Although the decision is not yet official, Phillies pitching prospect Spencer Howard is expected to make his Major League debut on Sunday. The youngster worked through four levels last season, posting a 2.03 ERA and a 0.83 WHIP across 15 starts. Howard is considered by scouts to be ready for the Majors, and he should immediately dent a roster in most fantasy leagues.
Although only those who watched 1980s wrestling will appreciate the preceding subtitle, everyone playing fantasy baseball in 2020 should recognize the tremendous progress of Dylan Bundy. A former top prospect whose development stalled in Baltimore for a variety of reasons, Bundy is thriving (2.08 ERA, 0.60 WHIP) as a member of the Angels. He took his progress to another level yesterday afternoon when striking out 10 in a complete-game win over the Mariners. This is a breakout I believe in, meaning that I would not trade Bundy away unless overwhelmed with an offer.
The Astros debuted another interesting young arm when Brandon Bielak tossed five scoreless innings against the D-backs last night. The 24-year-old struck out just one batter and is not as exciting of a fantasy prospect as fellow Houston rookie Cristian Javier, but he could still serve as a spot starter in mixed leagues. He showed a strong ability to keep the ball in the yard while being solid in other areas en route to posting a career 2.94 ERA and 1.13 WHIP in 272.1 Minor League innings. His next scheduled start is a favorable one, at home against the Giants.
The Tyler Chatwood breakout season lasted all of two starts before he was touched up for eight runs across 2.1 innings last night. Even worse, the beatdown came at the hands of the Royals. The 30-year-old didn’t walk a batter, but he gave up 11 hits, including two homers and four doubles. Already a low-ceiling starter, Chatwood should return to waivers in mixed leagues.
Touki Toussaint could be the savior the Braves are looking for after losing Mike Soroka for the season. The 24-year-old tossed four scoreless innings in his initial 2020 start before holding the Blue Jays to three runs on four hits and no walks with nine strikeouts across 6.2 innings last night. Toussaint was considered a notable prospect at the outset of 2019 but struggled mightily with the Braves and in Triple-A last year. He should not yet be added in mixed leagues, but the right-hander will require immediate attention if he thrives against the Yankees in his next scheduled start.
Two Texas players warrant fantasy concern. Willie Calhoun has one hit in 23 at-bats. The good news is that the outfielder has just five strikeouts, but the bad news is that he has zero walks; he can be dropped in every mixed league. Left-hander Mike Minor struggled on Thursday for the second straight start and now sits at 0-3 with a 6.89 ERA. But the veteran still owns a solid 15:5 K:BB ratio and has been taken deep just twice. Fantasy managers with a bit of guts could try to grab Minor at a discount.
-Astros outfielder George Springer left last night’s game with a wrist sprain. Expect more information today.
-Reds second baseman Mike Moustakas and Angels outfielder Jo Adell each missed their respective games with minor quad injuries. Both should return at some point during the weekend. Astros outfielder Michael Brantley went in the opposite direction with his quad injury, returning to the lineup after missing a pair of games.
-White Sox designated hitter Edwin Encarnacion missed another game with SC joint inflammation. Shoulders are important for power hitters, and the veteran should be benched this weekend in fantasy leagues.
-Shohei Ohtani of the Angels appeared as DH for the first time since being ruled out for the season on the pitching side. The injury could help his value as a hitter, as he could play virtually every day.
-A pair of hurlers — Brad Keller of the Royals and Will Smith of the Braves – were activated from the COVID-19 IL. Both hurlers are options in 15-team leagues but waiver-wire fodder in shallow formats.
-Cubs starter Jose Quintana threw a simulated game on Thursday. He will throw one more before likely returning to the rotation late next week.
Favorable Weekend Hitting Matchups
The Blue Jays will play three games at hitter-friendly Fenway Park against a hapless Red Sox pitching staff. Teoscar Hernandez could continue to flash exciting power skills, while Randal Grichuk warrants consideration in 12-team leagues.
The Dodgers high-powered offense gets three games against a Giants staff that leads the NL in runs allowed. Projecting the daily lineup with Los Angeles is sometimes tricky, but A.J. Pollock deserves the benefit of the doubt in shallow leagues, as well as Kike Hernandez and Chris Taylor in deeper formats.
Starters to Stream
Michael Wacha (vs. MIA)
Griffin Canning (@TEX)
Alec Mills (@STL)
Zach Davies (vs. ARI)
Pablo Lopez (@NYM)
Matt Shoemaker (@BOS)