The hits just keep on coming for Fantasy Baseball players. In a week where Oneil Cruz, Corey Seager, Tim Anderson, and Brandon Woodruff joined big-name players like Jose Altuve Eloy Jimenez, and Justin Verlander on the IL, we got another big blow Thursday when Jeffrey Springs left his start with an elbow injury.

Springs was diagnosed with ulnar neuritis in his left arm, a frustratingly vague diagnosis. Looking at other players who have been diagnosed with that injury, most of them have come back from the IL within just a few weeks, but a handful ended up requiring surgery. He'll be further evaluated Friday, and at this point we don't even know if he's going on the IL, though it seems likely. 

It's a big blow, both because pitching has been hard to come by in the early going and because Springs looked like one of the league's breakout stars in the early going. Springs has struck out 42% of opposing hitters and looked like the latest ace for the Rays, but now it looks like he's going to join Zach Eflin and Tyler Glasnow on the IL. 

It's a brutal break, though there is a silver lining to this dark cloud: Top prospect Taj Bradley should get another chance to start for the Rays. He made his debut Wednesday and struck out eight in five innings against the Red Sox before being sent back to Triple-A. Now, I'd expect him to get at least one more turn through the rotation, and this time, he might actually stick. Bradley is a super talented pitcher who certainly looked the part in his debut, throwing a bunch of strikes with a three-pitch mix that should allow him to turn lineups over. 

Bradley won't pitch this week, but he should be in line to return to the rotation early next week, and is worth adding in all leagues if you haven't already. Hopefully Springs' injury ends up being relatively minor, but the Rays are one of the few teams equipped to handle multiple pitching injuries. 

The way this season has gone, we'll probably get a few more significant injuries in this weekend's action, but we can't predict that, and we'll deal with it if and when that happens. For now, here's what you need to know for this weekend's games:

Waiver-wire starting pitchers to watch

These players are listed roughly in order of how interested I am in adding them: 

  • Kris Bubic (43% rostered) vs. ATL, Saturday -- Bubic has made some tweaks to his delivery and his pitches that suddenly have him looking a lot more interesting. He's generating both weak contact and a lot of whiffs in the early going, and if he manages to make it through this tough Braves lineup without imploding, he might just need to be universally rostered. 
  • Trevor Rogers (62%) vs. ARI, Friday -- I just can't bring myself to quit Rogers. He's mostly managed to avoid hard contact pretty well in the early going, but walks and a few poorly timed homers have been an issue. He's also faced a tough couple of matchups against a Mets team with good hitters up and down the lineup. We might get a better sense of where Rogers is at against the Diamondbacks, and if he thrives against them, his stock should go up. 
  • Mitch Keller (62%) @STL, Sunday -- Keller deserves a lot of credit for tinkering his way to success after seemingly flaming out as a top prospect. He's no longer the fastball-first-and-second pitcher he was in the minors; now he'll throw the kitchen sink at you, with six different pitches logged this season. That variety seems to have made him tough to pick up, as he sports an elite 82.9 mph average exit velocity allowed. There are still warts, like a 10.7% walk rate, but I really like what we've seen from Keller. If he gets through this tough start without issue, his roster rate will skyrocket. 
  • Garrett Whitlock (63%) vs. LAA, Sunday -- Whitlock's numbers have been much better as a reliever than a starter, and he might just be one of those borderline cases where his stuff just isn't good enough to play up over multiple turns through the rotation. But I'm not ready to write him off just yet, seeing as he's only made one start this season. I still like the overall profile, and the stuff plays up because of his extension, so I want to give him at least one more shot. Even if he struggles against the Angels, I won't necessarily be dropping Whitlock, but if he throws a gem, we'll be racing out to add him. 
  • Tyler Mahle (75%) @NYY, Friday -- Don't be surprised if Mahle struggles in this one; he's been vulnerable to the long ball even when things are going well, and the Yankees can obviously take advantage of that. But we've seen some really good signs from him in the early going, especially with his increased slider usage, and he might just need to be universally rostered if he holds his own against the Yankees. 
  • Anthony DeSclafani (70%) @DET, Saturday -- DeSclafani was just never healthy in 2022, but he's starting to look a lot like the 2021 version of himself. He's not quite the same guy -- he's been a lot more sinker-heavy early on than he was back then -- but the results have been outstanding. I'm expecting more of the same here, and would be looking to stream him in this matchup. 
  • Sean Manaea (68%) @DET, Friday -- Manaea's velocity is way up in the early going, higher than we've pretty much ever seen it -- he's averaging 94.5 mph with his sinker, two ticks ahead of his previous career high. Ironically, he's also throwing that pitch less than ever before, a change that could lead to more whiffs while making him harder to hit overall. He was mediocre in his first appearance and then great in his second start, and it'll be very interesting to see if he can sustain this velocity while being stretched out. 
  • Seth Lugo (66%) vs. MIL, Saturday -- It's only two starts, but Lugo actually looks a lot like he did last season out of the bullpen. His velocity is down a bit, predictably, but he's still going with a curveball-heavy approach that is leading to similar quality of contact allowed and strikeout numbers. The sample size is tiny, but it's an interesting start to Lugo's return to the rotation. 

Waiver-wire hitters to watch

These players are listed roughly in order of how interested in adding them I am: 

  • Vaughn Grissom, 2B, Braves (48%) -- With Orlando Arcia placed on the IL with a fractured wrist, Grissom gets the call and should be added pretty much everywhere. Grissom was hitting .366 with five extra-base hits in 10 games at Triple-A and showed 20-20 upside in the majors last season. I'm expecting he's up for good this time, and he's a must-add player. 
  • Edouard Julien, 2B, Twins (23%) -- Julien got an opportunity to hit leadoff Thursday, and if the Twins already trust him that much, that seems like a very good sign. That he went 2 for 5 with his first career homer is also a good sign. There are looming playing time concerns to keep in mind, but he's talented enough that he might just force the Twins to keep him around if he gets hot. 
  • Spencer Steer, 3B, Reds (27%) -- Steer didn't have much hype coming into the season, but I liked his potential playing half his games in one of the best ballparks in the majors, and he's showing the upside here in the early going. He is hitting .333/.413/.575 with just a 15.2% strikeout rate and a 90.3 mph average exit velocity. He's looking like he might be a pretty useful player even if he didn't have a favorable home park. 
  • Francisco Alvarez, C, Mets (66%) -- The Mets have treated Alvarez like a backup catcher, and he'll need to hit to change that. I'm going to keep listing him here based on potential alone, because if he does start hitting, there's room for him to get some time at DH, too. But the sporadic playing time so far is doing him no favors. 
  • Jorge Soler, OF, Marlins (49%) -- I don't really get the hesitancy to pick up Soler. He's always been an up-and-down player, but he's been red-hot to open the season, sporting quality-of-contact metrics that fully back up what he's produced so far. Is he a guarantee for 35-plus homers this season? Of course not. But he's demonstrated the upside before and he's hot right now. Go add him. 
  • Jurickson Profar, OF, Rockies (37%) -- Profar is starting to heat up, with hits in five straight entering play Thursday, including two home runs. He's a tough player to value, because he's better in points leagues, which tend to have shallower rosters, but I think he should be more widely rostered than he is right now. 
  • Bryson Stott, SS, Phillies (44%) -- I am, admittedly, not particularly excited about Stott, who has a high batting average but very little else to go along with it. That'll happen when you've got 17 singles among 21 hits. He is at least stealing bases and should continue to be a good source of batting average, so if you need those two things (and not a lot else), he's probably fine. 

The cut watchlist

We're not necessarily dropping these guys yet, but we're certainly putting them on notice. 

  • Kenta Maeda -- It's been an up-and-down first couple of turns for Maeda. He dominated the Marlins in his first outing before leaving with what turned out to be a minor issue, then he struggled mightily against the White Sox. And now he's having his turn in the rotation skipped this weekend. I would prefer to not drop him, but this feels a little ominous, even if there isn't a specific injury he's working through. 
  • Jose Berrios -- Berrios looks just as broken as he did last season, allowing 12 runs in his first 9.2 innings of work. His velocity is fine and he's getting strikeouts, but he's just getting crushed when he allows contact. I'd be willing to write it off as bad luck or a rough stretch if not for, well, all of last season. 
  • Michael Kopech -- Kopech's second start was much better, and it might have been enough to keep him from being dropped in countless leagues. But I still question whether his stuff can play up enough to thrive as a starter, and his rope is extremely short. 
  • Grayson Rodriguez -- Between the spring, his brief work in Triple-A and now two major-league starts, Rodriguez has not looked like the can't-miss ace pitching prospect we expected. There is still, obviously, significant upside here, but his command has been off and his changeup has not looked like a particularly good pitch at all -- that was supposed to be arguably his best weapon. I wouldn't want to give up on him, but if Rodriguez struggles against a strikeout-prone White Sox team, you won't be able to trust him as a starter, and that's a short jump to droppable.  
  • Eric Lauer -- Honestly, I think Lauer is probably just over-rostered at this point. His velocity is nowhere near where it was last season, and he has predictably struggled. Maybe a good outing against the Padres will stay your hand, but I think you could drop him before it and not miss out on much. 
  • Trevor Rogers -- Rogers' velocity hasn't been there in the early going, though the bigger issue for him so far is that his slider just hasn't been very good. That's disappointing after reports that he reworked it this offseason. If he can find it, I think he can still be good, but after how poorly last year went, I understand that patience is running thin. 
  • Taijuan Walker -- Walker doesn't have huge strikeout upside, typically, so if you're rostering him, it's for stability. We haven't gotten that yet, and that makes it especially tough to roster him.
  • Noah Syndergaard -- I just don't see much reason to be excited about a version of Noah Syndergaard,  who primarily gets by on command and guile. I think you could drop him now without even seeing how the next start goes and he probably won't make you regret it in the long run. 

Closer situations to watch

Scott White's Bullpen Report has the latest bullpen notes you need to know about from this week's action. Here are the most uncertain ninth inning situations in the game right now. 

  • Mets: Adam Ottavino got his first save of the season Wednesday, but you probably don't want to read too much into it. David Robertson came into the game with two runners on and a two-run lead to face Juan Soto, a super-high leverage situation. Robertson is the guy here, even if he won't necessarily get every save.
  • Diamondbacks: Scott McGough pitched the ninth inning Wednesday with a four-run lead, after Andrew Chafin worked the seventh and Miguel Castro picked the eighth. I would still lean toward McGough getting the next opportunity, but this one is still open. 
  • Angels: Jose Quijada pitched the ninth for his second save Wednesday, but Carlos Estevez wasn't available. Estevez seems like the first choice here when he is available. 
  • Tigers: Alex Lange worked the eighth inning Wednesday and then gave way to Trey Wingenter, who loaded the bases with no outs, and then Chasen Shreve blew the save. Lange got the save opportunity and shut the door on a two-run lead Thursday. He's 39% rostered and is probably the preferred option here.
  • Athletics: Trevor May pitched the ninth inning of a tie game Thursday and gave up a walk-off homer to Adley Rutschman. The A's have won just three of their first 13 games, with Dany Jimenez getting the lone save, though he hasn't been particularly sharp so far, either. I would bet on Jimenez getting the next save opportunity, but he's not a particularly exciting pitcher in a particularly unexciting situation. 

Injury report updates

  • Michael Conforto left Thursday's game with left calf tightness. He's questionable entering the weekend. 
  • Jesse Winker has missed four straight games with an illness. It's not clear if he's going to play this weekend, either. 
  • Joe Musgrove will throw a bullpen session Friday and will go back out on his rehab outing if all is good. He's been working his way back from a fractured toe, but recently had his return delayed by a shoulder issue. 
  • Max Kepler could be back from his knee injury as early as Saturday. He's been out since April 5, but it turns out this was a pretty minor injury. He's a low-end Fantasy option at this point.  
  • Cole Irvin was sent back to Triple-A after Thursday's brutal outing against the Athletics. So, if Kyle Bradish comes back from the IL next week, it could still leave Grayson Rodriguez in the rotation, not that he's been terribly impressive so far. 
  • Kyle Farmer was placed on the IL Thursday after being hit by a pitch in the face Wednesday. He avoided serious injury, but still has to recover from dental surgery. 
  • Nick Senzel was activated from the IL after missing the first couple of weeks with a toe injury. Senzel was once a big-time prospect who has produced well throughout the minors, but he's hit just .240/.303/.360 in 273 major-league games, so he has to prove he's worth trusting at this point. 
  • Javier Baez was dropped to sixth in the Tigers lineup Thursday and was then benched in the third inning for a baserunning error. It's been a very tough start to Baez's Tigers career (he had a .671 OPS in 2022), and he's hitting just .100 so far with one extra-base hit this season.