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Depth Chart Review: Mariners’ Outfielders, Injured Aces, & Severino Setback

by Corbin Young | @corbin_young21 | Featured Writer
Jun 15, 2021

Unfortunately, Jackson Kowar’s two starts didn’t go very well at all last week. Two of the best starting pitchers in the game in Jacob deGrom and Max Scherzer left their starts with injuries, which we also don’t like. Hopefully, both don’t miss too much time. Elsewhere, Luis Severino left his rehab start with a groin injury, cementing concerns about drafting and rostering players who are already injured, especially those coming off significant procedures like Tommy John surgery.

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Angels

No fantasy-relevant news and notes.

Astros

Lance McCullers Jr. (SP – HOU)
The Astros will activate Lance McCullers Jr. on Tuesday to make a start against the Rangers. Recent reports indicate that Jake Odorizzi will relieve McCullers until he builds up his stamina. However, this adds to the Astros’ starting pitching depth, and the team projects to have a six-man rotation with even more depth in the bullpen in Cristian Javier. Hang onto Odorizzi for now even though he likely won’t have any two-start weeks coming in the short term with McCullers back.

Cristian Javier also holds an interesting role with a four-inning save chance recently. In nine starts, Javier had a 3.14 ERA, 1.04 WHIP, 30% strikeout rate, and a 10.8% walk rate. In three relief appearances, Javier’s ERA sits at 2.45 with a 1.00 WHIP. He also boasts a similar 29.5% strikeout rate and 11.4% walk rate. Keep hanging onto Javier with the solid ratios and potential to slide back into the rotation if needed.

Athletics

No fantasy-relevant news and notes.

Blue Jays

Cavan Biggio (2B/3B/OF – TOR)
Hey, we have some good news — I think: Cavan Biggio has returned from the injured list. He played in two games since then and recorded four hits in two games with a solo home run. Hopefully, Biggio picks up the pace, as he has struggled mightily in 2021.

Braves

No fantasy-relevant news and notes.

Brewers

Travis Shaw (1B/3B – MIL) Shifts to 60-Day IL
Veteran Travis Shaw shifts to the 60-day injured list after he landed on the injured list with a shoulder injury last week. That’s typically not a good sign, and it opens the way for locked-in playing time for Luis Urías, who was already batting leadoff with Kolten Wong injured. Wong is expected back this weekend, so Urías will likely move out of the leadoff spot.

However, Urías is a top waiver-wire target in deeper leagues. Over the past 14 days, he has two home runs, nine runs, five RBI, and one steal with a .279 batting average. Given his positional flexibility, Urías can move to multiple spots in the infield, which likely keeps his playing time consistent following Shaw’s injury.

Cardinals

Paul DeJong (SS – STL)
Hey, we have some more good news. Paul DeJong returned from the 10-day injured list after dealing with a rib injury. Before hitting the IL, DeJong had a .177 batting average, seven home runs, 18 runs, 17 RBI, and two steals in 141 plate appearances. He has also hit a solo home run since his return from the IL. DeJong is a must-start player in deeper leagues, and this will eat into Edmundo Sosa’s playing time. Sosa has hit well in the limited playing time with a .270 batting average, one home run, and two steals in 103 plate appearances. 

Cubs

No fantasy-relevant news and notes.

Diamondbacks

No fantasy-relevant news and notes.

Dodgers

Tony Gonsolin (SP – LAD)
Thankfully, Tony Gonsolin made his return for the Dodgers on Wednesday. Gonsolin went 1.2 innings with 66 pitches as he struggled with walks. He allowed two hits, one earned run, five walks, and four strikeouts. Overall, we’ll give Gonsolin a pass after the long, long layoff. There isn’t any reason to panic, and his managers should stay patient with him moving forward. 

Max Muncy (1B/2B/3B – LAD)
The Dodgers placed Max Muncy on the injured list with an oblique strain. Since the Dodgers have so much depth, they can slide Matt Beaty over to first with the veteran Albert Pujols also platooning with Beaty. In 15-team leagues, Beaty is probably the most actionable hitter to target on waivers with three home runs and a .280 batting average. As a lefty, Beaty could hold down the strong side of a platoon since he’s hitting .300 with a .828 OPS against righties.

Andy Burns is a sneaky name to monitor as well. Burns played in the Korean Baseball Organization (KBO) back in 2017 and 2018, and he posted a combined 38 home runs and 15 steals. He showed his on-base skills by posting a double-digit walk rate in Triple-A in both 2019 and 2021. 

Giants

No fantasy-relevant news and notes.

Indians

Shane Bieber (SP – CLE)
As my daughter says sometimes, “this is an emergency.” Shane Bieber landed on the 10-day injured list with a right shoulder strain. Coincidentally, this came after Bieber’s worst start of the season on Sunday, in which he allowed five earned runs to the Mariners. We also noticed a slight dip in velocity on Bieber’s four-seamer.

Bieber hadn’t allowed more than three earned runs since September 15, 2019. That makes a 27-start stretch with three or fewer earned runs allowed. Zach Plesac could return soon in late June and/or Triston McKenzie may receive a call with two starting pitcher spots up in the air.

Triston McKenzie (SP – CLE)

It’s almost like Triston McKenzie is doing burpees out here as he regularly receives the call-up, then Cleveland sends him back down. McKenzie had a couple of intriguing starts with a season-high ten strikeouts against the White Sox although he allowed five earned runs. However, McKenzie left Saturday’s start after recording two outs likely due to him walking four batters and allowing one earned run. Seeing this continue to happen with McKenzie indicates that we may want to stay away for now in redraft leagues.

Mariners

Kyle Lewis (OF – SEA)
Kyle Lewis underwent a procedure on his right meniscus on Wednesday. In deeper leagues, you should consider picking up Jake Fraley and/or Taylor Trammell, as they both provide power and speed. Since Trammell’s callup in June, he has a .205 batting average and .654 OPS with one home run. Fraley came up a day before Trammell, and he is hitting better with a .282 batting average, four home runs, nine runs, 13 RBI, and three steals. Given their recent production, I recommend that you prioritize Fraley over Trammell. 

Jake Bauers (1B/OF – SEA)
It’s a bit embarrassing to see the Mariners acquire Jake Bauers for cash considerations. After some hype around him, it’s safe to say that he hasn’t lived up to any expectations. In 2021, Bauers has a .200 batting average, two home runs, eight runs, and eight RBI in 130 plate appearances. Given their struggles, Bauers was an instant starter for the Mariners, which indicates the current state of their roster. Only in the deepest of leagues should fantasy managers consider him.

Mitch Haniger (OF – SEA)
Yikes, Mitch Haniger fouled a ball off his knee and then left Sunday’s game. The initial X-rays came back and showed a deep bone bruise. Haniger is considered day-to-day, and this is something to monitor. Hopefully, Haniger will only miss a game or two. 

If Haniger ends up missing more time, this is a big hit to fantasy managers and the Mariners’ outfield depth. Jake Fraley and Taylor Trammell already play almost every day, but the entire lineup will suffer without the team’s best hitter. Haniger has 16 home runs, 43 runs, and 40 RBI with a .259 batting average. He has been one of the most productive outfielders thus far. 

Marlins

Garrett Cooper (1B/OF – MIA)
Every time Garrett Cooper sucks me back in, he breaks my heart. Unfortunately, Cooper landed on the 10-day injured list with a lumbar strain. This comes after he hit well in recent weeks despite missing a few games here and there. His injury will give Jesús Aguilar more playing time. Unless it’s an NL-only format, I wouldn’t actively target Lewin Díaz since he probably won’t get much usage.

Braxton Garrett (SP – MIA)
With Miami’s banged-up pitching staff, the team called up Braxton Garrett (who we highlighted last week). Garrett went four innings with five hits, two earned runs, three walks, and three strikeouts. He finished with a 21% whiff rate and 25% CSW% overall, and he primarily used his four-seamer (38%) and slider (34%). Don’t go spending heavy on Garrett even though we love some Marlins pitchers. 

Mets

Jacob deGrom (SP – NYM)

After dominating against the Padres on Friday with one hit allowed through six innings and ten strikeouts, Jacob deGrom left with right flexor tendinitis. As soon as this injury occurred, I checked on Nic Civale’s feed. Nic is a Doctor of Physical Therapy and former college baseball player who shared an interesting note on deGrom. 

We’re noting this because when we see right flexor tendinitis or flexor strains, we assume it means UCL issues. Let’s hope that the best pitcher in baseball doesn’t miss much time because we’ve already witnessed a ton of injuries this year. 

Nationals

Max Scherzer (SP – WSH)
Like deGrom, Max Scherzer left his Friday start. He tweaked his groin, although the MRI didn’t show a groin strain. That’s a sliver of good news, and Scherzer may only miss a start or two. 

Orioles

No fantasy-relevant news and notes.

Padres 

Trent Grisham (OF – SD)
Grisham came off the injured list, which means that we should plug him back into fantasy lineups. This was Grisham’s second time on the injured list this season. He went hitless in two games since returning, but Grisham still holds amazing plate discipline evidenced by a 16.6% O-Swing%. That’s an elite rate, and it’s down from over 20% in 2019 and 2020.

Meanwhile, Grisham’s zone and overall contact rate remain the same as in previous years with an 85.4% Z-Contact% and 72.5% Contact%. However, he is making much less contact outside of the zone, which is quite a drastic change. Grisham currently has a 37.1% O-Contact% when he hovered above 62% the past two seasons. Grisham’s 6.2% barrel rate is down from 11.1% in 2020, but he’s rocking a career-best .382 wOBA.

Phillies

No fantasy-relevant news and notes.

Pirates

No fantasy-relevant news and notes.

Rangers

Ian Kennedy (RP – TEX)
Someone needs to cover the JAY-Z song “Girls, Girls, Girls” and replace girls with saves, so we have the line “I love saves, saves, saves.” Who doesn’t love chasing saves on the waiver wire? We all do, right? Ian Kennedy ranks 11th with 12 of them, which ties him with Aroldis Chapman and Jake McGee. Kennedy is dealing with a hamstring injury, and that will open the door for another Texas reliever to pick up saves in the meantime. That asaid, it sounds like Kennedy should return this week.

Josh Sborz (RP – TEX)
Per RosterResource, the Rangers have three relievers who factor into the mix for saves. From a strikeout to walk perspective, Josh Sborz stands out with his 31.2% strikeout rate, 8.3% walk rate, and 4.21 ERA. Sborz is showing a slight increase in velocity on the four-seamer, and he has a filthy-looking slider. His four-seamer elicits a .264 wOBA and 31.3% whiff rate. Meanwhile, his slider results in a .238 wOBA and 39.1% whiff rate.

Joely Rodríguez & Demarcus Evans (RP – TEX)
A couple of other names to note include Joely Rodríguez and Demarcus Evans. Rodríguez is a southpaw, and unfortunately, he is struggling. He owns a 7.27 ERA through 17.1 innings. In contrast, Evans boasts a 70-grade fastball, 2.16, 1.08 WHIP, 32.4% strikeout rate, and 11.8% walk rate. Interestingly, the velocity on Evans’ four-seamer dropped to 91.9 mph, a downtick of two. You shouldn’t overspend on any Rangers reliever, but make sure to prioritize Sborz. 

Rays

No fantasy-relevant news and notes.

Red Sox

No fantasy-relevant news and notes.

Reds

Sonny Gray (SP – CIN)
Eek, Sonny Gray is dealing with a right groin strain that will cause him to miss a few starts. Gray landed on the 10-day injured list on Wednesday after leaving Tuesday’s game. He battled injuries earlier in the season but still produced decent numbers. He owns a 3.42 ERA, 1.30 WHIP, 30.1% strikeout rate, and 9.3% walk rate. Of course, hang onto Gray in all formats. 

The Reds have an open spot in the rotation, and Tony Santillan started on Sunday. Before I shrug my shoulders at Santillan, let’s look at what he’s doing in the minors. In 2021, at Triple-A, Santillan has a 2.51 ERA, 1.08 WHIP, 34.4% strikeout rate, and 9.2% walk rate in 32.1 innings. Granted it’s a small sample, but that’s his highest strikeout rate since back in 2016. 

Update: On Sunday, Santillan threw 97 pitches through 4.2 innings. He allowed five hits, one earned run, and four walks with five strikeouts against the Rockies. Santillan relied heavily on the four-seam (52%) and curveball (43%), and the curveball elicited a 38% whiff rate. The walk rate plus the inefficiency worries us, but it’s one game. 

The other name to monitor for fantasy purposes is José De Léon, who is currently in Triple-A. He made one start in his first appearance in 2021 with nine strikeouts and two earned runs in five innings of work. However, the Reds used De Léon out of the bullpen in his following 13 innings. 

Rockies

No fantasy-relevant news and notes.

Royals

Edward Olivares (OF – KC)
My oh my, Edward Olivares came and went quite often in the past couple of weeks. Olivares has a .278 batting average with zero home runs, two runs, and one steal in 19 plate appearances. But just when we think that Olivares has a spot, the Royals send him back down. Although the Royals don’t seem to mess around with service time, they do prioritize playing time for players.

With Andrew Benintendi, Jorge Soler, Hunter Dozier, and Michael A. Taylor around, it’s difficult to find much room for Olivares. We know that he boasts a rare mix of power and speed, as he posted a combined 30 home runs and 56 steals across over 550 plate appearances between 2018 and 2019. However, note that he recorded those numbers in High-A (2018) and Double-A (2019). 

Update: The Royals recalled Olivares on Monday after Andrew Benintendi landed on the 10-day injured list with a rib injury. That should free up some playing time for Olivares, but don’t expect him to stick around.

Tigers

Isaac Paredes (3B – DET) & Daz Cameron (OF – DET)
The Tigers called up both Isaac Paredes and Daz Cameron this past week, but it’s difficult to imagine that both will stick long term. Jeimer Candelario ended up on the bereavement list and outfielder Derek Hill landed on the IL, which made way for these two. Paredes has three hits in 24 plate appearances through six games. On Monday, the Tigers sent Paredes back down to the minors when they activated Michael Fulmer. Meanwhile, Cameron has one hit in 14 plate appearances. We’re noting both players, but they’re only relevant in AL-only leagues, although they also carry some value in dynasty leagues. 

Twins

Kenta Maeda (SP – MIN)
The Twins activated Kenta Maeda on Monday to start against the Mariners. Maeda has been a bit inconsistent, but he has been dealing with some misfortune, evidenced by his .336 BABIP and 67.4% LOB%. After some elite ratios in 2020 due to a .208 BABIP and 80.2% LOB%, those numbers have regressed, particularly since all of his pitches haven’t fared as well. Maeda’s four-seamer stands out with a .504 wOBA allowed compared to a minuscule .103 wOBA allowed, which was likely unsustainable anyway.

White Sox

Nick Madrigal (2B – CWS)
Yikes, Nick Madrigal landed on the 60-day injured list with a hamstring tear. That’s not great for the contact-oriented hitter with a high batting average. Madrigal has two home runs, 30 runs, 21 RBI, and one steal with a .305 batting average. It’s quite silly looking at Madrigal’s plate discipline, as he owns a 98.6% Z-Contact% and 91.8% Contact%. He led the league in zone contact and overall contact rate near David Fletcher.

The White Sox keep suffering injuries, which is quite unfortunate. That said, it locks in playing time for Leury García, who provides a similar batting profile without the discipline. 

Yankees

Luis Severino (SP – NYY)
Over the weekend, Luis Severino made a rehab start at High-A that came to an early end. The star pitcher had to leave the game with what later reports indicated was a groin injury. These kinds of setbacks raise concerns about how long we should wait for a player to return. That said, I would hold onto Severino for another more week or two since it isn’t an arm, elbow, or shoulder issue related to his Tommy John surgery. 

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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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