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National League News and Notes from Summer Camp

Fantasy Baseball will be a wild ride in 2020. Keeping up with what is happening will be critical for success in your Fantasy league. With players opting out and being diagnosed with COVID-19, it is essential to know which players may benefit from a specific player’s absence. Will teams go with a four-man rotation, or maybe a six-man rotation? Will they let their starters go deep into games, or do teams plan on letting starters go for three-to-four innings per start? All of these factors are important to know to give you an advantage on your Fantasy league-mates. Below, I will break down all of the National League news and notes current as of the evening of July 8.

Also, be sure to check out Corbin Young’s American League News from yesterday.

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National League East

Atlanta Braves

  • Freddie Freeman was diagnosed with COVID-19 on July 4. He was experiencing a high fever, body aches, and chills since Thursday, July 2. Freeman’s wife Chelsea posted on Instagram that Freddie was beginning to feel better on Monday night, July 6. He will remain in quarantine for now and needs two negative tests to rejoin the Braves. It is uncertain whether he will be ready to go for Opening Day. Austin Riley, Adam Duvall, and Johan Camargo are all options to play first base if Freddie is not prepared for Opening Day.
  • Felix Hernandez and Nick Markakis have both chosen to opt-out of the 2020 season.
    • Kyle Wright seems to be the biggest beneficiary of Hernandez opting-out. I could see the Braves piggy-backing starters in the fifth rotation spot and using a variety of guys like Wright, Sean Newcomb, and Bryce Wilson.
    •  While many are quick to jump on the Cristian Pache and Drew Waters bandwagon with Markakis opting-out, I would pump the breaks. Both could use more development time, and Markakis was likely going to be in a platoon with Ender Inciarte. Inciarte and Adam Duvall will probably see the majority of at-bats with Markakis’ absence.

Miami Marlins

  • The Marlins plan to contend in 2020.

“This is our best lineup. This gives us our best chance to win today. This is not a development situation. I am going to manage in a way to win every game.” Mattingly said.

  • The team plans for starting pitchers to be full-go, but will be cautious. Most starting pitchers are already up to 75 innings.

New York Mets

  • Manager Luis Rojas did not commit to Edwin Diaz as the Mets closer. He mentioned Diaz, Dellin Betances, Seth Lugo, and Jeurys Familia as possible options in a closer-by-committee.
  • Jacob deGrom is on track to throw 100 pitches on Opening Day. This should come as no surprise, but deGrom is one of the elite starting pitchers who will go deep into games in 2020.
  • Amed Rosario rejoined the Met’s summer camp on Sunday, July 5. He was absent due to delayed test results but is ready to go.

Philadelphia Phillies

  • Aaron Nola returned to the Phillies summer camp on Monday, July 6, after being held out while awaiting test results. He threw a bullpen session Monday but is unsure whether his arm will be fully built up for Opening Day.
  • Zack Wheeler is questionable for Opening Day due to the birth of his child, who is due right around the time the season is supposed to begin.
  • Hector Neris returned to camp on Sunday, July 5, after being placed on the COVID IL previously.
  • Scott Kingery contracted COVID-19 about a month ago and stated that it hit him pretty hard. He has now recorded two negative tests and will rejoin the team soon.

Washington Nationals

  • The team canceled their scheduled workout for Monday, July 6, due to delayed testing results but resumed on Tuesday.
  • Juan Soto is self-isolating after interacting with a teammate that tested positive. Soto has shown no symptoms but will need to provide a negative test to return to camp. He will still be working out away from Nats Park.
  • Carter Kieboom is expected to be the starting third baseman for the Nationals. This is great news for Fantasy owners as he will play every day and likely provide reliable numbers. Despite the struggles in his MLB debut last season, I would not be concerned. Kieboom has struggled initially with every promotion but settles in fine.

  • Ryan Zimmerman elected to opt-out of the 2020 season. This opens up more at-bats for Howie Kendrick, who was likely already going to be the designated hitter. Eric Thames is also a benefactor for at-bats.
  • To no surprise, the Nationals starting pitchers are close to full go and will be ready to go six-plus innings by Opening Day.

National League Central

Chicago Cubs

  • The Cubs delayed their workout for Tuesday, July 7, while they await their testing results.
  • Yu Darvish threw his new pitch that he calls, “The Supreme” during an intrasquad game on Saturday. This pitch is considered a hybrid between his splitters and two-seam fastball.

  • Jose Quintana injured his left thumb, washing dishes at his house. He needed nerve repair in his thumb and had five stitches. This sets Quintana back and means Tyler Chatwood is ensured a spot in the Cubs rotation. Alec Mills is the favorite for the fifth starting spot.
  • Anthony Rizzo did not play in the Cubs intrasquad game on Tuesday, July 7th, due to lower back tightness. This is nothing new for Rizzo, and he is considered day-to-day.

Cincinnati Reds

  • Trevor Bauer has a chance to start every fourth day, according to his pitching coach, Derek Johnson. If this happens, it is a tremendous value boost to Bauer because it will mean more counting stats, which could be a massive factor in your Fantasy league.
  • Nick Senzel and Eugenio Suarez are both 100 percent healthy as expected. This does not affect Fantasy ranks as most assumed this would be the case. Senzel could benefit from the Designated Hitter role.
  • Sonny Gray will be the Reds Opening Day Starter. He will be followed by Luis Castillo, Trevor Bauer, Wade Miley, and Anthony DeSclafani.

Milwaukee Brewers

  • Luis Urias tested positive for COVID-19 but is not displaying symptoms.
  • The Brewers pitching coach, Chris Hook, did not commit to Corey Knebel being ready for opening day. If you are questioning Josh Hader losing the closer role to Knebel, this should throw that out of the window.

Pittsburgh Pirates

  • Joe Musgrove is throwing 75 pitches and feels ready to go for the regular season. He spent much of his downtime by throwing bullpens and working on his delivery. Musgrove should show improvements with a new pitching coach that allows him to be more versatile with his six-pitch arsenal.
  • Steven Brault and Chad Kuhl could piggy-back in the fifth starter spot. The Pirates are trying to be creative after losing Chris Archer for the season.

St. Louis Cardinals

  • Carlos Martinez and Jordan Hicks have both been absent from summer camp. This leaves them unlikely to be in the Opening Day lineup. Martinez will likely be in the bullpen when he comes back to build up arm strength.
  • Miles Mikolas will be on a limited pitch count to begin the season. Mikolas is up to 40 pitches right now and will take a few weeks into the season to build up his arm strength.
  • Ryan Helsley was the first name discussed by Cardinals GM John Mozeliak when asked about the team’s closer role. Jordan Hicks will begin the year on the injured list, and Giovanny Gallegos has yet to report to the Cardinal’s camp.

National League West

Arizona Diamondbacks

  • Robbie Ray is already throwing up to 80 pitches. This is higher than most starting pitchers at this point. Ray stated that he felt good during the live batting practice and was pretty much max effort.
  • Kole Calhoun tested positive for COVID-19 but is asymptomatic and feeling good. He needs two negative test results to return to the team. Calhoun should be fine to begin the year in the lineup. But if he is unable to play, Jon Jay, Josh Rojas, and Tim Locastro could be the beneficiaries.

Colorado Rockies

  • Charlie Blackmon was one of the first players who tested positive. He remains in his offseason home in Georgia. His availability for Opening Day is in question as the Rockies have not released much information.
  • Brendan Rodgers’ shoulder is fully healthy after tearing his labrum last July. Rodgers is a candidate to get some playing time at second base.

Los Angeles Dodgers

  • David Price decided to opt-out for the 2020 MLB season. The door is now open for Ross Stripling and Dustin May to grab the fifth rotation spot.
  • Ross Stripling stated that he would be ready to throw six innings by the start of the season. Stripling is a valuable late-round pick now for Fantasy purposes.
  • Dustin May is expected to be stretched out to five innings by the start of the season. May is a high upside pick and pitched well in his MLB debut last season.
  • Kenley Jansen and AJ Pollock have not reported to camp. Pollock is expected soon and will need to pass his test. Jansen is concerning, and there is not much information at the moment. Jansen is a high end closer. The Dodgers could go with a variety of pitchers in the closer role if Jansen is not ready to go to begin the year. Pedro Báez, Joe Kelly, and Blake Treinen are all pitchers to watch in this case.
  • Max Muncy did not participate in the Dodgers intrasquad game on Monday, July 6, due to a bruised finger. He is confident that he will be ready for Opening Day.

San Diego Padres

  • Kirby Yates participated in his first camp workout on Tuesday, July 7. He had a family member test positive, which delayed his arrival at camp. Yates should have no problem gearing up and being the closer on Opening Day. He is one of the best closers in baseball and should be drafted as such.
  • Edward Olivares has turned heads at summer camp and is a possibility to make the Padres’ Opening Day roster.

San Francisco Giants

  • Logan Webb is the leading candidate to be the Giants fifth starter. Buster Posey caught Webb in a live batting practice session, stating that his stuff was “electric,” and his velocity was up “a tick or two from the spring.”


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