Thursday, August 11, 2022

Fantasy Baseball Today: Juan Soto trade deadline madness plus Jacob deGrom returns

Happy Wednesday, everyone! That was one helluva trade deadline Tuesday, was it not? Baseball looked at Monday’s Josh Hader blockbuster and said let me one up you today. In addition to a slew of other trades that will have a Fantasy Baseball impact the rest of the way, we also saw the biggest trade of this year and potentially the last decade when you think about it in two ways. The Padres traded for Nationals star Juan Soto and first baseman Josh Bell, and in return they sent back arguably the most massive haul of prospects we’ve ever seen in a trade. 

I refer to it as potentially the biggest trade in the past decade because: 1) A 23-year-old superstar who is arguably one of the five best hitters in the game almost never gets moved, and 2) The haul of prospects he got moved for can’t really be matched by other trades.

The Padres get Soto and Bell. Acquiring Soto would be like acquiring Ja’Marr Chase via trade with the Bengals when he is still 23 years old. It’s unheard of in baseball. Soto, Fernando Tatis and Manny Machado will all be hitting in one lineup at some point soon. Oh, and they also massively upgrade at first base — Bell has had an excellent season despite having little to no lineup help in Washington (sorry, Luke Voit).

Here’s what Scott White had to say about the haul of prospects Washington received from San Diego and what it means moving forward in the Fantasy Baseball landscape:

  • CJ Abrams, SS: “A consensus top-25 prospect from the day he was drafted (sixth overall in 2019) and top-10 prospect coming into the year. The Fernando Tatis injury forced him into big-league action before he was ready, and it’s showed. But the 21-year-old continued to thrive when sent down to Triple-A, just as he has at every other minor-league stop. He packs a top-of-the scale hit tool and speed.”
  • MacKenzie Gore, SP: “The third overall pick in the 2017 draft and the consensus top pitching prospect as recently as 2020. His stock took a hit last year as he struggled with his mechanics, but he came back strong this spring and was looking like the Rookie of the Year favorite for the first two months before hitting a rough patch. He’s currently sidelined by an elbow injury but has no structural damage.”
  • Robert Hassell, OF: “The eighth pick in the 2020 draft and a consensus top-25 prospect now, Hassell is considered a safe bet with a projectable hit tool and potential power/speed profile. The power is the more questionable skill at this juncture, but an improved launch angle would go a long way toward him maximizing it. At age 20, he still has time.”
  • James Wood, OF: “A rapid riser up the ranks, Wood will be a consensus top 100 or perhaps even top-50 prospect by the start of next year. He’s another 6-foot-7 behemoth who should be able to leverage that size for considerable power, but unlike others who’ve come before him — Oneil Cruz, Elly De La Cruz and even Aaron Judge — Wood also shows impressive bat control, having struck out just 17.8 percent of the time at Low-A this year.”
  • Jarlin Susana, SP: “Still in Rookie ball and with a lot of development ahead at age 18, Susana has nonetheless dominated so far. He’s already cranking his fastball up to 98 mph, and seeing as he’s 6-foot-6, it’s easy to envision him hitting triple digits with regularity some day. He also has the makings of a good slider.”

You can find Scott’s entire analysis of the blockbuster deal that shook up the baseball world here.

It’s a fun haul of prospects for the Nationals and ultimately the move might be in their best interest considering they couldn’t come to terms with Soto on an extension, but it’s hard to put this past us. Just a few years ago, the Nationals had Soto, Bryce Harper, Max Scherzer, Trea Turner and Anthony Rendon on one roster. Now, they have none of them. Soto, Turner and Harper are still three of the best players in baseball, and it will likely be that way for at least a few more years.

Below, we’ll break down some other key takeaways from Monday’s action. But first, make sure you’re all caught up with everything going down at CBSSports.com/Fantasy. Don’t miss out on Scott’s tracker!

Scott’s deadline tracker provided Fantasy spin on nearly every move that was made around this year’s deadline. We won’t be diving into every trade below, so this is the best place to find out how each move impacts the rest of the Fantasy season. You can find that here.

deGrom debuts

Lost in all the madness of the trade deadline was the fact that Mets ace Jacob deGrom finally made his 2022 debut after missing the first four months of the season. It was mostly an excellent debut for the — when healthy — best pitcher in baseball. He opened up the outing by touching 99 mph twice and then 101 and 100 mph on the gun. He didn’t rack up more than 59 pitches despite making it through five innings. deGrom allowed three hits, one earned run, no walks and induced 13 swinging strikes on those 59 pitches. The dude averaged 99.7 mph on his fastball and his slider velocity was up 1.3 mph compared to last year.

If you had any questions about how deGrom might perform coming back from the injury — well those were answered. Now, he just needs to stay healthy.

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Who’s hot

Kevin Gausman delivered his best start of the season with the Blue Jays. He was dominant over eight shutout frames and allowed just one hit, one walk, and he struck out 10. The biggest difference for Gausman is that he cut his slider usage down — nearly in half — and mixed in more splitters. The splitter, by far and away his best pitch, induced nine swinging strikes. That’s the most swing-and-misses Gausman earned on any pitch. This start brings his ERA down to 3.06 on the season, and he’s all the way up to 132 strikeouts with just 20 walks (in 20 starts).

Who’s not

You didn’t draft Kyle Tucker in the back end of the first or early second-round to perform like he has basically since the All Star break (dating back a bit before). Tucker put together another 0-fer on Tuesday — and his 0-for-3 night dropped his batting average down to .238 overall. Tucker has a .154 batting average over his past 21 games.

Fantasy news, injuries and notes

For a complete recap of every injury, update and more make sure you’re locked into the Fantasy Baseball Today podcast where Frank, Scott and Chris dive deep into every player note. For the CliffsNotes version, we’ll recap the biggest news and notes you need to know right here:

  • Orioles manager Brandon Hyde said Felix Bautista, Cionel Perez and Dillon Tate are all candidates to close moving forward; seems like a committee. 
  • Rafael Devers was reinstated Tuesday as expected. He then hit his 23rd homer.
  • Julio Rodriguez is making good progress with both injured wrists, though he has not swung a bat yet. 
  • Luis Robert was reinstated Tuesday but not in the starting lineup. 
  • Freddy Peralta will rejoin the Brewers on Wednesday and start against the Pirates
  • Jon Gray was placed on the IL with a strained left oblique and is expected to miss 4-6 weeks. 
  • Tarik Skubal was diagnosed with left forearm inflammation and is expected to miss at least one turn through the Tigers rotation.
  • Dany Jimenez is back from the IL and should work back into the closer’s role now that Lou Trivino was traded.
  • Jean Segura is likely to return from the 60-day IL on Thursday.
  • Alex Kirilloff was placed on the IL with that lingering wrist injury. 
  • Unfortunate baseball news late Tuesday night as legendary broadcaster Vin Scully passed away at 94 years old… RIP.

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