Happy Tuesday everyone! Dan Schneier here taking over for Frank for the morning. We're down to the final two weeks of the MLB season and some of you are competing in your championship week matchup for most H2H leagues. For those of you in the Roto scoring formats, every at bat and every pitch still matters. On Monday, we saw the debut of the most dominant minor-league pitcher of the 2021 season, and despite Scott White's previous skepticism, Rays prospect Shane Baz did not disappoint. But more on that below.
We also had Royals catcher Salvador Perez make MLB history and Fantasy Baseball history. We'll break down those two developments, other interesting Fantasy nuggets to take away and dive into some waiver-wire scoops from Scott. All of that below.
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Baz pitches like veteran in debut
Despite an absolutely dominant minor league season that saw Rays pitcher Shane Baz rack up these numbers over 17 Double-A and Triple-A starts: 2.06 ERA, 0.80 WHIP, 113 K over 78.2 IP -- he was just 26% rostered heading into his call-up. On Monday, Baz delivered in his first live MLB action. The raw numbers weren't spectacular as Baz allowed two runs in five innings, but considering the lineup he faced (Blue Jays) and the way he delivered his arsenal, it looked like we were watching a star in the making.
Baz allowed just two hits on the entire night and both of them were home runs. So the raw box score numbers could have been even better. He also had full control over his arsenal and delivered five strikeouts to go along with no walks. He gets the Astros next, but judging how he handled Toronto, it would make sense to take a swing on the upside and get him in your starting lineups.
Perez breaks the record
On Monday night, Royals catcher Salvador Perez made MLB history. Move over J.T. Realmuto there's a new top Fantasy Baseball catcher for 2021 and likely heading into the 2022 season (though I can already totally see him being written up on lists to avoid based on ADP) and his name is Salvy Perez! One of his two hits against Cleveland on Monday was also his 46th home run -- the most in any single season by a catcher (31 of those homers came with Perez at catcher and the other 15 when he was DH).
Perez clubbed one of three dingers off of Triston McKenzie, with Hunter Dozier and Andrew Benintendi hitting the others. The 46 home runs represents the highest single-season total ever for a player whose regular position is catcher. Thirty-one of them have been hit while Perez was catching, with the other 15 coming when he was the designated hitter.
Perez is now tied for first with Vlad Guerrero for most home runs in the league.
Riley continues breakout season
It turns out those who targeted Braves 3B Austin Riley late in drafts to play their CI slot were gifted a lot more than a late-round flier. They were rewarded with one of the single most productive hitters in Fantasy Baseball in 2021. At Arizona on Monday, Riley went 3 for 5 with three doubles and three RBI. While it's true that Monday's crushing performance came against a terrible pitching staff (arguably the MLB's worst -- I take that back there is no argument to be had), Riley has been dominant all season now following a somewhat slow start in April.
The 24-year-old is now batting .301 (who saw that coming) with 29 homers and 92 RBI.
Scott White dove into some players you'll want to scoop if they are still on your waiver wire. You can find that column here. Below, we'll feature some of our favorite adds:
A's SP Chris Bassitt: When Bassitt got his face smashed by a line drive back in mid-August, most presumed he'd be out for the season, which is why he's as available as it is. Now that it looks like he'll be returning Thursday, you'll want to take advantage wherever he was dropped. It may not be wise to move him into your lineup for his return start even though it's against the Mariners. He hasn't had a rehab assignment and may not be ready to take on a full workload yet. But he'll face the Mariners in the final week of the season, too, and will be more stretched out by that point.
Mariners SP Logan Gilbert: Sunday's outing followed a dominant one last time in which he struck out nine Red Sox over six innings, so Logan Gilbert seems to be finding his stride at just the right time. He's had an up-and-down rookie season, which is to be expected, but he'll be facing a spiraling Angels lineup this week. It doesn't seem like the Mariners are limiting his innings in any way either.
Rockies SS/2B Brendan Rodgers: After an August power drought, Brendan Rodgers is up to four home runs in September thanks to a weekend surge that saw him go 6 for 13 with two homers and a double. He's waking up just in time for a favorable stretch of games to close out the season. The Rockies will be home for all of this week and the start of next week before traveling to Arizona to beat up on the Diamondbacks pitching staff. Most of Rodgers' power production has come on the road so far, but in an environment as hitter-friendly as Coors Field, he's due.