Happy Luis Castillo-Might-Be-Back Day! The polarizing starting pitcher fired seven shutout innings against the Brewers on Tuesday with seven strikeouts. Once drafted as a top-10 starting pitcher, he had fallen outside the top 30 at his position in our most recent rankings updates. This is now a three-start stretch where Castillo has a 1.98 ERA. I don't think he's fully back to the ace we've seen in the past, but I think we're getting closer.
Castillo wasn't the only impressive pitcher on the mound Tuesday as Taijuan Walker, Patrick Corbin, Dallas Keuchel, and Frankie Montas all turned in quality starts. I owe an apology to Walker, who I recently said you should try and trade for anything. Boy, was I wrong. Walker struck out a career-high 12 batters over seven innings on Tuesday and has now allowed one walk or less in six of his last eight starts. If he can keep this level of control up with generating soft contact, he may be on to something.
Marlins call up top OF prospect
We've got our next top prospect call-up and it's Marlins OF Jesus Sanchez. In a corresponding move, the team placed Corey Dickerson on the IL. His debut was mostly bad news -- he went 0-for-4 with a pair of strikeouts. However, there were some glimmers of hope. For starters, the Marlins had him batting fifth in the order, which is an excellent spot for RBI potential. Also, while Sanchez's first plate appearance was a groundout, the ball came off the bat at 103.5 mph.
Scott views him as a must-add player in leagues that ask you to start five outfielders. At the same time, he believes it's time to change our expectations for prospects given how poorly they've done so far since being called up. If he catches fire with the Marlins, that's when the recommendation becomes to pick him up in leagues that start three outfielders. Keep in mind that he had been slowing down at Triple-A over his last 19 games before being called up.
More news and notes
- Nationals SP Max Scherzer was placed on the IL with that groin inflammation, but it's expected to be a minimum stay. We've heard that before.
- Tigers SP prospect Matt Manning was called up after Matthew Boyd was placed on the IL. He's 26% rostered with a 8.07 ERA at Triple-A and starts Thursday against the Angels.
- Nightmare season continues: The Dodgers placed 1B/OF Cody Bellinger on the IL, retroactive to June 12, with left hamstring tightness. OF who are fewer than 50% rostered: Amed Rosario, Miguel Andujar, Joc Pederson, Odubel Herrera. 1B who are fewer than 70% rostered: Joey Votto, Jonathan Schoop, Patrick Wisdom.
- Royals SS Adalberto Mondesi was reinstated but did not start on Tuesday, which is something that always confuses me.
- Yankees SP Luis Severino suffered a Grade 2 groin strain during his rehab stint. The Yankees were hoping to have him back by the end of June, but the groin injury will delay his return by about a month.
- Phillies OF Bryce Harper was removed with an apparent injury.
- Braves OF Ronald Acuna returned to the lineup Tuesday.
- Cubs 3B/OF Kris Bryant left after getting hit by a pitch on his right hand. X-rays came back negative.
- Angels 3B Anthony Rendon will be out for a couple of days after hurting his triceps late Monday night.
- Braves SP Tucker Davidson left his start with forearm tightness and will be placed on the IL.
- Nationals SP Stephen Strasburg's recent visit with a neck specialist didn't lead to anything concrete, but he's scheduled for another visit soon.
- Cubs SS Javier Baez returned to the lineup with his 15th homer of the season
- Cubs SP Adbert Alzolay threw a bullpen and may be ready for activation after one more session.
- Brewers 2B Kolten Wong will likely be activated during the upcoming series against the Rockies.
- Tigers 1B/3B Jeimer Candelario was reinstated Tuesday.
- Cardinals 2B/3B/SS/OF Tommy Edman was scratched due to a tight torso.
- The Tigers designated C Wilson Ramos for assignment, so if you added Eric Haase, it looks like he's sticking around.
- Mariners OF Jarred Kelenic added another sock and a shoe on Monday. That's now two games in a row with a home run and a stolen base at Triple-A.
- Yankees pitching prospect Luis Gil was promoted to Triple-A. He had a 2.64 ERA with a 1.21 WHIP with 50 strikeouts in 30 2/3 innings at Double-A.
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MLB confirms crackdown coming
To the dismay of just about every pitcher, some of who have been more vocal than others, the MLB has confirmed they will begin cracking down on the usage of foreign substances on Monday, June 21. Here is what we know about the coming crackdown so far, and some key takeaways from players:
- This will include umpires regularly checking pitchers throughout the course of the game. Any pitcher caught with a substance will be ejected from the game and immediately suspended for 10 days with pay.
- Pitchers can continue to use rosin but no longer in conjunction with sunscreen.
- Also of note: Teams will not be able to replace suspended players on their roster.
- As for what this means for control and HBPs, the MLB is hoping that as a result of not having that extra grip, pitchers try and tone it down with the max effort velocity, which will lead to improved control.
- Of course, Dodgers SP Trevor Bauer had some choice words, which I actually agreed with. Expecting pitchers to learn a new way to pitch midseason is like making a rule change in your Fantasy league on June 16.
- Also, if you haven't heard, Tyler Glasnow was placed on the IL with a partially torn UCL Tuesday. He had a Zoom conference where he all but blamed the injury on suddenly trying to pitch without substances. He was trying to overcompensate without them.
Scott sees this as a bit egregious considering how the league dealt with PEDs. Why? Everybody knew this had been going on with pitchers and that it had been going on for a long time. Even things like rosin and sunscreen -- there's a rosin bag on the mound and you're wearing sunscreen. How do you avoid it? Scott also worries about the stigma that will be attached to pitchers who are suspended in the future for this --- we know how quickly the public can rush to run with a narrative. Let's hope this is not something that comes into play with every Hall of Fame vote from this point on.
The other interesting thing to think about: Will a 10-game suspension be enough of a deterrent? That remains to be seen.
Waiver options you might've missed
- Mariners SP Logan Gilbert is a big-time prospect who was off to a slow start but now has a 1.54 ERA with a 17% SwStr rate over his last two starts.
- Tigers SP Tarik Skubal has ditched his split change in favor of a traditional changeup since May 14. In his last six starts, he has a 3.27 ERA with 48 strikeouts over 33 innings pitched.
- Rockies SP/RP Austin Gomber pitches in Colorado but has surprisingly been awesome there this season. In his last nine starts overall: 2.20 ERA with 52 strikeouts to just four walks over 53.1 innings.
- Royals SP Mike Minor in last six starts: 3.32 ERA, 1.00 WHIP. The strikeouts are way up and the walks are down.
- Reds SP Vladimir Gutierrez has a 2.74 ERA with a 1.09 WHIP. I'm skeptical long term because he's a fly ball pitcher, but he's worth an add in deeper leagues while he's pitching this well.
More waiver options
- Cleveland SS/OF Amed Rosario (48% rostered) went 3-for-5 on Tuesday and stole his seventh bag. In 35 games since the start of May, he's hit .336 with two homers and seven steals (that's a 30-steal pace over 150 games).
- Cardinals SP Kwang Hyun Kim (40% rostered) threw six innings of one run ball against the Marlins. He draws the lowly Pirates next week.
- Diamondbacks 1B Christian Walker (25% rostered) ripped off two doubles and three RBI on Tuesday. He's 25% rostered and had a .825 OPS in 2019 and a .792 OPS last season.
- Cleveland 1B Bobby Bradley (24% rostered) went 2-for-4 with his third homer on Tuesday. He's now batting .440 over his first eight games here with Cleveland. The power is legit as he has four seasons with 27-plus homers in the minors, but he strikes out a ton. He also had a solid spring training: .303 batting average with two homers (but a 21% strikeout rate). Now could be the time it's all coming together for Bradley.
- Rockies OF Yonathan Daza (11% rostered) went 3-for-5 with an RBI on Tuesday and he's now batting .325. He has also started seven straight.
- Tigers SP Tarik Skubal at KC
- Orioles SP Keegan Akin at CLE
- Angels SP Griffin Canning at OAK
- A's SP/RP Cole Irvin vs. LAA
- Royals SP Brady Singer vs. DET
- Diamondbacks SP Merrill Kelly at SF