Daily Intel – 6/1/2018

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Arizona Diamondbacks

  • SP Shelby Miller, a name that hasn’t mattered in fantasy for several seasons but could this year with the D-Backs dealing with multiple injuries in their rotation, is currently in the middle of his rehab assignment and on track to return in mid-June. He struck out eight without walking a batter during a start at High-A earlier this week, and is likely to start next in Double-A early next week.

Atlanta Braves

  • OF Ender Inciarte was caught stealing for the sixth time this season in yesterday’s game. He hasn’t successfully stolen a base since May 15, with three attempts since that time.
  • RP Dan Winkler is looking like the best reliever in the Atlanta bullpen – last night’s perfect eighth inning where he struck out two capped off a month of May in which he allowed only six baserunners and no runs in 10 1/3 innings, with 15 strikeouts. Winkler now has 34 Ks in 23 1/3 innings on the season.

Baltimore Orioles

  • The O’s were rained out at home yesterday in their series opener against the Yankees. The game will be made up July 9, meaning there’s no change in their upcoming rotation – SP Andrew Cashner will start tonight.
  • OF Colby Rasmus will begin a rehab assignment in Double-A tonight. He’s missed almost two months with a hip injury.

Boston Red Sox

  • 2B Dustin Pedroia was a late scratch from yesterday’s lineup due to soreness in his surgically repaired left knee.
  • The velocity was better for SP Drew Pomeranz last night, but he still wasn’t all that effective, allowing four runs in five innings with six hits and two walks. He struck out five.  SP/RP Steven Wright, who is first in line to take over any rotation spots that come open, relieved Pomeranz in the sixth and finished the game with three scoreless innings, allowing a hit and three walks with four strikeouts.

Chicago Cubs

  • One day after we speculated that OF Jason Heyward could be a nice lottery ticket for an upcoming hot streak, he was moved up to second in the order for the first time this year after not having hit higher than 7th in his previous 34 starts. He had another multi-hit game, going 2-for-5 with an RBI.
  • If you’re like us, you benched SP Jose Quintana in shallower deep leagues this week, having grown tired of his poor outings in seemingly good matchups. Well, he pitched six shutout innings on the road last night against the Mets, limiting them to three hits and two walks while striking out six. The command wasn’t perfect, as he still threw less than 60 percent strikes overall, but he did succeed in getting ahead in counts and forcing the Mets to swing at the pitches he wanted. He gets a tough matchup against Philly next at home on Wednesday. We’re going to roll the dice and put him back in our lineup.
  • 2B/SS Javier Baez drew his first unintentional walk in 183 plate appearances yesterday.

Continue reading “Daily Intel – 6/1/2018”

Daily Intel – 5/31/2018

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Arizona Diamondbacks

  • C John Ryan Murphy’s hot stretch continued yesterday, as he hit out of the cleanup spot and went 3-for-5 with a home run and two runs scored.
  • 1B Paul Goldschmidt hit his third home run in his last 10 starts yesterday, so there’s some daylight in the black hole that has been his offensive production so far. Maybe sitting out Tuesday’s game will be the impetus to get him going.

Atlanta Braves

  • OF Charlie Culberson has started in four of the five games since OF Ronald Acuna Jr. got hurt, so he looks to be the guy in left field rather than OF Preston Tucker.

Baltimore Orioles

  • 1B/OF Trey Mancini is really struggling over the last two weeks – he’s hitting under .130 in 45 at-bats over that time after an 0-for-3 outing last night, with only one home run and 10 strikeouts. He was dropped to seventh in the order for the second consecutive start after leading off 43 times this season.

Boston Red Sox

  • INF/OF Eduardo Nunez returned to the lineup yesterday – at designated hitter, oddly enough – and went 2-for-4 with a solo homer and an RBI double.
  • RP Matt Barnes has been dominant over his last eight outings – with a perfect 1 1/3 innings yesterday, he’s now gone 8 1/3 innings without allowing a run, and in that time he’s allowed only three hits and three walks while striking out 12.

Chicago Cubs

  • OF Jason Heyward had three hits for the second consecutive game, and with eight hits in his last four starts he’s boosted his batting average from .220 to .256. Heyward’s hard hit rate is 34.8 percent, about nine points up from the last two seasons. He’s also hitting 44 percent fly balls, a number he’s never approached in his major league career. He’s doing all that while actually boosting his overall contact rate from 84.7 percent last year to 86.5 percent this year. All this to say: we wouldn’t be surprised if Heyward had a hot couple of weeks at some point this summer, especially in hitter-friendly Wrigley Field.

Chicago White Sox

  • SS Tim Anderson has had a hot stretch after being pretty lousy for most of May. After a two-double day yesterday, Anderson now has 11 hits in his last 10 games, including six for extra bases, along with nine RBI, two steals, and nine runs scored. Anderson’s fly ball rate is up more than 10 percent from last season (28.0 to 38.4), and he’s made noticeable improvements in his plate discipline between contact percentages and an improved strikeout-to-walk ratio.

Cincinnati Reds

  • SP Anthony DeSclafani continued his rehab work at Triple-A Louisville, going 6 1/3 innings and 95 pitches, allowing seven hits, a walk, and two runs (both solo homers), with two strikeouts and 11 ground ball outs.
  • Two slumping outfielders homered yesterday for the Reds – OF Adam Duvall had one hit in five at-bats, but he made it count with a grand slam; OF Scott Schebler went 2-for-4 with a walk, including a two-run home run.
  • RP Raisel Iglesias was activated off the disabled list and worked the last out of the eighth and the whole ninth inning last night for his ninth save of the year. He allowed three hits and struck out one.

Continue reading “Daily Intel – 5/31/2018”

Daily Intel – 5/30/2018

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Arizona Diamondbacks

  • The fracture in OF A.J. Pollock’s left thumb is not fully healed yet, per Nick Piecoro of AZCentral. With a 4-to-8 week timetable on his return in the initial days after the injury, it looks likely Pollock will return closer to the 8-week end of things.
  • SP Robbie Ray threw a bullpen session yesterday and underwent an MRI afterward that showed progress in the healing of his oblique injury. Accounting for more healing time and at least two rehab starts, and it looks like late June/early July is a feasible time frame for Ray’s return.

Atlanta Braves

  • OF Ender Inciarte has now led off in all three games with OF Ronald Acuna Jr. out, so he looks to be set back in that spot for as long as Acuna is on the disabled list.
  • SP Mike Soroka will make a rehab start on Friday and should rejoin the Braves’ rotation next week if everything checks out.

Baltimore Orioles

  • SP Dylan Bundy took a high-contact approach against the Nationals last night, allowing 11 hits, but no walks, in six innings. He allowed two solo home runs, but other than that the other nine DC hits were singles. Bundy also struck out six and threw first-pitch strikes to 20 of 27 hitters. Overall, a positive night considering some of Bundy’s recent total duds.
  • RP Zach Britton will start his rehab assignment today with Triple-A Norfolk and is scheduled to be with them through their homestand this weekend.

Boston Red Sox

  • On a day when the Sox added 1B/OF Adam Lind on a minor league deal, their lineup shifted again with 2B Dustin Pedroia back after an off day on Monday. 2B/3B/OF Eduardo Nunez sat out, even with OF Mookie Betts still not back from his minor injury issue, with OF Brock Holt starting in right field.

Continue reading “Daily Intel – 5/30/2018”

Daily Intel – 5/29/2018

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Arizona Diamondbacks

  • C John Ryan Murphy continues to build a case for ownership in two-catcher mixed leagues, hitting his sixth home run of the season yesterday and third homer in his last four starts.

Atlanta Braves

  • OF Ronald Acuna Jr. was diagnosed with a mild left ACL sprain and a lower back contusion after slipping on first base Sunday. He’s not expected to much more than the minimum 10 days required for a disabled list stint. OF Preston Tucker should play most of the time in left field in Acuna’s absence – he did so in game of of yesterday’s doubleheader and went 0-for-3 with a walk and two strikeouts.

Baltimore Orioles

  • OF Mark Trumbo returned to the lineup for the first time since May 22, batting seventh and going 0-for-2 with a walk.
  • We bag on SP Alex Cobb so much that it is only fair to praise him for a solid start yesterday – other than a two-out rally in the third inning that saw SS Trea Turner and OF Bryce Harper reach before 3B Anthony Rendon hit a three-run homer, Cobb didn’t allow a run, going seven innings for the first time this season and generating 11 ground ball outs. All this to say…Cobb may be worth using in AL-only leagues again if he can put together one more start like this against a good lineup, and he’ll get that shot this weekend at home against the Yankees.

Boston Red Sox

  • OF Andrew Benintendi is killing the ball right now – with three hits yesterday, including a triple and a home run, he now has 13 hits in his last eight starts, including four homers, two triples, a double, and 14 RBI.

Chicago Cubs

  • SP Yu Darvish will have an MRI on his right arm today after being put on the disabled list last week with right triceps tightness. RP Mike Montgomery was very good in Darvish’s spot yesterday, limiting the Pirates to two hits over 5 2/3 shutout innings for his first win of the season. Montgomery struck out five. Montgomery was hit or miss as a starter last year, so if he moves in to the rotation for a longer run, he’s not much more than an NL-only option and mixed league streamer.

Continue reading “Daily Intel – 5/29/2018”

Daily Intel – 5/28/2018

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Arizona Diamondbacks

  • With this team in a massive tailspin right now, RP Archie Bradley isn’t getting much work at all – yesterday was just his sixth appearance in the last 17 days, and he only has 5 1/3 innings over that time. Worse off, he’s allowed five runs and three home runs in those 5 1/3 innings. It is hard to justify holding Bradley in shallow mixed leagues, especially weekly formats, with this small of a workload.

Atlanta Braves

  • OF Ronald Acuna Jr. suffered a knee injury late in yesterday’s game running out an infield single. He was down on the field for a while before leaving under his own power, but he’ll undergo further tests today.
  • It was interesting to see both of the Braves’ catchers – Kurt Suzuki and Tyler Flowers – start all three days in an AL park, with Suzuki at DH twice, including yesterday. Flowers homered yesterday and drove in three, while Suzuki had three hits, including an RBI double. Atlanta has five games left in AL parks this year.

Baltimore Orioles

  • SP Kevin Gausman couldn’t get his four-seam fastball going yesterday, as the Rays put it in play eight times and got hits on five of those balls and runs on four of them, including two extra-base hits by 1B Brad Miller. The result was Gausman’s second dud outing in his last three trips to the mound and his shortest start of the season – 2 2/3 innings, six hits, two walks, seven runs, just one strikeout. Gausman’s first-pitch strike percentage is way down from last year, and he only had seven yesterday out of 17 batters faced – when he gets behind, teams are sitting on his four-seamer and driving it like the Rays did yesterday.

Boston Red Sox

  • 2B Dustin Pedroia was moved up to the cleanup spot yesterday after hitting sixth on Saturday, as the Sox played with their lineup in OF Mookie Betts’ absence. Pedroia’s return hasn’t hurt 2B/3B/OF Eduardo Nunez yet, as he started at third in both games this weekend, with 3B Rafael Devers sitting on Saturday and playing at DH on Sunday.
  • SP Chris Sale had his worst start of the season yesterday, getting tagged for six runs on five hits and three walks by Atlanta over 4 1/3 innings. He did strike out eight, though.

Chicago Cubs

  • SP Tyler Chatwood lasted only 2 2/3 innings yesterday, allowing 11 baserunners (six hits/five walks) and three earned runs. He shouldn’t be started in any mixed formats, and probably shouldn’t even be owned beyond NL-only leagues unless you have a ton of bench/reserve spots.
  • 1B Anthony Rizzo has a nine-game hitting streak, though the last eight of those games are single-hit outings. Still, Rizzo is showing some encouraging signs at the plate, including having six walks and one strikeout in his last four games.
  • RP Mike Montgomery will start today’s game with SP Yu Darvish out.

Continue reading “Daily Intel – 5/28/2018”

Daily Intel – 5/27/2018 (Waiver Wire/Two-Start Pitchers Part 2 + News)

We’re back with the rest of the two-start pitchers/waiver wire outlook for the teams we didn’t cover on Friday, along with the top news items for a majority of the league.

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Arizona Diamondbacks

  • 1B Paul Goldschmidt struck out three times in four plate appearances yesterday. That’s the third time in eight games that he’s struck out three times or more, and he’s now got an incredible 68 Ks in 51 games this year – a pace of 216.
  • SP Clay Buchholz was good in his second start as a Snake, going six one-run innings and limiting the A’s to two hits (a home by OF Matt Joyce on the first pitch of the game and a double by SS/OF Chad Pinder) and no walks. He struck out three. He gets the Marlins at home next and is an elite streaming option for next week in all formats.

Atlanta Braves

  • All we had to do was call out OF Ronald Acuna Jr.’s struggles in yesterday’s Intel to get him to respond with a big day – he went 3-for-5 with a solo homer and broke his 17-game streak of striking out at least once.
  • SS Dansby Swanson went 2-for-4 with a homer, two RBI, and two runs scored yesterday. He still hasn’t walked since coming off the disabled list, though, with 10 strikeouts over that seven-game period.

Baltimore Orioles

  • Two-start pitchers: SPs Alex Cobb and Dylan Bundy will get home starts against the Nationals and Yankees next week. Cobb isn’t worth talking about – bench him everywhere. Bundy gets SP Jeremy Hellickson on Tuesday and SP CC Sabathia on Sunday – it is realistic to expect one win there, and Bundy has enough upside to justify starting him in 12-team leagues and larger.
  • RP Tanner Scott is emerging as an intriguing long relief option. He struck out the side in his one inning of work yesterday – in his nine appearances this year, he’s struck out three or more four times, and he now has 17 Ks in 12 1/3 innings against just five walks.

Boston Red Sox

  • Two-start pitchers: It’ll be a home start against the Jays and a road start against the Astros for both SPs David Price and Rick Porcello. Price starts everywhere, but we could see scenarios in 10-team leagues where you’d want to sit Porcello based on his recent struggles. He’ll face SP Marco Estrada on Tuesday, a very winnable matchup, then draws undefeated SP Charlie Morton on Sunday.
  • Waiver wire: At only 60% owned, 1B Mitch Moreland should be added in most mixed leagues this week with 1B Hanley Ramirez no longer in the picture. Moreland had a good game Friday and another one yesterday, going 2-for-5 with a double, triple, two RBI and a run scored.

Chicago Cubs

  • The awful season for SP Yu Darvish reached its next logical conflict point yesterday, with Darvish going on the disabled list with right triceps tightness. He was diagnosed with a triceps injury last year and didn’t miss a start. He was also diagnosed with one in 2015 and ended up having Tommy John surgery a couple of weeks later. There’s no announced timetable on this injury, yet.
  • SP Jose Quintana was bad again yesterday – in his 4 1/3 innings, the one positive was six strikeouts, but it came with five hits, two walks, and four earned runs.

Chicago White Sox

  • Two-start pitcher: SP Dylan Covey will start twice – at Cleveland (SP Adam Plutko) and home for the Brewers (SP Brent Suter). He’s not worth starting in any format.
  • Waiver wire: SP Reynaldo Lopez (92% owned) has been better in his last two outings and is probably worthy of being owned everywhere, even with his lack of strikeouts.
  • SS Tim Anderson was moved back up in the lineup again, this time to leadoff, and he responded with his best game this month – 2-for-4 with two homers, four RBI, and three runs scored.

Continue reading “Daily Intel – 5/27/2018 (Waiver Wire/Two-Start Pitchers Part 2 + News)”

Daily Intel – 5/26/2018

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Arizona Diamondbacks

  • C John Ryan Murphy got a start at DH last night, a move that is interesting solely because it shows that the Diamondbacks believe in Murphy’s bat as more than just “good for his position.” He went 1-for-4 with a two-run double, and with 36 plate appearances this month, he’s slowly starting to gain relevance as a potential second catcher in two-catcher mixed leagues.

Atlanta Braves

  • OF Ronald Acuna Jr. struck out three times last night in a 1-for-5 effort, making it 17 straight games with a K. What’s more alarming is that he has 12 strikeouts in his last eight games and just one walk over that span.

Baltimore Orioles

  • OF Mark Trumbo was diagnosed with an arthritic right knee yesterday, and while he will be able to avoid a disabled list stint, this is something to watch for to see if it impacts his power production. He should be back in the lineup early next week.
  • OF Adam Jones put up another multi-hit game last night, going 3-for-4 with a run scored.

Boston Red Sox

  • The Sox made a surprising roster move in correspondence with 2B Dustin Pedroia’s return from the disabled list – they designated 1B Hanley Ramirez for assignment. Ramirez has no value in any format, and 1B Mitch Moreland should gain a boost in playing time thanks to this move. Moreland should be owned in all 15-team mixed leagues, with room to make himself more valuable. He hit cleanup last night and went 2-for-4 with a solo homer.

Chicago Cubs

  • Both 2B/OF Ben Zobrist and OF Albert Almora Jr. were in the lineup Friday, which, as expected, led to 2B/OF Ian Happ’s return to the leadoff spot coming to an end. Zobrist led off and went 2-for-4 with two RBI and two runs scored, Almora went 1-for-4 out of the two hole, and Happ hit seventh, walking and scoring twice, stealing a base, and striking out in his other two plate appearances.

Chicago White Sox

  • OF Adam Engel went 1-for-4 with a run scored and, more important, another stolen base. He’s got three in the last seven days and eight on the season.
  • SS Tim Anderson was bumped back up to fifth in the lineup yesterday and delivered with his eighth home run of the season as part of a 3-for-4 night with two RBI.

Continue reading “Daily Intel – 5/26/2018”