Fantasy Baseball Depth Chart Review: Week 13
Welcome to another Depth Chart Review! I’ll break down all the major (and sometimes minor) transactions, injuries, and notable lineup changes around the league from Week 13 to evaluate how they affect the fantasy baseball landscape.
Rays place Yandy Díaz (hamstring strain) on 10-day IL recall Adam Kolarek from Triple-A; option Austin Pruitt to Triple-A; place Daniel Robertson (right knee inflammation) on 10-day IL
The Rays activated Diaz from his hamstring strain as soon as he was eligible on Thursday. He is having a breakout year, hitting .286/.363/.502 with 11 home runs, a 43.6% hard-hit rate, and an improving launch angle. He’s hitting in the top half of the Rays’ lineup and is still available in more than 60% of all leagues. The 27-year-old infielder is worth a stash in any league where a CI is needed, and he makes for an under-the-radar starting option rest of season at either 1B or 3B.
Braves place Sean Newcomb on 7-day concussion IL and recall Huascar Ynoa from Triple-A
Newcomb returned a week after getting drilled in the back of the head by a line drive. After shining in a relief role, the Braves gave him a chance to start against the Phillies, where he lasted just 2.2 IP before getting hit. He didn’t give up any runs in that abbreviated start, striking out three, but he probably won’t be given a chance to start now that Dallas Keuchel has joined the team. The talent has always been there, so watch to see how the Braves use him moving forward.
Pirates reinstate Trevor Williams from IL and option Mitch Keller to Triple-A
Williams was enjoying a strong campaign before heading to the IL with a 3.33 ERA, 1.13 WHIP, and a 7.47 K/9 that was nearly a full point higher than during last year’s breakout campaign in which he won 14 games. However, he still doesn’t miss many bats, and he got shelled by the Tigers for seven runs in five IP in his first game back. Consider Williams a streaming option or back-end fantasy starter if he can find his groove again.
Athletics place Blake Treinen on 10-day IL and select Brian Schlitter from Triple-A
The trends have shown Treinen has not been the same pitcher this year. His zone% has dropped to a career-low 38.5%, and he has abandoned the reliance on his sinker and cutter, a formula that made him so successful last year. It’s possible persistent shoulder problems led to the change in pitch mix. Regardless, he’ll be given as much time as needed to let the mild strain of his rotator cuff heal properly. In the meantime, Liam Hendriks, who got the first two save opportunity and has pitched better than everyone else in the A’s bullpen (1.42 ERA), should get most of the save chances until Treinen returns. However, he will need to do a better job of keeping batters off base (3.45 BB/9) despite the strong 10.96 K/9.
Marlins place Pablo Lopez (right shoulder strain) on 10-day IL, retroactive to 6/16; select the contract of Zac Gallen from Triple-A
Lopez was starting to come into his own before straining his shoulder, pitching to a 1.80 ERA and 0.88 WHIP in his last four starts (25 IP). There’s currently no timetable for his return. Lopez has top 40-50 starting pitcher upside when healthy, so he’s worth stashing or holding in larger mixed leagues with deep benches and available IL spots. All the injuries to the Marlins’ rotation have presented Gallen with an extended look. He dominated Triple-A to the tune of an 11.04 K/9 and 1.77 ERA in 91 IP, going 9-1 in the process. Wins will be hard to come by in Miami, but Gallen is certainly one of the better pitching prospects we will see called up this season. He’s worth an immediate add in the 80% of ESPN and 50% of Yahoo leagues where he’s still available.
Twins place Marwin Gonzalez (right hamstring strain) on 10-day IL and reinstate Blake Parker from family medical emergency list; option Kohl Stewart to Triple-A and recall Willians Astudillo
The Twins were facing a crowded roster with everyone healthy and vying for playing time, but Gonzalez’s injury should open up more time for Miguel Sano and Astudillo. Parker returns to the closing mix, where Taylor Rogers has taken on the lion’s share of the work lately. Minnesota is likely to look for options at the trade deadline, but for now, Parker and Rogers will garner the most looks with Trevor May potentially getting some opportunities as well.
Rockies place Trevor Story (right thumb sprain) on 10-day IL, recall Brendan Rodgers from Triple-A
Story is hopeful he’ll return from the IL as soon as eligible despite reports of a multiple-week absence. It’s best to hedge your bets and expect him to remain out a while longer to ensure his sprain heals properly, so consider an early return an unexpected and pleasant surprise if it happens.
As much as Rockies fans and fantasy owners alike would have loved to see Rodgers get a serious run, the Rockies have not been patient with prospects in the past. Since his call-up, Rodgers went 1-for-11 with five strikeouts and no walks before the Rockies placed him on the 10-day IL (right shoulder impingement) and selected the contract of Chi Chi González from Triple-A. Rodgers can safely be dropped in all but the deepest of redraft leagues for now.
Royals place Adalberto Mondesi on 10-day IL; select Humberto Arteaga from Triple-A; reinstate Hunter Dozier from 10-day IL; option Jorge Bonifacio to Triple-A
Mondesi may not need more than the 12 days on the IL he’s slated to spend since he’s only suffering from a low-grade strain. June 29 is the target date for his return, but for a player who relies heavily on his speed for value, any soft-tissue injuries to his legs will always remain a concern. Nicky Lopez and Arteaga figure to handle the middle infield during Mondesi’s absence. Arteaga is a middling prospect who can replicate some of Mondesi’s speed (10 SB at Triple-A), but Lopez might be a better option taken from the wire (.294 AVG, three SBs in the last two weeks). Hunter Dozier returns amidst a breakout year (.298/.380/.574 with 12 home runs), and he’s still available in 30% of ESPN and Yahoo leagues. He’s worth an immediate add if you need help at a CI spot, and he’s quickly emerging as a starting option as well.
Orioles reinstate Dwight Smith Jr. from 10-day IL; designate Dan Straily for assignment; place John Means on 10-day IL and recall Evan Phillips from Triple-A
Means has been a surprising asset, providing back-end starter value in AL-only leagues and serving as a decent mixed-league streamer in good matchups. However, his six wins and 2.97 ERA come with a few caveats (5.09 xFIP, 7.51 K/9). He’s likely not worth holding unless you’re beyond desperate for pitching in an AL-only league. Smith Jr. has been mixed-league viable as well (11 home runs, four stolen bases) and merits a look in deeper mixed leagues and AL-only leagues, where he should already be owned.
Braves recall Dallas Keuchel from Triple-A
Keuchel enters the rotation after an extended layoff waiting to get signed to a deal of his liking. The former Cy Young Award winner has seen his peripherals drop every season since his career year in 2015. Last year, he sported a dependable 3.74 ERA (3.84 xFIP), but the 6.73 K/9 portends to how infrequently he misses bats. In his first start of 2019, he gave up three earned runs on eight hits to the Nationals while staying true to form with just three Ks. Atlanta’s offense is potent enough to push Keuchel into some wins, but with the lack of swing-and-miss stuff, he likely needs his ground-ball percentage to exceed 60% and his LOB% to hover over 70% to succeed. Consider him a dependable back-end starter in mixed leagues.
Yankees reinstate Aaron Judge from 10-day IL
Judge returns after playing only 20 games before getting injured. Fully healed, he should quickly rediscover his form as one of the game’s best power bats. The Yankees have continued to find ways to win even without Judge and Giancarlo Stanton in the lineup, and with Edwin Encarnacion joining the fray, the Yankees feature a Murderers’ Row of power bats up and down the lineup. Judge was an obvious stash before his injury, and it goes without saying he’s an automatic plug-and-play in all formats the rest of the season.
Indians place Mike Clevinger (left ankle sprain) on 10-day IL, retroactive to 6/18; recall Josh Smith from Triple-A
Clevinger’s ankle injury is nothing serious, and he will return in a prime spot to face Baltimore on Friday. It’s been an injury-marred campaign thus far, so consider him a prime target in a trade if his owner is frustrated with his inability to stay on the field this season. There is top 15-20 starting pitcher upside here.
Giants place Steven Duggar (lower back strain) on 10-day IL; recall Alex Dickerson from Triple-A
Dickerson was once an intriguing NL-only asset, batting .257/.333/.455 in 2016 with ten HRs, five SBs, and an 80/80 runs and RBI pace across 285 plate appearances. The Padres found themselves with a glut of outfielders, so Dickerson wound up in San Francisco. He’s 29 years old now, but on a team like the Giants, anybody with a pulse is considered a starting outfield option these days. Dickerson has been hot since getting the opportunity at everyday playing time, batting 9-for-21 with a stolen base, home run, and 10 RBIs in the last week. It’s likely just a hot streak, and Oracle Park is a poor hitter’s venue, but Dickerson may be worth an add in NL-only leagues in the hopes that new GM Farhan Zaidi may have unearthed something here.
Padres recall Chris Paddack from Single-A and option Gerardo Reyes to Triple-A
Paddack’s demotion was always more about managing his innings than a consequence for poor performance. That said, he had struggled before being sent down, posting a 6.52 ERA with a 1.55 WHIP in the last month. Paddock is a top prospect whose command skills, 9.30 K/9, and the ability to call pitcher-friendly Petco Park home make him a strong option moving forward. Regression was always coming after he began his career at a Cy Young level, but it’s worth noting that Paddack has only pitched more than five innings once in his last six starts.
Rockies recall Garrett Hampson from Triple-A and option Jeff Hoffman to Triple-A
Hampson flopped in his first audition to earn playing time at second base, losing the competition with Ryan McMahon. Hampson was only hitting .186/.231/.258 in 33 games with the Rockies, though his playing time was not always consistent. With Rodgers heading to the IL, Hampson will team with McMahon to provide middle infield coverage until Trevor Story returns, and he may log some innings in the outfield as well. There’s a good chance he will be sent back down as a corresponding move once Story returns, but a lot of that may depend on how well he hits. Pat Valaika (.050/.156/.075) has been dreadful in a limited utility role himself, so this week could determine whether Hampson sticks with the big league club. He did go 2-for-5 with a run scored and a stolen base in his first starting action against the Giants.
Astros activate George Springer and Collin McHugh from IL; option Rogelio Armenteros and Reymin Guduan to Triple-A
McHugh returns to a long-relief role, though it’s possible he may get another chance to start again. Forrest Whitley is still unavailable out of the minors, and the Astros are looking for answers since Corbin Martin (5.59 ERA, 1.81 WHIP in 19 IP) and Framber Valdez (3.1 IP, five ER in a loss to the Yankees last Thursday) haven’t proved themselves as consistent options. McHugh will also have to pitch better, though, after recording a 6.04 ERA before succumbing to elbow soreness. Springer missed a month due to a hamstring strain and returns to bat leadoff for an Astros team that just welcomed back Jose Altuve and now boasts stud rookie Yordan Alvarez. The Astros look poised to compete with New York for the AL’s most dangerous lineup.
Rangers activate Joey Gallo from 10-day IL
Gallo returns to discover he was inexplicably not invited to participate in the Home Run Derby this year. Apparently, MLB wants to make sure it’s actually a competition. In any case, Gallo has evolved from an all-or-nothing power bat to a bonafide MVP candidate this season. Detractors will point to a .383 BABIP to explain his .273 average and suggest the 35.4% K rate is yet another reason Gallo is doomed for crushing regression, but Statcast measures his xBA at .254. That’s what happens when you have a 57.7 hard-hit rate and career-high 20.2 BB%.
Gallo is swinging at better pitches and hitting them harder than he ever has before in his career. He was drafted for power with the expectation that he’d likely hit .220 or worse. Thus, investors probably view the higher average as gravy, so it’s unlikely anyone is looking to sell on the pretense that he may regress in the batting average department. If you have Gallo, ride him hard the rest of the season.
Braves recall Bryse Wilson and Chad Sobotka from Triple-A; option Grant Dayton, Mike Foltynewicz, and Kyle Wright to Triple-A
No one should be surprised to see Foltynewicz demoted. I listed him as a player to dump over a week ago. He had a breakout season in his 2018 All-Star campaign with 202 strikeouts and a 2.85 ERA. However, his BB/9 sat at 3.34, barely better than the 3.45 BB/9 he posted in 2017 when he finished with a 4.79 ERA. His swinging-strike rate only went up by 1.3 percent, so there was not much to support a 6.5-percent jump in strikeout rate. This year, he’s mostly been a disaster with a 5.53 ERA and 1.34 WHIP. The xFIP (5.04) isn’t much better. His K/9 dropped to a middling 7.58, and he’s also giving up 43.9% hard contact, the highest rate of his career. The 20.5 HR/FB rate should come down if he’s given another chance to start, but for now, consider him a safe drop in all but the deepest of leagues.
Wright never saw the mound in his third call-up before getting optioned back to Triple-A for Wilson, who will start for the Braves on Thursday. Sobotka will serve as a power righty in the bullpen and may be worth a look in leagues that value holds.
Nationals select Fernando Rodney from Triple-A, Jonny Venters from Double-A; option Kyle McGownin to Triple-A; transfer Jeremy Hellickson to 60-day IL
The Fernando Rodney Experience lives on! The fact that Rodney can still throw 97 mph at the age of 42 is a wonder. He’s worth an add for anyone who wants to “ride the bull.”
Pirates place Gregory Polanco on 10-day IL and recall Jason Martin from Triple-A
Polanco’s lost season continues with a trip to the IL. He missed the first month of the season after undergoing shoulder surgery, and his slash line of .242/.301/.425 suggests he has not fully recovered from the lingering effects. It’s entirely possible that he picks it up and finishes the second half strong, so continue to hold or stash where available if you need the upside. While he’s unlikely to ever live up to the lofty expectations levied upon him as a prospect, Polanco is still a solid outfielder and multi-category producer when healthy.
Indians recall Bobby Bradley from Triple-A and option Josh Smith to Triple-A
The Indians called up Bradley after he moved into the minor league lead with 24 home runs. Power and swing-and-miss (32% K-rate at Triple-A) are the names of his game, but he boasted a 42.2 Hard% and 9.3 Soft% at Triple-A. Limited to first base, he profiles best as a DH. That said, Jake Bauers has struggled mightily, and the sting of watching Diaz blossom in Tampa Bay has to make Cleveland desperate. He’s a solid add in deeper mixed and AL-only leagues where home runs are needed.