Fantasy Baseball Depth Chart Review: Week 10
Welcome to another Depth Chart Review! I’ll be breaking down all the major (and sometimes minor) transactions, injuries, and notable lineup changes around the league from Week 10 to evaluate how they affect the fantasy baseball landscape.
Yankees reinstate James Paxton from the 10-day IL
Paxton returned to throw four shutout innings. Most importantly, he didn’t have any issues with his left knee. After throwing only 66 pitches in his abbreviated return from the IL, expect Paxton to return to his normal workload in a few starts, so long as he remains healthy. He should be able to go five innings and qualify for a win next time.
Rangers place Joey Gallo on the 10-day IL with an oblique strain and recall Delino DeShields from Triple-A
This is most unfortunate, as Gallo has been in the midst of an MVP-caliber campaign. Oblique injuries can often spiral a player’s season out of control, and Gallo was even concerned enough to reach out to Aaron Judge on the matter. Expect Gallo to miss the next two weeks. Hopefully, he will return to his mashing ways no later. DeShields offers some speed potential for those in desperate need of stolen bases, but he doesn’t figure to offer much else and should only be added in the deepest of formats.
Astros place Carlos Correa on the 10-day IL with a fractured rib and recall Myles Straw from Triple-A
Correa’s injury might go down as the most absurd ever after suffering a broken rib during a home massage. He’s scheduled to miss the next four to six weeks, meaning fantasy owners shouldn’t expect to have him at all this month. The injury comes at a terrible time, as Correa was enjoying a bounce-back year with 11 home runs, a .360 OBP, and 35 RBIs. The Astros figure to play Alex Bregman more at shortstop while Yuli Gurriel handles the hot corner more often. Straw will serve in utility capacity, and he promptly scored three runs and stole three bases in his second game up. He also stole 70 bases (you read that correctly) across both Double-A and Triple-A in 2018, and he had already swiped 16 bases in Triple-A this season before his call-up. Straw isn’t aggressive but makes good contact, giving him ample chances to rack up steals if Houston keeps giving him the green light. Consider him a priority add if you need stolen bases, as Straw figures to play often with the rash of injuries the Astros must endure.
Phillies acquire Jay Bruce and cash from the Mariners for Jake Scheiner
The loss of Odubel Herrera forced the Phillies to add some depth, and Bruce should see semi-regular playing time between the infield and outfield, though he will likely sit often against lefties. He’s a prime add in NL-only leagues as the first notable player traded from one league to another. Despite the .227 batting average, Bruce’s 16 home runs — two in his second game with the Phillies — are among the league leaders. Additionally, he sported a .247 average during May as he inches closer to his career norms. Scheiner is a deep prospect currently struggling in High-A and is therefore off the re-draft radar.
Brewers option Keston Hiura to Triple-A and activate Travis Shaw from IL
Those who spent high FAAB dollars on Hiura after his call-up are sure to be disappointed by the demotion. The rookie acquitted himself well during his relatively brief stay, hitting five home runs to go along with a .281 average. However, the Brewers are committed to seeing if Shaw can get back to being the player who hit 63 home runs across the last two seasons. Hiura can be safely dropped in all but dynasty leagues at this point, as Milwaukee may opt to keep him in Triple-A until sometime in August to prevent him from becoming a Super Two. If Shaw was dropped, he’s worth a speculative add in the hopes that he can provide some power.
Diamondbacks reinstate David Peralta from 10-day IL and option Stefan Crichton to Triple-A
Peralta returned from his shoulder injury, going 0-for-4 with a strikeout in his first game back. It’s quite stunning to think that the Diamondbacks tied a franchise record for scoring in a three-game series without him. Nonetheless, they’re a better offense with him than without, and he should continue to post solid counting stats (7 HRs, 30 RBIs so far) in a decent Arizona lineup.
Royals place Hunter Dozier on 10-day IL, retroactive to 5/31, with a chest injury
Dozier had been enjoying a breakout season (11 HRs and a .398 OBP) before the untimely injury. He is eligible to return to action next Monday, so the hope is that he only misses this week and owners will just need a short-term fix.
Cardinals recall Génesis Cabrera from Triple-A and option Lane Thomas to Triple-A
Cabrera has a chance to earn himself more starts, given his live arm and ability to touch 99 mph with his heater. He allowed five runs (three earned) in less than 3.2 during his debut and four more in his second turn, and the 6.48 ERA speaks to the fact that he remains quite raw. The Cardinals would very much like Alex Reyes to seize Michael Wacha‘s rotation spot and dominate the rest of the season, but Reyes gave up seven runs in his most recent Triple-A start and may not earn a call-up this weekend, perhaps granting Cabrera yet another chance to pitch.
Red Sox place Mitch Moreland on the 10-day IL, retroactive to 5/26, with a lower back strain and option Travis Lakins to Triple-A; recall Colten Brewer and Josh Taylor from Triple-A
Moreland joins the list of productive players hitting the IL. He was hot before his injury, hitting 13 home runs, knocking in 34 RBIa, and sporting a .870 OPS. Michael Chavis and Brock Holt figure to receive even more playing time during his absence. Moreland should return as soon as eligible Wednesday.
Nationals reinstate RHP Aníbal Sánchez from IL, option James Bourque to Triple-A Fresno
Sanchez isn’t always consistent, but he’s capable of sparkling as evidenced by throwing six innings of one-hit ball in a rout of the Braves during his first start back from IL. With better health, he’s a capable starter even if last year (2.83 ERA, 1.08 WHIP) was a little bit of smoke and mirrors (3.81 xFIP). For now, he’s back to being mixed-league viable, especially if the Nationals can start producing some offense soon.
Cardinals place catcher Yadier Molina on 10-day IL with a right thumb tendon strain), retroactive to 5/29, and select the contract of Andrew Knizner from Triple-A
Molina should miss at least two or three weeks, so owners will need to find a replacement. The Cardinals have promoted their catcher of the future, Andrew Knizner. The rookie had been hitting .286 with five home runs and an .805 OPS in Triple-A. Knizner isn’t a power hitter, but he is a top-100 prospect (No. 82 on FanGraphs) with a well-rounded bat and solid hit tool. St. Louis was confident enough in his skills to trade Carson Kelly away to Arizona in the deal for Paul Goldschmidt, and he’s worth keeping an eye on if he demonstrates he can hit at the big league level.
Rays reinstate catcher Mike Zunino from 10-day IL, designate catcher Erik Kratz for assignment
Zunino is the latest Rays’ reclamation project, and there are few catchers with more power potential. Now finally healthy, there’s always the upside he’ll hit closer to league average with the home runs, so consider him an add in two-catcher leagues. He’s also a viable option if you lost Molina or are just streaming the position.
Rockies option Kyle Freeland to Triple-A
A year after finishing fourth in the NL Cy Young Award voting, Freeland has been demoted. It’s a defensible move given his struggles (7.13 ERA). A former eighth overall pick in 2014, Freeland has talent, even if 2018 will likely go down as the outlier in his career and the 4.35 SIERA foretold regression. However, he’s not locating his pitches well or getting the same type of movement as he did during last season’s breakout. He can be safely dropped in all leagues while he works on his mechanics in the minors.
Mets activate Seth Lugo from 10-day IL, option Daniel Zamora to Triple-A
Lugo has been one of the better relief pitchers for the Mets this season (35:7 K/BB, 2.86 ERA) and should figure back into the mix for holds and solid ratios.
Brewers reinstate Manny Piña from IL; place Gio Gonzalez on 10-day IL with arm fatigue and Jhoulys Chacín on the 10-day IL with a lower back strain
Gonzalez pitched fairly well after signing late with the Yankees, and then subsequently, Milwaukee. However, the late signing likely prohibited him from properly building up his stamina and keeping him from acquiring “dead arm.” Gonzalez had produced well (3.19 ERA) in his six starts, and he’s worth a look whenever he returns from the IL. The Brewers will likely absorb his starts with Zach Davies and the returning Jimmy Nelson.
Speaking of Nelson, he’s worth an immediate add if still available. He produced like an ace in 2017 (3.49 ERA, 2.5 BB/9, 10.2 K/9) and returns this week to face the Marlins in his first start back. While expectations should be in check and Nelson still hasn’t harnessed his control yet (12 walks in 24 innings at Triple-A), he did strike out 29 batters, so the stuff remains elite.
Athletics reinstate Khris Davis from IL
A bruised hip and oblique muscle kept the A’s slugger off the field for a while, but he should continue to smash baseballs and hit .247 moving forward.
Twins reinstate Nelson Cruz from 10-day IL
Cruz spent three weeks on the IL with a strained left wrist. Prior to the injury, he was slashing .270/.354/.508 with seven home runs and 22 RBIs. Cruz should continue to remain productive as a middle-of-the-order bat in one of the league’s hottest offenses. However, at age 38, look for the Twins to limit his playing time some to keep him fresh for a playoff run.
Diamondbacks recall Kevin Cron from Triple-A and place Blake Swihart on the 10-day IL with a strained right oblique
Cron is being shuttled to and from Triple-A based on roster needs and injuries, so the Diamondbacks do not seem intent to make him a starter at this time despite the power potential. As a utility bench bat for Arizona, he can be safely ignored for fantasy purposes until regular playing time opens up.
Rays activate Yandy Díaz from the 10-day IL; option Nate Lowe to Triple-A Durham; place José Alvarado on family medical emergency list; recall Adam Kolarek from Triple-A
Diaz returns to the lineup, and fantasy owners hope he can continue his breakout season for the Rays. If dropped in your league, he’s worth an add as a player with 1B and 3B eligibility who boasts strong plate discipline and power. There’s 30+ home run power in his bat if he can improve his launch angle (4.9), as his exit velocity (86th percentile), hard-hit rate (77th percentile), and barrel rate, according to Statcast metrics, reflect a player capable of driving the ball with authority. Diaz has publicly stated his desire to increase his launch angle and elevate the ball more, and while his current rate still supports his ground-ball tendencies, that number is up from last year. He’s barreling the ball (13.3%) more than ever in his career as well.
Alvarado should return soon and continue to factor into the Rays’ late-inning mix for saves. Like with Cron, Lowe hasn’t earned a regular role with the parent club yet and will likely continue to be bounced back and forth between Tampa Bay and Triple-A. He’s not currently worth an add until it becomes clear he’s staying up for good.
Twins reinstate Mitch Garver from IL, option Zack Littell to Triple-A
It’s hard to think of many catchers worth owning more than Garver for the rest of the season. He’s sporting an xSLG of .537 and his 10.4 Brls/PA% is top 25 in baseball. He was already commanding the lion’s share of playing time behind the dish despite Jason Castro‘s strong start and the presence of Willians Astudillo. He’s a priority add if dropped in your league.
Rockies recall Garrett Hampson and option Jesus Tinoco to Triple-A
Hampson got back on track in Triple-A after his demotion (.889 OPS) and may finally get on base enough to deliver on the promise he showed down the stretch last season. Charlie Blackmon isn’t ready to return yet, so Hampson figures to see time in the outfield. Put him on the watch list and see if he hits enough to provide some stolen bases.
Yankees reinstate CC Sabathia from IL
Sabathia isn’t mixed-league viable at this point in his career. He’s only gone beyond five innings twice in nine starts so far this season, though the ratios (3.61 ERA, 1.25 WHIP) make him a streaming option in deeper and AL-only leagues.
Orioles reinstate Chris Davis from 10-day IL
Davis gets another opportunity to try and justify a small fraction of his massive, misguided contract. While he’s a player worth rooting for, he’s not fantasy relevant.
Cubs reinstate Pedro Strop from 10-day IL and option Dillon Maples to Triple-A
Strop likely works his way back into the mix for saves given his track record even though he did not pitch well (5.06 ERA) before his injury. Those desperate for saves should add him, as he promptly recorded one in Tuesday’s return.
Phillies place Andrew McCutchen on the 10-day IL with a torn ACL and select the contract of Adam Haseley from Triple-A
McCutchen will miss the rest of the season after tearing his ACL. A crushing blow to both Philadelphia and McCutchen, the Phillies have responded by promoting the young Haseley to the majors. The eighth overall pick in the 2017 draft boasts a career slash line of .293/.359/.433 in the minors, but he had just reached Triple-A before injuries forced the Phillies to fast-track him to the big leagues. The newly acquired Bruce should absorb most of the at-bats, but with Herrera also missing, Haseley should see semi-regular playing time. He’s likely still too raw to make much of an impact despite the power-speed combo (seven HRs, five SBs in 204 PAs, mostly in Double-A). McCutchen can safely be dropped in all leagues.