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10 Burning Questions: Kodai Senga, Kyle Schwarber, Junior Caminero (Fantasy Baseball)

10 Burning Questions: Kodai Senga, Kyle Schwarber, Junior Caminero (Fantasy Baseball)

Every week in baseball is eventful, but this one felt particularly chock full of news. Unfortunately, a lot of the news was negative. We had the weekly slew of injuries and injury updates. We also had demotions to the minor leagues from players that just a couple of months ago were exciting fantasy baseball options. Advice on the injuries, demotions and more in this week’s edition of the 10 burning questions for fantasy baseball can be found below.

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10 Burning Fantasy Baseball Questions

What do we do with Kodai Senga?

During draft season, plenty of injured pitchers were speculative values for fantasy managers. You’ve been rewarded if you took the chance on Kyle Bradish, for example. If you took a chance on Kodai Senga, you are still waiting. And unlike Gerrit Cole or Gavin Williams, where there are optimistic signs of a return, all the news with Senga is discouraging.

The latest news indicates yet another setback in his recovery. Officially, he is on the injured list (IL) with a strained posterior capsule in his shoulder. While recovering, he has also injured his triceps and is now dealing with inflamed nerves. The most optimistic timeline is the end of July. As fantasy teams’ injured lists continue filling, you may need to drop Senga.

Can I drop Junior Caminero?

Fantasy managers have been waiting for top prospect Junior Caminero to get the call to the big leagues. The Tampa Bay Rays’ offense has been scuffling for a while and could have used the boost. Unfortunately, last week we learned his quad injury had flared back up and will be keeping him out at minimum another month.

In any dynasty league, keep holding Caminero unless you’re in contention and need a win-now piece. In redraft leagues, though, he can be moved on from. Since he is going on the minor league injured list, it’s unlikely you can store him in an injured slot for your fantasy team. Unless you have extremely deep benches, taking up a spot with a player you know won’t contribute for at least a month isn’t worth it.

Who will replace Clarke Schmidt for the Yankees?

Clarke Schmidt was in the midst of a breakout season. Over his first 60 innings, he had career-bests in ERA (2.52) and WHIP (1.14). Sadly we learned his season will be cut short by a significant lat strain. It opens an opportunity in the Yankees’ rotation.

The good news is Gerrit Cole continues to ramp up his recovery process. The latest indications are that Cole will start his rehab assignment this week. That means we will be missing him for at least another month. In the interim, the team has turned to Cody Poteet. He has pitched well in his two starts this season, but he is more of a watch-and-see. More importantly, the injury should mean Luis Gil stays in the rotation despite his mounting innings.

What would a trade mean for Jesus Luzardo‘s fantasy value?

When the Miami Marlins traded Luis Arraez to the Padres, it was a signal to the league they were looking to sell. The next player likely to be traded is starting pitcher Jesus Luzardo.

Luzardo will most likely be traded to a playoff contender. That would help him improve his potential to get more wins. Even though he has 50 strikeouts in 51 innings, that is down from his typical pace with the Marlins. The elbow tightness he suffered earlier in the season may account for that dip. It will improve regardless of where he pitches. When Luzardo is traded, it will almost assuredly boost his value.

Why would the Mets demote Christian Scott?

The New York Mets optioned two of their younger players — Brett Baty and Christian Scott — to the minors last week. Baty made some sense as the high averages he consistently provided in the minor leagues haven’t carried over to New York yet. Conversely, Christian Scott was a surprise.

Over his first five major league appearances, Scott has pitched quite well. He has yet to earn a win but has a 3.90 ERA and a WHIP of 1.08. Sending him down seemed odd. Mets manager Carlos Mendoza clarified that performance was not the reason he was sent down. Rather, it was a lack of need with the Mets having back-to-back off days with a trip to London over the weekend. Keep holding Scott because he should be back soon.

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What is the status of the San Diego Padres rotation?

Two of the Padres’ five starting pitchers went on the injured list on Saturday — Yu Darvish with a groin strain, and Joe Musgrove with inflammation in his elbow.

The team still has three fantasy-relevant starting pitchers — Dylan Cease, Michael King and Matt Waldron. The team recalled Randy Vasquez from the minor leagues to help fill the void. He performed admirably with three earned runs over five innings against the Kansas City Royals. As to who will fill the other absence, manager Mike Shildt mentioned calling another pitcher to the major leagues. The reports are that it will be top prospect Adam Mazur.

What is happening with Kyle Schwarber‘s batting average?

Don’t look now but Kyle Schwarber is batting .239. It may not seem like much but that’s a far cry from the .197 and .218 we’ve seen the last two years since he signed with the Phillies. The good news is that he hasn’t stopped hitting for power.

He already has 11 home runs and 35 RBI. It’s a bit behind his pace of 46 and 47 from the last two seasons, but not far. He still impacts the ball as hard as anyone, evidenced by his top-five percentile rankings in average exit velocity and hard-hit percentage. What changed to help his average? He’s traded some flyballs for line drives. While that will slightly decrease his power output, it should make for a more well-rounded fantasy profile.

Who replaces Jordan Romano as the closer of the Toronto Blue Jays?

For the second time this season, Jordan Romano is going on the injured list with a right elbow injury. We hope he recovers, but it creates an opening for a new closer for fantasy baseball.

Earlier in the season, when Romano was injured, the saves were split between Chad Green and Yimi Garcia. Each reliever had two saves before Romano returned. Green missed time himself with a shoulder injury but has returned. He has a 1.86 ERA, but a FIP over five. Meanwhile, Garcia has been one of the best relief pitchers. He has a 1.23 ERA and a corresponding FIP of only 2.47. He earned the save on Sunday and is the Blue Jays reliever to roster in fantasy.

Do we drop Spencer Torkelson?

2023 looked like a breakout season for Spencer Torkelson. The average still lagged at .233, but the counting stats were fantastic. He had 66 extra base hits including 31 home runs. It turns out that was not the new baseline we were hoping for.

On Sunday, the Detroit Tigers chose to send Torkelson back to Triple-A. It was understandable given the way he has performed so far. He only has four home runs and the batting average has dipped even lower to .201. What’s most concerning is that the underlying data shows he has been lucky to be that productive. Hopefully, a reset at Triple-A will get him back on course. You can feel confident moving on from him.

What about Edouard Julien?

This must have been the week MLB teams decided to send down struggling players as Edouard Julien was also optioned to Triple-A. The encouraging news is that it was to activate Royce Lewis from the injured list, who we haven’t seen since Opening Day.

Julien has one of the more unique Statcast pages you’ll come across. He is in the 100th percentile of chase rate but is striking out 34% of the time. That’s because he has the second-lowest swing percentage in all of baseball at 37.3% (Jonathan India is the lowest at 34.3%). With his demotion to the minor leagues, the Twins hope he’ll be more selective in looking for pitches to hit instead of being overly passive. That could mean an extended demotion, which is a reason to move on from in your fantasy league.

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