In The Field
2B D.J. LeMahieu has been placed on the 10-day IL and is expected to miss 2-3 weeks with a sprained thumb. He was on fire (.411/.456/.534) prior to the injury. The Yankees will play Tyler Wade at second until LeMahieu returns. OF Aaron Judge was tracking towards a return on Saturday but their series with the Mets was canceled. His return is going to cause even more confusion in the Yankees outfield that has been a rotation of OF Mike Tauchman and OF Clint Frazier. Frazier and Tauchman are the most likely to lose playing time when Judge returns. DH Yordan Alvarez is out for the year after having knee surgery. This will hopefully return him to full health so he can play every day in 2020. The playing time winner from this is going to be OF Kyle Tucker who has struggled (.245 AVG) but has 3 HR/4 SB signifying his upside. He has never had an extended stretch of playing time at the major league level so this could be key to his breakout. SS Jose Iglesias (quad) has been placed on the 10-day IL retroactive to August 16 which means August 26 is the earliest he can return. OF Willie Calhoun (hamstring) has been placed on the 10-day IL. OF Danny Santana returned this week which helps with Calhoun going on the IL and means OF Nick Solak will stay in the outfield. SS Elvis Andrus (back) also was placed on the 10-day IL. 3B/C Isaiah Kiner-Falefa moved over to short and this opens up playing time for newly acquired 1B Derek Dietrich who offers power but not much else. C Mitch Garver (intercostal) and OF Byron Buxton (shoulder) were placed on the 10-day IL. C Alex Avila and OF Jake Cave will step into more playing time. Neither are particularly interesting from a fantasy perspective outside of AL-only leagues. SS Gleyber Torres (hamstring) left Thursday's game early and underwent an MRI. He has both a quad and hamstring strain and is expected to miss 2-3 weeks. 3B Isaac Paredes has been called up and is going to see regular playing time. He hit .282 with 13 HR and 5 SB in 127 GP at Double-A last year. He's got good plate skills and his hit tool is more advanced than his power. He's intriguing long term but there is a good chance that he struggles and his ceiling in 2020 is not that high. 3B Alex Bregman (hamstring) has been placed on the 10-day IL and is expected to miss 2-3 weeks. The Astros are going to go with a combination of Abraham Toro and Myles Straw. If one were to get regular playing time they would be fantasy relevant but splitting time makes it hard to roster them. C Salvador Perez was put on the IL with an eye injury. OF Ryan Mountcastle has been called up by the Orioles. He has performed well at Double-A and Triple-A but the majors is another test. He is a power bat with an aggressive approach which major league pitchers could exploit. C Max Stassi has been placed on the 10-day IL with quad injury. This opens up regular playing time for C Jason Castro. SS Andrelton Simmons has been activated from the 10-day IL which has caused a cascade of moves for the Angels. 3B David Fletcher is going to move to second because he is too valuable to take out of the lineup and 2B Tommy La Stella has gotten his bat going so he will move over to first base with 1B Albert Pujols moving to a bench role with Shohei Ohtani at DH. OF Andrew Benintendi (rib) is not close to a return. OF Dylan Moore (wrist) has been placed on the 10-day IL and OF Jake Fraley has been recalled. If Fraley gets everyday playing time he is worth an add.
On The Mound
Justin Verlander (forearm) was able to throw on Monday. His return is unknown and there is no guarantee that he does return. Brendan McKay is going to miss all of 2020 after undergoing shoulder surgery. This is not great news for the once promising left-handed starter. James Paxton (forearm/elbow) had an MRI and it showed a flexor strain. This could explain his struggles with a loss in velocity and performance to start the year. He is going to not throw for 14 days and then reevaluate which makes it hard to hold onto him unless you have unlimited IL spots. Jose Urquidy faced live hitters on Thursday but there is no timetable for a return and his role is still unknown. From a fantasy perspective, it would be best if he were a starter because a bullpen role would not bring much value to the table. The Tigers have called up two of their top three pitching prospects in RHP Casey Mize and LHP Tarik Skubal. Both have considerable upside when it comes to fantasy but both also have some warts to be aware of. Skubal has elite velocity from the left side and a track record of missing bats in the minors but average command is going to lead to growing pains like his first start (2 IP, 7 H, 1 BB, and 4 ER). Mize is the more polished starter featuring good velocity on his fastball and a devastating splitter. He also has demonstrated excellent command in the minors but his fantasy value takes a hit because of a lack of elite strikeouts. RHP Dane Dunning was called up by the White Sox. Dunning is an interesting case because he has pitched well in the minors and was one of the White Sox top pitching prospects but missed all of 2019 with TJS. The bad news is that the White Sox don't need a fifth starter anytime soon and he was optioned back to the minors. The Indians called up once top pitching prospect Triston McKenzie. He has a track record of success in the minors but did not pitch in 2019 due to a back injury and missed a large chunk of 2018 due to a forearm injury. The potential is there but he has very limited innings over the past two years making him a large unknown. The news to glean from this is that the Indians are not going to call up Mike Clevinger or Zach Plesac. Yonny Chirinos is going to have Tommy John surgery ending his 2020 and most of 2021. The Red Sox acquired Nick Pivetta via trade and he will get a chance to be a starter. Despite the raw skills and potential, Pivetta is not worth adding in fantasy leagues until he proves that he can have success at the major league level. Jake Odorizzi left Friday's start after being hit with a line drive in the chest and was placed on the 10-day IL.
In The Bullpen
Josh James (hip) left the game on Thursday with left hip discomfort. Zach Britton has been placed on the IL with a strained hamstring. The good news for the Yankees is that Aroldis Chapman is back from the Covid list making for a smooth translation for their closer role. The Twins look to be going with a committee at closer with Taylor Rogers and Sergio Romo receiving save opportunities. The Red Sox traded closer Brandon Workman to the Phillies which opened up the closer's role and Matt Barnes picked up the save on Friday night. A.J. Puk (shoulder) could return as early as next week and it will likely be in a bullpen role.
Players to add this week:
SP Casey Mize (DET)- Casey Mize had an impressive debut despite giving up 3 ER and 7 H because he showed poise on the mound and was able to miss bats (7 K). He may not have the highest fantasy ceiling because he relies so heavily on his splitter but the floor is very high given his repertoire and command. He needs to be owned in all formats. Mize will get two starts next week but they are tough matchups with CHC and MIN.
SP Tarik Skubal (DET)- Tarik Skubal struggled in his debut (2 IP, 7 H, 4 ER, 0 BB, 1 K) but has considerable fantasy upside given his track record of strikeouts in the minors. He has plus velocity from the left side in addition to a plus slider and a serviceable changeup. The issue in his debut was a lack of command which made him rely on his fastball in the zone. Skubal is going to be volatile due to this exact fact, shaky command, but he has the ability to miss bats with the best of them. A matchup against Minnesota is one to avoid this week if all possible.
3B Isaac Paredes (DET)- Isaac Paredes is going to get regular playing time for the Tigers. In Double-A last year he hit .282 with 13 HR, 63 R, 66 RBI, and 5 SB in 127 GP. The plate skills were strong with 10% BB and 11% K. So at this point the hit tool is ahead of the power which should help him stay afloat at the major league level why he develops. The upside here isn't great because he is hitting at the bottom of the lineup and doesn't offer much in terms of power or speed.
RP Matt Barnes (BOS)- Matt Barnes has stepped into the Red Sox closer's role with Brandon Workman being traded to Philadelphia. The Red Sox are not a good team and Barnes has struggled (5.06 ERA and 1.41 WHIP) but he is a closer and that has value in today's climate. The skills don't point to things turning around either with a lack of control (17% BB) and hard contact (48%) so beware.
SP Dane Dunning (CWS)- Dane Dunning looked good in his first start. He showed the ability to miss bats with good control before sitting out 2019 with Tommy John surgery. Dunning was optioned back to the alternate site because the White Sox didn't need a fifth starter. If he returns he is worth owning so the depth of your league matters here.
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