Spencer Strider Season Begins on Monday

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The Braves finally made the move that fantasy managers have been clamoring for, announcing on Sunday that Spencer Strider will move to the starting rotation and start on Monday against the Diamondbacks. To make room in the rotation, struggling southpaw Tucker Davidson was optioned to Triple-A.

The mustachioed 23-year-old right-hander was the Braves fourth round selection from the 2020 draft. He has excelled in 11 appearances out of the bullpen this season, registering a terrific 2.22 ERA, 1.03 WHIP and 37/11 K/BB ratio across 24 1/3 innings of work.

The fantasy upside here is enormous – especially in the strikeout department. The only concern, at least initially, will be how deeply he works into games. He has only worked more than two innings twice during the month of May and has thrown more than 25 pitches just once since May 6. That was in his last outing, where he threw 46 pitches over 2 2/3 innings against the Phillies.

For fantasy managers in weekly leagues, the pitch count concerns are muted for the upcoming week, as the volume will be made up by the fact that he draws two starts – with the second coming on Saturday against the Rockies in Colorado. You’re probably looking at a total of around eight or nine innings over the two starts for the week, so it’s highly unlikely that he nabs a victory, but he also should pile up double digit strikeouts.

Going forward though, he should be a viable mixed league arm for the duration of the season. He’ll get plenty of attention in FAAB bidding and on waiver wires on Sunday night in any leagues where he may still be available.

Royce Lewis Arrives - then Departs

The Twins also made a big move that fantasy managers have been clamoring for on Sunday, promoting top prospect Royce Lewis from Triple-A St. Paul and demoting Juan Miranda back to Triple-A. Lewis got the start in center field on Sunday against the Royals and the expectation was that he’s finally here to stay now.

Unfortunately, in the third inning of Sunday’s game, he crashed hard into the center field wall while making an outstanding catch. He was seen wincing on the ground momentarily, but was able to get up and finish out the inning in the outfield. He was replaced by Nick Gordon the following frame though.

He was diagnosed with a bone bruise in his right knee, which is actually an encouraging diagnosis given how bad the injury looked on the field. The Twins plan to wait until the swelling goes down before evaluating him further. Unfortunately, they have a doubleheader to play on Monday and simply can’t tie up that roster spot with someone that they can’t use, so Lewis will be placed on the 10-day injured list prior to the first game.

While it’s going to lower the enthusiasm a bit on his call-up, I still believe that Lewis is here to stay. A couple of weeks stationed on the injured list isn’t going to change that. The 22-year-old is a potential five-category contributor and is hitting .300/.317/.550 with a pair of homers and five RBI in his first 41 plate appearances at the big league level.

Starting Pitchers with an EDGE

Tyler Mahle - 6 2/3 IP, 0 ER, 1 H, 3 BB, 8 K, 36% CSW, 19 swinging strikes

Mahle delivered a rare gem at home during Sunday morning’s showdown against the Giants, racking up eight strikeouts over 6 2/3 innings. He carried a bid for a no-hitter into the seventh inning until Thairo Estrada’s two-out double spoiled the fun. Mahle generated 19 swinging strikes in the game – six each on his fastball, splitter and slider, and one on his cutter. Unfortunately for fantasy managers, the Reds bullpen was unable to protect Mahle’s lead so he didn’t even earn a victory for all of his hard work.

Shane McClanahan - 6 IP, 1 ER, 7 H, 0 BB, 7 K, 34% CSW, 17 swinging strikes

The Rays 25-year-old ace delivered another outstanding start in a victory over the Yankees on Sunday afternoon, allowing just one run – a solo homer to Gleyber Torres – over six strong innings. He got 17 swinging strikes in the contest – nine of those on his heater – while registering a CSW of 34 percent. He sports a tremendous 2.01 ERA, 0.91 WHIP and 81/12 K/BB ratio over 58 1/3 innings on the season.

Corbin Burnes - 7 IP, 0 ER, 2 H, 1 BB, 11 K, 39% CSW, 16 swinging strikes

Burnes was in Cy Young form in this one, dominating the Cardinals from start to finish. He generated 16 swinging strikes in the contest – seven on his cutter and six on his slider – while posting an absolutely elite CSW of 39 percent. He’s just 3-2 on the season, but Burnes boasts a spectacular 1.95 ERA, 0.82 WHIP and 78/11 K/BB ratio over 64 2/3 innings through his first 10 starts of the 2022 campaign.

Hitters with an EDGE

Shohei Ohtani - 2-for-3, 2 HR (11), 3 RBI, 2 R, BB

Ohtani tallied his third multi-homer game of the season in a wild 11-10 loss to the Blue Jays. He crushed a 413-foot blast on the seventh pitch of his at-bat against José Berríos in the opening inning. He then demolished a 425-foot two-run shot off of Berrios in the third inning that trimmed their deficit to 6-4. On the season, the two-way superstar and reigning American League MVP is now hitting .249/.325/.470 to go along with 11 homers, 32 RBI and seven stolen bases.

Marcell Ozuna - 2-for-4, 2 HR (10), 2 RBI, 2 R

Ozuna got the Braves on the board in the first inning of this one with a 413-foot blast off of Marlins right-hander Elieser Hernandez. He victimized him again his next time up in the third, clobbering a mammoth 458-foot drive over the wall in center to extend the Braves lead to 4-1. With the two-hit attack he’s now hitting .228/.269/.418 with 10 long balls and 22 RBI on the season.

Jorge Soler - 2-for-3, 2 HR (11), 3 RBI, 2 R, BB

Jorge Soler had quite the afternoon in a losing effort against his former club on Sunday, crushing a pair of home runs and driving in three. He hit a solo shot off of Max Fried in the first inning and a two-run blast off of Jackson Stephens in the seventh – accounting for the entirety of the Marlins offense. He has been on a bit of a tear as of late, hitting .296 (16-for-54) with seven homers and 13 RBI over his last 14 games.

EDGE Priority Pickup

Evan Longoria, 3B, San Francisco Giants – Available in 96% of Yahoo fantasy leagues.

With so many prominent third baseman around the league hitting the injured list lately, it’s a bit surprising to see that Longoria is rostered in only four percent of all Yahoo leagues. Four. That’s the same number of dingers that Longoria hit this past week – including one in each of his last two ball games. He has been hitting the ball extremely hard when he’s been in the lineup over the past two seasons, and is always a major threat against left-handed pitching. As long as he’s healthy, he’s worthy of a lineup spot in most mixed leagues.

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Closing Time

Gregory Soto vs. Guardians - 1 IP, 0 ER, 1 H, 0 BB, 1 K (8th save)

Soto worked around a two-out single from Owen Miller to slam the door on the Guardians and protect a one-run lead on Sunday afternoon. He continues to struggle with walks, though when he’s throwing strikes he’s extremely difficult for opposing offenses to hit. On the season, he boasts a 2.30 ERA and 1.28 WHIP to go along with his eight saves. His role continues to look secure.

J.P. Feyereisen vs. Yankees - 1 IP, 0 ER, 0 H, 0 BB, 0 K (1st save)

The Rays closer carousel continues to spin around, with Feyereisen notching his first save of the season in a two-run victory over the Yankees. He became the sixth member of the Rays bullpen to record a save this season while none of those options has more than five. This will continue to be a committee approach – especially while Andrew Kittredge is sidelined – and can be maddening to speculate on from a fantasy perspective.

Tanner Rainey vs. Rockies - 1 2/3 IP, 0 ER, 0 H, 0 BB, 3 K (5th save)

Save chances for Rainey continue to be few and far between, but he got the job done again on Sunday. This time he came in with two men on and one out in the eighth inning and struck out Elias Diaz and Charlie Blackmon to end the threat. He then returned for the ninth and retired the heart of the Rockies lineup in order to preserve the one-run victory. On the season he holds a 2.35 ERA, 1.11 WHIP and 18/5 K/BB ratio over 15 1/3 innings while converting five of his first seven save chances.

Ryan Pressly vs. Mariners - 1 IP, 0 ER, 1 H, 2 BB, 1 K (8th save)

Ryan Pressly walked the tightrope in the ninth inning on Sunday, loading the bases with one out in a one-run game against the Mariners. He wiggled his way off the hook though by getting Luis Torrens to ground into a game-ending double play. He hasn’t been as sharp as expected this season, posting a 2.45 ERA, 1.27 WHIP and 9/4 K/BB ratio over his first 11 innings of work.

Dany Jiménez vs. Rangers - 1 IP, 1 ER, 0 H, 1 BB, 0 K (2nd win)

Dany Jiménez managed to blow his first save of the season on Sunday without allowing a hit in the ninth inning. He did so by issuing a one-out walk to Marcus Semien. Semien then swiped second base, advanced to third on a ground ball and then scampered home on a wild pitch to tie the game. Jimenez then earned himself a victory after the A’s scored in the bottom of the inning. The 28-year-old hurler owns a terrific 2.25 ERA, 1.05 WHIP and 21/8 K/BB ratio across 20 innings on the season. He has converted 10 of his first 11 save opportunities.

Monday’s Matchup of the Day

Spencer Strider (ATL) vs. Zac Gallen (ARI)

With a couple of doubleheaders on the schedule, we’re now up to 13 total games spread across the day on Memorial Day. The jewel of the slate though is the matchup in Arizona in the evening.

Spencer Strider finally makes his first start with the Braves, and while he may be limited to only four innings or so, those innings should be electric against a Diamondbacks lineup that doesn’t offer much in the way of resistance.

On the other side, Zac Gallen has been tremendous through his first eight starts of the season, registering a 2.22 ERA, 0.83 WHIP and 43/10 K/BB ratio over 44 2/3 innings. He gets a tougher matchup against a powerful Braves lineup, but runs scored are definitely going to be at a premium in this one.

American League Quick Hits: Yoan Moncada was held out of the White Sox lineup for a third consecutive game due to lingering quad soreness. … Lance Lynn (knee) started a minor league rehab assignment with Triple-A Charlotte on Sunday… Miguel Cabrera was held out of the Tigers lineup due to back tightness. … White Sox skipper Tony La Russa told reporters that Luis Robert (COVID-19 IL) has made significant improvement and will travel with the team to Toronto. … Eloy Jimenez felt a tug in his hamstring while running on Saturday and will dial things back for a day or two. … Kyle Tucker was held out of the Astros lineup on Sunday with a sore foot. … Vladimir Guerrero Jr. sat out on Sunday due to some soreness in his left wrist. He’s considered day-to-day. … Elvin Rodriguez left his start against the Guardians due to lower body cramping. … Tim Anderson was pulled from Sunday’s battle against the Cubs with a right groin strain. He’ll undergo additional testing on Monday to determine the severity of the injury, but he’s heading to the injured list. … Robbie Grossman was lifted from Sunday’s game against the Guardians due to neck spasms. He’s considered day-to-day. … Sonny Gray was pulled from his start against the Royals after six shutout innings due to right pectoral soreness. … Teoscar Hernández and Danny Jansen were held out of the Jays starting lineup on Sunday due to minor hip issues.

Jeimer Candelario belted his fifth home run as the Tigers topped the Guardians. … Triston McKenzie struck out eight over 7 2/3 innings of two-run ball in a losing effort. … Aaron Judge crushed his league-leading 18th home run in a losing effort against the Rays. … Nick Pivetta hurled six innings of one-run ball to beat the Orioles. … Franchy Cordero homered and drove in three for the Red Sox. … Trevor Larnach went 3-for-4 with a homer and a double as the Twins beat the Royals. … Dylan Cease did not allow an earned run over seven innings in a no-decision against the Cubs. … Brad Miller went 2-for-2 and smacked his seventh homer of the season, but left Sunday’s game due to right hip tightness. … Luis Garcia carried a no-hit bid into the sixth inning in a tough-luck no-decision against the Mariners. … Jeremy Pena slugged his eighth homer of the season in that victory. … Taylor Ward homered, doubled and drove in three runs as the Angels fell to the Blue Jays.

National League Quick Hits: Manny Machado was held out of the Padres lineup again on Sunday with a sore elbow. He’s expected to return on Monday. … Mike Minor (shoulder) is expected to make his Reds debut on Sunday against the Nationals. … Nick Lodolo (back) is scheduled to throw a bullpen session in a few days. … Jake Fraley’s minor league rehab assignment was put on hold as he battles a toe injury. … Jesus Luzardo (forearm) has still yet to resume throwing. … Jazz Chisholm (hamstring) finally returned to the Marlins starting lineup on Sunday after missing a week’s worth of games. … Jeff Passan of ESPN reported that the Brewers plan to recall Ethan Small from Triple-A Nashville to start one game of Monday’s doubleheader against the Cubs. … The Cubs placed Wade Miley on the 15-day IL with a shoulder strain. … Harrison Bader sat out Sunday’s contest due to illness. … The Mets acquired J.T. Riddle from the Reds for cash considerations. … The Pirates placed Ben Gamel on the 10-day IL with a strained hamstring. … Kyle Freeland was lifted from his start against the Nationals with a left ankle injury. X-rays came back negative. … Jeff McNeil was held out of the Mets lineup due to “wear and tear” on his legs. … Tylor Megill (biceps) expects to start throwing bullpens in the next couple of days. … Wil Myers was held out of the Padres' lineup Sunday due to right knee inflammation. …Matt Swarmer will make his MLB debut against the Brewers on Monday. … Drew Smith suffered a dislocated pinkie finger after being hit by a comebacker. He’s listed as day-to-day. … Oneil Cruz was pulled from his game at Triple-A Indianapolis due to a minor ankle injury.

Alex Cobb fanned eight over six innings of two-run baseball in a no-decision against the Reds. … Victor Robles singled twice and swiped a pair of bases as the Nationals defeated the Rockies. … Juan Soto smacked his ninth homer in that victory. … Omar Narvaez went 3-for-3 with a double, triple and three runs scored in a win over the Cardinals. … Marcus Stroman fired seven shutout innings in a no-decision against the White Sox. … Tyler Anderson struck out six over six scoreless innings against the Diamondbacks to improve to 6-0 on the season. … MacKenzie Gore fanned nine over seven shutout frames in a tough-luck no-decision against the Pirates. … Trent Grisham crushed a walk-off two-run homer to win that one in the 10th for the Padres. … Nick Plummer smacked a game-tying solo homer off of Corey Knebel in the ninth inning as the Mets rallied to beat the Phillies. … Nick Castellanos socked a go-ahead three-run homer for the Phillies in the eighth inning of that one.