September 22, 2023

Feelinfriendly

Exercise makes us healthy

Fantasy Baseball Today: Shohei Ohtani continues MVP bid, good news for Jacob deGrom, Matt Manning’s debut

Happy Friday to all of you reading this, and especially to those who are buying in on Amed Rosario like I am. The once highly touted prospect came over to Cleveland last offseason in the Francisco Lindor trade and, after a slow start, is blistering at the plate. Over his last 37 games, he’s batting .333 with seven steals. Rosario remains just 49% rostered and needs to be rostered in all category leagues.

On the pitching front, Charlie Morton had his best start of the season on Thursday. He took a no-hitter in the seventh and finished with 7 2/3 shutout innings with seven strikeouts. He had a noticeable pitch-mix change, too, throwing just two sinkers, which represented a season-low. Morton went with a heavy four-seam/curveball approach that worked extremely well. He can actually benefit from using his sinker less, as the pitch has a .339 batting average against this season. Hopefully this is a sign of things to come for Morton. 

Of course, you can subscribe to make sure you get the latest episodes of Fantasy Baseball Today right when they drop on Apple and Spotify.

deGrom injury update

Mets SP Jacob deGrom got a bit of excellent news today when an MRI showed no structural damage in his injured shoulder. Also, after meeting with two separate doctors, neither expressed any concern with his elbow. He has not been placed on the IL and there is speculation that he will be making his next start. Of course, ask any Mets fan and they’ll tell you they’d rather him skip a start or two to make sure he holds up in the long run. It remains to be seen if he will actually be on the mound during his next time through the rotation.

Scott was on the record on last night’s podcast talking about how he wouldn’t look to panic trade deGrom. Even if you want to move deGrom because you just don’t trust his long-term health, you better make sure you get one of these five hitters: Ronald Acuna, Fernando Tatis, Vlad GuerreroJuan Soto or Mookie Betts. That would be the start of any trade involving deGrom. 

Ohtani continues to be a dominant two-way player

If you were lucky enough to grab the long odds on Angels SP/DH Shohei Ohtani to win the MVP in 2021 — and in some places they were as high as +2800 — you must be feeling really good right now. Of course, the question with Ohtani will always be health because there is certainly nothing to ponder about his production. Ohtani has been one of the most dominant power hitters (19 home runs) in baseball, and he also has added 10 steals. As a pitcher, he has been nearly as dominant, and that’s where we catch up with the star on Thursday. 

Ohtani shut out the Tigers for five innings before allowing a Jonathan Schoop home run in the sixth. It was his only blemish of the game. He finished the six innings of one-run ball with five strikeouts and he has now allowed two earned runs or fewer in seven consecutive starts since May 5. He got the win and he now has a 2.70 ERA and 1.16 WHIP with 73 strikeouts to just 29 walks over 53 1/3 innings in 2021.

Manning worth monitoring after solid debut

Tigers SP Matt Manning made his debut against Ohtani and the Angels on Thursday and wasn’t half-bad. Manning delivered five innings of two-run ball and struck out three batters. In the second inning, he allowed two one-run singles, and that was the only time the Angels got to him.

Under the hood, the numbers weren’t perfect, but not bad either. He induced six swinging strikes on 77 pitches and mixed in his curveball, slider and changeup in addition to a four-seam fastball that he threw 70% of the time. He allowed six hard-hit balls and averaged 93.9 mph. Manning found a groove at the end of his start and retired 10 of the last 12 batters he faced. 

On the surface, it looked like a solid debut for Manning, but Scott dug a bit deeper and wasn’t enthused by his super-low spin rate on everything in addition to the velocity on his fastball. The spin rates were too lower on all four of the pitches he mixed in. Scott isn’t moved to pick up Manning in anything but a 15-team league.

Scott moves Miley into must-roster territory


USATSI

It’s finally time to make sure Reds SP Wade Miley is rostered in every league you play in. Right now, he’s 71% rostered in CBS leagues. He’s never the flashiest pitcher with a low strikeout rate, but Scott is convinced we’ve been underrating him for too long now. Miley was excellent on Thursday. He went seven innings and allowed just two runs, four hits and two walks. He also managed to strike out five batters but induced just 10 swinging strikes on 102 pitches. The bottom line doesn’t care though, and Miley has now compiled a 1.80 ERA over his last four starts with a 2.88 ERA (and a 56% groundball rate) on the season. 

More news and notes

  • Astros 3B Alex Bregman was placed on the 10-day IL with a left quad strain.
  • Rays SP Tyler Glasnow was transferred to the 60-day IL, which means the earlier he can return is mid-August. 
  • Diamondbacks SP Zac Gallen made his return from the IL on Thursday: 2.2 IP, 4 H, 4 ER, 1 BB, 3 K, 7 swinging strikes on 58 pitches. He averaged 95.1 mph on the fastball, up from 93.3 mph on the season.
  • Yankees SS Gleyber Torres left Thursday’s game with back stiffness. He’ll be re-evaluated Friday.
  • Angels 3B Anthony Rendon was not in the lineup but did do pregame work to see if he’ll be ready Friday.
  • Blue Jays OF Teoscar Hernandez was placed on the paternity list and will miss a few games.
  • Reds 1B/2B/3B Mike Moustakas is back in a walking boot with that heel injury and will be re-evaluated in a week.
  • Reds RP/SP Tejay Antone will throw a bullpen Friday and could return Sunday.
  • Brewers 2B Kolten Wong could return Friday.
  • Rockies SP Jon Gray will begin a rehab assignment Sunday.
  • Braves SP Kyle Muller was sent back to the minors but will return Monday to start one of their doubleheaders. 
  • The Diamondbacks have now lost 23 straight road games, which is a new MLB record.

Prospect report

Scott broke down everything you need to know about prospects in Fantasy right now in his prospects report, but here are some highlights:

  • Catcher love! Joey Bart (Giants) and Cal Raleigh (Mariners) have caught Scott’s attention, with the latter being his preferred stash at the catcher position. Raleigh slots in at sixth overall, however, behind …
  • Five on the verge (worth stashing in redraft): Mariners OF Jarred Kelenic, Rays SS Wander Franco, Rays 2B Vidal Brujan, Angels OF Jo Adell, Red Sox OF Jarren Duran
  • Five on the periphery (other prospects of note): Cardinals 3B Nolan Gorman, Dodgers C Keibert Ruiz, Dodgers C Diego Cartaya, Pirates SP Roansy Contreras, Orioles 2B Jahmai Jones

Sleeper hitters 

Scott’s favorite sleeper hitters for next week that are rostered in 75% of leagues or fewer:

Best hitter matchups next week

1. Astros @BAL3, @DET4
2. Athletics @TEX4, @SF3
3. Brewers @ARI3, COL3
4. Blue Jays @MIA2, BAL4
5. Marlins TOR2, WAS4  

Worst hitter matchups next week

1. Nationals @PHI2, @MIA4
2. Cubs CLE2, @LAD4
3. Diamondbacks MIL3, @SD3
4. Mariners TOR2, WAS4
5. Phillies WAS2, @NYM4