In The Field
C Tyler Flowers was placed on the 10-day DL with an oblique strain and is going to be out multiple weeks. Oblique injuries can be tricky and difficult to completely heal. His replacement C Kurt Suzuki left Friday nights game after getting hit on the wrist by a pitch. C Chris Stewart will get the majority of the starts if Suzuki's injury is serious but he is not fantasy relevant considering he is a career .230 hitter with 9 HR over 451 games. The Philadelphia Phillies situation is worth monitoring going forward. New manager Gabe Kapler is heavily into analytics and rest for his players which has already led to uncertainty in regards to playing time for all Phillies. OF Odubel Herrera took a seat in favor of OF Nick Williams and OF Aaron Altherr in the Opener but then hit third with Williams taking a seat in the second game. 2B Scott Kingery played third base in his major league debut and then shortstop Saturday night. His playing time will be something to watch in the early going whether 2B Cesar Hernandez or 3B Maikel Franco lose the most playing time going forward. OF Lewis Brinson will be the Marlins starting center fielder and leadoff hitter, which changes his outlook for 2018 with a slight shift for his runs scored over runs batted in. C J.T. Realmuto is expected to miss three weeks which is longer than initially anticipated. This is a big blow to the Marlins and fantasy owners because Realmuto has been an accumulator due to his high games played totals for a catcher. OF Garrett Cooper was hit on the wrist by a pitch in Friday nights game but x-rays came back negative and he is expected to be ready to go in a couple of days. Outfielder Steven Souza is reportedly progressing ahead of schedule with his pectoral injury which originally had him out until the middle to late May. Injuries like this can be tricky so take this with a grain of salt until we get closer to his return date. SS Trea Turner has hit sixth in the Nationals lineup to start the year and not at the top of the order like many anticipated. He will see more opportunities with guys on base but his runs scored will take a major hit not being in front of Bryce Harper and eventually Daniel Murphy. OF Wil Myers sat out Saturday's game with back stiffness. Keep an eye on this situation and hopefully, it's nothing more than general soreness given that he was available to pinch hit.
On The Mound
Joey Lucchesi made his first major league start for the Padres (4.2 IP, 3 ER, 1 K) after skipping over Triple-A. He is a lefty with a three-pitch repertoire with average velocity. He is not worth adding given how little we know and he gets matched up with the Rockies next time out. The Brewers transferred RHP Jimmy Nelson to the 60-day DL and are anticipating a return around the All-Star break. He is worth stashing if you have a DL slot because he has the potential to be an above average fantasy starter. Yovani Gallardo signed a one year deal with the Reds. He will pitch out of the bullpen. Alex Reyes was transferred to the 60-day DL to make room for Greg Holland. The Cardinals were going to be very conservative with Reyes anyways but this means that we will not see him until early May and his role is still up in the air. The Cardinals could use him out of the bullpen or use this time to get him fully stretched out to start. Alex Wood was excellent in his first start of the year going 8 IP and giving up only one hit while striking out five. Wood dealt with injuries down the stretch last year and saw his velocity drop as a result. This was an encouraging start and he should be an above average starter on a per game basis the rest of the year. Johnny Cueto dealt with multiple injuries last year but mainly blisters and overall was ineffective when on the mound. He looked healthy in his first start by going seven scoreless on the road against the Dodgers. The Pirates had Joe Musgrove make a minor league start on Saturday to get him more work prior to his Pirates debut on Thursday against the Reds. Musgrove got a late start to the year due to a shoulder injury but is rounding into shape just in time. Cody Reed will be the Reds fifth starter. He has flashed plus stuff and the skills to be a capable starter while in the minors but this has not translated to the majors. He will start against the Cubs on Tuesday, which is not an ideal matchup. Brandon Woodruff was struck twice by line drives in the hip but is expected to make his next start against the Cardinals. Jeff Samardzija was able to throw a 20 pitch bullpen on Saturday, which is really encouraging news for the Giants and fantasy owners. His return still looks like late April for the right-hander.
In The Bullpen
Brad Boxberger was named the closer in Arizona and should have a considerable leash given that the Diamondbacks stuck with Fernando Rodney for most of last year. Greg Holland signed a 1-year $14 million deal with the St. Louis Cardinals. He is going to need a couple of weeks to get up to speed but should be their closer, which is a major hit to the value of Dominic Leone. The Giants placed Mark Melancon on the 10-day DL with a right elbow flexor strain on 3/28. Hunter Strickland and not Sam Dyson will be the Giants closer until Melancon returns, which is a huge unknown at this point. Strickland has the stuff to succeed as closer with a mid-90's fastball and slider which allows him to miss bats (24% K, 12% SwStr). Brett Cecil was placed on the 10-day DL with a shoulder injury. Corey Knebel blew his first save chance of the year but responded well on Friday night by getting a save and striking out the side. He remains a high upside closer due to his strikeout ability. Brad Hand and Felipe Rivero blew their first save chances of the year and looked bad doing so. However, both signed contract extensions in the off-season guaranteeing that they will be given a long leash and both have the skills to succeed as closer.
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