Improvement on his fastball and curveball, and excellent location spotting no matter the type of pitch, put Biagini in position to succeed. The Jays have given him an opportunity to start and he's running with it.
Joe Biagini put on a couple of clinics the other night, first in how to let it snowball right quick, and then another in how to regain control of a lost cause. After ceding six runs without the benefit of an out—and, we must mind for context, unleashing the most fantastical of crescendos in the form of a three-run shot by Kurt Suzuki—he quietly proceeded to send 12 straight back to the pine and grind out four tidy innings that the bullpen didn’t have to.
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In the NL, Gerrit Cole gets the band back together, and Jon Lester remains steady if less spectacular than the 2016 version. In the junior circuit, Carlos Carrasco and Dallas Keuchel are must-plays.
Every Friday we preview the hurlers scheduled for two starts in the upcoming week. Hopefully that will give enough insight to make educated lineup moves and FAAB decisions over the weekend. As the old wrestling promoters would always say, “Card Subject to Change," because lots can happen between the time this goes up and first pitch. Unfortunately: weather, injuries, and tinkering managers make this less than a science. I’ll do my best, though, and should new information present itself, we can go over it in the comments. We’ll crowdsource this as well, so if you hear anything, feel free to comment and we all can offer our takes, hot or not.
Here’s how this works. The pitchers will be split by league using these categories:
Aaron Judge is turning out better than expectations, while Robert Gsellman is not.
My weekly column, the Deep League Report, focuses on deep AL-only leagues and deep NL-only leagues. I play in a deep AL-only keeper league myself with my BP colleague Mike Gianella, and I play in a deep NL-only keeper league, too, where eight of the 12 owners also belong to the AL-only league. I use these leagues to help inform my weekly column, seeing which players are available on the waiver wire or in free agency, which players are being dropped or reserved, which players are being picked up and how much FAAB is being spent on each player. Today I’ll take a look at how each of my teams are doing in these leagues.
Blake Snell, Amed Rosario, Jharel Cotton, Dan Vogelbach, Jose De Leon, Sean Newcomb and Harrison Bader are among the biggest movers up the list. Jose Berrios and Bradley Zimmer aren't on the list anymore—but it's OK, because they got promoted.
Zimmer made his major-league debut Tuesday and struck out three times in three plate appearances. He’s gonna have more games like that. He’ll also chip in some power and speed, and should hold down at least the strong side of a platoon for the duration.
A top prospect, Zimmer has a power-speed combo that has become increasingly rare in fantasy, and because of Cleveland's injury troubles in the outfield, is getting a chance to contribute now. What can we expect?
The Situation: The Indians outfield is in dire need of help due to the injuries to Abraham Almonte, Brandon Guyer and Austin Jackson. Also, while Michael Brantley has hit fairly well so far, his playing time is being managed cautiously given his recent injury history. They have addressed this situation by calling up Zimmer, one of their top prospects (No. 3 in our 2017 Indians organizational ranking).
Background: Cleveland selected Zimmer 21st overall in the 2014 amateur draft, and the start of his first full pro season could not have gone much better. After he slashed .308/.403/.493, hit 10 homers, and stole 32 bases in 335 plate appearances for High-A Lynchburg, he was named to the Carolina League All-Star team and participated in the Futures Game. However, he struggled with Double-A Akron in the second half of the season, in large part because he tried to play with a hairline fracture in his right foot. The 24-year-old’s stock fell in 2016 after striking out 115 times in just 407 plate appearances with Akron, and 56 times in 150 plate appearances for Triple-A Columbus. Zimmer got off to a better start with Columbus before his promotion, as he slashed .294/.371/.532, along with five homers, nine stolen bases, and “only” 43 strikeouts through 144 plate appearances.
Another played named Daniel Robertson, taking a shot with some non-closers, and the Eddie Butler revival.
The hitting options in this week’s Deep League Report are thin, especially in the AL. The pitching is pretty interesting, though, particularly on the AL side, where there are several relievers with double-digit K/9 potential. Beyond that, there’s a recently traded outfielder who’s been getting a lot of playing time in his new home, a hitter on the wrong side of a platoon who hasn’t been good since 2015 and a starting pitcher filling in on a team that’s close to a lock for the playoffs. OK, no more spoilers. Just keep reading.
Welcome back to another edition of the Closer Report. It was another busy week in reliever land, with injury after injury, after return from the disabled list, after injury. This might be (probably is) recency bias, but it seems as if there are more injuries to closers this year, a trend that likely is, at least partially, due to the new 10-day disabled list. Either way, you can keep up with all of these injuries and any other movement on the Closer Grid. Now, let’s get to the news.
Nationals Bullpen Back at Full Strength, As Confusing as Ever
A flurry of Eddie Butler activity, and another shot for Jose Berrios to stick.
Welcome back to the FAAB Review, the weekly series that looks at FAAB bidding in expert leagues to help you, the Baseball Prospectus reader, with your fantasy baseball bidding needs. Every week, I closely scrutinize the expert free-agent bids in LABR Mixed, Tout Wars NL and LABR AL.
As a reminder, LABR uses a $100 budget with $1 minimum bids, while Tout Wars uses a $1,000 budget with $0 minimum bids. LABR and Tout Wars use a bidding deadline of Sunday at midnight ET for all FAAB claims. Any statistics mentioned in this article are through the previous Sunday’s games.
It's Happening! The Cubs have called up their top prospect, infielder Ian Happ, to the big-league club. What should we expect?
The Situation: The World’s Champion Chicago Cubs have been besieged by injuries to key hitters, including Kris Bryant, Ben Zobrist, Jason Heyward and Addison Russell. The injuries have mostly been minor, but they ran out of functional position players on the 40-man roster to call-up over the weekend. Instead of calling up an organizational player to cover the emergency, the Cubs decided to use the opportunity to break in their top hitting prospect, Ian Happ.
Background: The Cubs drafted Happ ninth overall from the University of Cincinnati in 2015, the last of the series of top-10 picks they accumulated during the Epstein/Hoyer rebuilding period. Happ played all over the diamond in college, and given that he’s a polished switch-hitter, Zobrist comps started long before they ended up with the same employer. The Cubs kept Happ exclusively in the outfield for his pro debut in 2015, but shifted him to primarily play at second base in 2016. Happ breezed through the minors, playing well but not dominating any level until he reached Triple A after camp this year. He ranked as the 67th-best prospect in baseball before 2016 and the 54th-best prospect before this season.
Karns is striking out more and walking fewer than ever for the Royals. Is it time to pick him up?
The Buyer’s Guide is a weekly column designed to help fantasy owners assess a player who sees an increased level of interest during a given week. This column focuses on players who generally have lower than 40 percent ownership rates across various leagues.
Every fantasy roster could always use another quality starting pitcher. Injuries already have taken their toll on several starters, and the frequency with which teams are using the 10-day disabled list has left fantasy owners scrambling. As you look to fill out your rotation for the coming week, is it possible that Nate Karns is now worthy of your attention?
You might be uncertain as to whom to start, but Dirty Harry, Zack Morris, Pete Campbell and Slim Shady know.
On Fridays, we preview the hurlers scheduled for two starts in the upcoming week. Hopefully that gives enough insight to make educated lineup decisions and FAAB decisions over the weekend. As the old wrestling promoters would always say “Card Subject to Change"—because lots can happen between the time this post goes up and first pitch. Unfortunately, weather, injuries, and tinkering managers make this less than a science. I’ll do my best, though, and should new information present itself after this gets posted, we can go over it in the comments. We’ll crowdsource it as well, so if you hear anything, feel free to comment and we all can offer our takes, hot or not.
Here’s how this works. The pitchers will be split by league using these categories: