In The Field
OF Max Kepler (hamstring) was able to take pregame BP on Friday. He will likely need a short rehab assignment prior to returning because he has been out since May 11. 2B Jorge Polanco (hamstring) was also able to take pregame BP. He will need to be able to run at full speed prior to being activated which means that it is unlikely that he returns when first eligible on May 30. OF Adam Duvall (wrist) is going to start a rehab assignment on Tuesday. This likely means the end of regular playing time for OF Raimel Tapia and OF Rob Refsnyder. It is likely that the Red Sox run out OF Alex Verdugo, OF Jarren Duran, and OF Adam Duvall on a regular basis. OF Michael Brantley (shoulder) has been able to swing a bat but is not taking BP. There is no timetable for his return. 2B Santiago Espinal (hamstring) took live batting practice on Friday. He will need a rehab assignment before returning to the big league club so he is looking at an early June return at the best. OF Joey Gallo was not in the Twins lineup on Friday. He is day-to-day with a hamstring injury he suffered Tuesday. SS Carlos Correa is dealing with plantar fasciitis in his left foot. He is hopeful that he can avoid an IL stint but that is not out of the question. This type of injury tends to have lingering effects. Correa has had a rough start to the year. He is hitting .215 with 6 HR, 14 R, 24 RBI, and 0 SB. C Danny Jansen has been placed on the 10-day IL with a left groin strain. Jansen had been splitting time with C Alejandro Kirk. Kirk should see an increase in playing time while Jansen is out. Jansen hasn't hit for average (.207 AVG) but has good underlying skills (8% BB, 21% K, and 11% Barrels). OF Kerry Carpenter (shoulder) has been cleared and started a rehab assignment on Friday. Carpenter should return next week and is someone to keep an eye on in deeper mixed-league formats. He was hitting .217 with 4 HR, 8 R, 8 RBI, and 0 SB. The average isn't great but his underlying stats support a power profile (19% Barrels, 47% Hardhit, and 36% FB) especially when facing right-handed pitching. OF Ezequiel Duran (ribs) was not in the Rangers lineup on Friday or Saturday. He is day-to-day. OF Giancarlo Stanton (hamstring) took on-field BP on Friday. He is expected to start a rehab assignment next week. The Yankees desperately need their veteran bats to get healthy. 3B Ramon Urias (hamstring) returned to the Orioles lineup on Saturday batting fifth and playing third base. 3B Anthony Rendon (groin) is thought to be close to returning. 3B Josh Donaldson could be back early next week but manager Aaron Boone said that it is more likely that he is activated to start their June 2 series against the Dodgers. The Angels seem to be platooning OF Taylor Ward and OF Mickey Moniak. This is not great news for either player as they need regular playing time to accumulate stats because they are not elite in any one category. The biggest loser is Ward who was drafted inside the top 100 this year. 2B Mauricio Dubon has gone back to being a utility/bench player since Jose Altuve has returned from the IL. 2B Jose Caballero has started eight out of the last ten games for the Mariners while Kolten Wong has made just three starts over that same time period. Wong can be dropped at this point and Caballero offers similar production with a contact/speed profile.
On The Mound
Garrett Whitlock (elbow) started for the Red Sox on Saturday. He missed over a month with an elbow injury. He has only made three starts this year but has struggled (6.19 ERA, 1.38 WHIP, and 12% K:BB). He will need to show increased velo and stuff before becoming a fantasy option again. Jose Urquidy (shoulder) was able to throw a flat ground session on Friday. He is going to have to go through building up arm strength and pitch count before even going on a rehab assignment. He is looking at an All-Star break return date if everything goes smoothly. Kenta Maeda (tricep) has been cleared to start a rehab assignment. He is going to make his first rehab start on Tuesday. He is going to need multiple rehab starts to prove that he is healthy and show the Twins that his velocity and stuff have returned. Brad Keller (shoulder) had a bullpen session on Saturday. It was his first throwing session off a mound since hitting the IL on May 19. Keller has struggled mightily with control this year (20% BB). Until he gets control of his new arsenal he is someone to avoid from a fantasy perspective. Daniel Lynch (shoulder) is lined up to make his season debut on Sunday. He is going to need to show drastic improvement to be considered for a fantasy team. He has a career 5.32 ERA and 1.60 WHIP over 199.2 IP. John Means suffered a muscle strain in his upper back as he was rehabbing from Tommy John surgery. This is a major setback that will likely put him out until the end of July and possibly longer. Matt Manning (foot) was able to complete a bullpen session this week as he comes back from a fractured right foot in April. Spencer Turnbull (neck) has not been able to resume throwing which is not a good sign. Tarik Skubal (elbow) participated in live BP on Friday at Comerica Park. Velocity reports from that session had him topping out at 98 mph which is a great sign for the left-hander. There is a chance that he returns to the Tigers rotation by the end of June. Carlos Rodon (back) was scheduled for a bullpen session on Friday. He is with the team but still is without a timetable for a return. Mike Clevinger (wrist) is scheduled for a bullpen session on Saturday. Clevinger has been terrible this year (4.56 ERA, 1.46 WHIP, 19% K, and 10% BB). Tyler Glasnow (oblique and TJS) made his season debut on Saturday (4.1 IP, 5 H, 3 ER, 1 BB, and 8 K). The Baltimore Orioles have optioned Grayson Rodriguez to Triple-A. He struggled mightily in his first taste of the big leagues. He had a 7.35 ERA, 1.72 WHIP, 27% K, and 10% BB. The old prospect saying of "prospect growth isn't linear" applies here. Rodriguez is still extremely talented and has the stuff to succeed at the major league level but it is going to take longer than we expected. He can be dropped in most re-draft formats. Paul Blackburn (finger) went 5 IP, 1 ER, 5 H, 1 BB, and 5 K's in his most recent rehab star.t He should be activated and start for the Athletics next week. Triston McKenzie (shoulder) and Aaron Civale (oblique) are tracking toward returns to the rotation next week. This is going to have major fantasy implications because unless the Guardians go to a six-man rotation they are going to have to send down one of Logan Allen (3.31 ERA, 1.44 WHIP, 23% K, 6% BB, and 4.04 SIERA) or Tanner Bibee (3.18 ERA, 1.20 WHIP, 22% K, 7% BB, and 4.43 SIERA).
In The Bullpen
Caleb Thielbar is going to start a rehab assignment on Tuesday of next week. He was dominant prior to getting injured (1.80 ERA, 0.90 WHIP, and 21% K:BB). He isn't going to get any save opportunities with Jhoan Duran and Jorge Lopez on the roster but he could help your team's ratios. Liam Hendricks (cancer) was able to complete a successful live BP session on Friday. His call-up seems imminent. The White Sox have moved away from Reynaldo Lopez as closer because in the past week, Joe Kelly and Kendall Graveman picks up saves. Alex Lange picked up a win and a save for the Tigers this week. He has been good (1.27 ERA, 0.94 WHIP, and 21% K:BB) and appears to have a hold on the closer's role. Scott Barlow took a loss for the Royals this week while Aroldis Chapman picked up another save. Chapman has a 2.89 ERA, 1.29 WHIP, and 2 SV's but has struggled with control (16% BB). Paul Sewald picked up two saves this week and now has a 3.18 ERA, 0.88 WHIP, 29% K:BB, and 11 SV.
Players to add this week:
SS Royce Lewis (MIN)- Royce Lewis is eligible to return from the IL on Monday. They have not made a declaration yet but the expectation is that he will be activated then. Lewis has hit .321 with 3 HR, 5 R, 8 RBI, and 2 SB in 7 GP at Triple-A. The strikeout rate is high (31% K) but the hope is that as he gets more at-bats he makes more contact. It is easy to forget that he hasn't played baseball in almost a year. Lewis offers power and speed with what should be a respectable average.
SP Kyle Bradish (BAL)- Kyle Bradish has a 4.34 ERA and 1.39 WHIP through 8 GS. His strikeout rate is below average (20% K) and he has league-average control (8% BB). The selling point for picking up Bradish in deeper mixed leagues is that he has been much better in May (3.18 ERA, 1.10 WHIP, 20% K, and 7% BB). He isn't going to be elite by any stretch but he can fill in at the back end of a rotation. He also gets a nice matchup against the Giants in their pitcher-friendly ballpark.
SP JP Sears (OAK)- JP Sears has been the Athletics best pitcher which isn't saying much. He does have fantasy appeal thought despite his tough surroundings. Sears has a 4.70 ERA and 1.10 WHIP in 10 GS. His SIERA (4.18) is much better than his traditional ERA. The reason for this is that Sears does a good job limiting walks (5% BB) and striking out just enough batters (23% K). He is an extreme fly-ball pitcher (56% FB) which is an excellent profile for his home park. Sears doesn't have elite upside but he is a nice back-end starter or streamer in mixed leagues.
2B Jose Caballero (SEA)-Jose Caballero has taken over as a regular for the Mariners in the infield. He is hitting .281 with 2 HR, 12 R, 10 RBI, and 6 SB in 27 GP. He has shown good plate skills (14% BB and 21% K) so he should be able to hit for average and get on base to let his speed work. Power is not going to be part of his game (4% Barrels and 30% Hardhit).
OF Matt Vierling (DET)- Matt Vierling is playing regularly and provides both power and speed. He is hitting .247 with 4 HR, 14 R, 15 RBI, and 4 SB in 44 GP. Over the course of a full season he would be close to a 15 HR/15 SB guy with a .240-.250 AVG. It may not be a sexy profile but it will end up being a positive value at the end of the year.
SP Brayan Bello (BOS)- Brayan Bello gets a two-start week with home matchups against the Reds and Rays. Bello has been awesome in the month of May. He has a 2.74 ERA, 1.22 WHIP, 24% K, 7% BB, and 60% GB. He is showing why he was a highly regarded pickup when he debuted last year. Now is the time to jump in before he is no longer available.
OF Zach McKinstry (DET)-Zach McKinstry is playing regularly for the Tigers and has moved into the leadoff spot. He is hitting .274 with 3 HR, 21 R, 8 RBI, and 7 SB. He is showing elite plate skills (16% BB and 19% K). McKinstry is also showing improved quality of contact (10% Barrels and 37% Hardhit). He needs to be rostered in most formats.
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