This year has already seen a large crop of top prospects reach the majors. The Rookie of the Year races in both leagues are going to be crowded affairs with a plethora of prospects both heralded and unheralded making big impacts with their teams already. Fernando Tatis Jr., Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Nick Senzel, Austin Riley, Victor Robles, Pete Alonso, Brandon Lowe, Michael Chavis, Chris Paddack, Mike Soroka, Griffin Canning, John Means and Japanese import Yusei Kikuchi have already made their marks and there are plenty more newbies on the verge of doing the same, including three who got promoted on Friday.
Blue Jays second baseman Cavan Biggio and Padres' corner infielder Josh Naylor made their debuts in the same game on Friday. Both went hitless with two strikeouts in their first taste of the bigs. Biggio can hit for power and steal bases but batting average could be a weakness, although he was batting .307 at Triple-A Buffalo before his promotion. Last year at Double-A he had a .252 batting average with 26 homers, 99 RBI and 20 stolen bases in 132 games. He has a good chance of developing into a solid regular but isn't widely predicted to be a star.
Josh Naylor has put together a .299/.378/.538 batting line with 10 homers, 35 RBI and a 24/24 K/BB ratio for Triple-A El Paso this year. The Padres are playing six games in a row with the designated hitter in interleague play, so this was the perfect chance to get Naylor a cup of coffee, especially considering they were playing in his native Ontario, Canada. He doesn't have a ton of power despite being a wide-bodied first baseman. He takes a more contact-oriented approach and should generate high batting averages and high on-base percentages in his career. He doesn't strike out much and walks just as often. He is only 21 and will likely head back to the minors for more seasoning next week.
Diamondbacks first base prospect Kevin Cron got the call to the majors on Friday after posting a dynamite .339/.437/.800 batting line and leading all minor leaguers with 21 home runs and 62 RBI at Triple-A Reno this season. He didn't start against the Giants but got his feet wet by striking out in his lone plate appearance late in the blowout win. There is a good chance he will start on Saturday. The 26-year-old was never considered an elite prospect despite putting up some big numbers for the past couple of seasons. Diamondbacks first baseman Christian Walker has cooled off dramatically and could soon be benched in favor of Cron. He could be the most likely of these three prospects to generate significant fantasy value immediately.
Rockies shortstop Trevor Story smacked a pair of two-run dingers in an 8-6 win over the Orioles. He went back-to-back with Nolan Arenado to tie up the game in the seventh frame. Story came up to bat in the bottom of the ninth against Orioles closer Mychael Givens and proceeded to bash a walk-off dinger to the opposite field. Story's first bomb of the game gave him an even 100 for his career in 448 games and made him the fastest shortstop in history to reach that mark, beating out Alex Rodriguez (470 games) and Nomar Garciaparra (491 games). Story has 13 homers on the season and is tied for third in the majors with 41 runs scored on the season.
Nolan Arenado also went deep twice against the Orioles but both of his were of the solo variety. He finished 3-for-4 on the day and has a .325 batting average with 13 homers, 37 RBI and 37 runs scored on the season. The four homers served up by Orioles pitchers today increased their total to 107 taters allowed, which is 19 more than any other team and puts them on a pace to obliterate the all-time record of 258 homers allowed by the 2016 Reds. The Orioles are currently on pace to surrender an unbelievable 340 home runs. The moral of the story for fantasy owners is to start all of your hitters whenever they play the Orioles.
Braves shortstop Dansby Swanson hit a pair of homers as the Braves topped the Cardinals 5-2. He went back-to-back with Freddie Freeman against Miles Mikolas in the sixth inning and then added a two-run dong off Giovanny Gallegos in the eighth. Swanson has taken his game to a new level of performance this year. His career high is 14 home runs in a season and he is on pace to break that well before we get to the All Star break. He is slashing a fine .262/.319/.492 with 10 longballs, 35 RBI, 27 runs and five stolen bases through 52 games.
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Perhaps the biggest story of Friday's events was the sheer number of premium players suffering injuries or setbacks. None was bigger than George Springer. He was playing for the first time after missing four games with lower back tightness, and then promptly hurt his left hamstring while attempting to make a sliding catch in foul territory against the Red Sox. He was limping badly and had to leave with the trainer. Astros' manager A.J. Hinch said after the game that Springer is likely to be placed on the injured list. Hinch also admitted that he wasn't looking forward to the diagnosis. Springer is having an MVP-caliber season, slashing .308/.389/.643 with 17 homers and leads the majors with 43 RBI. Losing him will undoubtedly affect the standings in most fantasy leagues.
The Athletics' Khris Davis was placed on the 10-day injured list with a left hip and oblique contusion. He first suffered the injury on May 5th while jumping into the stands to make a great catch, and the Athletics have been trying to avoid biting the bullet and disabling him ever since. He tried to play through the soreness but other than a two-homer game on May 13th he hasn't been very productive at the plate. He will now be shut down from swinging for five days before being re-evaluated. He has a .248 batting average with 12 home runs and 29 RBI in 43 games.
Diamondbacks outfielder David Peralta was placed on the 10-day injured list with right shoulder inflammation. The chronically under-rated fantasy asset was batting .309/.357/.524 with seven home runs, 30 RBI and 28 runs scored in 46 games. He hit 30 home runs last year with a .293 batting average and 87 RBI. He is a pure hitter in the vein of Michael Brantley, although with more power and without the stolen bases.
Christian Yelich (back) went 1-for-3 with a solo homer and a walk against the Phillies in his first game back in action after sitting out for two days with back tightness. It is the second time this year he's missed games with a back issue. The sore back certainly hasn't affected his prowess with the stick -- he's bashing at a .325/.441/.744 clip with 20 home runs, 42 RBI, 41 runs and nine stolen bases. He leads the majors in homers and isn't far off the lead in runs and RBI. He won the MVP Award in the National League last year and has a chance to win a Triple Crown in 2019, although Cody Bellinger might get in the way.
Mike Clevinger (back) will ramp up his throwing program at extended spring training and could start playing rehab games soon. Barring a setback he could rejoin the Indians in mid-June. He made just two starts this year before getting hurt, and didn't allow any runs in 12 innings. He's been a near-elite pitcher the past two seasons and will give his fantasy owners a huge boost when he returns to action.
Michael Conforto (concussion) is symptom-free and has resumed baseball activities. He will need to pass the league's concussion protocol before he can resume playing in games. Look for him to be activated sometime next week. The injury interrupted a strong campaign in which he is batting .271/.406/.521 with nine home runs and 21 RBI in 42 games.
James Paxton felt pain in his left knee while pitching in a game at extended spring training on Friday. He will be re-evaluated on Saturday. He's been on the injured list for more than three weeks and it is getting worrisome that what had been described as a minor issue is still vexing the Yankee ace. He is 3-2 with a 3.11 ERA and 52 strikeouts in 37 2/3 innings through seven starts this year.
Didi Gregorius (elbow) will begin a rehab assignment with High-A Tampa on Saturday. He is recovering from Tommy John reconstructive surgery on his throwing elbow and was originally expected to be out until after the All Star break. The fact that he is already playing shortstop in a competitive environment would indicate he is well ahead of schedule and could return to the Yankees in mid-June. The injury-depleted Yankees would love to get their shortstop back early. He had a .268 batting average with 27 home runs, 86 RBI and 10 steals last year in 134 games.
NL Quick Hits: Mike Foltynewicz picked up his first win of the season after holding the Cardinals to an unearned run over six innings... Miles Mikolas lost after allowing three runs in seven innings against the Braves. ... Anthony Rendon finished 2-for-4 with a two-run homer, a walk, and three runs scored against the Marlins. ... Juan Soto slugged a go-ahead three-run homer in the eighth inning to lead the Nationals to a 12-10 victory over the Marlins. ... Jorge Alfaro went 3-for-5 with a homer, three RBI, and two runs scored in a loss to the Nationals. ... Walker Buehler twirled six innings of one-run ball in a 10-2 win over the Pirates. ... David Freese hit a grand slam against the Pirates. ... Cody Bellinger slugged his 18th homer of the season on Friday versus the Pirates. ... Noah Syndergaard gave up six runs in 5 1/3 innings against the Tigers. ... Pete Alonso went 2-for-4 with a homer and two runs scored in a loss to the Tigers. ... Wilson Ramos went 2-for-4 with a homer, two RBI, and two runs scored against the Tigers. ... Joey Lucchesi struck out a career-high 11 batters and allowed three runs in 6 2/3 innings in a no-decision against the Blue Jays. ... Hunter Renfroe hit a three-run homer against the Blue Jays. ... Eugenio Suarez went 2-for-5 and slugged a two-run homer in the top of the ninth inning to beat the Cubs 6-5. ... Yasiel Puig homered and drove in three runs against the Cubs. ... Cardinals removed Michael Wacha from the starting rotation and will use him in relief "for the foreseeable future". ... Mets signed OF Matt Kemp to a minor league contract. ... Rhys Hoskins finished 2-for-4 with a solo homer, a walk, and two runs scored against the Brewers. ... Robbie Ray allowed two runs in 5 1/3 innings and struck out nine in a win over the Giants. The win moved him to 4-1 with a 3.26 ERA. ... Drew Pomeranz was pummeled for five runs in 2 2/3 innings by the Diamondbacks. ... Adam Jones went 4-for-5 and blasted his 10th homer Friday against the Giants... Ketel Marte went 3-for-4 with a homer, four RBI and three runs scored against the Giants.
AL Quick Hits: Keon Broxton went 2-for-4 with a two-run homer in his Orioles debut... Reynaldo Lopez was slaughtered in a loss to the Twins, giving up eight runs on seven hits in his 3 2/3 innings of work... Miguel Sano blasted his fifth home run of the season as the Twins routed the White Sox... Max Kepler went 3-for-4 with a homer, double, four RBI and two runs scored against the White Sox... Eddie Rosario went 4-for-5 and clubbed his 15th home run of the season against the White Sox... Jose Berrios allowed four runs (one earned) on nine hits across 6 2/3 innings... JaCoby Jones knocked in four runs while going 2-for-4 with a homer and two runs scored in a victory over the Mets... Miguel Cabrera went 2-for-2 with a homer, two RBI, and two walks against the Mets... Blake Snell allowed just one run on four hits over 6 2/3 innings and did not get a decision against the Indians... Shane Bieber struck out 10 batters in five dominant innings, allowing one run against the Rays... Trent Thornton struck out a career-high 10 Padres while allowing three runs in six innings... Chris Sale fell to 1-6 on the year after allowing four runs — two earned — over six innings against the Astros... Griffin Canning pitched five innings of one-run ball against the Rangers... Brian Goodwin went 2-for-4 and homered against the Rangers... Ryan Pressly had his MLB record 40-appearance scoreless streak snapped Friday against the Red Sox. Jackie Bradley, Jr. hit a solo homer off him... Mychal Givens took his third loss in five days after giving up a two-run homer in the bottom of the ninth against the Rockies... Stephen Piscotty went 3-for-4 with a homer and a steal as the A's topped the Mariners 6-2.