It was a very light day of baseball on Monday, but here are a few NL notes to get you through the morning...
Julio Teheran (SP-ATL) - It was an ugly Monday for Teheran and the Braves. Teheran was touched for four runs on five hits with three walks before departing the game after walking the leadoff man in the fifth inning. Mind you, this was the Padres he was facing. Teheran also left the game looking injured, as he received a pair of visits from the trainer. Stay tuned for more information, but a trip to the DL wouldn't be a big surprise. Teheran's velocity was down nearly two mph on his fastball even before factoring in Monday's outing, so he may need some time on the shelf.
Clayton Richard (SP-SD) - Richard posted a quality start Monday against the Braves, allowing three runs on six hits over seven solid innings. He walked two and fanned five in lowering his ERA to 4.67. It was Richard's fifth quality start in his last six starts, during which he has lowered his ERA from 6.21 to its current mark. A nice run. Richard has a modest 7.3 K/9 on the year thanks to a fastball that averages 90.3 mph, but that strikeout rate would actually be a career-best if it holds. Richard is allowing a HR every nine innings which isn't bad, but it's still double the rate he put up in 2016, and given his 58% GB%, Richard could possibly see his HR rate start to trend down. Despite the home park, Richard's stuff just isn't good enough for him to see an ERA much below 4.25 going forward, but there does appear to be room for improvement.
Pablo Sandoval (INF-SF) - Maybe the Red Sox DFA'd the wrong guy. Sandoval is actually looking fantasy relevant again (in deep leagues mind you). On Monday against Arizona, Sandoval went 3-for-4 with a home run, two runs, and two RBI. He's now hitting a respectable .277/.330/.426 in 94 at-bats and is filling in admirably for the injured Brandon Belt. Sandoval was far from fantasy relevant during his time in Boston, but maybe he's right where he needs to be now. Once Belt returns, Sandoval will return to part-time status, but for now, ride out this streak in deeper leagues.
Raffy Lopez (C-SD) - Lopez had his best game as a pro on Monday, going 3-for-4 with two runs and a two-run homer to lift him to a still-modest .191/.269/.324 in 68 at-bats. Lopez signed a minor league contract with the Padres in December, as they apparently liked what they saw in last year's Triple-A numbers with Toronto: .293/.368/.551 with 12 HR in just 223 PA. Lopez entered Monday's game with a 35.7% career MLB K% in 157 PA, so he's had some struggles, but perhaps Monday helps kickstart things. Lopez is probably not long for the big leagues considering Austin Hedges will be off the DL at some point in the next week or two, but he can make a nice impression to set him up for future possibilities. Monday was a good start.
Kirby Yates (RP-SD) - With closer Brad Hand entering Sunday's game in the eighth to face a pair of tough Reds lefties (Joey Votto, Scooter Gennett), Yates was left with the ninth inning, and despite allowing three hits, Yates was able to record his first save. Yates has been excellent this year overall, posting a 1.29 ERA and 1.05 WHIP with a 26:6 K:BB in 21 innings. He's averaging 93.4 mph with the fastball while generating nearly two GB's per FB. Yates is already 31 and he's had just 175.1 innings of big league experience, but he does have an 11.7 K/9 and should the opportunity arise, he appears to be next in line behind Hand for closer duties. The Padres signed Hand to a three-year extension in January, so it seems unlikely they will trade him, but you never know what a contender will offer for an elite and controllable left-handed reliever at the deadline.
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