Daily Intel – 7/28/2018

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Arizona Diamondbacks

  • 3B Jake Lamb ended up on the disabled list yesterday with a left shoulder contusion, and in a related move the team acquired SS/3B Eduardo Escobar from the Twins. Escobar should not lose or gain much value in this deal, as we still expect him to play every day. He’s hitting .274 this year with a .852 OPS and a majors-leading 37 doubles.
  • SP Zack Greinke won another start last night, allowing only a run in seven innings while striking out six against the Padres.

Atlanta Braves

  • We’re ready to re-evaluate SP Mike Foltynewicz’s status for mixed leagues. He’s now gone two months without posting a quality start, a span of eight outings. The problem, until recently, has been his ability to get deep in to games, but now he’s having a run-prevention issue after allowing four earned runs on six hits and three walks in five innings. Two of those hits were home runs, and he’s allowed six of those in his last four starts, where he’s also allowed 18 earned runs. Folty gets a must-start matchup next week at home against Miami, but after that we’d be judging him on matchups before putting him in our lineups, especially when he’s at home in his hitter-friendly park.

Baltimore Orioles

  • 2B Jonathan Schoop stayed hot last night with another home run, his eighth of the month, as part of a 3-for-6 night that included three RBI and two runs scored.
  • SP Andrew Cashner won his first home start as an Oriole, posting a quality start with two runs allowed on five hits and three walks in six innings. He was able to work out of a few jams, but only struck out two.

Boston Red Sox

  • We’re going to sound a minor alarm on RP Craig Kimbrel, who blew a save yesterday after walking three batters and allowing a hit and two runs in 1 1/3 innings. He’s allowed runs in consecutive outings, but more worrisome is the fact that he’s only struck out one batter since the All-Star Break and has allowed eight fly balls in those three appearances. Nobody is benching Kimbrel, this is just something to track for his next outing.
  • OF Jackie Bradley Jr. went 2-for-4 with a two-run home run and a single.

Chicago Cubs

  • SP Mike Montgomery looks to be running out of gas, allowing 12 hits, walk, and five earned runs in five innings yesterday against the Cardinals. This is probably the end of the line for Montgomery as a starter this season, with SP Cole Hamels coming in and SP Tyler Chatwood seemingly too expensive to send to the bullpen.

Chicago White Sox

  • OF Nicky Delmonico went 2-for-4 yesterday with two triples, two runs scored, and an RBI. He’s played every day since returning last week from a two-month absence, and has hits in four consecutive games.

Cincinnati Reds

  • It is now three straight starts for SP Anthony DeSclafani not making it out of the fifth inning, and eight straight starts where he’s allowed a home run. He went 4 1/3 innings last night in a no-decision against Philly, allowing five hits, two walks, and three earned runs. He at least struck out seven, a season-high, but with 15 home runs allowed in 52 2/3 innings, DeSclafani is impossible to trust in any format right now.

Cleveland Indians

  • 1B Yonder Alonso went 2-for-3 yesterday with a walk, two runs scored, a home run, and two RBI. Alonso has four home runs in his last six starts and now has 17 homers and 60 RBI on the year. He’s a solid top-15 option at first base.

Colorado Rockies 

  • RP Wade Davis was unavailable yesterday due to workload, so RP Adam Ottavino saved his fourth game of the year with a perfect ninth inning.
  • SP Kyle Freeland’s breakout season continued, as he shutout the A’s for six innings yesterday, limiting them to a double, four singles, and three walks. He struck out five. Freeland hasn’t struck out more than five batters in his last eight starts, but he’s not a risk to get blown up at home (2.45 ERA on the season) like so many other Colorado pitchers have been, which makes him worth consideration in shallow mixed leagues and a must-own in deeper mixed leagues.

Detroit Tigers

  • In what will almost surely be his last start as a Tiger, SP Mike Fiers posted a quality start, allowing three runs in six innings on five hits and two walks. He struck out four. That’s six straight quality starts for Fiers dating back to June 27, and a trade to contender that can win him more games would make him relevant in 12-team mixed leagues.

Houston Astros

  • 2B Jose Altuve wasn’t able to return yesterday after leaving Wednesday’s game with right knee soreness. The Astros say it is precautionary, but it could also be precautionary for them to tell Altuve to not steal any bases for the rest of the regular season, which we could see happening.
  • RP Chris Devenski has totally fallen apart. He’s pitched twice since the All-Star Break and hasn’t recorded an out, allowing seven hits, two walks, and eight earned runs. For the month of July, he’s pitched eight times and has gone five innings, allowing 13 earned runs (23.40 ERA) and 18 baserunners (3.60 WHIP).

Kansas City Royals

  • OF Brett Phillips was added in a trade with Milwaukee yesterday. Phillips has been considered a top-end prospect entering most of the last few years, but he’s drifted away from that status as he’s aged, and now, at 24, he should get his shot right away to answer questions about the long-term viability of his bat in a corner outfield spot. He’s an AL-only add as soon as he comes up, but we’d wait on him even in the deepest of mixed leagues.

Los Angeles Angels

  • After a walk-off home run yesterday, we’re ready to say OF Kole Calhoun should be owned in all leagues. He’s made a clear change at the plate since returning to the lineup in mid-June, and now for July he’s hitting .311 with nine home runs, seven doubles, 19 runs scored, and 20 RBI.

Los Angeles Dodgers

  • OF Alex Verdugo will be sent down today despite having hits in three consecutive games and hitting a solo home run yesterday, because OF Yasiel Puig is set to return to the lineup after missing three weeks with an oblique issue.
  • SP Clayton Kershaw struck out eight in 7 2/3 innings for his fourth win of the year, allowing only a run on a double and five singles. He also went 1-for-1 at the plate with two RBI and three walks.

Miami Marlins

  • RP Kyle Barraclough bounced back last night after a rough set of appearances in Tampa Bay over the weekend. He struck out one and allowed a single in an inning.

Milwaukee Brewers

  • 3B Mike Moustakas moved from Kansas City to Milwaukee yesterday, a move that will shift 3B Travis Shaw over to second base full-time as Moustakas plays his regular position at third.

Minnesota Twins

  • With SS/3B Eduardo Escobar shipped out to Arizona, 3B Miguel Sano made his long-awaited return to the big club yesterday. Sano is only relevant if you need a Hail Mary shot to boost your power – there’s talk that he’s lost weight in the six weeks he spent in the minors (mostly at Single-A in Florida), but he also didn’t hit for much power and only worked at Triple-A for four games before being called back up. Nevertheless, the team sounds positive on him and he should play every day at third base.

New York Mets

  • 2B/SS/3B Asdrubal Cabrera was traded to Philadelphia yesterday, meaning 2B Jeff McNeil should now have a shot to play every day. He’s started to last two games in Pittsburgh and has gone 1-for-5 with two walks and a run scored. The 26-year-old McNeil isn’t much of a power source, as his 19 homers between Double-A and Triple-A this year looks like an anomaly after he hit nine TOTAL homers in his previous five minor league seasons, but he does know how to get on base and he should be a solid batting average source in NL-only and 15-team mixed leagues.

New York Yankees

  • X-rays came back negative on SP Sonny Gray’s thumb, so he should be able to make his next start unless the Yankees acquire another starting pitcher, which would likely bump Gray out of the rotation.

Oakland A’s

  • C Jonathan Lucroy went 2-for-4 with a double yesterday. There’s a chance he’s finally finding his power stroke, with five hits in his last three games, including three for extra bases. He also hasn’t struck out in his last five starts and has just three strikeouts in his last 35 plate appearances.

Philadelphia Phillies

  • 2B/SS/3B Asdrubal Cabrera was acquired from the Mets yesterday, giving the team a steadier option around the infielder than INF/OF Scott Kingery and currently-injured SS/3B J.P. Crawford. Cabrera’s power should play well in Philly’s hitter-friendly park, and that combined with more RBI and run-scoring opportunities in a good lineup makes him worth owning in all formats.
  • SP Nick Pivetta struck out 12 in six innings yesterday, but he took the loss after allowing five earned runs on six hits and two walks. Pivetta’s strikeout numbers are elite right now, as he sits sixth in the NL with 134 Ks, but the home run remains a huge issue and leaves him as a matchups-play in shallow mixed leagues. Luckily he gets a good one next time out against Miami.

Pittsburgh Pirates

  • OF Starling Marte sat out for a second consecutive game with a left hand contusion. OF Corey Dickerson sat out for a third straight game with a hamstring issue.
  • 3B David Freese is warming up, going 3-for-3 yesterday with a home run, two walks, and five RBI after going 1-for-2 with two walks and a home run on Thursday. It’s been a good month for Freese, as he’s hit .370 with 12 RBI.

San Diego Padres

  • OF Manuel Margot went 2-for-4 with a solo home run yesterday, giving him hits in eight consecutive games and multi-hit games in his last three.

San Francisco Giants

  • SP Madison Bumgarner matched his season-high in innings last night, going eight and allowing only six hits, a walk, and two earned runs, striking out five.

Seattle Mariners

  • 2B/OF Dee Gordon went 3-for-5 yesterday with three singles, a stolen base, and a caught stealing. That’s three stolen base attempts in the last two games, a very good sign for Gordon’s value moving forward.

St. Louis Cardinals

  • After going the entire month of June (six starts) without being able to get through the sixth innings, SP Luke Weaver yesterday made it three quality starts in July, going six innings for the win and allowing two runs (both on solo homers) with no walks and five strikeouts. Weaver will finish the month with 24 innings pitched, a 3.00 ERA, and a 1.13 WHIP, with 21 strikeouts and seven walks.

Tampa Bay Rays

  • Newly-acquired C Michael Perez may be the everyday guy behind the plate if/when the Rays deal C Wilson Ramos. He’s started both games in Baltimore since joining the Rays on Wednesday, and yesterday he went 3-for-4 with a run scored.
  • SP Blake Snell will throw a bullpen session on Sunday with an eye toward returning in the middle of next week.

Texas Rangers

  • C Robinson Chirinos went 2-for-4 with a home run, three runs scored, a walk, and two RBI. Chirinos has home runs in three of his last six games and hits in eight of his last 10. Despite a .213 batting average on the season, Chirinos still ranks 12th at the catcher position, and with a large power upside he should be owned and started in most mixed leagues.

Toronto Blue Jays

  • We mentioned SS Lourdes Gurriel Jr. earlier this week as a potential deep mixed option, but after he went 3-for-5 yesterday with two solo home runs, we’re going to go ahead and recommend him in all formats for any owner looking to play a long-shot middle infield option with power. Gurriel doesn’t walk, doesn’t run much, but he’s pulling the ball and avoiding enough weak fly ball contact now to see a path to him putting up 10 more home runs between now and the end of the year, and if he can do so from the top of the Blue Jays order, that’ll come with enough runs scored and RBI to make him very valuable, especially at a power-starved shortstop position.

Washington Nationals

  • 1B/2B Daniel Murphy has popped up in trade talks, and he was back in the lineup yesterday after being a late scratch Thursday due to “general soreness.” Murphy went 3-for-4 with a double, a walk, and an RBI. If he can move to an AL team where there are more opportunities to rest via a day at DH, Murphy will go back to being a no-doubt starter in all formats. As it stands right now, we remain a little worried about Murphy’s playing time if he stays with the Nats and the team falls completely out of the race, as they’d have no incentive to run him out there if he’s feeling less than 100 percent.

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