A lot has happened in the last week and it can be difficult to prioritize the news. We should probably start with the major news from today. The Dodgers have recalled Julio Urias presumably to join their starting rotation and will make his debut against the Mets Jacob DeGrom. Obviously, that will be one of the more anticipated matchups of the season. Urias was ranked as MLB.com’s second rated prospect in baseball. Obviously, the Dodgers have an embarrassment of riches in that department.
In light of suspension talk in the NFL with Tom Brady and in light of the recent dismissal of Art Briles from Baylor University, MLB is probably fortunate that Hector Olivera’s 82 game suspension was bumped off of the front pages. He is the third significant player to be disciplined for domestic violence this season. Obviously, the Braves are out of playoff contention, so the news fits on a more societal wide scale.
The Week in Review
The biggest story throughout the past few weeks has been the play of Jackie Bradley Jr. His streak ended at 29 games, but he has established himself as a fantasy force in the meantime. The streak runs against the backdrop of MLB.com’s daily diary of Joe DiMaggio’s famous streak. Coming into play, the top six players in the Red Sox lineup were hitting better than .300. The casual fan probably still thinks of baseball as an offensive driven sport, but the pitchers have actually been in control in the last several seasons.
The aforementioned Braves are sitting pretty for the first overall pick in 2017 with a sparkling 12-33 record, but they are facing some stiff competition from the Minnesota Twins (12-34). Even though the Twins are technically in first (or last as it were), the Braves just lost Olivera and obviously have a weaker roster. MLB.com is also focusing on the 2016 draft, so check out their coverage to see what your team might due this year.
If you read anything
Thursday is always an abbreviated schedule, so the first thing we always look for are marquee matchups on the mound. The best we probably had to offer was Drew Smyly of the Rays against Jose Fernandez of the Marlins. Fernandez won this round moving to 7-2 on the season with seven strong innings of one run ball. More importantly, he added 12 strikeouts on the way to his sixth consecutive win. Smyly struggled again and is now a hard-luck 2-6 with a respectable 3.92 ERA. Run support has been spotty for him so far on the season.
We kind of expected
The Bucs won another one against the Dbacks on the back of a strong performance by Gerrit Cole. One of the things they have specialized in over the past few seasons has been reclamation projects in the bullpen. This year, it has been Neftali Feliz and their gamble is paying off. He now has 11 holds on the season and a 3.24 ERA as one of Mark Melancon’s primary setup guys. Some leagues are including holds as a category, so Feliz should be a guy you keep your eye on in those leagues. While everyone focuses on the Cubs, the Pirates now stand 27-19 and seem poised to win another 90+ games on the season.
We Didn’t Expect
The Cardinals seem to have a knack for finding solid players from out of nowhere. They lost Jhonny Peralta for most of the season, but Aledmys Diaz has more than taken up the slack. He hit his seventh home run on the season and came in hitting a cool .331 on the season. His average dropped from nearly .400 after the first month, but they just wanted someone to keep them afloat. He now has 25 RBI and 32 runs on the season. Most people don’t think he will end up driving in 90 runs or scoring over 100 runs, but he’s certainly going to do a lot more than most people believed possible.
- Jonathan Papelbon (Converted #13)
- Roberto Osuna (Converted #10)
- Royals third basemen Mike Moustakas has been out of the lineup for quite some time and now he is officially out for the season with a torn ACL. The Royals are projecting that Cheslor Cuthbert will get the bulk of the time at third base for the remainder of the season.
- While it isn’t an injury, MLB has officially heard Rougned Odor’s appeal and have reduced his suspension to seven games.
- Mark Teixeira had another cortisone shot and is expected to miss three more games. The Yankees hope he will return to the lineup on Sunday.