NL Week 12 Strategy-June 18, 2022
In The Field
2B Ozzie Albies (foot) has had surgery to stabilize the fracture in his foot. He has been placed on the 60-day IL so he will miss at least two months. 2B Orlando Arcia has filled in at second base since Albies went down. He doesn’t have much mixed league appeal but everyday at-bats from anyone are valuable in NL-only formats. OF Mookie Betts (ribs) was not in the lineup on Friday or Saturday due to the rib contusion he suffered when he collided with OF Cody Bellinger. The good news is that x-rays came back negative so he is day-to-day. 3B Eduardo Escobar (vision) was back in the lineup on Saturday after missing games Thursday and Friday due to headaches, dizziness, and pressure in his ears. 1B Frank Schwindel was put on the 10-day IL on Saturday with a lower back strain. 1B Alfonso Rivas will fill in for him while he is out. 2B/OF Tucupita Marcano has been placed on the Covid IL. SS Liover Peguero was called up by the Pirates from Double-A to take Marcano’s place. Peguero was hitting .292 with 5 HR, 28 R, 33 RBI, and 14 SB. Fantasy managers are up in arms that it was not SS Oneil Cruz who was called up but they went for the one that was closest in terms of geography. Peguero has fantasy upside but it is unlikely that he sticks beyond the short time that Marcano is out. 1B Yoshi Tsutugo (back) is getting close to a rehab assignment. 3B/OF Kris Bryant (back) hopes to rejoin the team next weekend in their series against the Twins. He will need to get through a rehab assignment before that becomes reality. 3B Joey Wendle (hamstring) was to partake in live batting practice on Saturday which is a positive sign. 3B Jon Berti has filled in for Wendle and has played well (.275 AVG with 2 HR and 15 SB). What the Marlins decide to do with playing time between the two when Wendle returns has major fantasy implications. Berti is winning leagues for people right now with his speed so if he heads to a part-time role that is a huge change in value. OF Brian Anderson (back) was scheduled for live batting practice on Saturday. How his back responds to the live at-bats will determine how close he is to a rehab assignment. 2B Ketel Marte (hamstring) was not in the Diamondbacks lineup on Friday due to hamstring tightness. He is day-to-day. 1B Joey Votto was scratched from the lineup on Friday for undisclosed reasons it turned out that he is dealing with minor injuries and needed the day off according to manager David Bell. He was back in the lineup on Saturday. OF Jesus Sanchez and 1B Jesus Aguilar were placed on the Covid IL on Friday. OF Bryan De La Cruz fill in for Sanchez while he is out and 1B Garett Cooper for Aguilar. 1B/OF LaMonte Wade (knee) started a rehab assignment this weekend. When he does return he will go back into a platoon role where he plays only against right-handed pitchers which makes him viable in NL-only and deep mixed leagues only. OF Canaan Smith-Njigba was placed on the 60-day IL with a fractured right wrist. He was three games into his major league career and this happened. The Pirates will continue to run out Bryan Reynolds, Jack Suwinski, and Cal Mitchell in the outfield. OF Seiya Suzuki (finger) has been able to take dry swings on Friday. 2B David Bote (shoulder) has resumed his rehab assignment after taking some time off due to bouts of dizziness. C Yadier Molina was placed on the 10-day IL with right knee inflammation. C Andrew Knizner is expected to receive the bulk of the playing time while Molina is out. SS Kevin Newman (hamstring/groin) is getting close to a rehab assignment. It is unclear if he will still have a starting role when he does return because the Pirates have been going with the youth movement and Newman is not part of their long-term plans. 2B Nick Madrigal (groin) has been placed on the 10-day IL. Andrelton Simmons and 2B Jonathan Villar have both seen increased playing time since Madrigal went on the IL. The problem for mixed leagues is that neither are playing every day. Villar is the much better fantasy option and has been playing the most. C James McCann has started a rehab assignment and should be back next week. OF Tyler Naquin (quad) is ahead of schedule in his recovery and could make it back before the end of the month which is quite the improvement on the 4-6 week timeline first given when he went on the IL. 2B Kolten Wong (calf) suffered a setback in his recovery and won’t be activated as expected on Monday. OF Bryce Harper was out on Saturday with an infected blister on his left hand. OF Lorenzo Cain has been designated for assignment on Saturday. This has opened up everyday playing time for OF Tyrone Taylor. OF Luis Gonzalez is playing every day regardless of the handedness of the pitcher which is unusual for the Giants. He is also leading off against right-handed pitchers which gives him nice fantasy appeal. He is hitting .303 with 3 HR, 17 R, 22 RBI, and 5 SB. OF Lane Thomas has moved to the leadoff spot for the Nationals which is a nice boost to his fantasy value. He isn’t hitting for average (.227 AVG) but has power/speed upside. 2B Jonathan India is back for the Reds and has returned to be their leadoff hitter.
On The Mound
Joe Musgrove was placed on the Covid IL on Friday. Mike Clevinger returned from the Covid IL on Friday and promptly pitched two innings in relief which was odd. It now remains unclear when he will make his next start. Anthony DeSclafani (ankle) is expected to start on Tuesday. He has been out for two months due to ankle inflammation. Be aware that he has not fully built up to a starter’s workload so he will be on a pitch count his first couple of starts at the major league level. Andrew Heaney (shoulder) is scheduled to start Sunday for the Dodgers. Sixto Sanchez (shoulder) was able to throw off a mound on Saturday. The Marlins and Sanchez are taking his recovery slow which is understandable. It remains unlikely that he pitches at the major league level this year. Jesus Luzardo (forearm) is slated to start a throwing program this weekend. Forearm injuries are very serious for pitchers so despite this positive step it is important to remain cautious. He is still a long way away from returning to a big-league mound. Jakob Junis (hamstring) has started a throwing program. He was expected to be out 4-6 weeks when he was placed on the IL on June 11. It is good news that he is already starting to throw. Nick Lodolo (back) made another rehab start on Saturday. He is expected to make at least one more start before making it back to the big league club. Tylor Megill (shoulder) was placed on the 15-day IL on Friday after leaving his start early on Thursday. He is going to be shut down from throwing for four weeks before being re-evaluated. This puts him at a mid-August return if everything goes well which is hard to wait around for if you need the roster spot. Drew Smyly (oblique) has been able to play catch. The next step will be to pitch off a mound. Aaron Ashby left his start on Thursday due to forearm tightness. The Brewers believe it was a fatigue issue and hope that he can make his next start. He felt good after a bullpen session on Saturday. Brandon Woodruff made a rehab start for Triple-A Nashville on Saturday. The next step is not known as of this writing because he is scheduled to fly back to the big league club and could start there or for a nearby affiliate. Either way, he is close to returning. Max Scherzer (oblique) is scheduled to make a rehab start on Tuesday. He is pacing towards a return for the series with Miami. This is all predicated on how he responds to live-action. Alex Cobb (neck) is scheduled to start against the Pirates on Sunday which means he was out for just the minimum. The surface stats aren’t good (5.73 ERA and 1.49 WHIP) but the underlying skills point to better times ahead (29% K, 7% BB, 65% GB, and 2.67 SIERA). Marcus Stroman (shoulder) played catch on Thursday. It is a small step but an important one because he had been shut down from throwing altogether. Dustin May (elbow) is progressing nicely in his recovery from Tommy John surgery but is still without a timetable for his return. Walker Buehler had a bone spur removed from his right elbow on Monday. He will continue to be shut down from throwing for 6-8 weeks before being re-evaluated. Jordan Hicks threw a 30-pitch bullpen session on Wednesday and is expected to start a rehab assignment soon. Freddy Peralta (lat) has started throwing which is a good sign but he still isn’t eligible to return until the end of July so expectations have to be tempered. Pablo Lopez (wrist) didn’t make his start on Wednesday but was able to start on Friday but did not fare well (5.1 IP and 6 ER).
In the Bullpen
Josh Hader (paternity list) is going to return to the team on Monday which is good news for the Brewers and fantasy managers as he has been dominant once again in 2022 (0.92 ERA and 0.61 WHIP). Lucas Sims (back) was placed on the 60-day IL and Tony Santillan (back) was placed on the 15-day IL. The Reds will continue to use a committee at the end of games that includes Hunter Strickland, Alexis Diaz, and Joel Kuhnel. Tyler Kinley is likely out for the year after having surgery on his throwing elbow. He was an intriguing name to keep an eye on for the Rockies bullpen come the trade deadline but that is no longer the case. Robert Stephenson is the name to keep an eye on if he can turn things around by then. Tanner Scott has taken over as the Marlins closer and Cole Sulser has hit the 15-day IL with a lat strain.
Players to add this week:
OF Michael Harris II (ATL)- Michael Harris has now played 20 games at the major league level and is hitting .324 with 2 HR, 13 R, 12 RBI, and 2 SB. He has an aggressive approach at the plate (22% K and 4% BB) but the ability to make above-average contact is there. The power isn’t going to be great due to his ground ball tendencies (52% GB) but he has just enough to be a non-zero in the category. Once he establishes himself as a guy that can get on base and show that he can be successful stealing bases they should come in bunches as well.
2B Jonathan Villar (CHC)- Nick Madrigal hit the IL which has opened up playing time for Villar. On the year, he is hitting .221 with 2 HR, 16 R, 15 RBI, and 6 SB in 148 PA. The batting average should come up slightly given his 25% strikeout rate and .281 BABIP. He also has the ability to provide both power and speed which is hard to find on the waiver wire especially this time of the year.
RP Tanner Scott (MIA)- Tanner Scott has taken over as the Marlins closer. He is the guy that Mattingly trusts right now so he needs to be picked up. It is a volatile profile given his walk rate (12% BB) but he has enough swing and miss (36% K) to overcome that in most cases. Saves are saves at this point in the year so having sole possession of a closer’s job is extremely valuable even if it is the Marlins.
OF Tyrone Taylor (MIL)- Tyrone Taylor should play every day now that Lorenzo Cain has been designated for assignment. Taylor is hitting .230 with 6 HR, 16 R, 25 RBI, and 1 SB in 50 GP. A year ago, he hit .247 with 12 HR/6 SB in 93 GP. The batting average is lower this year mainly due to poor luck (.258 BABIP) because he has the ability to make contact (20% K) and hit the ball hard enough (8% Barrels). It’s not a league-winning profile but a very solid profile that can really help in mixed leagues.
OF Luis Gonzalez (SFG)- Luis Gonzalez has been playing every day for the Giants which is a feat in itself given their propensity to platoon. He has also been leading off against right-handers which makes him fantasy viable without looking at his skills. He is hitting .308 with 3 HR, 17 R, 23 RBI, and 6 SB in 165 PA. The plate skills are very good (19% K and 9% BB) and the speed is good enough to be a double-digit stolen base guy. The power isn’t going to help you in most cases he should provide enough value in the other four categories to be a starter in 12-15 team mixed leagues.
2B/SS Luis Garcia (WSH)-Luis Garcia is playing shortstop every day for the Nationals. He is hitting .343 with 2 HR, 6 R, 10 RBI, and 0 SB in 17 GP. He hasn’t walked much in his career (4% BB) but he does have plus contact skills (20% K). He was showing increased power in the minors (.217 ISO with 8 HR) so it will be interesting to see if that sticks. For now, a plus average with decent counting stats is what you should expect. This is a deeper mixed league profile without the power.
RP Seranthony Dominguez/Brad Hand (PHI)- The Phillies removed Corey Knebel from the closer’s role. This is likely going to be a temporary move but makes Seranthony Dominguez and Brad Hand fantasy viable. Hand picked up the first save opportunity but Dominguez has been the best reliever (1.80 ERA, 0.92 WHIP, 28% K:BB). They both should get save opportunities and need to be picked up.
1B Luke Voit (SDP)- Luke Voit is in the lineup every day and hitting fourth for the Padres. He has turned his season around of late so if he is still available he needs to be rostered. He is hitting .233 with 8 HR, 24 R, 29 RBI, and 1 SB in 47 GP. He has been hot in June (.260 AVG with 5 HR, 9 R, 19 RBI, and 0 SB).
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