As baseball steamrolls towards the non-waiver trade deadline at the end of the month, teams seem to be getting the jump on the market. In two separate trades, the Dodgers added Manny Machado as a rental for the stretch run for five prospects headlined by Yusniel Diaz and the Indians added both Brad Hand along with Adam Cimber to their depleted bullpen for Francisco Mejia . All of the fantasy fallout will be detailed below.

Also, with saves always on fantasy owners radar, Brandon Morrow returned to the disabled list due to inflammation in his biceps. Pedro Strop recorded the save on Thursday night for the Cubs and should split saves with Steve Cishek going forward. No clarity due to usage patterns in the past while Morrow hopes it’s a repeat of a minimal stay on the 10-day disabled list. Plus, the Cubs added veteran swingman Jesse Chávez from the Rangers overnight to provide depth and the potential to bridge valuable innings in relief or as a spot starter.

Mannywood 2 – The Sequel: "Machado in Blue"

So far in 2018, it’s tracking towards a career year with Manny Machado hitting .315/.387/.575 through 96 games with 48 runs, 24 home runs, 65 RBI and seven stolen bases. He’s walking almost 11 percent of the time and cut his strikeouts to 12.3 percent with Steamer projecting him to play 61 more games with 38 runs, 14 home runs, 40 RBI and three steals. Will he be able to translate his strong season in Los Angeles?

On the surface, it seems like a no brainer. However, Machado’s hitting .360 with a 1.140 on-base plus slugging percentage at home including 17 of his 24 home runs resulting in a whopping 204 weighted runs created plus metric in 48 home contests.. Away from Baltimore, Machado’s line drops to a more pedestrian .274/.329/.468 with seven home runs in 48 games with a 109 weighted runs created plus.

Hope lies on two places. First, potentially hitting third for the Dodgers should provide more counting statistics due to a much deeper and more productive lineup. The cumulative results of hitters batting third for Los Angeles this year have generated a .239/.327/.355 slash line with 41 runs, 10 home runs and 46 RBI in 96 games. They’re combined .683 on-base plus slugging still lags compared to Machado’s on the road this year (.797). Second, here’s Machado’s spray chart this year with Dodger Stadium as the overlay:

This chart illustrates all of Machado’s base hits and field outs on line drives or fly balls only. It’s curious to see some of his doubles could get over the wall in Dodger Stadium which could defray the loss of the hitter friendly confines he’s benefited from in Baltimore. Also, factoring in he’s played all season with the inevitable trade looming over him indicates he could handle the pressure of playing in the spotlight. It’s an exciting time for Machado owners and those in National League formats will need to open their FAAB wallets.

Yusniel Diaz to Baltimore

Representing the prize prospect in the haul for Baltimore, Yusniel Diaz brings his ability to hit line drives anywhere on the field with a chance to develop his power. Of course, eventually hitting for half of his games in Camden Yards does not hurt as evidenced above. Through 59 games at Double-A, Diaz has scored 36 runs with 10 doubles, four triples, six home runs, 30 RBI, eight stolen bases and a .314/.428/.477 slash line.

He cut his teeth at the level last season for 31 games and should be allowed to further develop for the Orioles since he’s only 21 years old. But a key factor here, Diaz has walked (41 times) more than he’s struck out (39) so far. He’s hit line drives 23.5 percent of the time, ground balls 39.7 percent and fly balls 36.9 percent of balls in play. Here’s his spray chart so far this year:

Cleveland bullpen finally gets a Hand

For all of the trials and tribulations associated with the Indians bullpen, Cody Allen ’s actually converted his last 15 saves in a row and 20 of 21 this year. But things could get murky with the addition of Brad Hand . Hand’s notched 24 saves this year, tied for sixth in the majors, and his 42 saves since the Brandon Maurer trade on July 24th last year ranks third in this time frame. Only Edwin Díaz (52) and Kenley Jansen (43) recorded more.

It’s all not roses and sunshine for Hand. He’s tied for the most blown saves in baseball with five with a 3.05 ERA, 3.17 FIP and 1.08 WHIP. Hand’s strikeouts minus walk percentage sits in line with last year’s breakout, a slight increase in walks and swinging strikes accompany a lower contact but higher FIP. Hand should bounce back for Cleveland but he’s prone to the long ball. Remember, since being claimed off of waiver in 2016, Hand’s recorded a 2.66 ERA with the second most strikeouts by relievers (280) only trailing Dellin Betances .

Adam Cimber also joins Cleveland with a 3.17 ERA, 2.32 FIP and 1.08 WHIP in 48.1 innings this year. Cimber’s lwo strand rate (68.4 percent) and 52.3 ground ball percentage should translate well. He’s limited right-handed hitters to a .210 average against (25-for-119) and should be used as a situational reliever with a contender.

Cleaning up with Kirby?

In the short term, Kirby Yates stands to benefit from the trade ascending to closer duties for San Diego. Yates owns a strong 1.43 ERA with a 2.06 FIP and 0.88 WHIP through 37.2 innings this season generating swings and misses 15.3 percent of the time. His skills hold up over the last 365 days with a 3.17 ERA and 0.98 WHIP with 93 strikeouts in 65.1 innings.

The trade also moves up Craig Stammen in the hierarchy but he also sits on the trade block. Robbie Erlin ’s transitioned well to the bullpen with a sparkling 40:4 K:BB in 47 innings as a reliever with a 2.30 ERA, 2.80 FIP and 0.83 WHiP. Also, he’s produced a 54.4 ground ball rate and limited hitters to a .208 average with only a 29.7 hard hit percentage allowed. Carter Capps and Phil Maton also linger in the periphery of a deep Padres bullpen.

Of course, what happens with Francisco Mejia will ultimately determine how the trade evolves for the Padres. Mejia joins an already flush prospect pool put together and now San Diego has 10 players ranked among Baseball America’s top 100 prospects with him in the fold. Mejia will remain at catcher according to all reports.

He’s hitting .279/.328/.426 this year at Triple-A with 32 runs, seven home runs and 45 RBI in 79 games. For his career, Mejia’s slashed .291/.345/.444 through 478 games. Stay tuned for his expected arrival time but with Austin Hedges playing well of late, the Padres can see what they have in Mejia.

That Just Happened

Both Kyle Hendricks and Carlos Martínez failed to turn in quality starts or even last to the sixth inning in their first outings in the second half. Martinez entered holding opponents to two or fewer runs in three of his previous four starts but yielded six runs (five earned) on seven hits and a walk with two strikeouts. Since his return from the disabled list, Martinez has lost four games in nine starts with a 5.32 ERA. Hendricks failed to reach the fifth inning for only the second time in 20 outings this year allowing nine hits, three earned runs and a walk with four strikeouts. His struggles in the first inning continued giving up a run and increasing his first inning ERA to 8.55 through 20 starts.

Matt Carpenter launched his 20th home run during the Cardinals loss. He leads the majors in doubles (20) and extra-base hits (39) since May 16th and has surged since a slow start.

Fueled by an zero for 20 stretch prior to the break, Tommy Pham dropped to eighth in the lineup last night. He responded going 3-for-4 with two runs and his 14th home run. Track how he’s deployed by new manager Mike Shildt.

It’s tough to trust, but Kolten Wong ’s off to a hot start in July. He added two more hits on Thursday evening with two RBI. For the month, Wong’s 15-for-45 with seven runs, four doubles, a triple, a home run, seven RBI and two stolen bases.

Yadier Molina extended his modest hit streak to five games with four hits in five at-bats. He hit second in the lineup and scored two runs as well. Molina’s hitting .356 through 45 at-bats in July with eight run, two home runs and nine RBI.

Staying at leadoff, Anthony Rizzo recorded at least a hit in his fourth straight start atop the lineup. Rizzo’s 8-for-16 the last four games with three runs, three RBI, three walks and a stolen base.

Jason Heyward stayed hot with three more hits, two runs and two RBI. He hit third in the order and stole his first base of the season. Heyward’s on a six-game hit streak and hitting .340 his last 41 games dating back to May 29th.

Home run number 12 for Ian Happ , who has one in back-to-back games spanning the break. Happ’s hitting .361 (22-for-61) with 14 walks his last 20 contests.

Fantasy owners looking for a second catcher in deeper formats could benefit from Victor Caratini . He reached base four times last night with three hits and a walk scoring three runs. Caratini’s 12-for-22 since his recall on July fourth with three doubles and five RBI.

What To Watch For

A full slate of baseball will be on tap Friday. Yoenis Céspedes will make his return as the designated hitter when they visit Yankee Stadium. The Mets are 19-16 (.543) with him in the lineup compared to 20-39 (.339) without him.

Owners of Ryon Healy should be making alternate plans soon. Robinson Canó ’s eligible to return on August second and will split time at first base, second base and as the designated hitter upon his return.

Same goes for Jose Martinez owners who profited from a strong first half. Martinez will see his playing time reduced due to his defensive limitations. Plan accordingly. He did not start last night but did single as a pinch hitter.

Stephen Strasburg will return to the Nationals rotation and face the Braves at home in a big weekend set. Will it set the tone in the National League East out of the break?

Can Rich Hill state his case to remain in the Dodgers rotation or will his struggles continue in Miller Park?

So much baseball. Be sure to check back later for Fantasy Alarm’s Closing Bell in which Justin Mason will get you caught up on all the latest news to keep you ahead of your competition.


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