Masterson: Masterful

Drew Silva
Drew Silva examines the Cardinals' acquisition of Justin Masterson and previews the fast-approaching trade deadline in Thursday's Daily Dose

Daily Dose: Deadline Day

Drew Silva examines the Cardinals' acquisition of Justin Masterson and previews the fast-approaching trade deadline in Thursday's Daily Dose

Check out Matthew Pouliot’s latest Strike Zone column for analysis on the promotions of top prospects Jurickson Profar and Jake Odorizzi. In this Monday Daily Dose, we’ll touch instead on three established major leaguers who are making waves in fantasy leagues.

Indians right-hander Justin Masterson threw a shutout last Monday against the first-place Yankees and then followed that up on Sunday afternoon by firing seven scoreless innings in a 6-0 victory over the Mariners. He fanned a total of 20 batters over those two outings and now boasts 71 strikeouts in 70 innings this year to go along with a 2.83 ERA and 1.13 WHIP.

Masterson has displayed flashes of ace-like potential in the past -- most notably in 2011 when he had a 3.21 ERA in 216 innings with Cleveland -- and he seems to have taken a large step forward this year. His sinker velocity is up from 2012 and he clearly has much more confidence in his slider, which has looked particularly nasty over the past three weeks.

Masterson’s ADP (Average Draft Position) this spring in Yahoo! leagues was 210.2 -- higher than guys like Wade Miley (205.1), Tim Hudson (189.3), Josh Beckett (186.9) and Marco Estrada (181.3). So even if some regression is in store, Masterson’s value will likely continue to be tremendous.

Reds’ Bruce Letting Loose

I run a live chat every Thursday at 4 p.m. ET for Rotoworld Season Pass subscribers and have gotten a flood of questions each week about Reds outfielder Jay Bruce. “Is he ever going to turn it on?” … “Should I try to get what I can for him now?” … “Will you at least admit that he was overhyped?”

Hopefully all that nonsense is finished now because Bruce has come alive in a big way here in May.

The 26-year-old outfielder slugged his fourth home run of the month in the Reds’ late loss to the Phillies on Sunday and is now batting .328 with a 1.015 OPS in 67 plate appearances since the calendar flipped from April to May. Bruce has quickly rounded into form after that slow start and should be an elite fantasy outfielder from now until October. It’s probably too late to buy low, but give it a shot while his overall numbers are still down.

Grilli: Top Fantasy Closer?

Pirates ninth-inning man Jason Grilli made it look easy again on Sunday, needing only 10 pitches to retire three batters as Pittsburgh scored a 1-0 defeat of Houston. Grilli now has 17 saves -- which makes him the major league leader over Mariano Rivera -- to go along with a 0.92 ERA and 0.66 WHIP. He has registered 31 strikeouts and issued only four walks in 19 2/3 total frames this year. It’s inspiring stuff from the 36-year-old right-hander, and he looks capable of keeping it up all year on an improved Pirates team. Grilli’s ADP this spring in Yahoo! leagues was 171.6. On average, he was a late 15th-round pick.

National League Quick Hits: Pirates center fielder Andrew McCutchen is day-to-day with some mild soreness in his right knee … Bryce Harper has missed two straight games with a bruised left knee … Ryan Howard will undergo a precautionary MRI on his left knee Monday … Mets closer Bobby Parnell earned his sixth save of the year in the Mets’ defeat of the Cubs on Sunday … Homer Bailey threw seven shutout frames on Sunday but the Reds lost to the Phillies when Aroldis Chapman blew his second straight save opportunity … Angel Pagan is day-to-day with flu-like symptoms … Edward Mujica is 13-for-13 in save opportunities for the Cardinals and has a 0.53 WHIP on the year … Phillies catcher Carlos Ruiz is likely to be placed on the 15-day disabled list with a strained right hamstring … Barry Zito has failed to win a game in his last five starts and has a rising ERA … Scott Van Slyke is day-to-day with a left leg contusion … Padres outfielder Cameron Maybin (wrist) could begin a minor league rehab assignment this Friday … Juan Nicasio threw six scoreless innings Sunday in the Rockies’ defeat of the Giants … Nationals starter Dan Haren was shelled for seven runs Sunday by the light-hitting Padres and now has a 5.54 ERA and 1.43 WHIP in nine starts this year … Cardinals rookie John Gast is 2-0 through his first two major league starts … Roy Oswalt looked sharp in an extended spring training game on Saturday and could join the Rockies at some point in early June.

American League Quick Hits: The Rangers placed second baseman Ian Kinsler on the 15-day disabled list with an intercostal muscle strain and are expecting him to be out around three weeks … Rays left-hander Matt Moore improved to 8-0 with another fine performance Sunday against the Orioles … David Murphy drove in four runs in the Rangers’ win over the Tigers on Sunday Night Baseball … Red Sox shortstop Stephen Drew remains day-to-day with a minor back issue … Miguel Cabrera went 4-for-4 with three homers and five RBI but the Tigers were outlasted by the Rangers on Sunday … Angels starter Jason Vargas tossed seven scoreless innings in Sunday’s win over the White Sox … Felix Hernandez allowed six runs -- five earned -- over five innings Sunday in the Mariners’ loss to the Indians … Freddy Garcia will start for the Orioles on Monday against the Yankees … Astros infielder Ronny Cedeno is day-to-day with a sinus infection … Jacoby Ellsbury was given his first day off of the season on Sunday and is expected to return to the Red Sox lineup on Monday night against the White Sox … A’s outfielder Josh Reddick (wrist) has begun taking some dry swings and is still aiming to avoid a surgical procedure … The Orioles recalled infielder Danny Valencia from Triple-A Norfolk before Sunday’s game.

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