Happy Thursday, everyone! It's Dan Schneier here checking back in and thanking Chris Towers for the relief. He provided me with invaluable bullpen relief and that's something you can't say for several teams competing for their division or a wild-card spot. Although it might unofficially be Vinnie Pasquantino Week,  as coined by Frank Stampfl and mentioned numerous times on Fantasy Baseball Today, there were several other players under 25 years old with massive prospect pedigree who made Wednesday night baseball their place to shine. 

We'll dive into all of the action from Wednesday, but first make sure you're caught up on everything from the FBT team from Wednesday. Scott White dove into what it means to have speed demon prospect Esteury Ruiz arrive in the majors and nine other prospects you need to have on your radar now. You can find that here. He also had some fun re-drafting the first two rounds of a Fantasy Baseball draft to find out where breakouts like Julio Rodriguez and Sandy Alcantara would fit. You can find that here

Ohtani's MVP case

If you polled baseball fans who also follow my Twitter account (a predominantly New York Giants focused account) they'd tell you that Aaron Judge is the lock for AL MVP and any other nominee is leaps and bounds behind him. But is that necessarily true anymore? Angels SP/DH Shohei Ohtani is on a 34-game tear that might be the most impactful and valuable 34-game performance from any player in the history of the sport if you think about it. Just look at how this looks on paper:

Ohtani has pitched to a 0.45 ERA with 58 strikeouts over these 34 days (39 2/3 innings pitched)

Ohtani has racked up a .287 batting average with a .393 on base percentage, a .604 slugging percentage and eight home runs in 29 games with the bat (over these 34 days).

Ohtani is also delivering MVP-esque performances that are changing the outcome of games. On Wednesday, Ohtani threw six innings of one-run ball and struck out 12. At the plate, his two-out, two-run triple came at a clutch moment and didn't leave runs on the board. He's my pick for AL MVP. Again.

Miranda and Soto stay hot

Chris Towers was pretty broken up about the FBT account receiving a slew of emails referring to Juan Soto as Juan Sucko, and these messages all started about 21 games ago. So I wasn't the least bit surprised to hear Chris lead Wednesday night's FBT with a profile highlighting just how good Soto has been since he was coined by an aggravated listener to be Juan Sucko. Soto is batting .333 with a ridiculous 27% walk rate and only an 11% strikeout rate in those 21 games. Despite the low strikeout rate, Soto has cracked six homers in that span.

Scott White was more excited about Jose Miranda making his way to the majors this past April than any analyst I read, but it was a bumpy start for the Twins mashing prospect. Miranda has seemed to right the ship though over his past 40 games. He went 3 for 5 with a three-run, walk-off homer against Josh Hader -- the Josh Hader -- on Wednesday night. This brought Miranda up to a .331 batting average with seven homers and 29 RBI through his past 40 games. Miranda is still just 29% rostered in CBS leagues and is available at first base and third base.

Waiver targets

  • Ramon Laureano hit his eighth homer on Wednesday. He's 40% rostered. He's 50% rostered
  • Eddie Rosario collected three hits and his second homer on Wednesday. He now has two homers and a steal in nine games since returning. He's 61% rostered.
  • Jo Adell got recalled with Mike Trout nursing an injury and responded by going 2 for 4 with an RBI and a steal. His Triple-A July was fantastic with four homers and four doubles. He's 30% rostered.
  • JT Brubaker threw seven innings of shutout ball and only allowed three hits -- with nine strikeouts -- on Wednesday. He's 12% rostered and has struck out 97 batters through 94 innings.
  • Ross Stripling has continued to excel since rejoining the rotation. He threw seven innings of two (unearned) run ball on Wednesday and only allowed two hits and no walks while striking out six. He has a 2.14 ERA since rejoining the rotation and is still just 50% rostered.

Injuries, news and notes

  • Mike Trout was not in the lineup Wednesday but isn't expected to require an IL stint. 
  • Kevin Gausman confirmed that he will start Thursday against the Royals, who will be missing nearly their entire team. They have 10 players who will not be eligible in Toronto including Whit Merrifield, MJ Melendez, Andrew Benintendi, Brad Keller, Hunter Dozier and others. Bobby Witt Jr. and Vinnie Pasquantino are good to go. 
  • Luis Severino left his start with right shoulder tightness, which is pretty scary because he's dealt with some shoulder/lat stuff in the past. He didn't look right. If he lands on the IL, Domingo German is a name to watch. He's 12% rostered with a 0.63 ERA and 0.43 WHIP across four rehab starts.
  • Eloy Jimenez was removed Wednesday with an apparent leg injury and I saw it happen. He had to run quite a bit and then came up limping. This sucks! He really needs to DH
  • The Red Sox are hoping Trevor Story will be able to return at some point this weekend against the Yankees. He's dealing with a bruised hand after getting hit by a pitch. 
  • Frankie Montas will not pitch against the Astros this weekend and will instead throw two side sessions before rejoining the A's rotation post All-Star break. 
  • Justin Verlander didn't accompany the Astros to Anaheim as he tends to a family issue. The hope is he'll be able to start this weekend against the A's. 
  • Kenley Jansen was officially reinstated from the IL and pitched Wednesday against the Mets
  • Joe Barlow was placed on the IL with a blister, which further entrenches Brett Martin as the team's closer. He's just 18% rostered if you need saves. 
  • Speaking of saves, Tanner Rainey was placed on the 60-day IL due to a UCL sprain. Kyle Finnegan has consistently been used as the eighth inning man for the Nationals. He's 5% rostered.
  • Christian Yelich's back is improving but he's now missed two straight with that injury. 
  • Bryan Reynolds has yet to resume baseball activities. He landed on the IL with a right oblique strain on Monday. 
  • Aaron Civale was removed from his start due to right wrist soreness after pitching just one inning. 
  • Matthew Liberatore was optioned back to Triple-A, which likely foreshadows the return of Steven Matz.
  • The Blue Jays fired manager Charlie Montoyo and named John Schneider as the interim manager. They're currently 47-42 and battling for the final AL Wild Card spot.
  • The Home Run Derby field is nearly set and includes Pete Alonso, Juan Soto, Ronald Acuña, Albert Pujols, Kyle Schwarber, Jose Ramirez and rookie phenom Julio Rodriguez. One spot left.