Sunday, July 3, 2022

Fantasy Baseball Today: Luis Castillo dominates, Alejandro Kirk homers twice, Martin Perez rolls on and more

Happy Wednesday, everyone! Tuesday’s slate had a lot to it — including some standout hitting performances we’ll touch on, another bullpen disaster for the Braves and more, but we’re going to start today with Luis Castillo. Last year, Castillo was one of the biggest draft busts in the top half of drafts as he worked through early struggles before turning it around in the second half to post reasonable, respectful but still ultimately disappointing numbers given where he was drafted. This year Castillo was mostly an afterthought in drafts before having his season debut delayed due to injury. And on Tuesday night, Castillo made those Fantasy Baseball managers who stuck by his side feel pretty good about it.

Castillo almost entirely remade his pitch mix in his Tuesday outing against a tough Red Sox lineup. Castillo entered this start throwing his sinker 35% of the time only to throw it just 6% in this outing. Instead, Castillo leaned heavily on his four-seam fastball (49% after entering this start at 18%). If you’re holding on to Castillo or even now interested in buying while the price is still low, you should hope that he sticks with this. In 2021, Castillo’s sinker had a .347 BAA against. That reads like a pitch that should be mixed in around 5-10% and nowhere near 35% of the time.

It was also Castillo’s first double-digit strikeout performance. He racked up 10 strikeouts, induced 22 swinging strikes and allowed just one hit and three walks across six shutout innings. The velocity was up on his fastball, changeup and slider. His ERA fell to 3.38 after this one with a 2.89 xFIP. It’s hard to completely trust Castillo given his recent seasons, but I lean toward putting out some feelers and trying to buy relatively low right now if you’re in need of starting pitching.

Below, we’ll dive into more of the action from Tuesday. Also, 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

Kirk double dong

Don’t look now (just kidding — do exactly that and go look at your league’s waiver wire), but Blue Jays C Alejandro Kirk is starting to heat up and despite the position scarcity, he remains just 55% rostered in CBS leagues. Kirk hit two homers on Tuesday night. The counting stats aren’t quite there yet, but Kirk plays in one of the most fruitful lineups in the league and the underlying numbers show a ton of promise. In the month of May, Kirk averaged 91 MPH average exit velocity. He also took his 14% line drive rate from April and raised that all the way up to 22% in May.

Retired architect turned starting pitcher

Yeah, that’s right — fresh off his illustrious career in architecture designing buildings you may have heard of — most notably the new addition on the Guggenheim — Jason Alexander will be getting the call to take the mound as the Brewers‘ starting pitcher today. This version of Jason Alexander enters his Wednesday start against the Cubs on a bit of a roll in the minor leagues. The 29-year-old has compiled a 2.64 ERA, 1.09 WHIP, and 33 strikeouts through 47 2/3 innings at Triple-A. Despite that we’re just days away from what will in fact be the Summer of George, I’d advise not to spot start Alexander in this one.

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Perez continues to get the job done

Unsuspecting Rangers SP Martin Perez continues to dominate quietly. That’s the only way to describe it. There’s no hype or buzz surrounding Perez and what he’s been able to accomplish so far in 2022, but just ask any Fantasy manager who snagged him, and he’ll rave about what he’s been able to do. Tuesday night was no different for Perez. He shut another team down and in the process logged his eighth straight start where he allowed one earned run or fewer. This one came with seven shutout innings against the Rays. He didn’t walk a batter, he allowed just three hits and he struck out seven.

His command has been phenomenal — Perez has walked two batters or fewer in eight of his last 10 starts. This is the best mark of his career by far. His ERA is now 1.42 on the season and he still has yet to allow a homer. 

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.

  • Wander Franco was placed on the IL with a strained right quad but says he will be back in two weeks. Taylor Walls should become the primary shortstop in his absence.
  • The White Sox said they hope Tim Anderson will return from the IL in three weeks. He’s dealing with a strained right groin.
  • Luis Robert was reinstated from the COVID IL but not yet in the lineup Tuesday. 
  • Eloy Jimenez will resume his rehab assignment at Triple-A Wednesday. He tweaked his surgically-repaired hamstring over the weekend. 
  • Vladimir Guerrero Jr. returned to the lineup after missing Sunday’s game with a sore left wrist. 
  • Jack Flaherty faced teammates in a two-inning live batting practice session Tuesday. He threw somewhere between 40 and 50 pitches. The Cardinals have yet to announce the next step for Flaherty. 
  • Jean Segura was diagnosed with a fractured right index finger after trying to bunt on Tuesday. 
  • Giancarlo Stanton took batting practice Tuesday and also took part in a light running workout. He’s on the IL with right ankle inflammation.
  • Tyler O’Neill has been slightly delayed but may be able to begin a rehab assignment Friday or Saturday. 
  • Sonny Gray was not placed on the IL but it’s unclear whether he’ll make his next start because of right pectoral soreness. 
  • Tylor Megill threw live batting practice at Citi Field Tuesday. He’s been on the IL for two weeks with right biceps tendinitis. 
  • Kyle Lewis is dealing with concussion-like symptoms. He was hit by a pitch in his shoulder this weekend, which ricocheted and hit him in the head. 
  • Brandon Nimmo has missed four straight games with a right wrist sprain. 
  • Nolan Gorman was unavailable Tuesday night due to lower back stiffness.
  • Tommy Pham was scratched due to left calf discomfort. 
  • Darin Ruf was placed on the bereavement list and will miss the next 3-7 days. 
  • Kolten Wong was out of the lineup Tuesday with a right calf injury. 
  • Edward Cabrera is set to join the Marlins this week. He was supposed to be called up to start Tuesday but that game was postponed. One of their top pitching prospects, Cabrera is just 23% rostered.
  • Nate Pearson will move his rehab from Single-A to Triple-A. The Blue Jays said they envision Pearson as a multi-inning relief option upon his return. 
  • Outfield prospect Heliot Ramos was recalled by the Giants. He started and was batting seventh Tuesday.
  • Dominic Smith was optioned to Triple-A. He was batting just .186 with zero home runs. 

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