It's been a pretty fun season for prospect call-ups, and we got three more significant names this weekend when Emmet Sheehan, Henry Davis, and Bo Naylor got the call. I'm Chris Towers, here to break down everything you need to know from this weekend's action, and we're starting with that trio of prospects.
Sheehan, a Dodgers pitcher, is up first after a strong debut where he tossed six no-hit innings against the Giants. He walked two but struck out only three as well, and will remain in the team's rotation for at least one more turn. Sheehan, a 23-year-old, had a 1.86 ERA and 88 strikeouts in 53.1 innings in Double-A before the call up, but wasn't necessarily dominant in his debut despite the solid result – only four swinging strikes certainly isn't great. I'm fine taking a flier on him, but he's not necessarily a must-add right now.
Naylor and Davis might be, at least in part because they are catchers, and the bar is just so low there. The Guardians designated Mike Zunino for assignment when they called Naylor up, so he should be here for good, and I'd probably prioritize him over Davis right now, mostly because he's more experienced. Naylor has hit .255/.379/.507 across 126 games at Triple-A, with 28 homers and 11 steals, and brings some speed to the table that could help make up for what might be a lackluster average.
Davis actually brings solid athleticism to the table as well, having swiped 12 bags across 82 games with the Pirates Double-A and Triple-A affiliates. Like Naylor, he'll bring some pop and speed to the table, plus a willingness to draw a walk, which should help make up for what might be a relatively low batting average.
Both Davis and Naylor have top-12 potential, and are certainly worth adding in all two-catcher leagues just to see if they can find a spark at a position where sparks are rare.
Before we get to the rest of what you need to know from this weekend, make sure you check out Scott White's Week 13 hitter preview, his two-start pitcher rankings, and his Week 13 sleeper pitchers so you're setting the best lineup possible this week. Now, here's the biggest news and performances from the weekend, led by a ton of noteworthy pitchers:
Pitchers (Part One)
Lance Lynn (7 IP, 4 H, 3 ER, 2 BB, 16 K @SEA) -– This is going to go down as one of the toughest luck losses of the season, but you'll take it if you have Lynn on your roster. Lynn matched a White Sox franchise record with the 16 strikeouts, and he limited the Mariners to an average exit velocity of just 78.7 mph. He deserved better. The question is whether you can expect better moving forward. Coming into this start, Lynn's swinging strike rate was actually down from last season, and he hadn't had a quality start since May 26, so I don't really know how much carry over we should expect from this one. I still think Lynn will be fine moving forward, but if you're skeptical, a sell window may have just opened up. We looked closer at Lynn's performance and the latest call-ups on the FBT podcast here.
Bobby Miller (5.2 IP, 7 H, 7 ER, 3 BB, 5 K vs. SF) – Standouts aren't just for good performances, and we got the first bad one of Miller's career Saturday. It doesn't seem like there was any one specific culprit here – his velocity was actually up a bit, and his average exit velocity allowed on 18 balls in play was just 83.9 mph, an elite mark. He cruised through the first four innings, so I'm chalking this one up to a bump in the road.
Blake Snell (6 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 3 BB, 12 K vs. TB) – Snell struck out 12 for the second straight start, and now has a 2.60 ERA over the past nine starts, with a quality start in seven of them. What's funny is, while Snell's breakout last season was fueled by increased slider usage, that's been his least-used pitch in each of the past three starts. I think this is a perfect time to sell the consistently inconsistent Snell.
Bryce Miller (7 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 6 ER vs. CWS) – Every analyst has blind spots, and I'm close to admitting Miller might just be one for me, because I just don't see how he can keep succeeding like this. His fastball is a legitimately great pitch, but it seems to be all he has. Even in this one, where he posted a career-high 31% slider usage rate, it didn't do much to dispel the "one-pitch pitcher" notion – he had a single swinging strike on that slider and a 15% called-plus-swinging strike rate, an abysmal mark. Clearly, his fastball has been enough for him to thrive so far – and, for what it's worth, the various stuff metrics seem to like his slider a lot more than the results. But I just don't see how you can succeed in the majors at this point with a slider with a sub-15% whiff rate as your only pitch with a usage rate over 10%. But he might just keep making me look stupid.
Joe Ryan (7 IP, 7 H, 6 ER, 0 BB, 7 K vs. DET) – Ryan has the 11th-lowest groundball rate among qualifiers this season, so there are going to be starts where the long ball hurts him. He had given up just six homers in his first 13 starts before giving up two Friday, hence the 2.90 ERA. However, he rarely gives up hard contact (.338 career expected wOBA on contact, compared to a .368 league average) or walks, so I'm still fully bought in on the breakout.
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Mitch Keller (5 IP, 5 H, 4 ER, 3 BB, 7 K @MIL) – Speaking of breakouts, here's one that is suddenly looking a bit shakier. After having seven quality starts in an eight-start span, Keller has just one over his past five. His strikeout rate has dipped to 23.7% in that stretch, though that's mostly because of a one-K outing against the A's on June 6 – he has seven or more in each of the other four starts. It's possible the league has caught up to the new scouting reports on Keller, and it's on him to figure out an adjustment. But even if all he is is a mid-3.00s ERA pitcher with healthy K numbers, he's a huge value where you drafted him.
Shane Bieber (7.1 IP, 7 H, 5 ER, 2 BB, 5 K @ARI) – There's been a lot made of Bieber's regression, and I think this start kind of highlights the biggest change: He has a much slimmer margin for error than he used to. Bieber was cruising, with just two earned runs allowed through seven innings before the Cardinals jumped on him for three in the eighth on homers by Jake McCarthy and Corbin Carroll. Bieber can still be good, even, occasionally very good. But when things go wrong, they might tend to go very, very wrong.
Sandy Alcantara (5.1 IP, 10 H, 5 ER, 0 BB, 1 K @WAS) – We all expected some regression from Alcantara, but I don't think even the biggest skeptics saw his ERA more than doubling nearing the halfway point of the season. He's just gotten a bit worse at everything without any single silver bullet explanation – though his changeup going from a .199 xwOBA to a .301 xwOBA certainly is a big part of why. I tend to still think Alcantara will figure it out and right the ship, but we haven't seen enough consistent improvement to say it's on the verge of happening just yet.
Freddy Peralta (6 IP, 2 H, 2 ER, 3 BB, 9 K vs. PIT) – This is a classic Peralta line, and hopefully a sign that he's starting to figure things out. Things have been a bit better for him lately, but he's still giving up way too much hard contact this season, which has always been one of his strengths at his best. He still had a 91.1 mph average exit velocity and 45% hard-hit rate in this one, so he's not entirely out of the woods, but this was still a good sign.
Chris Bassitt (3.2 IP, 7 H, 3 ER, 3 BB, 2 K @TEX) – When things have gone poorly for Bassitt this season, they've gone incredibly poorly. He has four different starts where he has thrown 4 or fewer innings, with 26 earned runs allowed in those four starts; he's allowed 15 runs in his other 11 starts, recording a quality start in 10 of them. His 4.49 xERA suggests this isn't just a couple of bad starts, but I'm inclined to mostly overlook it here.
Pitchers (Part Two, Waiver-Wire Names)
Andrew Abbott (6 IP, 4 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 2 K @HOU) – Given the hype Abbott carried into the majors, we've gotta be excited about 17.2 scoreless innings to open his season, right? Well … not exactly. He's walked nine and struck out just 12 so far, a far cry from the massive strikeout numbers he was putting up in the minors. One thing I've found interesting about Abbott's start so far is he's faced just 10 left-handed batters out of 71 hitters total, which could obviously skew his numbers for the worst. I don't mind trying to sell-high on Abbott, but I wouldn't be trading him for just anything here, because I still think there's upside beyond what he's shown.
Louie Varland (4.1 IP, 9 H, 6 ER, 2 BB, 4 K) – That's three stinkers in a row for Varland, who actually looks pretty good in May. However, he's sporting a 4.77 xERA, right in line with his 4.70 actual mark, with poor quality-of-contact metrics and an average strikeout rate. Varland has an interesting arsenal, but no go-to putaway pitch has emerged, and his two best swing-and-miss pitches (his slider and changeup) have both gotten beat up. I think it's safe to drop Varland in 12-team leagues.
Braxton Garrett (6 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 8 K @WAS) – This was just the second time Garrett has completed six innings in a start this season, and even in this one, he only threw 90 pitches, so there are obvious limits on how much upside Garrett will ever be able to unlock. On the other hand, he has a 2.62 ERA this season if you remove one blowup start against the Braves. He probably deserves more credit than he's received at this point.
Taijuan Walker (8 I P, 7 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 8 K @OAK) – As recently as mid-May, it looked like the Phillies might have to remove Walker from the rotation nine starts into a four-year contract. Since then, he's put up a 1.75 ERA in six starts. That's likely to go down as his best six-start stretch of the season, and Friday's may go down as his very best start of the season, but Walker's decision to trade four-seamers for cutters seems to have paid dividends, at least. He's a useful pitcher more often than not, albeit one who probably won't sustain this hot stretch.
Bryan Woo (5.2 IP, 3 H, 2 ER, 0 BB, 9 K vs. CWS) – You'd be forgiven for not having heard of Woo before the Mariners called him up at the beginning of the month, because he had just 67.2 professional innings to his name before this season. However, he dominated Double-A before getting called up and now has 16 strikeouts with only one walk over his past two starts. Woo is armed with a mid-to-high-90s fastball and a slider that looks like it could be a very, very good pitch – he got seven whiffs on 13 swings with the pitch Friday. Woo's 20% roster rate looks way too low right now.
Matthew Liberatore (4 IP, 4 H, 5 ER, 2 BB, 2 K @NYM) – For instance, Liberatore's roster rate is still at 31%, and I'd much rather have Woo. Liberatore's velocity jump hasn't led to better results in the minors, and at this point he's got a 5.66 ERA in the majors and a 3.86 ERA in the minors, and I'm just not sure there's much for Fantasy players to be interested in here. He's an across-the-board drop for me.
Joey Wentz (6 IP, 2 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 9 K @MIN) – This was legitimately one of the most surprising performances of the weekend, and perhaps of the entire season. In 19 prior starts, Wentz had only had more than five strikeouts twice, so I don't think there's too much to take from this. He needs a lot more than one good start to be worth buying in outside of very deep leagues.
Eddie Rosario – Rosario has now homered in four straight games, with 11 RBI and eight hits in that stretch. All of a sudden, he's sporting an .816 OPS for the season – that was just .705 five games ago. And the underlying numbers mostly back suggest Rosario just isn't an above-average hitter anymore. That's not to say he can't be useful, but I think this one was mostly about the matchups – Rosario was one of Scott White's top-10 sleeper hitters last week, which was a pretty good call. His hot streak actually extends a bit longer than these past four games, so if you need OF help, he's a fine option, though one I'd guess you'll end up dropping again soon enough. Scott White has Rosario among his prime targets in his Monday edition of the Waiver Wire .
Justin Turner – Turner is firmly in his late-30s by now, and he's showing no signs of slowing down. If anything, he's getting better as the season has gone on, putting up a .339/.379/.613 line in June entering Sunday night's game. Third base remains a pretty tough position to fill in most Fantasy leagues, and Turner's still a solid bat, with a .275 xBA and .485 xSLG that suggest there's arguably been some bad luck for him so far. He's a viable starting 3B, still.
Brandon Drury – Drury hasn't been a star, but he has an OPS of .775 or better in every month this season, including a .333/.373/.540 mark in June after Saturday's two-homer game. Given the skepticism surrounding his Reds-era success last season, he deserves some credit for how good he's been.
Ozzie Albies – The player Albies has become doesn't necessarily look like the guy we thought he would be, but it's hard to complain too much when he's on pace for 30-plus homers after going deep Saturday and Sunday. And Albies has actually shown signs of improvement this season, sporting a .271 xBA, his best mark since 2019. I've had my doubts about Albies, but that looks pretty silly right now.
Michael Harris – Back in mid-May, I said "I think [Harris will] be fine," but I'll admit, I wasn't super confident in it. I didn't want to give up on a 22-year-old with his kinds of skills, but when he hit just .167/.260/.264 in May, it was obviously pretty tough to keep the faith. However, he's rewarded anyone who believed in him, as Harris went 5 for 5 Sunday to raise his line in June to .383/.397/.650, with four homers to his name. Harris still hits the ball on the ground a lot and doesn't have great plate discipline, and the groundball issue remains in June (2 degree average launch angle). However, this is clearly still a high-level talent, one worth betting on even in the tough times.
Ryan McMahon – I've never really been a believer in McMahon, but he deserves credit here. He homered twice Sunday and is up to 12 in 71 games, after he hit 20 in 153 games. McMahon has tightened up his launch angle (41.1% sweet-spot%), and is seemingly trading some strikeouts for power, with a career-high .475 expected wOBA on contact (compared to a .408 career mark). I'm kind of buying a mini-breakout here for McMahon, though his lineup holds him back at least a little bit.
Jake Fraley – Fraley's never going to win a Home Run Derby, but he's now on a 20-plus homer pace over 600 plate appearances after coming back from the IL Sunday with a homer against the Astros, with 11 steals to boot. His home park certainly helps, as does a pull-heavy approach on fly balls. Either way, Fraley has 20 homers and 15 steals in 124 games since joining the Reds, and I don't think it's entirely a fluke. He belongs on all five-outfielder rosters, I think.
Ezequiel Duran – Duran is only rostered in 66% of CBS Fantasy leagues, and at this point, I don't see much to be skeptical about. He doesn't play everyday, but he has started 11 of 15 games since coming back from the IL, so I don't think that's necessarily a huge mark against him, especially when he just keeps hitting – he went 4 for 5 Sunday to raise his line since coming back to .333/.409/.487. His underlying metrics largely back up his play, and there's even room for double-digit speed here. With triple eligibility, you've probably got room for Duran somewhere on your roster.
Leody Taveras – It feels like Taveras has been around forever, as he made his debut on prospect lists all the way back in 2017. Skepticism is warranted here, but I'm starting to buy in. I don't think the six homers he's hit in June alone are representative, but Taveras' hard-hit rate and average exit velocities are both well above career norms, and his xBA of .295 and xSLG of .449 are significant improvements as well. He should be rostered in all five-outfielder leagues as well.
Injuries, news and notes
Beating his 3-4 week by about 2-3 weeks, Pete Alonso returned from the IL Sunday after missing with his sprained and bruised wrist. It's fair to wonder whether that injury might linger and sap some of Alonso's power, but you've gotta get him active anywhere you have him for this week and hope for the best. Mark Vientos was sent back to Triple-A, where he'll bide his time playing first and third base waiting for another opportunity.
Aaron Judge received another PRP injection in his sprained right toe Thursday, and he's apparently dealing with another ligament issue beyond that toe sprain that has been bothering him. He remains without a timetable at this point.
Some good Yankees news: Carlos Rodon is slated to begin a rehab assignment Tuesday at Double-A, and he'll likely make three starts at least before being recalled, putting him on pace for an early-July return.
Lars Nootbaar (back) could be back from the IL Monday. We'll see what the Cardinals opt to do with their lineup when Nootbaar is back, because Jordan Walker once again looks like he belongs in the everyday lineup. Remember, playing time was part of why the Cardinals opted to send Walker down when he was struggling.
Brandon Woodruff will throw a bullpen next Saturday as he slowly works his way back from a subscapular strain in his right shoulder. He's probably still at least a month away.
Sean Murphy was diagnosed with inflammation in his right hamstring and is expected to be held out of the lineup for at least the next couple days. He's a tough call in weekly leagues, but I'd probably lean toward starting him if it meant I had to pick up another catcher instead.
Eduardo Rodriguez threw a bullpen session Friday, his first mound work since he suffered the injury to his left index finger.
Harrison Bader is expected to return from the IL Tuesday. He's been out since late May with a right hamstring strain, and while I remain skeptical, he does have 11 homers and eight steals in 51 games for the Yankees if you include the playoffs.
Tim Anderson left Saturday's game with right shoulder soreness and then was out of the lineup Sunday. Given how deep the shortstop position is, you probably have someone else you can start in his place this week.
Mitch Haniger underwent successful surgery on his fractured right forearm this week and is expected to miss 10 weeks.
Brandon Bielak was optioned back to Triple-A after allowing five runs in his start Saturday.
Alejandro Kirk left Sunday's game with a laceration and contusion on his left hand after being hit by a pitch, but X-rays ruled out a fracture. Hopefully he can avoid the IL, but Danny Jansen could see a few more opportunities this week, because Kirk could still miss multiple days.
Rockies SS Ezequiel Tovar was removed from Sunday's game after his wife went into labor, which is a pretty good way to spend Father's Day. Tovar will likely miss a day or two to be placed on the Paternity League list.
Julio Urias could be activated from the IL later this month, with manager Dave Roberts mentioning a series against the Royals beginning on the 27th as a potential activation date. That date is also in play for Daniel Hudson, who is working his way back from knee surgery and could figure into the ninth inning plans before long.
Here's a nice little plus: Shohei Ohtani will pitch against the Dodgers Wednesday rather than at Coors Field Thursday. The Dodgers are obviously not an ideal matchup, but it's better than Coors.
Sent to the IL
Triston McKenzie with a right elbow sprain. That's worrisome, though we don't yet know how worrisome yet.
Edward Cabrera with a right shoulder impingement, though manager Skip Schumaker told reporters he doesn't think Cabrera will miss a bullpen session and may miss just two turns in the rotation. It's not clear what the plan is to replace Cabrera, but it does seemingly keep Eury Perez in the rotation for the time being. I'm stashing Cabrera, who was showing signs of figuring out his walk issues before the injury.
Mike Clevinger with right biceps inflammation.
Tanner Houck suffered a facial fracture Friday after getting hit in the face with a line drive. It's not clear how long he's likely to be out, and whether he ends up dealing with concussion symptoms could complicate his recovery, too.
Michael Massey with a left-hand laceration, retroactive to June 15.
Patrick Wisdom with a sprained right wrist.
Wilmer Flores with a left foot contusion.
Gio Urshela with a left pelvis fracture.