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You’d think that by now we have run out of superlatives to describe the season that Shohei Ohtani is having. Or perhaps, he would go a couple of days without accomplishing something that hasn’t been done in the history of Major League Baseball. Today isn’t one of those days.
On Sunday, Major League Baseball announced the pitchers and the reserves for the upcoming All-Star Game at Coors Field in Colorado on July 13. We had already known that Ohtani would be at the game, as he was voted in by the fans as the starting designated hitter for the American League. We also knew that he’d be putting his prolific power on display in the Home Run Derby the night before. What we didn’t know -- at least until Sunday -- is that he’d also be representing the American League as a pitcher.
That’s right -- Ohtani was named to the All-Star Game for the second time on Sunday -- this time as a pitcher. While the fans voted him in the first time around, it’s the players who selected him this time. In doing so, he became the first player in big league history to be selected to an All-Star team both as a position player and as a pitcher.
To celebrate the historic accomplishment, Ohtani did what he does best on Sunday, crush a baseball. He launched a majestic 459-foot solo shot off of Thomas Eshelman to increase his league-leading home run total to 31 on the season. He’s now hitting an absurd .278/.366/.704 with 67 RBI and 60 runs scored and 12 stolen bases to go along with the aforementioned 31 long balls.
Oh, and he has been certainly deserving of the All-Star Game nod on the mound as well. There, he sports a 3.60 ERA, 1.27 WHIP and 83/35 K/BB ratio across 60 innings in his 12 starts -- numbers that looked much better overall before the beating that he took against the Yankees his last time out.
Angels skipper Joe Maddon has already said that he’s open to Ohtani pitching in the Midsummer Classic. He’ll make his final start of the first half of the season on Tuesday against the Red Sox, so he’ll be well-rested for what will likely be an inning of work.
Here’s how the full rosters shake out for the All-Star Game:
American League Starters
C - Salvador Perez
2B - Marcus Semien
SS - Xander Bogaerts
3B - Rafael Devers
DH - Shohei Ohtani
American League Pitchers and Reserves
C - Mike Zunino
2B - Jose Altuve
3B - Jose Ramirez
National League Starters
C - Buster Posey
1B - Freddie Freeman
2B - Adam Frazier
SS - Fernando Tatis Jr.
3B - Nolan Arenado
National League Pitchers and Reserves
C - J.T. Realmuto
1B - Max Muncy
Starting Pitchers with an EDGE
Anthony DeSclafani - 8 2/3 IP, 2 ER, 6 H, 2 BB, 7 K
30% CSW, 16 swinging strikes
The 31-year-old right-hander didn’t allow a run until the seventh inning and came within one out of throwing his third complete game of the season. He has been an unbelievable addition to the Giants rotation (and for fantasy managers) this season, registering a 2.84 ERA, 1.02 WHIP and 93/28 K/BB ratio across 101 2/3 innings on the season.
Nick Pivetta - 7 IP, 0 ER, 2 H, 2 BB, 10 K
30% CSW, 12 swinging strikes
In an old-fashioned pitcher’s duel in Oakland, it was Pivetta who got the best of James Kaprielian in this one. In his finest start since joining the Red Sox, the 28-year-old hurler got at least two whiffs on each of his four offerings in this one and kept the A’s hitters off-balance all afternoon. He now sits at 7-3 on the season with a 4.09 ERA, 1.27 WHIP and 109/42 K/BB ratio over 92 1/3 innings. Though he was an afterthought in the final rounds of many fantasy drafts in March, Pivetta has proven to be mixed league viable this season.
James Kaprielian - 7 IP, 1 ER, 5 H, 1 BB, 10 K
37% CSW, 20 swinging strikes
On the other side of the Pivetta matchup, Kaprielian delivered an outstanding performance as well in a tough-luck loss. He generated a whopping 20 swinging strikes in this one -- 17 of those on his fastball. The 27-year-old has been outstanding through his first 10 big league starts, compiling a 2.84 ERA, 1.07 WHIP and 62/20 K/BB ratio across 57 frames.
Kenta Maeda - 6 IP, 0 ER, 2 H, 1 BB, 10 K
30% CSW, 18 swinging strikes
Now THIS is the Kenta Maeda that we all came to know and love during his dominant first season with the Twins in 2020. Now seemingly fully healthy, the 33-year-old hurler delivered his finest start of the year, racking up a season-high 10 strikeouts in a dominant victory. Of those swinging strikes, he got seven each on his splitter and slider in this one. He still owns a disappointing 5.03 ERA and 1.45 WHIP on the season, but this start was extremely encouraging for his outlook the remainder of the season.
German Marquez - 6 IP, 2 ER, 5 H, 1 BB, 11 K
40% CSW, 20 swinging strikes
Marquez somehow continues to dominate at Coors Field. On Sunday, he tallied a season-high 11 strikeouts in a no-decision against the Cardinals, allowing only a two-run homer to Harrison Bader in the second inning. The first-time All-Star has allowed just three total runs over his last 29 innings of work, lowering his ERA to 3.59 in the process.
Hitters with an EDGE
Manny Machado - 2-for-2, 2 HR, 3 BB, 5 RBI, 3 R
Machado had an offensive explosion in Sunday’s lopsided victory over the Phillies, reaching base safely in each of his five plate appearances. He got the Padres on the board with a two-run blast off of Vince Velasquez in the opening inning, then victimized him again for a three-run shot in the third. He’s now hitting .264/.346/.482 with 15 long balls, 57 RBI and nine stolen bases on the season.
Adam Duvall - 3-for-4, HR, 4 RBI, 1 R
Duvall had another big night in an extra-inning loss to the Braves, crushing his 19th home run of the season. After getting the Marlins on the board with a sacrifice fly in the fourth inning, he blasted a go-ahead three-run shot in the sixth, but it wouldn’t be enough for the Marlins. Duvall remains a liability in batting average, but he looks to be one of the most consistent power sources in the National League, slashing .230/.277/.490 with 19 long balls, 60 RBI and five stolen bases.
Harrison Bader - 2-for-4, HR, 2 RBI, R, SB
For fantasy managers that held onto Harrison Bader through his stint on the injured list -- or scooped him up on the cheap in advance of his return -- the returns in his first few games back were glorious. After blasting a grand slam in Saturday’s victory, he added a combo meal with a homer and a steal in a losing effort against the Rockies on Sunday. His two-run blast off of German Marquez was the extent of the Cardinals offense in that one. He’s now hitting .225/.300/.449 with six long balls and four stolen bases in just 89 at-bats.
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EDGE Priority Pickup
Akil Baddoo, OF, Detroit Tigers -- Available in 73% of Yahoo fantasy leagues.
Given the overall scarcity of stolen bases in the fantasy baseball landscape, it’s pretty absurd that Akil Baddoo is still only 27% owned in Yahoo leagues. The Rule-5 pick burst onto the scene in April, only to fall out of grace with fantasy managers after pitchers seemed to adjust to him. If you haven’t been watching many Tigers games though, he has been thriving in recent weeks. Baddoo -- who is now functioning as the team’s leadoff hitter -- went 2-for-4 with a two-run double and a stolen base in Sunday’s victory over the White Sox. Over his last 20 games he’s hitting .362 (25-for-69) with 12 runs scored, five RBI and six swipes.
Richard Rodriguez vs. Brewers
1 IP, 0 ER, 1 H, 0 BB, 0 K (11th Save)
While the Pirates haven’t gotten him many leads to protect, Rodriguez has been one of the better closers in the league this season. He now boasts a 2.51 ERA, 0.80 WHIP and 27/3 K/BB ratio over 32 1/3 innings on the season. Ultimately, his fantasy value for the remainder of the season will depend on where he’s dealt to before the trade deadline, as he loses most of his luster if he doesn’t wind up in the closer’s role -- but could gain big if he winds up in the ninth inning for a contender.
Amir Garrett vs. Cubs
2/3 IP, 0 ER, 1 H, 1 BB, 0 K (6th save)
The Reds closer carousel landed on Garrett again on Sunday afternoon -- most likely because Heath Hembree had worked (and converted saves) in each of the previous two contests. Garrett wasn’t great in this one -- as he allowed a four-pitch walk to Ian Happ and a single to Eric Sogard to start his day, but got Wilson Contreras to ground into a game-ending double play to seal the one-run victory. Continue to mine for saves in Cincinnati at your own risk.
Jose Cisnero vs. White Sox
1/3 IP, 0 ER, 0 H, 0 BB, 0 K (4th save)
Gregory Soto has seemingly been functioning as the primary closer since Michael Fulmer landed back on the injured list -- and it was Soto who started the ninth inning in this one with a four-run lead to protect. He got the first two outs in the inning, but wound up giving up three runs on three hits and a walk, ultimately forcing manager A.J. Hinch to call upon Cisnero. He obliged, needing just one pitch to get Andrew Vaughn to line out to right field to end the ballgame. Given how well he has performed, expect Cisnero to continue to split save chances with Soto depending on matchups while Fulmer is sidelined.
Brooks Raley vs. Indians
1 IP, 0 ER, 0 H, 0 BB, 1 K (2nd save)
With Ryan Pressly unavailable in this one, the Astros turned to Raley with a one-run lead to protect in the 10th inning. He needed just nine pitches to navigate the frame, getting Roberto Perez to hit into a double play and Oscar Mercado to strike out to end the game. Pressly is still locked into the closer’s role here, so don’t expect Raley to contribute much more in the category the remainder of the season.
Aroldis Chapman vs. Mets
0 IP, 3 ER, 1 H, 1 BB, 1 HBP, 0 K (4th blown save)
Chapman once again melted down in spectacular fashion in the first game of Sunday’s doubleheader against the Mets, giving up three runs without recording an out. He started by allowing a leadoff game-tying homer to Pete Alonso before beaning Michael Conforto and walking Jeff McNeil. He was then yanked and both inherited runners came around to score. Chapman owned an unbelievable 0.39 ERA on June 6. Since that day, he has allowed 14 runs on 14 hits and nine walks in just 5 2/3 innings -- causing his ERA to balloon to 4.71 and his WHIP to 1.43. It wouldn’t be surprising to see him wind up on the injured list on Monday -- even if it’s just to give him an extended breather and allow him to work on his mechanics. He’s clearly broken right now.
Chad Green vs. Mets
3 IP, 0 ER, 0 H, 0 BB, 6 K (3rd win)
In stark contrast to Chapman’s day in the first game of the doubleheader, Chad Green was electric in the second game. He took over in the fourth inning with the Yankees leading 3-2 and went on to retire all nine hitters that he faced in order -- six of them via the strikeout. In fact, his final frame was an immaculate inning. The official scorer credited him with the victory instead of a save in this one, as Nestor Cortes didn’t work deep enough to qualify for the win and Darren O’Day was ineffective in his 2/3 of an inning. If Chapman does wind up with a phantom stint on the injured list, or is simply removed from the role for a short time, Green looks more than capable of filling in -- at least until Zack Britton returns.
Tyler Rogers vs. Diamondbacks
1/3 IP, 0 ER, 0 H, 1 BB, 0 K (10th save)
On a night where it didn’t look like he’d be needed, Rogers was summoned to get the final out after Anthony DeSclafani allowed his second run of the game with two outs in the ninth inning. Rogers issued an 11-pitch walk to Pavin Smith to bring the tying run to the plate, but ultimately got Josh Reddick on a ground out to end the contest. He owns an unbelievable 1.35 ERA and 0.95 WHIP through 40 innings on the season. He shares save chances with Jake McGee, and isn’t a huge asset in the strikeout category - but there’s plenty of mixed league value to be had here.
Matt Barnes vs. Athletics
1 IP, 0 ER, 1 H, 1 BB, 1 K (19th save)
Barnes didn’t make things easy on himself in this one -- allowing an infield single to Matt Olson to start the inning, then a one-out walk to Jed Lowrie. He battled back though, getting Ramon Laureano to hit into a fielder’s choice and then striking out Seth Brown on three pitches to strand the tying run at third base. Barnes trails only Liam Hendriks (21) in saves among American League hurlers and boasts a terrific 2.68 ERA and 0.86 WHIP through 37 innings on the season.
Kendall Graveman vs. Rangers
1 IP, 0 ER, 0 H, 0 BB, 1 K (8th save)
The ace of the Mariners bullpen, Graveman came on with a three-run lead to protect in the ninth inning of this one and needed just 12 pitches to retire the Rangers in order, including a strikeout of Adolis Garcia. He has been unbelievable this season, compiling a 1.03 ERA, 0.65 WHIP and 24/5 K/BB ratio over 26 1/3 innings. He’s clearly the best bet for saves in the Mariners bullpen.
Yimi Garcia vs. Braves
1 IP, 4 ER, 4 H, 3 BB, 1 K
While it wasn’t technically a blown save for Garcia -- since he entered with a four-run lead to protect in the ninth inning -- it was still an epic implosion. It took three singles, a walk, a double and a sacrifice fly for the Braves to push four runs across to tie the game against him. He then issued two intentional walks before striking out Austin Riley with the bases loaded to end the inning. The Marlins bullpen as a whole hasn’t been very good as of late, and Garcia (despite converting 13 of 16 save chances on the season) now sits with a 3.66 ERA and 1.22 WHIP. Keep an eye on Anthony Bender as he could ultimately usurp the role here.
Monday’s Matchup of the Day
Two of the top starting pitchers in the National League will go head-to-head in Miami on Monday night as the Dodgers look to extend their winning streak to 10 games.
Rogers was named to his first National League All-Star team on Sunday night and is certainly deserving -- registering a 2.14 ERA, 1.04 WHIP and 110/32 K/BB ratio across 92 1/3 innings in 16 starts.
Buehler on the other hand, could be considered an All-Star snub. The 26-year-old has been outstanding this season, going 8-1 with a 2.35 ERA, 0.90 WHIP and 101/22 K/BB mark over 103 1/3 innings in his 16 starts. He has been especially good as of late, going 5-1 with a 1.85 ERA in the month of June.
American League Quick Hits: Anthony Rendon was removed from Sunday’s game against the Orioles due to left hamstring tightness. He’s expected to avoid the injured list and should be considered day-to-day. … Taylor Ward was also pulled from Sunday’s contest with an injury to his right index finger, he’s also listed as day-to-day. … Nelson Cruz was scratched from the Twins lineup due to neck stiffness. … The Royals welcomed Andrew Benintendi back from the injured list on Sunday and optioned Edward Olivares back to Triple-A. … The A’s activated Stephen Piscotty from the IL. … Michael Brantley sat out Sunday’s game due to tightness in his side. … Gio Urshela socked a three-run homer as the Yankees took the nightcap of their doubleheader against the Mets. … Cedric Mullins launched his 15th home run of the season in a losing effort against the Angels. … Chris Flexen struck out five over six innings of one-run baseball in a victory over the Rangers. … Gerrit Cole allowed four runs on six hits and three walks over 3 1/3 innings in a no-decision against the Mets. … Luis Arraez had three hits and scored three times in a victory over the Royals. … Jose Abreu homered and drove in four runs in a loss to the Tigers… Lucas Giolito gave up six runs over five innings in a loss to the Tigers. … Chas McCormick homered and drove in three runs to lead the Astros past the Indians. … Cesar Hernandez smacked his 14th long ball in a losing effort there. … Wander Franco homered and doubled on Sunday, leading the Rays to victory over the Blue Jays.
National League Quick Hits: Buster Posey left Sunday night’s game in the sixth inning with a left thumb contusion. He won’t start on Monday, but could be available off the bench. Consider him day-to-day. … Padres top infield prospect C.J. Abrams will miss the remainder of the 2021 season due to a fractured left tibia and a sprained MCL. He suffered the injuries in a collision with a teammate on June 30. … Bobby Nightengale of USA Today reports that the Mets have expressed interest in acquiring Asdrubal Cabrera from the Diamondbacks. … The Mets activated Jonathan Villar from the 10-day injured list and optioned Albert Almora to Triple-A Syracuse. … The Brewers acquired Kevin Kramer from the Pirates in exchange for Nathan Kirby. … Carlos Martinez exited his start against the Rockies with a bruised right thumb. He’s considered day-to-day. … Wellington Castillo announced his retirement on Sunday. … Both Lucas Sims (elbow) and Tejay Antone (forearm) are expected to be sidelined until late July. … The Cubs activated Nico Hoerner from the injured list. … Jazz Chisholm was held out of Sunday’s game due to a sore ankle. … The Braves optioned Kyle Muller to Triple-A, though he’s expected to return after the All-Star break. … Darin Ruf homered and drove in three runs as the Giants topped the Diamondbacks. … Pete Alonso blasted home runs in both games of Sunday’s doubleheader against the Yankees and now has 15 long balls on the season. … Ronald Acuna slugged his 23rd home run of the season in an extra-inning victory over the Marlins. … Blake Snell was pulled after four scoreless innings against the Phillies. … Tyler Anderson struck out six over seven shutout innings in an impressive victory over the hot-hitting Brewers. … Gavin Lux had three hits and scored twice in a victory over the Nationals. … Joe Ross racked up 11 strikeouts over 6 2/3 innings in a loss to the Dodgers.