Demotion Day

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Just four weeks after his promotion sent shockwaves through baseball, Jarred Kelenic is now headed back to the minors.

The Mariners announced Monday that they had optioned Kelenic back to Triple-A Tacoma following a disappointing first go-round in the majors. In 23 games and 92 plate appearances, Kelenic batted only .096/.185/.193. He was hitless in his last 44 plate appearances, reaching base just five times via walk while striking out at a 40.9 percent clip over that stretch.

When considering Kelenic’s situation, we must remember that all prospect progression is not linear. Hitting a bump in the road is not uncommon, no matter how elite of a talent you are. We also need to keep in consideration that Kelenic is just 21, had only 27 games of experience between Double- and Triple-A prior to his promotion and sat out all of 2020.

The odds remain high that Kelenic will have a long and successful major league career, and it wouldn’t be a surprise at all if that fruitful run begins later this season. Those in dynasty leagues should obviously hold tight, and you should keep him in a deeper mixed format, as well, if possible.

With Kelenic demoted and Kyle Lewis (knee) expected to be sidelined well after the All-Star break, the Mariners are slated to turn back to Taylor Trammell in center field. Trammell made the Opening Day roster but was optioned in early May following a .593 OPS over 27 games. He earned another shot after tearing it up at Tacoma and has gone 5-for-21 with one homer in six contests since his recall. Trammell’s power/speed potential makes him worth a roll of the dice in five-outfielder leagues, but his major contact issues (39.8 percent strikeout rate) present plenty of risk.

Also slated for a regular role now in the Mariners’ outfield is Jake Fraley. The 26-year-old has battled injuries and really struggled during his brief time in the majors the last two seasons, but he’s posted a 1.113 OPS with a couple homers since returning from a hamstring injury at the end of May. Fraley also boasts a ridiculous 10/16 K/BB ratio over 46 plate appearances. He hit 19 homers and stole 22 bases back in 2019 between Double- and Triple-A.

Another familiar face back with the Mariners will be Shed Long. The 25-year-old has been brought along slowly after having surgery last September to repair a stress fracture in his right shin, but he’s ready for his season debut now. Long really struggled while playing through the leg issue in 2020, but he showed promise in 2019 with a little pop and speed. He could see some playing time in left field and also at second base until Dylan Moore (calf) returns. Moore began a rehab assignment Monday.

Kelenic wasn’t the only promising youngster to be demoted Monday, as Keston Hiura was also sent back down to Triple-A. Again.

Hiura was first sent down back in early May following an ugly .152/.247/.266 batting line and 36 percent strikeout rate in his initial 26 games. The Brewers hoped he had figured something out when he posted a 1.433 OPS with three homers over nine games at Triple-A Nashville, recalling him two weeks ago. As it turns out, the club probably should have paid more attention to the 34.2 percent strikeout rate which accompanied those numbers.

In 11 contests since his most recent recall, Hiura went just 2-for-29 with 16 strikeouts. He had found himself on the bench in three of the last four games, and now he finds himself back in the minors.

It’s back to the drawing board for Hiura, and his demotion this time around no doubt will last longer, perhaps much longer. He’s probably always going to have swing-and-miss tendencies, but the Brewers can stomach them if he does damage when he does make contact. That hasn’t been the case since the beginning of last season.

Hiura will turn just 25 and showed too much promise coming up through the minors and in his rookie season to give up on. Those in redraft leagues can’t afford to wait around any longer, though.

With Hiura down on the farm for another reset and Kolten Wong (oblique) out, the Brewers will roll with Daniel Vogelbach at first base and Luis Urias at second base. Vogelbach hasn’t exactly set the world on fire himself, but he at least draws plenty of walks and makes an adequate amount of contact. Urias was displaced from shortstop when the Brewers acquired Willy Adames, but he should see pretty regular playing time between second and third base at least in the short term. The 24-year-old has perked up offensively of late with a 1.119 OPS and a couple dingers over his last seven games.

Starting Pitchers with(out) an EDGE

Jackson Kowar vs. LAA – 2/3 IP, 4 ER, 3 H, 2 BB, 0 K

Normally we highlight the good performances on the mound in this space, but it was a rough night for pitching during the light three-game slate, so let’s talk about some duds. It was a debut to forget for Kowar, as he threw 39 pitches and recorded only two outs in Anaheim on Monday night. He threw three wild pitches, becoming the first starter to do so in his major league debut since knuckleballer Tim Wakefield back in 1992. There will undoubtedly be better days for one of the Royals’ top prospects.

Adbert Alzolay vs. SD – 3 IP, 4 ER, 5 H, 5 BB, 4 K

Alzolay came into Monday’s outing versus the Padres boasting a 2.95 ERA over his last seven starts and a sparkling 58/11 K/BB ratio on the season. He looked off from the jump in San Diego, though, and it turns out he was dealing with a blister on his right middle finger. The blister finally forced Alzolay from the game after he issued a leadoff walk in the bottom of the fourth inning. It’s unclear at this point whether the right-hander will be able to make his next scheduled start this weekend against the Cardinals.

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Hitters with an EDGE

Starling Marte vs. BOS – 3-for-4, HR, BB, SB

The Marlins piled up 12 hits against Nick Pivetta and the Red Sox’ bullpen and also stole three bases off the right-hander and backup catcher Kevin Plawecki. However, they were only able to scratch together three runs in a 5-3 loss. Marte reached base four times as he continues to not show any rust following a return from the injured list. He’s reached base 16 times, hitting two long balls and stealing a pair of bases over nine games.

Max Stassi vs. KC – 3-for-4, HR, 2B, RBI, 3 R

Stassi continues to swing a hot bat since returning from a concussion. The catcher slugged a two-run home run Monday versus the Royals while also adding a double and an RBI single. In four starts since returning from the IL, Stassi has reached base nine times and homered twice. He’ll continue to share the Angels’ catcher job with Kurt Suzuki, but Stassi has enough juice in his bat to be worth using in two-catcher formats.

Priority Pickup

Jonathan India, 2B/3B, Reds – available in 74 percent of Yahoo fantasy leagues

India hit the waiver wire in many leagues following a pretty lackluster first five weeks of the season. However, the former No. 5 overall pick has turned it on in a major way since then, putting up a .323/.443/.554 batting line with four long balls, three stolen bases and a 10/11 K/BB ratio over his last 21 contests. India has reached base 13 times already in five games this month and has been elevated from mostly batting eighth all the way up to the leadoff spot. You’re running out of time to pick the 24-year-old up.

Closing Time

With Matt Barnes unavailable after pitching each of the previous three days, Adam Ottavino was called upon to close out the Red Sox’ win over the Marlins on Monday. It didn’t go terribly smoothly, with the Marlins dinging Ottavino for three hits and a run in the ninth, but the righty held on to record his third save of the season.

Tuesday’s Matchup of the Day

Robbie Ray (TOR) vs. Carlos Rodon (CWS)

Ray is in the midst of a terrific bounce-back season and is coming off a fine effort versus the Marlins. However, he’ll face a stiff test against a White Sox lineup which boasts the best wRC+ (131) mark in baseball versus left-handers. The Blue Jays’ lineup is no slouch either, of course, although they have fared a bit better against righties. Rodon allowed five runs and doubled his season total in serving up three home runs last week in Cleveland.

American League Quick Hits: Byron Buxton (hip) will begin a rehab assignment on Tuesday … Mike Trout (calf) said that Monday "was my best day yet, tolerance-wise." He’s hoping to be cleared to begin jogging soon … Kenta Maeda (groin) will begin a rehab assignment on Wednesday … Chris Sale (elbow) is scheduled to throw another bullpen session this week and should be cleared to face hitters soon … J.D. Martinez (wrist) was out of the lineup for the third straight game Monday … Hunter Dozier went 3-for-4 with a pair of doubles and an RBI on Monday against the Angels … Dylan Moore (calf) began a rehab assignment with Triple-A Tacoma on Monday … Christian Arroyo reached base four times, drove in a pair of runs and scored two more on Monday versus the Marlins … The Angels designated Hunter Strickland for assignment .

National League Quick Hits: Javier Baez wasn’t in Monday’s lineup while receiving treatment for a bruised right thumb, but he’s expected back in action soon … Joc Pederson (back) missed a second straight start Monday … The Phillies outrighted Scott Kingery to Triple-A Lehigh Valley on Monday, removing him from their 40-man roster … Aaron Sanchez (biceps) allowed one run over two innings in his first rehab start Monday … The Mets have no timetable for when Carlos Carrasco (hamstring) will begin a rehab assignment.