Fantasy Baseball analyst Scott Pianowski highlights all the noteworthy happenings from Wednesday's action.
Wednesday's need-to-know fantasy notes
-Christopher Morel was dropped to the ninth spot in the Cubs order. That’s bad.
Morel did hit a homer, though, and had two runs, two hits; that’s good. Over the past month, he’s been a strikeout problem, with 42 whiffs and just two steals. I’m still holding shares — he qualifies at three positions and offers category juice — but let’s just say it’s not the longest leash.
-Emilio Pagan worked the 10th inning with a three-run lead, but quickly unraveled — one out, then a walk, then a double (Amed Rosario has been sizzling in May). Hey, Pagan got a save for this mess, which shows you how silly that stat is, even sillier than the save. Manager Rocco Baldelli can be quirky with his bullpen usage, but the scuffling Pagan belongs nowhere near the ninth inning.
-Another homer for Willson Contreras, and three more hits. He’s laughing at the rest of the fantasy catcher pool. He’s probably the biggest name player likely to be shipped around the trade deadline. The Cubs are quickly becoming a factor of sadness. That 2016 Championship feels like 20 years ago.
-Three more hits for Josh Bell, two more walks. He’s up to .319, and the power has returned in June (seven homers). A .308/.390/.492 slash plays in any lineup, and don’t forget he qualifies at both first base and outfield. He’s in his walk year, so the Nationals have a tough deadline decision to make. Obviously, this team’s season died a long time ago.
-Tuesday’s Atlanta save went to A.J. Minter, while Wednesday’s went to Will Smith. Lefties taking over the world. Minter’s seasonal stats and the fact that he closed before Smith means something to me; perhaps Minter merely needed a day off Wednesday. But sometimes managers start feeling omniscient when they’re using multiple stoppers and everything is working. There might be fantasy utility to both of them while Kenley Jansen (irregular heartbeat) is unavailable.
-I liked Alex Verdugo before the year but regretfully threw him into a trade maybe five weeks ago. Not a proud moment. Verdugo had a homer and four RBIs in the Wednesday win at Toronto, and he’s been a .333 hitter in June, with 17 runs, three homers, 20 RBIs. Verdugo also offers plus defense in Fenway Park’s difficult right field; if you can think of when Andrew Benintendi was a favorable comp, that’s your reference point here.
-Everyone knows that Jon Berti has been the stolen base god of the month, but check Randy Arozarena and his 10 bags in June. It’s been needed, as he’s batting just .242 with mild production stats. J.T. Realmuto is also living on stolen-base buoyancy; he’s swiped seven bags in June, trying to offset a puny .215 average.
A couple of June thieves aren’t hitting one lick — Dylan Moore has seven bags (but a .176 average) while Jorge Mateo is at .152 (but with six bags, and three homers). Category juice might be able to save Mateo in deeper pools.