I tell you often how long the baseball season is, and with that will come injuries. Monday was especially rough as we found out Dustin May needs Tommy John surgery and Luis Robert will miss the next 3-4 months with a hip injury. The White Sox are now down Robert and Eloy Jimenez, who were both expected to be key cogs in their lineup this season. Perhaps this will lead to more playing time for Andrew Vaughn, but you can read more on that below.
With only eight games played on Monday (two postponements made the slate even smaller), we decided to take a look at the top five players at each position on the podcast. We're just over a month in the season so things haven't had the chance to normalize yet. That's exactly how you find Ryan McMahon and Chris Taylor in the top five at multiple positions. Outside of those two, perhaps Carson Kelly and Carlos Rodon are two more of the biggest surprises so far this season. To find out our thoughts on each of these players, make sure to listen to today's podcast!
Scott White favorite Kenda Maeda is back?
Scott had Twins SP Kenta Maeda ranked higher than consensus this offseason, and his slow start didn't throw him off the scent. With a two-start week ahead of him, Maeda delivered big in his first start of the week on Monday night. Scott believes he has corrected what plagued him early this year -- for example, only allowing three hard-hit balls -- and locating his pitches by mixing them up.
Maeda threw 5.1 shutout innings, allowing just two hits and two walks while striking out eight batters with 13 swinging strikes on 94 pitches. Chris is also encouraged by Maeda even after coming in a little lower on him than Scott was this preseason. I think he'll land somewhere in the top 25 among SPs.
Shohei Ohtani continues to crush the ball
Don't look now but Angels SP/DH Shohei Ohtani now has nine home runs and six stolen bases. In Roto leagues, he has quietly become one of Fantasy's most valuable hitters due to his power/speed combination, and he delivered again on Monday night, going 2 for 4 with a two-run homer he hit off Tyler Glasnow (who has been one of baseball's most unhittable pitchers this season) that traveled an estimated 427 with a 110.3 mph exit velocity. He did this following being scratched from his scheduled pitching start after taking a pitch off his elbow as a batter the previous day.
Ohtani is averaging four Fantasy points per game, 12th among all hitters. I kind of just wish they would let him play as a hitter only, but Chris isn't ready to get on board with that plan just yet. However, the one concern is whether or not Ohtani can sustain the pace he's on now while playing so often and making starts.
Top pitching prospect Daniel Lynch's debut
We were all really excited to see Royals SP Daniel Lynch's debut even if the final stat line didn't look so pretty. Here's that line for the top prospect: 4.2 IP, 4 H, 3 ER, 4 BB, 3 K and seven swinging strikes on 74 pitches. Lynch allowed three runs and was wild at times, even giving up a balk. However, as Chris noted, Lynch's slider looked good -- I mean really, really good. He got six whiffs with the slider and only one with his other pitches. He topped out at 97 mph on his fastball, which is also a good sign.
Scott was a bit surprised that he basically only went with the fastball and the slider -- 63 of 74 pitches were one of those two. In his scouting report, he was expected to have a more complete arsenal. Scott came away from the debut a bit underwhelmed.
He's currently rostered in 43% of leagues, and both Scott and Chris agree that number should rise to about 60-65%.
More news and notes
- Dodgers SP Dustin May is set to undergo Tommy John surgery next week, which means we likely will not see him again until the second half of 2022. Tony Gonsolin is being built up as a starter but is still 3-4 weeks away. He's 36% rostered. Scott thinks you should urgently be looking to pick up Gonsolin now as there's a chance he's a must-start SP when he returns.
- Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said that using SP Trevor Bauer on short rest is something the club is considering until Gonsolin comes back.
- White Sox OF Luis Robert will be out 3-4 months with a Grade 3 strain of his right hip flexor. This is good news for rookie Andrew Vaughn's Fantasy outlook, but he has to start hitting for it to matter.
- Brewers OF Lorenzo Cain went 1 for 3 with a home run, a walk and two runs. He's still just 20% rostered and if you're hurting in the outfield -- say you just lost Robert for 3-4 months -- Cain is worth scooping up.
- Brewers 1B/2B Keston Hiura was optioned to the minors. He is 74% rostered.
- Blue Jays SP Hyun Jin Ryu is on track to start this Thursday against the A's.
- Blue Jays OF George Springer's absence from Monday's lineup was a scheduled rest day. He's expected back Tuesday.
- Blue Jay C Alejandro Kirk will miss six weeks with his left hip flexor strain.
- Royals SS Adalberto Mondesi could begin a rehab assignment next week. We'll probably see him some time this month -- finally!
- Phillies OF Bryce Harper was out of the lineup after re-aggravating his wrist injury on Sunday. Manager Joe Girardi said he doesn't expect a trip to the IL, but Harper could miss a few days.
- Twins 2B/3B Luis Arraez was removed from Monday's game against the Rangers due to concussion symptoms.
- Giants 2B Tommy La Stella likely needs an IL stint due to a hamstring strain.
- Mets 3B J.D. Davis was placed on the IL with a sprained left hand.
- Diamondbacks 1B Christian Walker and OF Tim Locastro have been reinstated. Nick Heath and Andrew Young were optioned to Triple-A Reno. Walker is only 43% rostered.
- Phillies 2B Jean Segura will embark on a rehab assignment this week.
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What to make of Lindor's massive slump
When the Mets traded for SS Francisco Lindor this offseason, the expectation is that he would hit in the heart of their lineup and continue to mash the baseball. We're one month into the season, and after switching leagues Lindor has been stuck in a massive slump. On Monday, Lindor had two more strikeouts and left six Mets runners stranded. He is now in an 0-for-21 funk and his raw stats are quite ugly: .163 BA, 1 HR, .486 OPS.
Scott's concern level is close to zero, but Lindor's struggles from 2020 at least give him some pause. Overall though, nothing in Lindor's batting profile -- advanced stats included -- suggests he's not going to break out of this soon. Both Scott and Chris would be buying low and looking to offer players like Carlos Rodon, Kevin Gausman, and Julio Urias for Lindor. Chris signed off on the idea of offering up Byron Buxton for Lindor -- that deal could probably return you slightly more. The same goes for Shohei Ohtani. This is a prime buy-low spot in what is the single worst 24-game stretch of Lindor's career.
It's important to keep in mind that changing leagues has a notable effect on hitters. The more these hitters see the new pitchers they're facing consistently, the better they will hit. That should be the case for Lindor, who likely hasn't faced most of the pitchers he's going up against since 2019 given the condensed schedule in 2020.