MLB: Kansas City Royals at Los Angeles Angels
Jayne Kamin-Oncea / USA TODAY Sports

It's Thursday morning and I'm still buzzing about Wednesday night in baseball. We saw two of the most outstanding individual performances of each player's career so let's start with the name brand -- Shohei Ohtani. He won't win unless the Angles turn this around, but as far as I'm concerned, Ohtani should be the MVP every season. These past two games are the perfect example of why. One night after setting a career-high with eight RBI in a single game, Ohtani took the mound and tossed a career-high 13 strikeouts. It's not often -- not ever -- you see a baseball player collect 21 combined RBI and pitched strikeouts in a two-game span.

Joining Ohtani was Austin Hayes hitting for the cycle for the first time in his career. Hayes hit for the cycle in the sixth inning and collected his 10th homer of the season. He has quietly become one of the most unheralded contributors in both Roto and H2H formats. Hayes is batting .287 with 10 homers, 37 runs, and 40 RBI on the season. 

We'll dive into all of the action from Wednesday, but first, make sure you're all caught up with everything going on from the Fantasy Baseball Today team over at Scott White broke down a slew of prospects to stash on your rosters prior to them being called up in his latest prospects report. You can find that here. Chris Towers took a deep dive down the Martin Perez wormhole. Is this for real? Is Chris still skeptical? It was a philosophical 30,000-foot view breakdown of the situation that I think all who roster Perez will enjoy. You can find that here

And of course, as always, you can follow to make sure you get the latest episodes of Fantasy Baseball Today right when they drop on Apple and Spotify


At this point, you don't start Lucas Giolito in your weekly leagues and if you benched him again this week then you came out ahead. Giolito was shellacked again on Wednesday to the tune of seven earned runs, 11 hits, and three walks through five innings. He struck out just three batters and allowed a whopping 14 hard hits. In Giolito's last five starts he has a 9.64 ERA with 11 walks and nine homers allowed! Giolito claims he's just leaving too many pitches inside and Tony La Russa says Giolito is fully healthy but it's hard to see this thing turning around anytime soon. For me, Giolito is not a buy-low target -- I'd rather keep the contributing player now and avoid it altogether.

How the replacements performed

If you drafted Giolito with a premium asset, and a pitcher you found to replace him in your lineups started on Wednesday night, you're likely to have started one of these pitchers so let's do a brief check-in.

Michael Wacha quietly turned in another quality start on Wednesday -- this time limiting the Tigers to just two runs through six innings. He walked two, struck out seven, and allowed five hits through six strong. Wacha's having a career resurgence right now with a 2.34 ERA but also an 85% strand rate. He's up to 74% rostered but despite his recent success, I'm not sure I'd leave him in my lineup for next week's start against the Blue Jays

Jon Gray is who my boss R.J. White chose to roll with in place of Giolito and I'm sure he's happy with the return on that decision. Gray went 5 2/3 innings on Wednesday and allowed just two earned runs, four hits and one walk. He also struck out five batters. Gray has quietly settled nicely into a nearly two-month stretch where he's tossed 45 strikeouts in 42 2/3 innings with a 3.41 ERA. He's 67% rostered and gets a two-start week on the road against the Royals and Mets. He can stay in the lineups.

Ross Stripling has always had the talent dating back to his Dodgers games and he's putting together a really solid season. Stripling threw six innings of five-hit ball on Wednesday night and allowed just one walk and one earned run. He also struck out five batters. His ERA is now down to 2.84. Stripling draws the Red Sox and Rays next week.

Leftover quick hitters

  • Charlie Morton put together another strong outing with nine strikeouts through seven innings of two-run ball where he allowed just three hits and no walks.
  • Carlos Rodon outdueled Morton with seven innings of one-run ball and 10 strikeouts
  • Pablo Lopez delivered his first quality start since May 30th and showed serious signs of life with seven innings of one unearned ball. His ERA is down to 2.64
  • Yordan Alvarez ripped another two homers to bring his season total to 21.
  • George Kirby through six scoreless on Wednesday and now has a 3.14 ERA.
  • Nolan Arenado collected home run number 14 and RBI number 48 on Wednesday.
  • Oscar Gonzalez hit a two-run homer and now has two homers and 13 RBI in just 96 at bats. You'll want to beat the waiver wire by scooping Oscar up now. He's 24% rostered in CBS leagues and has eight games next week.

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.

  • Fernando Tatis Jr. relayed that he's been swinging a bat at about 40% intensity in recent days. He remains without a precise timeline to swing fully. 
  • Max Scherzer struck out six over 3.1 innings of two-run ball in his rehab start Tuesday. He's in consideration to start Sunday against the Marlins
  • Luis Robert was removed Wednesday due to leg soreness, though he's expected to be in the lineup on Thursday.
  • George Springer underwent imaging on his left elbow and is considered day-to-day. 
  • Salvador Perez aggravated his sprained left thumb and is awaiting MRI results.
  • Carlos Carrasco is scheduled to undergo an MRI after leaving Wednesday's start with lower back tightness. 
  • Edward Cabrera missed his rehab start Wednesday due to a personal matter. 
  • Eddie Rosario will have his vision re-evaluated Thursday and is optimistic that he's close to beginning a rehab assignment.
  • Jarren Duran will not play in the series in Toronto starting on Monday because he is unvaccinated. 
  • Glenn Otto rejoined the Rangers and will likely be activated from the COVID IL Sunday against the Nationals
  • Reid Detmers was optioned to Triple-A.
  • Prospects moved up in the lineup: Oneil Cruz was leading off and Riley Greene batting second.