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MLB News and Notes With Fantasy Implications – August 25, 2020

We are coming off an exciting week of fantasy baseball, where we saw debuts galore from teams’ top prospects. Top prospects Casey Mize, Sixto Sanchez, Joey Bart, and Cristian Pache all made their debuts last week. All four are their team’s respective top prospects. Tarik Skubal, Triston McKenzie, and Brendan Rodgers also saw their first action of the year for their clubs. With that, here are news and notes across the league over the past week.

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Latest MLB News and Notes

NL East

Atlanta Braves

  • Ronald Acuna has swung a bat during live batting practice two straight days, and Braves beat writer Mark Bowman believes there is a chance he is back Tuesday. Acuna has been retroactive on the injured list since August 10th.
  • Meanwhile, Ozzie Albies seems like a long shot to be back this week. He has been out since August 5th with a wrist injury as well. The Braves won’t rush either back while they are still winning games, and they are still atop the NL East without their two star players.
  • Cristian Pache, the Braves top prospect, made his major league debut on Friday. He went 1-for-4, collecting his first big league hit. Pache is currently a glove-first player, who has a decent ceiling at the plate. It will be interesting to see what happens with Pache when Acuna returns, as Adam Duvall and Austin Riley have been performing much better the past week.
  • Max Fried had another dazzling performance on Friday, pitching five innings and only giving up one earned run against the Philadelphia Phillies. Fried has been the lone bright spot on the Braves, as he carries a 1.32 ERA through six starts.


Miami Marlins

  • Number one prospect Sixto Sanchez made his major league debut on Saturday, and his stuff looked every bit as good as advertised. He was routinely hitting 99-mph on the radar gun, and he has a wipeout slider to counterbalance that velocity. He went five innings, giving up three earned runs on six hits, and striking out four.
  • Jesus Sanchez was another top Marlins prospect who made his debut on Friday. He went hitless in his first three games before collecting his first hit on Sunday.
  • Corey Dickerson left Sunday’s game with a left shoulder contusion after running into the outfield wall. He was 2-for-2 with a home run before departing and on an eight-game hit streak.
  • Catcher Francisco Cervelli was placed on the injured list after he suffered a concussion. It has been reported that this was his seventh documented concussion.
  • Consequently, Jorge Alfaro was activated on Friday after missing the entire season thus far on the COVID-19 injured list. He will likely have a stronghold at the catcher position going forward.


New York Mets

  • The Mets have seen their last four games suspended due to a coach and a player testing positive for COVID-19. The good news is they are scheduled to return on Tuesday in a doubleheader against the Miami Marlins after no further members of the organization tested positive.


Philadelphia Phillies

  • The Phillies traded for Red Sox closer Brandon Workman to fill the same position in a struggling bullpen. He gave up a walk off hit on Saturday before getting his first save on Sunday.
  • Alec Bohm hit his first major league home run Sunday, and it was an absolute bomb. His home run traveled 446-feet with a 107.6-mph exit velocity. He went 3-for-3 on the game and is now hitting .344 through his first 10 games.
  • Bryce Harper hit his seventh home run on Saturday. He has been on an absolute tear since the second half of 2019, and he has arguably returned to MVP form.


Washington Nationals

  • Stephen Strasburg was diagnosed with Carpal Tunnel Neuritis. He will have surgery, which will cause him to miss the rest of the season
  • The Nationals fired an administrator at their academy after he threw two cups of coffee on a clerk in the Dominican Republic. The Nationals have had a lot of success in the Dominican Republic, as they signed Juan Soto, Victor Robles, and Luis Garcia from the country. They will look to save face in this situation, as they need to continue their strong ties in the country.
  • Speaking of Luis Garcia, he has been off to an excellent start eight games into his MLB career. He is currently hitting .357, with a home run and six runs scored. He went 3-for-4 on Sunday, scoring three runs against the Braves.


NL Central

Chicago Cubs

  • Kris Bryant landed on the 10-day injured list with a left finger sprain and left wrist issue.
  • Tyler Chatwood performed a long-toss session on Friday. The next stop is to throw on the mound, and he should be due to return later in the week. Outside of one blow up stat, Chatwood has looked excellent this season, striking out 23 in 15 innings pitched.
  • Jeremy Jeffress picked up the save Sunday, and the closer situation in Chicago seems murkier than ever. Kimbrel pitched the eighth and struck out two while walking two. He hasn’t given up a run in his past four appearances, but the two walks on Sunday should secure Jeffress and Rowan Wick’s save opportunities for now.
  • Adbert Alzolay, the Cubs top prospect, made his season debut on Thursday and pitched very well. He pitched five innings of shutout baseball, striking out six.


Cincinnati Reds

  • The Reds continue to disappoint on the year, as they are currently 11-15 and in third in the division. They dropped another game on Sunday, losing to the St. Louis Cardinals 6-2.
  • Raisel Iglesias converted his third save on the year on Friday and looks to have the job locked down still despite some early struggles. Iglesias currently has a 6.75 ERA with 14 strikeouts over eight innings. Lucas Sims appears to be pushing Iglesias to pitch better or risk losing his job. Sims has only given up one run through ten appearances, striking out 16 in 11 innings pitched.
  • Sonny Gray put in another excellent start on Thursday, pitching six innings of four-hit ball, allowing two runs and striking out six. Gray has a 2.21 ERA and a 0.91 WHIP through 36 2/3 innings pitched, and looks locked in as a Cy Young candidate.
  • His teammate Trevor Bauer pitched another gem on Wednesday, pitching a complete game (seven innings), only allowing one hit while striking out nine. Bauer may actually be the leader in the Cy Young race, with a minuscule 0.68 ERA and a 0.57 WHIP across 26.1 innings pitched.


Milwaukee Brewers

  • The Brewers are another team in the Central who have disappointed, sitting at 11-15 thus far into the season.
  • Keston Hiura hit his team-leading seventh home run on Saturday. The second baseman is now batting .240 with those seven home runs. If he can figure out how to cut his strikeouts, he can be a fantasy stud going forward.
  • Shockingly, Christian Yelich is hitting under .200 nearly halfway through the shortened season. His strikeout rate is 10% higher than normal, and his BABIP is nearly .150 points lower than his career average. Expect Yelich to perform better for the rest of the season.
  • Brandon Woodruff has failed to reach six innings in his last three starts, as he continues to rack up high pitch counts early in games. Woodruff was a popular breakout pick in 2020, but he will provide little value if he continues pitching short outings.


Pittsburgh Pirates

  • Joe Musgrove was scheduled to throw live batting practice on Monday. Typically, that should give him roughly a week before he returns to action. The popular breakout pick had struggled prior to being shut down with a shoulder injury, owning a 6.75 ERA and a 1.77 WHIP in 14 2/3 innings pitched.
  • Keone Kela exited Friday’s game with forearm tightness, which can only be bad news for his outlook in 2020.
  • Richard Rodriguez picked up the save on Sunday and looks to be the Pirates closer going forward.
  • Gregory Polanco homered in back-to-back games over the weekend, and he now has four on the season. Polanco has struck out at a ridiculous 42.6% rate, over 20% higher than his career average. Combined with a .167 BABIP, he is a player that screams positive regression over the last half of the year.


St. Louis Cardinals

  • Star prospect Dylan Carlson hit his first career big-league home run on Sunday. He went 2-for-4, adding a single. It was also the first multi-hit game of his career. Expect many more of these types of games from the potential five-tool outfielder.
  • Alex Reyes, the Cardinals injury-prone former top prospect, pitched a clean 9th inning Sunday up four runs against the Reds. If Reyes can start to control his pitches even slightly better, he is a candidate to pitch in high-leverage situations for a depleted Cardinals bullpen.
  • Kolten Wong extended his hit streak to seven games on Monday, going 1-for-5 with a stolen base. Wong looks cemented into the top of the Cardinals lineup, and should return more value than what we have seen thus far in the year.


NL West

Arizona Diamondbacks

  • Another day, another quality start from Zac Gallen. The Diamondbacks ace has officially cemented himself into the SP1 conversation after pitching six innings of one-run ball against the Giants. That makes five straight quality starts for Gallen, and a 2.25 ERA in 36 innings pitched.
  • Starling Marte went 1-for-4 on Sunday, hitting a double and stealing a base. He has been excellent in his debut season for the Diamondbacks, hitting .320, with 17 runs scored, and five stolen bases through 27 games played.
  • Robbie Ray continues to get hit hard, as he allowed four runs on seven hits in five innings against the Giants. It has not been a good year for Ray, as he owns an 8.33 ERA and a ridiculous 18.7% walk percentage in 27 innings.


Colorado Rockies

  • Charlie Blackmon’s quest for .400 continues to leak more and more attainable. He went 2-for-4 on Sunday, and currently sits at .405 on the season. Even though it wouldn’t be a true .400 season, doing it in 60 games would still be extremely impressive.
  • Trevor Story hit yet another home run on Sunday, and he now has eight on the year. He looks to have potentially surpassed Nolan Arenado as the team’s most valuable player, as the 27-year-old shortstop looks like an elite fantasy option for years to come.
  • Kyle Freeland put in a solid performance against the Dodgers on Saturday, pitching six innings and giving up three runs. That gave him his sixth consecutive quality start to begin the 2020 season. That gives him a 2.87 ERA on the year, and a 3.89 xFIP to support his claim that he has returned to All-Star form.
  • Chris Owings was placed on the injured list on Thursday, opening the door for the Rockies to play their young trio of Brendan Rodgers, Sam Hilliard, and Garrett Hampson in some capacity.


Los Angeles Dodgers

  • If Fernando Tatis Jr. is the 1A in fantasy this season, Mookie Betts is the 1B. He hit two home runs on Sunday and has now hit 11 total on the year. Betts has shown that he deserves the massive contract extension the Dodgers gave him before the season started.
  • The Dodgers hit five other home runs in that game along with Betts’s two. Cody Bellinger, Max Muncy, Corey Seager, and Will Smith all got in on the action. The Dodgers remain one of the best lineups night-in and night-out for fantasy purposes.
  • Keibert Ruiz was optioned back down to the minors following the return of Will Smith. The 22-year-old top prospect was 2-for-8 in his short time up.


San Diego Padres

  • Arguably the most fun team to watch in baseball did not disappoint this past week. They hit a grand slam in four out of five days leading up to Saturday, with Jake Cronenworth being the last to do so.
  • Trent Grisham hit three home runs on Saturday, going 4-for-5 overall. Grisham looks like one of the best bargains in all of fantasy baseball this far into the season, as he has scored 20 runs, hit seven home runs, and stolen four bases through 30 games.
  • Manny Machado seems to be catching fire, as he in back-to-back games over the weekend. That also gives him three home runs in his past five games. The third baseman is up to eight home runs on the year, and hitting behind one of the best 1-2 hitter combinations in baseball.
  • Emilio Pagan has taken over the closer role for the Padres after Kirby Yates was ruled out for the year, and Drew Pomeranz was placed on the injured list.


San Francisco Giants

  • Mike Yastrzemski hit a home run on Sunday, which happened to be his birthday. Yastrzemski has been enjoying a breakout season, hitting .309 , with seven home runs and 23 RBI. He could be a top 100 overall draft pick in 2021 drafts if he continues at this pace.
  • Hunter Pence was designated for assignment on Sunday after struggling to perform throughout the year. The Giants are starting to play more and more young players, and Pence was the odd man out.
  • Reyes Moronta has been throwing batting practice sessions at the Giants alternate site, and he looks to be available by the end of August. Moronta could quickly become the Giants closer if he pitches to his potential, so monitor him closely.
  • Joey Bart has hit safely in all four games he has played in. The Giants top prospect looks to be the real deal, as he has several hard hit balls early on.


AL East

Baltimore Orioles

  • Pedro Severino was removed from Sunday’s game with a leg injury. The Orioles catcher has been one of the top catchers in all of fantasy baseball, hitting .333 with five home runs and 20 RBI. The severity is not yet known, but hopefully, it is nothing serious for the 27-year-old.
  • Ryan Mountcastle was called up on Friday, and he went hitless in his debut. However, he had three hits in his last two games, including two doubles on Sunday. Mountcastle is widely regarded as the best hitting prospect in the Orioles system.
  • Tanner Scott got the save on Sunday, but word is that was due to Cole Sulser having thrown too many pitches the day before. Scott has been excellent this season, maintaining a 2.45 ERA in 11 innings pitched, with 14 strikeouts.
  • Anthony Santander has been a pleasant surprise in 2020. He hit his 10th home run of the season on Saturday, and he now has 27 RBI, good for third overall in baseball.


Boston Red Sox

  • The Red Sox traded closer Brandon Workman to the Phillies on Friday, and Matt Barnes immediately got a save. He looks to be the closer for now, but he has really struggled this season, sporting a 5.73 ERA through 11 appearances.
  • Nick Pivetta was the key piece that the Red Sox received, and it looks like they want to stretch him out to be a starter this season. Pivetta was an extremely popular breakout pick in 2019, but he ultimately disappointed and was relegated to the bullpen.
  • Andrew Benintendi is reportedly nowhere close to returning from the injured list after suffering a strained rib cage nearly two weeks ago.
  • Alex Verdugo had hit safely in 17 of his past 18 games before coming in as a pinch hitter on Sunday and going 0-for-1. He was also on a 13-game hitting streak prior to Sunday. Verdugo is hitting .298 with a .371 on-base percentage and looks every bit the player the Red Sox were looking for in the Mookie Betts trade.


New York Yankees

  • There hasn’t been a team hit harder by injuries recently than the Yankees. Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton, Gleyber Torres, D.J. LeMahieu, and James Paxton all have hit the injured list within the past few weeks.
  • Judge was slated to return this past weekend, but their series against their inner-city rivals, the New York Mets, was postponed.
  • Luke Voit has picked up as much slack as possible, as he has homered in four straight games prior to the postponements. He has 10 home runs on the year, while also hitting for a .311 average. He is looking like a potentially elite first base option in fantasy going forward.
  • Miguel Andujar was optioned to the team’s alternate site despite all the injuries. Not good for Andujar, as he seemingly doesn’t have a place in a stacked hitting environment.


Tampa Bay Rays

  • Another day, another Rays relief pitcher hitting the injured list. This time, it was their best bullpen arm in Nick Anderson. Anderson reportedly had right forearm inflammation, which is extremely worrisome for his future outlook.
  • Chaz Roe also was put on the injured list on Saturday with right elbow soreness. Look for Diego Castillo to be the favorite for saves in the immediate future.
  • Yonny Chirinos is undergoing Tommy John surgery, and he will be out until at least 2022.
  • Brandon Lowe has been a bright spot for the Rays, as he hit his ninth home run on Friday. He is currently hitting .313 with an elite 1.095 OPS. Lowe is looking like an excellent buy in all leagues going forward.
  • Blake Snell appears fully stretched out, as he threw 101 pitches on Monday against the Blue Jays. He struck out nine in 5 2/3 innings. Snell owns a 3.00 ERA in 18 innings pitched, as he looks to be returning to elite form.


Toronto Blue Jays

  • Jordan Romano looks to have the closer role in Toronto after getting his second save on Monday. Romano owns a nice 0.69 ERA in 13 innings pitched.
  • Nate Pearson had an MRI done on his elbow after feeling discomfort. It is reported he is feeling better, but the MRI results will be key in his 2020 outlook. The flamethrower had struggled to date, as he had a 6.61 ERA in four starts, struggling with command and giving up the long ball.
  • Lourdes Gurriel has been on fire. The streaky hitter is currently a must play, as he is known to really perform well once he gets hot. He has three home runs in his past five games, and has hit safely in eight of his past nine.


AL Central

Chicago White Sox

  • Jose Abreu has six home runs in his past three games after going 1-for-4 with a home run on Sunday. Abreu hit two home runs on Friday, and three on Saturday. He also has an RBI in six straight games. He is as hot a hitter as there currently is.
  • Reynaldo Lopez returned for the first time since leaving his first start early due to shoulder soreness. He gave up two runs in 3 1/3 innings, striking out four batters. The former top prospect continues to struggle, but there is upside if he can put it all together.
  • Luis Robert homered on Saturday, giving him seven on the season. He is hitting .277, with 15 runs, 17 RBI, and four steals. Robert is breaking into his potential as he continues to hit the ball hard for the White Sox.


Cleveland Indians

  • The Indians’ top pitching prospect, Triston McKenzie, made his debut on Saturday, and he put on quite the show. In six innings against the Detroit Tigers, McKenzie struck out 10 batters and only gave up one run. He showed off an excellent arsenal, along with pinpoint location throughout the start. He has earned another start, as he likely draws the St. Louis Cardinals. If he is on your waiver wire, snatch him up immediately.
  • Shane Bieber continues to make his claim towards being baseball’s best pitcher. He threw six shutout innings against the Tigers, striking out 11.


Detroit Tigers

  • The Tigers top prospect and former number one overall pick Casey Mize made his debut last week, pitching 4 1/3 inning, giving up three earned runs, and striking out seven. He then made his second start on Monday, pitching 3 1/3 innings, only striking out two on three runs given up. It hasn’t been an ideal start to the season, but Mize’s upside is undeniable.
  • Matthew Boyd had a solid start on Sunday pitching 5 1/3 innings, striking out six and only giving up two runs. It has not been a good year for Boyd so far, but this start could have him trending the right way.


Kansas City Royals

  • Salvador Perez was placed on the 10-day injured list with an eye injury. The catcher was a popular pick to return to form as one of the best catcher in baseball, and he was off to a solid start to the season. He is hitting .307, with four home runs, and 12 RBI.
  • Whit Merrifield continues to have an excellent season, as he is hitting .312 with five home runs and six steals. Four of those steals have come in his last seven games.


Minnesota Twins

  • The ageless wonder that is Nelson Cruz hit his 10th home run on Sunday. The 40-year-old slugger doesn’t seem to be slowing down in 2020, as he also is hitting .340 on the year, with 23 runs and 27 RBI. He has returned first-round value this far into the year.
  • Jake Odorizzi is heading back to the injured list after being hit hard on Friday.
  • Miguel Sano continued his hitting streak, as he is up to eight games. He also added a home run on Monday, and he is now up to six on the year. In what was a slow start to the season, expect Sano to return nice value the rest of the way.


AL West

Houston Astros

  • Kyle Tucker looks to be potentially breaking out, as he has hit safely in seven of his past nine games, hitting four home runs and driving in 13 runs in the process. The former top prospect is locked in for playing time and looks like a high-end option in the fantasy world.
  • Justin Verlander threw 20 pitches on Sunday, opening the door for a 2020 return, possibly by mid-September.


Los Angeles Angels

  • Anthony Rendon has been unbelievably hot as of late, as he is currently on a 14 game hitting streak, including six multi-hit games in his past seven. Rendon looks to be entering the MVP race with this sort of performance.
  • Ty Buttrey had a two-inning save on Saturday and looks to potentially have the closer role in Los Angeles after Hansel Robles struggled with the role this season.


Oakland Athletics

  • Matt Olson hit a walk-off home run on Monday night, and he is now up to nine home runs on the year. He is still only hitting .164, so he is extremely hot and cold this far into the season.
  • Frankie Montas struggled once again on Sunday, giving up four runs on seven hits in 4 2/3 innings. He is now up to a disappointed 5.22 ERA on the year.


Seattle Mariners

  • Daniel Vogelbach was traded to the Toronto Blue Jays for cash, as the Mariners have completely cemented top prospect Evan White into their lineup at first base.
  • Kyle Lewis continues to perform at an MVP level, as he hit his seventh home run against the Rangers on Sunday. Lewis is hitting an unreal .368, with 24 runs scored, and 19 RBI. For those that drafted him or picked him up, congratulations.


Texas Rangers

  • Willie Calhoun is having a year to forget (like most of us). He was placed on the 10-day injured list due to a left hamstring strain.
  • Elvis Andrus was placed on the injured list on Thursday with a lower back strain. Andrus had disappointed to date, as have most players in the Rangers organization.



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