Fantasy baseball players sitting atop their league standings should break out the tequila today as Cinco de Mayo is a time to celebrate. Sure, we’re just a month into the 2022 fantasy baseball season, but things have been somewhat tough to navigate thus far and success should be revered. If you are at the top of your league, you’ve probably made some strong fantasy baseball waiver wire pickups, your start sit fantasy baseball decisions have been on-point and your competition is probably staring at you like you’re some baseball savant (shout it out to one of my favorite sites, by the way – Baseball Savant). Yes, it's a marathon and not a sprint, but you should definitely be celebrating.
If you’re not in the top half of your fantasy baseball standings, you’ve got some work ahead of you. Fortunately, it’s still early so there’s no need to panic. You just need to dissect your team and its place in the standings a little more. Check where your guys are in the updated fantasy baseball rankings. Study the MLB lineups every day to ensure your guys are seeing the regular playing time. If not, find players who are. Stay on top of, not just the MLB injuries, but who is coming back. I’m not saying you’re going to unearth some amazing fantasy baseball sleepers, but a guy or two who may be flying under the radar and people have forgotten about his imminent return. And, as always, stay on top of the latest fantasy baseball news.
Which is now where the daily round-up comes into play.
Fantasy Baseball Highlights
Rowdy Tellez Homers Twice and Racks Up Eight RBI
If you’ve been tailing me on the MLB best bets, you know we’ve been picking on the Cincinnati Reds and rightfully so. Three wins? How about three wins and a minus-82 run-differential? It’s bad. Like really bad. But did I think it was 18 runs for the Brewers bad? We had the Brewers on the minus-1.5 on the run-line last night, but I certainly didn’t think we’d be looking at an 18-4 ballgame. What was even funnier than that final score was that Adam Ronis told us on the Ante Up podcast that he was all set to bet Tellez’ +400 home run prop but didn’t and only gave him out in the free DFS picks video we do for Yahoo Sports Fantasy Baseball. Well, we now know how that turned out as Tellez’ first home run came in the form of a third-inning grand slam which was followed up with a two-run shot in the sixth. Then, for good measure, he smacked a two-RBI double in the eighth inning to cap off the 18-run extravaganza. The 27-year-old is off to a fantastic start as he is now slashing .267/.337/.613 with seven home runs and 21 RBI. Once believed to be a left-handed side of a platoon, Tellez has carved out a role for himself at first base and he should remain a strong power asset in fantasy.
Austin Gomber Tosses Third-Straight Quality Start
Not gonna lie – this is a tricky situation. I actually really like the pitcher from a stuff standpoint. I absolutely hate that he pitches for the Rockies. When Gomber was coming up in the St. Louis Cardinals’ system, he showed a lot of promise with his command of his secondary offerings. He flashed some strong moments but ultimately landed in Colorado after the Nolan Arenado trade and became off-limits – sort of. On the road, maybe he’s worth streaming, but despite yesterday’s effort which – mind you, lowered his ERA t 3.58 – I just can’t get behind him during home starts. Let’s not forget that it was the Nationals, a team bereft of any legitimate talent outside of Juan Soto and Josh Bell, both of whom can be pitched around. So, while temptation might be staring you in the face, be careful. I might stream him in San Francisco next week, but when he faces the Giants at Coors Field the week after…run! On the road in Pittsburgh the week after? We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.
Daniel Bard Earns Seventh Save for Colorado Rockies
Talk about your under-the-radar fantasy baseball closer – Bard has been a huge asset to the Rockies bullpen this season. There was plenty of talk when Alex Colomé signed with Colorado, but he doesn’t miss many bats. Yes, he’s a ground-ball specialist, but when you’re throwing at Coors Field, you prefer the strikeouts in the ninth with the game on the line. Carlos Estévez also received consideration, but the team stuck with the guy who earned 20 saves for them last year and they haven’t looked back since as Bard sports a 2.00 ERA with a 0.56 WHIP and a 13.00 K/9. Will he be this masterful all year? Probably not, but take those saves while you can.
Garrett Whitlock Living Up to His Promise for the Red Sox
Back during fantasy baseball draft season. Whitlock was in the mix to be the Boston Red Sox closer, but as the shortened spring progressed, manager Alex Cora made the final decision to stretch out the 25-year-old righty and as he continues to build up his arm strength to throw more innings, the results have been solid, as evidenced by the 1.25 ERA, the 0.69 WHIP and 29 strikeouts over 21.2 innings. While you can enjoy and take advantage of what Whitlock is doing right now, you do need to be mindful of his innings. He threw just 73.1 innings last season after missing all of 2020 which leads me to believer, we won’t see more than 100 innings out of him this season. If the team continues to work him at his current pace, even pushing him back into the bullpen isn’t going to maintain his value unless he’s earning saves, so again, take what you can now but don’t expect value for fantasy to continue once he reaches the 100-inning threshold.
Keep Holding on to MacKenzie Gore
The biggest concern regarding Gore is whether or not he will stay in the rotation once Blake Snell is activated from the injured list. Mike Clevinger is back and the top three in the rotation – Joe Musgrove, Yu Darvish and Sean Manaea – is locked in. It really wouldn’t surprise me to see the Padres move into a six-man rotation for the time being. It gives guys like Clevinger and Snell a little extra rest which is good for both and it would allow Gore to stay up with the big club. I don’t see them doing it long term, but for now, perhaps it’s the best way to evaluate the overall pitching product in San Diego. Hold Gore for now. Do not drop him once Snell comes back unless we hear, FOR A FACT, that he will be sent down or pushed to the bullpen.
Do not believe in Martín Pérez. We’ve seen this before, as he goes on these short, early stretches of success. Look at the career numbers and don’t tempt fate.
Phillies ace Zack Wheeler is back and you should remain heavily invested. A 13.2 scoreless inning streak is what he’s riding after last night’s dominant performance and we expect this level of play to continue.
Another save for Texas Rangers closer Joe Barlow. Cha-ching!!
While Corey Kluber looks solid, let’s put things in perspective here. He’s off to a good start, but he’s also faced some pretty soft lineups, including Oakland, injury-riddled White Sox and Twins lineups and a Boston team that was in a terrible slump. I don’t want to use him against the Angels next week and neither should you.
Fantasy Baseball Daily Injury Report
White Sox Expected to Add Andrew Vaughn to 10-Day Injured List
Last Friday, Vaughn was hit on the hand by a pitch and, due to inflammation, has yet to return to the lineup. He is still having trouble gripping the bat and even though x-rays showed no breaks or fractures, the bruise is apparently deep enough to warrant at least another week on the injured list. The move can be made retroactive to the last game he played, but his absence is definitely weighing heavily on a White Sox team being ravaged by injuries. Gavin Sheets and Adam Engel should continue to see the uptick in at-bats while he remains out.
Other Injury Notes:
Josh Rojas started his rehab at Triple-A Reno which could put him back in the lineup early next week.
Cole Irvin is still awaiting results for the MRI on his shoulder so expect him to miss a start or two.
Jonathan India is expected to be out for at least two weeks with this hamstring issue.
Yoán Moncada is still on his rehab assignment and won’t be activated until next week.
Thursday’s MLB Best Bets for Today
- Yesterday’s Best Bets: 2-1
- Season MLB Best Bets: 24-8
Pretty tough to not back Jesús Luzardo, amirite? He’s allowed no more than one run in three of his four starts, is sporting a 3.10 ERA, a 1.08 WHIP and has 28 strikeouts over 20.1 innings. And he’s done it against some formidable opponents. Nick Martinez is on the bump for the Padres and while he’s been good, he doesn’t go deep into games and the San Diego bullpen is sporting a 4.74 ERA with only a 5.21 K/9 over the past week. Miami may be on a four-game losing streak and traveling across country to face the Padres, but they’ve also averaged nearly five runs per game over their last six.
Pick: Miami Marlins Money Line (-110 on BetMGM)
Let’s head out to San Francisco where Logan Webb will square off against the Cardinals who have a surprisingly solid Miles Mikolas on the bump tonight. Some might cite Webb’s lack of success against St. Louis but I’m not going back to 2019 when the 25-year-old was a rookie. Instead, I’ll look at four quality starts in five outing this season and a solid 3.26 ERA. As I said, Mikolas’ performance has been surprising but given that offense is down overall, the Giants are still without a few hitters and the cold, Bay Area weather stifles power, I think both pitchers post strong lines.
Pick: Giants/Cardinals UNDER 7 total runs (+100 on BetMGM)
How about some low-hanging fruit? We’ve taken the Milwaukee run-line the last two days and while I’m a big Hunter Greene fan, this is still the Reds we are talking about. Greene has allowed five home runs over his four starts and is sitting on a 6.00 ERA. He’s not likely to go deep into the game which means this beleaguered Reds bullpen is going to be tasked with closing out the final four innings. The Brewers bats are hot right now and I don’t think that goes away. And while Adrian Houser isn’t the be-all, end-all of pitchers, he can do more than enough to stifle this horrendous Reds lineup.
Pick: Milwaukee Brewers -1.5 Run Line (-115 on Bet MGM)
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