Jacob deGrom (SP-NYM) left Sunday's start against the Diamondbacks after 5 innings as a precaution because of tightness in his right side. His last start was scratched because of a similar issue that was eventually diagnosed as lat inflammation. Before exiting the contest, the 32 year-old flamethrower allowed 1 run on 1 hit while walking 3 and fanning 6. The lone earned run actually raised his ERA to 0.68 while his 3 bases on balls raised his walk rate to 1.6 on the year. Meanwhile, the 6 whiffs lowered his K/9 to "just" 14.6 on the season. In a couple of ways, then, the outing was a bit uncharacteristic for deGrom, and that could be a product of his long layoff since his last start on April 28 or his side issue the resurfaced. His average fastball velocity did seem slightly down in his last couple of innings of work on Sunday, to "just" 97-98mph compared to his season average of 99; he did sit at 98-100 during the first few innings of the game. At any rate, the Mets are characterizing the move as precautionary and so fantasy owners should expect deGrom to be ready to take the hill next week in Tampa Bay.
Adam Wainwright (SP-STL) tossed 8.1 shutout innings against the Rockies on Sunday, scattering 3 hits and 3 walks while fanning 5. The 39 year-old righty threw 71 of his 113 pitches for strikes in the outing. 2021 is shaping up to be Wainwright's strongest fantasy season since 2015, as he now owns a 3.80 ERA, 8.9 K/9, and 2.5 BB/9 through his first 42.2 innings of work (7 starts). He did log a 3.15 ERA across 10 starts last season, but that came with a 7.4 K/9 and a 4.23 xFIP that indicated he was lucky to finish with that ERA. But his 3.77 xFIP so far in 2021 is very much on par with his ERA, and it's nice to see the strikeouts up (his career K/9 is just 7.6). For the first time since 2017, Wainwright's average fastball velocity is north of 90mph and he's replicating the 11% swinging-strike rate that he logged last season (9% career) while also duplicating the career-low 76% contact-rate from 2020. He keeps hitters off-balance with his mix of pitches, as he utilizes his curve about 33% of the time, his cutter on about 25% of pitches, and his sinker 24% of the time while occasionally mixing in his fastball (11%), and change-up (7%). If Wainwright is somehow still out there on your league's waiver wire, he should be worth the add. He lines up for a start in San Diego next week.
Sandy Alcantara (SP-MIA) largely stifled the Brewers on Sunday, as he allowed just 1 run on 5 hits and a pair of walks while striking out 6 over 7 innings of work. He threw 73 of his 103 pitches for strikes and surrendered a big fly in the contest. The 25 year-old righty has been effective overall so far in 2021, as he now owns a 2.72 ERA, 8.7 K/9, and 2.5 BB/9 through his first 8 starts (49.2 innings) of the campaign. His K/9 and BB/9 are his best in the majors as a starter, and he's actually raised his average heater velocity to 98 mph. Opposing batters have made hard contact against Alcantara at a healthy 40% rate, but he's induced grounders at a 49% clip and recorded a 71% contact rate that comes in at his lowest as a starter. Moreover, his 14% swinging-strike rate is - you guessed it - a best for him as a starter. It looks like we may be seeing a breakout here - much as we have seen in Miami with Pablo Lopez. A real test awaits Alcantara next week as he prepares to take on the Dodgers in LA.
Edwin Diaz (RP-NYM) picked up the save against the Diamondbacks on Sunday as he tossed 1.2 scoreless innings in which he gave up 1 hit, fanned 3, and walked none. The 27 year-old now owns a solid 3.14 ERA, 11.3 K/9, and 3.1 BB/9 through his first 14 appearances (14.1 innings) of the season. Diaz's heater is up to a career-high average velocity of 99mph and he is deploying that pitch a career-high 70% of the time. His 30% usage of his slider is a career-low, which perhaps helps to explain a 16% swinging-strike rate that ties his career low and a career-high 70% contact rate. It seems that opposing hitters are able to key in on his fastball more and, therefore, they are putting more balls in play than in the past. But Statcast shows that they have mustered just a 26% hard-hit rate against Diaz, which has helped to offset his career-low K/9 (14.6 career average, previous low of 12.1 in 2017).
Jesus Sanchez (OF-MIA) has started the Triple-A season on Fire in Jacksonville, as he was batting .545 with 4 homers and 11 RBI through his first 23 plate appearances (5 games) entering Sunday's action. The 23 year-old struggled in his brief taste of MLB action last season, as he hit just .040 with a run scored and 2 RBI across 29 plate appearances (10 games). He did draw some walks (14% walk rate) but also fanned at a 38% clip. Sanchez put together a solid if unspectacular season across Double-A and Triple-A back in 2019, when he hit .260 with 13 longballs, 63 RBI, and 5 stolen bases (4 caught) across 465 plate appearances. The returns so far in 2021 should interest fantasy owners, for while scouts grade Sanchez's hit tool as below average, his raw power grades at 70 and has been on display so far. Although it's a very small sample size, it's encouraging that he has fanned at only a 13% clip so far this year. With the likes of Adam Duvall and Corey Dickerson currently manning the OF corner spots in Miami, one has to imagine that Sanchez could make a push for a promotion to the big leagues if he continues to impress in Jacksonville. And when he does get the call, fantasy owners should consider making the add. The biggest knock on him has been his approach at the plate, so how that looks once his bat cools down a bit will be a key to his ETA in the majors and his success in the Show. But the physical tools- especially the power - are there.
This is just a small sample our daily analysis, join our member area for over 80 daily player updates sent to your inbox every morning and track your team online. Click here for details: http://www.insiderbaseball.com/baseballsample.htm Click here to register: http://www.fantistics.com/salesbaseball.php3