Happy Friday, everyone! It's Friday so that means we're going to look into some of the biggest action from Thursday's games but also look ahead to provide strategy and insight for Week 9. As always, you can head over to the Fantasy Baseball Today podcast page to get takes from Frank Stampfl, Scott White, Chris Towers, and Chris Welsh on the notable performances from Thursday we're about to discuss plus their actionable advice for next week's slate.

The most exciting team in baseball on Thursday was the St. Louis Cardinals. They've been red hot lately, winning nine of their last. They blasted a whopping seven home runs Thursday against the Dodgers. Willson Contreras hit a double dong and drove in six runs. Nolan Gorman and Nolan Arenado also made significant contributions, with Gorman hitting a double dong and Arenado hitting his ninth home run in six of his last seven games. 

Gorman is the focus here and it's time to start wondering if the FBT crew has him ranked a bit too low? They have him 16th in their consensus 2B ranks. Meanwhile, Gorman is batting .295 with 12 homers and a 1.015 OPS. He's currently the fifth-best 2B in Roto scoring formats and tied for seventh-best 2B in H2H scoring. Buy high! If you need middle infield help, Gorman can be your best bet (of the reasonably priced players) moving forward in all categories but steals. 

Too low on Lowe?

Rays OF Josh Lowe has been turning heads with his recent performances, and just like Gorman he's shaping up to be one of the 2023 Fantasy Baseball season's biggest post-hype sleepers. Both were former top prospects who were all but forgotten in 2023 Fantasy drafts. Lowe went 2-for-4 with a double and his 10th home run of the season on Thursday. He has led off in two games and started in seven of the last eight games. That's big because the major concern with Lowe was would he ever play against lefties. Lowe's impressive numbers include a .306 batting average, 10 home runs, seven steals, and a 1.005 OPS. Despite his success, some experts still rank him relatively low in their outfielder rankings -- just like Gorman he hasn't picked up much steam. I'm in the same camp with Lowe -- buy high. That price point won't be representative of his value in Roto leagues moving forward. He will exceed it.

Week 9 look-ahead

As we take a quick peek into what's ahead next week in Week 9, it's important to consider the schedule,  and we're here to help you use that to make informed decisions with your pitching staff. Several pitchers stood out in their recent starts, including Tyler Wells, Taj Bradley, Eury Perez, and Nestor Cortes. Perez got his first career win on Thursday. They are all pitchers who belong in your Week 9 lineups. Wells' Week 8 showcased ace quality strikeout upside with seven strikeouts in five innings. Bradley had a solid return to the rotation. We talked about Perez, and Cortes got back on track with a quality start.

A pair of Week 9 waiver options

If you need SP help, two pitchers to consider are Guardians SP Logan T. Allen and Mets SP Tylor Megill. Allen had a solid start for the Guardians, allowing only one earned run in 5 2/3 innings against the White Sox in Week 8. Megill turned in his second quality start of the season against the Rays. Both players have shown promise and could be valuable additions to Fantasy rosters.

News & notes

  • Vladimir Guerrero Jr. was out of the lineup for two straight because of right knee discomfort. He did appear as a pinch-hitter, however. 
  • Tommy Edman was removed Thursday with lower abdomen soreness.
  • Cardinals manager Oliver Marmol confirmed Thursday that Matthew Liberatore will remain in the rotation. He's up to 41% rostered.
  • Dustin May was officially placed on the IL with a right flexor pronator strain.
  • Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said that Gavin Stone makes the most sense to replace Dustin May in the starting rotation. He's 32% rostered.
  • Liam Hendriks will throw live batting practice Friday and, if it goes well, is expected to be activated shortly thereafter.
  • Starling Marte was out of the lineup Thursday due to soreness in his hand. He was hit by a pitch on Wednesday. While on the Mets, one day after hitting a game-tying home run, Mark Vientos was not in the lineup, as we suspected.
  • Seth Lugo was placed on the IL with a left calf strain. Ryan Weathers was recalled from Triple-A.
  • Jose Trevino was placed on the IL with a strained hamstring. Kyle Higashioka should start most games in his absence.
  • Gary Sanchez will have his contract selected and promoted by the Mets on Friday.
  • The Angels will decide if Jared Walsh will be activated after Friday's game at Triple-A. He's 22% rostered.
  • Orioles prospect Colton Cowser is dealing with left quad tightness. He was scratched from the lineup Wednesday and some people thought he was getting called up, but it turned out to be an injury.