In The Field
OF Wil Myers (knee) has faired well in his rehab assignment and is expected to rejoin the Padres after the All-Star break. On the surface, this doesn't move the needle much for fantasy leagues but it has cascading effects on the rest of the roster. The hot name to add in fantasy leagues this past weekend was OF Esteury Ruiz. With both OF Jurickson Profar and Meyers back the Padres now have a playing time situation. They have five players for three spots (Myers, Mazara, Grisham, Profar, and Ruiz). The unfortunate part of this is that Ruiz is the most likely to be sent down but he also has the most upside given his speed (60 SB between AA and AAA). Mazara and Myers figure to enter into a platoon with Grisham and Profar playing regularly. Grisham has been terrible (.190 AVG/.292 OBP) so there is an outside chance he heads to the bench which could open up playing time for Ruiz. The other complicating factor is that the Padres have talked about SS Fernando Tatis Jr. playing the outfield when he returns. If you have room on your bench, Ruiz offers SB upside that no one else can match but his playing time is a major question mark coming out of the break. DH Nelson Cruz sat out the last two games before the All-Star break due to a quad injury. He is expected to be ready to go once the Nationals start playing games again. SS Brandon Crawford was placed on the 10-day IL with right knee inflammation. He dealt with the same injury two weeks ago but it hasn't improved and he struggled mightily during that period of time. He is expected to miss more than the minimum of 10 days. 3B Evan Longoria (oblique) was activated off the IL and 2B Thairo Estrada will play shortstop while Crawford is out. This has opened up playing time for 3B David Villar who has power upside but comes with batting average risk due to the swing and miss in his game. 1B/OF Juan Yepez (forearm) has been placed on the 10-day IL with a Grade 2 forearm strain. This type of injury can be a 2-3 week injury. 3B Mike Moustakas was activated off the Covid IL and will be with the Reds when following the All-Star break. He has not been able to find his groove this year (.210/.298/.337). OF Tyrone Taylor (concussion) was able to play in rehab games prior to the All-Star break which makes it likely that he will return to the Brewers lineup after the break. Taylor is hitting .228 with 9 HR/1 SB and playing every day for the Brewers. His .258 BABIP suggests a better batting average in the second half in addition to a little power and speed in mixed league formats. 1B/OF Dominic Smith was placed on the 10-day IL retroactive to July 17 with a right ankle sprain.
On The Mound
Andrew Heaney (shoulder) made a start for Single-A Rancho Cucamonga on Saturday (2.2 IP, 4 R, 6 H, 0 BB, and 2 K). He will need at least one more rehab start before rejoining the Dodgers rotation. Mitch White will be the guy to lose a rotation spot when Heaney returns. Dustin May (elbow) hasn't started a rehab assignment yet but is expected to do so in the near future. He has been able to throw live batting practice sessions so the next step is a rehab assignment. May is tracking towards a mid-to-late August return. It is easy to forget the potential he showed before having Tommy John surgery (2.74 ERA, 0.96 WHIP, 38% K, and 7% BB in 5 GS in 2021). He is worth stashing in leagues with IL spots or if you have room on your bench. Steven Matz (shoulder) was activated on Sunday and was going to start against the Reds before they were rained out. Matz hasn't pitched since May but looked good on his rehab assignment (12.2 IP, 2.13 ERA, 0.95 WHIP, and 17:3 K:BB). Carlos Rodon is dealing with a blood blister and split nail on this throwing hand. This prevented him from pitching in the All-Star game. He is expected to start for the Giants on Thursday. Anthony Senzatela (shoulder) didn't start on Sunday against the Pirates as expected but the Rockies wanted him to get extra rest with the All-Start break and he will start on Friday. Jacob deGrom had his live BP on Tuesday moved to Thursday due to shoulder soreness. He could return shortly after the All-Star break if this does not turn into a setback. Tyler Mahle (shoulder) is expected to join the Reds rotation after the All-Star break and start on Sunday. Mahle was turning his season around prior to the injury (2.94 ERA in June and 3.60 ERA in July). Stephen Strasburg (ribs) is not expected back this year so the Nationals moved him to the 60-day IL. Max Scherzer is going to start the Mets first game out of the break on Friday against the Padres.
In The Bullpen
Brusdar Graterol (shoulder) had an MRI on his shoulder that came back clean. He is expected to be out 2-3 weeks. This is important because Dodger's closer Craig Kimbrel has struggled this year (4.35 ERA and 1.45 WHIP) and Graterol would be the next guy up. Evan Phillips (1.50 ERA, 0.78 WHIP, 24% K:BB) recorded a save last week and would be next in line after Graterol if something were to happen to Kimbrel. Art Warren (forearm) was able to throw a bullpen session on Saturday. He is trying to return from a right pronator strain and the next step will be a live BP session. Drew Pomeranz (forearm) has been throwing bullpen sessions. He is expected back in August after having surgery on a torn flexor tendon last August. Kenley Jansen returned as the Braves closer prior to the break which means AJ Minter returns to a high-leverage role but we do know that he is the guy next in line for saves. The Phillies bullpen is a tough read right now because they have had four guys record saves since they removed Corey Knebel from the role (Dominguez 4, Brad Hand 3, Knebel 1, and Alvarado 1). Seranthony Dominguez has been the best reliever (1.85 ERA, 0.94 WHIP, and 23% K:BB) but he is being used in high leverage situations which doesn't always mean save opportunities. He needs to be rostered across the board. The Nationals bullpen got a shake-up when Tanner Rainey was placed on the 60-day IL with a UCL injury. Kyle Finnegan has moved into the closer's role but the trade deadline is quickly approaching and he could be moved. Carl Edwards Jr. and Steve Cishek would be candidates to take the role with neither being all that appealing. David Robertson has been very good for the Cubs (1.93 ERA, 0.99 WHIP, and 13 SV) but is likely to be moved at the deadline as could Mychal Givens and Chris Martin. It is difficult to nail down who is going to be moved and who would be the closer so this is a situation that is difficult to speculate on at this point. The Reds situation is one to speculate on with Alexis Diaz. He may not be the closer right now but Hunter Strickland is likely to be moved at the deadline.
Players to add this week:
SP Steven Matz (STL)-Steven Matz has made nine starts for the Cardinals and has a 6.03 ERA and 1.39 WHIP. On the surface, this isn't the profile that you would want to pick up but his underlying skills (3.18 SIERA) are encouraging. His strikeout and walk rates were above-average (27% K and 5% BB). He was hurt by a career-low 67% LOB and a .350 BABIP.
OF Esteury Ruiz (SDP)-Esteury Ruiz has game-changing speed (60 SB between AA and AAA) which is very hard to find on the wire. The problem is that we don't know if he can hit major league pitching and/or whether he will have a spot for long with Wil Myers and Fernando Tatis Jr. coming back soon. Buy the elite speed and be ready to move on if he loses playing time.
OF Nick Senzel (CIN)- Nick Senzel is playing every day with power and speed upside (3 Hr/5 SB). He has also been much better since the beginning of June. Senzel is hitting .303 with 2 HR, 21 R, 13 RBI, and 5 SB over this time. He is finally healthy and looking good at the plate. The time is now to move on Senzel.
C Carson Kelly (ARI)- Carson Kelly was absolutely brutal before hitting the IL. Since returning from the injured list he is hitting .260 with 4 HR, 12 R, 13 RBI, and 0 SB. The plate skills look good over that time period (13% K and 5% BB). In two catcher leagues, he should be owned and started.
SP Max Meyer (MIA)- Max Meyer was one of the Marlins top pitching prospects and one of the top pitching prospects in general. This year at Triple-A he posted a 3.72 ERA and 1.00 WHIP with 28% K and 8% BB. He's got a good fastball by velocity (95 mph) but it doesn't have great shape but his slider is elite. Meyer is going to miss bats with his slider but the ratios could be suspect in his first go around the league.
RP Kyle Finnegan (WSH)- The Nationals placed closer Tanner Rainey on the 60-day IL which opened the door for Finnegan to take over the closer's role. Bidding should be tempered because the Nationals are not a good team and there is a good chance that he gets moved at the trade deadline. With that being said, he has the closer's job right now which is valuable.
2B Jean Segura (PHI)- Jean Segura is going to be back soon so this is a stash if you have the roster space. Segura was very valuable prior to hitting the IL (.275 AVG with 6 HR/8 SB). The MI spot on waivers in 12-15 mixed leagues is barren right now so stashing Segura is worth it if you have the roster spot.
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