If you didn't know anything about Chris Paddack's history, Wednesday may have come as a shock. The Padres sent their ace despite a 3.15 ERA and 9.9 K/9. Don't worry, this is just a way to manipulate his innings. Paddack has already thrown 65 innings this season and never topped 90 in the minor leagues. Hopefully it doesn't also turn into a way to manipulate his service time as well. As long as Paddack spends less than 20 days in the minor leagues, it won't.
My expectation is that Paddack returns in the next two or three weeks and assumes his position atop the rotation. So no, you should not consider dropping him. But this should be a reminder that he has a pretty low ceiling on his innings this season, and I would assume around 140. So if he comes back and goes on another remarkable run, you should definitely try to sell high.
Speaking of players who were sent down and came back on fire, Mallex Smith is still hitting. Smith collected three more hits on Wednesday and now has an 11-game hitting streak. He's slashed .320/.370/.460 over that stretch with four stolen bases. Maybe most importantly, he's remained in the leadoff spot since Dee Gordon returned. Amazingly, he's still just 58% owned. Before you read the rest of this piece, please go make sure he's owned in your league.
Four to add from Wednesday
Ramon Laureano (37%) -- I wrote about Laureano a couple of weeks ago when he was in the middle of his hitting streak. That ended, but Laureano's Fantasy production hasn't. Since May 8, he owns an .873 OPS with six home runs and five steals. In 117 major-league games, he has 14 home runs and 15 steals with a .271 average. At the very least he should be owned in all categories leagues.
Merrill Kelly (39%) -- Kelly has been remarkably sharp in his last three starts, including Wednesday night when he shut out the Phillies for 7.2 innings. He's pitched at least seven innings in all three starts and hasn't given up more than a run in any of them. There's definitely some good fortune at work here, but next week he's a two-start pitcher against the Rockies (away from Coors) and Giants. He should be started in all points leagues.
Garrett Cooper (29%) -- Cooper is another guy who's found his way into this column before. He went 3 for 5 with a grand slam on Wednesday and now has an .875 OPS on the season. There's good plate discipline here and just enough power to matter. He should be owned in any league that requires five outfielders or a corner infielder.
Ian Kennedy (15%) -- Kennedy looks to be the closest thing the Royals have to a closer with three saves in his past four appearances. He also has 34 strikeouts and just four walks in 26.2 innings this season. He should be owned in any league where saves are scarce.
Wednesday's Winners and Losers
Yonny Chirinos -- Chirinos spun his second consecutive quality start, striking out seven Athletics over six innings of two-run ball Wednesday. The Rays are no longer using an opener with him, and the results have been very encouraging. He owns a 2.36 ERA in eight starts this season and he's averaged better than six innings per start.
Cole Hamels --Two weeks ago I was really starting to get worried about Hamels. Since then he's thrown 22 innings across three starts. In those starts, he's struck out 23 batters and allowed just one (unearned) run. After dominating the Rockies at Coors Field, I think we can safely call him a top-30 starting pitcher again.
Andrew Benintendi -- Benintendi collected two doubles and a triple on Wednesday to continue his torrid June. He's now hitting .333 for the month with a .949 OPS. The only thing he hasn't done is run.
Rowdy Tellez -- A grand slam from Tellez on Wednesday was enough to make me wish I hadn't dropped him in my 16-team league, but I'm not sure it's enough to make me pick him up again. It was his first extra-base hit in June and his first home runs since May 22.
Jordan Yamamoto - You would think seven shutout innings in a debut would get you higher in this article. I just don't think Yamamoto has more than one more start left before he's sent back down, and I'm not sure he has a lot of Fantasy upside once he sticks.
Joey Votto -- Votto has quietly looked like he's waking from his slumber and even homered on Wednesday. Then he left the game with back stiffness. Keep a close eye on this in case it requires an IL stint.
Miles Mikolas -- Mikolas had yet another bad start on Wednesday, giving up five runs in five innings to the lowly Marlins. His peripherals say he's been unlucky and I mostly agree with them, but it's getting harder to start him. Just don't spite-drop him.
Gregory Polanco -- Polanco didn't start on Wednesday and has now started just seven games in the month of June. He owns the highest strikeout rate (29.1%) of his career by a fair margin. Polanco is a must-sit right now and doesn't need to be rostered in a three-outfielder points league.
Travis Shaw -- I hoped Shaw would remember how to hit after his IL stint. That does not seem to be the case. On Wednesday he went hitless in six plate appearances and struck out four times. He's not playing against lefties and he's not hitting much against righties. Make sure someone is stashing Keston Hiura.