Happy Friday, everyone! Some teams had it better than others on Thursday, but no team had it worse than the Mets. It turns out lip reading a pitching coach in the dugout say everything is OK is not a good reason to have hope an injury isn't serious. Mets SP Max Scherzer was diagnosed with a moderate-to-high-grade oblique strain and is expected to miss 6-8 weeks. Given the history of baseball players taking longer to recover from oblique injuries, I wouldn't be surprised if that timetable is on the very optimistic end. It's a tough blow for the Mets, who shortly after found a way to rally in extra innings to grab a win over the Cardinals and improve to seven games over the second-place Phillies in the NL East.
But we're going to dive a little deeper into fallout from the Scherzer injury. If you roster him, we'll discuss what your best options are now by unpacking Scott White's article that breaks down just that. We'll also talk about a big-prospect call up from an NL team, a power hitter finding his surge and more from Thursday's action. Make sure you're all caught up with everything going on from the Fantasy Baseball Today team over at CBSSports.com/Fantasy/Baseball.
Gorman on the way up
Incoming: Another top prospect is making his way to the majors. One of the best pure power hitters to be called up all season is joining the Cardinals -- 2B Nolan Gorman. The first thing you should do is open up a new tab and go league by league and make sure he is not available anywhere. Gorman should be rostered in all leagues immediately based on his upside, and he's worth investing a similar chunk of your FAAB as you did for a player like Alek Thomas (about 13-15%) If you desperately need middle infield help, it makes sense to use closer to 20% of your budget.
Despite the recent struggles of top prospects called up to the MLB level, Gorman has massive upside based on how he has hit so far at Triple-A in 2022. Gorman has racked up a sparkling .308 batting average with 15 homers. He's not without his warts and carries over a 34% strikeout rate from Triple-A. There is a floor here. It's obvious. That strikeout rate could be a non-negotiable at the MLB level, but if it's not, and that power shows up early, he can help you now.
What to do if you roster Scherzer
Scott White did an excellent job breaking down what options you have if you just lost Scherzer in your league Charlie Morton. There is not much in Morton's advanced profile that suggests he's not going to put it together -- or that he has fallen off. Scott also makes the case for Robbie Ray and several other trade targets.The best option might not be on your waiver wire, but instead via trading for a pitcher. One pitcher both Scott and I like to target via trade is
Story starting to pay off
For the first month of the season, it looked like Red Sox SS Trevor Story was not going to regain his career form. Accounting for the difficulty in changing leagues, Story is right on track now, highlighted by Thursday's dominant stat-stuffing sheet. Story hit three homers on Thursday and added a stolen base for good measure. He also collected seven RBI, five runs and four hits on the night. Over his past nine games, Story is batting .333 with five homers and four bags. The buy-low window may be closed.
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Valdez does it again
There was certainly skepticism surrounding Astros SP Framber Valdez's profile heading into the 2022 season, but once again it seems like it's going to pay off to bet on the Houston organization to get the most out of a pitcher. Valdez delivered another stellar outing on Thursday racking up seven strikeouts over seven one-run innings (with just eight hits/walks allowed). His sinker velocity is up and his fastball hit 97 MPH. With an excellent groundball rate and command (just two walks or fewer in five straight starts), Valdez is a buy-high candidate in trades. Find someone who doesn't fully buy into the breakout and trade for Valdez at that cost.
Can't hit Gallen
When Diamondbacks SP Zac Gallen is on the mound, at least so far this season, he simply doesn't give up many hits or runs. Gallen threw another five innings of one-run ball on Thursday. Through five innings, Gallen only allowed two hits, one of them was an RBI double. He has a 1.14 ERA, 0.71 WHIP and 39 strikeouts over 39 innings this season. After a pitcher-friendly matchup against the Cubs, Gallen draws another similar one against the Royals in his next start.
News and lineup notes
Every night the Fantasy Baseball Today team dives into all of the happenings around the MLB from top performers to injuries, trades and more. The podcast is a must listen for any diehard, if I do say so myself. Tune in to the podcast to hear the FBT crew expand on the news and notes below.
- Jose Ramirez will receive an MRI after he fouled a ball off his right shin Thursday.
- Starling Marte will be activated from the bereavement list Friday.
- Yoan Moncada felt discomfort in his leg during Thursday's game but played through it.
- Tylor Megill is scheduled to play catch Friday. He's on the IL with biceps tendinitis but said his arm is feeling better.
- Mitch Garver was reinstated from the IL Thursday and Nick Solak was optioned to Triple-A.
- Ryan Mountcastle is on track to return from the IL Saturday when first eligible.
- Joe Barlow was unavailable Wednesday due to a "hot spot" on his right index finger.
- Dodgers pitching prospect Ryan Pepiot was optioned back to Triple-A. He's been subpar in his first two major-league starts.
- Chad Green was removed from Thursday's game with right forearm discomfort.
- Michael Wacha has been cleared to return and start Friday against the Mariners.
- Tigers starter Matt Manning exited Thursday's rehab start due to lightheadedness.
- Michael Taylor was placed on the COVID IL.:
- Shane Baz allowed one run while striking out five over 2.1 innings in his first rehab outing at Triple-A.
- Max Meyer was placed on the minor-league IL with ulnar nerve irritation. I know he got rocked in his most recent start, too, so that might have contributed to it.