Return of the Tat

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Christopher Crawford
·9 min read
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Well, at least it was short.

According to multiple reports, the Padres will activate shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr. from the 10-day injured list before Friday’s game against the Dodgers. The shortstop has been out of action since April 5 due to a left shoulder subluxation, but the Padres were optimistic that it would be a short stint on the injured list, and in a rare occurrence, this wasn’t bluster - assuming the activation happens, of course.

Put simply, this is a huge victory for not only Tatís Jr., and not just for the Padres, but for fantasy managers across the globe. If you were selecting him in a redraft league, you had to use a top four pick - at minimum - to have him on your roster. If you were acquiring him in a salary cap league, you were spending a considerable allocation of your funds to have him be your everyday shortstop. When this injury happened, it looks as if this could not just be more than a minimum stay on the IL, but something that kept him out for months. This is a significant difference.

Now, the question of course becomes what you can expect from Tatís Jr. going forward. The answer is sort of impossible to answer, but the educated guess? Lots of good things. This is one of the most talented players in baseball, this was an MVP candidate as a 21-year-old in 2020, and he’s playing in a quality lineup that should give him a chance to do a lot of positive stuff on the baseball field. The only reason it’s a question is we can’t be 100 percent sure that he’s 100 percent healthy, but the Padres have a 14-year, $340 million commitment to Tatís Jr. They are not bringing him back if he’s not ready to go. You’d have to think anyway.

Even if there are some early struggles, fantasy managers should be thrilled that they’re going to get Tatís Jr’s production back in their fantasy lineup. Those who do not have him rostered should just be excited we get to watch him play. He’s fun.

Tepera gets three-game suspension

It was just a matter of how long, but Ryan Tepera now knows his punishment. The initial punishment, anyway. Tepera was suspended three games by Major League Baseball after throwing behind Brandon Woodruff on Tuesday. The right-hander is appealing the suspension, so he’s eligible to pitch in the Cubs’ bullpen until that decision is made.

Starting Pitchers with an EDGE

Lance Lynn -- 6 IP, 2 ER, 0 BB, 10 SO against Cleveland.

Lynn actually took the loss on Saturday, as Aaron Civale was excellent and easily could have made this section after allowing a run in six innings against the Chicago lineup. Even in a loss -- and an undeserved one that makes you question why we take that statistic seriously -- he was able to post impressive numbers, and those who viewed Lynn as an under-the-radar Cy Young candidate have to feel good about how he’s looked in his first three starts with the Pale Hose.

Michael Pineda -- 7 IP, 0 ER,1 BB, 6 SO against Boston

Pineda allowed just two hits in the contest and looked like he was on his way to a victory. That is, of course, until the Twins blew another late lead; this time with Taylor Rogers picking up the blown save. The 32-year-old right-hander has been outstanding in all three starts this year, and his ERA currently sits at a paltry 1.00. Keep in mind that Pineda was strong in his limited 2020 sample as well after coming back from suspension, and there’s definitely reason to be excited about his fantasy prospects for the remainder of this season.

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Hitters with an EDGE

Mitch Haniger -- 3-for-8, 2 HR, 7 RBI against Baltimore in doubleheader

Haniger is finally healthy after two years of dealing with serious injuries, and he’s shown that there’s still an awful lot of offensive upside in his offensive bat. The two homers give him four on the season in 13 games, and he’s hitting .321 with a .623 slugging percentage. You’ll always have to be cognizant of health with Haniger, but again, it’s never been a question of talent. He should be fantasy relevant as long as he’s on the field in 2021 and the next couple of years.

Ronald Acuna Jr. -- 2-for-5, HR, 2 RBI against Miami.

It’s the seventh homer of the season for Acuña, and the Braves have played 13 games. He’s hitting .442, he’s getting on at a .492 clip, and he’s slugging an even 1.000. Let’s just repeat those numbers again to make sure they sink in. Ronald Acuña Jr. is slashing .442/.492/1.000 in the first 13 games with seven homers. It’d be unbelievable if it were almost anyone else, but it’s real, and it’s spectacular.

Priority Pickup

Carson Kelly -- Available in 78 percent of Yahoo fantasy baseball leagues

Kelly crushed his second homer of the season when he took a completely ineffective Patrick Corbin deep in the first inning on Thursday in a win over the Nationals. That and a single now have the former top catching prospect slashing .440/.545/.760, and he’s picked up hits in his last five games. The 26-year-old backstop disappointed in 2020, but that was over a whopping 122 at-bats, and the previous year he hit 18 homers and registered a very solid .826 OPS. His true talent probably lies between that number and the .649 OPS of the truncated year, but when you consider you can get that kind of production from a position where that’s hard to find? It doesn’t make much sense why Kelly isn’t on more rosters.

Closing Time

The Mariners had two save chances on Thursday in the doubleheader sweep of the Orioles. They converted both, but the most notable thing is that neither was attempted by Rafael Montero. Kendall Graveman picked up the save in the first game, while Keynan Middleton locked down the second game. And it wasn’t a case of Montero not being available, as he pitched the sixth inning (keep in mind doubleheaders are only seven innings) in the first game. Simply put, there’s a lot of “shrug” in the Mariner relief situation right now, and with the Mariners looking like a decent club early on -- please keep in mind how early on it is -- that could actually matter.

Emanuel Clase gave up a run, but it was unearned in Cleveland’s 4-2 win over the White Sox that saw Clase pick up his third save. Nick Wittgren pitched the seventh, James Karinchak pitched the eighth with Clase finishing the ninth. The former Texas prospect now has a 0.00 ERA in his 5 1/3 innings, and he’s fanned seven.

Among those also picking up saves on Thursday: Craig Stammen and Scott Barlow; while Dylan Floro blew a chance at a save against the Braves.

Editor’s Note: Don’t forget to download the NBC Sports EDGE app to receive real-time player news and updates. Plus, it allows you to easily track your favorite players. Get it here!

Friday’s Matchup of the Day

Walker Buehler (LAD) vs. Ryan Weathers (SD)

It’s hard to not pick Jacob deGrom pitching against anyone, but Chi Chi Gonzalez doesn’t exactly excite in this duel, so let’s go with the matchup for what looks like the two best teams in the National League. Buehler has been excellent thus far, but Weather is the most intriguing hurler -- with due respect to Buehler -- because he’s making his first MLB start against inarguably the best team in baseball. Worth watching, especially with that Fernando guy back in the lineup.

American League Quick Hits: Cavan Biggio left Thursday’s loss to the Royals with pain in his right hand. His status will be updated on Friday. … Vladimir Guerrero Jr. went 3-for-5 with a solo homer on Thursday in the Blue Jays' loss to the Royals … Blue Jays placed RHP Jordan Romano on the 10-day injured list with right ulnar neuritis. … Chad Pinder (knee) is close to resuming baseball activities. … A.J. Puk (biceps) has begun throwing from 90 feet away. ... Blue Jays placed RHP Ross Stripling on the 10-day injured list with a right forearm strain. … Twins optioned RHP Shaun Anderson to their alternate training site. The Twins will recall Lewis Thorpe to start on Friday to take Anderson’s roster spot. … Tigers placed OF Nomar Mazara on the 10-day injured list with a left abdominal strain. … Royals manager Mike Matheny said Thursday that Adalberto Mondesi (oblique) is "starting to do more movements”. … White Sox designated OF Nick Williams for assignment. It was necessitated after Tim Anderson was activated from the 10-day injured list.

National League Quick Hits: Patrick Corbin was obliterated for a career-high 10 runs (nine earned) on Thursday in a loss to the Diamondbacks. … Gavin Lux was scratched from the lineup on Thursday against the Rockies with a sore right wrist. … Giants placed RHP Johnny Cueto on the 10-day disabled list with a Grade 1 lat strain. … Cardinals purchased the contract of OF Scott Hurst. … Daniel Castano will start against the Giants on Friday for the Marlins. … Joey Lucchesi is scheduled to make his first start of the season Friday at Colorado. … Wil Myers (knee) remains out of the Padres' starting lineup Thursday against the Pirates.