Happy Monday! I hope you had a great first weekend of Fantasy Baseball. If you have Jose Berrios and/or Corbin Burnes, then chances are you're feeling pretty good. This is a good time to remind people (myself included) not to overreact early on. While Berrios, Burnes, and even Zack Wheeler were amazing this weekend, it's only one of hopefully 32 starts this season. You should be optimistic, but we need more data before we can make any brash proclamations.
That's why we introduced "Believe It or Not" on the podcast today. Along with that, we highlight the weekend's biggest winners/losers, get you up to date on all of the closer situations, and hit the waiver wire. Is Yermin Mercedes a must-add player? Who is he!? Let's find out.
And of course, you can subscribe to make sure you get the latest episodes of Fantasy Baseball Today right when they drop on Apple and Spotify.
Ohtani shows out
Ohtani started on the mound and batted No. 2 in the order for the Angels on Sunday night. Here are the stats and numbers to know from what was the most exciting individual performances so far in this young season:
- Threw nine pitches 100 MPH or higher
- Had two batted balls over 109 MPH exit velocity, including a 451-foot HR, his second of the season (the guy is a freak)
- Final pitching line: 4.2 IP, 2 H, 3 R, 1 ER, 5 BB, 7 K, 12 whiffs on 92 pitches
After pitching four scoreless innings, Angels manager Joe Maddon left him in entirely too long, Ohtani almost got killed at the plate on an awkward collision after he got the strikeout. The good news is that Ohtani is expected to have escaped the wild collision with some general soreness and he was not removed because of any injury. He'll be re-evaluated tomorrow.
OMGG player of the weekend
While we typically reserve the "Oh My Goodness Gracious" player of the weekend for studs, Chris reminded us that this segment can feature players that made you say "Oh my goodness gracious" for the wrong reasons.
Towers' pick: Chris Paddack, SP, Padres
Through his first start, he doesn't appear to have fixed any issues from last year. His fastball spin rate was still low and he still threw way too many fastballs. He struggled with control, finishing with three walks to only three strikeouts. I didn't see what I wanted to see.
I agree with Chris that he's not throwing his pitches with conviction and he is not throwing confidently. Paddack has the Rangers this week, so you should definitely leave him in your lineup, but if he doesn't show out against Texas, that's when you have to start thinking of Paddack is potentially a matchup play only.
Scott's pick: Yermin Mercedes, DH, White Sox
Mercedes made Scott's updated Week 2 preview of 10 sleeper hitters and here's why: He started three games in a row as a DH and despite not showing out much in the spring, he collected eight hits in the two games before going 0 for 3 on "Sunday Night Baseball." The 28-year-old was long passed over in the minors but is making good on his shot now, and with four lefties on the schedule for the White Sox, he's likely to stick in the lineup for this week based on the matchups. He's worth taking a flyer on, and in ESPN leagues he's catcher eligible. In those leagues, he's especially worth targeting.
My pick: Jose Berrios, SP, Twins
Berrios was brilliant in his season debut. Here's his stat line: 6 IP, 0 H, 12 K, 0 BB, 18 whiffs on 84 pitches. Most notably, nine of Berrios' 18 whiffs came on his curveball. His fastball velocity was on the rise again. It was 93.1 in 2019, 94.5 in 2020 and 95.3 in his first start in 2021.
Chris is not buying in until he sees him string together more starts entering ace territory.
Bonus pick: Corbin Burnes, SP, Brewers
Here was Burnes' stat line against the Twins: 6.1 IP, 1 H, 1 ER (HR allowed to Buxton), 0 BB, 11 K, 17 whiffs on 87 pitches. He threw 42 cutters that averaged 96 MPH apparently.
With Burnes it's all about how long he's going to last. His stuff is nasty.
Other news and notes
- The Nationals are still trying to get their COVID-19 situation contained. Their weekend series was postponed, as was Monday's game against the Braves. Ken Rosenthal noted that they're scheduled to play on Tuesday. They will be without Kyle Schwarber, Josh Harrison, Jon Lester and Alex Avila.
- Pirates 3B Ke'Bryan Hayes was placed on the 10-day IL with a left wrist injury, but the good news is that there was no fracture. A Scott White favorite here and Scott is hopeful this will be a short stay on the IL.
- Marlins SP Elieser Hernandez left Saturday's start with biceps inflammation.
- Twins 3B Josh Donaldson was placed on the IL with right hamstring strain.
- Twins IF Luis Arraez led off Sunday, reaching base five times while going 3 for 3 with two walks. He's only 27% rostered. Arraez is only 2B eligible for now, but he's someone to keep on your radar if he continues to lead off.
- Dodgers RP Tony Gonsolin was placed on the IL with shoulder inflammation.
- White Sox SS Tim Anderson exited the game Sunday night with a tight left hamstring. He was replaced by Leury Garcia.
- Athletics IF/OF Chad Pinder was diagnosed with a left knee sprain and will undergo an MRI on Monday.
- Diamondbacks RP Joakim Soria strained his calf covering first base. Soria came in to pitch the eighth up 3-1, facing the heart of the lineup, recording two quick outs before hurting his calf. He would stay in but went on to walk two batters and then was lifted for Kevin Ginkel. Ginkel recorded a strikeout and then Chris Devenski pitched the ninth, allowing a home run to Tatis but picking up the save. Ginkel only threw three pitches, so if they wanted to use him in the ninth, I think they would have. This Devenski appearance seemed premeditated. Devenski, who is 0% rostered on CBS, was down 2 MPH on his velocity from where he was at back in 2019 after being hurt last year. Ginkel looked better IMO, but it was on only three pitches.
Believe it or not
Julian Merryweather is the new Blue Jays closer?
Chris is skeptical, specifically because Jordan Romano has also been stellar, while Scott has a different read on the situation and believes Merryweather has been so lights out that he might have the opportunity to run away with the job. Romano was used in the eighth inning to face the top of the order in a 3-1 game before Merryweather threw a perfect ninth with two Ks to pick up his second save. Merryweather is currently only 21% rostered in CBS leagues.
Buster Posey is back!?
Posey had two hits this weekend and both were home runs, putting him halfway to his 2019 HR total. That is what has been missing: the ability to drive the ball. There is some confirmation bias, but Chris is buying into Posey improving from taking a whole year off and believes he can jump into the top 12 at catcher.
John Means business?
Means threw seven shutout innings, allowing just one hit with five Ks against the Red Sox. His changeup looked better than ever with 14 swinging strikes. At this point, Scott believes he is in must-roster territory but he would bench him for this coming week's start against the Yankees on the road.
Zack Wheeler is a top-12 SP?
Wheeler vs. ATL: 7 innings, 1 H, 0 ER, 10 K, 16 whiffs on 90 pitches. His fastball velocity was up a tick to 97.7 MPH. Chris is not buying into Wheeler becoming a top-12 SP, but he's not too far off.
- Royals OF Michael Taylor (24% rostered)
- Royals OF Kyle Isbel (14%)
- Rangers 3B/SS Isiah Kiner-Falefa (23%)
- Rangers 1B Nate Lowe (26%)
- Tigers OF Robbie Grossman (7%)
- Rockies C Dom Nunez (6%)
- Rockies OF Sam Hilliard (15%)
- Giants 2B Donovan Solano (14%)
- Reds 2B Jonathan India (38%)
- Marlins 2B Jazz Chisholm (37%)
- Orioles OF Cedric Mullins (9%)
- Blue Jays OF Randal Grichuk (30%)
- Reds C Tyler Stephenson (8%)
- Astros 1B Yuli Gurriel (65%)
- Mariners SP Yusei Kikuchi (50% rostered)
- Royals SP Mike Minor (49%)
- Giants SP Johnny Cueto (19%)
- Red Sox SP Tanner Houck (24%)
- Cubs SP Jake Arrieta (67%)
- Angels RP/SP Julio Teheran (8%)
- Pirates SP Tyler Anderson (3%)
- Rockies SP Jon Gray (16%)
- Angels SP Alex Cobb (5%)
- White Sox RP Garrett Crochet (19%)
- Orioles SP Bruce Zimmermann (4%)
- Diamondbacks SP Taylor Widener (8%)