We're just over a month into the season and we've had three nine-inning no-hitters (four if you include Madison Bumgerner's seven-inning no-hitter)! In case you needed anymore of a reminder that pitching is ahead of hitting in 2021, this was it. Not to take anything away from John Means. I just always thought of no-hitters as something that happened once, maybe twice per season. Nonetheless, you can read more about Means below.
Something we spoke about on the podcast that I think is interesting is the concept of selling-low on Christian Yelich. Finance 101 tells us we shouldn't sell on a decline, but what if you can recoup 60-70% of what you paid for that stock to reinvest somewhere else? Everything with Yelich is currently up in the air. We could find out tomorrow that he needs back surgery is out for the season. We could also find out he'll be back in a month. It's a risky situation, but if you're in a deeper league where you can still get something of value for him -- say a Kyle Tucker or Marcell Ozuna -- shouldn't you do it? I think I would and would draw the line there. I've lowered Yelich to OF12 in my rankings after opening the season as a top-five option.
John Means business!
Orioles SP John Means delivered the third "official" no-hitter of the season (sorry, Mad-Bum). When Scott tabbed Means in his offseason sleeper column, I'm not sure he quite expected this level of breakout for the Orioles starter. This was Baltimore's first no-hitter in 30 years!
Means finished with 12 strikeouts with 26 swinging strikes on 113 pitches, including 14 on his changeup. The changeup pitch is the story of this start and at times Means' season. According to Fangraphs, Means' changeup is rated the best among all qualifying SPs this season. Means is in the midst of what could be a true breakout season and he has allowed three earned runs or fewer in all seven starts. The raw numbers are dazzling, including a 1.37 ERA and 0.67 WHIP.
I have him moved up to SP34. It's important to keep in mind he's still a flyball pitcher in the AL East. Regression is certainly coming, and he's not going to pitch to that ERA all year. I also must admit I regrettably got zero shares of Means this offseason.
Chris views Means as a must-start SP regardless of the matchup, but he's not ready to make a big jump with Means in his rankings.
More news and notes
- Rays RP Diego Castillo was placed on the IL with groin tightness. The Rays were solely using Castillo for saves before this. Peter Fairbanks was activated and is 16% rostered. Andrew Kittredge (who started Wednesday) and Jeffrey Springs are the other two names in the Tampa Bay bullpen that have a save this season. Chris is guessing that there won't be a single closer now that Castillo is down, and while Fairbanks is worth adding, he's not a rush-to-the-wire type of reliever.
- Blue Jays OF George Springer was placed back on the IL with a right quad strain.
- Nationals OF Juan Soto remained out of the lineup Wednesday. Soto will only hit for now after spending time on the IL with a shoulder injury. What is up with teams rushing back their star hitters?
- Angels 3B Anthony Rendon was placed on the IL after he fouled a ball off his knee Monday.
- Twins OF Alex Kirilloff was placed on the IL with that right wrist sprain. He's headed to a specialist for further evaluation. Miguel Sano was reinstated and batted eighth for the Twins on Wednesday.
- Reds 1B Joey Votto fractured his thumb after getting hit by a pitch and will miss about a month.
- Dodgers 1B Cody Bellinger hasn't been cleared to run at full speed. He remains week-to-week.
- Brewers SP Corbin Burnes' return timeline will be unclear until the end of this week.
- After Giants RP Jake McGee allowed four runs on Tuesday, Gabe Kapler said Tyler Rogers may be in the mix for more work in save situations. Rogers is 23% rostered.
- Nationals SP Stephen Strasburg is scheduled to throw a 35-to-40-pitch simulated game Thursday. If all goes well, he'll likely need at least one more simulated game or rehab start.
- Giants C Buster Posey left Wednesday with a hamstring injury
- Mets OF Brandon Nimmo was placed on the IL with a left finger contusion. The Mets will go with Kevin Pillar in center field for those in NL-only leagues.
- Dodgers RP David Price has started throwing off a mound. He's only 31% rostered. I understand the optimism for Tony Gonsolin but Price will be back way before him. He's a sneaky add on the cheap.
- Blue Jays RP Julian Merryweather was transferred to the 60-day IL with that oblique injury. Rafael Dolis is still just 31% rostered.
- Giants SP Johnny Cueto will be activated Sunday against the Padres. Cueto is 59% rostered and had a 1.80 ERA across three starts.
- Indians C Roberto Perez was placed on the IL with a fractured finger.
- Yankees 2B Rougned Odor was placed on the IL with a left knee sprain. DJ LeMahieu will head back to second base, while Luke Voit should be back early next week. Voit had two more hits and a home run Wednesday with the Yankees' Triple-A affiliate
- Red Sox OF Alex Verdugo was scratched from the lineup with lower back tightness, which continues to hamper him.
- Phillies OF Bryce Harper remained out with that wrist injury lingering.
- Astros SP Jake Odorizzi is "trending toward maybe needing a rehab start or two" before being activated from the 10-day injured list.
- Rays SS Wander Franco has five hits in two games at Triple-A, including his first home run on Wednesday. When he gets called up, fireworks!
- Giants OF prospect Heliot Ramos hit his first home run at Double-A.
- Tigers OF prospect Riley Greene hit his first home run.
- Reds pitching prospect Hunter Greene had eight Ks and threw a bunch of pitches over 100 mph.
- Marlins pitching prospect Max Meyer pitched five shutout innings with five strikeouts.
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Ray should be rostered in all leagues
Blue Jays SP Robbie Ray threw six innings and allowed three runs with nine strikeouts in a no decision on Wednesday. That's not the story, though. The story -- once again -- revolves around the walks. Ray didn't throw any. Yeah, that's the same Ray you're thinking of. He has now delivered three consecutive quality starts with 23 strikeouts and zero walks over those three starts. Ray becomes a completely different Fantasy asset than we've ever viewed him if he can keep the walks down.
He is still just 63% rostered and that has to change. He needs to be 100% rostered -- specifically with a two-start week coming. However, Chris provided one reason to temper your expectations on Ray: he's still getting hit hard.
Mancini comeback tour continues
Orioles 1B/OF Trey Mancini could be in line for a bid to win Comeback Player of the Year. This is a story we can all get behind. Mancini has become a valuable Fantasy asset in his comeback season and his three-run home run on Wednesday gives him six home runs and 25 RBI this season. He's on pace for 120 RBI over a 150-game pace.
Mancini now has a .294 xBA and a .540 xSLG after starting the season slowly from the underlying numbers standpoint. He looks here to stay so give yourself a pat on the back if you drafted him in the later rounds.
To stream or not to stream (Friday)
If you're in a league that allows you to scoop and start a player for tonight or you just want to know our suggestions on who to stream today, look back to Wednesday's newsletter and you'll find our streaming choices. The following three bolded pitchers are our top three streamers for Friday.