NL Week 10 Strategy-June 4, 2022 – Fantasy Baseball 2022

NL Week 10 Strategy-June 4, 2022

In The Field

3B Nolan Gorman (back) returned to the Cardinals lineup on Friday after being held out of the lineup Wednesday and Thursday. 2B Mike Brosseau has a sprained ankle and has been placed on the 10-day IL. 2B Jace Peterson will play every day for as long as Brosseau is out. Neither is likely to play regularly going forward with SS Willy Adames returning. Adames (ankle/quad) is expected to be activated on Tuesday. 3B Luis Urias left Friday’s game early with a thumb injury and was out of the lineup on Saturday. He is day-to-day. C Willson Contreras was hit on the ankle by a pitch on Thursday and had to leave the game early. He was back in the lineup on Saturday. 3B Evan Longoria (shoulder) left Tuesday’s game early and sat out Wednesday’s game. He was able to pinch-hit on Thursday and was in Friday’s lineup. 2B Max Muncy (elbow) started a rehab assignment on Saturday. The Dodgers are going to need him back sooner than expected with 3B Edwin Rios hitting the 10-day IL with a right hamstring tear. The good news is that it will not require surgery but he will be out weeks which is unfortunate considering he was playing well and earning more playing time. SS Fransico Lindor was not in the lineup Thursday or Friday due to a freak accident in which he shut his finger in his hotel door. C Omar Narvaez has been placed on the Covid-IL. C Victor Caratini is going to be the regular catcher while he is out but isn’t much of a fantasy option outside of NL-only leagues. OF Kevin Pillar has been placed on the 10-day IL with a left shoulder fracture. He is going to be out for an extended period of time. OF Dylan Carlson started a rehab assignment on Friday. He was expected to join the major league club early next week but Cardinals manager Oliver Marmol said that he doubted that Carlson and Tyler O’Neill would be ready for their Tuesday through Thursday series with Tampa Bay. This will mean the end of the regular run for OF Lars Nootbar. The real roster crunch will come when OF Tyler O’Neill comes back because they will have four guys for three spots (O’Neill, Yepez, Bader, and Carlson) and they have committed to playing DH Albert Pujols against LHP and occasionally against RHP. The most likely scenario is that they play Bader every day due to his defense and then they mix and match the rest based on matchups. OF Tyler O’Neill (shoulder) started a rehab assignment on Friday. He is expected back early next week. OF Hunter Renfroe (hamstring) did not return from the 10-day IL on Friday. The Brewers want him to be able to run at full speed before activating him. He is close to returning. OF Wil Myers had a gel injection for his ailing right knee on Wednesday and was placed on the 10-day IL on Friday. The Padres also called up OF Nomar Mazara and released 2B Robinson Cano. Mazara was hitting .367 with 7 HR in 35 GP at Triple-A and is just 27-years-old. He is worth a flier in deeper formats as a post-hype sleeper. 3B Joey Wendle (hamstring) received a PRP injection in his hamstring on Thursday. He was placed on the 10-day IL on Wednesday. 3B Jon Berti should see the majority of the playing time while he is out and he offers speed upside but not much else. OF Corey Dickerson left the first game on Saturday early with a calf injury. OF Luis Gonzalez (lower leg) was removed early from Friday’s game and was not in the lineup on Saturday. He is considered day-to-day. OF Seiya Suzuki (finger) was able to hit in the batting cages on Saturday. He is eligible to come off the IL early next week but that is in question depending on if they think he needs live at-bats before returning. C Carson Kelly (oblique) was able to take live batting practice Thursday and started a rehab assignment on Saturday. This puts him on track to return towards late next week. C/OF Daulton Varsho has played in 20 games at catcher and started 16 which should make him catcher eligible for next season in most leagues which is a nice boost to his overall value in fantasy. Even with Kelly returning soon there is no reason for Varsho to lose playing time because he has been one of the Diamondbacks best hitters regardless of position. OF Jake Fraley (knee/toe) is going to be in a walking boot for the next couple of weeks which means that he is not close to returning. 1B Brandon Belt (knee) has started a running progression. How he responds to running will dictate his return timetable.

On The Mound

Jack Flaherty (shoulder) was expected to start a rehab assignment next week at Double-A Springfield but he will actually get his first rehab start on Sunday. He is going to require multiple rehab starts but he has faced live hitters and his pitch count is reportedly around 40-50 pitches in his latest simulated game. Clayton Kershaw (hip) will start a rehab assignment on Sunday. He is expected to throw four innings in this start and could return late next week. This is going to bump Mitch White back into a multi-inning role out of the bullpen. Drew Smyly (oblique) was placed on the 15-day IL on Wednesday. He said that his return will depend on how he felt and then said it could be a month. Oblique injuries are tricky for both pitchers and hitters because everything is rotational. Brandon Woodruff (ankle) is hopeful that he can return when first eligible (June 12). Wade Miley (shoulder) was able to throw a bullpen on Thursday and is scheduled for another on Sunday. This is a good sign that he has been able to throw so quickly since being shut down but shoulder injuries are no joke for pitchers so keep an eye on this situation. Sixto Sanchez (shoulder) has started throwing off a mound but it is not even close to full effort. He is going to be throwing at 75 mph which is nowhere close to his actual velocity but is still a positive step in the right direction. It is unlikely that he makes a fantasy impact this season. Nick Lodolo (back) was able to complete a 30-35 pitch bullpen session on Wednesday. The outcome of his Saturday bullpen will determine when Lodolo goes out on a rehab assignment. The Reds will want him to have multiple rehab starts before considering him for the major league rotation. Luke Weaver (elbow) was able to throw 43 pitches (2 IP) in his latest rehab appearance at Triple-A Reno. He is scheduled for another on Tuesday. The prevailing thought is that he is going to come back as a reliever but his next appearance will tell us more about that. Stephen Strasburg (neck) threw six scoreless innings for Triple-A Rochester on Friday (83 pitches). There is a good chance that this was his last rehab start and he will be activated soon. Tyler Megill (biceps) is going to make a rehab start for Double-A Binghamton on Sunday. He is scheduled to throw four innings and is likely to need at least one if not two more rehab starts before being activated by the Mets. Alex Cobb was scratched from his start on Friday with a hamstring injury. He is optimistic that he will avoid the 15-day IL but that is still up in the air. Anthony DeSclafani (ankle) threw a bullpen session on Friday. He isn’t able to come off the 60-day IL until late June but the fact that he is throwing off a mound is good news. The next step for him will be facing live hitters. Steven Matz (shoulder) is going to need at least one rehab start before being activated. Andrew Heaney (shoulder) will begin a rehab assignment with Triple-A Oklahoma City. He is going to need multiple starts to build up his pitch count before returning to the Dodgers rotation. Max Scherzer (oblique) is progressing on schedule according to manager Buck Showalter. He is still expected to return in July. Jacob deGrom (shoulder) is getting close to being able to throw off a mound which is the next step in his recovery and then it is facing live hitters after that.

In The Bullpen

Anthony Bender (back) was able to play catch on Thursday. He was placed on the 15-day IL on May 25 and is eligible to come off on Monday but that seems unlikely without a full effort bullpen or live scenario. The Marlins closer situation is a mess right now so he could figure into the equation when he does return. Tanner Scott picked up a save on Thursday after Cole Sulser blew his last two save opportunities. Scott has not been good this year (5.10 ERA and 1.40 WHIP) so it is unlikely that he is the next guy up. It is likely that the Marlins continue to mix and match at the end of games with Cole Sulser, Dylan Floro, and Tanner Scott which makes it hard to put any of them in the active lineup.

Players to add this week:

OF Michael Harris II (ATL)- Michael Harris II was called up by the Braves straight from Double-A. He was hitting .305 with 5 HR, 33 R, 33 RBI, and 11 SB in 43 GP. The core skills were great as well with 9% BB and 20% K. Harris needs to be rostered in mixed league formats due to his ability to steal bases. The concern for the rest of the year is that he is going to be stuck at the bottom of the Braves lineup and it’s not guaranteed that he plays against left-handers. He also is unlikely to hit for power but he does have good bat-to-ball skills and above-average steal potential.

OF Christopher Morel (CHC)- Christopher Morel is playing every day and batting leadoff for the Cubs. This is enough to roster him but he has been able to provide more than that for fantasy. He is hitting .286 with 2 HR, 14 R, 7RBI, and 6 SB in 18 GP. His plate skills are good (12% BB and 23% K) to go along with the good quality of contact metrics (13% Barrels, 44% Hardhit, and 112.9 mph maxEV). Morel should have been picked up a while ago but if he is still out there he needs to be picked up.

SP Aaron Ashby (MIL)- Aaron Ashby has a rotation spot with the injury to Freddy Peralta. Ashby has made two starts since Peralta went down. He was dominant in his first start and just okay in his second. Across those two starts (12 IP, 5 ER, 2 BB, and 19 K) he has shown the ability to miss bats which is the reason why he needs to be rostered across the board.

SP Spencer Strider (ATL)-Spencer Strider has entered the Braves rotation after dominating out of the bullpen. He has a 3.45 ERA and 1.08 WHIP in 12 appearances (12 GP, 1 GS). Strider has shown the ability to miss bats (39% K) which is backed up by an absurd (16% SwStr). The only issue with Strider is that he can struggle with control at times (11% BB). The strikeouts are enough to roster him and he has a great matchup against the Pirates next week.

SP Edward Cabrera (MIA)-Edward Cabrera was called up by the Marlins and promptly had an interesting start in Coors Field for his first start. In that start, he flashed plus stuff (9 K) but did struggle with control (4 BB). This is what we should expect for the foreseeable future. Eventually, he should be able to improve the control but it is going to be a problem he can work around due to his ability to miss bats due to his plus stuff.

OF Tyrone Taylor (MIL)- Tyrone Taylor is playing every day and hitting in the middle of the Brewers lineup. This is enough to roster him going forward. The return of Hunter Renfroe is a small issue because it crowds the outfield situation but Taylor has been playing so well (.279 AVG with 6 HR in May) that he deserves to play ahead of Lorenzo Cain (.175 AVG with 1 HR in 37 GP). If he is still available, Taylor needs to be picked up immediately.

OF Nomar Mazara (SDP)- The Padres need a spark offensively and Nomar Mazara was crushing it at Triple-A (.367 AVG with 7 HR). It is easy to forget that he is just 27-years-old and hit .253+ with 19+ HR’s in his first four seasons in the majors. Yes, he did struggle in 2020 and 2021 but both were small samples. The most likely scenario in the short term is that he plays against RHP which should help maximize his value.

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