In The Field
3B Evan Longoria (hamstring) did defensive work prior to Thursday's game. The next step is to take live at-bats so he is looking at an early August return. OF Luis Gonzalez was out of the lineup on Thursday due to a back injury but returned to the lineup on Friday. SS Andrelton Simmons (shoulder) started a rehab assignment on Thursday. C Yadier Molina started a rehab assignment on Thursday but had to leave the game early after being hit on the hand by a pitch. He is considered day-to-day. 3B Edwin Rios (hamstring) started a rehab assignment on Thursday. He isn't eligible to come off the IL until next week but hasn't played since the beginning of June so he will use that time to get back up to speed. It will be interesting to see what the Dodgers decide to do with a struggling Max Muncy (.158/.307.302) when everyone gets healthy. The most recent rumblings coming out of LA is that OF Chris Taylor (foot) is going to play more second base when he returns from injury. OF Bryan Reynolds was placed on the paternity list on Thursday. The Pirates recalled OF Bligh Madris but that figures to be a temporary move because Reynolds will be back in 1-3 days. The Pirates outfield is likely to undergo a shake-up at the trade deadline. Right now they are playing OF Ben Gamel and OF Greg Allen recently but they are expected to switch teams at the deadline. Post deadline the Pirates are likely to run out an outfield that includes OF Bryan Reynolds, OF Jack Suwinski, and OF Cal Mitchell. OF Harrison Bader (foot) won't need surgery for his plantar fasciitis but is expected to be shut down for weeks. He will be in a walking boot for the next 1-2 weeks. SS CJ Abrams is dealing with a bicep injury that has kept him out of the lineup except for one game since the All-Star game. SS Fernando Tatis Jr. (wrist) took batting practice this week. The next step is facing live pitching which is expected to take place next week. OF Garrett Cooper was placed on the 10-day IL on Tuesday with a right wrist contusion. He has already started a rehab assignment and is set to return on August 3. 1B Lewin Diaz was called up to take his place on the roster. Diaz offers power upside with a low batting average because of his flyball-heavy approach. SS Brandon Crawford (knee) is close to starting a rehab assignment. The Giants approach is to get Crawford back completely healthy because he tried to come back early once before. Crawford has struggled at the plate this year (.215/.297/.332). OF Joc Pederson has been placed on the 7-day concussion IL. 3B Justin Turner is dealing with an abdomen injury and is unlikely to play this weekend in Colorado. The Dodgers are optimistic that Turner can return to the lineup early next week. 2B Ozzie Albies (foot) has ditched the walking boot and is reportedly feeling good. He is looking at a mid-to-late August return. OF Juan Yepez (forearm) is going to be out for at least another week. He has been able to swing a bat but throwing is still causing discomfort. 1B/OF Dominic Smith (ankle) is expected to start a rehab assignment next week and then be activated next weekend. His name is swirling through trade rumors so there is no guarantee he is still on the Mets next week which would be a good thing for his fantasy value because playing time is going to be hard to come by in New York. C James McCann was expected to be activated on Thursday but the Mets decided that he needs to continue his rehab assignment. OF Bryce Harper is going to be re-evaluated on Monday to see if he can have the pins removed from his surgically repaired thumb. The Reds trade of OF Tyler Naquin to the Mets opens up time in the outfield which is likely going to go to OF Jake Fraley who does have some fantasy appeal (Career 112 GP-10 HR/13 SB). Wil Myers (knee) is expected to rejoin the Padres before this weekend's series is over according to manager Bob Melvin. This likely means the end of playing time for OF Esteury Ruiz who was playing sparingly anyway. It also complicates the outfield picture that currently includes Jurickson Profar, Nomar Mazara, and Trent Grisham. Grisham would be the clear guy to lose playing time based on performance but he is also the only true centerfielder on the roster. It will be interesting to see how Melvin hands out playing time when Myers does return. The Diamondbacks dealt OF David Peralta to the Tampa Bay Rays on Saturday. This opens up an outfield spot in Arizona. However, they do not have anyone of note to take his spot unless they were to start the clock on their top prospect OF Corbin Carroll.
On The Mound
Zach Davies (shoulder) was able to face live hitters on Tuesday and is getting close to returning. Tyler Gilbert was placed on the 15-day IL on Friday with a left elbow sprain. Edward Cabrera (elbow) threw five scoreless innings with 0 BB and 7 K's in his latest rehab start. He could make the jump to the Marlins rotation but he did throw just 44 pitches so he will likely be limited the first couple of times out. Cabrera has nice strikeout upside but has struggled with control at the major league level. Dustin May (Tommy John surgery) is progressing well in his rehab starts. In his most recent start, he went 3 IP with 6 K at Triple-A Oklahoma. His stuff looks absolutely electric. Albert Alzolay (lat) who has been out all year with a lat injury is expected to progress to live BP in the next week. It will be nice to see him on a major league mound but it is unlikely that he makes more than a couple of appearances before the end of the year. Jesus Luzardo (forearm) threw 75 pitches in his latest rehab start (2 ER, 4 BB, and 6 K). His next start is likely going to come at the major league level. This is good news for the Marlins as they recently lost Max Meyer to Tommy John surgery. Wade Miley (shoulder) made a rehab start for High-A South Bend. He has been out since June 11 so he will need multiple starts before returning to the Cubs. Jacob deGrom (shoulder) is expected to make his season debut Tuesday of next week. He is likely going to be on a pitch limit because he threw 67 pitches in his latest rehab start. Freddy Peralta (lat) went 3.1 IP (52 pitches) while striking out five in his latest rehab start. MacKenzie Gore is going to be shut down for at least two weeks after an MRI on his throwing elbow showed no structural damage. The Padres are going to be careful as he has had injuries in the past. The plan, for now, is that the Padres will continue with a traditional five-man rotation (Darvish, Snell, Musgrove, Manaea, and Clevinger). Jack Flaherty (shoulder) was able to throw recently as he tries to make it back from a right shoulder strain. He is currently on the 60-day IL so he won't be eligible to return until the end of August. Trevor Rogers was placed on the 15-day IL with lower back spasms. Tylor Megill (shoulder) started a throwing program weeks ago but hasn't been able to start a rehab assignment. The belief is that he will return this year as a reliever and not a starter which kills his fantasy value for this year. Erick Fedde has been scratched from his start on Saturday with a shoulder injury..
In The Bullpen
Brusdar Graterol (shoulder) has been able to throw bullpens without any issues. He is scheduled to throw another bullpen this weekend in Colorado and will likely do an abbreviated rehab assignment before being activated. Hunter Strickland was placed on the bereavement list on Friday. The Rockies gave closer Daniel Bard a two-year extension on Saturday which all but signals that he will not be traded at the deadline and will remain their closer. Kenley Jansen was unavailable to pitch on Saturday due to a twinge in his back. The Braves are downplaying this injury but if he were to miss time AJ Minter would step in as closer.
Players to add this week:
2B Bryson Stott (PHI)-Bryson Stott is playing every day for the Phillies. His season line is underwhelming, to say the least (.193 AVG with 7 HR, 31 R, 31 RBI, and 3 SB). A lot of that has to do with a .209 BABIP which is low for anyone and even lower for someone who makes as much contact as he does (18% K). Stott also has enough speed to steal 6-10 SB over the course of a full season which is valuable for fantasy. It isn't an elite profile but MI has become difficult to fill in deeper mixed leagues.
OF J.J. Bleday (MIA)- J.J. Bleday is going to be playing regularly for the Marlins in the second half. Manager Don Mattingly has inserted him into the middle of the Marlins order as well. He has a power-first approach. In Triple-A, he had a .228 AVG with 20 HR in 85 GP. The batting average is never going to be great because of his strikeout rate (30%+) and his heavy flyball approach (50%+ FB). If you need power and don't care about average at this point Bleday could be of use.
SP Andrew Heaney (LAD)- Andrew Heaney is back in the Dodgers rotation after two different stints on the IL this year due to his throwing shoulder. When on the mound (4 GS) for the Dodgers he has been great (0.47 ERA and 0.88 WHIP with 26% K:BB). If someone dropped him needing a roster spot now is the time to pick up a talented pitcher on a very good team.
RP Scott Effross/Rowan Wick/Mychal Givens (CHC)-The Cubs traded Chris Martin on Saturday and are expected to trade closer David Robertson before the deadline. Mychal Givens would be first in line to get saves if he is also not traded. If he is traded then it will come down to Scott Effross and Rowan Wick. The most likely scenario is that manager David Ross plays the matchups but as fantasy owners, some of us need saves, and taking a chance on one of these guys offers an opportunity. Givens, Effross, Wick is my thought.
SP Graham Ashcraft (CIN)- Graham Ashcraft's overall numbers (4.64 ERA and 1.42 WHIP with 16% K) wouldn't warrant a pick-up but he gets a matchup against the Marlins. Ashcraft also offers upside given his raw stuff and overall decent command. He also has 14 K's over his last two starts.
SP Dustin May (LAD)-He still needs more time on his rehab assignment but now is the time to make a move on May. His stuff has been electric in his rehab starts and it is easy to forget how good he has been at the major league level (2.93 ERA, 1.06 WHIP, and 18% K:BB). This doesn't even take into consideration the improvement of his strikeout stuff prior to the injury.
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