In The Field
OF Ryan Braun was activated from the 10-day DL on Saturday after being out since July 8 with a back strain. The Brewers outfield has an opening currently with OF Eric Thames going on the DL with a hamstring injury on July 14. Braun is likely to see the majority of his at-bats in the outfield with 1B Jesus Aguilar being one of the Brewers best hitters this year (.297 with 25 HR and 71 RBI). Braun being back probably signals the end of playing time for OF Keon Broxton and UTIL Hernan Perez. 2B Jonathan Villar was placed on the 10-day DL on July 15 with a sprained thumb but is hoping to be back before the end of the month. Villar hasn't been bad in limited playing time this year (.261 AVG with 6 HR and 14 SB in 87 games). OF Harrison Bader was available to pinch hit on Thursday meaning that he is healthy after sitting out before the All-Star break with a knee/hamstring issue. The problem has been that the Cardinals have been playing OF Dexter Fowler under new manager Mike Shildt. 1B/OF Jose Martinez has also been a casualty of the Cardinals new manager who doesn't see the benefit in Martinez's bat given how bad he is defensively. Cardinals president of baseball operations John Mozeliak even admitted that the team will look into trading Martinez to an American League team. Martinez will struggle to be rosterable if hes not going to play in STL so a trade would be the best thing for his fantasy value given that he has been productive with the bat (.299 AVG, 13 HR, 56 RBI). The person that has benefited the most from the new manager is 3B Jedd Gyorko who is seeing regular playing time even with SS Paul DeJong back. OF Jarrod Dyson (groin) has no structural damage but a groin injury is a tough injury for a player like Dyson who relies heavily on his speed. OF Yasiel Puig (oblique) will be out a couple of weeks with an oblique injury. It initially opened up an outfield spot for OF Andrew Toles but he has been sent back to Triple-A after the trade for Machado. SS Manny Machado is expected to play shortstop for the Dodgers which will push SS/OF Chris Taylor back into the outfield for the time being. Once Puig does return it will be interesting to see what the Dodgers do with their lineup considering Taylor hasn't repeated his 2017 breakout, Kemp has played well, and Joc Pederson has performed against RHP. 3B Evan Longoria (hand) began a rehab assignment on Friday and is expected back before the end of the month. This is going to cut into the playing time of 3B Pablo Sandoval who will go back into a utility role. OF Lewis Brinson was placed on the 10-day DL on July 4 and a July 13 update revealed a hip bone bruise and a timetable for his return is unknown. OF Jay Bruce was shut down on July 10 and he has not been able to resume baseball activities. 3B Todd Frazier was placed on the 10-day DL July 9 and was supposed to be activated on Friday but is not ready. OF Franchy Cordero will most likely be out for the rest of the year after elbow surgery. SS J.P. Crawford (hand) played catched and fielded grounders on Friday. He is getting close to a rehab assignment and could be back at the end of the month. UTIL Scott Kingery would most likely lose the most playing time when Crawford comes back. Kingery has been a disappointment in his rookie season (.240/.284/.340). C Francisco Cervelli (concussion) was placed on the 7-day DL. The Pirates and Cervelli are worried about his long term health with numerous concussions and even had Cervelli take grounders at first prior to going on the DL for the second time this season with concussion like symptoms and fourth time in two years. C Elias Diaz will serve as the Pirates starting catcher while Cervelli is out. Diaz has held his own this year at the plate (.289/.333/.467). OF Scott Schebler was placed on the 10-day DL with a right shoulder injury. This opens up a full time spot for OF Jesse Winker who has been red hot at the plate. OF David Dahl was sent on a rehab assignment at Triple-A on July 19. He is expected back before the end of the month. The Rockies will once again have a playing time issue with four outfielders (Dahl, Blackmon, Parra, Gonzalez) for three spots. 2B Ozzie Albies left Friday nights game with a right hamstring injury. It was deemed precautionary but definitely something to keep your eye on. 2B D.J. LeMahieu was placed on the 10-day DL on Friday and is expected to be out a while with an oblique injury. 2B Pat Valaika is expected to fill in while he is out. He is not someone to consider outside of NL-only leagues. OF Yoenis Cespedes played Friday but sat out Saturday and is going to see a foot specialist about pain in his heel. This is not good for the often injured outfielder.
On The Mound
Max Fried (blister) was sent on a rehab assignment on July 18 and could be back by the end of July. The Braves currently only have four big league starters (Teheran, Foltynewicz, Newcomb, and Sanchez). This means that the Braves could go with someone like Luiz Gohara in the short term and it also means that Anibal Sanchez (2.60 ERA, 1.02 WHIP, and 3.26 K/BB) will remain in the rotation for the foreseeable future. If Gohara gets the nod he is worth the speculative add due to his strikeout upside and there is still the chance that if he pitches well that he sticks in the rotation the rest of the way. As of a July 10th update, Brandon McCarthy's knee had not been responding to treatment like he or the Braves had hoped and he is without a timetable for a return. Zach Davies (shoulder) was shut down earlier this month after suffering a setback in his recovery and is still without a timetable for his return. Junior Guerra (forearm) was placed on the DL on July 14 with right forearm soreness which is typically not a good injury for pitchers. The Brewers are going to need to improve this rotation if they want to make the postseason so keep an eye on them near the trade deadline. Jimmy Nelson (shoulder) only began light throwing on July 13th making it tough for him to see any significant time at the big league level this year. Re-draft leagues may want to consider if it is worth holding onto him at this point. Michael Wacha (oblique) has not been cleared to throw which means that he is not close to returning. This means that RHP John Gant is going to get an extended look in the Cardinals rotation. Gant has solid skills with a 3.49 ERA, 21% K, and 12% SwStr. Yu Darvish (tricep) is still weeks away from returning according to pitching coach Jim Hickey. This has turned into a nightmare season for Darvish in his inaugural season for the Cubs. Clay Buchholz (oblique) was sent on a rehab assignment on July 19 and should be back in the Diamondbacks rotation by the end of the month provided there are no setbacks. Buchholz has pitched well this year with a 2.56 ERA and 0.96 WHIP. Shelby Miller (elbow) will be out at least another week after an MRI revealed no further damage to his surgically repaired right arm. He had been terrible prior to going on the DL so this news makes him someone to avoid. The Diamondbacks have been discussing bringing him back as a reliever for the rest of 2018. Julio Urias (shoulder) is expected to return in 4-6 weeks. Remember that he is coming off a serious injury and hasn't pitched in over a year before rushing out to grab the once heralded prospect. Jeff Samardzija (shoulder) was placed on the 10-day DL for the third time this year with a right shoulder injury. This means that Andrew Suarez and Dereck Rodriguez will stay in the rotation despite the returns of Madison Bumgarner and Johnny Cueto. Sandy Alcantara (axilla infection) has resumed throwing. Jason Vargas (calf) was sent on a rehab assignment on July 9 and is expected to be activated for Tuesdays start. Jordan Lyles (elbow) was sent on a Triple-A rehab assignment on July 19 and should be back in the Padres rotation soon. Zach Eflin (blister) is going to come off the DL and start Monday against the Dodgers.
In The Bullpen
The Padres traded closer Brad Hand along with Adam Cimber to the Cleveland Indians. Hand is not going to be the closer which is a huge hit to his fantasy value. He is still an above average reliever that can help in strikeouts and ratios. Kirby Yates is expected to take over as the Padres closer but is also receiving strong trade interest so this situation is extremely fluid. Craig Stammen, Phil Maton, and Matt Strahm could all work their way into the closer role at some point provided their not traded. Arodys Vizcaino (shoulder) was placed on the 10-day DL on July 18. Shoulder inflammation is a delicate injury because there is no set timetable for a return and the Braves want to play this one smart after Vizcaino had to go right back on the DL with the same injury. A.J. Minter is expected to see the majority of the save chances in the interim. Minter has pitched well this year (3.20 ERA, 1.27 WHIP, 27% K, 16% SwStr). Matt Albers (shoulder) was sent on a rehab assignment on July 18 and could be back by the end of the month. Brandon Morrow (elbow) was placed on the 10-day on July 16 and expects to be back soon. Pedro Strop got the save one-out save on Thursday night after coming in for Carl Edwards Jr. This is a fluid situation until Morrow comes back. Justin Wilson and Steve Cishek could also see save chances as well making this a nightmare for fantasy owners. The Mets traded Jeurys Familia to the Athletics. Robert Gsellman filled in as closer when Familia was out so he would be first in line with Seth Lugo and Anthony Swarzak waiting in the wings. Pedro Baez (bicep) is close to returning after being sent on a rehab assignment to Triple-A on July 19. Sean Doolittle (toe) threw off a mound on Friday but isn't fully healthy yet so Kelvin Herrera will continue to serve as the Nationals closer in the time being.
Registered members can click on the following link to see the complete AL report: http://www.fantistics.com/baseball00/M-Strategyplus.htm
Click here for details: http://www.insiderbaseball.com/baseballsample.htm