MLB Summer Camp Snapshots: July 14 - Starters, Injuries & Free Agents
Greg Jewett takes a look around today's MLB Summer camps and breaks down the top news stories of the day.
Taking another trip through all the tweets and articles from beat writers across the majors, here’s the latest snapshots to filter out the most tangible fantasy situations with Opening Day on the horizon.
American League East
With the season fast approaching, Toronto’s pitching coach identified Hyun-Jin Ryu , Tanner Roark and Matt Shoemaker as locks for the rotation. On Monday, Ryu logged five innings using 59 pitches with 40 for strikes. Each of the three listed could last as many as 5-to-7 innings when games go live next week.
As for the last two spots, it remains fluid with Trent Thornton leading the way for one spot. Then one of Ryan Borucki , Nate Pearson , Anthony Kay or Tom Hatch could win a role in the rotation. Thornton’s working on being more efficient concentrating less on strikeouts. Borucki dropped his slider and added a cutter to stay healthy. Kay’s been pitching well inside to right-handed hitters and the wild card could be Hatch armed with a fastball, slider and change with “electric stuff”.
In the bullpen, one name to keep tabs on could be Jordan Romero. He’s hitting 97-to-98 MPH routinely in camp and Ken Giles missed time last year with elbow issues.
Following up on yesterday’s rumor on Yasiel Puig , Baltimore needs some help in the outfield with Dwight Smith Jr. and Anthony Santander yet to report to camp. For now, look for Cedric Mullins and Mason Williams to fill in with Williams an intriguing fantasy stream option early on. Although the team added Ryan Mountcastle to the 60-man player pool, not sure the team would rush him to games this season:
Asked if Ryan Mountcastle is MLB ready today, Orioles manager Brandon Hyde said: "I think he’s close.” He later reiterated Mountcastle will begin the season in secondary camp.— Joe Trezza (@JoeTrezz) July 13, 2020
A welcomed arrival to camp for Diego Castillo on Monday. He missed time due to “personal reasons”, not COVID-19 and will throw a bullpen session on Tuesday. As for the rotation still in flux, two members worked outside on Monday:
#Rays Cash said Morton threw five innings on Monday. Snell pitched three and Banda pitched two.— Juan Toribio (@juanctoribio) July 13, 2020
It’s encouraging to see Morton work five innings but seeing Snell at only three innings puts him working deep into his first start in doubt. As of now, it appears that Morton gets Opening Day with Snell on day two and Ryan Yarbrough next in line with Tyler Glasnow nor Yonny Chirinos yet in camp.
From the roster notes, Yoshitomo Tsutsugo will log at-bats against all right-handed starting pitchers from opposing teams while playing left field or as the designated hitter.
While the rotation remains in constant flux, one thing fantasy can count on early on with the pitching will be Brandon Workman as the closer. Last year, shared high leverage caused confusion when targeting saves in Boston but things settled in when Workman emerged in the role. He went 10-1 last year with 16 saves and 104 strikeouts over 71.2 innings yielding only 29 hits and one home run in the second half. However, the 45 walks need to be addressed and he admitted as much in an interview.
Knowing innings will be tough to fill early on but one bulk pitcher could be southpaw Matt Hall . He worked three innings on Monday and owns a 2.97 ERA in 122 outings in the minors including 85 starts.
Part of the trust issues lacking with Aaron Judge in the fantasy community lies in his missing 214 of a possible 324 games the last two years after playing 155 games his rookie season. Judge took swings inside the batting cage on Monday but yet to return to intrasquad scrimmages and his status for the weekend exhibition games with the Mets remains questionable.
In news which should surprise no one, Cleveland added Delino DeShields Jr. to the injured list due to COVID-19. This opens a spot at a fluid part of the roster. Franmil Reyes should start along with Oscar Mercado but the other spot remains wide open to this point in camp. Add in Jordan Luplow battling a sore back and it gets interesting. Names like Bradley Zimmer , Tyler Naquin and Greg Allen could benefit. It seems like the team prefers Domingo Santana at designated hitter but he can play the outfield along with prospect Daniel Johnson.
Thanks to tweets by beat writer Lynn Worthy, some news from Monday’s scrimmage:
Danny Duffy worked three innings allowing three hits and striking out three
Bubba Starling recorded two RBI with a single
Following up the draft day hype, Detroit used their number one pick on the field at a position he did not play full-time in college:
Spencer Torkelson enters this Tigers intrasquad game at 3B.— Jason Beck (@beckjason) July 13, 2020
In a roster move, Detroit released Zack Godley clearing the space for another pitcher to break camp with the team. Also in the articles, Buck Farmer adjusting to being a reliever comes with acceptance of the role. From July 18th on last season, Farmer recorded nine of 10 hold chances with 24 strikeouts his last 26 innings of work.
Contrary to any empirical evidence, these tweets rank as hyperbole but age defying stud Nelson Cruz appears to be in midseason form:
Bomba alert: Nelson Cruz off Randy Dobnak.— Do-Hyoung Park (@dohyoungpark) July 13, 2020
Absolute laser beam off the bat. Wouldn't be surprised if it punched a hole straight through the wall where it landed in left-center.
Nelson Cruz hit a home run off Randy Dobnak that had an exit velocity of 141.2 mph and took negative two seconds to get out to left-center. #MNTwins— danhayesmlb (@DanHayesMLB) July 13, 2020
On a serious note, Byron Buxton suffered an injury going back for a fly ball and initial reports suggest it may not be serious but why will the baseball gods not allow us a full season of a the talented player:
Byron Buxton was going back to catch a Nelson Cruz fly ball in deep center field and appeared to get his cleat stuck in the grass. He went down grabbing his leg/ankle. After several minutes, he was carted off the field. pic.twitter.com/KZjk6MZ8Jk— Aaron Gleeman (@AaronGleeman) July 13, 2020
More clarity should emerge but plan on Buxton not being ready for Opening Day.
Even though the hype train on Lucas Giolito may have left the station already, there’s still time to hop on board for 2020:
Lucas Giolito, Nasty Changeup...and Sword. ?? pic.twitter.com/2tafwvZ55a— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) July 13, 2020
Not shown above, a way teams may attack Luis Robert even without advanced scouting will be feeding him many sliders and off-speed pitches, not fastballs:
Back to back sliders from Tyler Johnson.— Alex Fast (@AlexFast8) July 13, 2020
Back to back whiffs from Luis Robert. pic.twitter.com/PGj7iBfqUy
Robert owns tremendous talent with power and speed. But his batting average will be open to debate.
Listen, Joe Maddon and the Angels do not need to rush Jo Adell to the majors, but the prospect continues to make waves at camp:
Also, to the relief of Shohei Ohtani owners, he took the mound in Monday’s workouts. Ohtani worked 3.1 innings issuing four more walks on 60 pitches (26 strikes) in a more encouraging outing. Maddon mused Ohtani may pitch on Sunday’s and he does not like him batting the day before he’s going to pitch. Plan on Ohtani being the designated hitter 3-for-5 times a week but not on Saturday if this plan holds.
An arrival to one of the potential starting pitchers can let some owners of breathe a collective sigh of relief:
Astros RHP Josh James reported late to camp after staying home for the the birth of his daughter, Sophia, on July 9.— Brian McTaggart (@brianmctaggart) July 13, 2020
He said he threw plenty while at home in Florida and is up to 75-80 pitches. "I'm really anxious to get back to playing. I feel really good," he said
More important, he can already handle a workload of up to 80-plus pitches. In other news from Houston:
When asked if Urquidy and Alvarez would be ready for Opening Day, GM James Click said: "Hoping so." https://t.co/wSeDrSOHJo— Brian McTaggart (@brianmctaggart) July 13, 2020
While keeping track of who wins the second base position, this player flies below most fantasy radars but continues to hit in both spring and now summer camp:
Melvin says he’s not sure Pinder has made an out yet this spring. He’s hitting up a storm. Melvin says 2B decision could be straight platoon or he could play the hot hand.— Susan Slusser (@susanslusser) July 13, 2020
There’s no guarantee Pinder can translate his hard hit data into success but the A’s may play him all over the field this season. A rebound by Khris Davis could be in the offing with reports of his health a fuel for hope. Between 2016-to-2018 Davis hit at least 40 home runs with 100 RBI in each season becoming the 22nd major league player to do so in any three year span. Last year he cratered after a hip injury making him an intriguing target later in drafts at a discount if he bounces back.
With Matt Selz’s approval, this section of the daily column could just become a Jarred Kelenic stan account:
Here is Jarred Kelenic’s second homer of the day — a line drive to right off a Carl Edwards Jr. fastball. pic.twitter.com/7DSlBidlbr— Ryan Divish (@RyanDivish) July 14, 2020
Kelenic hit two home runs during the scrimmage noting he’s seeing baseballs like “beach balls” right now. HIs arrival may be delayed this season to ensure team control, but next year do not forget his name in drafts.
More arrivals to camp on Monday for Seattle will help sort out the playing time going forward:
And it also looks like catcherJoe Hudson has cleared. He's out there playing catch with them as well.— Ryan Divish (@RyanDivish) July 13, 2020
A nice day for Taijuan Walker sitting 93-to-94 MPH according to reports as well.
With time running out to finalize the 30-man rosters, two injuries occurred at camp on Monday. Robinson Chirinos left in the second inning after rolling his ankle. Off to a slow start, Willie Calhoun entered game action 1-for-25 and left with tightness in his left hip flexor.
Manager Chris Woodward referred to this as moving week at camp for the roster. This may not bode well for Ronald Guzmán (hitless in 15 at-bats) or Greg Bird (2-for-25). But it also opens the door for more playing time for Nick Solak , Todd Frazier and Isiah Kiner-Kalefa if Guzman nor Bird break camp with the Rangers.
In other news, Lance Lynn tossed 102 pitches on Monday and in line to start Opening Day for Texas.
National League East
While the team and fantasy owners await the return of Freddie Freeman to camp, he’s nearing only a week to prepare to return if he tests negative for COVID-19 in a span of more than 24 hours. Also noted, Sean Newcomb seems poised to take over the spot in the rotation vacated by Cole Hamels due to a setback of his shoulder. This also leaves Bryse Wilson , Kyle Wright and Josh Tomlin battling for the last spot in it.
For some good news, Mike Soroka threw well on Monday detailed in the link below:
Braves notes: Soroka has “never felt better” as he approaches his first OD start; Pache walks away from a scare; Hamels remains behind schedule https://t.co/RUqXARo5si— Mark Bowman (@mlbbowman) July 14, 2020
And for the visual crowd:
Mike Soroka, Changeup & Slider, Overlay. pic.twitter.com/5d9O6PoX8w— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) July 13, 2020
Bonus News -- Yasiel Puig is signing with Braves pending physical and Covid-19 test.
As @Ken_Rosenthal noted, Puig still needs to pass his physical and, presumably, a COVID-19 test before his deal with the Braves becomes official.— Mark Feinsand (@Feinsand) July 14, 2020
There’s no official word from the team, but if the players referenced in this tweet break camp with Miami, things get very interesting for Miami’s future:
If the Marlins have Lewin Díaz on the 30-man to start the season, along with Monte’ Harrison, it’s an obvious deviation from the last two years. Makes you wonder if the roadmap is shifting just a bit. It would also seemingly indicate they are indeed playing to win right now.— Craig Mish (@CraigMish) July 14, 2020
Lewin Diaz would immediately be moved into the National League Rookie of the Year conversation given playing time at the onset of the season. Also featured in reports from camp, the swing of veteran Corey Dickerson who could thrive in a platoon in Miami:
Things get interesting in the fallout of no Robinson Canó in camp. It’s likely Jeff McNeil shifts to second but it makes third base and left potentially wide open. J.D. Davis may take over at third with Dom Smith moving to left field. Also in competition at third will be Eduardo Núñez and Luis Guillorme . Stay tuned.
Ramping up for Opening Day, Max Scherzer carved up hit teammates needing only 67 pitches to record nine strikeouts on Monday over four innings. Both Roenis Elías and Wander Suero landed on the injured list having yet to report to camp.
Battling for the last spot in the rotation, Austin Voth continues to hone his arsenal working on a cutter-slider and split-fingered fastball. Last year Voth used his fastball 60.5 percent of his pitches producing a paltry .195 batting average against. If he can generate more swings and misses with one of his new offerings, it could unlock his potential.
An important update on Aaron Nola , a late arrival at camp. He tossed 47 pitches on Monday facing 14 batters yielding two hits, two walks and striking out one getting back into a groove. Reports indicate the last spot in the rotation comes down to Nick Pivetta or Vince Velasquez with the loser of the competition heading to the bullpen.
Milwaukee took Monday off from scrimmaging but seeing this helps reinforce this reliever’s fantasy status going forward:
A healthy Knebel unlocks Josh Hader for manager Craig Counsell and could be a sneaky source of saves even if he’s not the “closer”.
Gauging how St. Louis sets its rotation and bullpen continues to be a mystery. But, a former reliable source of saves will not participate this season:
For those who didn’t know, Jordan Hicks is a Type 1 diabetic. His rehab was slowed initially by the disease, which affects blood flow and, thus, recovery. It’s on the list of pre-existing conditions, so he qualifies to be paid in ‘20. https://t.co/hu1qXZLF3U— Mark Saxon (@markasaxon) July 13, 2020
One cannot blame Hicks for opting out due to his health concerns so how the team uses Carlos Martínez could go a long way into determining the rotation and high leverage innings for the Cardinals. How St. Louis uses Martinez remains a big question mark with the season drawing closer by the day. As for the lineup, this order seems cemented: Leading off, Kolten Wong , then Matt Carpenter , Paul Goldscmidt, Paul DeJong and Yadier Molina . Plan accordingly in drafts.
It’s going to be difficult to displace J.T. Realmuto as the top catcher in fantasy, but if Contreras finishes second this season, it would not be a surprise:
Cubs catcher Willson Contreras says he feels safest at the ballpark. His only concern is the turnaround time for test results. The Cubs had 6 members of the organization miss practice today due to delays in getting results.— Jesse Rogers (@JesseRogersESPN) July 13, 2020
Forgetting how Contreras started last year before his injury issues in the second half makes him a potential bargain due to recency bias. In the first half, Contreras hit a robust .286/.381/.556 with 14 doubles, 18 home runs and a .270 isolated power over 302 plate appearances.
After an underwhelming 2019, Colin Morna remains atop the depth chart at third base for Pittsburgh. He could also log time at first base if Josh Bell gets a day off or hits as the designated hitter. As reported months ago, if taking Keone Kela in any draft, be sure to back him up with Nick Burdi as an upside play late for saves chasers.
Baseballs continue to fly out of the yard in Cincinnati and seeing this guy launching them has to warm the hearts of the fantasy community:
Eugenio Suarez just launched a homer off of Raisel Iglesias to the tunnel in the upper deck in left, section 404— C. ???????????? (@ctrent) July 13, 2020
Reds hitters blasted nine home runs the last two days in scrimmages. Two names popping up in reports: Shogo Akiyama and Joey Votto . Akiyama racked up five hits the last two games with two doubles down the right field line on Sunday. Plus, prospects joined the power party with Jonathan India and Tyler Stephenson going yard on Monday in back-to-back at-bats.
One of last season’s breakout performers for Arizona suffered a setback in summer camp:
#Dbacks Torey Lovullo says Christian Walker has a strained right groin. MRI taken shows strain. Lovullo says he is day to day. Still optimistic about being ready for Opening Day.— Steve Gilbert (@SteveGilbertMLB) July 14, 2020
Luckily the Diamondbacks possess depth at first base with Jake Lamb and Kevin Cron available if Walker needs to miss any time prior to the start of the season. As for the team, Ketel Marte appears to be ready hitting two home runs against Merrill Kelly in game action on Monday. Those who think Marte’s power was fluky last year may be mistaken.
During the extended break, Cody Bellinger reportedly reworked his swing to combat low and away pitches for the upcoming season. With Max Muncy still sidelined, prospect Edwin Ríos opened some eyes at camp this week already:
Not too shabby hitting a left handed home run off of Clayton Kershaw . Keep Rios on the radar.
With Buster Posey opted out for the year, San Francisco will look to another veteran for leadership:
The Giants will be hyper-mobile as they seek to be relevant in 2020. But teams need stability. They need continuity. And Evan Longoria, a player acquired by different people for long-dead purposes, might have the best shot at providing it. https://t.co/QaDGd2YT4m— Andrew Baggarly (@extrabaggs) July 14, 2020
From the beat writers, how Kevin Gausman and Drew Smyley fare could determine how the Giants season ends up. Veterans Hunter Pence and Pablo Sandoval also can help keep the dugout loose but inevitably how the team accepts the guidance of Gabe Kapler remains to be seen. For those chasing saves, have fun trying to predict the moves Kapler makes late in games.
Looking sharp in camp, Chris Paddack allowed his 75 pitch count to cover six innings preparing for his Opening Day start. Paddack broke out last year and if he can log innings early on with effectiveness, he’s an outside candidate for a Cy Young, you heard me.
One of yesterday’s highlights appears again with the beat writers, outfielder Edward Olivares . With the designated hitter spot in action, Olivares continues to hit the ball well with great at-bats showing patience in summer camp. He’s put Franchy Cordero and Josh Naylor on the bubble to make the 30-man roster. Keep an eye on Cal Quantrill as well. He’s been pitching well in summer camp and if he’s a piggy back option following Joey Lucchesi , he could siphon valuable wins this season.
Good news for fantasy owners in regards to Charlie Blackmon :
Charlie Blackmon is back at Coors Field today to begin his summer training camp with the Rockies.— Nick Groke (@nickgroke) July 13, 2020
Also, for a team needing every capable arm available, this pitcher could make the bullpen with past pedigree to succeed with health:
Daniel Bard went three up-down tonight at Coors Field. Murphy easy grounder, Story K, McMahon fly out. Bard looks goood. Rockies are very pleased. Seems to be pitching his way to opening day.— Nick Groke (@nickgroke) July 14, 2020
Be sure to stay with Fantasy Alarm in this everchanging fantasy climate to remain ahead of the competition.