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Depth Chart Review: José Urquidy, Struggling Angels Pitchers, & Yermín Mercedes Optioned

by Corbin Young | @corbin_young21 | Featured Writer
Jul 6, 2021
Jose Urquidy

Urquidy heads to the 10-day injured list with inflammation in his shoulder.

With July 4 behind us and the All-Star Game upcoming, it’s time to take a deep breath and keep grinding. Unfortunately, Kyle Schwarber’s home run binge ends due to a hamstring injury. On the flip side, we have some players returning from injuries. A couple of top prospects suffered injuries, one of which is season-ending. Although they might not be too relevant in redraft leagues for 2021, it’s still a bummer to hear that news. A friendly reminder that offenses have heated up, so be careful with the pitching ratios if you can.

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Angels

Anthony Rendon (3B)
On Sunday, Anthony Rendon left the game with a hamstring issue. Before leaving, Rendon hit a solo home run in two at-bats with one walk. According to Angels manager Joe Maddon, it doesn’t sound serious for Rendon, which is good news.

Taylor Ward (OF)
Taylor Ward also left Sunday’s game after going 1-for-2 with a finger injury. However, in that same tweet update by Joe Maddon, it doesn’t sound serious. Both Ward and Rendon could miss Monday’s game, but hopefully, they both don’t miss much time.

Dylan Bundy (SP) & Griffin Canning (SP)
The Angels moved Dylan Bundy to the bullpen and optioned Griffin Canning to Triple-A over the past week. Bundy has struggled the entire season with a 4.20 ERA in April, 9.70 ERA in May, and 6.89 ERA in June. Meanwhile, Bundy’s fastball velocity has also dropped each month, which isn’t a great sign. Given Bundy’s poor performance and role change, he is borderline cuttable in 15-team leagues.

José Suarez expects to take Bundy’s spot in the rotation after pitching well primarily in relief. Suarez boasts a 1.98 ERA, 1.10 WHIP, 23.9% strikeout rate, and 8.3% walk rate in 27 1/3 innings. However, Suarez’s .254 BABIP and 93% LOB% look a bit unsustainable, so don’t count on those ratios holding up.

On the other hand, Griffin Canning also struggled this season with a 5.60 ERA and 1.48 WHIP in 62 2/3 innings. Angels manager Joe Maddon notes Canning needs to work on his fastball command. He is droppable even in 15-team leagues until we see some glimmers of hope in Triple-A and when he returns.

Astros

José Urquidy (SP) Heads to 10-Day IL
After José Urquidy leaves his start on June 29, Urquidy heads to the 10-day injured list with inflammation in his shoulder. Urquidy has pitched well with a 3.38 ERA, 0.96 WHIP, 21.8% strikeout rate, and 4.3% walk rate in 77 1/3 innings. It’s a bit concerning that he heads to the IL with another shoulder issue, but nothing to do other than stash Urquidy. 

With so much depth in the Astros rotation, these pitchers already have roster spots in all formats. Even Cristian Javier can’t crack the starting rotation again. However, the Astros used a six-man starting rotation for a while, so maybe they do that again. 

Athletics

No fantasy-relevant news and notes.

Blue Jays

Corey Dickerson (OF) Traded to the Blue Jays
Interestingly, the Blue Jays acquired Corey Dickerson from the Marlins last week. It seems interesting because the Blue Jays need pitching help. However, this likely adds depth as another lefty bat in a righty-heavy lineup. 

Braves

Max Fried (SP) Activated From the IL
Max Fried returned from the IL and made a start against the Mets on June 30. Fried went five innings with three hits, two earned runs, and two walks with seven strikeouts. The Braves need some starting pitcher help with several injuries, and Fried is a must-start in most formats. 

Kyle Muller (SP) Optioned
Since the Braves don’t need five starters in their rotation this week, they optioned Kyle Muller. That said, hang onto Muller in weekly leagues since he is pitching decently with a 3.45 ERA and 1.09 WHIP with a 31.3% strikeout rate and 12.5% walk rate. The walk rate is concerning, but Muller’s breaking pitches both have a swinging-strike rate above 23% in the small sample.

Brewers

Kolten Wong (2B) Hits the IL
Unsurprisingly, Kolten Wong left a game with calf tightness and then landed on the IL. Wong keeps battling injuries throughout the 2021 season. However, when healthy, Wong produces with a .291 batting average, seven home runs, and six steals. Stash Wong in 15-team leagues, and he is worth stashing in 12-team leagues too. 

With Wong’s injury, Luis Urías benefits and moves back up to the leadoff spot. In most leagues, Urías is likely already rostered. Urías even hit two home runs in a game against the Cubs on June 30. Given the recent production, Urías is viable in shallower formats as well. 

Cardinals

Jack Flaherty (SP) Moves to 60-Day IL
Over the weekend, the Cardinals moved their ace Jack Flaherty to the 60-day IL. This likely puts Flaherty’s timeline to return after the All-Star break into early August. We have nothing else to do other than hold and stash Flaherty.

Cubs

Nico Hoerner (2B/3B) Returns From the IL
Let’s see if Nico Hoerner can help produce as he did before the injury with a .338 batting average and three steals. On Sunday, Hoerner went hitless in four at-bats. In 15-team leagues, fantasy managers probably already stashed Hoerner. However, check if he is available given the high batting average potential.

Diamondbacks

Zac Gallen (SP) Hits the IL
On Saturday, Diamondbacks starting pitcher Zac Gallen hits the injured list with a hamstring strain.

Although Gallen’s hamstring strain sounds minor, it stinks to see Gallen hit the injured list again. However, one glimmer of optimism surrounds the fact that this isn’t a shoulder or arm injury from earlier in the season. Even in 15-team leagues, it’s hard to find reliable options in the Diamondbacks rotation to replace Gallen in the short term.

Dodgers

Corey Seager (SS) Moves to 60-Day IL
With the Dodgers moving Corey Seager to the 60-day IL, it sounds like Seager hopes to return sometime after the All-Star break.

Last week, Seager’s recovery wasn’t going as expected, so this worries us about his effectiveness when returning. At this point, we have nothing to do other than stash Seager with hopes he returns healthy and produces.

Giants

Buster Posey (C) Leaves Sunday’s Game
On Sunday, Buster Posey left the game with a thumb contusion. X-rays came back negative on Posey’s thumb, but Giants’ manager Gabe Kapler already noted Posey isn’t starting on Monday to give him some rest. Hopefully, Posey needs a day or two off and won’t hit the injured list.

Sammy Long (SP)
A recent waiver wire streamer in Sammy Long hits the injured list with a low back strain that sounds mild. With the All-Star break coming up, this may be one of those phantom IL stints where they give him some rest.

Indians

Franmil Reyes (DH) Returns From IL
In Franmil Reyes’ first game since returning from the IL, he went 3-for-5 with two strikeouts. Reyes boasts a career-best 19.8% barrel rate and 52.5% hard-hit rate, and hopefully, he picks up where he left off before the injury. 

Jose Ramirez (3B)
Cleveland’s star third baseman missed a couple of games so far with elbow soreness. He is considered day-to-day, and it’s within the range of possibilities for the team to give him rest with the All-Star break coming up. Ernie Clement filled it, but he is not someone to roster outside of AL-only leagues.

Update: On Monday, Ramirez started and returned to the lineup.

Zach Plesac (SP)
Cleveland expects to have Zach Plesac back on Thursday to start against the Royals. However, Plesac will only throw roughly 60 pitches. Per Zack Meisel of The Athletic, Plesac will throw a simulated game over the All-Star break to build up his pitch count. Mike Maher and I breathe a sigh of relief.

Mariners

No fantasy-relevant news and notes.

Marlins

Sixto Sánchez (SP) Out of the Season
Marlins starting pitcher Sixto Sánchez will miss the rest of the season due to shoulder surgery. That is unfortunate news for fantasy managers that stashed him all season. Look for Zach Thompson in shallow formats since he has a 2.25 ERA in 24 innings pitched this season, with four pitches eliciting a swinging-strike rate above 14% in the small sample.

Mets

David Peterson (SP) Lands on IL
The Mets placed David Peterson on the injured list with an oblique strain. 

Mets manager Luis Rojas makes a worrisome comment that it could take up to eight weeks for this type of oblique strain, yet he hopes Peterson can return sooner. Given Peterson’s inconsistencies, he is cuttable in 15-team leagues for a middle reliever. 

Tylor Megill (SP)
A popular waiver-wire target over the weekend included Tylor Megill. The tall righty sits at 6-foot-7 with an up and down minor league track record with a high strikeout rate in limited innings. We’re mentioning Megill here with Peterson’s injury, and Megill is making his presence known. On Monday, Megill faced the Brewers and went five innings with two hits, one earned run, and two walks with seven strikeouts. He finished with a 36% whiff rate and 35% CSW%, which is pretty solid for a streamer.

Brandon Nimmo (OF) Returns From IL
Although Brandon Nimmo returned from the IL on Friday, he didn’t play upon returning, but he should move back up to the leadoff spot. The often injured Nimmo hit well to begin the season with a .318 batting average in 80 plate appearances primarily boosted by the .465 BABIP. Nimmo is a solid outfielder in OBP leagues, but let’s see if he can stay healthy and keep up the high batting average in 2021. 

Nationals

Kyle Schwarber (OF) Hits the 10-Day IL 
No, no, no! Unfortunate news for the home run masher in Kyle Schwarber, who hits the IL with a hamstring injury. According to Nationals manager Dave Martinez, Schwarber expects to miss more than a minimum of ten days. 

In June, Schwarber tore it up with 16 home runs, 22 runs, and 30 RBI paired with a triple slash of .280/.362/.760. It seemed that almost every night, Schwarber was hitting a home run to finish off June. Stash Schwarber, even though he may be out for a while. It looks like Gerardo Parra will take Schwarber’s place in left field, but he’s not fantasy-relevant at this time. Maybe Yadiel Hernandez earns some playing time again, but they don’t have a clear-cut outfielder that benefits. 

Orioles

No fantasy-relevant news and notes.

Padres 

Blake Snell (SP) Landed on COVID-19 IL
Blake Snell was scratched from his start last week due to an illness, then later landed on the COVID-19 IL. 

On Thursday, Snell rejoined the team and played catch. Snell started on Sunday against the Phillies and threw four scoreless innings with four walks and three strikeouts. Hopefully, Snell turns it around in the second half.

Ryan Weathers (P) Recalled 
The Padres recalled Ryan Weathers since they had an open rotation spot with Dinelson Lamet hitting the IL. Weathers pitched well as both a reliever and starter from a ratio standpoint with a 2.63 ERA and 1.11 WHIP. However, the 19% strikeout rate and 8.3% walk rate don’t wow us. 

With offenses picking up, Weathers is someone to target in deeper leagues to provide some ratio help. Weathers returned on July 1 with five hits, two earned runs, four walks, and five strikeouts in a four-inning start. He likely won’t go more than 4-5 innings with his season-high of 5 2/3 innings back on April 22. 

C.J. Abrams (SS)
Padres top prospect C.J. Abrams suffered a fractured left tibia and sprained MCL. As a result, Abrams will miss the rest of the season.

Although Abrams wasn’t going to make his MLB debut in 2021, it delays his timeline and progress heading into 2022. At Double-A, Abrams hit two home runs with 13 stolen bases and a .296 batting average. It isn’t redraft-focused news, but still notable.

Phillies

Jean Segura (2B/3B) Returns
The Phillies have a couple of veteran hitters that returned from injuries in Jean Segura and Didi Gregorius. Segura returned to the second spot in the lineup with five hits in 21 plate appearances. Before Segura’s injury, he hit well with a .332 batting average, three home runs, and six steals. Segura is a quality source of batting average and OBP that is ready to contribute. 

Didi Gregorius (SS) Comes Off the IL
After almost two full months on the IL, Didi Gregorius returned and hit a solo home run against the Padres. Unfortunately for Gregorius, his .231 batting average isn’t helpful, but he’s a shortstop that will play almost every day, which provides value in 15-team leagues.

Pirates

Colin Moran (1B) Lands on IL
After missing a month, Colin Moran returned on June 6 and struggled a bit with a .239 batting average, zero home runs, one run, and four RBI in 52 plate appearances. After a career season in batted ball data in 2020 with a 13.4% barrel rate, I hoped Moran would build on that in 2021. Moran is only worth holding onto in 15-team leagues.

Rangers

David Dahl (OF) Returns From IL
Rangers outfielder David Dahl returned from the injured list after missing over a month with a rib injury. Before hitting the IL, Dahl was underwhelming with a .208 batting average, four home runs, and one steal in 154 plate appearances. Dahl’s profile isn’t that exciting, and he’ll need to pick it up to provide value in 15-team leagues. 

Rays

No fantasy-relevant news and notes.

Red Sox

No fantasy-relevant news and notes.

Reds

Sonny Gray (SP) Returned From IL
Reds’ starting pitcher Sonny Gray returned from the injured list after dealing with a groin injury. Against the Cubs on Friday, Gray tossed five innings with one earned run and one walk with eight strikeouts.

Rockies

No fantasy-relevant news and notes.

Royals

Bobby Witt Jr. (SS) Tweaked Ankle
On Sunday, Royals shortstop Bobby Witt Jr. leaves their Double-A game after hurting his ankle in the field. Assuming it’s precautionary, it may delay Witt’s debut if it’s even in the cards in 2021.

Update: Witt should return to the Double-A lineup on Tuesday.

Andrew Benintendi (OF) Returns & Edward Olivares (OF) Optioned
Another week where Edward Olivares is optioned for the Royals as they constantly have him doing burpees. In a corresponding move, Andrew Benintendi returns from the IL. With the power, speed, and high batting average Benintendi provides, fantasy managers should plug him back into their lineups.

Tigers

No fantasy-relevant news and notes.

Twins

Josh Donaldson (3B) Leaves Saturday’s Game
On Saturday, Josh Donaldson left with tightness in his right hamstring. Hopefully, Donaldson needs a day off or two since he is crushing baseballs with an 18.6% barrel rate, .390 xwOBA, and 52.3% hard-hit rate. Donaldson and lower body issues have plagued him for a while. 

White Sox

Yermín Mercedes (DH) Optioned to the Minors
On Friday, the White Sox optioned Yermín Mercedes. The early waiver wire winner has scuffled as of late, which may have contributed to the transaction. The monthly splits tell us the big picture story. 

  • April – .415/.455/.628, 11.4% Barrel%, .472 wOBA
  • May – .221/.292/.326, 5.3% Barrel%, .276 wOBA
  • June – .159/.221/.190, 4.1% Barrel%, .192 wOBA

In 15-team leagues, hold onto Mercedes. However, in shallower formats, Mercedes is cuttable. Gavin Sheets is a name to monitor playing in the outfield and DH with two home runs, three runs, and eight RBI with a .348 batting average in 26 plate appearances. Keep in mind that Sheets will hold the strong side platoon, which means fantasy managers will need to monitor the pitching matchups in weekly lineup leagues. 

Yankees

Tim Locastro (OF) Traded to the Yankees
Former Diamondbacks outfielder Tim Locastro headed to the Yankees in a trade. With Clint Frazier struggling and now injured, the Yankees attempted to bolster their outfield depth. Locastro has five steals, yet only one home run and a .176 batting average. He is a name to monitor for stolen bases, but we need to see playing time and production before rostering and starting him in 15-team mixed leagues. 

Clint Frazier (OF) Hits the IL
Yankees outfield Clint Frazier landed on the IL with vertigo after dealing with some dizziness. Frazier struggled in 2021 with five home runs, 20 runs, 15 RBI, and two steals with a .186 batting average. However, Frazier’s 14.7% walk rate and .317 OBP looked solid even though it hadn’t translated into production. I would hold onto Frazier in 15-team leagues for now until we hear more news. However, if someone like Jake Fraley is still somehow available, I’d consider cutting Frazier for a hot bat. 

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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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