It's Vinnie Pasquantino Week at Fantasy Baseball Today, according to Frank Stampfl and Scott White, but it was Pasquantino's rookie teammate who was the big star in Monday's doubleheader. Let's get to that and everything else you need to know about from Monday's action straight away.
Bobby Witt Jr. deserves some praise
If you can remember all the way back to March, it was Bobby Witt, not Julio Rodriguez, who was viewed as the likeliest rookie to make the leap to first-round status. He hasn't lived up to that hype, and Rodriguez has clearly surpassed him in both 2022 and beyond value, but Witt's massive doubleheader Monday makes this a good opportunity to give him his due, too. Witt had six hits, two runs, three RBI, and three steals over the two games Monday, and while his overall line of .252/.297/.453 won't blow you away, it's not bad at all for a 22-year-old who played just 124 games between Double-A and Triple-A. Witt probably won't be a first-round pick next year, but if we're "disappointed" by a .250 hitter with a 25-homer, 30-steal pace, I can't wait to see what he does when he starts to live up to expectations.
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Panic about Lance Lynn?
I've been pretty consistent about wanting to give Lynn some rope coming back from knee surgery, but I'd also like to see some improvement at some point, and that's the opposite of what we've seen. After giving up five runs in five innings in his last start, Lynn was tagged for eight in four innings Monday against the Guardians. He continues to trail last year's average fastball velocity by 1.5-2 mph, and his fastballs continue to get hit hard – he allowed four balls in play on his four-seamer tonight with an average exit velocity of 94.9 mph, which is brutal. He's neither getting strikeouts at an adequate rate (21.8%) nor suppressing hard contact (.386 expected wOBA on contact allowed, compared to a .319 mark last season). I still think Lynn can figure it out, but at this point, I'm sitting him until he shows some sign of his pre-injury form.
- Esteury Ruiz – Ruiz was added to the Padres taxi squad and is traveling to join the team in San Diego. That doesn't necessarily mean he's being called up, but it seems like a sign that it's probably imminent. Ruiz has utterly dominated the minors this season, hitting .333/.467/.560 with 60 – yes, 60 – steals in 77 games. I wrote about why you should be skeptical of minor-league steals totals last week, and I don't expect Ruiz to come up and be a modern-day Rickey Henderson like his minor-league line suggests. However, he has clearly taken a big step forward, sustaining his plate discipline gains in Triple-A while continuing to run like mad, and the Padres haven't been afraid to let guys run if they can do it. Ruiz has the potential to be an impact Fantasy player in any league where steals matter.
- Vinnie Pasquantino – On last Friday's podcast, we dubbed this Vinnie Pasquantino Week thanks to the Royals schedule, and he got the week started on the right foot, going 4 for 7 with a homer and two walks in the doubleheader Monday. Pasquantino is hitting just .213 in his first 14 games, but he's struck out just eight times (with nine walks) and has a 94.4 mph average exit velocity. There are reasons to think Pasquantino may not live up to his lofty expected stats, thanks to his pull-heavy approach from the left side as well as his distinct lack of foot speed, but he's showing strong skills as a hitter and deserves to be rostered in basically all leagues.
- Mitch Keller – Keller had arguably the best start of his season Monday, limiting the Marlins to one run in seven innings while striking out five and walking none. He did it while seeing his velocity drop quite a bit across the board, which raises an interesting question: Did his control improve because he wasn't throwing as hard? I'm skeptical, but it's worth keeping an eye on. He has a 3.88 ERA with 39 strikeouts over 44.1 innings in eight starts since returning to the rotation.
- Nolan Jones – Jones had another two hits plus four RBI Monday, and is now 7 for 13 with eight RBI in four games since joining the big-league club. The Guardians have yet to face a left-handed starter, so it's not clear if he's actually an everyday player, but he's done everything you could have asked so far.
- Trevor Rogers – There's more than a bit of blind faith here, but I still think Rogers could figure things out and go on a run, so Monday's start was a solid sign. Sure, he failed to record a quality start for the 16th time in 17 starts, which is astoundingly bad, but he also had seven strikeouts in 5.1 innings with 14 swinging strikes – seven of them on his slider. Rogers is still searching for the swing-and-miss stuff with his changeup, which is probably the biggest difference between his terrific 2021 and his dreadful 2022, but if he figures that out, I think he's going to go on a run. I'm buying where he's been dropped.
Injuries, news and notes
- Jacob deGrom will indeed make another rehab start at Triple-A on Thursday. He's expected to throw at least 50 pitches in that one after throwing 24 and 36 in his first two rehab outings in which he has 11 strikeouts on 18 batters faced. If healthy, deGrom is still the best pitcher in baseball.
- Wander Franco will undergo surgery Tuesday to repair his hamate bone fracture. He's expected to miss 5-8 weeks, and I think you can justify dropping him in leagues without IL spots. He'll be out until at least mid-August, and possibly through the end of August, with no guarantee he'll be a difference maker when he returns. It's a frustrating outcome for a young player who is still looking to live up to his potential.
- Kenley Jansen threw a bullpen Monday and is expected to be activated in the coming days. He's been on the IL since late June following a recurrence of his irregular heartbeat issue.
- The A's are hopeful that Frankie Montas will rejoin the rotation this weekend in Houston. He's missed more than a week with a shoulder issue, but I'd probably try to avoid using him for this one if I could. I want to see him healthy first, especially with such a tough matchup.
- Kris Bryant was officially placed on the paternity list Monday and will miss up to three games – all at Coors.
- Bryan Reynolds was placed on the IL with a right oblique strain. The severity of the injury is not yet known, but oblique injuries can be tricky, so don't be surprised if this is more than a minimum stay.
- Whit Merrifield said Monday that he's dealing with swelling and a bone bruise in his right big toe and is hopeful to return following the All-Star break.
- Jazz Chisholm was able to play catch from 90 feet Monday. He's been on the IL since June 29 with a back strain, and is still hoping to play in the All-Star game next Tuesday.
- Brandon Lowe could be activated from the IL Friday against the Orioles. He's been on the IL for nearly two months with a lower-back stress reaction and is a top-12 second baseman when healthy.
- The Braves made another trade, this time sending prospects Drew Waters, Andrew Hoffmann and CJ Alexander to the Royals in exchange for the 35th overall pick in the 2022 first-year player draft. Waters was batting just .252 with six HRs and five SBs across 52 games in the minors this season and is no longer really a prospect of note.
- Jorge Soler is starting a rehab assignment at Double-A on Tuesday. He's been on the IL with pelvic inflammation since July 1.
- Jesus Luzardo is scheduled to throw a two-inning live batting practice session Tuesday. If that goes well, he could start a rehab assignment soon. He's been on the IL since May 15 with a left forearm strain and remains worth stashing if you've got the room.
- Tylor Megill is set to begin a throwing program Friday. He's been on the IL since mid-June with a strained right shoulder and is also worth stashing.
- The Cardinals transferred Jack Flaherty to the 60-day IL, which means he can't return until late August at the earliest. That doesn't necessarily change his timetable, but it does clarify that Flaherty will be out at least that long.
- Jeff McNeil was placed on the paternity list and will miss a few days.
- George Kirby is set to rejoin the Mariners rotation following the All-Star break, as expected.
- Alec Bohm left Monday's game after injuring his finger on a slide into second base.
- Speaking of Bohm, he'll join J.T. Realmuto, Aaron Nola and Kyle Gibson on the restricted list when the Phillies head to Toronto on Tuesday. None of those players will be available for the three-game set, so they'll be back Friday.
- Dane Dunning went to the IL with a right ankle impingement.
- Evan Longoria is expected to begin a rehab assignment Thursday. He's been on the IL with a left oblique strain.
Call to the bullpen
- PIT: Yerry De Los Santos recorded the final four outs for his third save after David Bednar pitched both Saturday and Sunday.
- KC: Scott Barlow pitched clean ninth for his 14th save.
- NYM: Edwin Diaz struck out the side for his 19th save, also has a 1.73 ERA. He's been tremendous.
- TB: Colin Poche pitched the eighth with a two-run lead, Jason Adam then pitched the ninth with a five-run lead. Adam has the past two saves for TB, for what it's worth.
- TEX: Brett Martin gave up a hit and walk but struck out two for his 3rd save. He's the Rangers closer right now, it seems, and he's only 11% rostered, so you know what to do.