Happy Monday, everybody. I'm back (Frank Stampfl)! You know who else looked like he was back on Sunday? Blake Snell. What a performance. He threw seven shutout innings against the Diamondbacks, striking out 13! The most notable part of this outing was that he changed up his pitch mix. He threw his slider 49%, which was a season-high by far (previous high was 35%). Snell basically went fastball-slider in this one and it worked.
Normally we wouldn't advocate starting pitchers only use two pitches, but maybe this is what Snell needs to get back on track. We know that when he's on, he's one of the best pitchers in baseball. We saw last year in the postseason. The problem is that Snell has rarely been on this season. If you're kicking yourself because you benched Snell or, even worse, dropped him, you shouldn't. We still need to see more before we can comfortably trust Snell again. With that being said, he does face the Diamondbacks again this week. That's about as strong a matchup as a pitcher can have right now.
Waiver wire SPs to prioritize
- Rockies SP Austin Gomber vs. the Marlins went six shutout innings allowing five hits, zero walks and striking out nine with 17 induced swinging strikes on just 92 pitches. He is 73% rostered and has delivered quality starts in three of his past four outings. Gomber draws the Giants this week.
- Scott White's OMGG player and top waiver pick* Nationals SP Josiah Gray, who showed off serious potential in Atlanta against the Braves. In his first start with Washington, Gray pitched solidly but didn't flash much strikeout upside. It turns out he just needed an outing to get rolling. He went five innings against the Braves and allowed just one run on four hits and two walks. Gray struck out 10 with 20 swinging strikes on just 82 pitches.-- 5 IP 4 H 2 R (1 ER) 2 BB 10 K, 20 SS on 82 pitches. Now, in his first 18 innings, Gray has a towering 18.8% SwStr (swinging strike) rate but also has a 60% FB rate. He's 64% rostered. That needs to change now. Gray has now shown premier bat-missing potential in three of his four starts. Scott refers to it as abundantly obvious he needs to be added in all leagues. He's looking really good and offers tremendous upside down the stretch for your Fantasy teams with his ability to miss bats. He gets the Braves again and I concur with Scott -- he's a must-add player.
- My OMGG player and top waiver pick, Giants SP Logan Webb, is starting to cook. Against the Brewers, he went six innings and allowed just three hits and one earned run while walking just one. Webb struck out nine with 13 swinging strikes on 91 pitches. Scott is going with Gray as your top priority SP waiver pickup, but he has Webb right behind him. In his past six starts (that include three straight quality starts), Webb has racked up a 2.10 ERA, 0.97 WHIP, 3.06 xFIP and 63% GB rate with a 9.9% SwStr rate. He's a dominant groundball pitcher who gets more strikeouts than you'd expect. That's what makes him so exciting as an add -- he's not your typical groundball pitcher. He's 58% rostered.
- Diamondbacks SP Madison Bumgarner continues to get it done, and we don't know how he's doing it. Against one of the best teams in baseball (Padres), Bumgarner went seven strong in his last outing and only allowed two earned on six hits and two walks. Bumgarner struck out five but only had six swinging strikes on 80 pitches. He now has a quality start in four of his past five starts since returning from the IL, including three straight seven-inning quality starts. He's not inducing swinging strikes and his spin rates are way down, but he's finding a way to get this done. He's 58% rostered and Scott would rank him as the dead last priority among all the pitchers listed in this section.
- Twins SP Michael Pineda was on some of my deep sleeper lists in the preseason and he's starting to heat up a bit. He went six strong against the Astros and allowed just two earned on seven hits and zero walks. That's the good news. Pineda didn't exactly miss many bats with just eight induced swinging strikes on 102 pitches (and three total strikeouts), but he's getting the job done. In his past four starts, Pineda has a 3.00 ERA, 4.22 xFIP, but also only 15 strikeouts over 21 innings. This could be fool's gold because Pineda is also giving up a lot of hard contact. He's 65% rostered.
- Athletics SP James Kaprielian has returned and delivered vs. the Rangers. He allowed just two earned through six innings and just three hits and two walks. It was an excellent outing outside of the strikeout department. His four strikeouts in six innings weren't terrible, but he only induced seven swinging strikes. He's 75% rostered and gets the Rangers again this week.
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More news and notes
- Red Sox SP Chris Sale will make his season debut Saturday against the Orioles. Scott considers him a must-start SP right away in anything but the shallowest of shallow leagues where your staff is stacked. Even if he only goes five innings, it could be a very dominant five against an Orioles lineup that swings and misses a lot.
- Athletics OF Ramon Laureano was suspended 80 games Friday after testing positive for Nandrolone, a performance-enhancing substance.
- Red Sox OF Kyle Schwarber recently experienced tightness in his left groin and will have his rehab work scaled back.
- Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said Friday that SP Clayton Kershaw is still experiencing soreness in his forearm. While there's no timetable, they're still optimistic he'll be ready some time in September.
- Rays P Nick Anderson will resume rehab Monday. He had it halted because of a COVID situation.
- SS Andres Gimenez was recalled by Cleveland on Saturday and is worth targeting in leagues where you need speed in the middle infield.
- Justin Steele will join the Cubs rotation starting Tuesday. He has a 1.32 ERA in 27.1 IP in the minors this season and was awesome as a reliever earlier with the Cubs -- he is 2% rostered.
- The following players went to the IL this weekend:
- Yankees RP Aroldis Chapman with left elbow inflammation.
- Yankees 1B Anthony Rizzo for COVID -- Luke Voit started Sunday.
- Orioles OF Ryan Mountcastle with a concussion.
- White Sox OF Luis Robert will join the White Sox Monday (we haven't seen him since May 2 with that hip injury).
- Nationals OF Juan Soto has sat out three straight because of a knee injury, though he did pinch-hit Sunday.
- Blue Jays SS Bo Bichette was not in the lineup Sunday due to shin contusions.
- Cardinals SP Jack Flaherty is confident that he'll be able to rejoin the starting rotation during the upcoming series in Pittsburgh.
- Dodgers 3B Justin Turner exited Sunday's game due to left groin discomfort.
- Mets SS Javier Baez is day to day with left hip tightness.
- Astros OF Michael Brantley suffered an apparent injury after a collision Sunday.
- Raimel Tapia was removed Sunday due to a sprained big toe.
- The Angels hope 1B Jared Walsh will be activated Tuesday (right intercostal strain).
- Gleyber Torres suffered a thumb injury while sliding into second base -- he was batting .310 over his past 15 games, just no power.
- Rockies SS Brendan Rodgers suffered a right hand contusion Saturday (didn't play Sunday).
- Yankees 3B Gio Urshela is expected back Wednesday
Shallow league hitters to add
- Reds 2B Mike Moustakas ripped three doubles in his first game back on Friday. He is 73% rostered.
- Cardinals OF Tyler O'Neill went 4 for 4 with his 18th homer on Friday. He is 75% rostered.
- White Sox OF Andrew Vaughn is finally coming around and went 2 for 3 with his 13th homer. In 31 games since the start of July, here are Vaughn's numbers: .318 average with six homers and a 90 MPH EV. He is 71% rostered.
- Braves OF Jorge Soler in eight games with the Braves: nine hits, three homers and he is 74% rostered.