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Houston Astros

AL West

The Astros announced that LHP Framber Valdez has been diagnosed with a fractured left ring finger. (Source: Jake Kaplan on Twitter)

Fantasy Impact: Valdez suffered the injury in Tuesday's start against the Mets. When fielding a grounder, he stuck his hand in his glove before the ball got there. Valdez stayed in the game for a bit but the injury is now considered serious. There's no timetable for him to return as of now.

Category: Injury Updates

Yordan Alvarez (knees) took on-field batting practice from a pitching machine on Wednesday. (Source: Chandler Rome on Twitter)

Fantasy Impact: The Astros continue to ease Alvarez into action and he has yet to make his Grapefruit League debut. The expectation is still that he'll be ready for Opening Day, but it'll be important to monitor his status moving forward.

Category: Injury Updates

Astros manager Dusty Baker says RHP Zack Greinke arrived to camp. (Source: Jose de Jesus Ortiz on Twitter)

Fantasy Impact: Greinke prefers to join spring training as late as possible and the Astros have accommodated him the past couple of seasons. The 37-year-old experienced some declining velocity in 2020 but he's a good bet to pitch close to 200 innings this season. There aren't many other pitchers who that can be said for.

Alex Bregman (hamstring) took batting practice on the field on Thursday. (Source: Chandler Rome on Twitter)

Fantasy Impact: However, he didn't take infield. Still, this is a step in the right direction for Bregman. The third baseman is fully expected to be ready well before Opening Day.

Category: Injury Updates

Astros pitching prospect Forrest Whitley arrived to camp on Wednesday. (Source: Brian McTaggart on Twitter)

Fantasy Impact: The 23-year-old was once considered the best pitching prospect in the sport. However, it has now been three years since witnessed his immense potential, as Whitley has dealt with both injuries and ineffectiveness in recent campaigns. He's still a top-100 prospect at most publications but time is running out for him. Houston will likely have him debut at some point in 2021.

Astros manager Dusty Baker suggested Tuesday that Myles Straw is a candidate to lead off. (Source: Houston Chronicle)

Fantasy Impact: However, Baker added that it'll take all spring to sort out the top of his lineup. The team has a major hole at the leadoff spot without George Springer, but there are other internal options such as Alex Bregman and Jose Altuve. Straw winning the job would be big for his fantasy value entering 2021.

Astros SS Carlos Correa says he isn't currently having extension talks with the team. (Source: Mark Berman on Twitter)

Fantasy Impact: GM James Click said earlier this month that the two sides were having discussions, but Correa says the two sides haven't had any since avoiding arbitration on a one-year pact. He also noted that he didn't want things to linger into the season. Correa is a free agent at the end of the year.

Category: Rumors

Astros RHP Josh James (hip) is recovering “extremely well” from left hip surgery and could come back as a reliever later in the season. (Source: Brian McTaggart on Twitter )

Fantasy Impact: James underwent hip surgery in October and was expected to miss six-to-eight months. He’s recovering well from his surgery and could return late in the year. James struggled in 2020, owning a 7.27 ERA, 1.86 WHIP and a 21:17 K:BB across 17 1/3 innings. The 27-year-old will continue to rehab in hopes of returning sometime during the 2021 season. James is mainly a deep-league dynasty stash for now.

Category: Injury Updates

Astros manager Dusty Baker said Ryan Pressly is “the leader” to the be closer. (Source: Brian McTaggart on Twitter )

Fantasy Impact: Pressly converted 12-of-16 save opportunities in 2020 and is “the leader” to close for the Astros in 2021. “Steve Cishek, Pedro Baez, and Joe Smith and couple of the lefties are capable,” Baker added. Pressly was effective last season, owning a 3.43 ERA, 1.33 WHIP and a 29:7 K:BB across 21 innings. The 32-year-old RHP is currently 13th among all relievers in the latest expert consensus draft rankings for 2021.

According to Brian McTaggart, Lance McCullers Jr. and the Astros agree to a $6.5 million deal and avoid arbitration. He's coming off a solid 2020 campaign. (Source: Brian McTaggart on Twitter)

Fantasy Impact: In 2020, Lance McCullers Jr. finished with a 3.93 ERA, 1.16 WHIP, a 24.7% strikeout rate, and an 8.8% walk rate in 55 innings. He typically used his curveball a ton but dropped the usage from 46.6% in 2018 to 37.6% in 2020. Meanwhile, McCullers also increased his sinker usage from 36.4% in 2018 to 41.7% in 2020. He's a high upside starting pitcher with some risks.

Category: Transactions

The Astros and INF Aledmys Diaz avoided arbitration by agreeing to a one-year, $3 million deal. (Source: Robert Murray on Twitter)

Fantasy Impact: Diaz should continue serving in a utility role for the Astros this year. Next season will be his final one for salary arbitration.

Category: Transactions

Astros GM James Click says Justin Verlander (elbow) is aiming to pitch out of relief in September or October. (Source: MLB Network Radio on Twitter)

Fantasy Impact: Athletes tend to be overly optimistic when it comes to their own injury timelines, and this would be a remarkable achievement if the 38-year-old is able to pull it off. Verlander underwent Tommy John surgery in September and is currently rehabbing. A return to start the 2022 season is more likely.

Category: Injury Updates

Roberto Osuna has been placed on outright waivers by the Houston Astros. Per beat writer Jake Kaplan, this move is essentially an early non-tender, assuming Osuna clears waivers and elects to become a free agent. (Source: Jake Kaplan on Twitter)

Fantasy Impact: Osuna was expected to make $10 million in arbitration this winter and given the fact he barely pitched in 2020 (4 1/3 innings with one save) before going down with an elbow injury, the Astros have decided to cut him loose. He's still rehabbing his elbow and that will certainly play a role in his free agency negotiations this winter.

Category: Transactions

George Springer went 1-for-2 with a two-run single and one walk during Friday's 7-4 win over the Rays in Game 6 of the ALCS.

Fantasy Impact: With the Astros trailing 1-0 in the fifth inning, Springer hit a go-ahead two-run single to give Houston the lead. He has now recorded an RBI in three consecutive games. Springer continues to produce this postseason, hitting .283 (15-for-53) with four homers and 10 RBI. After trailing in the series 3-0, the Astros have stormed back and forced a decisive Game 7 on Saturday.

Category: Game Recaps

Kyle Tucker went 1-for-3 with a solo home run, one walk and two RBI during Friday's 7-4 win over the Rays in Game 6 of the ALCS.

Fantasy Impact: Tucker took Shane McClanahan deep in the sixth inning for his first career post season home run. He continues to produce in the playoffs, hitting .311 (14-for-45) with one homer, five RBI and a stolen base over 12 games.

Category: Game Recaps

Luis Garcia allowed two walks while striking out one over two scoreless innings during Thursday's 4-3 win over the Rays in Game 5 of the ALCS.

Fantasy Impact: Garcia made his first postseason appearance on Thursday and tossed scoreless innings. He threw a total of 37 pitches, did not factor into the decision. Garcia won't be available until Game 7 if deemed necessary. The 23-year-old owned a 2.92 ERA over five starts in the majors this season.

Category: Game Recaps

Michael Brantley is serving as the Astros' designated hitter in Thursday's ALCS Game 5 after fouling a ball off his foot in Game 4. (Source: Brian McTaggart on Twitter)

Fantasy Impact: Brantley was sent for X-rays but is feeling good enough to serve as Houston's designated hitter for this one. The Astros have to win three more in a row to avoid being sent home in this best-of-seven.

Category: Injury Updates

Jose Altuve went 2-for-4 with one double, a solo home run and two RBI during Wednesday's 4-3 win over the Rays in Game 4 of the ALCS.

Fantasy Impact: Altuve took Tyler Glasnow deep in the first inning to put the Astros on the scoreboard. He has now homered in back-to-back games, including five of his last six contests. The 30-year-old has now hit 18 career postseason home runs. Altuve is hitting .333 (13-for-39) with five home runs, 10 RBI and eight runs scored over nine games during the postseason. The Astros avoided the sweep on Wednesday and trail 3-1 to the Rays in the ALCS.

Category: Game Recaps

Jose Urquidy allowed two runs (one earned) on four hits and one walk while striking out four over five innings during Tuesday's 5-2 loss to the Rays in Game 3 of the ALCS.

Fantasy Impact: Urquidy was solid in Tuesday's outing, but was unable to pick up the victory. Despite allowing one run over five innings, both the defense and bullpen failed him. The Astros are on the brink of elimination as they are down 3-0 to the Rays in the ALCS. Urquidy owns a (0-1) record along with a 3.95 ERA, 1.10 WHIP and 10 strikeouts over 13 innings this postseason.

Category: Game Recaps

Yuli Gurriel went 2-for-3 with a run scored during Monday’s 4-2 loss to the Rays in Game 2 of the ALCS.

Fantasy Impact: Gurriel logged two hits and scored on a fielder’s choice in Monday’s loss. It was his first multi-hit effort of the postseason. Gurriel was 0-for-14 in his previous four playoff contests. The 36-year-old has struggled most of 2020 (hitting .232 in the regular season), but will look to build on Monday’s performance in Game 3 scheduled on Tuesday.

Category: Game Recaps