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Chicago Cubs outfielder Kyle Schwarber will sit Friday versus the Giants as they will throw left-handed starter Derek Holland. Schwarber has done everything to have a a bounce-back season so far, but manager Joe Maddon still prefers to rest him versus lefties. Ian Happ will be in left field this afternoon and Ben Zobrist will be in right field.
The Toronto Blue Jays have optioned reliever Deck McGuire to Triple-A Buffalo. A corresponding move was not yet announced. This move is for the best as McGuire has been terrible in the Major Leagues this season, and that's putting it nicely. Across 8 1/3 innings pitched, he owns an atrocious 6.48 ERA, 1.68 WHIP, and 7.56 K/9. He's been better as a starting pitcher for Triple-A this year, amassing a 2.70 ERA and 1.03 WHIP across five starts and 30 innings pitched, but some regression should be on the way with a 4.09 xFIP. There's not likely to be enough talent here to be a fantasy contributor any time soon.
New York Mets catcher Devin Mesoraco was essentially (and reasonably) left for dead at the start of 2018, placing second on the Cincinnati Reds depth chart at backstop. Since getting traded to the Amazins, however, Mesoraco has been a new man. He continues to give the Mets more production at catcher than they've had in some time, and he kept on going Thursday against the Milwaukee Brewers. He finished 2-for-5 with a double and an RBI in the 5-0 win. The two-bagger was his fourth of the season. Since being traded to the Mets, his averages don't all scream superstar (.200/.300/.514), but in 40 plate appearances he has three home runs, two doubles, eight runs scored, and six RBI. At the catcher position, that is absolutely production that should be taken advantage of. He's a must-own in two catcher leagues, and since the trade, he's been producing anywhere from roughly the fifth to the 13th overall catcher for fantasy purposes.
New York Mets outfielder Brandon Nimmo has been quietly productive since essentially moving into an everyday role, but he had a loud night at the plate against the Milwaukee Brewers on Thursday. Nimmo finished 4-for-4 with a triple, two doubles, two runs scored, and a walk. The big effort brings his slash line for the season up to a great .294/.450/.541 (.991 OPS) with three home runs, four triples, four doubles, 18 runs scored, six RBI, and three stolen bases. Nimmo is the kind of player who will do most things solid, but not stand out exceptionally well in any area except OBP. He's a great player to utilize if you need a boost in your averages, but will likely be subpar in counting stats.
New York Mets starting pitcher Steven Matz wasn't an advisable fantasy play on Thursday against the Milwaukee Brewers, but he came through for both his team and fantasy owners in a 5-0 victory. Matz pitched up the win by throwing a scoreless six innings, allowing four hits and three walks with three strikeouts. The outing was encouraging for Matz from an earned run perspective, but there continues to be trouble under the hood here due to his lack of strikeouts. In his last five starts, Matz has struck out three or fewer four times, with the exception being a five-strikeout performance. If he's not going to strike guys out, he's not an advisable fantasy play due to penchant to get lit up at times.
Cincinnati Reds third baseman Eugenio Suarez went 1-for-4 with a grand slam in his team's 5-4 loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates on Thursday. Suarez deposited a third-inning pitch from Pirates starter Ivan Nova over the fence for his eighth homer of the season. Suarez is putting together an excellent season for the Reds, batting . 280 with a .934 OPS and 38 RBI in 125 at-bats. Despite missing a few weeks in April with a fractured thumb, Suarez is well on his way to turning in a career year in 2018. On Friday, the Reds open a weekend series in Colorado, meaning Suarez is a must-play in the thin air of Coors Field.
Chicago White Sox starting pitching prospect Dylan Cease was dominant in his start on Thursday, striking out nine batters over a career-high 7 1/3 innings of work for the A-Advanced Winston-Salem Dash. Cease, 22, hit 99 mph on a fastball which was his 102nd pitch of the night. Cease is pushing for a promotion up to AA Birmingham, as his ERA is now down to 2.83 on the season. Don't look for him to make his MLB debut this season, but Cease is another pitching prospect in an increasingly deep White Sox system full of young arms.
Chicago White Sox starting pitcher Carlos Rodon left his rehab start at AAA Charlotte on Thursday after being struck in the head with a line drive. According to the Chicago Sun-Times Daryl Van Schouwen, Rodon managed to avoid injury from the line drive. It's a shame Rodon got tagged, as he was cruising before he had to exit the game. He pitched 2 2/3 scoreless innings, struck out six, walked none, and allowed just one hit. As long as Rodon makes it through this beaning without a concussion, he should be back in the White Sox starting rotation in the next week or two. He's a good speculative waiver-wire add in basically any format, especially if your team is hurting for starting pitching at this point.
Tampa Bay Rays outfielder Denard Span reaches base four times Thursday versus the Red Sox. He went 2-for-3 with two walks which resulted in him scoring three times. He even stole his sixth base of the season. Span is coming off a 2017 season where he batted .272 with 12 home runs and 12 steals. As long as he gets to 450 plate appearances, he should serve as a steady and safe fourth or fifth outfielder in a 12-team mixed league.
Tampa Bay Rays closer Alex Colome bounced back from a tough loss yesterday by closing out the game Thursday versus the Red Sox. He came in with two outs in the ninth and got the final out to earn his 11th save of the season. He had taken the loss Wednesday against the same opponent. It has been a rough season early on, but Colome had a long leash, as he had tallied 84 saves the past two seasons. Stick with Colome in all leagues, but just know that the frequency of his save chances likely will not be consistent as the Rays seem streaky and not particularly strong.
Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Blake Snell produced a very strong outing Thursday versus the Red Sox. He went six scoreless innings while striking out eight. He has been the Rays best pitcher this season with his record now being 6-3 with a 2.78 ERA. Snell just recently turned 25 years old but already had 218 1/3 innings pitched in the majors going into 2018. The most obvious strength of Snell's young career has been his 217 strikeouts coming into the season, showing that he is a power pitcher that can make a difference in fantasy lineups. He seemed like a fourth or fifth starter for fantasy coming into the season but is currently vastly outperforming that.
Tampa Bay Rays catcher Wilson Ramos (left hand) returned successfully to the lineup Thursday versus the Red Sox. He took a shot to his hand Tuesday but returned Thursday to the lineup. Ramos would go 3-for-4 while driving in two runs in the game. He now has six home runs and 24 RBI to go with a very fantasy friendly .301 batting average. His 2015 season was a success as he hit 22 HRs with 80 runs batted in and a .307 batting average over 131 games played. He has never been a major source of runs scored, but if he can stay healthy, he has the upside of a starter in most fantasy leagues. If you have the bench space, the smart play is to pair Ramos with a steady catcher.
Tampa Bay Rays outfielder Carlos Gomez (groin strain) is close to returning this weekend. He will play an extended spring game Friday and if all goes well, he could return to the team either Saturday or Sunday. He passed an important test Wednesday when he did some baserunning and said it went well. The baserunning test is so notable because his injury was to his groin. Gomez was a superstar back in 2013 and 2014. In those two seasons, he combined for 47 home runs and 74 steals with a .284 average in both seasons. He has since struggled and has not played more than 118 games in any of the past three seasons while playing for three teams. Gomez still has some upside to become relevant, as he was on pace for 20 home runs and 12 steals before the injury, but he needs to raise his .200 batting average. Also, you will need to keep an eye on how he runs when he comes back since steals are part of his appeal.
Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Ryan Braun went 1-for-4 in the 5-0 loss to the New York Mets. The fact that Braun going 1-for-4 ups his batting average shows how lackluster his season has been so far. In 130 at-bats this year, he's now batting .223 with a .676 OPS and is batting at a .135 rate in May. It looks like age and injuries are starting to catch up with Braun now and his career could start to head downhill. The Brewers outfield is already crowded containing Christian Yelich, Lorenzo Cain, and Domingo Santana and they're all going to need up to 500 at-bats each. Add in Jesus Aguilar swinging a hot bat and Eric Thames needing first base at-bats when he returns from injury, it could result in a major decrease in playing time and could also result in a demotion from his usual three-hole hitting spot. He should still be owned in all formats, however, if he continues to struggle through June, he won't hold much shallow league value. In all formats though, he should be on the bench until he can string some good starts together.
Milwaukee Brewers starting pitcher Zach Davies went four innings, giving up six hits, four runs, and two walks while striking out two in the 5-0 loss to the New York Mets. Davies returned from a shoulder injury in this start that has kept him out since May 3 and had trouble limiting the baserunners. Him pitching four innings was only because he had trouble getting batters out, rather than an inning or pitch number limit from returning on an injury as he threw 81 pitches. Despite this start, Davies still holds promise and will look to bounce back in his next projected start against the St. Louis Cardinals on May 29. Now on the year, he owns a 2-4 record, 4.74 ERA, and 27 strikeouts in 38 innings pitched. He should only be owned in deep formats and makes for a potential streaming candidate in shallower leagues when in favorable circumstances.
Pittsburgh Pirates outfielder Austin Meadows went 3-for-4 with a two-run home run in a loss to the Cincinnati Reds on Thursday. The blast was his third in four games, already giving him more than he had in 32 games with Triple-A Indianapolis this season. While he's been a nice boost to fantasy owners in recent days, Meadows may soon return to the minor leagues or, at the very least, have his playing time reduced. Regular center fielder Starling Marte (oblique) has already resumed baseball activities and should return to action soon.
Oakland Athletics closer Blake Treinen earned his 11th save of the season Thursday in a 4-3 win over the Mariners. Treinen entered the game in the eighth inning with a 4-2 lead, two outs, and runners on first and third. He gave up a double and RBI to Kyle Seager but was able to get the next batter out and went on to pitch a clean ninth inning with two strikeouts and no walks. This was Treinen's sixth multi-inning save of the season. He has now converted 11 of 13 saves with a minuscule 1.08 ERA, 32 strikeouts and just eight walks in 25 innings of work. He should continue to be a reliable source of saves for the A's with those numbers.
Pittsburgh Pirates outfielder Starling Marte (oblique) has resumed baseball activities less than one week after being placed on the 10-day disabled list. The 29-year-old strained his right oblique while swinging the bat on May 15 and has been held out of action since. His absence shouldn't last much longer, however. Marte is eligible to return on Saturday and has been swinging the bat, throwing, and running the bases this week. Austin Meadows, who has impressed in his short stint as the Pirates' starting center fielder, will likely be the odd man out when Marte returns.
Pittsburgh Pirates starting pitcher Ivan Nova allowed five runs (four earned) in 5 1/3 innings against the Cincinnati Reds on Thursday en route to his fifth loss of the year. The home run ball did Nova in, as he allowed a grand slam to Eugenio Suarez in the third inning and a solo blast to Jesse Winker in the fifth. He allowed seven hits in total, walked two, and struck out four. Nova now holds a 7.61 ERA over his last five starts and has allowed six home runs in that span. Given his lack of strikeout stuff and his place near the top of exit velocity leaderboards, he's a hard pitcher for fantasy owners to trust moving forward. Coming into Thursday, only two pitchers with 100 or more batted balls allowed had given up a higher average exit velocity than Nova (91.4 mph). He'll hope to turn things around against the Chicago Cubs on Tuesday.
It seems that help is around the corner for the New York Mets. Both third baseman Todd Frazier (strained hamstring) and outfielder Yoenis Cespedes (hip flexor) took batting practice on Thursday. The pair traveled with the team to Milwaukee, although it is still unknown whether either player is close to returning. Frazier has batted .237 with five homers and 21 RBI this season. Likewise, Cespedes has a .255 average with eight homers and 28 RBI. Both players will be viable fantasy options upon return.
Baltimore Orioles starter Dylan Bundy has had an unpredictable 2018 campaign. Just a couple weeks ago, Bundy gave up seven earned runs and was pulled before he even recorded a single out. Today, Bundy tossed a complete game, giving up only two hits and three runs, while tacking on 14 strikeouts en route to his third win of the season. This outing signifies the seventh time this season that Bundy has given up three earned runs or less, but he has also had four starts where he has given up five earned runs or more. He is a volatile fantasy commodity, although the talent he possesses shines through with performances like today. He is capable of racking up strikeouts, but he is prone to a high ERA. Proceed with caution.
Kansas City Royals outfielder Alex Gordon was scratched from Thursday's lineup due to a stiff neck and a sore hip. It seems likely that Gordon will be day-to-day, avoiding a trip to the disabled list. He injured himself during a diving catch that he made on Wednesday against the St. Louis Cardinals. Gordon, who has dealt with injuries earlier in the season, is a carrying a .270 average across 137 plate appearances to go along with four homers and 10 RBI. In regards to fantasy, there is not a lot to like about Gordon's situation. Ramon Torres will replace him in the lineup and bat ninth.
Cincinnati Reds outfielder Jesse Winker went 2-for-4 with a single and a solo home run on Thursday in a win over the Pirates. The blast to straightaway center field was Winker's first of the season. The 24-year-old has held his own as a regular in the lineup, batting .257 with a .353 on-base percentage and a .340 slugging percentage. While he does not provide much power or speed, Winker has great plate discipline (12% walk rate and 14.4% strikeout rate over 167 plate appearances), which should manifest itself in a higher batting average and a high OBP over time. Winker will spend the next series in the hitter-friendly confines of Coors Field against the Rockies.
Cincinnati Reds relief pitcher Jared Hughes picked up his second save of the season on Thursday in a 5-4 win against the Pirates. Hughes entered the game up by a run with one out in the ninth and the bases empty, recording the final two outs with no walks or strikeouts. Reliever Amir Garrett started the ninth inning with the Reds up by three, but proceeded to give up a single and a two-run home run before Hughes replaced him. The Reds closing situation has been up in the air since Raisel Iglesias was placed on the 10-day DL with a left biceps injury. While interim manager Jim Riggleman said that five different relievers could see time in save situations, it appears that Hughes would be the guy to pick up on waivers if fantasy players were to speculate on Reds saves while Iglesias is out.
Milwaukee Brewers second baseman Jonathan Villar (rest) will not play on Thursday against the New York Mets. Villar is only hitting .208 against lefties this year compared to his .308 against righties so with LHP Steven Matz taking the mound for Thursday, it only makes sense to give Villar his day-off against a lefty. Tyler Saladino will take his place at second base. With Villar showing signs of his 2016 self in terms of contact and now continuing to get consistent starts at second base, he should be owned in all deep formats and should be added in shallower format players in need of a second baseman.
Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Domingo Santana (rest) will sit out on Thursday against the New York Mets. With Ryan Braun returning to the lineup, this leaves Santana as the odd outfielder to sit out the majority of the games. With Jesus Aguilar performing at top level right now as well, Santana or Braun may sit out a lot more games than originally planned. Christian Yelich will move to right field while Lorenzo Cain will stay in center field. Santana shouldn't be owned in any shallow formats now.
Milwaukee Brewers third baseman Travis Shaw (rest) will not play on Thursday against the New York Mets. This is just customary rest for Shaw and considering the fact that the Brewers want to stack up with right-handed batters against LHP Steven Matz, it works out for Shaw. Hernan Perez will take his place at third base for the game. He should still be owned in all formats, however, benched tonight.
Cincinnati Reds starting pitcher Luis Castillo performed well yet again on Thursday against the Pirates, picking up his fourth win of the season. Castillo pitched six innings, giving up two runs on four hits and two walks with five strikeouts. The young hurler has been dominant in his last five starts, going 3-1 with a 2.83 ERA, 31 strikeouts, and nine walks in 28 2/3 innings pitched. Castillo is slated for a favorable matchup next Tuesday at the Diamondbacks, so look for his strong numbers to continue.
Texas Rangers shortstop/outfielder Jurickson Profar (rest) is out of the starting lineup against the Kansas City Royals on Thursday. Profar went 3-for-8 with six RBI over his last two games. It's surprising to see him get a day off after it looks like he's finally found his groove. Hanser Alberto will play shortstop against lefty Danny Duffy. Profar is worth owning in deeper leagues, but that is about it.
Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Ryan Braun (back) has been activated from the 10-day disabled list and plugged into Thursday's starting lineup. Braun was out the minimum 10 days with middle back tightness. He should be owned in most leagues despite his early struggles this season.
Texas Rangers starting pitcher Matt Moore (knee) threw 70 pitches during Thursday's live batting practice. He landed on the disabled list last week due to right knee soreness. There is a chance that Moore returns to the starting rotation as early as Tuesday. The Rangers are going to wait and see how he responds before making a decision. Moore has almost an 8 ERA this season, so he needs to be on the waiver wire.
Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Nathan Eovaldi (elbow) will make his season debut against the Oakland Athletics on Monday or Tuesday. He was crushed for eight earned runs during his latest rehab outing on Wednesday. However, it appears Eovaldi is finally healthy after having Tommy John surgery. He could become a bright spot in the Rays rotation, but most fantasy owners may want to stay away at first.
Chicago White Sox outfielder Charlie Tilson has been recalled from Triple-A on Thursday. He's batting .248/.288/.298 through 173 plate appearances in the minors this season. Tilson has been out for nearly two years, but is back with the White Sox after Leury Garcia (hamstring) landed on the disabled list. There is a chance that Tilson starts for the South Siders, but he is not going to be much of a fantasy option in most leagues.
Texas Rangers pitcher Austin Bibens-Dirkx will draw the start against the Kansas City Royals on Thursday. He has a 3.72 ERA over eight minor league starts this season. The Rangers optioned lefty Brandon Mann to Triple-A Round Rock to make room for Bibens-Dirkx. The Royals are struggling this season, but Bibens-Dirkx is not a favorable fantasy option in any league.
Boston Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia (knee) will be activated from the disabled list on Friday. The veteran is back after missing the first 60 games of the season due to offseason knee surgery. The Red Sox may ease Pedroia back into action, but it should not take him long to regain his role as the everyday second baseman. He did not hit well during his rehab assignment, but is worth a look in most deeper leagues.
Baltimore Orioles relief pitcher Darren O'Day (elbow) is likely getting a cortisone injection in his right elbow, according to manager Buck Showalter. He was supposed to throw a bullpen session on Wednesday, but O'Day did not feeling healthy enough to do so. The Orioles will likely need to wait a few days after the injection to see how O'Day responds. It's doubtful O'Day returns before the end of May. Most fantasy owners can go ahead and drop O'Day for another pitcher.
Houston Astros outfielder Josh Reddick (leg) is only expected to miss the minimum amount of time on the disabled list, according to manager A.J. Hinch. He is eligible to come off the disabled list on June 1. The Astros were hopeful Reddick could recover without a DL stint, but that was obviously not the case. It sounds like Reddick will be ready soon, but that depends on his health on June 1.
Oakland Athletics relief pitcher Liam Hendriks (hip) is reportedly starting a rehab assignment on Thursday. He had surgery a few weeks ago to remove a cyst from his hip. It's unclear how long he's going to be out for at the moment. Hendriks has pitched just three innings this season. He should not be owned in any fantasy leagues right now. He could be helpful later in the season for fantasy owners that need bullpen help.
Oakland Athletics relief pitcher Ryan Buchter (shoulder) has reportedly begun throwing from 75 feet. He has been out since late April due to a shoulder strain. Buchter is playing long toss, so that's a good sign towards his recovery. There is a chance that Buchter begins bullpen sessions as early as next week. He does not need to be owned right now, but when healthy he could help out some fantasy teams that need bullpen.
Tampa Bay Rays outfielder Carlos Gomez (groin) is hopeful he'll be activated from the disabled list when he's eligible on May 26. He suffered a right groin injury on Tuesday, but it sounds like he's almost ready to return. Gomez has resume activities and is easing himself back into action. He's struggled this season and is only worth a look in deeper leagues.
Boston Red Sox outfielder Andrew Benintendi will get a breather on Thursday when Boston takes on the Tampa Bay Rays. It is simply a rest day for the 23-year-old as he has started the past 18 games. Benintendi has posted a solid slash line of .277/.367/.463 so far this season to go along with five homers (four of which have been hit this month), 29 RBI, and eight stolen bases. Benintendi remains one of the premier outfield options and should be rolled out with confidence every night.
Chicago White Sox designated hitter Jose Rondon hit his second home run in two games. Rondon finished the game 1-for-3 with his three-run blast providing the only runs for the White Sox. Rondon was replacing Matt Davidson (back) who is out with back stiffness and could be avoided in most leagues.
Chicago White Sox starting pitcher Lucas Giolito struggled to get out of the second inning on Thursday versus the Orioles. In 1 1/3 innings, Giolito allowed six hits on seven runs while walking three batters and failing to record a strikeout. The outing raised Giolito's ERA to 7.53 on the season. Giolito has not had many positive outings this year to put it lightly and should be on the waiver wire in all leagues. He is scheduled to face the Indians on Tuesday.
Toronto Blue Jays closer Roberoto Osuna may be facing a "significant ban" as the assault allegations against him are of a "physical nature", according to Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports. Osuna's administrative leave was extended this week through May 28, and you can bet it's only going to be extended further with the initial hearing in mid-June. Osuna has denied any physical harm in this case, but the legal process will be the judge of that. There's a chance Osuna could face a 30-game ban, possibly more, depending on how this plays out. Fantasy owners should be planning to be without him for awhile. Tyler Clippard remains the closer in Toronto, though after Wednesday's disastrous outing one has to wonder if Ryan Tepera will get a shot any time soon.
Milwaukee Brewers starting pitcher and #2 prospect Luiz Ortiz (hamstring) has been activated off the 10-day disabled list and will start for Double-A Biloxi Shuckers on Thursday. In 21 1/3 innings pitched this year, Ortiz is pitching for a 2.11 ERA with 22 strikeouts on the year. While Ortiz holds no value in re-draft formats, he holds value in dynasty formats as the Brewers' top pitching prospect.
Tampa Bay Rays relief pitcher Ryne Stanek will make the first major league start of his career Saturday. Stanek has started 41 games in the minor leagues but has been solely a reliever in his time in the majors. So far in 2018, Stanek has thrown five innings in the majors and owns a 5.40 ERA with eight strikeouts and three walks. Stanek's fantasy value is limited anyway, but starting limits it even further. Stanek will not pitch deep enough to be eligible for a win or a quality start, and starting means he cannot even get a hold or a save. Stanek has next to no fantasy relevance except for in the deepest of AL-only leagues,
San Francisco Giants outfielder Mac Williamson (concussion) will be activated Friday. Williamson has 11 home runs in 21 games for Triple-A Sacramento and hit three in five games for the Giants before being placed on the disabled list. Williamson should be owned in all leagues for his power.
Tampa Bay Rays catcher Wilson Ramos (bruised hand) is back in the starting lineup Thursday. Ramos was injured Tuesday but was apparently available as a pinch hitter Wednesday. The catcher is having a solid second season in Tampa Bay after an injury hit debut season. In 148 plate appearances, Ramos has six home runs, 22 RBI and a .288 batting average. He has shown he can be a successful hitter with 22 HRs and a .307 batting average for the Nationals in 2016. Ramos is more than capable of producing that performance again in 2018 and is a valuable fantasy asset at the catcher position.
Toronto Blue Jays outfielder Dwight Smith Jr. may have been the only source of run production for the team on Thursday, but that doesn't mean infielder Yangervis Solarte wasn't without some sort of contribution. In a rough 8-1 loss, Solarte finished 1-for-4 with a double, his tenth two-bagger on the season. He's now on a six-game hitting streak, with multiple hits in four of them. Over that span, he also has two home runs and three doubles. Solarte is simply crushing it at the moment, and while it won't last forever, fantasy owners need to ride this hot streak for as long as it goes.
Los Angeles Angels center fielder Mike Trout went 1-for-4 with his 15th home run and 12th stolen base of the season on Thursday. Trout is continuing to post unheard of numbers this season, and could be well on his way to the best season of his career. Fantasy owners, sit back and enjoy the ride.
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