Shane Baz (SP-TB) fired 4 scoreless innings in a Triple-A rehab start on Monday, allowing just 1 hit and 1 walk while fanning 5 on 56 pitches. The 22 year-old has now made 3 rehab starts at the Triple-A level, posting a 1.04 ERA, 10.4 K/9, and 3.1 BB/9. The Rays will likely want him stretched out a bit more before bringing him back up to the majors, but it seems possible that he could be activated after just 1 or 2 more rehab starts; he's eligible for activation on June 6. After tearing up Double-A (32.2 IP, 2.48 ERA, 13.5 K/9, 0.6 BB/9, 1.86 xFIP) and Triple-A (46 IP, 1.76 ERA, 12.5 K/9, 12.2 BB/9, 2.98 xFIP) last season, he impressed in a brief stint in the majors, recording a 2.03 ERA, 12.2 K/9, 2 BB/9, and a 2.87 xFIP across 3 starts (13.1 IP). Armed with a repertoire that features three plus offerings, Baz has refined his control and seems primed to be a fantasy contributor when he joins the big club.
Riley Greene (OF-DET) was activated from IL on Monday after recovering from a broken foot suffered during spring training, but will remain with Triple-A Toledo to get up to speed. The 22 year-old, who is the #2 prospect in all of baseball, made just 7 plate appearances with Class-A Lakeland (hitting .333 with 2 RBI and a stolen base) before moving up to Triple-A, where he had logged just 4 PA entering Wednesday's action (batting .250). Greene was seemingly on track to start the season in the majors thanks to a strong performance overall in spring training after he tore up Double-A pitching last season (.298 with 16 homers, 54 RBI, and 12 steals across 373 PA) and translated that success to Triple-A (3.08 average, 8 homers, 30 RBI, and 4 stolen bases over 185 PA). If there's anything to knock about his game, it's the strikeouts, as he fanned at a 27.5% clip last season and has struck out at at least a 24% rate at each stop in his minor-league career. However, he has demonstrated an ability to nevertheless hit for a nice average while hitting some homers, which makes him a must-add when he gets the call; if you have a spot on your roster now, he's worth stashing.
Andres Gimenez (2B/SS-CLE) went 2-4 with a 2B, an RBI, and a run scored against the Royals on Wednesday afternoon. The 23 year-old has produced in his 136 PA so far in 2022, logging a .302 average to go with 5 dingers, 25 RBI, and 4 steals (in 4 chances). This comes on the heels of a disappointing first season in Cleveland in which he hit just .218 with 5 homers, 16 RBI, and 11 steals over 10 PA and spent about half of the season in Triple-A (where he was better, with a .287 average, 10 dingers, 31 RBI, and 8 stolen bases over 233 PA). Gimenez still doesn't walk much (3%), but he's trimmed the strikeout rate slightly (just under 24%, from 26%). And while his hard-hit rate has remained constant at a blah 29%, he's ripping liners at about twice the rate that he did last season (25%, up from 13%) and has admittedly enjoyed more flyball luck, with an 18% HR/FB well above his norms in both the majors and minors (about 8-10% seems right for him). Also, his .366 BABIP seems due for regression (he's more of a .310-.340 BABIP guy) while his contact (73%) and swinging-strike (14%) rates are nothing to write home about. So, while the peripherals validate that he HAS been better than he was in 2021, there's little reason to suspect that he can sustain the average or the power going forward.
Madison Bumgarner (SP-ARI) earned a quality start but took the loss against Atlanta on Wednesday, completing 6 innings in which he allowed 2 runs on 7 hits and 2 walks while fanning 6. The 32 year-old southpaw fired 62 of his 103 pitches for strikes in the start. Baumgarner's 3.31 ERA might suggest that he' rebounded from a couple of consecutive poor seasons, but his 4.70 xFIP, career-low 6.1 K/9, and career-high 3 BB/9 (tying his 2018 clip in that department) are all red flags that regression could be coming. Indeed, a suppressed .235 BABIP and inflated 80% strand rate are helping to keep his ERA down while he's missing few bats (under 8%). Baumgarner is eyeing a start in Cincinnati next week, so maybe his good fortune will continue for at least one more turn.
Dakota Hudson (SP-STL) impressed against the Padres on Wednesday, firing 7 innings of 1-run ball in which he allowed just 4 hits and a walk while striking out 3. The 27 year-old righty tossed 62 of his 104 offerings for strikes in the start. Hudson's ERA comes in at a deceptive 2.96 through his first 10 starts of the season (51.2 IP), but his 4.9 K/9, 4.2 BB/9, and 4.74 tell fantasy owners that there's been a lot of luck involved. Although he does help to make some of his own luck with a 56% groundball rate, an 81% strand rate and .255 BABIP are both suppressing his ERA a bit. To be fair, through 294.1 IP in his career, Hudson has logged a 3.15 ERA against a 4.58 xFIP, so he may just be one of those guys who consistently outperforms the peripherals. That may be fine for real baseball, but there's little of value here for fantasy purposes as Hudson looks at a turn in Tampa against the Rays early next week.
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