value, as would a move out of the AL East.

San Francisco Giants

  • 1B Brandon Belt was placed on the disabled list with the knee injury he suffered against Seattle late in Wednesday’s game, opening up a roster spot for 3B Evan Longoria to be activated after missing more than a month with a broken hand. Longoria started yesterday and went 2-for-4 with a run scored.

Seattle Mariners

  • Rumors continue to swirl around the Mariners adding a starting pitcher – if they do, it looks like SP Wade LeBlanc would potentially move to the bullpen, or the team could go with a six-man rotation, which would limit the workload on ace SP James Paxton.

St. Louis Cardinals

  • Top prospect SP Dakota Hudson will likely be called up today with a shot to start on Sunday against the Cubs. Scheduled Sunday starter SP John Gant worked in relief on Wednesday, which could open the spot for Hudson, who has pitched 110 2/3 innings in the minors this year with a 2.34 ERA and 87 strikeouts.

Tampa Bay Rays

  • RP Sergio Romo was brought in to another non-save spot yesterday, asked to get the Rays out of a seventh inning jam and succeeding. He went on to earn the first two outs of the eighth, allowing a solo home run, before turning the ball over to RP Austin Pruitt, who closed out the final four outs with three strikeouts and a pop out for his second save of the year.

Texas Rangers

  • RP Keone Kela could be traded in the next few days; if you’re looking for a speculative saves option in deep leagues, we’d go with RP Jake Diekman. 

Toronto Blue Jays

  • With the Jays adding 2B/3B Brandon Drury in a trade with the Yankees, SS/3B/OF Yangervis Solarte could be a trade chip, according to Gregor Chisholm of MLB.com. Drury could have immediate value with every day playing time in Toronto; in the short-term, at third base with 3B Josh Donaldson injured; and, in the long-term, at second base. If you’re in a league where you owned Drury already, this move does nothing to hurt his short-term value.

Washington Nationals

  • It was only one start back for SP Stephen Strasburg, who ended up on the disabled list again yesterday with a pinched nerve in his neck. The team said an MRI on his shoulder revealed no issues, though. There’s no timetable on Strasburg’s return.

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