Happy Monday! Frank Stampfl here once again. I hope everybody had an awesome weekend. I know I did and it was mostly because I won Bryce Miller in my most important league. As dominant as Miller was in his debut earlier in the week, we didn't want to overreact because it came against the Oakland A's, one of the more favorable matchups for pitchers. Well, Miller did it again Sunday, and it came against the Astros. While the Astros are not the juggernaut they once were, it was impressive to see Miller ride that fastball to another great outing.
Miller threw six shutout innings with five strikeouts to just one walk, Through two starts, he has 15 strikeouts to just one walk. That deceptive four-seam fastball did the heavy lifting once again as all eight of Miller's swinging strikes came on that pitch. He's up to 68% rostered, but that should be closer to 100%. Miller comes with prospect pedigree and pitches for one of the better teams in baseball in the Mariners. The cherry on top is that Miller has an awesome matchup this week against the Tigers. Don't be afraid to be aggressive in FAB bidding on Miller, especially if you are desperate for pitching.
Chris Sale optimism
It's been a rocky start to the season for Chris Sale, which we should have expected considering how little he's pitched over the past few years. He looks like he's starting to get going, however, as he turned in another quality start this weekend up against the Phillies. In that outing, he racked up 10 strikeouts over six innings pitched. He seemingly had everything working as he produced 17 swinging strikes with six coming on the four-seam fastball, four on the slider, four on the sinker and three on the changeup. His velocity was up across the board. Check out what he did against Bryce Harper in this at-bat.
Sale now has quality starts in three of his past four outings with double-digit strikeouts in two of those. If you're on the fence about whether you should start him against the Cardinals this week, the answer is yes. Get Sale back in your lineups.
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First up is the Cubs bullpen, which seems wide open right now. Brad Boxberger took the loss Thursday so it was Mark Leiter Jr. who converted the save Friday afternoon. Then on Saturday, Adbert Alzolay also converted his first save. I think both Leiter Jr. and Alzolay are more interesting than Boxberger. I'd speculate on Alzolay first, but Leiter is worth a speculative add in deeper category leagues.
Much like the Cubs, the Yankees bullpen seems to be in a closer-by-committee right now. Ian Hamilton converted his first save Saturday and then Michael King pitched in the ninth inning with the game tied Sunday. Clay Holmes worked the eighth inning Saturday and then the seventh on Sunday. King is the best reliever in this bullpen and it appears they might be setting him up to be the guy. It might be messy over the next few weeks, but my money is on King. I prefer him over either of the Cubs options.
News & notes
- Aaron Judge continues to hit and run and remains on track to be activated Tuesday. You can comfortably get him back in your weekly lineups.
- Astros Luis Garcia is scheduled to undergo Tommy John surgery, which means he likely won't be back until the second half of next season.
- There was a report this weekend that Willson Contreras would spend most of his time in the outfield or at DH over the next couple weeks. Then on Sunday Cardinals president John Mozeliak shut that report down. Regardless, it's a weird situation for a player who is just five weeks into a five-year contract.
- Carlos Rodon has been told his back issue is chronic, and there's no clear idea of when he might return. "I can't put a timeline on anything," Rodon said. He'll get a cortisone injection this week.
- Raisel Iglesias was activated by the Braves on Friday.
- Tyler Glasnow made his first rehab start Friday. He threw 2.1 shutout innings with four strikeouts. He'll likely need two more rehab starts.
- An MRI taken on Kyle Wright revealed a shoulder strain. There's no timetable for his return, but obviously it's worrisome since he dealt with it during spring training.
- Pete Fairbanks played catch at Tropicana Field on Sunday. He's on the IL with right forearm inflammation.
- Gavin Stone was optioned back to Triple-A Friday.
- Orlando Arcia returned to the Braves on Sunday and Vaughn Grissom was optioned back to Triple-A.
- Twins top prospect Royce Lewis is scheduled to begin a rehab assignment at Double-A Thursday. He'll be returning from a second torn ACL. He's 22% rostered and is worth stashing if you have an IL spot available.
- Luis Severino felt good after throwing a simulated game Friday and will soon make a rehab appearance at Triple-A.
- Alex Kirilloff was recalled by the Twins and Trevor Larnach was optioned to Triple-A Friday.
- Andrew McCutchen has missed three straight with a sprained left ankle.
- JD Martinez should be able to return from the IL this Friday.
- Graham Ashcraft was removed Sunday after taking a comebacker off his leg.
- Josh Donaldson will ramp up baseball activity this week and could soon begin a rehab assignment. He's on the IL with a hamstring injury.
- Oscar Gonzalez was optioned to Triple-A Saturday after batting just .192 to start the season.
- Alex Wood began a rehab assignment Sunday. It's unclear how many appearances he'll make.
- Trevor Rogers began a throwing program Friday. He's been on the IL since late April with a strained left biceps.
- James Paxton will be inserted into the Red Sox rotation sometime next weekend.
Players who went to the IL this weekend
- Eloy Jimenez underwent an emergency appendectomy and will miss 4-6 weeks. It's just bad luck for a player who is constantly dealing with ailments.
- Tyler O'Neill with a lower back strain. I thought maybe Jordan Walker would return, but instead Juan Yepez was promoted.
- Vince Velasquez with right elbow inflammation. Luis Ortiz is a name to watch in deeper leagues.
- Victor Robles with back spasms. Perhaps my guy Stone Garrett gets more playing time.