Happy Thursday, everyone! Let's start with my favorite development from Wednesday's action -- the continued steady drumbeat building for Rays SP Shane McClanahan as an SP1. My most targeted pitcher in spring drafts was back at it Wednesday and delivered in a fun little pitcher's duel against Shohei Ohtani and the Angels. McClanahan delivered seven innings of shutout ball and only allowed three hits and one walk. But it's the swing-and-miss stuff that really tops the charts and points toward a budding SP1. He ripped 11 strikeouts and induced 24 swinging strikes on 100 pitches. McClanahan now has a 2.52 ERA on the season and 58 strikeouts through 39 1/3 innings.
It was a fine night for McClanahan's opponent, too. Ohtani dropped six innings of one-run ball and only allowed two hits and two walks. He also struck out five Rays. This wasn't his best -- and the fastball command wasn't what it can be -- but Ohtani got the job done and now holds a 2.78 ERA with 46 strikeouts through 32 1/3 innings this season.
Shane O Mac and Ohtani weren't the only key stories from Wednesday's action. We had several notable pitching and hitting performances that we're going to dive into below. I also want to spend some time talking about the Red Sox bullpen after it had another blow-up in the ninth on Wednesday.
We'll dive into more of the action from Wednesday's slate below, but first make sure you're all caught up with everything going on from the Fantasy Baseball Today team over at CBSSports.com/Fantasy/Baseball. Scott White talked about why Reid Detmers' no-hitter doesn't make him a rush to the waivers type of player but also shined a light on Kyle Bradish in his . Chris Towers delivered his for Roto and H2H scoring formats with risers like Mike Trout and Julio Rodriguez.
Thomas hits his first career bomb
Diamondbacks OF Alek Thomas may not have been the most propped up top prospect call up, but after crushing the ball in the minors, he might be ready to hit the ground mashing. On Wednesday, Thomas belted his first career home run, a solo shot 414 feet to the opposite field off Sandy Alcantara. Thomas has batted eighth and ninth so far, but that seems unlikely to continue. He'll move up the lineup fast, and he joined the Diamondbacks at a great time.
A name to monitor
In deeper leagues, you should keep your eye on Cardinals SS Brendan Donovan, who went 2-for-2 with two walks, two doubles, three runs, and two RBI on Wednesday just one day after hitting his first career homer. He started both games at shortstop and is certainly a player who could be worth scooping up if you need help in the middle infield..
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Is Schwarbs a buy low?
If you believe in Phillies OF Kyle Schwarber starting to hit a lot more like we saw in 2021 once the weather warms up, now might be the perfect time to buy low and send out trade offers for the slugger. On Wednesday, he went 0 for 4 with three more strikeouts. If it feels like rock bottom, check this out -- Schwarber closed out this series going 0 for 13 with seven strikeouts. His batting average is now down to .185 and his strikeout rate is up to 31.7%. But when you peel it back and look at the advanced stats, Schwarber's average exit velocity is only down two mph and his barrel rate and hard-hit rate are essentially the same as they were during his 2021 breakout. That's what you'll want to focus on if you're buying low. I know that I'll be sending out feeler offers for Schwarber after finishing this newsletter with the hopes of acquiring him in at least one league.
When will Red Sox get a closer?
Things have gotten really ugly in the Boston bullpen, and it's starting to feel like we'll soon be reaching a breaking point. On Wednesday, the Red Sox brought in Ryan Brasier with one out in the bottom of the ninth of a tied game vs. the Braves and he proceeded to allow two hits, including a walk-off two-run homer to Orlando Arcia. With Garrett Whitlock pitching in the rotation now, there aren't many exciting options to close out games in Boston. In the past, the Red Sox have hinted they want Matt Barnes to take the role back, but he has looked anything but sharp so far this season. They signed Hansel Robles in late March, but his last two chances resulted in a blown save and needing to be pulled after walking two batters. Once pulled in the latter, Jake Diekman blew the save. So I'm on closer watch here in Boston, and I'm waiting for the shoe to drop -- and who they will trade for to close out the ninth.
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.
- Ronald Acuña was held out of the lineup Wednesday due to a sore groin. The Braves don't sound too worried as they expect Acuña to return Friday.
- Zack Wheeler is scheduled to return from the COVID IL and start Thursday against the Dodgers. Start him in daily lineup leagues?
- Speaking of COVID, the White Sox and Guardians game was postponed Wednesday due to multiple positive COVID tests with Cleveland's organization.
- Joey Votto will likely require a rehab assignment before rejoining the Reds. He's been on the COVID IL since May 3.
- Taylor Ward hasn't started three straight games with a hamstring injury but said he will "absolutely" be back in the lineup Friday. In fact, he hit a pinch-hit game-tying homer on Wednesday.
- Ryan Mountcastle was held out Wednesday due to left wrist soreness.
- Garrett Whitlock will make another start for the Red Sox on Monday against the Astros.
- Stephen Strasburg is scheduled to throw another simulated game at extended spring training this weekend. The Nationals will reassess after that.
- Evan Longoria was reinstated and was batting third in the lineup. He went 0 for 5 with three strikeouts.
- Manny Margot has missed the past two games with that hamstring injury but expects to return Friday.
- Nico Hoerner was diagnosed with a right ankle sprain after x-rays came back negative. The Cubs say Hoerner may require a couple of days off but isn't expected to require a trip to the injured list.
- Brendan Rodgers was held out of the lineup the past two days with a hand injury but is expected to play Friday against the Royals.
- Randal Grichuk was unavailable the past two days while dealing with a stomach bug.
- Jake McGee was placed on the IL with lower-back tightness. He has a 9.58 ERA and in case it wasn't clear before, Camilo Doval is their guy.
- Twins pitcher Bailey Ober threw a 20-pitch bullpen session Wednesday. He's on the IL with a groin issue.
- Rich Hill will return from the COVID IL and start Saturday at the Rangers.
- Joey Wendle left Wednesday's game with right hamstring tightness.