<
>

Fantasy 30: Dyson's status in Texas, Bradley Jr. nearing return

Sam Dyson squandered another save opportunity Sunday with a one-run lead heading into the ninth inning against Seattle. AP Photo/Ted S. Warren

Even when you're a fan of one specific major league baseball team, it can be difficult to keep track of all of the news that surrounds your favorite club on a daily basis.

However, when you're a fantasy baseball owner and you now have to multiply that effort by 30 to be as up to date as possible with each and every club? It's a fool's errand that borders on the impossible.

Fear not! We'll be here each and every Monday to give you a snapshot of what's going on in the world of baseball, with one fantasy takeaway from each of the league's 30 teams. Think of it as your one-stop shop for the week ahead.

Here are the takeaways as we head into Week 3 of the 2017 season:

Arizona Diamondbacks: Nick Ahmed has started four games at shortstop this season for the D-backs and has hit safely in all of them, including a stellar 4-RBI effort on Saturday. Unfortunately for Ahmed, he's playing behind Chris Owings, who has started the other nine games at shortstop, hitting .353 in the process. The positive spin, though, is that Owings has also played at second base and right field this season -- primarily to allow Ahmed some playing time. If David Peralta continues to struggle (.178) at the plate, perhaps Owings will need to spend more time patrolling the outfield.

Atlanta Braves: Tyler Flowers has had multihit games in four of his past five starts, raising his batting average for the season to .407. He's owned in just 1.7 percent of ESPN leagues, but before you rush out and claim him to fill your catcher spot, be aware Flowers might be headed to the 10-day DL. The Braves plan on waiting to see how their starting backstop feels on Monday before making the call, but at the very least, Flowers could still end up being day-to-day after leaving yesterday's game with a strained right hamstring. Kurt Suzuki (1-for-12) will likely start until Flowers can return.

Baltimore Orioles: Trey Mancini now has hit seven home runs in his 36 major league at-bats (including his 2016 September cup of coffee). His legend has grown to the point where his teammates are now borrowing Mancini's bats -- and launching round-trippers themselves. Both Craig Gentry and Manny Machado homered in the 8th inning on Sunday using loaner lumber. Mark Trumbo has hit just .205 with 11 strikeouts in his 11 games this season, so the more Mancini's legend grows, so, too, might his playing time.

Boston Red Sox: Jackie Bradley Jr. is eligible to come off the disabled list as early as Wednesday, and manager John Farrell is optimistic that, at the very latest, a return for the weekend series in Baltimore is in the cards for the outfielder. The last few hurdles for Bradley are to take part in a baserunning drill on Monday to test out his injured right knee, and then a rehab game or two at Triple-A. If you've been enjoying Chris Young's recent six-game surge (.389), now is the time to sell high if you can.

Chicago Cubs: In a three-game set with the Pirates, the Cubs bullpen blew a save in all three contests, resulting in a series sweep by Pittsburgh. Manager Joe Maddon refused to place the blame on his bullpen, though, citing the 26 runners left on base and .241 batting average with runners in scoring position in the series: "We did not get the hit. That's been more of our problem -- not getting a clutch hit and not holding a lead in the latter part of the game." The weekend's futility goes to show what a delicate balance a bullpen can be, as Carl Edwards Jr. was away from the team and on the bereavement list. When he returns to the relief mix, the staff should be able to right itself.

Chicago White Sox: Todd Frazier has not exactly had what you'd call a good start to the season, batting just .111 in 27 at-bats with a dismal .485 OPS. An illness might well be to blame, as the third baseman missed two games early last week only to face a recurrence of those flu-like symptoms after his return to action on Friday. Frazier sat on Sunday and might well miss Monday's game, too. Matt Davidson, who has .391 in his six starts this season, has done a terrific job as a fill-in and could well stick in the lineup as the team's DH once Frazier returns. Let's just hope Frazier's illness doesn't start to hop around the clubhouse and create a situation similar to what Boston dealt with earlier this season.

Cincinnati Reds: On most teams, the starting rotation tends to get the majority of the workload but, through Sunday's game, it's the Reds bullpen that has been carrying the lion's share of the load. In terms of batters faced, the starters have dealt with only 52 percent of opposing hitters, with a 4-4 record and a 4.32 ERA. Meanwhile, relievers are 4-1 with a 2.65 ERA. And now with Brandon Finnegan (shoulder) and Rookie Davis (forearm) both on the 10-day DL, things have the potential to tip even more out of whack.

Cleveland Indians: Tyler Naquin and Austin Jackson started the season in a center-field platoon for the Indians, but now Lonnie Chisenhall has entered the mix and might play a very prominent role going forward. Chisenhall started the season on the DL with a shoulder injury, and Naquin was sent down to Triple-A on Thursday to make room for him. Manager Terry Francona says Naquin will eventually return, "I don't think coming off the bench suits Naquin right now. I don't think anybody has given up on him being an everyday player." Meanwhile, all Chisenhall has done in 12 at-bats is hit two home runs with seven RBIs.

Colorado Rockies: There have been only four complete games thrown thus far in 2017, and Tyler Chatwood has one of them -- a two-hit shutout over the Giants in San Francisco on Saturday. Fantasy baseball fans often joke about the futility of owning Rockies pitchers, but with that effort, Chatwood is already just one shutout shy of tying the franchise record for most shutouts in a season. Last year, the home-road splits for Chatwood made him an ideal streaming candidate (8-1, 1.69 ERA away vs. 4-8, 6.12 ERA home), and we see no reason for that trend not to continue again in 2017.

Detroit Tigers: Miguel Cabrera had to leave Sunday's game when his back tightened up while on the basepaths. Cabrera has been having similar difficulties since the WBC earlier this spring, especially when playing on artificial turf surfaces. As a result, manager Brad Ausmus might restrict Cabrera to DH duties in Tampa Bay when their series begins on Tuesday. That could mean Victor Martinez or Andrew Romine making major inroads toward getting some first-base eligibility for 2017, depending on your league's rules on how many games a player needs to qualify.

Houston Astros: That sound you hear is a huge exhale from Astros fans and fantasy owners of Carlos Correa alike. On Saturday, the shortstop got hit on the right hand with a 94 mph fastball from A's pitcher Frankie Montas. X-rays were thankfully negative, though Correa himself "thought it was going to be a lot worse." Fantasy owners got another break of sorts on Sunday when Houston's game was rained out -- the first Oakland rain postponement in three years. Correa was going to sit that game out, but now his fantasy owners can look forward to some potential extra at-bats come September when the game is made up. Correa now expects to play on Monday.

Kansas City Royals: The clock is ticking on Paulo Orlando's stay in Kansas City's starting lineup. He's not won over too many admirers with a 5-for-39 (.128) start to the season, and he's running out of time to do so. Jorge Soler, on the 10-day DL since the start of the season with a strained oblique muscle, is now scheduled to take batting practice this coming weekend, with a minor league rehab stint to follow. That could have Soler back in right field for the team's 10-game homestand that begins on April 28, if not sooner.

Los Angeles Angels: Andrew Bailey, already the beneficiary of two vulture wins this season, might not be back in the Angles bullpen for some time. Bailey went on the 10-day DL on April 12 because of right shoulder inflammation and still remains completely shut down by the team. "He's feeling better, but this is going to be a process with Andrew," manager Mike Scioscia said. "Right now, it's just trying to calm everything down." Since Bailey went down, the Angels have yet to win a game, including Sunday's 1-0 walk-off loss to the Royals, charged to Blake Parker. Who knows if things would have gone down the same way if Bailey had been around to take the mound instead.

Los Angeles Dodgers: In his first start of the season (April 5), Rich Hill lasted 75 pitches and five innings before a blister issue forced him to depart the game early. He landed on the 10-day DL as a result. Yesterday, Hill was back on the mound -- and lasted only 54 pitches and three innings before the blister once again derailed his ability to throw. He's almost certain to miss his next start, with Alex Wood likely replacing him (again) in the rotation -- and quite frankly, nobody would be shocked to see a second DL stint announced, perhaps as soon as today.

Miami Marlins: Martin Prado is expected back with the Marlins today after a strong minor league rehab assignment to get back on track following the strained right hamstring he suffered during the WBC. "We're feeling ready to go," the veteran said on Sunday. Derek Dietrich had received the majority of at third base during Prado's absence, but his recent 1-for-16 skid did little to make the case for him to remain in the lineup in any capacity.

Milwaukee Brewers: All spring, the question surrounding Eric Thames was whether or not the home run power he exhibited in Korea (124 home runs over the past three seasons) would translate to success in Milwaukee. So far, so good. With six home runs and a .921 slugging percentage through 44 plate appearances, Thames has certainly shown he has the ability to knock the cover off the ball stateside. Now the question becomes will pitchers figure him out going forward? The good news is that Thames knows what's coming: "Teams are going to be studying me harder and make adjustments. It's on me to also adjust and keep up with that cat-and-mouse game."

Minnesota Twins: For fantasy purposes, few owners are likely waiting for the return of Ehire Adrianza to Minnesota. The utility infielder, on the 10-day DL with an oblique strain since the start of the season, is progressing toward being healthy enough to be activated by early next week. Adrianza is out of minor league options, as are Eduardo Escobar and Danny Santana. Odds are good that one of this trio is headed to the waiver wire, and if it ends up not being Adrianza, there are going to at least be some fantasy owners who aren't going to be all too thrilled.

New York Mets: Jeurys Familia is eligible to return from his suspension this Thursday, and given the amount of work the Mets' bullpen had to endure this weekend in Miami, manager Terry Collins is almost certainly going to use him right away. While Collins hinted that he might ease Familia back into high-leverage situations, that doesn't necessarily hold water. Addison Reed performed adequately as the team's ninth-inning guy for the first few weeks of the season, but a loss on Sunday and a .316 BAA over his past four outings certainly indicates a need for Familia to jump back into action with both feet.

New York Yankees: Greg Bird started the season mired in a 1-for-26 (.038) slump. His ownership in ESPN leagues has steadily dropped, down to 43.7 percent. On Sunday, however, Bird went 3-for-3 with a double and a home run. "Bird breaks out" is suddenly the headline of the day. That's a huge overreaction to just one game, but perhaps it's a bit understandable, given the first baseman's .451 spring batting average and eight home runs. He was never going to be that good, but he's certainly never going to be this bad over the long run, either. Better days certainly lie ahead.

Oakland Athletics: I'm not sure I like what Marcus Semien was saying about the wrist injury that, though he was trying to fight through it, finally placed the shortstop on the 10-day DL this weekend. "I think it actually made me a better hitter lately by learning how to use my bottom hand a little more," Semien said. Coming from a guy hitting .171 on the year with 11 strikeouts? Seriously? Adam Rosales, with Triple-A call-up Chad Pinder as a secondary option, will handle shortstop duties for at least the next week.

Philadelphia Phillies: Second baseman Cesar Hernandez has hit safely in all but one game this season, and is currently 10th overall on the ESPN Player Rater. Given that, his 38.6 percent ownership in ESPN leagues is a bit mind-boggling. Hernandez hit home runs in back-to-back games over the weekend, but perhaps more importantly, he also stole his first base of the season on Sunday. That's what has manager Pete Mackanin most excited: "The one ingredient that he needs work on -- and he's been working on it -- is getting jumps to steal bases. He's got the potential to steal a lot of bases." One down ...

Pittsburgh Pirates: Jung Ho Kang is still owned in 9.3 percent of ESPN leagues (down 6.4 percent over the past week) despite his not yet having clearance to travel to the United States because of his DUI issues. Even when he does get permission, he's likely to need to serve some sort of suspension before being allowed to rejoin the Pirates. Still, while the team is not giving up on the chance of reuniting with Kang in 2017, as manager Clint Hurdle says, "He's been more working indoors, doing everything he can to prepare. But in here, we're moving on until he's back." Quite frankly, with David Freese batting .344 and Adam Frazier at .343, there's every reason to understand why there's absolutely zero sense of urgency with Kang.

St. Louis Cardinals: Dexter Fowler is 3-for-29 with 10 strikeouts over his past seven games. So concerned was manager Mike Matheny, that he asked his outfielder if he was seeing the ball at the plate. The answer was no. "Man, that's miserable going up there feeling like you can't see," Matheny said. "It's tough enough to hit it when you can." Fowler remains confident in his ability to adjust his mechanics and improve immensely going forward. However, so far, fantasy owners do not see that glass as being half-full, with a 9.5 percent ownership drop in Fowler over the past week.

San Diego Padres: Few people will be confusing second baseman Ryan Schimpf with Jose Altuve anytime soon, but after a season in which he hit 20 home runs in just 276 at-bats, it's a little surprising that his power potential hasn't translated into fantasy ownership. Schimpf is still a free agent in 93.2 percent of ESPN leagues, yet he's averaging a home run every 11 at-bats so far in 2017, while also leading the majors in walks (13). Opposing pitchers seem scared to give Schimpf anything to hit, because when he does make contact, things tend to work out well for the Padres.

San Francisco Giants: Colliding with the left-field wall while making a catch on Sunday, Jarrett Parker has been diagnosed with a broken clavicle and might well miss at least eight weeks as a result of the expected surgery to come. Chris Marrero, hitting just .154 on the season in a timeshare with Parker, will continue to play his games in left, with Gorkys Hernandez (.074) and Aaron Hill (.150) also stepping in. Ouch.

Seattle Mariners: Jean Segura was hitting .313 with four multihit games in eight appearances when he strained his right hamstring and had to hit the 10-day DL. He's not quite up to full speed yet, but the team is nevertheless optimistic that the shortstop will be able to return on Friday. "He's feeling pretty good," manager Scott Servais said. "We'll hopefully get him in there by the end of the week when his 10 days are up." Since Segura has been out, Jarrod Dyson and Guillermo Heredia have combined to hit just .263 (5-for-19) in the leadoff spot for Seattle.

Tampa Bay Rays: Jake Odorizzi will miss at least two starts, as he's been placed on the 10-day DL after having to leave Saturday's start because of hamstring tightness. Erasmo Ramirez, whose next appearance for the Rays will be his 100th, has started 28 games for the Rays in the past and might step into the rotation. If not, Triple-A call-up Chase Whitley could get the call.

Texas Rangers: After his third blown save of the season on Sunday, Sam Dyson may or may not have lost his job as closer for the Rangers. Manager Jeff Banister was noncommittal about making a change after the loss, especially because the Mariners ended up scoring two runs off of Dyson, a groundball pitcher, without the benefit of a single ball leaving the infield. Still, a closer who loses his manager's confidence simply won't get the call in the ninth inning. Regardless, down to just 37 percent ownership in ESPN league from 60.7 percent at the start of Week 2, Dyson is likely to see many more owners jump ship in the next few days.

Toronto Blue Jays: An MRI awaits pitcher J.A. Happ on Monday after soreness in his left elbow caused him to call for the trainers during the fifth inning of Sunday's game. Although Happ took the loss to fall to 0-3 on the year, his 11.3 K/9 rate and no walks has kept his fantasy value from totally tanking. Happ is hopeful there's nothing serious going on in his arm: "There's potential for good news here, and hopefully that's what we get."

Washington Nationals: There's a pretty good chance Joe Ross will be on the mound for Washington on Wednesday. Ross was sent to Triple-A to start the season, as there was the need for a fifth starter only once over the first two weeks of April. That start went to Jeremy Guthrie, and after the first inning, the Nationals were down 12-0. Starting Wednesday would keep Ross on turn, while also giving Stephen Strasburg an extra day of rest.