IN THE ROTATION
Mike Foltynewicz is slated to throw another rehab start this weekend as he continues to ramp up his workload to return to the Braves rotation. His last start came on Monday and he walked four batters over 3.2 innings. Expect him to return to the Braves at some point next week (assuming nothing goes wrong in this rehab start) with him likely starting either the final game in Cincinnati on Thursday or the series opener back home on Friday against the Rockies.... Mike Soroka returned to the Braves rotation on Thursday and was excellent over five innings, striking out six. Soroka was a near lock for the Braves rotation to begin the season, but his shoulder held him out. I'd imagine that they keep him in the rotation, but they are crammed right now with Julio Teheran, Kevin Gausman, Max Fried, Touki Toussaint, and Folty nearing return. It's likely going to come down to a choice between Soroka and Touki..... Sean Newcomb was sent to AAA this week after struggling with his command over his first handful of starts this year. Newcomb has never had great command but this year it was detrimental to his success even more because his K% is at a horrific 8.6% for the season. He walked four batters in 5.2 innings in Gwinnett in his first start since being sent down so don't look for him back until we see some improved command, and even then it could be in a bullpen role with the Braves pen being so awful..... Jimmy Nelson threw four simulated innings on Monday and everything went well according to manager Craig Counsell. Nelson is scheduled to throw one more simulated game in Arizona before being assigned to an affiliate to continue his rehab process. It sounds like we could see him back in the majors at the end of the month or at the beginning of May... Corbin Burnes was sent to AAA on Friday. Burnes has had an extremely rough start to the season, somehow allowing eleven homers over 17.2 innings for Milwaukee. Burnes' pitches themselves rank extremely highly in terms of spin and velocity, but opposing batters are barreling him up 20% of the time with an average exit velo of 89 MPH. I'd still keep an eye on his progress in AAA because even with all the barrels he still has a 14% swinging strike rate, so some regression could come his way once he gets another shot..... Jon Lester is making strong progress with his rehab from his hamstring injury but is expected to throw a simulated game soon. The Cubs haven't decided yet if he's going to need a rehab assignment or not, but either way, the team is expecting him back sooner rather than later.... Mike Montgomery struck out four batters in two innings on Wednesday in his first rehab appearance with South Bend. He's going to make another rehab start at a higher level (TBD), and after that, he should be able to join the team by the end of the month.... Taijuan Walker is still a way out from returning to the Diamondbacks (possibly June) but he's been throwing successful bullpen sessions lately, the last of which came last Friday. Walker hasn't had the success that his prospect pedigree made it look like he would, but he's still a name to keep a watch on in NL-Only or dynasty leagues if his old owner moved on..... Rich Hill threw 54 pitches in High-A on Wednesday and he's scheduled to make a second appearance on his rehab stint on Monday. It hasn't been announced yet where that rehab start will come through.... Hyun-Jin Ryu returned to the Dodgers on Saturday after missing about two weeks with a groin injury. He was the latest victim thought of Christian Yelich and his assault on all pitchers, as Yelich took him deep twice on Saturday....Clayton Kershaw returned to the Dodgers on Monday and was excellent, giving up just two homers over seven innings with six strikeouts. His fastball sat under 90 MPH though for the start, but he did use his slider (44%) and his curveball (22.6%) more than the heater (33%) and that'll be something to watch over his next few starts... Well, it begins, Jacob deGrom was placed on the 10-day IL with elbow soreness after experiencing some "barking" in the area after throwing on Friday. The interesting portion of the injury was that deGrom was playing catch in the outfield on Saturday and said that everything feels fine. The Mets make it sound like it's a minor issue and may considering canceling the MRI appointment, and they've already announced on Twitter that the plan is from him to return to the mound on the 26th against the Brewers.... Alex Wood is scheduled to begin doing some mound work soon, but there's also no timetable for his return to the team. The Reds are hoping that he'll return sometime in May, but we'll need to see some significant strides in his rehab over the next week to close out the month.... Kyle Freeland is dealing with blister issues this year, but he was still able to toss six shutout innings against the Phillies on Thursday. Freeland has had a mixed bag of outings this year, and blister issues just throw even more of a cloud over his forecast for the rest of the season.... Tyler Anderson is dealing with some inflammation in his knee and completed a bullpen session on Monday. Bud Black said on Friday that he's a candidate to start Monday for the Rockies, according to Rockies beat writer Jake Shapiro.... Nick Pivetta was sent to AAA on Wednesday. He was a sleeper darling all preseason, but things have gone very sour since as he posted an 8.45 ERA over 18.1 innings. Jerad Eickhoff replaced Pivetta in the rotation. Eickhoff has appeared in one game this season, throwing four innings in relief and struck out six batters while allowing only three hits..... Alex Reyes has been moved back in the rotation in AAA Memphis, which is great news for fantasy if it means that he could eventually rejoin the Cardinals in that role. The big reason behind the role change is so that he can get work on days where he isn't scheduled to throw, rather than primarily relying on game work to get his arm going.
IN THE BULLPEN
Arodys Vizcaino will miss all of 2019 after undergoing shoulder surgery this week. Vizcaino had battled injuries his entire career and this season is no different. This likely ends his tenure with the Braves, and AJ Minter will be the primary saves option for the Braves going forward.... Jonny Venters was placed on the IL with a calf injury and he's out indefinitely..... Carlos Martinez has been throwing off the mound over the last few weeks and is likely going to start re-introducing offspeed pitches in the near future. It's still been undecided on what role he'll return to the Cardinals with but I would still guess the bullpen..... Luke Gregerson has been moved up to AAA in his rehab process. Mike Schildt said that Gregerson is going to remain in AAA for some time and that there's still a lot of time on his rehab calendar.... Brandon Morrow is going to be shut down until further notice after having a setback in his rehab. This was just one day after Jed Hoyer said that the team was taking it slow with his return, citing his injury history. Pedro Strop should continue to be the 9th inning man.... David Robertson was diagnosed this week with a grade 1 flexor strain in his elbow. It's uncertain how much time he's going to miss but the early looks at closer have gone to Hector Neris. I still believe that Seranthony Dominguez is the most talented arm in the bullpen, but Gabe Kapler definitely subscribes to the new school style of managing so he likely will use him in high leverage situations.
IN THE LINEUP
Anthony Rendon was hit by a pitch on his left elbow on Saturday and exited the game.... Andrew McCutchen left Friday's game with knee inflammation, but returned to the leadoff spot on Saturday.... Pete Alonso was hit on the hand by a pitch on Saturday but x-rays came back negative.... Matt Carpenter fouled a ball off his knee on Saturday and was forced to leave the game. It doesn't sound serious though so he could be back in the lineup on Sunday.... Starling Marte was placed on the 10-day DL with an abdominal wall contusion after colliding with SS Erik Gonzalez on Friday. Marte definitely ended up on the better end of things as Gonzalez was placed on the 60-day DL with a broken clavicle.... Austin Dean was optioned to AAA for the Marlins.... Tyler O'Neill is dealing with a right elbow ulnar nerve subluxation, but he's not expected to miss much more than the ten days he's required for the IL stint. That would put him back with the Cardinals around April 26th.... Victor Caratini suffered a broken hamate bone in his left hand and it's likely going to make him miss around two months. Taylor Davis was recalled from Iowa to take his place as the backup for Wilson Contreras.... Jake Lamb is still around a month away from returning to the Diamondbacks but has started hitting off a tee and playing catch on the side. Christian Walker has gotten off to a strong start for Arizona in Lamb's absence, so the D-Backs could look at moving Lamb back to third to keep Walker's bat in the lineup full time.... Russell Martin has started baseball activities again and Dave Roberts was optimistic that he's going to be able to be activated during the next homestand, which starts on the 26th. The team hasn't decided on whether he's going to need a rehab assignment or not.... Todd Frazier is closing in on a return from the IL, but Mickey Callaway has already said that he's not going to be the everyday third baseman upon his return. JD Davis and Jeff McNeil are going to continue to get the bulk of the reps at third base, with Frazier playing sparingly around the infield.... Brandon Nimmo left Tuesday's game with a stiff neck and hasn't played in a game since. McNeil starting in left field and Juan Lagares has been playing center field while Nimmo has been on the shelf.... Trea Turner still has no timetable as to when he's going to return to the team. Manager Dave Martinez said that Turner is doing everything possible to return, but obviously, that's pretty vague... Wil Myers hurt his thumb last weekend and was held out of Thursday's game, but returned to the lineup Friday for the Padres. Myers has been playing primarily left the field for SD but started in centerfield. He's also played one game at first base this season.... Fernando Tatis Jr has been moved to the leadoff spot for the last two days, and Friday he had a huge game hitting his sixth homer of the season and swiped three bases. Tatis has posted a .370 OBP over his first 81 plate appearances so he makes for a good candidate at leadoff, and he could even start swiping more bags. This could explode his fantasy value.... Jean Segura was hoping to avoid heading to the IL with his hamstring injury, but it was lingering long enough to warrant throwing him on the list. He's expected back as soon as he's eligible though. Scott Kingery was filling in for Segura at SS but left Friday's game with a hamstring injury, and was placed on the IL on Saturday. He's expected to miss a couple of weeks.... Corey Dickerson hasn't started a rehab assignment yet for his injured shoulder. There's still no timetable for him coming back to the Pirates.... Lonnie Chisenhall is beginning a rehab assignment in AAA. He's yet to make his Pirates debut, but the team could see him coming back soon. He's scheduled to play both infield and outfield for Indianapolis and he hasn't started in the infield since 2015. The Pirates have holes in both the corner outfield and third base thanks to injury and Jung Ho Kang being unproductive.... Kevin Newman is making progress in his return from a laceration on his middle finger, but he's still not yet ready to return to the Pirates despite being eligible to return. It still sounds like they can have him back by the end of the month.... Gregory Polanco is extremely close to returning to the Pirates and it sounds like he can join the team next week. Polanco could be a huge jolt to the Pirates offense, and he should slot right into the right field spot for Pittsburgh.... Ian Desmond dealt with a bit of leg soreness this week but returned to the Rockies lineup on Friday and went 2-for-5 with a pair of doubles. He continues to be the primary CF for the Rockies.... Ryan McMahon is back off the DL and has a pair of homers and a stolen base in the first two games from the IL. McMahon is going to continue to get starts on the right side of the infield and should have the bulk of those come at first base while Daniel Murphy is still on the IL. Garrett Hampson should continue to be the primary second baseman for the Rockies.... Speaking of Murphy, he's started to take batting practice on the field and that's likely to be one of the final steps in getting him ready for a rehab assignment. The Rockies offense has been one of the worst in baseball this year and could definitely use a bat like Murphy back in the lineup. Hampson likely would move to the bench once Murphy comes back..... David Dahl started in center field in his first game back from the IL on Thursday before moving to LF to accommodate the return of Desmond to the lineup. Dahl is an outstanding talent, but of course, injuries have plagued him to this point in his career... Tyler Austin returned to the lineup Thursday after missing a week dealing with an elbow injury. He's only really playing against left-handed pitching, but he owns a career 145 wRC+ against them for his career. This makes him much more of a DFS option compared to somebody worth rostering in a standard format.,.... Brian Dozier is back in the Nationals lineup after missing sometime earlier in the week after fouling a ball off his toe. He doubled on Thursday and hit his second homer of the season on Friday. Dozier has been brutal for the Nats this year slashing .182/.327/.309... Joey Votto has hit leadoff over the last four games for the Reds. He's reached base in all four games, but only one has reached base one in each of those games. This could get him a boost in his runs should he be able to get on base more often, but there's no doubt Votto has been an extreme disappointment so far for owners.... Justin Turner missed time early this week with ankle and hamstring discomfort but was able to return to the lineup on Thursday.... Odubel Herrera was placed on the IL with a hamstring strain. Roman Quinn was activated from the IL as the corresponding move and could get the majority of the starts in the center in his absence. Herrera is supposed to return to the team right around the 10-day IL mark too.... Addison Russell is expected to start playing minor league games next week.... Cole Tucker is being promoted to the Pirates. He was off to a strong start in AAA with a .333/.415/.579 triple slash and three home runs to go along with five stolen bases. He should get starts at SS while Kevin Newman continues to rehab, and if things go well he could easily supplant Newman as the primary SS for the team.
PLAYERS TO ADD
AJ Minter, Atlanta Braves - Minter has found his way into full time save chances for the Braves with the injury to Arodys Vizcaino. The Braves bullpen is an absolute disaster and aside from the team bucking their usual philosophies, Minter is the only person in the bullpen that I believe will even get a chance at the closing role. The Braves could still surprise everyone and go sign Craig Kimbrel, but until that happens Minter is definitely the top arm in the pen.
Jesse Winker, Cincinnati Reds - Winker got off to a slow start to the season but has really turned it on over the last two weeks. In fun with arbitrary endpoints, since April 9th Winker has five homers and is slashing .257/.316/.686 while hitting mostly leadoff and third in the lineup. We've seen Joey Votto hit leadoff for the last few games and that could give him some extra RBI chances even if it comes at the expense of some runs scored.
Caleb Smith, Miami Marlins - Smith has rattled off three straight quality starts and has allowed no more than three runs in any of his four starts this season. His only start that wasn't a quality start though came on April 1st, and even then he allowed just two runs over five innings. Smith is striking out 33% of the batters that he is facing while walking 6.9%, and his swinging strike rate has jumped to 14.8% from 11.6% last season. He's on an absolute role and definitely is worth an add considering the state that pitching is in as a whole this year.
JD Davis, New York Mets - Davis will continue to get the majority of at-bats at third base once Todd Frazier returns from his injury, making him worth an add in leagues. Davis hits the ball extremely hard ranking in the 89% percentile in exit velocity and he's also in the 10% percentiles in hard hit%, xBA, xwOBA, and xSLG. He's hitting .283 with three homers already this year and if he keeps up the current profile he can definitely keep improving from there.
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