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Felipe pitched a flawless ninth inning on Thursday afternoon, forcing three groundouts en route to his ninth save.

Fantasy Impact: For once Rivero did not record an out via strikeout, but fantasy owners won't complain. At this rate, his ERA might resemble the price of bubble gum in the 1950s by the end of the season. He has seized his opportunity as closer of the Pirates and ran with it.

Jameson Taillon struck out eight over 5 1/3 frames against the Brewers to help the Pirates complete the sweep of the division rivals on Thursday, giving up just two runs on six hits and two walks.

Fantasy Impact: Taillon did throw 116 pitches in that short time frame but he was still very effective today. His ERA sits at a solid 3.08 and faces a pretty solid matchup against the Giants on Tuesday. That's a juicy DFS matchup as well.

Gregory Polanco homers Thursday

Thu, Jul 20th 11:50pm EDT
By Daniel Marcus


Gregory Polanco went 1-for-4 with a home run in the Pirates' 4-2 win over the Brewers on Thursday.

Fantasy Impact: Polanco bounced back on Thursday after a few sluggish performances post-All-Star Break. Polanco has slowly shown signs of turning his season around, but he has still not come close to meeting expectations. The window to buy low may slowly be shutting, but using some caution before going all in to acquire him is advisable.

Andrew McCutchen went 1-for-4 with an RBI and stolen base in the Pirates' 4-2 win over the Brewers on Thursday.

Fantasy Impact: After stealing just one base in the month of June, McCutchen now has three stolen bases since the All-Star Break. This suggests that he still has plenty of speed left and offers even more upside to his fantasy profile moving forward.

Gerrit Cole threw seven innings of one-run ball in a no-decision against the Brewers on Wednesday, striking out ten and scattering six hits with no walks.

Fantasy Impact: The ten strikeouts were a season-high for Cole, and this marks his third straight quality start. The Pirates have won ten out of their last twelve and Cole has been a big factor in three of those wins. He has trimmed his ERA to 4.18 and his arrow is pointing straight up right now. He'll be in line for a juicy start against the Giants on Monday.

Josh Harrison went 1-for-4 with a home run and two RBIs on Tuesday against the Brewers. It was Harrison's 11th home run of the season.

Fantasy Impact: Harrison has been fighting a dreadful slump, batting just .140 in July, but he hit a huge home run on Tuesday that eventually led to a Pirates victory. He's a fringe starter in most leagues, but his position flexibility certainly makes him rosterable.

Starling Marte went 1-for-3 with a walk and run scored in the Pirates' 4-3 win over the Brewers on Tuesday.

Fantasy Impact: Marte played in his first major league game since April 17 after serving a 50 PED suspension. Expectations are hard to set for him, though tonight's performance has to be considered a positive sign. Considering that he immediately batted atop the lineup, Marte should be viewed as a strong contributor for runs, stolen bases, and batting average moving forward.

Ivan Nova went six innings on Tuesday against the Brewers, striking out six while giving up three runs on ten hits.

Fantasy Impact: Nova also walked a batter. You would think he labored through this one, but he actually only three 88 pitches. He always pitches to soft contact and today the brewers took advantage. No worries, the Pirates took the lead off of a four-run sixth inning. Nova will take a solid 3.27 ERA into a start in Colorado on Sunday. Fire him up in season-long formats, but he might be a fade in DFS in that one.

Josh Bell scores a run on Monday

Tue, Jul 18th 9:30am EDT
By Dan Harris


Josh Bell went 1-for-4 with a double and a run scored on Monday night against the Brewers.

Fantasy Impact: Bell has quietly had a very solid year, as he's on pace to top 80 runs and RBIs and hit 30 home runs. Oddly enough, the only place he's struggled is with batting average (just .241 on the season), the area where he most notably succeeded in the minors (well over a .300 hitter at Triple-A). With just a .253 BABIP this season, it seems like he's likely been the victim of bad luck, and a little good fortune could turn him into a true fantasy stud.

Chad Kuhl went 5 2/3 innings against the Brewers on Monday, striking out seven while surrendering two runs and three walks and scattering four hits.

Fantasy Impact: Kuhl labored a little in this one, but still got the job done against a solid Brewers lineup. He's still just a fringe guy, but his career-high strikeout night is a good sign for the young right-hander. He'll toe the rubber against the Rockies in Colorado on Saturday. That could be dicey.

David Frees went hitless against the Phillies Thursday night, going 0-for-4 with two strikeouts.

Fantasy Impact: Freese has struggled to find his groove since returning from injury in May. His season slash line is down to .250/.374/.370. He's not worth a play except in very deep formats.

Trevor Williams threw six innings of two-run ball against the Giants on Sunday, striking out three while giving up three hits and walking one.

Fantasy Impact: Make that three straight quality starts for Williams. He has arguably been the Pirates' best pitcher over the past few weeks as he continues to pitch to soft contact. His stats don't look great on paper, (4.67 ERA, 1.22 WHIP) but he continues to get the job done. He'll look to keep it going against the Cubs on Friday.

Adam Frazier went 1-for-4 with a triple, two RBI, and one run scored on Sunday in the Pirates' 8-4 loss to the Cardinals.

Fantasy Impact: Things have taken a downhill turn in June for Frazier as his average is just .247 for the month. However, he has remained relatively productive as he has six RBI and seven runs scored over his past 10 games. Frazier is a good source for batting average and runs but offers next to no power and little speed, which makes him a deep mixed or NL-only league option.

The Pirates placed Francisco Cervelli back on the seven-day concussion DL on Thursday. Jacob Stallings has been recalled from Triple-A. (Source: Stephen Nesbitt on Twitter)

Fantasy Impact: Cervelli had been on the concussion DL earlier in June, and has battled symptoms since. He is going to be evaluated by concussion specialists, but given the scary nature of those injuries, owners should expect him to be out for a significant amount of time. Elias Diaz will likely take over as the primary catcher in Cervelli's absence.

Jordy Mercer was responsible for the Pirates only run of the night thanks to his solo home run off of John Lackey. He finished 1-for-3 on the night.

Fantasy Impact: It was an ugly showing for the Pirates, who only mustered a combined three hits off of the Cubs staff. Mercer is now slashing .279/.356/.421 this year, and is probably only an option in deep leagues.

Elias Diaz went 2-for-4 with a run scored and two RBI in the Pirates' 3-1 win over the Marlins on Sunday.

Fantasy Impact: Diaz is getting playing time with both Francisco Cervelli and Chris Stewart sidelined by injury. He has taken advantage of that opportunity with two consecutive multi-hit games. Cervelli is eligible to come off the DL on Tuesday, so the playing time may not last. However, in two-catcher or N.L. only leagues, Diaz is a potential short-term solution to a very weak position.

The Pirates optioned Tyler Glasnow to Triple-A Indianapolis on Saturday. (Source: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

Fantasy Impact: Glasnow has nearly a 7.45 ERA and almost a 2.00 WHIP this season, and just could never get his stuff right. He is way too talented to struggle like this, so hopefully some time in the minors will revive his confidence and lead to more positive results when he gets called back up.

Juan Nicasio is being considered at closer for the Pirates, according to manager Clint Hurdle. (Source: Pittsburgh Tribune-Review)

Fantasy Impact: Nicasio has been impressive of late, and current closer Tony Watson has been anything but. Felipe Rivero is by far the most talented RP in the Pirates' bullpen, but Hurdle indicated that he'd like to continue to use Rivero in high-leverage situations, ala Andrew Miller in Cleveland. Nicasio is worth an add for those speculating on saves.

Tony Watson gave up two runs on two hits in the ninth inning against the Orioles, striking out one while issuing a home run to Trey Mancini.

Fantasy Impact: After receiving an endorsement from manager Clint Hurdle the night before after his fourth blown save, Watson came back with his fifth. Felipe Rivero pitched a scoreless tenth frame with two strikeouts and should be added in every league across the board. While nothing is certain yet, a changing of the guard is possible in Pittsburgh.

Jung-Ho Kang had his appeal denied as his DUI sentence was upheld in Korea. His suspended sentence of eight months of jail time was upheld in the process. (Source: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

Fantasy Impact: Kang would avoid jail time if he's able to avoid further infractions over a two-year period, but the loss of the appeal is a blow to the infielder's chances of returning to the United States and MLB. He's very unlikely to play for the Pirates in 2017, and his prospects for future playing time are murky at best.

Daniel Hudson's struggles continued on Monday, surrendering the game winning RBI-single to Billy Hamilton and the Reds.

Fantasy Impact: He had a crucial throwing error that allowed a runner to get to second before giving up the hit to Hamilton. Hudson without a doubt has a live arm but does not have command right now as he regularly throws 20 or more pitches when he enters the game. He is now a safe drop even in deep leagues and NL-only leagues if there are any upside relievers on the waiver.