Happy Monday, everyone! It was another wild and exciting weekend of baseball. The Colorado Rockies continue to roll at home as one of the MLB's most surprising teams to start -- they've won three in a row in an absolutely loaded NL West. At this stage it's fair to say the NL West is baseball's best, at least top to bottom, and it could stay that way. We also saw the red-hot New York Yankees extend their MLB-leading win streak to nine. But let's talk some Fantasy Baseball now.
The weekend was jam-packed with Fantasy-relevant nuggets, and we're going to dive into all of them below. But one place I want to start us off at -- in the NL -- where Cardinals RP Ryan Helsley reached 103.1 mph on a fastball. The flamethrower actually averaged over 100 mph (100.6) while pitching the final two innings of Sunday's win. He threw two perfect innings and racked up four strikeouts in the process. Helsley now leads all qualified relievers in swinging strike rate (26.9%) and strike to walk rate (16 strikeouts, zero walks). He's just 7% rostered, but that could and should change fast. The last we saw of Cardinals closer Giovanny Gallegos was when he allowed four runs on four hits back on Monday, and remember this was a ball club that toyed around with the idea of a few different options -- at least publicly -- to close out games this past spring. Get out ahead of this one and claim Helsley now. He's worth anywhere from 5-10% of your FAAB budget.
Below we'll also discuss some more options that could be worth pursuing from your waiver wire -- both hitters and pitchers -- we'll get into Eric Lauer's continued success in what is truly shaping up as a breakout season and dive into a recent prospect call up that has caught our attention. We'll also recap other key takeaways from the weekend's action. But first, make sure you're all caught up on our Week 5 Fantasy Baseball prep over at CBSSports.com/Fantasy/Baseball. On Friday, Scott White dropped his Week 5 sleeper hitters, sleeper pitchers and his two-start pitcher rankings.
And of course, as always, you can follow to make sure you get the latest episodes of Fantasy Baseball Today right when they drop on Apple and Spotify.
Will the real Eric Lauer please stand up? Is this the version of the Brewers SP that we can count on the rest of the way because if so -- wow. Lauer continued the absolute tear he's been on in his weekend start vs. the Cubs. He went seven innings deep and struck up 11 with 21 induced swinging strikes on 96 pitches. 14 came on his vicious fastball. He also only allowed five hits, one walk and one earned run. Lauer now has 34 strikeouts (and just five walks) in his first four starts to go along with a swinging strikeout rate that is up more than 3% from last season.
Prospect call up!
If you're in a two-catcher league and don't like how things are going so far for you at that position this might interest you. The Royals have recalled catcher prospect MJ Melendez from Triple-A and at the same time have sent catcher Cam Gallagher to the injured list. The good news is that the opportunity is there, but the bad news is that Melendez has struggled thus far in Triple-A. He's batting just .160 in the minors this year but has added two homers and three steals. Throw all that aside, however, and just note that he hit .288 with 41 homers between Double-A and Triple-A last season. That kind of upside is worth taking a flier on in two-catcher leagues. Melendez is currently rostered in 19% of leagues.
Deeper prospect stash
No one is a bigger supporter of Twins 3B prospect Jose Miranda, but he's been buried in the minors.. until now. There's some buzz generating about a possible Miranda call up if the Twins place Kyle Garlick on the IL. Miranda is just 26% rostered and one of the better pure hitters of the top prospects who might get the ball this year. He is definitely worth stashing.
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A shallow and deep league waiver option
Randal Grichuk, OF, Rockies: The former Blue Jay is getting hot with five more hits from the weekend including a home run on Sunday. He's 68% rostered and worth grabbing now in any format.
Brian Anderson, 3B, Marlins: Anderson collected four hits over the weekend and a home run on Sunday. His walk rate, barrel rate and fly ball rate are all up. He's just 18% rostered.
A waiver wire pitcher to target
Dane Dunning, SP, Rangers: The former top prospect from Texas threw 7 2/3 of one run ball and only allowed three combined hits and walks with seven strikeouts against the Braves this weekend. His velocity is up and his slider and changeup usage are up. He's just 14% rostered.
News and lineup notes
Every night the Fantasy Baseball Today team dives into all of the happenings around the MLB from top performers to injuries, trades and more. The podcast is a must listen for any diehard, if I do say so myself. Tune in to the podcast to hear the FBT crew expand on the news and notes below.
- SP Trevor Bauer was handed a two-year suspension Friday for violating the league's joint domestic violence and sexual assault policy.
- Rockies 3B Kris Bryant was placed on the IL with that back injury on Friday.
- Reds 2B Jonathan India was placed back on the IL Sunday with that same hamstring injury, retroactive to April 30.
- The Astros hope to activate 2B Jose Altuve on Monday.
- Mariners OF Mitch Haniger was placed on the IL with a grade 2 high ankle sprain.
- Twins SP Bailey Ober was placed on the IL with a groin injury, retroactive to April 29.
- Giants 1B Brandon Belt tested positive for COVID and was placed on the IL Friday.
- Diamondbacks RP Mark Melancon was placed on the IL Friday with no injury designation, which indicates a COVID situation.
- Astros RP Ryan Pressly threw off flat ground Friday while wearing a protective sleeve on his injured knee. The Astros have yet to announce Pressly's return.
- Padres SP Mike Clevinger will make his season debut Tuesday against Cleveland.
- Rays OF Josh Lowe was optioned back to Triple-A Sunday.
- Giants SP Alex Cobb was activated and started Sunday against the Nationals. He couldn't escape the first inning, unfortunately.
- Tigers OF Robbie Grossman exited Sunday's game after getting hit by a pitch on his hand. X-rays came back negative.
- Twins 1B/OF Alex Kirilloff doesn't have a clear timetable for when he will return from his rehab assignment at Triple-A. He's trying to work back from that wrist injury.
- Dodgers SP Andrew Heaney is still not throwing because of that shoulder injury.
- Reds OF Jake Fraley was placed on the IL with right knee inflammation.
- Athletics SP James Kaprielian made his season debut Sunday against the Guardians. 23% rostered; add?
- Rays 1B Ji-Man Choi was placed on the IL due to loose bodies in his right elbow.
- Red Sox OF J.D. Martinez returned Sunday after missing three straight with a groin injury. He went 3 for 5 with a grand slam.
- Guardians OF Steven Kwan returned on Saturday and went 2-4.
- Tigers outfield prospect OF Riley Greene is making progress on his broken right foot but he hasn't started running yet.
- Red Sox RP Tanner Houck will continue to pitch out of the bullpen for now. Garrett Whitlock will start again Wednesday against the Angels.
- Evan Longoria ran the bases Saturday and could begin a rehab assignment next week. He's on the IL with a finger injury.
- Athletics RP Lou Trivino began a rehab assignment at Single-A Sunday. He's been on the COVID IL since April 18.
- Angels SP Noah Syndergaard was scratched from Friday's start with a non-COVID illness.
- Red Sox 1B Bobby Dalbec has fallen into a short side platoon role with Franchy Cordero starting against righties.
- We had a big milestone for Clayton Kershaw Saturday as he broke the Dodgers all-time strikeout record.