Happy Thursday, everyone! It was a great Wednesday in baseball, and more importantly featured a lot of action in the Fantasy Baseball realm. Graham Ashcraft couldn't survive Coors Field, the Mets had a thrilling comeback victory against the best team in baseball and we had some action-packed outings for Kodai Senga and Matthew Liberatore, the latter making his MLB debut. Of course, the bad news came out of Los Angeles with SP Dustin May suffering an injury that seems likely to keep him out for an extended period. We'll touch on all of that and more below.
Let's dive into some of the action now:
Ashcraft struggles at Coors
In the toughest of all places to pitch, Reds SP Graham Ashcraft found himself unable to tame Coors Field's notorious conditions. Over five innings, Ashcraft allowed 10 hits, allowing 7 earned runs while issuing one walk while striking out just three Rockies. Despite his recent struggles, including a 13.39 ERA over his last three starts, Ashcraft's stuff still ranks sixth-best among starters, per Eno Sarris' stuff+ metric. His rostered percentage has dipped to 76%, and he is slated to face the Cardinals in his next start.
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Mets' memorable comeback
The Mets staged a remarkable comeback that has fans calling in to WFAN radio all night, and that will continue through the early morning. Trailing 2-0 in the seventh, Mark Vientos, who made his season debut, crushed a two-run homer. Vientos showcased his power by delivering four hard-hit balls in the game. In the ninth inning, C Francisco Alvarez further fueled the Mets' resurgence with a three-run homer off Jason Adam, tying the game. Alvarez has displayed good numbers in May, including a .238 batting average, three homers and an impressive .867 OPS. Finally, in the 10th inning, Pete Alonso sealed the victory with a walk-off three-run homer off Pete Fairbanks, who was making his return from the IL. The Mets needed this one.
More on Vientos' call-up
The Mets made an intriguing and somewhat unexpected move by promoting Vientos, who assumed the third base position and batted eighth on Wednesday. With both Brett Baty and Jeff McNeil absent from the lineup, Eduardo Escobar filled in at second base. Vientos has put together an outstanding start to his 2023 season in the minors, amassing a .333 batting average with 13 home runs, 11 doubles, and 37 RBI. His performance boasted an impressive 1.104 OPS, complemented by solid plate discipline, as indicated by an 11% walk rate and a 20.5% strikeout rate. Something I noticed in Frank's research for the podcast: Fangraphs now provides exit velocity (EV) data for Triple-A players, with Vientos recording an average EV of 94.5 and a maximum EV of 112.8.
Senga shines, too
In the last bit of Mets blurb for this newsletter (I'm sorry it's so much Mets, but it was a big night for them and several Fantasy Baseball managers). SP Kodei Senga dropped in his best start of his debut MLB season. He allowed just three hits, one earned run and three walks across six innings while striking out a whopping 12 batters. The ghost forkball we were so excited to see generated eight of those whiffs with a 35% called strikes plus whiff rate. With a 3.77 ERA, 1.44 WHIP, and 55 strikeouts in 43 innings, Senga displays promise with an 11.5 K/9, 5.4 BB/9, and an 11.2% swinging strike rate. This might make him an excellent candidate to trade for with room to grow in his ratios.
Liberatore's strong season debut
In his season debut for the Cardinals, Matthew Liberatore demonstrated impressive command against the Brewers. Over five scoreless innings, Liberatore allowed just three hits and three walks while striking out six. He generated 12 swinging strikes on 95 pitches, with his fastball and curveball accounting for 87% of his repertoire. Liberatore showcased increased velocity across the board, with his fastball averaging 1.5 MPH higher at 95.2 MPH, his curveball up 3.1 MPH, and his slider up 1.9 MPH. As noted on FBT, Liberatore added 20 pounds during the offseason and focused on strengthening his legs. Liberatore is currently rostered in 32% of leagues and may have a two-start opportunity ahead, facing Cincinnati and Cleveland next week.
May suffers arm injury
Dodgers SP Dustin May experienced right elbow pain and was forced to exit the game after just 16 pitches. Given May's injury history -- Tommy John surgery in 2021 -- concerns arose regarding the severity of his injury. However, subsequent evaluations revealed that his UCL (ulnar collateral ligament) remains intact. To aid his recovery and potentially avoid surgery, May will undergo a platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injection. If the rehabilitation plan progresses as expected, May could potentially return within the next 4-6 weeks. That's probably a more positive-leaning timeline.
News & notes
- Further imaging revealed a fracture in Manny Machado's left hand. Bob Melvin expressed optimism that Machado might be able to avoid a stint on the IL, but no decision has been made yet.
- Vladimir Guerrero Jr.'s MRI on his right knee came back negative. He wasn't in the lineup Wednesday, but appears to have avoided anything serious.
- Jose Altuve could return to the Astros lineup this Friday against the A's.
- Luis Severino will make his season debut this Sunday in Cincinnati.
- Eloy Jimenez hopes to return by the end of next week. He's been out since May 6 because of an appendectomy.
- Yandy Diaz has missed two straight with left groin tightness but hopes to return on Thursday.
- Triston McKenzie will begin a rehab assignment at Triple-A on Saturday. He's slated to throw three innings or 50 pitches.
- Domingo German has been suspended 10 games for violating the league's foreign substance policy.
- Giancarlo Stanton is close to beginning a rehab assignment. He's about a month into a projected 4-6 week timeline with a left hamstring strain.
- Tyler Glasnow is likely to make another rehab start before rejoining the Rays rotation.
- Carlos Rodon advanced his throwing to 90 feet Wednesday without issue.
- Liam Hendriks won't be activated this week. He's temporarily paused his rehab assignment and will head to Chicago for a meeting with White Sox management.
- Jorge Polanco has been diagnosed with a mild left hamstring strain.
- Wade Miley was placed on the IL with a strained left lat.
- Christian Yelich has missed two straight with back tightness, which is worrisome given his history of injuries.
- Jorge Mateo was out of the lineup due to leg soreness but is expected back on Thursday.
- Joey Gallo was removed Wednesday after fouling a ball off his leg. X-rays came back negative.
- Adam Duvall, who's on the IL with a fracture in his left wrist, is aiming to return when first eligible on June 9. He's 64% rostered if you have an IL spot available.
- Dylan Carlson was placed on the IL with a left ankle sprain, retroactive to May 15.
- Alek Thomas was optioned to Triple-A. Luis Frias was recalled.
- Yonny Chirinos was optioned to Triple-A. Zack Burdi was recalled.