First Robbie Ray on Wednesday, now Madison Bumgarner on Thursday. What year is it? Bumgarner's velocity has now remained up for four straight starts and he's performed admirably in all of them, but I'll let you read more about that below. The other southpaw we should mention is Andrew Heaney, who finished with 10 strikeouts over 6.2 shutout innings against the Rays. I know he's been inconsistent in his career and will likely continue to be, but he needs to be rostered in more than 66% of leagues based on his strikeout upside alone. 

Let's stick with the Angels and talk about the unicorn Shohei Ohtani. He homered again on Thursday, bringing him to 10 home runs with six steals on the young season. Our email of the day on the podcast asked how we would value Ohtani in a trade. Even I was shocked to find out just how high we are on Ohtani. Scott and I basically agreed that if Ohtani had outfield eligibility, we would rank him ahead of Cody Bellinger and Christian Yelich right now. Basically, you should value him as a second-round hitter based not only on what he's done but how the underlying numbers back it up. The obvious answer is to keep Ohtani, but if you're dealing with a bevy injuries, maybe you look to get two stud players in return for him.

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Bumgarner continues to cook

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Diamondbacks SP Madison Bumgarner wasn't widely pursued even in the later rounds of Fantasy drafts at the end of March, but he's continuing to prove the doubters wrong during his most recent four-game span. First, let's start on Thursday, where Bumgarner threw six innings of one-run ball while allowing two hits, striking out seven batters and walking no one. Bumgarner also induced 15 swinging strikes on 85 pitches. The 15 swinging strikes marked a season-high as did the 29 percent called strikes plus whiffs rate. After allowing a leadoff home run to the red-hot Miguel Rojas, Bumgarner had a span of retiring 17 straight batters. 

Over the four-game span, Bumgarner has averaged 91 mph or better on his fastball, and whether he can keep the velocity up is the underlying factor that's most likely to be a predictor for the rest of the season. During that span, Bumgarner has allowed just three earned runs with a 25:3 K to BB ratio. Those are borderline must-start numbers for a pitcher who is still just 79% rostered. 

Scott is convinced that it's time to get Bumgarner active and in all starting lineups for his two-start week next week. He believes in the changes. I'm with Scott and believe he can get back to 2019 levels. Bumgarner will be moving up both of our rankings next update. 

More news and notes

  • It sounded like SP Carlos Carrasco was getting close to returning after his last rehab start and then the Mets shifted him to the 60-day IL on Thursday, which means he can't return until May 31 at the earliest.
  • Twins OF Byron Buxton left Thursday's game early and was diagnosed with a hip strain. He's day-to-day.
  • Nationals SP Stephen Strasburg threw 35 pitches in a simulated game Thursday. Manager Dave Martinez declined to give a timetable for his return.
  • The Angels released future Hall of Famer Albert Pujols on Thursday. He was batting just .198 this season but apparently still wants to play. How does this affect the Angels? Jared Walsh likely moves to first base. They have two OF prospects knocking on the door in Jo Adell and Brandon Marsh, and the Pujols decision could signal that one of them could be coming up soon. Marsh probably won't be called up until the late summer, but Adell is another story. He's worth rostering in deeper 15-team leagues as a speculative stash.
  • MLB Network's Jon Morosi reported that Mariners prospect Jarred Kelenic isn't likely to debut in the majors until later this month, but as he continues to ace tests at the alternate training site, it seems more likely that will be sooner rather than later in May.
  • Yankees 3B Gio Urshela left Thursday's game with a knee injury and is headed for an MRI.
  • Blue Jays SP Hyun Jin Ryu made his return from the IL. He gave up four runs over five innings against the A's but wound up with the win.
  • A's DH Khris Davis started a rehab assignment on Thursday.
  • Tigers C Wilson Ramos exited Thursday's game with lower back tightness
  • Phillies 2B Jean Segura will be activated off the IL Friday.
  • Both 2B Jazz Chisholm (Marlins) and C Yadier Molina (Cardinals) were cleared to resume baseball activities for their respective teams.
  • Giants SP Tyler Beede is starting a rehab assignment at Triple-A as he returns from Tommy John surgery. He isn't eligible to come off the IL until late May. 
  • Angels C Max Stassi was placed on the 7-day IL with a concussion.

Prospect updates

  • Mariners OF Jarred Kelenic hit two home runs in his Triple-A debut, including one off a lefty. If he continues to rake like this, it's going to be hard waiting all the way until late May to see him at the major-league level.
  • Giants OF Heliot Ramos has homered in two straight Double-A games.
  • Yankees first-round pick in 2020 C Austin Wells has gone 4 for 9 with a home run, five RBI, five runs and a stolen base through two games at Low-A ball.

Two-start SPs for next week

We're running through starters making two starts next week and playing a little game of yay or nay about whether or not these pitchers belong in your starting lineups.

Sleeper hitters for next week

Five best hitter matchups next week

  1. Reds
  2. Astros
  3. Giants
  4. Padres
  5. Rockies 

Five worst hitter matchups next week

  1. Mariners
  2. Cardinals
  3. Mets
  4. Brewers
  5. Dodgers

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