Friday, June 14, 2024
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Fantasy Baseball Today: Royce Lewis optimism despite being optioned, Aaron Judge double dong and more

Happy Wednesday, everyone! Tuesday’s action had a lot of interesting developments including the Houston Astros making history, Aaron Judge continuing to make Brian Cashman regretful, a young prospect who was originally expected to only serve as a temporary fill-in continuing to mash and a pitcher’s duel that we’ll start with. The duel was between Mariners SP Logan Gilbert and Blue Jays SP Jose Berrios.

Berrios had a nice bounce-back outing in the box score with seven shutout innings and just eight combined hits and walks, but he also allowed seven hard-hit balls and an 89.5 MPH average exit velocity against. Gilbert was the story for me, and it feels like these two pitchers are moving in different directions. While I’d look to sell Berrios based on his name-brand value, I’d offer the opposite on Gilbert — buy high. Gilbert threw seven innings of three-run ball in this one, but the context is important. The bases-clearing triple Gilbert gave up in this start was a bloop to short right field. On the night, Gilbert threw seven strikeouts, and the underlying numbers speak to a buy-high candidate — his increased slider usage (up to 36% from 23%) and his velocity up on all three of his key pitches are the keys here.

We’ll dive into more action from Tuesday below, and take some time to pinpoint one hitter each member of the Fantasy Baseball Today thinks you should be targeting now via trade, but first make sure you’re all caught up with everything going on from the Fantasy Baseball Today team over at CBSSports.com/Fantasy/Baseball

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

Lewis makes his case

OK, so well start with the bad news: Royce Lewis will be optioned back down to Triple-A. The original expectation was that Lewis would be a temporary fill-in for what was expected to be a short stay on the IL for Carlos Correa, but the young slugger won’t stop hitting. Lewis collected another pair of hits on Tuesday including his second home run. He already has a max exit velocity of 114 MPH and a 72nd percentile sprint speed. Lewis is 52% rostered and that number could drop given the news. However, there’s a silver lining. Down in Triple-A, Lewis is now expected to get some starts in other positions — including what could be third base and the outfield. This will give him a clearer path to being called back up sooner than later, and given the way he was hitting in his short debut, this should be a priority for the Twins.

Astros make history

The Houston Astros made history on Tuesday night when they racked up five homers in a single inning. This is only the eighth time that this has been done in MLB history. Yordan Alvarez hit his 12th, then Kyle Tucker, Jeremy Peña (just returned), Michael Brantley and Yuli Gurriel. Tucker would add a second homer later in the game — after a slow start the borderline first-round pick is up to seven homers with eight steals on the season.

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Where would you draft Judge now?

Yankees OF Aaron Judge had an ADP around 28 overall for this season. He even made a few trendy avoid lists due to injury concerns and the push for using early-round draft picks on hitters who provided at least some level of speed. Those who passed on Judge are regretting it now even if not to the same extent as Yankees GM Brian Cashman. Judge continues to mash the ball and on Tuesday he went 4 for 4 with two homers. He now leads the MLB with 14 jacks and he’s batting .321 with a 1.076 OPS. Oh, and he’s also added two stolen bases. He’s first in average exit velocity, barrel rate, hard hit rate and xSLG. In other words, the underlying numbers back this up. So if we were redrafting today, how early do you grab Judge?

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.

  • Ronald Acuña returned to the lineup as the DH after missing five straight with a groin issue.
  • Jacob deGrom‘s most recent MRI revealed continued healing in his scapula but I don’t think it means much. There was a recent report that said he might not return until after the All-Star break. 
  • Bryce Harper was out of the lineup for a second straight game after receiving a PRP injection in his elbow this weekend.
  • Salvador Perez was removed from Tuesday’s game and later placed on the IL with a sprained left thumb. 
  • Starling Marte was placed on the bereavement list Monday and will miss at least three days. 
  • Ketel Marte was scratched in Game 2 with a sore left hand.
  • Brandon Nimmo left Tuesday’s game with a bruised right quad. He’s day-to-day.
  • J.P. Crawford left with an ankle injury but said after that he was fine.
  • Carlos Correa did not return Tuesday, but is expected to return today.
  • Willy Adames isn’t expected to return before Saturday with that sprained left ankle. 
  • Brandon Lowe was diagnosed with a stress reaction in his lower back and will be shut down for at least three weeks.
  • It turns out Clayton Kershaw will not throw a bullpen session Wednesday as he continues to experience discomfort in his right SI joint.
  • Lucas Giolito is expected to start Wednesday against the Royals so make sure to get him in there in daily lineup leagues. 
  • Jordan Romano remains day-to-day with a non-COVID illness.
  • Nick Lodolo won’t throw for the next week. He’s on the IL with a back injury, which he suffered a setback on recently. 
  • Alex Faedo is staying in the rotation for now and will pitch Saturday against Cleveland. He’s 6% rostered and looks pretty good. 
  • Spencer Strider will likely handle more higher-leverage relief work late in games with Tyler Matzek on the IL. 
  • Jake Odorizzi was placed on the IL with lower leg discomfort.
  • Andrew McCutchen will likely return by this weekend. He’s been on the COVID IL for the past few weeks. 
  • Mitch Keller has been demoted to the Pirates bullpen.

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