Happy Tuesday, everyone! Monday's action featured some notable performances on the pitching front, some for the better and some for the worse. The Phillies are starting to turn things around, and Monday's win was led by a dominant performance from their SP1 Aaron Nola. The veteran took a no-hitter into the seventh inning and he finished the game with only one hit allowed and only three unearned runs allowed. He was in total command on the mound and racked up 12 strikeouts compared to just three walks. He also achieved a remarkable 36% called strikes plus whiffs (CSW) rate. Nola is starting to pay back those who moved him higher in their ranks than consensus ADP and the Phillies are starting to get on a roll alongside it.
Nola's fastball velocity was up 1.5 miles per hour in this start, reaching an average of 93.4 MPH. This increase is encouraging, especially considering his previous average fastball velocity of 91.9 MPH and 92.8 MPH last year. Notably, Nola opted to abandon his cutter in this game, a wise decision considering opposing batters were hitting .306 against it. Instead, he heavily relied on his four-seam fastball and curveball, and that was effective.
On the season, Nola currently holds a 4.30 ERA and a 1.08 WHIP. He has struck out 77 over 81.2 innings, translating to an 8.5 K/9 rate, while demonstrating excellent control with a 2.3 BB/9 rate. That's ultimately what Nola is known for and it's why I'm comfortable suggesting he's a buy-high candidate.
Let's now dive into some of the other action from the weekend.
Abbott, a promising prospect, made his highly anticipated debut for the Reds against the Brewers. The left-handed pitcher had about as impressive of a debut as you could hope for, tossing six shutout innings, allowing only one hit while striking out six. Abbott showcased his ability to induce swings and misses, achieving a 10 called strikes plus whiffs (CSW) rate on 105 pitches. He primarily relied on a four-pitch mix, featuring a 61% usage of his fastball, which averaged 92.9 miles per hour. Abbott also showcased his secondary offerings, utilizing his curveball, changeup, and sweeper to keep opposing hitters off balance.
He's now rostered in 51% of leagues and that number is about to rise significantly. We analyzed Abbott and much more on the FBT in 5 podcast here.
What to do about Manoah
And now for the bad news on the pitching front. Manoah hit rock bottom, allowing seven hits, six earned runs and a grand slam to cap off a disastrous performance that ballooned his season ERA to 6.36 and his WHIP to 1.90. A fellow manager in a shallower league of mine dropped Manoah outright before this start.
Before the game, Blue Jays manager John Schneider addressed the possibility of sending Manoah back to the minors, acknowledging that the young pitcher is going through a difficult phase. Schneider emphasized the team's commitment to helping Manoah and expressed a willingness to explore any necessary steps to aid his development.
Despite his struggles, Manoah remains rostered in 91% of CBS Fantasy leagues. The Blue Jays are limited in alternative options for their rotation, as their top pitching prospect Ricky Tiedemann is currently injured. Another potential candidate to keep an eye on if Manoah is sent down, Nate Pearson, has performed well in relief but would require a transition period to be stretched out as a starting pitcher.
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Soroka sent back down
After struggling in his first two starts upon returning from injury, Mike Soroka has been optioned to Triple-A by the Atlanta Braves. The decision was made to give Soroka more time to regain his form and build up his strength before rejoining the major-league rotation. With Soroka's demotion, the Braves are now considering giving AJ Smith-Shawver an opportunity to start on Friday or Saturday against the Nationals. Smith-Shawver has been impressive in the minors this season, boasting a remarkable 1.09 ERA, 0.94 WHIP and recording 45 strikeouts over 33 innings in seven starts across multiple levels.
In a recent relief appearance, Smith-Shawver showcased his potential by throwing 2 1/3 no-hit innings while striking out three. He is currently rostered in 32% of leagues but should be rostered in all leagues. If given the opportunity to start against the Nationals, he could provide immediate value with his impressive minor league track record.
News and notes
- Jacob deGrom was transferred to the 60-day IL. The earliest he can return is now June 28.
- Max Fried was also transferred to the 60-day IL to free up a spot on the 40-man roster. Fried isn't expected to return until July anyway.
- We're all still waiting on the results of Aaron Judge's testing. We'll know more Tuesday when the Yankees are scheduled to play again.
- Brandon Lowe was placed on the IL with lower back inflammation. Vidal Brujan was recalled from Triple-A.
- Jose Altuve has missed three straight with oblique tightness and isn't expected to play Tuesday, either. Dusty Baker did say Altuve is feeling much better and hopes to return Wednesday.
- Jazz Chisholm remains in a walking boot as he recovers from turf toe but has a follow-up appointment with a foot specialist Wednesday.
- Xander Bogaerts has missed two straight with left wrist soreness but hopes to return Tuesday against the Mariners.
- Jorge Soler was out of the lineup Monday due to a sore right thumb. X-rays came back clean so he should be fine.
- Jose Alvarado will make what is expected to be his final rehab appearance on Tuesday. If that goes well, he'll be activated for this weekend's series against the Dodgers. Does Kimbrel remain the closer once Alvarado returns?
- Eduardo Rodriguez will visit a finger specialist on Tuesday. The initial expectation is that he'd be sidelined 6-8 weeks.
- Red Sox manager Alex Cora said that Trevor Story could be activated from the 60-day IL to serve as the DH before he's ready to play the field. He's now five months removed from undergoing an internal bracing procedure. Story is 51% rostered.
- The Mets reinstated Omar Narvaez from the 60-day IL. Tomas Nido was designated for assignment.
- Adam Duvall expects to be activated when first eligible Friday.
- Trevor Rogers threw five scoreless innings with five strikeouts in his latest rehab start Sunday at Triple-A. He's 48% rostered.
- Mariners reliever Andres Muñoz is expected to return Tuesday. He's been on the IL since April 9 with a right deltoid strain. Paul Sewald has been great this season and I assume will hold on to the closer role.
- Nick Senzel was scratched due to right knee irritation.
- Kutter Crawford is expected to start Wednesday against the Guardians.