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You probably lost an important player this weekend. The number of injuries throughout MLB over the last few days has been overwhelming, and if you managed to escape the weekend unscathed, you're going to have a huge leg up on the competition.
- Starling Marte (abdominal) — Placed on IL
- Jacob deGrom (elbow) — Placed on IL, may not need an MRI
- Robinson Cano (hand) — Had hand in soft cast Sunday; X-rays negative
- Joey Votto (back) — Missed weekend series
- Mike Moustakas (finger) — Will play through fractured finger
- Austin Meadows (thumb) — On IL with sprain
- Jean Segura (hamstring) — On IL with strain
- Brandon Morrow (elbow) — Shut down from rehab assignment
- Nathan Eovaldi (elbow) — Placed on IL with loose bodies
- Matt Shoemaker (ACL) — Out for the season
- Scott Kingery (hamstring) — On IL with strain
That's a long list, but it's hardly an exhaustive one. Some of these injuries may be non-issues by the middle of this week, while some will linger for weeks on end. In most cases, you probably can't afford to start them in Week 5. Some may end up better than expected — deGrom, in particular, appears to have avoided the absolute worst-case scenario — but at least for Week 5, you've got some holes to fill. We all do. Let's find some help.
- Gregory Polanco (71%) — If you're in need of a Judge replacement, Clint Frazier should be at the top of your list; Polanco should be right behind him. He's struggled in his rehab assignment and may take some time to get back on track, but Polanco's upside — 25 homers, 15 steals — makes him a must-add.
- Jordan Lyles (44%) — Lyles had some sleeper buzz before the season, and he's building on that so far. In three starts, he has struck out 29.0% of opposing hitters, while allowing one run in 17 innings. Fueled by a spike in curveball usage, Lyles looks like he can be a useful pitching option moving forward.
- Christian Walker (61%) — I'll admit, I was skeptical Walker would be anything more than just a flash in the pan, and his 2-for-28 skid after his hot start seemed confirmation. And yet, now he's gone 15 for his last 25, with three homers, and it would be foolish to ignore it. I don't know what the future holds for Walker, but he's too hot to leave on the wire right now.
- Alex Gordon (68%) — Skepticism is warranted with Gordon, who has not had an OPS over .700 since 2015. However, he is making tons of contact, and he's hitting the ball hard enough that it may not be just a fluke. Especially if the 10.8% strikeout rate, or anything close to it, sticks. Don't forget about his 12 steals last season, too.
- Reynaldo Lopez (25%) — I've pretty much given up on Lopez, but his last two starts have been noteworthy. For the results — 3 ER on 12 H, 2 BB and 13 K in 12 innings — as well as for the approach. He has almost entirely abandoned his curveball, relying instead on a steady diet of sliders and changeups to go along with his mid-90s fastball. He looks more confident than ever with the changeup, and that is something that could be a key for him moving forward. In deeper leagues, he's worth a stash to see.
- Rowdy Tellez (13%) — Tellez has been swinging from his heels, and the result is a lot of strikeouts, but also a ton of hard contact. While there was some good fortune in his success last season, he looks like a legitimate source of power right now.
- Cesar Hernandez (80%) — With Segura on the IL, it was Hernandez batting in the No. 2 spot for the Phillies. He has struggled so far this season, but he'll be worth starting for as long as he's hitting near the top of a very good Phillies' order.
- Vince Velasquez (41%) — Given how much hype there has been around Velasquez the last few years, it's surprising that his excellent start to the season hasn't garnered more excitement. He's getting fewer swings and misses but has also surrendered just four walks in his first 17.2 innings. This may not last, but it's worth taking the chance, especially if you've bought into the hype in the past.
Winners and Losers
- Joey Gallo — It's all happening. Gallo didn't manage to go deep Sunday, but he still went 2 for 3 with 5 RBI, without a strikeout. Gallo has been red hot over the last week, with four homers, seven extra-base hits, 11 RBI, eight runs, and only seven strikeouts in 26 trips to the plate. Gallo has his strikeout rate down to 32.9 percent, and his BABIP up to .313, and he's hitting .281/.382/.734 through 18 games. Will it last? Not to this level, but this is what the upside looks like.
- Clayton Kershaw — So far, so good. Kershaw's velocity is going to remain below average, but he's still managed a 14.7% swinging strike rate. The margin for error is thinner, but Kershaw showed last year he could still be effective. We're seeing the same thing here.
- Marlins pitchers — This team can pitch! They can't do anything else right, but there's talent in this rotation. Jose Urena might be the least talented of the group, and he has allowed just three earned runs over his last two starts, with 11 strikeouts and one walk in 13 innings. However, Trevor Richards and Caleb Smith who are really opening eyes, having combined for 12.1 IP with 15 strikeouts and only four earned runs allowed to the Nationals this weekend. At this point, Smith needs to be universally owned, and Richards shouldn't be too far behind.
- Jonathan Schoop — After going 5 for 12 with two doubles and two homers this weekend against the Orioles, Schoop is hitting .270/.333/.524 for the season. That's pretty much exactly what he did between 2016 and 2017. There's still some life left in this bat despite 2018's disaster.
- Gerrit Cole — Well, everyone gets one. Cole was crushed for eight runs in 4.1 innings against the Rangers Saturday, his worst start so far. He hasn't been quite as sharp as he was last year overall, but there aren't any obvious signs of trouble here, so give him a pass.
- Mike Foltynewicz — He's expected to be back in the Braves' rotation shortly, but you can't rely on Foltynewicz yet. He was tagged for six runs in 5.1 innings in his fourth rehab start coming back from elbow soreness and has now given up 12 runs in 17.2 innings, with 14 strikeouts and nine walks. Let him prove he's right before getting him in your lineup.
- Touki Toussaint — With the Braves' pitching depth, you don't get many chances to mess up. In Toussaint's case, it took just one bad start to lose his opportunity, as he was sent down after allowing seven earned runs in 1.1 innings of work Saturday for the Braves. There's still potential here, but he's going to have to earn another shot. You can safely drop him for now.