Fernando Tatis Jr.’s shoulder appears to be OK
Tatis went wild over the weekend during yet another fantastic Padres/Dodgers series (can we please eliminate the archaic method of determining playoff teams by division?), swatting five homers and stealing two bags over his last three games while on the road against strong LA pitching (including a notable showdown with Trevor Bauer).
Tatis is on pace to finish with 47 homers and 27 steals (and 61 errors) despite missing 10 games and sporting a .233 BABIP that’s well below his .356 career mark. Statcast numbers have been especially tough to trust early this season, but it’s probably a positive he’s in the top 2% of the league in Barrel%, exit velocity, max EV and Hard Hit%.
There was serious concern over Tatis’ shoulder injury that ostensibly remains at risk of aggravation, but it’s certainly encouraging he’s raking like this. He’s just 22 years old and appears to only be getting better. Scary.
Sticking with San Diego, bad news for those stashing MacKenzie Gore, who is reportedly dealing with the yips. No Dinelson Lamet and possibly Gore would certainly be a blow, although the loaded Padres now turn to Ryan Weathers, who’s a former top-10 pick and was rightfully one of the most popular fantasy adds over the weekend as a new member of SD’s rotation. Weathers remains available in more than 50% of Yahoo leagues.
Matthew Boyd & Alex Reyes off to fortunate starts
I entered the year bullish on Boyd and Reyes, but both are clearly prime candidates to put on the trade block right now. Boyd had another fine outing over the weekend, and while he’s likely deserved another win or two given his run prevention, few starters have been as lucky. Boyd somehow has a 1.82 ERA and a 0.84 WHIP despite a K% that ranks 63rd out of 69 qualified starters. Good control helps, but it’s especially hard to count on Boyd’s .220 BABIP continuing given Detroit’s defense has been the worst in the league. Boyd is a much better pitcher than he showed last season, but he’s currently walking a fine line and is someone to consider dealing, ideally before his next start (@CHW) Thursday.
Reyes has yet to allow a run this year and racked up his fifth save of the season Sunday, which would lead the American League. But that’s come with an ugly 9:10 K:BB ratio and a CSW that ranks #265 among relievers. Reyes’ expected ERA is 6.96, which is a bit higher than zero. Jordan Hicks hasn’t looked close to ready to take over as closer, but Giovanny Gallegos is plenty capable if Reyes doesn’t start pitching much better.
Brady Singer & Danny Duffy pitching Royals to first place
Kansas City is off to an unexpectedly strong start and leading the AL Central thanks in part to these two starters. Duffy fanned eight over five shutout innings Sunday and now sits with a 0.39 ERA and a 1.04 WHIP with a legit 27:6 K:BB ratio over 23.0 innings. It wasn’t super long ago the lefty was being drafted aggressively in fantasy leagues, and his velocity has seen an uptick this season. His incredible start is especially impressive given Kauffman Stadium has played as MLB’s most extreme offensive park to open 2021. Duffy is obviously going to start giving up more runs, but there’s nothing overly fluky about his strong performance so far.
Singer is a first-rounder who’s making the leap. He’s improved during each start this year (including a strong outing over the weekend), and he’s now posted a 2.18 ERA and a 0.88 WHIP over his last eight starts dating back to last season. Singer’s 2022 ADP is going to be high.
Michael Kopech dominates in start
After opting out of last season, Kopech appeared in his first MLB game since 2018 earlier this year, and the former top prospect is finally living up to his pedigree. Kopech recorded 10 Ks with no walks over five innings in a win Sunday. The 10 Ks were a career high, and he now sits with a 0.70 WHIP to open the season. Kopech finds himself in a nice situation pitching for the White Sox in the Central and is throwing harder than ever. It’s obviously a small sample, but Kopech would rank No. 8 in CSW among starters — sandwiched between Tyler Glasnow and Trevor Bauer, revealing some serious upside.
Kopech certainly has durability concerns and questions about whether he’ll remain in the rotation in the short term once Lance Lynn returns, but he clearly needs to be added in all fantasy leagues.
Mad Bum throws a no-no
MLB didn’t officially count it as a no-hitter during a shortened double-header, but Madison Bumgarner was actually a Nick Ahmed error away from tossing seven perfect innings during Sunday’s win (he even faced the minimum thanks to a double play). He was on many fantasy waiver wires (or benches) after an ugly three starts to open the year and should likely stay there despite back-to-back solid outings and a favorable upcoming schedule (Col, @Mia). Mad Bum remains a legend, and you love seeing him still capable of a dominant outing like Sunday’s, but he sports a 5.07 expected ERA on the season.