It was the best of rehab outings, it was the worst of rehab outings -- namely because it was two different rehab outings.
Chris Sale and Carlos Carrasco, each making their way back from injury, each made their second rehab start Tuesday. Sale's went swimmingly. He allowed no hits while striking out six over 3 2/3 innings, his fastball peaking at 98 mph. Carrasco's not so much. He allowed five runs on three homers in 1 2/3 innings.
There was more pressure on Carrasco to perform, frankly, given the talk of him potentially being activated for this weekend. His recovery from a torn hamstring doesn't need to be as painstaking as Sale's from Tommy John surgery, but still, the Mets are probably rethinking his timetable now.
Which isn't to say you should expunge Carrasco so that he doesn't corrupt the rest of your team. The point of a rehab assignment is the process, not the results, and since there haven't been any reports of further injury or diminished stuff, there may be nothing to make of this outing at all. It may be no more than a speed bump on Carrasco's road back to the majors.
But it's certainly not what you'd like to see, and if you're debating whether to add Carrasco or Sale on a site other than CBS, it tips the scale more in Sale's favor even though he theoretically has the tougher road back.
We know now that Sale's clunky 2019 was afflicted by injury, but he was an ace as bankable as Max Scherzer before then, compiling a 2.89 ERA, 1.03 WHIP and 10.9 K/9 over the first nine years of his career. Maybe fresh off Tommy John surgery, he won't go seven innings every time out, but it's not a stretch to say he could be your best pitcher otherwise, provided he doesn't suffer a Noah Syndergaard-level setback.
Of course, if you do play on CBS, both Carrasco and Sale are already more than 80 percent rostered, meaning you may have to settle for one of these players instead ...
TB Tampa Bay • #62 • Age: 24
Short outings remain the big drawback for Shane McClanahan, but in terms of effectiveness, he's looking better and better. He had 22 swinging strikes on his 93 pitches in this one, including seven on his slider, six on his fastball, five on his changeup and four on his curveball. That's a much more developed arsenal than you'd expect for a 24-year-old rookie and shows the progress he's made just this year. His strikeout rate would rank fourth among qualifiers, and he should still have enough innings left in the tank to make it the rest of the way.
Joey Votto 1B
CIN Cincinnati • #19 • Age: 37
Joey Votto reached base three times Tuesday, including on a home run, and you see the numbers he's put up since returning June 8 from a broken thumb. They make him the 10th-best first baseman in points leagues and ninth-best in Rotisserie during that time, which begs the question why he remains so available in CBS Sports leagues. The underlying numbers looked strong even before the IL stint, and he seems to have made good on his promise to hit for more power this year.
MIN Minnesota • #8 • Age: 30
Equipped with a cup made of Kevlar that he says can "stop a bullet," Mitch Garver showed his fortitude in his first game back from groin surgery Monday, homering twice. Moreover, his numbers since the end of April (albeit with a lengthy absence in the middle) make him out to be more like the stud who hit .273 with 31 homers and a .995 OPS in 2019 than the mess who struck out in nearly half his plate appearances last year. I don't think it's a stretch to say he has as much upside as anyone at his position even if he has much to prove still.
HOU Houston • #31 • Age: 30
Just accept that he's the closer already. I know that manager Scott Servais has been less than forthright on the matter and that Paul Sewald was riding a strikeout high when he butted in for a couple saves earlier this month -- once when Kendall Graveman was owed a day off and once when he ran into some trouble in the ninth. But Sewald has now allowed two earned runs in back-to-back outings, including Tuesday in a setup role for Graveman, who went on to secure his ninth save. The usage at this point speaks for itself.
David Price RP
LAD L.A. Dodgers • #33 • Age: 35
True, David Price's last outing was as far back as Sunday, but word came out Tuesday that the Dodgers are looking to increase his pitch count with a goal of making him a permanent part of the rotation. It wasn't clear if he was more than just a fill-in after spending all of this season in the bullpen, and three- and four-inning outings, like he's thrown so far, just weren't going to cut it. The former Cy Young winner appears to have plenty left in the tank at age 35, his high WHIP explained by an outrageous .383 BABIP, and with the Dodgers supporting cast backing him, he could pay big dividends by the time he's stretched out.
ATL Atlanta • #62 • Age: 25
Making his first big-league start of 2021 after being sidelined by a shoulder strain, Touki Toussaint came through in a big way, but it wouldn't be the first time the former top prospect fooled us with an impressive one-off. His velocity was actually down a couple miles per hour from previous appearances, and his whiff rate was a modest 11.4 percent. The 25-year-old did find another gear in his final two rehab starts at Triple-A, striking out 18 while allowing two earned runs in 12 innings, but minor-league success isn't exactly new to him. With a career 5.67 ERA, he's a deeper-league pickup until he shows some consistency.