MLB Summer Camp Snapshots: July 20 - Pitchers Ready & Batting Lineups
Greg Jewett takes a look around today's MLB Summer camps and breaks down the top news stories of the day.
With eyes on Opening Day on Thursday, news continues to come in fast and furious fashion. Thanks to Snapshots with information on each team, one can discern the fantasy tangible information in one place leading up to any redraft leagues. Here’s Monday’s whirlwind tour around the major leagues.
Toronto Blue Jays
Trying to figure out where Toronto will play its home games does not enable figuring out ballpark effects for the hitters or pitchers in fantasy. Right now, taking a Blue Jay remains a mystery so trust your gut. Potential sites include Washington or Baltimore when they are on the road along with Pittsburgh. Stay tuned, this could be fluid.
As important as the lineup and how the “Baby Jays” hit this season, many fantasy players would appreciate a timeline for Nate Pearson . Here’s one scenario:
This is just speculation based on the math and situation but Nate Pearson ’s timeline could look like this:— Scott Mitchell (@ScottyMitchTSN) July 19, 2020
-Starts exhibition game Wednesday in Boston.
-Throws bullpen Monday, July 27 while #BlueJays are in Washington.
-Makes MLB debut Saturday, Aug. 1 at “home” against Philly.
During their exhibition game on Sunday, Stevie Wilkerson suffered an injury to his left ring finger on a slide. His status just joined others in the day-to-day category but he’s seeing a hand specialist on Monday. A late arrival to camp landed Dwight Smith Jr. on the injured list thinning the depth in the outfield.
John Means reportedly “felt a lot better” after receiving treatment for his dead arm. His status for Opening Day could be addressed as soon as today. Alex Cobb will start Monday’s game against Washington and Kohl Stewart on Tuesday with Wade LeBlanc tossing a simulated game instead.
From Sunday’s loss, Tanner Scott threw well with two strikeouts in a clean inning including one against Bryce Harper . Pedro Severino homered off of Zack Wheeler and Hanser Alberto went 3-for-3 with an RBI.
Tampa Bay Rays
Players continue to arrive in camp and Sunday included a part of the rotation:
Charlie Morton gets the first Opening Day start of his career when Tampa hosts Toronto and tossed 51 pitches in his final tuneup going 2.2 innings. Morton worked five innings his previous outing so he should be stretched out enough to go at least five on Friday. Behind him, it appears Ryan Yarbrough will pitch Saturday and Blake Snell slated for Sunday. Tyler Glasnow then Chirinos will fill the last two slots in the ever fluid staff. This shifts Trevor Richards back into a long relief role or “piggy back” arm on the staff.
It may be nothing, but continued rave reviews about Diego Castillo in camp reports. Yes, Nick Anderson surged last year but the Rays usually deploy a committee approach to saves so be sure to pay close attention how they work saves early on.
Boston Red Sox
Whether it’s a lack of progress trying to return from injury or health concerns, Boston lost more depth from the pitching staff on Sunday:
At least Eduardo Rodríguez returned over the weekend but provided some sage words about his battle with COVID-19:
Eduardo Rodríguez says to wear a mask, wash your hands and be careful. COVID-19 hit him hard. It was all he could do to get out of bed.— Pete Abraham (@PeteAbe) July 19, 2020
"I felt like I was 100 years old."
This is a 27-year-old professional athlete.
Lineup news about Rafael Devers , he will hit second this season no matter the opposing pitcher. Devers hit a titanic shot on Sunday before reporters arrived and wants to build on his 2019 breakout. Nate Eovaldi worked 5.2 innings in his last outing before Opening Day allowing four hits, two runs and striking out five.
New York Yankees
Putting its power on display against the Mets on Sunday. Gary Sánchez , Luke Voit , Giancarlo Stanton and Aaron Judge (twice) all launched one in what many fantasy owners hope provides a preview of upcoming events (2,119 combined feet of home run distance).
Also worth noting:
Perhaps more important than the home run barrage, the outing by Jordan Montgomery who fired five shutout innings giving up two hits and one walk with six strikeouts:
On the rehab trail, Masahiro Tanaka threw a bullpen session on Sunday and if all goes well, will face live hitters on Tuesday.
Terry Francona plans to announce his final rotation decisions on Monday but Shane Bieber gets the ball on Opening Day. Bieber tossed 70-to-75 on Sunday getting in work after reaching 90 pitches his previous outing. He’s ready for the challenges ahead with Cleveland playing 17 games the first 17 days of the season.
Trying to secure a spot in the rotation, Zach Plesac allowed six hits and two runs against Pittsburgh with six strikeouts while Adam Plutko threw a simulated game in Cleveland. How the rotation takes shape determines the fantasy value for all six involved on the team.
Kansas City Royals
From the where there’s smoke there’s fire department, Brady Singer could break camp with Kansas City. He fired four shutout innings in Friday’s intrasquad scrimmage and continues to impress Mike Matheny:
Singer split time between High-A and Double-A last year with a combined 12-5 record with a 2.85 ERA and 138:39 K:BB in 148.1 innings.
After a slow start in camp, Jorge Soler continues to heat up over the weekend and flashing the power fantasy owners hope returns in 2020:
Again, it comes as no surprise to see Matthew Boyd named the Opening Day starter but here’s the official announcement:
Remember, Boyd started strong last year with a 2.85 ERA his first 12 starts. As for the rest of the Tigers staff, it’s up in the air with injury issues (Jordan Zimmermann , Daniel Norris ) and one returning from Tommy John surgery (Michael Fulmer ). While many focus on if and when Pearson joins the Jays, could the lack of pitching depth in Detroit open the door for Casey Mize , if manager Ron Gardenhire gets his way, yes.
With so many rotations taking shape, Minnesota’s plan remains in flux due to a recent injury concern in camp:
If Odorizzi can throw on Monday, the original plan of José Berríos on Opening Day with Odorizzi next then Kenta Maeda , Rich Hill and Homer Bailey could proceed. If Odorizzi cannot throw, then either Maeda slots up with the others providing more time for Odorizzi to return or a bullpen game with Randy Dobnak and one of Lewis Thorpe or Devin Smeltzer could occur on Saturday in Chicago.
Chicago White Sox
During a comeback win over their crosstown rival, new players in the White Sox lineup stepped up. Yasmani Grandal went 1-for-3 with a double and two RBI. Edwin Encarnación added a double in three at-bats and rookie Luis Robert finished 2-for-3 with a double and an RBI. Depth to the lineup and a deeper rotation makes this team one to watch in the shortened season.
This tweet encapsulates how the season could go with so many rotation questions yet to be answered and the pending return of Yoán Moncada who will slot back in at second in the lineup:
A few of the biggest talking points from White Sox Summer Camp:— Scott Merkin (@scottmerkin) July 19, 2020
1) Luis Robert 's immense talent across the diamond
2) Six starters? Five starters? Four starters?
3) Should Nick Madrigal open at second?
4) Is this a playoff team in 2020?
5) The mustache of @VinnieDuber
Los Angeles Angels
Late injuries leading up to the regular season provide headaches for fantasy owners. A rash of news about the Angels makes predicting how the lineup appears on Friday in flux, first:
This should assuage some fears, but then this tweet surfaced:
Heaney owners know this happens often with him with a checkered injury past, so enter with eyes wide open. Los Angeles needs Anthony Rendon in the lineup with an already weakened outfield. As a reminder, Shohei Ohtani will start on the mound on Sundays with Saturdays off, so those in weekly leagues need to assess this since he will only bat on Friday.
Before delving into the ever changing bullpen in Houston, here’s how they line up their starting pitching for the first weekend with Seattle coming to town:
Dusty Baker said the Astros’ rotation for the Mariners series will go Verlander-McCullers-Greinke-James.— Jake Kaplan (@jakemkaplan) July 19, 2020
Baker wouldn’t commit today to a fifth starter, but I’d be surprised if it’s not Framber Valdez .
There’s no COVID-19 concerns about Roberto Osuna but:
Baker said Osuna is not hurt. He reiterated he just came "late" to camp by no fault of his own. "We're at the mercy of when he's ready."— Brian McTaggart (@brianmctaggart) July 19, 2020
Showing up out of shape or not ready to throw does not bode well in a truncated season regarded as a sprint to the finish. Every game matters. Ryan Pressly should be next in line but he’s been battling a blister issue. This puts rookie Bryan Abreu into the high leverage picture since arms in the bullpen remain injured:
There's a chance the Astros could be without Austin Pruitt , Brad Peacock and Roberto Osuna when the season starts. And Joe Smith won't be there.— Brian McTaggart (@brianmctaggart) July 19, 2020
Dusty Baker said the three-batter minimum rule will be challenging with a young bullpen.
One day after being named Opening Day starter, Frankie Montas got in his last work leading up Friday:
Opening Night starter Frankie Montas down for 4 IP in today's sim game. Coliseum gun had him at 95-97 in the first inning.— Matt Kawahara (@matthewkawahara) July 19, 2020
Ahead of Monday’s exhibition game against San Francisco, Sean Manaea will try to throw between 55-to-65 pitches tuning up for the season. Jesús Luzardo will attempt three innings in a simulated game prior.
With eyes on the season, Seattle plays 20 games in the first 20 days so how the bullpen holds up could determine its early fate. Here’s how the Mariners lineup pitching wise in Houston:
One name to watch the first weekend, Tim Lopes. If Mallex Smith cannot ramp up in time to play, Lopes could play left field with speed upside for those streaming hitters and this guy could shift to center field:
Kyle Lewis put on a power display last September and projects to hit fifth in the lineup in Houston. Stay tuned. Last, Yoshihisa Hirano joined summer camp on Sunday after a battle with COVID-19. He probably will not be ready for the onset of the season with Seattle projected to carry 11 relievers to help fill innings with a six-man rotation.
Perhaps more clarity for Texas with Mike Minor throwing 93 pitches in a 5.1 inning simulated game on Sunday preparing for his start on Saturday against the Rockies at home. As for the lineup, confirming yesterday’s speculation, Isiah Kiner-Falefa projects to start at third while Todd Frazier slides over to first base. And this guy will hit clean-up:
Keeping things close to the vest, Atlanta’s yet to name its rotation plans outside of the first two contests:
Hamels will open the season on the IL, as expected. It's official.— David O'Brien (@DOBrienATL) July 19, 2020
Snitker said Soroka and Fried are set for Games 1 & 2, and they'll finalize the rest later.
Camargo no update (hasn't seen him yet today), but said it was mild and they'll stay away from him for a couple of days
A fellow beat writer, Mark Bowman speculates it will be Mike Foltynewicz then Sean Newcomb with the fifth spot wide open for outcomes. Personally hoping for an opener for Kyle Wright or for him to work in a tandem role perhaps with Touki Toussaint but fantasy owners want the second pitcher in any scenario when streaming for wins.
Until more information emerges about how Miami will structure the lineup, be sure to keep tabs on Corey Dickerson . He’s hitting everything hard in summer camp and could be a sneaky target to insulate batting average this season.
In these unconventional times, the Marlins aren’t ruling out anything, and that includes using their top pitching prospects in the 60-game sprint of a season.
“We have to stay open-minded,” pitching coach Mel Stottlemyre Jr. said in a Zoom call this week. “We're going to be able to expand our roster, and there are going to be some guys given an opportunity that maybe in a [normal] regular season wouldn't have been given that opportunity.”
Fellow writer Matt Selz sings the praises of Cabrera if he emerges as a tandem arm or bullpen option for a team needing high leverage options.
New York Mets
While covering the KBO this season, bullpens can impact a season. Not only does New York potentially operate with a closer by committee reading through all the tea leaves from the manager and general manager, this note does not provide a warm fuzzy either:
The Mets theoretically have as many as five bullpen spots to fill if Gsellman, Hughes and Brach are all absent on Opening Day.— Anthony DiComo (@AnthonyDiComo) July 20, 2020
Have to think Hunter Strickland will get one of them. Drew Smith could get another. I also wouldn't be surprised to see Erasmo Ramírez in the mix.
Even if Jacob deGrom proves healthy, how many games does he need to suffer a no-decision due to a volatile bullpen? As for deGrom, at least some good news on his status for Opening Day:
The word is Jacob deGrom 's simulated game today went well. Sounds like he should be just fine for Opening Day.— Anthony DiComo (@AnthonyDiComo) July 19, 2020
More intriguing to see, if Victor Robles can be ready on Opening Day may be how the batting order looks if he does? In their first exhibition game, Trea Turner hit leadoff and Juan Soto fourth. If Robles can convince manager Dave Martinez he’s ready, he may play against the Yankees on the 23rd, but hits where in the lineup?
Also on Sunday, relievers Sean Doolittle , Tanner Rainey and Daniel Hudson tossed 25 pitch simulated innings building up arm strength. Washington faces Baltimore the next two nights preparing for their debut against the Yankees in prime time on Thursday.
Small sample size aside, could Bryce Harper be settling in with Philadelphia:
A year removed from his huge contract, Harper seems poised to return to fantasy prominence and if he improves his plate discipline raising his average, he may accomplish it.
Monday will be a big night in determining the role for Vince Velasquez facing the Yankees in an exhibition contest. This comes with a caveat, Zack Wheeler worked 4.1 innings on Sunday in his final tuneup giving up four hits, two runs and a walk with four strikeouts. However, he’s slated to start on Saturday which coincides with the due date of his child. So, Velasquez could be pushed up to Saturday working on normal rest against the Marlins. Jake Arrieta will throw on Wednesday in a scrimmage and should make his first start on the 27th against the Yankees. Zach Eflin will toss a simulated game on Thursday and barring a setback opens up against New York on the 28th. Spencer Howard owners will be paying close attention to all of these scenarios.
Just missing the cut from Sunday’s column, Omar Narváez keeps raking in Milwaukee’s intrasquad games hitting two home runs in Sunday’s scrimmage and four in the five game series.
It's deja vu all over again. pic.twitter.com/XfIk97TnwA— Milwaukee Brewers (@Brewers) July 19, 2020
Shifting to a hitter friendly park for left-handed hitters, Narvaez gets lost in the sauce when ranking catchers but his line drive rates could provide some pop in this shortened season. Also looking ready for Opening Day, Brandon Woodruff :
Depending on the health of Brett Anderson , the Brewers rotation remains unsettled:
Because Josh Lindblom is pitching Wednesday in Appleton, along with Lauer, he would not be ready to pitch the third game vs. Cubs at Wrigley. Counsell said he would wait to name a third starter until he sees if Anderson can pitch the second game. So, TBD on Games 2 and 3.— Tom (@Haudricourt) July 20, 2020
Ryan Braun won't be playing today, either. Counsell listed back, oblique, neck. Possible he misses opening day, but could be ready shortly after if he does.— Will Sammon (@WillSammon) July 20, 2020
St. Louis Cardinals
Speaking of unsettled, the Cardinals staff continues to evolve leading up to Opening Day. On Sunday, Daniel Ponce de Leon and Austin Gomber worked one inning outings in preparation of joining the bullpen. Giovanny Gallegos insists he’s ready but this quote seemed worth noting Derrick Goold’s article this morning:
“The Cardinals are likely to make rolling decisions on the bullpen as Cabrera and Reyes become ready and performance decides other moves.”
With this in mind, Carlos Martínez will work in tandem with Miles Mikolas in case there’s an injury setback for Mikolas. If not, then how St. Louis officially announces the use of Martinez could be as the fifth starter or as the closer. Feeling lucky?
With games on the horizon, Chicago announced its plans for the first three games:
Cubs rotation for first series v Mil: Hendricks, Darvish, Chatwood— Jesse Rogers (@JesseRogersESPN) July 19, 2020
Things get interesting after, especially for Alec Mills truthers:
Ross: Lester is down to start vs. Twins on Wednesday, with Alec Mills piggybacking.— Jordan Bastian (@MLBastian) July 19, 2020
This could carry over into the season so stay tuned. If not, Mills could work as the fifth starter for rookie manager David Ross.
For the daily nugget on Anthony Rizzo :
Here is Cubs manager David Ross postgame, on how Rizzo looked during his pregame work and whether the first baseman might be OK to play in Wednesday’s exhibition vs. Twins... pic.twitter.com/040N7s2ie6— Jordan Bastian (@MLBastian) July 20, 2020
Tough news for Luke Maile who will miss the 2020 season due to injury. John Ryan Murphy takes over as the backup catcher to Jake Stallings as the Pirates roster loses another option. Things could get tough as the season ensues with potential trade chips losing value each day they miss. Both Gregory Polanco and Keone Kela could fetch a prospect if healthy leading up to the deadline but if they do not return to action early in August, can the Pirates flip them?
With more exhibition games on tap, fantasy owners will pay attention to who gets the ninth in a save situation. In their first contest, Kyle Crick worked the eighth meaning Nick Burdi owned the first chance until Crick imploded. But, it remains fluid.
Winner of the best performance in summer camp by the beat writers, Sonny Gray turned in another solid outing leading up to his Opening Day start:
Sonny Gray 's day is done -- 4 IP, 1 BB, 1 HBP, 4 SO. and that's it— C. ???????????? (@ctrent) July 19, 2020
If the Reds make a push for the division, their newly acquired bats and rotation depth could be key factors.
Nick Castellanos did not play on Sunday remaining day-to-day with a bruise on his back from a hit-by-pitch over the weekend. Michael Lorenzen has not thrown in the last three scrimmages with forearm tightness. The team maintains its a muscular issue due to a new grip but monitor this since he’s probably the next option to close games behind Raisel Iglesias .
Lost in Sunday’s loss to the Dodgers, Ketel Marte carried over his power from summer camp in the first inning:
A repeat of last year will be difficult in this truncated season but if one does not buy into his power breakout, this could be a mistake. If Arizona contends for a playoff spot, both Martes need to be in the middle of it. In regards to the lineup, curious to see Starling Marte batting third with Kole Calhoun at leadoff. This will need to be tracked going forward.
It’s been documented in this series about the uptick in velocity and proficiency of throwing strikes in summer camp by Robbie Ray . Here’s a look at a possible reason why and if it sticks, he may be improving his chances at a higher contract this offseason:
Lot of buzz around Robbie Ray these last few days. His arm-action change is pretty substantial. Sky is the limit if his walks come down.— Lance Brozdowski (@LanceBroz) July 19, 2020
Also noticed his momentum towards home plate is direct. Still a 3B side fall-off but more controlled. #DBacks pic.twitter.com/p3pVB7KRz0
Los Angeles Dodgers
Regression in the second half last year seemed inevitable for Cody Bellinger . He worked on his swing during the time off due to the pandemic to reach pitches low and away more effectively. In Sunday’s exhibition game, his swing looked ready:
Los Angeles jumped out to a four run lead without recording an out against Arizona pitcher Taylor Widener . Mookie Betts finished 2-for-3 with two runs and a double along with a walk in four plate appearances. Max Muncy racked up two doubles, scored three runs and walked in three plate appearances while Bellinger finished 3-for-4 with five RBI. This offense will be a problem for many teams in 2020.
Also of note from this contest, Kenley Jansen tossed a clean inning as he remains on track to open the season as closer after joining camp late but still has an unsettled bridge to him in high leverage situations.
San Francisco Giants
Trying to predict how San Francisco handles the rebuild in terms of controlling service time and going on the fly may be determined by the pandemic itself this season. Talking about how to handle Joey Bart comes with trepidation of a shutdown during the season wasting a year of his service time, but:
With two games on tap with Oakland, Kevin Gausman gets the start on Monday with Tuesday’s starter to be announced. Interesting note from Henry Schulman saying when closing chances occurred in scrimmages, it was Tyler Rogers taking them. He also mused Gausman and Drew Smyly seemed ready to absorb innings for the Giants filling in spots for the rotation but Jeff Samardzija looked the least ready for the onset of the season.
San Diego Padres
Remember when no one wanted Wil Myers in drafts in March? According to A.J. Cassavell of The Athletic, this could be the Opening Day lineup:
As for the rotation, plan on Zach Davies and Joey Lucchesi only seeing lineups two times through then turning the game over to the bullpen. This takes away any win upside when streaming them this season. Also note Ty France as the designated hitter though the spot will be used to provide rest throughout the season but if Eric Hosmer does not improve against left-handed pitching, he could sit in future match-ups. Heed his performance this weekend against Madison Bumgarner and Robbie Ray .
An encouraging sign from camp on Sunday for the bullpen in Colordao:
#Rockies RHP Scott Oberg got an infield grounder from David Dahl (he covered the bag), this fly ball from Trevor Story and a grounder from Charlie Blackmon . It's his first intrasquad action. He had been slowed by back soreness and must prove healthy to be on the roster Friday. pic.twitter.com/5LcFikSxU4— Thomas Harding (@harding_at_mlb) July 20, 2020
With the team releasing two veterans, it will need Scott Oberg to stay healthy in case Wade Davis carries over his struggles from last year. In a shortened season, even for the Rockies every game carries weight. Of course, this comes with a grain of salt since Matt Kemp could log time at designated hitter and in the outfield.
This wraps up today’s Snapshots with one or two more leading up to Opening Day. Be sure to stay with Fantasy Alarm across all formats to remain ahead of the competiton. Until next time, be well.