In The Field
SS Dansby Swanson was placed on the 10-day IL with a heel injury. He is in the middle of a strong breakout season (.265 AVG, 17 HR/7 SB) so hopefully, this injury does not turn into something worse. 3B Matt Carpenter returned to the Cardinals after hitting the IL with a right foot contusion. The Cardinals will have to decide on whether to play the veteran who is struggling in Carpenter (.215/.321/.375) or the rookie in 3B Tommy Edman who has held his own (.260/.302/.458). From a fantasy perspective, Edman has a higher upside due to his power/speed combo (4 HR/4 SB) but a healthy Carpenter is the better player but that is nothing close to a guarantee at this point. C Yadier Molina (thumb) is still without a timetable for a return. This means that C Matt Wieters will continue to be a viable fantasy option until Molina returns. OF Marcel Ozuna (fingers) is not close to returning which gives OF Tyler O'Neill a longer audition. 3B Kris Bryant left Wednesday's game early with right knee soreness. He is considered day-to-day and this is an injury to keep an eye on to see if it affects his performance. 3B/OF Kike Hernandez left Wednesday's game after injuring his hand/wrist on a swing. He is expected to be put on the 10-day IL. 3B Evan Longoria (plantar fasciitis) is fielding grounders as he is on the 10-day IL which means he is getting closer to a return. 1B Ryan Zimmerman was placed on the 10-day IL on July 22 with a tear in his plantar fascia. 1B Matt Adams and UTIL Howie Kendrick figure to share first base responsibilities while he is out. OF Jay Bruce (oblique) is on the 10-day IL and OF Adam Haseley has been playing every day in his absence. Haseley is hitting .205 with 2 HR, 6 R, 6 RBI, and 0 SB through 13 games. He doesn't have much of fantasy floor or ceiling due to no carrying skill (AVG, HR, or SB). SS Jean Segura (heel soreness) has been in and out of the lineup and is considered day-to-day. This is an injury that could linger over time and his stolen base totals have been on the decline for three straight seasons. C Francisco Cervelli has been cleared to resume light-catching activities as he recovers from a concussion. There is no guarantee that he returns this year. OF Gregory Polanco (shoulder) continues to be shut down as he tries to regain mobility and strength in his surgically repaired shoulder. The Pirates are also very likely to deal both OF Corey Dickerson and OF Melky Cabrera at the deadline which leaves the Pirates OF consisting of Starling Marte, Bryan Reynolds, and a platoon in right field. C Tucker Barnhart (oblique) has started a rehab assignment and should be back sometime next week. Nick Senzel (illness) left Wednesday's game early. He has been dealing with a variety of minor injuries and illnesses this year. When on the field he has been very productive from a fantasy perspective (.277 AVG with 8 HR/ 9 SB). C Will Smith has been called up and should see regular playing time with C Austin Barnes being sent down to Triple-A. 2B Ian Happ has been recalled from Triple-A. He was hitting .242 with 16 HR/9 SB with 26% K. OF Nick Markakis (wrist) was hit on the left wrist with a pitch and fractured it. He is expected to be out 6-8 weeks. This means that OF Ender Inciarte would get everyday at-bats. His value comes from SB's and his attempts drop significantly when he is at the bottom of the order which is where he is going to be. OF Dominic Smith was placed on the 10-day IL with a stress fracture in his foot.
On The Mound
Max Fried (blister) came off the 10-day IL on Saturday. Jhoulys Chacin (rib cage) was placed on the 10-day IL after experiencing soreness. This leaves the Brewers with two healthy starters (Chase Anderson, and Zach Davies) with Brandon Woodruff and Corbin Burnes on the IL. Gio Gonzalez left his start on Friday with tightness in his throwing shoulder. This means that Adrian Houser could slide back into the rotation. Jimmy Nelson (elbow) could be an option but he is currently on a rehab assignment as he recovers from fluid near his pitching elbow. Woodruff is expected to miss six weeks with a strained oblique which is a huge blow to fantasy owners. He was dominating (3.75 ERA, 1.17 WHIP, 22% K-BB). Cole Hamels (oblique) has started a rehab assignment and should be back in early August. Hamels has had a late-career resurgence this year (2.98 ERA and 1.20 WHIP). Jon Lester (illness) was scratched from his start on Wednesday. This is not expected to a long term issue. Luke Weaver (elbow) has progressed to playing catch from 90 feet which is a good sign but he is still not close to returning to a major league mound. Rich Hill (elbow) is throwing which is a good sign but he is still not expected back until sometime in September which makes him hard to hold onto unless you have I.L. spots. Ross Stripling left his most recent start due to neck stiffness. According to Stripling himself, this has been something that he has been dealing with since Spring Training and it has caused a drop in velocity at times. He has been placed on the 10-day IL. Johnny Cueto (TJS) has progressed to facing live hitters which is a major step in his recovery but his fantasy value for 2019 is still non-existent. Pablo Lopez (shoulder) is inching closer to a rehab assignment. He has progressed to throwing bullpens. He is unlikely to return before August but he is someone to keep an eye on if he was dropped in your league. Jose Urena (back) has started a throwing program but his return is unknown at this time. Zach Wheeler (shoulder) returned from the I.L. to start against the Pirates (5.1 IP, 3 ER, 0 BB, 7 K). There is a very good chance that Wheeler gets dealt at the deadline so it will be interesting to see where he lands because it could have a huge impact on his ROS value. Max Scherzer (back) came off the I.L. on Thursday against the Rockies and went 5 IP and gave up 3 ER on 4H, 2 BB, and 8 K. He felt renewed soreness in his back and is now questionable to make his next start. Jameson Taillon (elbow) has been shut down again and is going to be reevaluated. The hope is that it is a forearm issue and not require a second Tommy John surgery. Either way, it looks like Taillon's season is over. Tyler Mahle (hamstring) was placed on the 10-day IL on July 22. He might not get his rotation spot back with LHP Alex Wood nearing a return. Wood is expected to make his Reds debut on Sunday. Jon Gray (calf) left Wednesday's start after getting hit. He expects to make his next scheduled start. Trevor Richards has been moved to the bullpen and Elieser Hernandez has taken his spot. Hernandez is an interesting deep league option due to his ability to miss bats (26% K and 13% SwStr) and control the strike zone (6% BB).
In The Bullpen
David Robertson (flexor strain) was targeting a late July return but that is looking unlikely because there has been no news on his situation in weeks which means that he isn't even close to a rehab assignment. Hector Neris is locked in as the Phillies closer for the foreseeable future. Edwin Diaz was hit with a comebacker on his left big toe. The x-rays came back negative and he is considered day-to-day. The Brewers want to use Freddy Peralta in high leverage situations which allows his plus fastball to play up. This could potentially free up Josh Hader to be used as a fireman like in years past. Peralta would likely be in a committee with Jeremy Jeffress but at this point in the season, any saves are valuable so Peralta needs to be speculated on. Andres Munoz pitched the eighth inning on Wednesday instead of Craig Stammen which is somewhat important because if Kirby Yates gets moved at the deadline the Padres closer job is a valuable one and Munoz seems like he has moved to the top of the order. Greg Holland blew another save on Friday night and the Diamondbacks are discussing a change at closer. Yoan Lopez is next in line and needs to be added if you need saves.
Players to add this week:
C Will Smith (LAD)- The Dodgers are going to make a change at catcher with Austin Barnes being sent down and rookie Will Smith getting called back up. Smith has performed well in his limited playing time at the major league level. He has hit .269 with 3 HR, 4 R, 6 RBI, and 1 SB. The batting average could be an issue given his strikeout problems in the minors but the power is real and the Dodgers lineup is one of the best in the league. You aren't going to find a catcher with a better offensive upside on the wire.
SP Alex Wood (CIN)- Alex Wood is expected to make his season debut on Sunday. Wood is coming back from a back injury that has forced him to miss all of the season so far but he has a track record of being an above-average major league pitcher when healthy. Throw in the benefit of the potential impact of Reds pitching coach Derek Johnson and Wood is an encouraging dart throw at this point in the season.
RP Freddy Peralta (MIL)- Freddy Peralta picked up a save on Wednesday and manager Craig Counsel had positive things to say about the right-hander. He has a 2.29 ERA, 1.07 WHIP, and 22% K-BB as a reliever which makes him a very intriguing speculation play. We know the Brewers prefer Josh Hader in his multi-inning, fireman role as opposed to closer.
SP Tyler Beede (SFG)- Tyler Beede's surface numbers are not encouraging (4.85 ERA and 1.48 WHIP) but he has started throwing his slider significantly more. This is in addition to a good fastball and changeup. The other positive is that his home park can help bring his ratios down because it is the best pitchers park in the league. This is a deep league play only but he could make a big jump with the improvement in his pitch mix.
OF Manuel Margot (SDP)- Manuel Margot has started to play every day with Wil Myers taking a back seat. Margot is hitting .247 with 6 HR, 39 R, 20 RBI, and 15 SB. He is showing strong skills (20% K and 10% BB). He has hit .278 with 3 HR and 5 SB in July. The stolen base upside alone makes him a great pickup but the added five-category production is a bonus.
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