What makes baseball so great is the unpredictability of the sport. On one night you have Huascar Ynoa, Alex Cobb and Freddy Peralta pitching like aces and the next you have Stephen Strasburg, Max Fried and Blake Snell getting bombed. More on Strasburg in a bit but let’s focus on Fried and Snell. These two starts were especially frustrating because they were against the Marlins and Pirates, respectively. With all due respect to Marlins and Pirates fans, those are two of the worst offenses in baseball!
It actually came out after Fried’s start that he’ll be sent for an MRI on his hamstring. Perhaps that contributed to his last two starts. You can try to buy low on Snell but, as we talked about on the podcast, Snell has been overrated for Fantasy the past few seasons. The guy hasn’t completed six innings in a start since July 21, 2019. There’s no doubting the talent. We all saw it on full display in the postseason. But for whatever reason, the lack of consistency and volume in terms of innings pitched has made Snell a letdown.
Nationals SP Stephen Strasburg just didn’t have it on Tuesday night against the Cardinals. He allowed eight runs — seven earned — in just four innings. Here was his final stat line: 4 IP, 8 H, 8 R, 7 ER, 5 BB, 3 K. The raw stat line was the least of his worries. What’s even more concerning is that he generated just three whiffs and his velocity was down across the board on all of his pitches. His average fastball velocity was just 90.9 mph and he topped out at only 92.9 mph. His average velocity was down two mph from his first start.
At one point in between innings, Strasburg was seen rubbing the top of his pitching shoulder. Manager Dave Martinez said after the game he was dealing with mechanical issues and nothing injury related. Of course, this wouldn’t be the first time we’ve heard a manager undersell a concern with one of his players.
Scott is putting a 6 (out of 10) on his Worryometer. As Scott made clear, if he’s throwing close to 90 mph, things will continue to go poorly and it seemed like he was favoring his neck/shoulder area and not finishing his pitches. Of course, Strasburg is no stranger to health issues.
The expectation is Strasburg will be dropping quite a bit in both of our rankings — and we will be talking rankings updates later this week.
More news and notes
- Padres 1B/OF Wil Myers left Tuesday with an apparent injury and has since been diagnosed with right knee inflammation. What makes this a little more concerning is that Myers dealt with knee discomfort in spring training. We talked yesterday about potentially viewing Myers as a sell-high trade candidate, and if you have him on your team, you’ll have to wait this one out now.
- Reds SP Sonny Gray will make his season debut either Friday or Saturday this week against Cleveland, so he gets a nice matchup to start.
- Don’t give up on RP Jordan Romano just yet. Julian Merryweather is experiencing “left hip irritation,” per Blue Jays manager Charlie Montoyo. Merryweather has dealt with injury concerns in the past and if this lingers, Romano won’t have much competition for saves in Toronto.
- Twins 3B Josh Donaldson will be activated off the injured list Wednesday. He missed the past two weeks with a hamstring injury. At least it wasn’t his calves.
- Blue Jays OF Teoscar Hernandez tested positive for COVID-19 on Tuesday and will remain quarantined for at least the next 10 days. Josh Palacios started in left field Tuesday. He’s a deep AL-only option to monitor.
- Blue Jays GM Ross Atkins said that SP Nate Pearson is pain-free after dealing with a groin injury. Pearson is 52% rostered and Scott thinks that number should rise to at least 60%. He has a ton of upside and he could become a must-add sooner than later.
- Cubs SP Kyle Hendricks was scratched Tuesday out of an abundance of caution because he wasn’t feeling well. Alec Mills started in his place.
- Mariners SP James Paxton is indeed headed for season-ending elbow surgery. We’re just a few Nick Margevicius or Justin Dunn blow-ups away from potentially seeing Logan Gilbert. Scott would still rather stash Pearson, but I’m all in on stashing Gilbert right now.
- Brewers OF Christian Yelich was out of the lineup for the second straight game as he’s dealing with a back injury.
- Per White Sox manager Tony La Russa, 1B/OF Andrew Vaughn will start Wednesday and Thursday against Cleveland and should play quite a bit on the upcoming road trips to Boston and Cleveland.
- Reds OF Tyler Naquin was on the bench for a second straight game Tuesday against the righty Kevin Gausman.
- Mets OF Michael Conforto got hit by a pitch in his right wrist in Game 1 of the doubleheader. X-rays came back negative.
- Brewers OF Lorenzo Cain left Tuesday night’s game with left quad discomfort. It was his right quad that was hurt during spring training.
- Angels OF Justin Upton was out of the lineup with back stiffness. Jon Jay started in left field with Jared Walsh in right.
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Waiver wire hitters
- Marlins OF Adam Duvall jumped off the box score page on Tuesday going 4 for 5 with two HRs, seven RBI and four runs. He has now homered in back-to-back days and remains just 10% rostered despite playing in six games next week. Both Scott and I wouldn’t add him unless you’re playing in a five-OF league — preferably categories — and you need power.
- Athletics SS Jed Lowrie went 2 for 4 with a three-run homer, his second home run of the season. He is 19% rostered and plays in six games next week, including three in Baltimore. Scott doesn’t think it’s imperative to add him to your team. He would compare the production you’ll get from Lowrie to the rest of the season to what you’ll get from Jorge Polanco. He can be a relevant fantasy contributor, but given his injury history, be careful about making a swap for a contributor.
- Tigers C Wilson Ramos hit two home runs on Tuesday and now has six homers on the year. He entered Tuesday with an 82% hard contact rate and the highest average exit velocity (101.2) in baseball. So would you drop Posey, Narvaez, Murphy, Garver? Scott said yes on all four of them. As Scott made clear, ride it out with the hot hand at catcher and don’t get attached to anyone unless you have J.T. Realmuto. The post, post, post-hype sleeper.
- Tigers 3B Renato Nunez has homered in back-to-back games, but will he play once Miguel Cabrera is back? He’s only 5% rostered, so this is a deep league play, but his defensive issues could hold him back from regular playing time.
- Diamondbacks 3B Eduardo Escobar went 2 for 4 and has multiple hits in four of his last five games, and he’s only 68% rostered with six games next week. Another CI, Reds 1B Joey Votto just had back-to-back days with a homer and is only 52% rostered. Scott is very excited about Votto and would be going out to grab him in any league he’s available. Scott sees a bounceback for Votto this year now that he has made a concerted effort to drive the baseball, and the advanced stats back it up. Scott says he needs to be rostered in most leagues right now.
- Boston Red Sox: Matt Barnes picked up his first save of the season. Adam Ottavino pitched in the seventh inning.
- Oakland Athletics: Sergio Romo pitched in the eighth with the A’s up 6-5 at the time. Lou Trivino picked up the save in a 7-5 game. Jake Diekman did pitch three of the last four days entering Tuesday. It raised Scott’s eyebrow that Trivino showed he can get the job done against two left-handed hitters.
- Seattle Mariners: Rafael Montero blew his third game of the season, allowing two hits and one run. Kendall Graveman picked up the save in the following inning. Is it now time to add Graveman in deeper category leagues for saves? Scott is now adding Graveman, specifically in deeper leagues. With three blown saves, it’s time to get nervous about Montero.
- Philadelphia Phillies: Hector Neris allowed three hits, a walk and two runs in his save appearance and took the loss. I’m not saying anything is going to happen but a gentleman named Connor Brogdon might be the next man up. He pitched the inning before Neris. He’s someone to keep an eye on in the everlasting chase for saves.
- Chicago Cubs: Craig Kimbrel completed a four-out save — his third save of the season. He has been near-perfect this season.
- San Francisco Giants: Jake McGee recorded another save, this time with two strikeouts. He has been lights out this season and has the closer job locked up.
- Cleveland Indians: James Karinchak came in for the save up 2-0 in the 10th. Emmanuel Clase had pitched in three of the last four games entering Tuesday, so there’s probably nothing to see here. It’s likely that Clase will continue to operate as the primary saves option here.
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