It's a beautiful day whenever we learn one of the game's top prospects is getting called up to the bigs. Jarred Kelenic will be promoted this Thursday and instantly finds himself ranked inside the top 30 outfielders with the opportunity to move up rather quickly. You can read more about him below, but I am quite excited. Hopefully this prompts a team like the Tampa Bay Rays to do something similar with either Wander Franco, Vidal Brujan or both! The Rays currently have a team OPS of .672, tied for 23rd in baseball.
Outside of Kelenic, Monday was pretty light with only five games played. Kyle Gibson and Alex Wood both continue to pitch great this season. The Marlins lineup managed to even make Luke Weaver look good. But perhaps most notable was that Tyler Naquin continues to mash for the Reds. He's now started eight straight games with four hits and two homers over his last two games. Naquin's 57% rostered and should continue to play everyday with Joey Votto on the shelf.
Kelenic very likely to deliver
Mariners OF Jarred Kelenic might not technically be the best prospect in baseball, but a case can be made that he's the most ready to make a massive impact in Fantasy immediately upon his arrival to the majors. According to ESPN's Jeff Passan, Kelenic will be called up to the majors on Thursday. For those of you who have him stashed on your rosters, let the celebrations begin. All three of the FBT brain trust is confident going out on that limb, suggesting an early celebration for what promises to be an exciting final five months for those managers who have Kelenic rostered. Some how, some way, Kelenic is only 81% rostered in CBS leagues and that should literally be no less than 100%.
Seattle's plan was to move him up to Triple-A and let him play there for a little while before making the move to the majors. Of course, that was contingent on Kelenic getting off to a normal start at that level. Instead, he dominated in Triple-A, going 8 for 18 with two home runs and two stolen bases. In his last full season in the minors (2019), Kelenic collected 23 home runs and 20 stolen bases with a .291 batting average and a .904 OPS.
I have moved him up to OF27 in Roto and OF30 in H2H points, but Scott is getting a bit more aggressive than that. He made the case for why Kelenic is likely to immediately move into the top 20 of his OF rankings. Scott is also making sure to be clear that he does not see Kelenic as a sell-high candidate while leveraging his hype. He's a clear hold. Hold him on your rosters and enjoy a likely five-category contributor right away. One more take for ya: Scott sees Kelenic as the one prospect who is going to make the biggest impact in 2021.
More news and notes
- Mets SP Jacob deGrom's MRI revealed no structural issues or long-term concerns. He'll still be placed on the 10-day IL Tuesday with right side tightness. Scott feels like this is overall excellent news for deGrom managers.
- Dodgers 1B/OF Cody Bellinger posted a video of him running sprints on Monday as he recovers from a hairline fracture in his left fibula. He remains without a timetable but this is obviously a positive update.
- Rockies 1B C.J. Cron was placed on the 10-day injured list with a lower-back strain.
- Astros SP Framber Valdez could throw a bullpen in Houston this week before beginning a rehab assignment in the near future.
- Orioles SP Keegan Akin was recalled and will fill a long relief role for the time being.
- The Rockies and Padres were postponed on Monday. The teams will play a doubleheader on Wednesday, while Dinelson Lamet will start Tuesday.
- Position eligibility note: Reds OF Nick Senzel now has six games at second base, so if you only need five to be eligible, Senzel has it.
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Walsh continues to surprise us
It feels like most Fantasy managers have been waiting for the shoe to drop with Angels 1B/OF Jared Walsh but he just continues to produce, and he's the player who stood out most to Scott on Monday. Two Mondays ago, in our FBT weekly Q&A roundtable discussion, we were asked about Walsh's staying power, whether he was a buy or sell as a top-10 1B the rest of the season. Scott was the only member of the FBT brain trust who declared Walsh a buy as a top-10 1B. Here's what he had to say about it:
"You know what? I'll buy. I know my rest-of-season rankings don't have him in the top 10, but I'm going heart over head here. By now, it's clear to me that he's a much better contact hitter than he showed in the minors, and the power was never really a concern. Freddie Freeman, Vladimir Guerrero, Cody Bellinger, DJ LeMahieu and Jose Abreu I think are givens to finish ahead of him, and just on pure power production, Pete Alonso and Matt Olson probably do, too. It's Walsh competing with about six others for those final three top-10 spots. Certainly doable."
Walsh went 4 for 4 with a home run, double and stolen base on Monday. He has now stolen a base in two straight, and while it's not wise to expect too many more, the unexpected speed is the cherry on top for what has been a truly impressive 2021 so far for Walsh. He's up to seven home runs, 29 RBI and a .347/.426/.593 slash line. He's still just 27 years old and very likely coming into his own right before our eyes.
Scott views Walsh as a player who you're going to be happy to have in your lineup on a weekly basis, and he has moved him all the way into his top 20 OF.
The state of Fantasy Baseball in 2021
On Monday, Chris chose to deep dive into the state of Fantasy and the MLB after the first month and change of the season. Among the biggest takeaways from Towers is that this is truly the year of the pitcher.
From Chris: There are currently 45 pitchers who have thrown at least 30 innings with an ERA below 3.50 and 30 with an ERA below 3.00. At the same point in the league calendar in 2019, 39 pitchers had an ERA below 3.50 and 20 had an ERA below 3.00. And the effect is even more pronounced when you realize only 90 pitchers this season have even thrown 30 innings to date, compared to 119 to the same point.
So what's the takeaway for Fantasy purposes? This could mean that it's the perfect time to sell pitching in your leagues. Moving a fast-starting pitcher for offensive help is probably the best way to improve your team, especially if you can get struggling hitters at a discount.
Fun with Statcast data
Big xwOBA underachievers
- Mets 1B/OF Dominic Smith (fourth-biggest underachiever)
- Astros OF Kyle Tucker (11th)
- Phillies 3B Alec Bohm (12th)
- Yankees C Gary Sanchez (16th)
- White Sox C Yasmani Grandal (20th)
On the super high-end: Braves 1B Freddie Freeman is batting .217 with a .467 SLG but has a .295 xBA and .572 xSLG.
Big xwOBA overachievers
- Rays OF Randy Arozarena (ninth-biggest overachiever)
- Cardinals OF Dylan Carlson (23rd)
- White Sox SS Tim Anderson (25th)
Big xERA underachievers
- A's SP Jesus Luzardo (23rd)
- Yankees SP Jameson Taillon (24th)
- Angels SP Dylan Bundy (25th)
- Angels SP Griffin Canning (28th)
- Reds SP Luis Castillo (30th)
Big xERA overachievers
- No. 7 in exit velocity on FB/LD
- No. 13 in hard hit rate
- No. 10 in barrels/PA
- Only 41% rostered
- Giants SP Logan Webb vs. TEX
- Cubs SP Adbert Alzolay at CLE
- Pirates SP J.T. Brubaker vs. CIN
- Blue Jays SP Robbie Ray at ATL
- Cardinals SP Kwang Hyun Kim at MIL
- Mariners SP Yusei Kikuchi at LAD