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Depth Chart Review: Aaron Civale Replacements, José Abreu Hurt, & Keston Hiura is Back (2021)

by Corbin Young | @corbin_young21 | Featured Writer
Jun 29, 2021
Jose Abreu fantasy baseball

Jose Abreu appears to have avoided serious injury after getting hit in the knee by a pitch.

As the weather and offenses heat up, the ERA for pitchers rises a bit. Below is a list of the median ERA and wOBA by month.

ERA

  • April – 4.06
  • May – 4.09
  • June 4.28

wOBA

  • April – .303
  • May – .309
  • June – .319

With that said, fantasy managers should carefully pick their streaming pitcher spots. As I noted in the 20 things to watch for, look for some relievers for ratios over the next week or two to plug into starting lineups like Collin McHugh, Jonathan Loaisiga, and Giovanny Gallegos. Keep grinding each week because the fantasy baseball season is a long one.

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Angels

Justin Upton (OF)
On Friday, Justin Upton landed on the 10-day injured list with a low back strain. That’s unfortunate since Upton was hitting well in June with a .338 batting average, four home runs, 21 runs scored, 11 RBI, and a 1.093 OPS. During this month, Upton boasts a 14.9% barrel rate with an 83.5% Z-Contact%. 

So who benefits from Upton’s absence? Outside of Taylor Ward, it looks like Luis Rengifo and Juan Lagares should earn consistent playing time. The most actionable player, particularly in 15-team leagues, involves Taylor Ward. In June, Ward is hitting .253 with three home runs, 13 runs, 13 RBI, and a .798 OPS. Nothing mind-blowing, but consistent playing time matters in deeper formats. 

Dylan Bundy (SP) Leaves Early With Illness
On Monday, Dylan Bundy needed to leave early with an illness. Bundy allowed four hits and two earned runs with zero strikeouts in 1 2/3 innings. He is struggling right now, and hopefully, Bundy gets well soon.

Astros

No fantasy-relevant news and notes.

Athletics

No fantasy-relevant news and notes.

Blue Jays

No fantasy-relevant news and notes.

Braves

Mike Soroka (SP)
On Saturday, news broke that Braves’ starting pitcher Mike Soroka is out for the rest of the season after re-tearing his right Achilles.

It’s safe to imagine Soroka’s redraft ADP will fall in 2022. However, I would avoid it unless we hear positive news in Spring Training. Even then, I may fade Soroka in 2022 after re-injuring the same Achilles.

Fortunately, Max Fried is returning on Wednesday, June 30. However, the Braves still have an open rotation spot with Tucker Davidson and Huascar Ynoa on the injured list. The 6-foot-6 lefty made one start and one relief appearance to record a 5.40 ERA in five innings of work before making a start on Sunday.

On Sunday, Kyle Muller made a start at the Reds. He tossed five scoreless innings with one hit and two walks with nine strikeouts. Both the curveball and slider performed well in terms of whiffs and CSW%. Overall, Muller finished with a 43% whiff rate and 37% CSW% on 93 pitches.

Muller leans on a four-seamer and slider while mixing in a curveball. For now, Muller is worth a speculative pickup after the nine-strikeout effort against the Reds. 

Brewers

Daniel Vogelbach (1B) Hits the IL
The lefty slugger Daniel Vogelbach hits the injured list and looks like he’ll miss a ton of time. If you watched Vogelbach hobble home, it was an unfortunate site. 

In June, Vogelbach put up respectable numbers with four home runs, 11 runs, and seven RBI with a .238 batting average and a .816 OPS. That came with an 8.2% barrel rate and a 55.1% hard-hit rate. In a corresponding move, the Brewers recalled former top prospect Keston Hiura

Keston Hiura (1B/2B) Recalled 
In four games since returning, Keston Hiura already hit two home runs with five RBI yet five strikeouts as well. I’ll still pound the table for a Hiura bounce back because his mom is dealing with cancer, and we don’t often discuss the information we cannot quantify. 

Cardinals

No fantasy-relevant news and notes.

Cubs

No fantasy-relevant news and notes.

Diamondbacks

Ketel Marte (2B/OF)
On Monday, Ketel Marte underwent further tests and imaging on his hamstring. Earlier in the season, Marte dealt with a hamstring issue in the opposite hamstring. If Marte misses time, then Josh Rojas likely picks up some playing time. Or even Tim Locastro, Josh VanMeter, or Josh Reddick could fill in the outfielder, but all three likely platoon. 

Update: The Diamondbacks placed Ketel Marte on the 10-day injured list with a strained left hamstring. Hopefully, fantasy managers removed Marte from their starting lineups in weekly leagues. 

Dodgers

No fantasy-relevant news and notes.

Giants

Brandon Belt (1B) Lands On the Injured List
Another year, another week, Brandon Belt lands on the injured list. In June, Belt hit well with a .304 batting average, three home runs, 12 runs, seven RBI, and one steal with a .980 OPS. 

Belt is dealing with a knee injury and will seek a second opinion sometime soon. In the short term, it seems like LaMonte Wade Jr. benefits since the Giants recalled him. However, the Giants can also move around Wilmer Flores and Darin Ruf to cover first base. 

LaMonte Wade Jr. (1B/OF) Recalled
On the season, LaMonte Wade Jr. has five home runs, 15 runs, 13 RBI, and two steals with a .270 batting average and .844 OPS. Wade’s Statcast metrics don’t jump off the page. However, what we do love is that Wade batted leadoff in 16 straight games that he started before the Giants sent him down after June 20. If Wade bats leadoff when he plays, that makes him relevant in 15-team leagues once again. 

Indians

Aaron Civale (SP) Hits the IL
One of the last main starters for Cleveland, Aaron Civale, hit the injured list with a finger injury. Civale expects to miss 4-5 weeks, so if we add 1-2 weeks onto that, it leads to over six weeks.

Since Civale pitched well in 2021 with a 3.32 ERA, 1.06 WHIP, 19.8% strikeout rate, and 6% walk rate, try to hang onto Civale. Sure, the strikeout and walk rates dropped compared to 2020, but Civale ate up a high amount of quality innings with 97 2/3 innings that ranked 6th as of Friday. We’ll highlight a couple of starters in Cleveland’s rotation to consider picking up in the meantime. 

Triston McKenzie (SP)
The first starter to consider – Triston McKenzie, who keeps going up and down to Triple-A based on the given week. Now, Cleveland probably needs to use McKenzie and their other arms. Before the June 12 start against the Mariners, McKenzie struck out ten hitters yet allowed five earned runs in 5.1 innings.

One area that looks concerning involves the dip in velocity on all of McKenzie’s pitches. Cleveland pitchers typically adjust their pitch mix to lower their fastball usage and increase their secondary pitches. However, McKenzie relies heavily on his four-seamer with a 63.3% usage in 2021, up from 53.3% in 2020. It seems that McKenzie would benefit from increasing the curveball and slider usage that both elicit a swinging-strike rate that hovers around 19% this season. If you have the room, stash McKenzie in deeper leagues. 

Cal Quantrill (SP)
The other pitcher to speculate on in Cleveland includes Cal Quantrill. Once a sleeper in past seasons, Quantrill primarily pitched out of the bullpen in 2020 and 2021. Out of necessity, Quantrill made all five of his starts since May 31. Across the season, Quantrill has a 3.64 ERA, 1.30 WHIP, 17.8% strikeout rate, and 7.4% walk rate.

Interestingly, the strikeout rate dropped from 23% in 2020, and the walk rate increased from 5.9%. Both seasons involve small samples, so take that with a grain of salt. If you’re feeling risky, pick up Quantrill for his start at home against the Tigers on Wednesday, June 30. 

Josh Naylor (OF) Hits the IL
Cleveland placed Josh Naylor on the injured list with the ankle injury he suffered on Sunday. Naylor was diagnosed with an ankle fracture and dislocation, and this will likely keep him out for a significant amount of time. That said, Naylor is droppable in 15-team leagues.

The team recalled Oscar Mercado from Triple-A, a name we recognize after hitting 15 home runs with 15 steals back in 2019. After a rough 2020 season, Mercado started at Triple-A and recorded five home runs and nine steals with a .216 batting average. Put Mercado on the watch list since he may earn regular playing time eventually.

Mariners

No fantasy-relevant news and notes.

Marlins

Garrett Cooper (1B/OF) Returned
Thankfully, Garrett Cooper returned from the injured list and smacked a home run in his first game back. Cooper went 3-for-4 with four runs scored, one home run, and two RBI on Friday. He is back on the streaming hitter radar in 15-team leagues, but Cooper doesn’t receive full-time playing time. 

Mets

Jonathan Villar (2B/SS) Hits the IL
The Mets suffer another injury to Jonathan Villar when Jeff McNeil, Michael Conforto, and soon, Brandon Nimmo return. Unfortunately, outside of the typical Mets options, we don’t have any fantasy-relevant replacements. 

Nationals

No fantasy-relevant news and notes.

Orioles

No fantasy-relevant news and notes.

Padres 

Dinelson Lamet (SP)
On Sunday, the Padres placed Dinelson Lamet on the injured list with forearm inflammation. Lamet had concerning signs under the hood, particularly with velocity, although the short stints seemed to return positive results. His four-seamer velocity dropped to 95.6 mph from 97 mph in 2020. Meanwhile, Lamet’s sinker also dropped to 95.3 mph from 97 mph in 2020. 

Given the low usage and injury, fantasy managers could cut Lamet in leagues smaller than 15-teams. He is borderline cuttable in 15-teamers if we hear negative news in terms of a timeline. Maybe the Padres call up Ryan Weathers again. MacKenzie Gore isn’t pitching well in June with a 5.40 ERA in 3 1/3 innings, so it seems unlikely that Gore receives the callup. 

Phillies

No fantasy-relevant news and notes.

Pirates

Colin Moran (1B/3B) Leaves After HBP
I haven’t dug into the research, but I wonder if we’re observing more hit by pitches since the crackdown on sticky substances. In turn, we’re having hitters and players suffer injuries or leave guys like Colin Moran. In weekly lineup leagues, it stinks to have a player like Moran leave in the first game of the week.

Rangers

Willie Calhoun (OF/DH)
After taking a hit by a pitch on Saturday, Willie Calhoun lands on the injured list with a forearm fracture. We haven’t received an injury timeline for Calhoun, but we expect him to miss a good chunk of time. In 15-team leagues, Calhoun is borderline cuttable if you can find Steven Duggar on the Giants for some outfield help. However, on the Rangers, David Dahl should return in their series against the Athletics, which starts on Tuesday. 

Rays

Shane Baz (P)
Keep an eye on Shane Baz for the Rays after he struck out ten batters on Sunday at Triple-A across five innings. In June, Baz made five starts, four of which he went five innings. During June, he has a 1.29 ERA, 0.86 WHIP, 20 strikeouts, and three walks. Given the Rays’ need for starting pitching, maybe they call up Baz to pair up with other relievers. 

Red Sox

No fantasy-relevant news and notes.

Reds

Tejay Antone (RP) & Lucas Sims (RP)
Reds relievers Tejay Antone and Lucas Sims land on the injured list. For Antone, hold onto him since he has provided solid ratios with a 1.60 ERA and 0.83 WHIP this season. With Sims, he factored into saves, so expect Amir Garrett to fill in for Sims.

However, the Reds seem to feel good about using multiple relievers for saves, meaning heck Sean Doolittle might even pick up one in the meantime. Brad Brach also recorded a save on June 24, which likely indicates it will come down to Brach and Garrett until Sims returns. 

Rockies

Jon Gray (SP) Returns from the IL
Rockies’ starting pitcher Jon Gray returned from the injured list and started on Friday against the Brewers in Milwaukee. Gray struck out ten batters in five clean innings. His slider performed well with a 53% whiff rate and 48% CSW%. 

Royals

Danny Duffy (SP) Returns from the IL
Before hitting the injured list, Danny Duffy pitched well with an ERA below 2.00 and a career-high strikeout rate. Since returning, Duffy threw four innings with zero earned runs, three walks, and six strikeouts. Granted that it’s a small sample, but Duffy’s velocity increased even more on the four-seamer to 94.6 and 94.8 mph compared to 93.8 mph on the season. In 15-team leagues, pick up Duffy and bench him for now since it looks like the Royals are slowly ramping him back up. 

Tigers

Michael Fulmer (RP)
One of the Tigers’ closers in Michael Fulmer hits the injured list after five appearances since coming off the IL in late May. Last time, it was a shoulder issue for Fulmer, and then this time, it’s a cervical spine strain, which involves the neck area. In 10-12 team leagues, Fulmer is cuttable. Gregory Soto and José Cisnero both expect to factor into save chances in the meantime. 

Twins

No fantasy-relevant news and notes.

White Sox

On Sunday, José Abreu took a fastball off the left knee and ended up leaving the game. The White Sox reported that Abreu has a bruised left knee, and X-rays came back negative. 

The logical replacement involves Andrew Vaughn, who primarily plays in the outfield with Abreu healthy. Over the past two weeks, Vaughn is struggling with a .205 batting average, one home run, five runs, two RBI, and one steal. Hopefully, Abreu doesn’t miss much time, and Vaughn heats up.

Another option is for the White Sox to move Yasmani Grandal to first base, and Zack Collins plays more at catcher. That’s how the lineup shook out on Sunday. Collins went 2-for-4 with four RBI on Sunday, so put him on the watch list in 15-team leagues with two catchers.

Update: Although the White Sox game against the Twins ended up postponed, White Sox manager Tony La Russa noted that José Abreu could have played on Monday. That’s a good sign, and hopefully, Abreu heals a bit more with an additional day off.

Yankees

No fantasy-relevant news and notes.

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Corbin Young is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Corbin, check out his archive and follow him @corbin_young21.

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