Joined: 17 Nov 2018
|It’s been a week full of injuries , as more and more pitchers hit the disabled list, making arms a premium once again for Fantasy owners.
He’s not a pitcher, but Yankees catcher Gary Sanchez headlines the list of injured players, as the catcher will miss 3-4 weeks for the second straight season.
There are names like John Hicks, Austin Romine, Tucker Barnhart and Tom Murphy who deserve to be owned in Sanchez’ absence. Now, let’s look at some pitchers to help hold down your rotation.
PLAYERS TO PICK UP
ZACH EFLIN, SP, Philadelphia Phillies (42 percent owned in Yahoo) – First it was Nick Pivetta, now it’s Zach Eflin. The Phillies are having pitchers who were no more than a healthy arm last season turn into legit standouts. Eflin increased his velocity this year, and he’s adding more swings and misses than a season ago. Like Pivetta, it’s smart to grab him before everyone else in your league takes notice.
ZACK WHEELER, SP, New York Mets (12 percent) – Like Jacob deGrom earlier this season, the Mets struggle to win games for Wheeler. That’s OK, though, as he is holding his own as of late with a reasonable ERA and a good strikeout rate. He won’t live up to the prospect hype that he had when he was moving through the system, but he can be a useful pitcher for your Fantasy roster.
SHANE BIEBER, SP, Cleveland Indians (57 percent) – Bieber was thought to be a guy who wouldn’t register big strikeout numbers, but would help Fantasy owners out in ERA, WHIP and Wins. Well, in a small sample, he’s averaging more than a strikeout per inning. Add him wherever he’s available.
ADALBERTO MONDESI, OF, Kansas City Royals (1 percent) – Speed is hard to find. Kevin Kiermaier was a suggested pickup last week as a multi-category contributor, but Mondesi is a deep-league add if you’re desperate for speed.
TWO-START PITCHERS TO STREAM
BRENT SUTER , SP, Milwaukee Brewers (39 percent) – It’s not a great week for two-start pitchers, and Suter underachieved in a juicy matchup against the Royals on Wednesday. He’s worth running out again, though, as he gets the Twins and the Braves in a two-start matchup.
KYLE GIBSON, SP, Minnesota Twins (34 percent) – Speaking of failing to capitalize, Gibson struggled against the White Sox on Wednesday. Forget that start, though, as he’s been a quality start machine this year. He’ll face a less-than-favorable team in the Brewers in his first start, but he’ll wrap the week up against Baltimore, who struggled mightily against right-handed pitching.
NATHAN EOVALDI, SP, Tampa Bay Rays (7 percent) – Eovaldi impressed this week against the Nationals, allowing just one hit over six innings. He has a date with the Marlins and Mets next week; both of which are terrific matchups.
HITTERS TO STREAM
SCOTT SCHEBLER, OF, Cincinnati Reds (22 percent) – Jesse Winker is starting to come around for the Reds, but Schebler has been the 22nd-best outfielder in Yahoo leagues over the past 30 games as the leadoff hitter for the Reds.
LOGAN MORRISON, 1B, Minnesota Twins (13 percent) – The Twins have seven games next week in Milwaukee and against the Orioles‘ bad pitching staff. There’s only one lefty on the slate, which means Morrison is a sneaky streamer to get in your lineup.
ALEN HANSON, 2B/OF, San Francisco Giants (5 percent) – Hanson has been playing regularly for the Giants, and he’s a contributor across multiple categories, with his standout category being batting average. With three games in Colorado and four more against the all-of-the-sudden questionable St. Louis rotation, Hanson could fill the stat sheets for Fantasy owners.
This column was provided to The Associated Press by the Fantasy Sports Network, The last time Clayton Kershaw pitched at Wrigley Field , the ace left-hander helped lead the Los Angeles Dodgers into the World Series.
It was a much different situation Monday. But still important for the Dodgers.
Kershaw threw a three-inning simulated game before Los Angeles’ series opener against the Chicago Cubs was postponed, taking another step forward in his recovery from a strained lower back. The three-time NL Cy Young Award winner said he felt really good and plans to pitch somewhere in four or five days, either in a minor league rehab start or for the Dodgers.
”It was good, very encouraged,” manager Dave Roberts said. ”Just the way that the ball was coming out today, the command of the fastball as good as it’s been for me – and obviously this setting is not a major league game – but for me the best it’s been in a month, for sure.”
The 30-year-old Kershaw was sidelined for nearly a month with left biceps tendinitis before returning May 31 against Philadelphia. He tossed five effective innings in a no-decision against the Phillies, and then went back on the disabled list the next day with the back injury.
The Dodgers said over the weekend that Kershaw was headed for a simulated game Tuesday or Wednesday – in Los Angeles. But Kershaw said that was just one of the plans in the mix.
”I knew it was probably going to be here,” he said. ”It’s just more of a logistical thing. It’s just harder to do in L.A. Nobody’s there when you go on the road.
”It’s just when you have hitters in there it’s good to see some, even though it’s a sim game at least you have them reacting. It was a little bit better today.”
The trip brought Kershaw back to one of the best moments of his outstanding career, a crisp six innings in an 11-1 victory over Chicago in Game 5 of the NL Championship Series last October – sending Los Angeles to the World Series for the first time since 1988. The Dodgers then lost to the Astros in seven games for the title.
He also was greeted by some Los Angeles-like weather, with temperatures in the mid-90s on a steamy day in the Midwest.
”It was hot,” he said. ”It was good, it lets you get loose.”
Kershaw is 1-4 with a 2.76 ERA in just eight starts this year for Los Angeles, which has been riddled by injuries. He missed about five weeks last season with a similar back injury.
While Roberts left open the possibility Kershaw could return this weekend against the Mets, he said the organization was leaning toward a rehab start, likely with Triple-A Oklahoma City.
”You look at how much he’s pitched over the last two months and it hasn’t been a whole lot,” he said. ”So to see it in real competition, obviously that makes a lot of sense.”
Los Angeles had won five of six heading into the three-game set with Chicago. The opener was postponed because of rain and a limited power outage at Wrigley, creating a day-night doubleheader on Tuesday.
The Dodgers have more help on the way than just Kershaw.
Rich Hill is slated to start Tuesday night in his first major league game since May 19. The veteran left-hander has been sidelined by a blister on his left middle finger.
Infielder Chase Utley, who has been sidelined by left thumb sprain, is expected to come off the DL on Tuesday or Wednesday. Rookie right-hander Walker Buehler, one of baseball’s top pitching prospects, is scheduled for a bullpen session Saturday in New York, continuing his comeback from a right rib microfracture.
”From that point on we’ll have a little more information and figure out how aggressive we’ll want to be with him,” Roberts said.
Jay Cohen can be reached at