Daily Intel – 5/11/2018

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Arizona Diamondbacks

  • 1B Paul Goldschmidt went 0-for-5 with two strikeouts last night, lowering his batting average to .218 and his OPS to .744. He’s got just two hits and six walks in his last 40 plate appearances. There are some warning signs here on Goldy – his strikeout rate is up about eight percent from the last three seasons; his batting average on balls in play, while low for his career standards at .309, is still above league average; and he’s making less contact with pitches he swings at in the strike zone. We’re not saying this is going to be what he’s like all year, but we also wouldn’t call him a “buy low” candidate.

Atlanta Braves

  • We try our best here not to mention guys who are obviously owned everywhere and are playing well all the time, but 1B Freddie Freeman’s 5-for-5 night last night in which he hit his sixth homer and drove in his 27th and 28th runs on the season merit a mention.
  • OF Ender Inciarte has made his way up to sixth in the lineup now, and he keeps delivering stolen bases, picking up his 16th last night in a 3-for-5 effort with two doubles, a run scored, and an RBI.

Baltimore Orioles

  • OF Adam Jones went 3-for-4 with a home run, double, three RBI and three runs scored, continuing his six-game hitting streak. Jones still isn’t walking nearly enough to feel comfortable about his batting average, but he’s making better contact over the last 10 days or so. We think he’s right on track to deliver the type of production most fantasy owners expected from him as a third or fourth outfielder in mixed leagues.

Boston Red Sox

  • SP Eduardo Rodriguez struck out eight in five shutout, one-hit innings, but he needed 93 pitches to do it. Rodriguez still has only gone beyond six innings once this season despite throwing 104 or more pitches in four of his seven starts. From a fantasy perspective, Rodriguez reminds us a lot of Tampa Bay SP Chris Archer, who has never been able to elevate his value to the top level of fantasy starters, despite a high strikeout total, because he rarely delivers starts beyond six innings.
  • SP David Price should be able to start tomorrow after missing Wednesday’s game against the Yankees with his recurring left hand issue.

Chicago Cubs

  • RP Carl Edwards Jr. has been someone we’ve mentioned a few times here this year as an elite non-closing reliever, and this article from Cubbies Crib does a nice job explaining how he’s taken a big step forward this season.

Continue reading “Daily Intel – 5/11/2018”

Daily Intel – 5/10/2018

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Arizona Diamondbacks

  • SP Patrick Corbin struggled with his command last night against the Dodgers, and while the results weren’t bad, he still needed 96 pitches to get through five one-run innings, leading to a no decision. Corbin’s slider, his best pitch this season (and for years now), was in the strike zone just three times out of the 27 times he threw it, though he still picked up five swinging strikes on it. Corbin finished allowing four walks, three hits, and striking out seven.

Atlanta Braves

  • Anybody fearful that OF Ender Inciarte is going to run less in the bottom third of the order should look at last night’s game, where he got on base twice via singles and stole a base both times. Inciarte’s 15 steals are three clear of the #2 guy in the National League, Washington SS/OF Trea Turner. 

Baltimore Orioles

  • 1B Chris Davis homered in consecutive games, a three-run shot off Kansas City SP Eric Skoglund. Davis did sit against lefty starters in back-to-back games two weekends ago against the Tigers, so if you’re looking for something to convince you to roster Davis at this point, take solace in the fact that he’s now hit homers off lefties in two straight games between Skoglund and SP Danny Duffy. 

Boston Red Sox

  • The injury diagnosis on SP David Price’s left hand is carpal tunnel syndrome, and per manager Alex Cora, this is “good news” that may not result in a disabled list stint.
  • RP Craig Kimbrel entered in the eighth inning of last night’s game at the Yankees with a one-run lead and the bases loaded with nobody out. 11 pitches later, OF Brett Gardner and OF Aaron Judge had tripled and homered, and the Sox were down 9-6. Kimbrel has still never recorded a five-out save in his career. We only bring that up because the back-end of the Sox bullpen isn’t very reliable beyond Kimbrel, with RPs Joe Kelly and Matt Barnes each having their own issues preventing them from being seen as elite eighth-inning guys. Kimbrel will likely be asked to get more saves of three-plus outs unless Boston adds an elite bullpen arm via trade.

Chicago Cubs

  • SS Addison Russell finally hit his first home run of the season, part of a perfect day at the plate where he went 3-for-3 with two walks, two runs scored, and two RBI.

Chicago White Sox

  • A very ugly blown save for RP Nate Jones yesterday, who entered the ninth inning with a 5-2 lead and allowed four hits and four earned runs on just 17 pitches, including a two-run home run from Pirates 3B Colin Moran that turned a 5-4 lead in to a 6-5 deficit.

Continue reading “Daily Intel – 5/10/2018”

Daily Intel – 5/9/2018

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Arizona Diamondbacks

  • OF Steven Souza picked up his first two hits of the season and walked in yesterday’s 8-5 extra-innings win for Arizona at the Dodgers. It has been four games, but an encouraging part of Souza’s performance thus far has been the lack of strikeouts. He K’d twice in his first game, but hasn’t done so since in 11 plate appearances. This after he K’d 179 times last season in 607 plate appearances.

Atlanta Braves

  • This was mentioned as a possibility yesterday, but SP Luiz Gohara was called back to the majors for a relief role. If you were holding on to him in mixed leagues, you can dump him now if you need the roster spot, because he’s going to need a mix of good performance (which he didn’t show in his rehab starts in Double-A and Triple-A) and injury to get a shot in the rotation again.
  • SP Sean Newcomb dominated an all-right-handed starting lineup for the Rays, going six scoreless innings and striking out six while allowing just two hits and three walks.

Baltimore Orioles

  • SP Dylan Bundy became the first pitcher in major league history to give up four home runs without recording an out, a footnote in the fantasy nightmare that was his start last night. In all, he allowed five hits, two walks, and seven earned runs. He didn’t throw a first pitch strike or get one swinging strike on his 28 pitches. Bundy has to be benched for his Sunday start at home against the Rays.
  • 2B Jonathan Schoop returned from the disabled list and hit cleanup last night, going 1-for-5 with a run scored and two RBI.

Boston Red Sox

  • SP David Price will not start tonight due to a return of the numbness in his hand that caused his April start against the Yankees to be cut short. SP Rick Porcello will be moved up a day to start in his place.
  • OF Jackie Bradley Jr. struck out in all three of his plate appearances last night. He’s got 31 strikeouts on the season, 12 of them coming his last seven games. He’s pressing, and with 2B Dustin Pedroia close (but not too close) to returning, we’re wondering about the possibility of OF Andrew Benintendi shifting over to center field full time and 2B/3B/OF Eduardo Nunez moving to left field once Pedroia is healthy. Bradley is slightly below average defensively this year per FanGraphs metrics, so it isn’t like he’s a Buxton/Kiermaier/Pillar-level defender that can overcome his current black hole of a performance on offense.

Chicago Cubs

  • 2B/SS Javier Baez sat out yesterday after experiencing groin tightness late in Monday’s game, but manager Joe Maddon said Baez will probably return to the lineup today.
  • Two encouraging games in a row for 2B/OF Ian Happ, who went 1-for-3 with a run scored last night and only one strikeout.
  • RP Carl Edwards Jr. continued his dominant season, picking up three strikeouts (with a walk) in a perfect eighth inning yesterday to earn his first win. He’s now struck out 30 in 17 innings and allowed just one run.

Continue reading “Daily Intel – 5/9/2018”

Daily Intel – 5/8/2018

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Arizona Diamondbacks

  • No news for the Snakes on their off day, but with their pitching rotation in no way stabilized due to injuries, we figured we’d point out that Double-A SP Taylor Widener has 42 strikeouts in 26 1/3 innings, by far the most impressive performance of any pitcher in the team’s high minors (Double-A or Triple-A). The 23-year-old Widener should get promoted to Triple-A soon and could be the guy who gets a July or August call-up if SP Matt Koch doesn’t produce over the long-term as SP Taijuan Walker’s replacement.

Atlanta Braves

  • David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that SP Luiz Gohara, who has struggled in his minor league rehab starts, is likely to return to the major leagues in a relief role.
  • O’Brien also reported yesterday that SS Dansby Swanson won’t even travel with the Braves for their road trip that kicks off today in Tampa Bay, meaning the earliest he’ll be back from his wrist injury is the middle of next week.

Baltimore Orioles

  • RP Zach Britton is scheduled to throw his first live batting practice of the season on May 15, according to Roch Kubatko of MASN.

Boston Red Sox

  • 2B Dustin Pedroia continues to work toward a return in Fort Myers at extended spring training. He played four innings in the field on Saturday and will play another four tomorrow. Manager Alex Cora said Pedroia will have to play back-to-back seven-inning games before he’ll be activated.

Chicago Cubs

  • SP Yu Darvish was surprisingly placed on the 10-day disabled list late yesterday afternoon due to the flu…a little surprising, since he was throwing in the outfield before the game in advance of a planned start tomorrow, but we’re guessing the Cubs need a roster spot and Darvish was not going to be well enough to start tomorrow. So now he’ll be out until at least next Monday, May 14, as the move was retroactive to May 4.
  • 2B/SS Javier Baez hit a three-run home run yesterday, his third straight game with a homer, but left in the eighth inning due to groin tightness. He’ll be evaluated today.
  • 2B/OF Ian Happ had his first big game in ages, going 2-for-5 with two home runs.

Chicago White Sox

  • OF Eloy Jimenez, the White Sox top hitting prospect and arguably the highest-upside fantasy hitting prospect in the upper minors (him or Toronto 3B Vlad Guerrero Jr.), has multiple hits in seven-straight games after going 2-for-5 in last night’s game between his Birmingham team and Pensacola (Reds’ affiliate).

Cincinnati Reds

  • OF Billy Hamilton had a solo home run in his eighth consecutive start batting out of the nine spot. He now has seven hits and four walks in his last six games, but no stolen bases. They’ll come soon, we bet.

Cleveland Indians

  • OF Melky Cabrera has moved from extended spring to Triple-A Columbus, and could be activated in the majors soon. He does have an out clause if he isn’t activated within a certain time frame, so we expect him to end up on a major-league roster one way or another before June 1.

Continue reading “Daily Intel – 5/8/2018”

Daily Intel – 5/7/2018

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Arizona Diamondbacks

  • 3B Daniel Descalso has put together a nice run recently, with nine hits in his last five starts, three of them coming for extra bases. He’s also gotten back-to-back starts batting second behind OF David Peralta, who has also hit well of late. Descalso could be a good short-term play in deep mixed leagues for owners seeking batting average and runs scored help.

Atlanta Braves

  • OF Jose Bautista wrapped up a successful debut weekend with another game where he reached base twice. He also scored his first run of the season.

Baltimore Orioles

  • DH Pedro Alvarez picked up his fourth game at third base last night and hit his seventh home run of the season. If/when Alvarez picks up eligibility at third, he becomes an intriguing cheap power option – just know that if you own Alvarez, you have to play him every day because the power comes and goes for weeks at a time.
  • We’ve dumped on SP Alex Cobb so much this season that it is only fair to give him credit for his first good start of the season, a six-inning, one-run no decision at Oakland yesterday. Cobb’s command wasn’t as good as it needs to be for him to have mixed league value, but he threw more first-pitch strikes (15 of 24 batters) and got 10 swinging strikes on 103 pitches. Cobb faces his old Tampa Bay mates again this weekend, and the first time around wasn’t great.

Boston Red Sox

  • OF Mookie Betts is dealing with another nagging injury after getting hit in the shoulder in the first inning yesterday and leaving the game with a contusion. Don’t bench him in a weekly league – worst-case scenario, he misses a game or two of the Yankees series to start the week.

Chicago Cubs

  • Manager Joe Maddon took another shot at a new lineup last night, batting C Willson Contreras leadoff for the first time this season, and OF Kyle Schwarber second for only the second time this season. Contreras reached base once in six plate appearances, while Schwarber reached three times in his six chances.

Continue reading “Daily Intel – 5/7/2018”

Daily Intel – 5/6/2018 (Waiver Wire & Two-Start Pitchers, Part 2)

If you missed the first part of our waiver wire outlook and two-start pitcher analysis for Week 7, you can check it out here. As always, ownership percentages for waiver wire recommendations are courtesy of the National Fantasy Baseball Championship.

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Arizona Diamondbacks

  • 1B Paul Goldschmidt went 0-for-3 last night and has now gone five straight games without a hit.
  • Two-start pitcher: Tough matchups in a six-game week with a two-game set at the Dodgers and a four-game set back at home with Washington. SP Zack Godley is a must start in all formats, facing SP Clayton Kershaw on Tuesday and SP Jeremy Hellickson on Sunday.
  • Waiver wire: OF Jarrod Dyson (22% owned) is shifting back to a part time role with the return of OF Steven Souza, but he still stole three bases this week. If you’re desperate for steals, you could do worse than stashing Dyson for a week or two to see what his playing time pattern is and to see if he’s rounding in to form with his base stealing.

Atlanta Braves

  • SP Brandon McCarthy got crushed by the Giants last night, giving up 12 hits and eight earned runs in 3 1/3 innings. You normally don’t expect these types of meltdown starts, where an ERA can go from 3.09 to 4.84, from a guy who doesn’t walk many batters, but everything McCarthy threw last night was in the zone and the Giants took advantage – four of their 12 hits were on balls with a less-than-50 percent hit probability, per Baseball Savant. This was a mix of bad luck and a bad night, and we like McCarthy a bunch for his next start Friday at Miami.
  • Two-start pitcher: The Braves travel to face Tampa Bay and Miami in a six-game week, and SP Sean Newcomb will draw two starts against SP Blake Snell and SP Jose Urena. These are good matchups with a high probability of at least one win, so we’d start him in all formats.
  • Waiver wire: OF Jose Bautista (1% owned) is up and worth a flyer for owners desperate for power. He’s going to have third base eligibility within two weeks and he’s going to hit fifth or sixth most nights. Give him a shot for a few weeks, and if he looks as cooked as he has the last two years, move on.

Baltimore Orioles

  • OF Adam Jones was hit by a pitch on his right wrist during the 10th inning of yesterday’s 2-0 loss to Oakland, so he’s going to have X-rays done today despite finishing the game and saying he was fine afterwards.
  • SP Kevin Gausman pitched a fantastic game, the best of his career by Game Score, last night, going nine shutout innings and allowing just two hits and two walks. He struck out six. We didn’t say “complete game,” though, because the Orioles couldn’t score off Oakland’s pitching, and eventually lost a 2-0 game on a walk-off homer in the 12th. Gausman has allowed five earned runs in his last 28 2/3 innings, and he’s reached the point where he should be started every time out without hesitation. He gets the Rays next over the weekend.
  • Two-start pitcher: Seven games in six days coming up for Baltimore with home sets against Kansas City and Tampa Bay. Because Saturday against the Rays is a doubleheader, only one pitcher gets two starts, and it is SP Dylan Bundy, drawing SP Danny Duffy and SP Blake Snell. Bundy is a must start in all formats, but we’d rank him behind Godley and Newcomb in the “must start” guys we’ve listed so far.
  • Waiver wire: In the same vein as OF Jose Bautista, 1B Chris Davis (56% owned) hasn’t been as brutally bad in the last week or so as he was in the first 25 games of the season. He’s another guy that, if you’re desperate for power, is worth stashing for a week or two to see if something is starting to turn for him at the plate.

Boston Red Sox

  • SP Eduardo Rodriguez struck out 10 in six innings last night, but the positive of that was offset by three home runs allowed. He only allowed one other hit other than those three homers, but that combined with two walks left him with a five earned run outing that resulted in his ERA rising to 5.29 on the season. Rodriguez has allowed home runs in four of six starts, and that’s going to be a factor all season in deciding how comfortable you are starting him.
  • Two-start pitcher: The Sox hit the road for six division games next week at the Yankees and Blue Jays. SP Drew Pomeranz will get the two-start chance, facing Yankees SP Luis Severino and Toronto SP Marcus Stroman. Over the last three seasons, Pomeranz has posted good numbers at both ballparks – combined, he’s thrown 32 2/3 innings, posted a 3.31 ERA, and struck out 26 (but walked 13). Still, Pomeranz hasn’t done anything in his first three starts this season to warrant trusting in shallower formats, and the Yankees are hitting well enough right now to say that matchup leaves Pomeranz as a 15-team mixed and AL-only play, at best.
  • Waiver wire: No recommendation.

Chicago Cubs

  • RP Brandon Morrow blew his first save of the season yesterday, allowing OF Marcell Ozuna to erase a 6-4 lead with a two-run double with one out in the ninth. Those were the first two runs Morrow has allowed this season.
  • RP Tyler Chatwood produced another woefully inefficient start, needing 89 pitches to go just four innings, allowing three hits, three runs, and, worst of all, five walks. Chatwood has now walked five or more in four of his six starts this season.

Continue reading “Daily Intel – 5/6/2018 (Waiver Wire & Two-Start Pitchers, Part 2)”

Daily Intel – 5/5/2018

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Arizona Diamondbacks

  • The Diamondbacks were punchless in a 16-strikeout performance against Houston SP Gerrit Cole, so we’ll use this space to lament how bad C Alex Avila has been early in the season. Avila was a popular second-catcher choice in deep leagues after his strong finish to 2017, but his batting average hasn’t been above .200 since Opening Day and he’s had two extra-base hits all season. With C John Ryan Murphy playing more, we think Avila is safe to cut in any mixed league, except maybe 15-team leagues where two catchers are starting.

Atlanta Braves

  • SS Dansby Swanson was placed on the disabled list before Friday’s game. In a somewhat related move, OF Jose Bautista was called up and started at third base, a position he should be holding down for the near future and gaining eligibility at before the end of the month. 3B Johan Camargo moved to shortstop for yesterday’s game and should be there during Swanson’s absence.
  • SP Mike Foltynewicz gave up nine hits, two walks, and six runs in five innings yesterday, his first truly bad start of the season after his first six ended in two earned runs or less. The one thing about Folty right now to give fantasy owners some pause is the hard contact he’s allowing – 38.8 percent of the balls he’s allowed to be put in play could be classified as “hard,” up from 28.1 percent last year. That said, his fly ball is hovering around the same mid-30s rate it has been the last few years and most of minor league career. This type of profile could be dangerous in a hitters park like Atlanta come summer time, but the impact is that you’ll have to be a little more careful about the teams you start Folty against.

Baltimore Orioles

  • 2B Jonathan Schoop played a rehab game at Double-A Bowie on Friday, and barring any setbacks with his oblique injury this season, will return to the Orioles lineup on Tuesday.
  • OF Adam Jones hit out of the two hole in the lineup for the first time this season and had one of his best games so far – 3-for-4 with a home run and two runs scored. Perhaps hitting in front of 3B/SS Manny Machado instead of behind him in the thing Jones needs to see the pitches he can drive.

Boston Red Sox

  • Another game, another home run for OF Mookie Betts. That makes 13 on the season and five this week.
  • 3B Rafael Devers had his best game of the season, hitting two solo home runs and boosting his OPS back over .800 for the first time in two weeks. Devers continues to show a profile that looks like a guy sacrificing overall contact for more hard contact – his overall contact rate is down six points from last year, and he’s got three percent more swinging strikes, but he’s also boosted his hard contact percentage by eight points.

Chicago Cubs

  • Much like his rotation mate SP Yu Darvish, it took just a few innings in his next start (last night) for SP Jose Quintana to kill any good vibes about him getting back to normal – he only went four innings last night, giving up a three-run homer to OF Tommy Pham that ended up as all unearned runs due to bad defense earlier in the inning, but he still allowed nine baserunners and only struck out four. Quintana’s fastball was a little better last night in terms of effectiveness, drawing eight swinging strikes and 11 called strikes out of the 47 times he threw it, but his changeup still is below average, and improvement in that pitch was what drove his step forward last year.

Chicago White Sox

  • 2B Yoan Moncada returned to the lineup after missing Thursday’s game with a hamstring issue, but then he left the game in the top of the sixth after aggravating it on base on the fifth inning. We wouldn’t be surprised to see Moncada hit the 10-day DL today.

Cincinnati Reds

  • 2B/SS Jose Peraza had his second good game out of the leadoff spot this week, going 2-for-5 with a double and a run scored.

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