It’s not surprising to see the Nationals activate Daniel Murphy in time to invade the Bronx and he will make his return to the lineup hitting fifth. Murphy did not tear up his rehab, but in 10 games hit .243/.364/.459 with eight runs, two home runs and seven RBI in 37 at-bats. He walked (six times) more than he struck out (four times) and accrued six of his seven RBI in his second game. Nonetheless, Murphy’s back, so owners will want to get someone who slashed .317/.367/.531 the last three seasons.

Do watch his at-bats and progress since microfracture surgeries can take time to overcome, I speak from experience having had two of them on my left knee. Legs provide the foundation for hitters and it could affect his power and time spent in the lineup. Steamer’s rest-of-the-season projections predict Murphy will hit .301/.359/.482, in line with his past production along with 31 runs, seven home runs, 34 RBI and a stolen base in 57 games over 219 at-bats. This may seem conservative but it does provide a baseline which could improve with a solid start or improved health as the season progresses.

Colorado also made a move promoting Tom Murphy and will hit him eighth tonight in Philadelphia. Murphy garnered interest as a catcher with power in the past only to disappoint fantasy owners. But in a year of reclamations, could Murphy be next? During his time in the hitter friendly Pacific Coast League, Murphy launched 16 home runs in 187 at-bats with 45 RBI and a .289/.359/.642 slash line in 49 games. His isolated power rating of .353 jumps off the page as does Murphy’s increase in fly ball percentage (55 percent) and home run per fly ball rate (22.5 percent) this year. At a time when catcher as a position needs some power infused, Murphy could make for a tremendous speculative add for teams looking for power.


Night Moves

One day after making his triumphant return, Mookie Betts will not play on Tuesday in Baltimore. He was upbeat in his quotes after exiting Monday’s game early when it went to extra innings, but his owners will need to track this situation closely since it seems fluid.

Find someone who supports you like the Mets do José Reyes . In an interview, the Mets general manager Sandy Alderson said the Reyes decision “will be on the merits.” He intimated if the team had someone more suited to play, they would replace him. Meanwhile, Peter Alonso, presently hitting .310/.441/.567 with 15 home runs and 50 RBI in 62 games at Double-A and his teammate Jeff McNeil (26 years old) slashing .333/.406/.647 with 14 home runs and 42 RBI. Alonso could move to Triple-A soon, though, so there’s that.

With Juan Soto surging, presently hitting .328/.431/.541 through his first 19 games as a 19 year old in the majors, he could be the first teenager in the “live-ball” era to slash at least .300/.400/.500 his first 20 games with a minimum of 50 plate appearances. However, it may take until Wednesday to find out since Soto’s not in the lineup on Tuesday night in New York.

Two struggling players will get the next two nights off to clear their heads. Gary Sánchez , who intimated he’s not hurt but simply missing pitches he usually hits will not play in either game versus the Nationals. Chris Davis will get the next two nights off as well for the Orioles. Speaking of the Orioles, the team announced they would not be shopping players who would be under contract next season. Manny Machado and Zach Britton will need to keep a bag packed at all times.

Welcome back Eric Thames who will hit leadoff versus the Cubs. Domingo Santana ’s back in the lineup hitting fifth. Ryan Braun and Jesus Aguilar will get the night off. Some teams have an outfield rotation, which can be frustrating, the Brewers not only will have outfielders vying for playing time, but a potential first base platoon to further frustrate fantasy owners. Stay tuned.

With teams focused on when prospects will arrive, the White Sox continue to stay the course and will be in no rush to promote Eloy Jimenez or Michael Kopech. In other news, Avisail García will begin his rehab tonight in Triple-A Charlotte. His return could take a week to 10 days since he will need at-bats to get his timing back.

Rookie Jonathan Loaisiga will make his Yankees debut on Thursday. Already on the 40-man roster, Loaisiga will make the jump from High-A to start the year to the majors. During his time in both High-A and Double-A, Loaisiga’s won a combined six games against one loss with an eye popping 58:4 K:BB, ERA of three and 1.13 WHIP. His arsenal includes a fastball which sits between 95-to-97 MPH, a change in the upper 80’s and a hard curve in the mid-80’s in terms of velocity.

Toronto’s Josh Donaldson could be activated by Wednesday, but nothing concrete surrounding his return to the lineup. Andrew Cashner will head to the disabled list further depleting an already struggling rotation in Baltimore. Yu Darvish threw a bullpen session but remains unclear if he will return before or after the All-Star break. One day after an five-run implosion, Matt Albers heads to the disabled list with a sore shoulder. Ronald Acuna could begin a rehab assignment this weekend as could Brandon Belt . Franchy Cordero could head out to Triple-A for his rehab on Wednesday. Who said it’s all bad news?


Did you know?

Over the last 13 games, Marcell Ozuna ’s hitting .366/.435/.707 with a 10.6 walk percentage compared to an 8.5 strikeout rate. He’s scored seven runs, launched four home runs and driven in 11 during in this streak with a 54.1 hard hit percentage.

Not to be outdone, teammate Jose Martinez also demands your attention. He’s hitting .425/.500/.875 the last 14 days with a .450 isolated power, .566 weighted on-base average with six walks against four strikeouts. Martinez has a swinging strike percentage of 6.7 along with a home run per fly ball rate of 45.5 percent while possessing a hard hit rate of 66.7 percent. This has resulted in five home runs and 11 RBI in this time frame.

While the outfield rotation stinks, Scott Schebler and Jesse Winker should be on the radar. Schebler’s slashing .391/.440/.674 his last 11 games with eight runs, three home runs and seven RBI. During these games, Schebler’s isolated power has risen to .283 with half of his contact being of the hard hit variety. Jesse Winker ’s 10th in hard hit percentage (61.5 percent) ranking ahead of Nelson Cruz and J.D. Martínez . Yes, that Winker. Of course, his 50 percent ground ball rate will temper his power upside, but Winker’s hit two homers in his last 10 games with six RBI and a .344 average. There’s still a second half left to stash players.

Last but not least, Steven Wright ’s last six games (two starts) have yielded 10 hits, zero runs, 11 walks and 19 strikeouts over 22.1 innings.


Burning Questions

  • Could Aaron Nola and Jonathan Gray provide a pitcher’s duel in Philadelphia?
  • How many hitters will Tyler Chatwood walk in Miller Park? Should this be a drinking game?
  • Would Roger Maris and his .209 BABIP from 1961 gotten him benched if he played today?
  • If Nick Senzel gets promoted, what position does he play? Who gets traded to provide the roster spot?
  • Will the Rangers deal Cole Hamels and Adrián Béltre prior to the All-Star break?
  • Is Seth Lugo really the opposite handed Rich Hill ?

All of these will be answered eventually. Tonight’s huge 15-game slate should provide plenty to discuss and recap in the morning. Be sure to stop back for Wednesday’s Round Up to stay ahead of your competition.

For those disappointed by losing Álex Reyes , news broke about his infant daughter battling cancer being his inspiration to return to the majors during his rehab outings. There’s things far bigger than an injury tempering expectations, best of luck to the Reyes family in their fight with cancer.

Baseball, the ties which bind.


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