MLB: St. Louis Cardinals at Atlanta Braves
Dale Zanine / USA TODAY Sports

Happy Thursday, everyone! We had a fun one in the Subway Series between the Yankees and Mets that went down to the wire and ended in a walk-off double to the wall by Brandon Nimmo to give the Mets a 4-3 win. On the Fantasy Baseball front, the Mets-Yankees game was a classic duel between two aces for the first six innings.

Gerrit Cole displayed his dominance, delivering a solid performance against the Mets. Over six innings, he allowed only one earned run on four hits while striking out eight. Cole's pitch selection leaned heavily on his four-seam fastball and slider, resulting in a 34% called strikes plus whiff rate (CSW). With a 2.75 ERA, 1.11 WHIP, and an impressive 98 strikeouts over 91.2 innings, Cole has established himself once again as the premier starter to have in your Fantasy lineup.

Justin Verlander, on the other hand, had a strong outing against the Yankees and showed signs of turning his season around. He pitched six innings, giving up only one earned run on three hits and striking out six. Verlander made adjustments to his pitch mix, utilizing his slider more frequently while reducing the usage of his four-seam fastball. Despite a slightly elevated ERA of 4.40 and a WHIP of 1.22, Verlander remains an experienced pitcher capable of delivering quality performances.

The 1.1 Fantasy player rest of season?

A big night for three of Fantasy Baseball's biggest stars had us wondering who is the best bet to be the best player in the game over the rest of the season between Ronald Acuna, Fernando Tatis and possibly Shohei Ohtani. All three delivered again on Wednesday.

The case for Fernando Tatis

The superstar went 3 for 4 at the plate, hitting a home run, stealing two bases, and showcasing why he's one of the best players in Roto on Wednesday. In just 47 games, Tatis has already amassed 14 home runs and 10 stolen bases. If he maintains this pace over a 150-game season, we could be looking at a phenomenal 44 home runs and 31 stolen bases. Additionally, Tatis boasts a batting average of .283 ( with a .303 expected batting average).

The case for Ronald Acuna

In a doubleheader, Acuña put on a show, going 3 for 5 with his 14th home run and 29th stolen base. Rest of season might be up for discussion, but until this point, Acuña has been the clear-cut best player in Fantasy Baseball. His incredible speed and power have made him a dominant force in both categories. Extrapolating his current stats to a 150-game season, Acuña is on track to hit 33 home runs and steal 63 bases while maintaining a batting average of .333. These are truly bonkers numbers.

The case for Shohei Ohtani

The hot month of June sizzles on for Ohtani who went 2 for 4 with his 21st home run on Wednesday. Not only does Ohtani possess impressive power, but he also adds value with his speed, stealing 10 bases already this season. With a batting average of .299 and an outstanding OPS of .987, Ohtani is a darkhorse for the best player in Fantasy rest of season.

Who are you going with?

Waiver wire targets

Scott White featured a slew of players you should be looking to snag on your waiver wire here. These are a few I wanted to highlight:

Top priority: OF Luis Matos

From Scott: "You can understand why Matos dropped out of the top prospect discussion last year. Hitting for average was supposed to be his best attribute, and well, he hit only .215. You can also understand why his return to form this year went overlooked. As of a week ago, he had only four home runs. But over the past week, he homered six times, bringing his season total to 10 and his overall stat line to something so ridiculous it would be malpractice not to call him up. In addition to the .350 batting average (.398 at Triple-A), he has struck out at just an 8 percent rate, a mark matched by just two big-league qualifiers: Luis Arraez and Keibert Ruiz. They're both slap hitters. Matos is not, having raised his 90th percentile EV by 4 mph from a year ago. He's a must-add in five-outfielder leagues, and his potential is something to entertain in three-outfielder leagues as well." 

Jose Abreu, 1B

From Scott: "Yes, I know it took a lot for us to drop Jose Abreu the first time around, and no, I'm not even close to convinced he's back to being the player we drafted him to be. But first base recently suffered a couple of high-profile injuries to Pete Alonso and Vinnie Pasquantino. It hasn't been the easiest position to fill in the first place, and Abreu is indeed showing his first signs of life this season, collecting multiple hits in four of his past five games. He has one double during that stretch, hit 106 mph, and two home runs, hit 107 and 109 mph. He simply wasn't hitting balls that hard before. His only other home run, which came on May 28, was hit 97.4 mph, which is about as weak as a home run can get. It seems plausible he's figured something out, and it's not the worst gamble if you're hurting at first base.

Tarik Skubal, SP

From Scott: "For as widespread as pitching needs are, it's a wonder Skubal has continued to slip through the cracks. His return from elbow flexor surgery seemed so distant at the start of year, but here he is on a rehab assignment -- and dominating. Through two starts, he has five scoreless innings, striking out seven and walking none. Better yet, his fastball has peaked at 98 mph and has sat in the mid-90s, which is frankly a little better than before he had the procedure. He was looking like a breakout pitcher last year, boasting a 2.33 ERA, 0.94 WHIP and 9.6 K/9 after 11 starts, and it's fair to wonder if the injury might have impacted his final numbers. In any case, he's building up to return and deserves your attention again."

News and notes

  • Yordan Alvarez is expected to remain on the IL for at least four weeks, which means we likely won't see him until after the All-Star break.
  • Vinnie Pasquantino will undergo surgery to repair a torn labrum in his right shoulder and is expected to miss the remainder of the season. Expect Nick Pratto to see most of the playing time at first base moving forward.
  • Joe Musgrove has been wearing a compression sleeve on his right arm for much of the season because he's dealt with elbow bursitis. There are no plans for any down time, but the issue is something he'll have to manage.
  • MRI results revealed that Max Muncy has a grade 2 left hamstring strain. Manager Dave Roberts said the Dodgers won't place Muncy on the IL just yet. There's hope he can return by Saturday.
  • Ketel Marte was out of the lineup due to lower-back tightness.
  • Lars Nootbaar will start a rehab assignment at Triple-A later this week.
  • Nick Lodolo received encouraging results from his MRI, but he won't be able to return until August at the earliest. He's still in a walking boot from the stress reaction he suffered in his left tibia.
  • Eloy Jimenez returned to the lineup Wednesday against the Dodgers.
  • Mitch Haniger will undergo surgery Thursday to repair a fractured right forearm. He'll likely miss the rest of this season.
  • Jeremy Peña has missed three straight with an illness but is expected to play Thursday.
  • Lance McCullers underwent season-ending surgery Tuesday to repair a torn right flexor tendon and remove a bone spur from his right forearm.
  • Zach Neto was removed Wednesday with cramping in his left side.
  • J.D. Davis is dealing with a Grade 1 right ankle sprain, which he suspects will keep him out of the lineup for 3-10 days.
  • Orioles infield prospect Joey Ortiz was recalled from Triple-A Wednesday. He wasn't in the lineup Wednesday.
  • The Rangers optioned Owen White back to Double-A after his relief appearance Tuesday.
  • Trevor Larnach was optioned back to Triple-A.