Fantasy Baseball Weekend Recap: Prospect call-ups, weekend standouts, injury updates, and more
In a season increasingly defined by both the quantity and quality of prospects getting the call, we got some more big names this weekend, with Brett Baty and Zach Neto getting the call. I wrote about both big names Sunday, but they weren’t the only ones. Here are some quick notes on some of the other players you need to know about:
- Vaughn Grissom, 2B, Braves — Grissom got the call with Orlando Arcia going on the IL with a wrist injury, and I suspect he’ll be up for good. There are questions about his defensive fit at shortstop, which was why he didn’t make the Opening Day roster, but Grissom has hit .293 through his first 42 career MLB games, so this isn’t just a shot in the dark here — we’re pretty confident he’s going to be a good hitter at this point.
- Oswald Peraza, SS, Yankees — Peraza was called up Sunday with Giancarlo Stanton placed on the IL with a hamstring injury. However, with Josh Donaldson expected back from his own IL stint this week, Peraza may not be up for long. Anthony Volpe has been a disappointment so far, but I have to imagine the Yankees are going to give him longer than just a few weeks, so it just isn’t clear where Peraza would play right now. He probably needs another injury to get a real chance to play.
- Brayan Bello, SP, Red Sox — Bello had a forearm issue that delayed his spring training, but he’s the probable starter for Monday against the Angels, lining him up for a two-start week. He struggled in his first taste of the majors last season, sporting a 4.71 ERA, though his underlying metrics were a bit more promising, notably a 2.94 FIP. The 23-year-old has a 2.64 ERA with 85 strikeouts in 64.2 Triple-A innings, so the majors might be all that’s left for him to conquer. He’s worth an add in most formats.
- Taj Bradley, SP, Rays* — Bradley hasn’t technically been recalled yet, but it seems inevitable in the wake of Jeffrey Springs‘ injury. The Rays are now down Springs, Zach Eflin, and Tyler Glasnow from their rotation, and Bradley looked excellent in his MLB debut earlier in the week, striking out eight in five innings. Because he hasn’t officially been recalled, Bradley may go for cheaper than he otherwise might in FAB this week. Take advantage.
Of course, that wasn’t everything you need to know about. Every Sunday evening here, I’ll be recapping everything you need to know about heading into the next week of Fantasy action – and, of course, you’ll want to make sure you keep an eye on Scott White’s sleeper pitchers and sleeper hitters as well as his two-start pitcher rankings before you set your lineups.
Here are the biggest standouts, the injury updates, and more from this weekend’s MLB action.
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- Sandy Alcantara — Alcantara had another tough showing Sunday against the Diamondbacks, giving up four earned runs in six innings of work. There was some bad luck here — a misplay by left fielder Bryan de la Cruz led to one run while and error by Alcantara himself played a part in allowing three runs later in the game — and he still had nine strikeouts with no walks. Alcantara has been giving up and 89.1 mph average exit velocity, the highest of his career, so you can’t entirely write this off as bad luck. Just mostly.
- Trevor Rogers — Rogers really needed a start like Friday’s, where he struck out seven while allowing just one run in six innings of work. He got 12 swinging strikes, a decent, though not overwhelming amount, so I’m certainly not ready to say he’s back to being an ace. But Rogers would have been on the verge of droppable with another poor start, so this should keep him on your roster, at least. His new sinker is racking up groundballs, which is a good sign.
- Jarred Kelenic — I wrote about Kelenic as a must-add player Wednesday of last week, but I did note that he hadn’t done anything against left-handed pitchers yet. So he went out Friday and homered off a lefty, extending his homer streak to four games. That streak would come to an end Saturday, but he did get a hit, and he then stole a base Sunday after reaching on a walk. Skepticism remains warranted — he also struck out four times in 10 PA this weekend — but he’s doing what we wanted to see, at least.
- Johan Oviedo — Oviedo put together his second strong start in a row, this time racking up 10 strikeouts in a tough-luck loss to the Cardinals Friday. Oviedo is throwing more than any other pitch for the first time in his career, and he’s throwing it about 3.5 mph harder than he did last season without losing whiffs, but I’m just not sure how good he can be with what might just be one good pitch. I’m not ignoring this start, but he’s not a high-priority add for me in 12-team leagues.
- Noah Syndergaard — I’ve been pretty skeptical of Syndergaard going back to the spring, and I still just don’t think there’s much chance of him keeping this up while sitting in the low-90s and topping out at 93 mph like he did Friday. But his changeup has been pretty tremendous in the early going — he racked up 10 whiffs with it Friday and he now has a 39.5% whiff rate with the pitch, up from 26.3% last year. If he can keep that up, maybe he can survive, but I’m looking at him as a sell-high candidate, primarily.
- Anthony Volpe — Volpe is giving us reasons not to give up hope, as he enters play Monday with a modest five-game hitting streak. The more interesting thing here is that he hit his first homer Friday and then followed that up with four steals between Saturday and Sunday. He now has seven steals overall without being caught and is at least looking like a high-level contributor there while he figures the rest of it out.
- Wil Myers — Myers had a little bit of sleeper appeal after signing with the Reds, but he hadn’t done much to justify it before this weekend. So, it was good to see him club his first two homers of the season Saturday against the Phillies. That still only has his season line up to .255/.333/.412, but it’s a start.
- Cedric Mullins — Mullins has had a bit of a quiet start with the bat, hitting .224 through his first 16 games, but he’s making up for it with his work on the bases. He stole a base Thursday, Friday, and Saturday this week and is now eight-for-eight overall. He added a couple of RBI Sunday, for good measure. It’s nice to have guys who can make an impact even when they aren’t playing well.
- Shea Langeliers — Langeliers hit his third homer of the season Friday and is now hitting .267/.313/.489. Having gained catcher eligibility, that’ll more than play in any two-catcher leagues.
- Garrett Whitlock — I’m a believer in Whitlock’s, so it was nice to see that belief rewarded with a strong showing Sunday against the Angles. He struck out five across seven one-run innings while allowing just three hard-hit balls. I’d like to see more strikeouts, obviously, but he had a healthy 14 whiffs in the outing, and it’s less of a concern anyway when he allowed an average exit velocity of just 85.7 mph. Add him where available.
- Anthony Rendon — Rendon’s had a weird start to the season, and not just because he was suspended for grabbing a fan. He’s barely struck out, just twice in 38 PA, but he also hadn’t had an extra-base hit until he doubled Sunday. He’s been hitting the ball pretty hard, with a 91.6 mph average exit velocity, albeit with no barreled balls yet. It hasn’t been quite the bounceback we hoped for, but I’m hopeful after a 5 for 13 series against the Red Sox.
- Domingo German — There was some weird stuff going on in this start, as the Twins complained to the ump about German’s use of the rosin bag. German was told he had to watch his hands, but was allowed to stay in the game, and he pitched very well, striking out 11 while allowing one run on three hits. It’s a major outlier for him so far this season, but German did look very good.
- Yusei Kikuchi — Kikuchi is one of those guys I just can’t quit, and Saturday’s outing against the Rays was a good example of why. When he’s on, he looks excellent, and he was definitely on, ending the Rays’ 13-game win streak by limiting them to one run with nine strikeouts in six innings of work. Of course, one start before that, he gave up six runs in 4.1 innings to the Angels. You just never know with this guy.
Injuries, news, and notes
Sent to the IL
- Kris Bubic‘s (forearm) velocity was way down in his start Saturday, and while we hoped that the cold, rainy conditions were the reason, we found out after the game that wasn’t the case. Bubic has been diagnosed with a forearm strain, and while we don’t know what kind of timeline he’s facing, it’s a concerning diagnosis. Bubic had reworked his delivery and arsenal and looked a lot more interesting in his first two starts of the season, so this is an unfortunate setback. If you need the roster spot, he’s droppable.
- Giancarlo Stanton suffered a strained hamstring during Saturday’s game and was placed on the IL Sunday. The hope is it’s not a long-term issue, but … this is Giancarlo Stanton we’re talking about, so the Yankees are sure to take every precaution here.
- Yoan Moncada was placed on the IL retroactive to April 11 with a lower-back strain. Jake BUrger homered twice this weekend and has some appeal in AL-only leagues, at least.
- Connor Overton has a right elbow strain. Luke Weaver is set to join the Reds rotation, but he hasn’t had an ERA below 4.25 since 2019, so I think we can probably ignore him for now.
- Ji Man Choi was placed on the IL with a left Achilles strain, retroactive to April 14.
- Joc Pederson was placed on the IL with right wrist inflammation. Matt Beaty and Darin Ruf will likely platoon at DH in Pederson’s absence.
- Ryan Tepera with right shoulder inflammation. Carlos Estevez and Jose Quijada have been splitting saves, with Estevez seemingly more likely to get the next opportunity at this point.
Other weekend notes
- Max Scherzer had his start pushed back to Wednesday due to tightness in his right side and back. He’ll be going up against the Dodgers, and while I would still start him (assuming we don’t get another setback), there’s certainly some risk here given the injury and matchup.
- Jeffrey Springs (arm) will miss a minimum of two months with a nerve issue in his left arm. That’s a frustrating diagnosis for a guy who looked like arguably the breakout star of the early part of the season. If you don’t have the roster space to play with, you have to seriously consider cutting Springs, who very well may not even end up pitching this year. A devastating outcome.
- Brandon Woodruff has been diagnosed with a sub-scapular strain in his right shoulder and will end up missing more than the minimum 15 days on the IL. That’s also frustrating, seeing as the Brewers originally downplayed the issue when he went on the IL. We likely won’t see him until May at the earlier.
- Justin Verlander (shoulder) threw off a mound for the first time as he had a successful bullpen session Saturday. He’s likely still at least a few weeks away at this point.
- Carlos Rodon (shoulder) is getting close to facing hitters, something he could do this week. I’m hoping for an early-May return at this point.
- Joe Musgrove (toe/shoulder) threw five innings and 69 pitches in his rehab start Sunday, and assuming he doesn’t have any lingering issues should be cleared to return from the IL this week. It’s not clear exactly what the plan is as of Sunday afternoon, so I’m not ready to say you should start him, but if we learn he’ll make his return Friday or Saturday, he’s probably worth getting active.
- Robbie Ray (elbow) could begin a throwing program Monday when he is evaluated by team doctors. The hope is he’ll be cleared to throw and we’ll get a timetable for his return shortly.
- Michael Harris (back) has yet to be cleared to take live batting practice, and he won’t return Monday when first eligible. It may just be a few more days, though if he continues to be delayed, a rehab stint in the minors could be on the table.
- Amed Rosario (back) is day-to-day after being held out of Sunday’s game. That makes him a bit of a risk for this week, especially since he’s been so cold, hitting .222/.275/.333 through the first 14 games.
- Tyler O’Neill (96%) — I’m not ready to cut O’Neill just yet, but it’s concerning that O’Neill was out of the lineup for both Friday and Saturday’s games against the Pirates. O’Neill was famously benched earlier in the season for a game, but I don’t think this was related to that. But with Lars Nootbaar back from the IL, it’s certainly worth monitoring his playing time here. O’Neill is more than capable of getting hot and forcing the issue, but he hasn’t done that yet.
- Grayson Rodriguez (86%) — My preference would certainly be to hang on to Rodriguez, who had eight strikeouts against the White Sox Sunday. The problem is, he was tagged for four runs on six hits and a pair of walks in five innings in the outing and doesn’t have a quality start through his first three opportunities. The changeup, which was supposed to be his best pitch, has been a real problem, as he has just a 15.0% whiff rate and a .495 expected wOBA allowed on the pitch overall. The reason I don’t want to give up on him, of course, is that turning it around could be as simple as figuring out the changeup, which he appeared to do after the first inning Sunday — he gave up four runs in the first (on two homers) before settling down, and his changeup garnered eight whiffs on 17 swings, by far his best performance of the season with the pitch. That’s a reason to keep the faith.
- Joey Meneses (62%) — I thought it was worth taking a flier on Meneses just to see if last year’s 56-game sample size was even somewhat real, but the early returns suggest it definitely wasn’t. Even with two hits Saturday and Sunday, he’s hitting just .238/.284/.302 overall. If the last two days were enough to buy Meneses another week on your roster, that’s fine, but I just don’t see much to be optimistic about here.
- Michael Kopech (52%) — Kopech is just getting crushed right now. He gave up an average exit velocity of — this is not a typo — 97.2 mph Saturday against the Orioles, and he’s in the sixth percentile of all pitchers in average EV allowed right now. He’s got a pretty good fastball, but that’s about all Kopech brings to the table these days, and it clearly isn’t enough. He’s droppable in all formats.
- Michael Wacha (70%) — Wacha opened some eyes with a tremendous 10-strikeout showing against the Braves last week, but he turned back into a pumpkin against the Brewers Friday. He was tagged for seven runs on 11 hits with just three strikeouts, and he had just two strikeouts in his first outing, too. It’s clear what the outlier is here. He’s useful for good matchups or streaming with two starts, but he’s very droppable at this point.
- White Sox: Reynaldo Lopez was called on for another high-leverage, non-save situation Friday, though this one did not go well. He came in with a three-run lead in the seventh inning and two runners on, then gave up a single, a walk, and a bases-clearing double to Adley Rutschman. I still think he’s the guy here, but they also clearly aren’t just saving him for the ninth, either.
- Cardinals: Ryan Helsley was off Friday, so Giovanny Gallegos got his first save of the season. Helsley was back Saturday, blowing the save in the eighth inning when he allowed a double that brought home an inherited runner. He worked a scoreless ninth following that and seems to be the clear frontrunner for saves here.
- Mariners: With Andres Munoz on the IL, Paul Sewald struck out two for his third save Friday. I would guess once Munoz is healthy, they’ll go back to splitting, but Sewald is clearly the guy with Munoz out.
- Yankees: It doesn’t seem like there’s much competition in the Yankees bullpen for saves, but it’s worth noting that Clay Holmes hasn’t been great. He blew his first save of the season Friday against the Twins, and has allowed four runs on six hits and four walks in 6.2 innings so far. Just something to keep an eye on here.