In the Lineup
There was a brief rumor this week that we were going to see Joey Bart called up this week, but Andrew Baggarly of the Athletic ultimately shot down the rumor on Saturday saying that the team doesn't feel like Bart is ready yet. Bart is the Giants' catcher of the future but he's also been getting some work at first base recently in order to help his versatility. Bart has one of the higher upsides at the catcher position in the league, so when he gets the call this year he's going to be a very popular add in fantasy... Eric Hosmer has been battling stomach issues all week and was ultimately placed on the IL with gastritis. The move is retroactive to July 29th. Hosmer is off to a hot start this year, thanks to what appears to be a change in approach to get the ball in the air more, hitting .500 over his first 12 plate appearances. His exit velocity is sitting in the 79th percentile early on, so hitting the ball hard and in the air is going to lead to better results than his first few seasons in San Diego.... Ozzie Albies was dealing with some wrist stiffness this week causing him to miss Friday's game, but he was right back in the lineup on Saturday in his usual number two spot in the order.... Isan Diaz has elected to opt-out of the 2020 season after the Marlins COVID-19 outbreak within the team. Jon Berti could be the largest beneficiary of the opt-out and could be interesting given his 98th percentile sprint speed. We'll have to see what the Marlins' lineup looks like when they are finally able to resume play.... Juan Soto has been cleared to return to the Nationals and played in the team's intrasquad game on Saturday. Soto told reporters he isn't 100% certain if he'll be able to play on Tuesday when the team begins to play again, but he'll be right back towards the top of the lineup whenever he gets back with the team.... Daulton Varsho has been called up to the Diamondbacks and will work as a reserve bat for the time being. Varsho is an interesting player as his primary position is catcher but he plays all three outfield spots at an above-average level. He'll have unique position flexibility with that, especially if he gets an extended run in the OF where you can slot him in at catcher... Kevin Cron was optioned to the team's alternate training site after not getting much work over the first week of the season. Jake Lamb is off to a rough start once again so we could see Cron back with the team and he could be worth rostering with his offensive upside if given regular at-bats... Steven Duggar was recalled by the Giants but figures just to work in a bench role for the team being.... Evan Longoria was been activated off the IL and will slot in as the third baseman for the Giants once again. Longoria isn't what he was in his prime with the Rays, but he still hit 20 homers last season and most of his batted ball metrics sit in the upper half of the league. You can definitely do worse.... Brandon Belt was also activated by the Giants this week after rehabbing from his heel injury. Belt was in the 17th percentile of the league in exit velocity last year but continue to play defense well enough that will keep him in the lineup every day.... Jed Lowrie has been diagnosed with PCL Laxity in his left knee and the team hasn't been able to rule out surgery yet, though they are still weighing all their options. Lowrie hasn't been fantasy relevant in a few years and it doesn't seem like this year is going to be any different.... Brian Dozier signed with the Mets, and was ultimately called up this week, and will likely serve as a bench bat for the team. He did get a start against Martin Perez though, so we may see him crack the lineup a bit against left-handed pitching.... Eduardo Nunez was placed on the 10-day IL with a knee contusion, an injury that was originally diagnosed as a hyperextended knee last Sunday. There's no timetable laid out for his return yet.... The Nationals have been playing inter-squad games, but Howie Kendrick hasn't been able to get involved as he deals with his upper back tightness. The Nats don't have a game until Tuesday so that should be enough time to rest and be back in the lineup.... Nick Senzel has been dealing with a non-COVID illness since last weekend but was finally able to get back in the lineup on Wednesday. Senzel has doubled in two games since returning to the lineup but hitting in the lower half of the lineup will definitely limit his upside.... Nick Markakis elected to opt back into the season and has reported to the Braves alternate training site to prepare to rejoin the team. It's uncertain where the at-bats will be for him upon his return with the addition of Marcel Ozuna, though the team could move Ozuna to DH and let Markakis play left. Brian Snitker does have an affinity for him, so I'm certain he'll work Markakis in somewhere.... Mike Moustakas has returned to the Reds after showing COVID symptoms, but he never tested positive for the virus. Moose is off to a strong start with a .357 average and a pair of home runs for his new team.... Tyler Flowers and Travis D'arnuad both have returned to the Braves after having COVID symptoms but never tested positive. They will work in a near 50/50 split for the Braves so unless you roster both in a league it'll be hard to get worthwhile value from them... Lorenzo Cain has decided to opt-out of the 2020 season. It appears that Ben Gamel will be first in line to fill his void in the lineup and is an interesting NL-Only option for now.... Eric Thames sat out of Saturday's intrasquad game with back pain. Thames has been receiving treatment on it and like Kendrick, has a few days before the Nats return to game action to be feeling up to par... Jake Marisnick was placed on the IL with a hamstring strain, one that he hasn't been able to shake since before the season started. Ryan Cordell was called up to take his place on the roster.... Kris Bryant dealt with some elbow issues earlier in the week but was scratched from the lineup Saturday due to gastro issues. It's good news that this isn't a flair up of his elbow against and the team is considering him day-to-day at this point.... Andy Young was recalled by the Diamondbacks. Young hit .271 across two levels last year with an impressive 29 homers and 81 runs driven in. His defense isn't much to write home about, but the team could give him some looks to see if his bat can stick somewhere in the lineup. I'm not worrying about adding him yet, but it's a name to watch.
In The Rotation
Clayton Kershaw will take the mound for the first time in 2020 on Sunday. Kershaw was scratched on opening day with back stiffness but has had no issues in his side sessions and will be good to go for Sunday.... Marcus Stroman threw a four-inning simulated game on Friday and had no issues according to the team. Luis Rojas described the outing as "full tilt" which is a very good sign considering the calf injury he's working his way back from. There's still no timetable for him to return to the team, but this is certain a step in the right direction.... Touki Toussaint started for the Braves on Saturday, taking the place of Mike Foltynewicz who was designated for assignment by the team. Touki tossed four shutout innings for the Braves with three hits, three walks, and five strikeouts. He'll most certainly get another start for the Braves after an outing as strong as this one.... Tony Gonsolin tossed four shutout innings on Friday in a spot start for the Dodgers but was optioned back to the alternate site on Saturday. With how the Dodgers manage their pitchers, we'll most certainly see him back in the majors at some point this year.... Tyler Mahle had gotten his spot in the rotation with Anthony DeSclafani on the IL, but Mahle is going to stick in the rotation even after DeSclafani returns to the team as Wade Miley was just placed on the IL by the team. He tossed four innings in his first start of the season with four punch outs. He'll face the Indians on Wednesday of next week... Cole Hamels still hasn't been able to throw off a mound with his triceps injury, but he is still currently working through his throwing program. It's going to be a good while before we see him back with the Braves... Stephen Strasburg threw again on Saturday and isn't feeling any of the nerve issue in his hand that caused him to miss his first start of the 2020 season. It sounds like a bullpen session is in the works for either Sunday or Monday and that could put him on track to start next week for the Nats... Kevin Gausman got a start for the Giants and made the most of it with eight strikeouts over 4.1 innings, though he did allow three runs. While this start went, mostly, well for him his next start would come in Colorado and that's not something I'm trying to tempt fate on.... Sandy Alcantara is one of the Marlins players that has tested positive for COVID-19. He'll need to go through the proper protocols in order to return to the team. It's uncertain what the Marlins will look like when they might return to action on Monday, so we can't even speculate at who will take his spot in the rotation.... Jose Quintana tossed 38 pitches in a bullpen session on Saturday and he's expected to throw another one on Monday. We still don't have any sort of timetable for him to return to the team but successful bullpen session is definitely stepping in the right direction.... Josh Lindblom left his first start of the season in the fourth inning this week with back cramps, but it doesn't sound like it's anything major according to Craig Counsell. The Brewers haven't played this weekend due to the Cardinals having multiple positive COVID tests, so the Brewers may have a reworked rotation next week.... Spencer Howard was supposed to make his major league debut on Friday but with the weekend series being canceled, his timetable is back up in the air for his major league debut. If the plan was for him to pitch Friday he's obviously close, so it's only a matter of time before he joins the rotation (likely for good).... Miles Mikolas underwent season-ending surgery to repair a flexor tendon in his right arm. The team is hopeful that he'll be able to be ready for opening day 2021.... Daniel Ponce De Leon was able to strike out eight batters in his first start of the season but couldn't make it out of the fourth inning after hitting 85 pitchers. The Cardinals have been shut down until at least Tuesday with their COVID tests, so it's uncertain with that when he'll get another start.... Alex Wood has been placed on the 10-day IL with shoulder inflammation. Josh Sborz will take his spot on the team but it's uncertain how the Dodgers will tweak their rotation to adjust.... David Peterson made his major league debut this week and tossed 5.2 innings against the Red Sox. He allowed just two runs in picking up the first win of his big league career. With just three strikeouts, his upside is definitely limited but he's going to get at least another start or two while Marcus Stroman is out of the rotation. ... Mitch Keller left Saturday's start with left side discomfort...
In The Bullpen
Will Smith has returned to the Braves after his COVID diagnosis, and he's working his way back to get back with the active roster. He threw a bullpen session on Friday and it sounds like he's going to throw to batters over the next few days. There could be an outside chance we see him back with the team next week, though his fantasy upside is limited with Mark Melancon pitching well this year.... Luis Rojas is going to have a discussion about the closer role for the Mets and whether Edwin Diaz will remain in that role. The Mets have a few players that could fill that role if Diaz were to be removed with Jeurys Familia and Dellin Betances having experience in that role, along with Seth Lugo who has been outstanding for a few years for the Mets.... Daniel Hudson picked up a save this week for the Nats, notable as Sean Doolittle hasn't been as sharp as normal early on this year. Hudson hasn't officially been named the closer for the Nats but future save opportunities are something we are going to have to watch going forward.... Joe Kelly was suspended eight games by Major League Baseball after throwing at multiple Astros' hitters. The Astros are likely going to see a lot of this over the course of the season, so we'll have to see what suspensions look like the rest of the way if it continues to happen.... Kirby Yates has been struggling for the Padres and was even held out of a save situation this week, though Jayce Tingler said it was just to give him an extra day of rest. He still has the role for now, but with the short-season things could get weird if the struggles continue.... Nick Burdi has been getting save chance for the Pirates with Keona Kela out due to COVID and Kyle Crick being placed on the IL. Burdi has incredible raw stuff but has battled injuries over the years. He could be an interesting arm to run with if he can stay healthy, even if the Pirates aren't a great team.
PLAYERS TO ADD
Dansby Swanson, Atlanta Braves - Dansby's roster percentage has basically peaked this week but if somehow he's still out there he's a must-add. Swanson was a popular late-round target this year as he was great in 2019 until an injury derailed his entire season. This year he's barreling pitches at a 21% rate on his way to slashing .382/.417/.647 so far. Chipping in three stolen bases already is just gravy to this point, he's off to one of the best starts in all of fantasy this year and needs to be rostered everywhere.
Colin Moran, Pittsburgh Pirates - Colin Moran launched his 5th homer of the year on Saturday and is off to a ridiculous start for the Pirates. He's running exit velocities in the 95th percentile along with an xwOBA in the 97th percentile. There's still a chance that he sits against lefties, but with the way he's hitting this year they might as well throw him out there against them as well. He's running a launch angle similar to what he ran last season, but the 22% barrel rate has been what took him over the top so far in 2020.
Tyler Chatwood, Chicago Cubs - Tyler Chatwood dominated the Pirates on Saturday and now owns a 0.82 ERA over 11 innings in 2020 with 18 strikeouts. A huge key to his success in this latest outing was being able to get whiffs on his sinker and cutter with 13 whiffs on those offerings, and 20 whiffs overall. On 47 sinkers that he threw, the Pirates were able to only put seven of them into play. We have to be able to take the leap on hot starts this year, and Chatwood is generating the whiffs right now that makes him worth taking a leap at.
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