Happy Thursday, everyone! Wednesday's action brought a ton of intrigue but let's start things off by discussing Mets SP Kodai Senga. A potentially perfect sell-high scenario has developed with Senga after his sparkling outing against the Phillies, and that is the question all Fantasy Baseball managers are asking themselves right now. Senga pitched seven dominant shutout innings, allowing only one hit and walking nobody while striking out nine batters. The command coupled with the strikeout upside he put on display was SP1 level, but how repeatable is this?
Senga racked up 22 swinging strikes, which was a season-high for him. With an average exit velocity against of 84 mph, Senga also limited hard contact like you would come to expect from an ace. So why sell high? The two biggest reasons would be Senga's high walk rate (5.1 BB/9) and his home and road splits. Senga likes his time at Citi Field; his ERA on the road (6.12 ERA) is significantly higher. Maybe that's not a reason to sell, but it sure doesn't make me hopeful about him finding a level of consistency necessary to be a reliable Fantasy asset both rest of season and in the short term.
Is it also time to sell high on Elder?
Chris Towers gave an incredibly comprehensive outlook and breakdown of Braves SP Bryce Elder in his from Wednesday. You can find Towers' complete breakdown in the trade column linked above, but here's his synopsis on how to move forward with Elder on your roster or if he's being proposed to you in any trades:
"Elder isn't a bad pitcher, but I think his skill set is probably more like that of a high-3.00s ERA pitcher. There's value in that, but it's pretty limited value. If I had him on any of my teams, I'd be taking this opportunity to try to shop him for one of any number of underperformers with more upside – Yu Darvish, Dylan Cease, or Hunter Greene come immediately to mind as pitchers I'd be happy to flip Elder for."
Jung showcasing his upside
It's easy to forget Rangers 3B Josh Jung was one of the top prospects in baseball prior to the 2022 season and he's starting to realize that potential in 2023 now that he's finally healthy. Jung had a remarkable game on Wednesday, going 3 for 5 at the plate with a double and his 12th home run of the season.
Jung is now batting .291 with an .869 OPS and he has established himself as a both consistent and dynamic Fantasy Baseball asset at a position that was believed to be one of the shallowest entering the season (and has mostly proven to be that way). Jung has totaled 39 runs and 37 RBI so far this season with an average exit velocity of 92.2 mph and a 12.4% barrel rate. It's all there for him. Jung is what I'd like to call a buy-high candidate.
Unfortunately, Cedric Mullins landed on the injured list with a Grade 2 right groin strain. The team is hopeful that his absence will only last weeks rather than months. To help compensate for Mullins' absence, the team signed Aaron Hicks to a one-year deal.
Mullins' injury is a significant blow for fantasy managers, as he ranked as the OF5 in H2H points and OF7 in Roto formats. If you recently lost Mullins to the injured list and need an outfielder to replace him, here are a few names who could be on your waiver wires:
- Marlins OF Bryan De La Cruz has been performing well, going 3 for 4 in his latest game with his seventh home run of the season. With a .301 batting average and an .816 OPS, De La Cruz has been a reliable option that won't replace the speed Mullins provided you, but won't hurt you anywhere else in a categories league.
- Another consideration is Braves oF Marcell Ozuna, who is rostered in 51% of leagues. Ozuna has his highest hard-hit rate since the 2020 season and is showing signs of getting back to his old form.
- Diamondbacks OF Jake McCarthy also presents an intriguing option, as he went 2 for 3 on Wednseday with two steals. McCarthy had a rough start to his 2023 season but picked up steam in recent weeks down in the minors. And let's not forget McCarthy was the league-winning free agent pickup from last season.
News and notes
- Riley Greene was placed on the IL on Wednesday with a stress fracture in his left fibula. Greene looked like he was finally starting to live up to his potential in May, hitting .365/.435/.573 with three home runs and four steals in 108 plate appearances during the month, but he'll now be shelved for an undetermined amount of time.
- Jorge Polanco is set to return from the IL on Thursday after recovering from a strained left hamstring that interrupted what had been a quality .284/.327/.484 slash line that followed a delayed start to the season due to a different stint on the IL. Intriguing prospect Edouard Julien will head back to the minors with a .210/.296/.435 line in 72 plate appearances with the Twins this season.
- Justin Steele was removed from his start Wednesday with a forearm injury and he's set for an MRI on Thursday. Steele dropped his season ERA to 2.65 with three perfect innings on Wednesday and looked well on his way to rebounding from a poor performance in his previous outing. Hayden Wesneski is a candidate to fill Steele's rotation spot should he require a trip to the IL.
- Alec Bohm underwent an MRI on his injured left hamstring on Wednesday, an issue that caused him to miss one game before he returned on Tuesday. Bohm cooled off in May after a strong start to the season and is hitting .265/.321/.403 with six home runs in 215 plate appearances heading into June.
- Wander Franco was held out of the lineup on Wednesday due to a minor shoulder injury. Manager Kevin Cash said he expected Franco to be available off the bench for the game, so it appears likely he'll be able to return to action after Thursday's off-day.
- Oswaldo Cabrera will be one of the Yankees to lose his roster spot with the imminent return of Giancarlo Stanton, Josh Donaldson and Tommy Kahnle. Cabrera has struggled to get anything going at the plate this year while hitting .195/.246/.292 in 168 plate appearances. Anthony Rizzo is also slated to return to the starting lineup Friday after missing multiple games this week with a neck injury.
- Mitch Garver caught an entire seven-inning game during his rehab assignment with Triple-A Round Rock Wednesday, going 1 for 2 with two walks. This follows playing an entire game at designated hitter the previous night. As long as he doesn't experience any setbacks with the workload, expect Garver to return from the IL in the coming days.
- Carlos Rodon is set for another bullpen session on Friday, his third since he resumed throwing a few weeks ago. He remains without a timetable to return, but Fantasy managers shouldn't expect him back until late June at the earliest.
- Anthony Rendon is looking to return to the Angels during the team's homestand that begins next week. While the third baseman hasn't taken BP or run the bases yet, he may be able to return without going on a rehab assignment. He owns a .301/.415/.369 line through 130 plate appearances this season.
- Byron Buxton was held out of the lineup for the second time in three days on Wednesday as Rocco Baldelli admitted the outfield is playing at less than 100%. "We want to take this as really an opportunity to let him recharge a little bit," Baldelli said of Buxton, who has struggled to stay on the field consistently in recent years.
- Michael Conforto is day-to-day after an MRI on his injured heel came back clean. The oft-injured outfielder is coming off an excellent May in which he hit .289/.371/.544 with seven home runs in 105 plate appearances, so hopefully he'll be able to pick up where he left off once he returns.
- Adalberto Mondesi does not appear close to playing in games as he continues to rehab his surgically-repaired left knee. A player who could certainly stand to benefit from the increased steals environment resulting from the offseason rule changes, Mondesi seems unlikely to return before the All-Star break.
- Oneil Cruz is expected to shed his walking boot sometime next week as he continues to rehab his surgically-repaired left leg. Don't expect to see him back on a major-league field until after the All-Star break and potentially into August.