In The Field
OF A.J. Pollock (hamstring) is expected to start a rehab assignment soon. If there are no setbacks he should be able to return next week sometime. OF Brian Anderson had shoulder surgery on Tuesday and is out for the year. OF Bryan De La Cruz, OF Jesus Sanchez, and OF Lewis Brinson are playing every day for the Marlins batting 3,4,5 which gives them fantasy relevance. OF Connor Joe (hamstring) was able to do hitting drills on Tuesday. He is progressing in his rehab and the Rockies hope that he will be back before the end of the season. OF Jason Heyward was placed on the 7-day concussion IL on Tuesday. 2B Jake Cronenworth (fractured finger) has not been in the lineup all week but is not expected to hit the injured list. This is both good and bad news because he is going to play through the injury but is clearly not going to be 100%. He is expected to play this weekend. SS/OF Chris Taylor is dealing with a neck injury and hasn't been in the lineup since Friday of last week. C J.T. Realmuto left the game early on Thursday after being hit on the elbow with a pitch. He is considered day-to-day. 2B Michael Chavis (elbow) has started a rehab assignment. He should be back next week and the Pirates are going to want to see what they have in him provided this injury doesn't flare back up. He has power upside but the batting average has always been a liability. OF Mike Yastrzemski (elbow) was out of the lineup on Thursday. He was able to pinch-hit so this doesn't appear to be a serious injury. OF Jesse Winker (ribs) returned to the Reds lineup on Friday and then promptly re-injured his side and was placed on the 10-day IL Saturday. OF Tyler Naquin (ribs) is dealing with sore ribs and has not played all week. He was placed on the 10-day IL on Friday. OF Delino DeShields and OF Max Schrock will fill in for the injured outfielders. DeShields has some fantasy value due to his ability to steal bases but doesn't provide much else in terms of fantasy value. 1B Seth Beer (shoulder) dislocated his shoulder in Tuesday's game and was placed on the IL. Beer hit .287 with 16 HR, 73 R, 59 RBI, and 0 SB in 100 GP at Triple-A prior to his call-up. In the five games that he played prior to the injury, he hit .444 with 1 HR. He has shown the ability to hit for power and will likely have some issues with swing and miss at the major league level but not enough to make him a batting average liability. He will not provide any stolen bases so he will have to be above-average in power and batting average for fantasy purposes. 2B Max Muncy bruised his knee while attempting a stolen base on Thursday but stayed in the game and isn't expected to miss any time. OF Alex Dickerson (hamstring) is going to stay on his rehab assignment until he gets going offensively. The Giants have the luxury of having multiple options at the major league level so there is no need for him which also means that he is not guaranteed playing time when/if he does return. SS Willy Adames (quad) is hoping to return early next week for the St. Louis series. This is going to end regular playing time for 3B Luis Urias who has been a solid fantasy contributor in his own right. OF Brandon Nimmo (hamstring) was activated off the 10-day IL and was in the lineup on Friday. OF Kevin Pillar has been playing every day in his absence but will go back to a bench role or possibly a platoon with OF Michael Conforto if the Mets choose but nothing has been said yet. 1B Jesus Aguilar (knee) is expected to miss the remainder of the season. This would open up everyday playing time for 1B Lewin Diaz. Diaz has power upside but serious batting average risk given his 50% O-swing. C Jorge Alfaro (calf) was placed on the IL on Friday. OF Shogo Akiyama has been placed on the 10-day IL. OF Cody Bellinger has a non-displaced fracture in his ribs. It isn't expected to keep him out of action but he is already playing sparingly so it just adds to what has been a forgettable season.
On The Mound
Merrill Kelly (illness) was able to start for the Diamondbacks on Wednesday (4.2 IP, 10 H, 4 ER 2 BB, and 1 K). He was on a pitch count in this one and will likely continue to be limited as we close out the season. Chris Paddack (elbow) was placed on the 10-day IL on Monday with right elbow inflammation. The severity of the injury is unknown because he experienced tightness but they did consider letting him pitch through it before ultimately deciding to put him on the injured list. Noah Syndergaard (elbow) threw off a mound on Monday and faced live hitters on Wednesday. He is going to come back as a reliever but it will be encouraging to see him on a major league mound prior to the 2022 draft season. Pablo Lopez (shoulder) threw a bullpen session on Tuesday. He is in the process of building up his pitch count/arm strength so it is looking unlikely that he makes it back before the end of the season. He had finally broken out prior to the injury (3.03 ERA and 1.09 WHIP with 21% K:BB) but staying healthy has proven to be difficult for the right-hander. Dakota Hudson (elbow) made his fifth rehab start at Triple-A on Friday. He is stretched out to be a starter but the Cardinals are going to bring him back as a reliever for the stretch run as they try to sneak into the playoffs. Johnny Cueto (elbow) was able to play catch from 60 ft. Thursday. The Giants are going to be cautious with Cueto with the playoffs around the corner and no real need to get him back before the end of the season. Alex Wood (COVID) is expected to be activated on Saturday and start for the Giants. He is likely going to be on a pitch count since he did not have a rehab assignment and has not pitched since the end of August. Vince Velasquez has been signed by the Padres and started on Friday (4 IP, 4 ER, 0 BB, 4 K). He has strikeout upside but the potential for blowups is very real making it hard to start him at this point in the year. Tyler Gilbert has been placed on the 10-day IL with elbow inflammation. This will more than likely end his season in which he posted a 3.15 ERA and 1.03 WHIP. However, the underlying skills point towards serious regression (5.22 SIERA). Blake Snell (left adductor strain) has been placed on the 10-day IL. This is the worst possible time for an injury as he had just gotten on a roll due to a pitch mix change and was starting to earn back some of his draft-day value. J.T. Brubaker (shoulder) hasn't resumed throwing but the Pirates haven't ruled out a return. This seems highly unlikely given the short amount of time left and from a fantasy perspective, it doesn't matter because Brubaker has been dreadful in the second half (7.57 ERA). Jacob deGrom threw 10 pitches off a mound on Tuesday. There has been a lot of confusion over his injured elbow but the bottom line from a fantasy perspective is that he is unlikely to make it back before the end of the year and if he does it won't make much of a difference because he will be very limited in his pitch count.
In The Bullpen
David Bednar (oblique) played catch on Wednesday without any pain. He needs to be able to face live hitters without an issue before being activated off the IL. Chris Stratton is the guy getting save opportunities in Pittsburgh while he is out. Jake McGee was placed on the 10-day IL on Saturday. This thrusts Tyler Rogers into the closer's role all by himself.
Players to add this week:
RP Chris Stratton (PIT)- David Bednar is on the IL so Chris Stratton has taken over as closer for the Pirates. In fact, he picked up two saves and a win this week alone. The Pirates may not have many save chances down the stretch but he is the sole guy in Pittsburgh which is worth a roster spot at this point in the year.
2B/OF Garrett Hampson (COL)- Garrett Hampson is playing semi-regularly for the Rockies. He is hitting .270 with 3 HR, 7 R, 8 RBI, and 1 SB over the past two weeks. The Rockies also have six games in Coors Field this week.
OF Lorenzo Cain (MIL)- Lorenzo Cain has been playing well in the second half. He is hitting .278 with 5 HR, 21 R, 26 RBI, and 8 SB. Cain has played himself into an everyday role with the Brewers. The power outburst in the second half isn't sustainable but the speed is legit and is a real difference-maker this late in the season.
1B Lewin Diaz (MIA)- Jesus Aguilar is expected to be out for the season which opens up every day playing time for Lewin Diaz. The overall line isn't great (.182/.217/.470) but the power is legit. He hits the ball hard (38% Hard and 12% Barrels) so if you are in need of power Diaz could be of use. The batting average isn't going to be great so be aware.
SP Eric Lauer (MIL)- Eric Lauer is having an under-the-radar very good season. He has a 3.10 ERA and 1.16 WHIP through 17 GS. He is missing more bats than at any point in his career (24% K) with a league-average walk rate (8% BB). His 4.24 SIERA suggests regression but even that would be a league-average starter.
1B Colin Moran (PIT)- The Pirates face six right-handed starters this week. Moran is hitting .296 with 6 HR, 19 R , 36 RBI, and 1 SB against RHP this year.
OF Lane Thomas (WSH)- Lane Thomas is playing every day and leading off for the Nationals which is enough of a reason to roster him. He is hitting .248 with 5 HR, 25 R, 23 RBI, and 4 SB in 62 GP. He has a little bit of power and speed plus a great lineup spot.
SP Ranger Suarez (PHI)- Ranger Suarez has two starts this week (BAL and PIT) which are both below-average offenses. He's got a 1.85 ERA and 1.19 WHIP as a starter with a rising strikeout rate (24% K).
SP Jon Lester (STL)- Jon Lester is on tap for two starts this week (@MIL and @CHC). He has a 4.14 ERA with St. Louis but it is accompanied by a 1.40 WHIP. Lester is not a good pitcher but two starts are two starts but just know it's very risky.
3B Evan Longoria (SFG)- Evan Longoria has returned to the lineup and has been very good this year. He is hitting .290 with 13 HR, 41 R, 46 RBI, and 1 SB in 68 GP. He also has elite Statcast numbers to back it up (113.2 maxEV, 54% Hard, and 14% Barrels).
2B Tommy La Stella (SFG)- The Giants play five of six righties this week. La Stella has been leading off against RHP. He has a career .329 wOBA and 107 wRC+ against RHP.
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