Fantasy Baseball: Another elite MLB prospect gets the call for Rays

·5-min read

• With Manuel Margot set to go on the IL, the Rays are expected to call up Vidal Brujan, who’s a top-10 dynasty prospect and capable of helping fantasy managers immediately while possessing a nice power/speed combo. Brujan is no lock to stay on the roster, but stolen bases are so hard to come by, and he carries “70” speed. Brujan is available in more than 75% of Yahoo leagues.

Jarred Kelenic continues to hit well since getting sent back down to Triple-A, where he’s batting .320/.388/.623. As noted here, the Mariners’ second series after the All-Star break is in Coors Field, which is a perfect time to recall Kelenic to restore his confidence. He’s available in more than 60% of Yahoo leagues and has enough fantasy upside to stash now.

• Many are saying Marco Luciano is a cross between Alex Rodriguez’s bat mixed with Omar Vizquel’s glove at shortstop. The teenager is now up to a league-leading 14 homers over his first 50 games in Single-A. It’d be hard to find a better target than Luciano for dynasty players looking to rebuild right now.

Aroldis Chapman pitched Tuesday with the Yankees up 12-1, striking out the side but also loading the bases. He’s now walked 11 batters over his last six appearances, raising his WHIP from 0.99 to 1.48 over just 4.1 innings. Tuesday’s outing saw a continued significant decline in spin rate, with his fastball down a full 200 RPMs and 2.2 MPH. Chapman has gone from looking positively unhittable this season to a complete mess in a hurry. There isn’t an obvious alternative to close in New York, but it’d be a surprise if the Yankees trusted Chapman with the team’s next save opportunity.

The Yankees have been hit hard by the crackdown on the sticky stuff, as Gerrit Cole has also looked like a completely different pitcher. After striking out 10-plus batters in five of his first seven starts this season, Cole has failed to do so in each of his past nine starts since. At least there’s just $250 million left on his contract.

Chris Bassit had an ugly outing in Houston on Tuesday night, allowing six runs over 4.1 innings. He entered one of the hottest pitchers in baseball, posting a 2.19 ERA and a 0.92 WHIP with 52 strikeouts over his previous eight starts (53.1 innings). He faced an Astros offense that’s lapping the rest of baseball, as the difference between Houston’s wRC+ (122) and the next best offense (111) is the same as the No. 2 and No. 13. The Astros’ K% is 18.6. The next lowest is 21.9! Houston is doing all this despite playing in a pitcher’s park and losing George Springer during the offseason. I’m not happy about “playing it safe” and avoiding Yordan Alvarez’s knees during fantasy drafts, as he continues to look like one of the very best hitters in baseball.

Bryce Harper finally homered with a runner on base Tuesday for the first time this season, ending a streak of 16 straight solo home runs dating back to last year. His big night Tuesday included five RBI, and Harper is now on pace to finish with 29 homers yet just 59 RBI.

Javier Baez hit two more homers and added four RBI on Tuesday, as his wild season continues. He’s up to 21 home runs, 10 steals and 56 RBI, but that comes with a 112:14 K:BB line and a .282 OBP. Baez has been a top-50 fantasy player despite a .234 batting average, and he’s been plenty valuable for the Cubs as well thanks to his usual terrific defense (although they’ve lost 11 straight games nevertheless).

Andrew Benintendi went deep during his second game back from the IL, batting No. 2 in Kansas City’s lineup. After an awful April with his new team, Benintendi hit .340 in May and posted a .930 OPS in June before suffering a fractured rib. The Royals remain among the league leaders in stolen base attempts, so Benintendi should be treated as a top-25 fantasy outfielder moving forward.

Nolan Arenado homered and stole his first base of the season Tuesday. He’s collected five hits over the first two games in San Francisco after totaling just two hits over the previous four-game series in Colorado. Arenado hasn’t been the same fantasy star since leaving Coors Field as expected, but he’s remained plenty good (126 wRC+) and has bounced back after a rough last season (76 wRC+).

Chris Taylor’s pace: .274-117-19-81-15. Gavin Lux’s: .237-70-11-64-6.

THE BAT X projects Harrison Bader to hit 12 homers and steal six bases even with an IL stint (64 games) over the rest of the season (with a 113 wRC+). Bader is available in 97% of Yahoo leagues. 

Shohei Ohtani leads MLB with 30.4 expected homers. The next most is Salvador Perez with 24.5 xHR. Perez has also hit the most baseballs “hard” (95-plus mph) this season, which is impressive considering the next closest catcher ranks No. 103 (Willson Contreras).

Billy Hamilton made a highlight worthy catch in the rain in the ninth inning Tuesday, while the Marlins somehow walked off the Dodgers thanks to a wild pitch with a runner on second. Ichiro Suzuki is a legend and sounds like he was just about the best teammate imaginable

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