Prospect Call Ups
Our minor league team of writers, Jason Hunt, Michael Schwarz and Domenic Lanza, have been doing a fantastic job in covering all of the prospect calls ups this season, and recently they addressed the fantasy impact of two pitching prospects who will be making their big league debuts tonight, and you can find them in the links below:
Dee Gordon suspended
The news that Marlins second baseman Dee Gordon was suspended for 80 games for taking PEDs was announced minutes after the Marlins finished off sweeping the Dodgers in Los Angeles last night. I wrote about the fantasy impact of his suspension earlier this morning and you can find the link below:
Well the Dee Gordon news was certainly a surprise, but the results of the MRI on Kris Bryant's ankle could deal another blow to fantasy owners if his ankle injury is more serious than has been reported. The Cubs third baseman apparently injured his ankle while running the bases in the Cubs win over the Reds yesterday afternoon. His injury was initially reported as a "mild" sprain, but hours later we learned he was being sent for an MRI, the results of which we should hear about today. Assuming he is fine, Bryant may miss a few games. If he needs a stint on the disabled list, the Cubs could use Javier Baez and Tommy LaStella at third base while he is out. Baez is obviously the hitter you want to add should Bryant go on the DL. Baez is available in close to 80% of leagues right now, and without looking I am sure LaStella is available in quite a bit more.
Orioles third baseman Manny Machado is determined to show us all that last year's breakout season was no fluke, and who am I, as a fantasy writer, to questions his ability to duplicate his 2015 performance. Last night, Machado went 2-4 with a double, grand slam, 3 runs scored and 5 RBI in the Orioles 10-2 win over the White Sox. In just 94 plate appearances, Machado is hitting .333-.389-.678 with 7 home runs, 19 runs scored and 16 RBI. He doesn't get mentioned in the same conversations with Mike Trout and Bryce Harper, but he is one of the best players in the game right now and is only 23 years old. He becomes a free agent at the end of the 2018 season and he could easily become the second highest paid player in the game once Harper gets his $400-500 million deal.
Diamondbacks starter Rubby de la Rosa is one of those pitchers that we love to roster, but he is so inconsistent, he is tough to roster at the same time. Case in point, last night, he dominated the Cardinals, shutting them out on 2 hits, 2 walks and 10 strikeouts in the Diamondbacks 3-0 win. The win moved his record to 3-3 with a 4.18 ERA, 3.91 FIP, 1.10 WHIP and a 28-8 strikeout to walk rate in 23.3 innings. He has started four games thus far, and has been used in relief in three other games, but in the games he has started, he has put up two disaster starts followed by two very good starts. In his last two starts, he has given up just one earned run on 5 hits, 3 walks and 16 strikeouts over 13 innings. Is this what we can expect from him going forward? Probably not, but there are some very positive signs that we need to monitor. His strikeout rate is up from 19% to 28%, and his ground ball rate is reaching elite status at 58%. If he can limit the walks and home runs, which may be difficult in Chase Field, he could become fantasy relevant. As is stands now, he is available in 97% of leagues right now, so if you want to make a spec play on him, I endorse the move.
de la Rosa's teammate Brandon Drury was a top 100 prospect on some rankings this year and last, but he wasn't expected to have much of an impact on fantasy rosters this season. Well, Drury had other plans. Last night, Drury played left field and went 2-4 with a home run in the Diamondbacks 3-0 win over the Cardinals. Drury has been hot of late with hits in eight of his last ten games. He is now hitting .311-.328-.590 with 3 home runs, 7 runs scored and 8 RBI in 61 at bats to date. After the game, manager Chip Hale stated he will continue writing Drury's name into the Diamondbacks lineup as long as he is hitting. Drury has played second and third base and in the outfield thus far, so he could earn position eligibility at three positions by seasons end. Drury is available in almost every league right now, so if you are a Dee Gordon owner, he is a solid choice to replace Gordon in your lineup.
One player off to a slow start this season is Nationals third baseman Anthony Rendon. His struggles actually go back to last season, as he hit just .264-.344-.364 upon his return from the disabled list. He was ranked pretty high in our second and third base rankings in the offseason, as many of us felt he could return to the hitter he was two years ago, but he has disappointed to date. Through his first 21 games this season, he is hitting .229-.297-.277 with no home runs, 13 runs scored and ONE RBI. He is making hard contact on about 36% of his balls in play, so maybe he has been unlucky, as his line drive rate is above 25% at the moment. He is a better hitter than he has shown to date, and is available in about 20% of leagues right now. If you have an owner in your league who is frustrated with his performance to date, I advise making an offer for him, as he should start hitting real soon.
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