IN THE FIELD
Jedd Gyorko was activated off the 10 day IL. He was limited to pinch hit duties for the Cardinals on Friday.... Marcell Ozuna appears to have dodged the potential intercostal strain, and he was back in the lineup on Friday after missing games earlier in the week. He homered on Saturday as well so he's good to go..... Jake Lamb is going to miss six weeks with a grade 2 quad strain, a huge blow for the team. Christian Walker is going to be the primary first baseman for the team going forward and he's likely been grabbed in NL-Only leagues as he's off to a .304/.360/.783 triple slash with three homers, six RBI, and a stolen base. He's worth a look in deep leagues and couldn't potentially work as a CI or UTIL guy on the right roster.... Garrett Cooper is on the 10-Day IL with a calf strain and he's not expected to return to baseball activities for a couple of weeks. Peter O'Brien has been the primary RF for the Marlins with Cooper going down, and Brian Anderson having moved back to first base.... Matt Adams was held out of the lineup on Thursday and was also out of the lineup on Saturday.... Howie Kendrick was activated from the 10-day IL on Thursday and is going to be the super utility-man for the team. He could be in line for more playing time than imagined as the team is missing Trea Turner for a significant amount of time.... Trea Turner was hit by a pitch while trying to bunt (DAVE MARTINEZ WHY IS TREA TURNER BUNTING!!!!!!!!!) and he suffered a non-displaced fracture in his right index finger. There's no timetable yet for his return to the lineup and Wilmer Difo is going to play SS for the majority of the time in his absence. Carter Kieboom is the Nationals' top prospect but there are no immediate plans to promote him to the majors to play SS, but it's at least a name to keep in mind.... Roman Quinn is on his rehab assignment with High-A Clearwater and is slated to play back-to-back games this weekend. Quinn profiles as a 4th outfielder for the Phillies after their exciting offseason, but he does provide excellent speed potential should he run into full time at bats at any point.... Lonnie Chisenhall has begun gripping activities as he's recovering from a broken hand.... Corey Dickerson has joined Chisenhall on the 10-Day DL though with a shoulder strain. The injury may have been aggravated more with a pinch hit appearance on Wednesday, a day where he was originally out of the lineup due to shoulder soreness. He's still able to hit without any restrictions, but he's been shut down completely from throwing as of April 4th. JB Shuck has been getting regular playing time in left with Dickerson out.... Gregory Polanco is set to begin a rehab assignment with Single-A Bradenton on Sunday. Polanco is recovering from September shoulder surgery and it sounds like we're just a few weeks away from seeing him back in Pittsburgh. Polanco only hit .251 last year but still hit 23 homers and drove in 81 runs with 12 stolen bases in just 130 games.... No updates on Scooter Gennett as of now as he's still expected to miss two-to-three months with his severe groin strain. Derek Dietrich and Jose Peraza have rotated games at second this week for the Reds.... Daniel Murphy is going to miss at least one month with his broken finger. On paper (and in our hearts) Garrett Hampson and Ryan McMahon were both to benefit from the injury with Hampson playing 2B full time and McMahon heading on over to first. The Rockies had other ideas though as Mark Reynolds has been getting more at bats at 1B in Murphy's absence. McMahon was placed on the DL on Saturday with an elbow injury so Hampson should be the everyday starter at 2B for the Rockies for the near future.... Brian McCann left Saturday's game with a potential hamstring injury. Tyler Flowers would play get a boost in playing time if he's forced to miss time, but he was also hit in the wrist by a pitch just a little while later. Raffy Lopez and Alex Jackson are the two catchers in AAA, but only Jackson is on the 40 man so he was called up Saturday night to replace McCann on the roster.
IN THE ROTATION
Mike Foltynewicz tossed five shutout innings with AAA Gwinnett as he's recovering from his elbow injury. He was sitting 92-94 MPH with his fastball, which is a little low compared where we saw him last season but he's expected to make at least one more rehab start before joining the Braves rotation.... Kevin Gausman joined the Atlanta rotation on Friday and survived a shaky first inning to toss seven shutout innings against the Marlins. Gausman struck out seven batters and after walking two batters in the first, he didn't walk anyone else the rest of the way. Gausman also generated a 13.6% swinging strike rate, and it'll be interesting to see what he does pitching with an excellent Braves defense behind him..... Jimmy Nelson hasn't began pitching in game yet for the Brewers in extended spring training, which is the next step for him since he started playing catch again at the end of March after dealing with elbow soreness. He missed all of last season after undergoing shoulder surgery, but the Brewers are hoping he can return to the rotation by the end of April.... Rich Hill completed a 20 pitch bullpen session on Saturday and did not experience any sort of pain in his sprained knee. Hill is expected to throw another bullpen session in St Louis in a couple of days and increase his pitch count in that session. Good news for those that are stashing Hill waiting to return to the majors..... Julio Urias is headed to the bullpen when either Hill on Kershaw return to the rotation according the manager Dave Roberts. I think we all knew this was the likely outcome of Hill and Kershaw returning, but we hoped it'd be otherwise. The Dodgers are going to be very careful with limiting Urias' innings this year, despite how good he may look in those innings. If you can don't rush to drop him though as Hill has been perpetually injured for a decade and Kershaw has really run into some injury issues in the last few years so we will for sure see Urias back in the rotation at some point... Clayton Kershaw allowed two runs over 4.1 innings in a AAA rehab start on Thursday. He struck out six batters while walking two and allowing four hits. Most of the damage came in the first inning though as he allowed a homer and walked two of the first five batters he faced. His fastball reportedly sat in the high-80's and touched 90. He's going to make at least one more rehab start before heading back to the LA rotation.... Anibal Sanchez left his start on Wednesday early after being hit by a comebacker on the hip, but he's expected to take his next turn in the rotation on Monday. The injury came against the Phillies, and he gets a chance for a little revenge as that's who his start Monday is against as well.... Alex Wood is still throwing bullpen session for the Reds, but it sounds like the mid-April return that the team initially was shooting for might have been a little on the optimistic side. It doesn't sound like he's ready to return to game action yet.
IN THE BULLPEN
AJ Minter was activated from the IL this week and Brian Snitker said he won't hesitate throwing him in save situations right away. The Braves bullpen is going to be a tricky one to navigate with both Minter and Arodys Vizcaino having experience in the 9th. If you have to bet on one, I like Minter more long term with Vizcaino's command issues but I doubt Snitker ever names an actual closer. Minter took the loss on Saturday allowing a two run homer to Jorge Alfaro in the 9th.... Jeremy Jeffress threw 25 pitches in his first rehab appearance in AAA on Firday, with 18 going for strikes. It's expected that he's going to need a few more appearance before returning to the team, but when he does he could immediately be inserted into the closer's role with Josh Hader moving back to his fireman role. He's a solid stash at this point if you need saves with him nearing a return..... Brandon Morrow is scheduled for one more bullpen session before finally getting to face live hitters in his return from elbow surgery. It sounds like he may need a longer rehab assignment than usual with the surgery happening in November, but he could still return to the team next month.... No updates on Koda Glover yet as he wasn't able to get fully healthy enough to start the season with an affiliate. Glover still represents a potential back of the bullpen arm, but he's got to manage to stay healthy to a point to show it.... Carlos Martinez is set to start throwing off the mound again on April 13th. He's been long tossing at 120 feet without issue so returning to the mound is the next step for him. The Cardinals haven't decided what role he'll have upon his return, but with Alex Reyes struggling mightily in the pen it wouldn't shock me if they sent him to AAA and had Martinez in the pen.... Tommy Hunter received a plasma injection in his forearm and he'll be shut down for the next few weeks.
Players to Add
Max Fried, Atlanta Braves - Max Fried looked absolutely dominant this week in his first start of the season. He had five perfect innings against the before allowing single and finished with just the one hit over six frames with five strikeouts. The Braves are going to eventually have a log jam at the starting pitcher spot, but the team said this week that Fried is going to get at least one more start. He's worth a look in NL-Only for certain and even some deeper mixed leagues as pretty much whichever Braves rookies are going to stay in the rotation. He generated almost an 80% groundball rate against Chicago and in front of an infield that has Josh Donaldson, Dansby Swanson, Ozzie Albies, and Freddie Freeman, you're going to have a lot of success. Right now he's only 6.8% owned in ESPN leagues.
Mike Soroka, Atlanta Braves - Another Braves arm that's working his way back is Mike Soroka and he completed his first rehab start Saturday in Gwinnett, one day after Mike Foltynewicz took the mound in a rehab start. Among those that were in attendance, they were saying that they were extremely impressive with how he looked and that was hitting 96 MPH on the gun while having excellent use of his secondary options. Soroka showed some excellent flashes last year for the Braves and likely had an inside shot to the Braves rotation, and with most of the Braves starters struggling to get through six innings so far this year, he could slide right back into the rotation here in the next few weeks. He's just 2.0% owned on ESPN.
Garrett Hampson, Colorado Rockies - Here's where we get interesting, because yes I'm saying we should pick up a hitter with a .053/.053/.053 triple slash over seven games with a -87 wRC+. This one is all about playing time. Daniel Murphy is out for a while and Ryan McMahon went on the IL Saturday night with and elbow strain so the preseason darling Hampson is likely to get uncontested playing time at 2B for at least a few weeks. Hampson has excellent speed on the basepaths, given a 70 grade by some prospect outlets, and could cover the whole left on Trea Turner's owners teams with a similar kind of batting line. His slow start has him down to just 13.8% owned on ESPN.
Christian Walker, Arizona Diamondbacks - Christian Walker is on an absolute tear for Arizona and now is going to be the primary first baseman for the D-Backs with Jake Lamb set to miss some significant time. He has hit three homers and driven in six runs over 28 plate appearances and owns a 145 wRC+. Walker has shown some elite power number in the minors before, hitting 18 homers in 84 games in AAA last year and also hitting 32 over a full season in AAA in 2017. The average is likely going to come back down but there's no reason to think that the power isn't something he can sustain. He's up to 27.5% ownership in ESPN.
Pete Alonso, New York Mets - Cheating a bit hear because we try to keep it under 50% ownership for pickups, but there needs to be a quick exception for Pete Alonso. Alonso is just over 50% ownership on ESPN but with his hot start at the plate he's going to be picked up very rapidly. He's slashing .367/.406/.733 and hit his second homer of the season on Saturday. My favorite part about Alonso is that the Mets have hit him second in every game this season, and the Mets wouldn't do that unless they were the planning to have him as a focal point of the offense.
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