Vladimir Guerrero Jr. Wins Race to 20 Homers

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Vladimir Guerrero Jr. crushed a two-run homer on Saturday evening in the Blue Jays’ lopsided victory over the Red Sox at historic Fenway Park, becoming the first hitter in the majors to reach the lofty 20-homer plateau this season. The burgeoning 22-year-old superstar didn’t waste any time, clobbering a colossal 439-foot shot to left-center field off righty Nick Pivetta in the opening frame. It was his second consecutive game with a home run and his fourth round-tripper in just 10 games since June 1. It’s still early, but Guerrero Jr. has put himself in position to legitimately chase an ultra-rare Triple Crown and has also established himself as the front-runner for the American League MVP Award this season. He owns a sublime .338/.447/.676 triple-slash line with 47 runs scored, 20 homers, 52 RBI and two stolen bases across 264 plate appearances. He currently leads the majors in home runs, RBI, on-base percentage and slugging percentage; and has shown zero signs of slowing down after a surreal start to the 2021 campaign.

Starting Pitchers with an EDGE

James Kaprielian vs. Royals

6.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 4 BB, 7 K

36% CSW, 12 swinging strikes

Kaprielian authored his strongest performance of the season on Saturday afternoon, limiting the Royals to just six baserunners over six frames, while also recording seven punchouts. The 27-year-old righty has allowed two earned runs or fewer in five of his six starts this season and has shown more than enough to warrant consideration for a roster spot in standard mixed leagues moving forward. He’ll face an extremely tough challenge on Friday in a road tilt against the Yankees.

Marcus Stroman vs. Padres

6.1 IP, 6 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 8 K

36% CSW, 15 swinging strikes

It’s easy to see why Stroman has flown under the radar this season. He’s a ground ball machine who doesn’t boast premium fastball velocity or generate gaudy strikeout totals. Yet, he’s compiled a sparkling 2.32 ERA, 1.08 WHIP and 67/18 K/BB ratio over 77 2/3 innings (14 starts) to open the 2021 campaign. The 30-year-old righty has allowed three earned runs or fewer in 12 of his 14 starts and has posted at least six strikeouts in four of his last five outings. He’ll look to keep the momentum going on Thursday in a home matchup against the Cubs.

Jose Berrios vs. Astros

7.0 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 8 K

30% CSW, 8 swinging strikes

It wasn’t an overpowering effort from Berrios, as evidenced by just six swinging strikes and a 30 percent CSW (called strikes plus whiffs), but he managed to shut down a red-hot Astros’ lineup on Saturday evening. He limited the Astros to just a pair of solo homers over seven frames. It was a solid rebound effort for the 27-year-old righty after he served up four runs over six innings against the Royals in his previous start. He’s in line for an extremely favorable matchup against the Rangers on Friday.

Hitters with an EDGE

Isiah Kiner-Falefa vs. Dodgers

3-for-5, 2 R, 1 RBI, 3 SB

Isiah Kiner-Falefa tallied three hits for the ninth time in 65 games this season and also plated a run with a sacrifice fly in the eighth inning. The 26-year-old shortstop ran wild against righty Trevor Bauer, swiping a career-high three bases over the first three innings of the contest. He's hitting .295/.329/.418 with 37 runs scored, five homers, 25 RBI and 14 stolen bases across 278 plate appearances. On the heels of an epic three-steal effort, he’s just three thefts behind Royals’ speedster Whit Merrifield for the major league-lead this season.

Matt Olson vs. Royals

4-for-5, 1 R, HR, 4 RBI

Olson served as the Athletics’ main offensive catalyst, collecting a season-high four hits in the blowout win over the Royals. The 27-year-old slugger scorched an RBI double off rookie starter Jackson Kowar in the second inning and also tattooed a three-run homer -- his 16th long ball of the season -- off veteran reliever Wade Davis in the eighth inning. He’s gone deep three times in 10 games since June 1.

Anthony Rendon vs. Diamondbacks

2-for-3, 1 R, HR, 4 RBI, BB

Rendon got off to a frosty start at the dish over the first 10 weeks of the 2021 campaign, but appears to be making up for lost time recently. He kick-started the Angels’ epic five-run comeback with a solo shot off lefty Caleb Smith in the fourth inning. It was his first home run since May 3. He also added a two-run double in the fifth inning and a game-tying RBI sacrifice fly in the ninth inning. The 31-year-old veteran third baseman has been a massive disappointment for fantasy managers, but given his extensive track record of elite production, it wouldn’t be shocking to see him go on an extended hot streak over the final three months of the regular season.

Brian Goodwin vs. Tigers

2-for-5, 3 R, HR, 5 RBI, BB

Goodwin spearheaded the White Sox’ 15-run offensive explosion in his season debut on Saturday afternoon, blasting a three-run homer off righty Jose Urena in the second inning. He also had an RBI double and an RBI ground out in the one-sided affair. It’s easy to forget that the 30-year-old outfielder posted a 17-homer, seven-steal campaign with the Angels just two years ago, so he could make an impact for fantasy managers in deeper mixed leagues and AL-only formats moving forward.

Closing Time

Brad Hand vs. Giants

1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 K (11th save)

Hand tossed a perfect seventh inning in the front end of Saturday’s doubleheader against the Giants. He also worked a scoreless frame in the nightcap of the twin-billing to send the contest to an extra frame. The 31-year-old lefty owns a respectable 3.28 ERA, 1.26 WHIP and 25/12 K/BB ratio over 24 2/3 innings this season.

Caleb Baragar vs. Nationals

1.0 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 0 K (1st save)

Baragar was tasked with protecting a two-run lead in the bottom of the eighth inning in the second game of Saturday’s doubleheader against the Nationals and wound up allowing an unearned run to cross the plate, but still managed to pick up his first save of the season. It’s worth noting that lefty Jake McGee struck out the side in a perfect seventh inning to send the contest into extra-innings. Based on recent usage patterns, it looks like McGee is back as the Giants’ primary stopper moving forward.

Hector Neris vs. Yankees

1.0 IP, 1 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 2 K (4th blown save)

Neris served up a game-tying three-run homer to DJ LeMahieu in the top of the ninth inning on Saturday afternoon. The 31-year-old righty has given up a home run in each of his last two appearances, but should remain the Phillies’ primary closer moving forward.

Raisel Iglesias vs. Diamondbacks

1.0 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 2 K (11th save)

Iglesias surrendered a solo homer to Josh Rojas in the ninth inning, but didn’t have much trouble protecting a two-run lead on Saturday afternoon. The 31-year-old righty has given up only two runs over his last eight appearances.

Edwin Diaz vs. Padres

1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1 K (12th save)

Diaz spun a perfect ninth inning on Saturday, guarding a three-run lead to net his 12th save of the season. The 27-year-old righty has been in a groove lately, allowing just one earned run over his last 10 appearances.

Rafael Montero vs. Indians

1.0 IP, 2 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 0 K (6th blown save)

Kendall Graveman allowed a solo homer to Cesar Hernandez in the eighth inning, but Montero melted down in spectacular fashion in the ninth inning, surrendering three runs on a pair of hits and walks. There was a strong possibility that Graveman would take over as the team’s primary closer upon returning from the injured list, and that appears to be even more likely now.

Diego Castillo vs. Orioles

1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 0 K (11th save)

The Rays have been a bit unorthodox with their bullpen usage patterns, especially over the last few weeks, but when the chips are down, they’re typically gone to Castillo. He won’t receive every single save chance in Tampa Bay, but he’s their primary closer moving forward. It was an encouraging sign to see him bounce-back after an ugly blown save against the Nationals earlier this week.

Dylan Floro vs. Braves

1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 0 K (2nd save)

With Yimi Garcia likely unavailable after closing out Friday’s victory, it was Floro who put the finishing touches on Saturday’s narrow victory over the Braves.

Josh Hader vs. Pirates

1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 0 K (16th save)

Save chances don’t get much easier than this for Hader, who needed just 10 pitches to slam the door on the Pirates, protecting a three-run lead in the ninth inning. The 27-year-old lefty hasn’t given up a run since May 16.

Craig Kimbrel vs. Cardinals

0.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 0 K (17th save)

Kimbrel was called upon to record the final out of the Cubs’ five-run victory over the Cardinals on Saturday night, retiring Edmundo Sosa with the bases loaded in the ninth inning to pick up a save. It wasn’t an easy situation to enter, but it was one of the easiest saves he’ll collect all year.

Taylor Rogers vs. Astros

1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 K (6th save)

The Twins’ closer hierarchy has been nearly impossible to figure out, but it appears that Rogers and righty Hansel Robles will continue to split save chances moving forward.

Joakim Soria vs. Angels

1.0 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 0 BB, 0 K (1st blown save)

Yikes. Soria was tasked with protecting a one-run lead in the ninth inning on Saturday afternoon and wound up surrendering three runs on four hits in a disastrous frame. There haven’t been a ton of save chances in Arizona and given his performance in this one, it wouldn’t be surprising to see manager Torey Lovullo turn to someone else next time.

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EDGE Priority Pickup

Tony Santillan, SP, Reds

Santillan is slated to make his major-league debut on Sunday afternoon against the Rockies in Cincinnati. The 24-year-old righty has compiled a sparkling 2.51 ERA, 1.08 WHIP and 45/12 K/BB ratio over 32 1/3 innings (six starts) at Triple-A Louisville this season. It's an extremely tasty matchup for streaming purposes, since the Rockies boast a league-worst .568 OPS on the road this season, so fantasy managers in deeper mixed leagues should strongly consider rolling the dice this weekend.

Sunday’s Matchup of the Day

Patrick Sandoval (0-2, 3.62 ERA) vs. Jon Duplantier (0-2, 10.03 ERA) - 4:10 PM ET

Sandoval is quickly evolving into one of the most intriguing starting pitchers in the entire fantasy landscape. The 24-year-old lefty recorded 10 strikeouts, induced an eye-popping 32 swinging strikes -- the highest single-start total by any pitcher in baseball this season -- and finished with an elite 40 percent CSW (called strikes plus whiffs) in his previous outing against the Mariners last weekend. The Diamondbacks have been surprisingly competent versus left-handed pitching, so it’ll be fascinating to see if Sandoval can deliver another masterpiece on Sunday afternoon.

American League Quick Hits: Luis Severino was diagnosed with a right groin injury after leaving his rehab start on Saturday for High-A Hudson Valley … Xander Bogaerts (knee) remained absent from the Red Sox' lineup for Saturday's game against the Blue Jays … Yankees activated Zack Britton from the 10-day injured list … DJ LeMahieu walloped a game-tying three-run homer in the ninth inning of the Yankees’ eventual loss to the Phillies in extra-innings … Matt Chapman went 3-for-5 with a solo homer and three RBI in the Athletics’ lopsided win over the Royals … Adolis Garcia went 2-for-5 with two RBI and Nate Lowe went 3-for-5 with a two-run homer and three RBI in the Rangers’ blowout victory over the Dodgers … Bo Bichette, Marcus Semien and Cavan Biggio homered in the Blue Jays’ win over the Red Sox … Tim Anderson went 3-for-5 with three runs scored and two RBI in the White Sox’ blowout win over the Tigers … Jorge Polanco went 3-for-4 with a two-run homer and three RBI in the Twins’ victory over the Astros … Kevin Kiermaier went 3-for-4 with an RBI and a stolen base in the Rays’ victory over the Orioles … Kelvin Gutierrez crushed a two-run homer in the Royals’ loss to the Athletics … Cesar Hernandez smashed a solo homer in the Indians’ comeback win over the Mariners … Cedric Mullins went 2-for-4 with a stolen base in the Orioles’ loss to the Rays … Dylan Moore went 2-for-4 with a solo homer, two RBI and a stolen base in the Mariners’ loss to the Indians … Kyle Tucker and Robel Garcia went deep in the Astros’ loss to the Twins … Steven Matz whiffed eight batters over 5 2/3 innings of one-run ball in a win over the Red Sox … Yusei Kikuchi posted six strikeouts over seven scoreless innings in a no-decision against the Indians … Dylan Cease recorded seven strikeouts over five innings in a win over the Tigers … Kolby Allard fired five scoreless innings on Saturday in a win over the Dodgers … Luis Garcia surrendered four runs (three earned) over 4 1/3 innings in a loss to the Twins … Rich Hill coughed up four runs over 4 2/3 innings in a no-decision against the Orioles … Nick Pivetta was crushed for six runs over five innings in a loss to the Blue Jays … Alex Cobb surrendered five runs over three innings in a no-decision against the Diamondbacks … Jameson Taillon was lit up for four runs and recorded only one out in a no-decision against the Phillies … Jackson Kowar surrendered five runs over 1 1/3 innings in a loss to the Athletics … Jorge Lopez tallied eight strikeouts over 4 2/3 innings in a loss to the Rays … Jose Urena was obliterated for eight runs (seven earned) over 1 2/3 innings in a loss to the White Sox … Triston McKenzie walked four batters and recorded only two outs in a no-decision against the Mariners … Kyle Funkhouser will start for the Tigers on Sunday against the White Sox.

National League Quick Hits: Jacob deGrom (forearm) resumed throwing on Saturday afternoon in the Mets' bullpen at Citi Field. The 32-year-old righty is expected to make his next scheduled start on Wednesday against the Cubs … Dodgers placed Max Muncy on the 10-day injured list with a right oblique strain … Cody Bellinger (hamstring) is expected to return to the Dodgers’ lineup for Sunday’s series finale against the Rangers … Padres activated Trent Grisham from the 10-day injured list … Pirates optioned Mitch Keller to Triple-A Indianapolis … Marlins placed Trevor Rogers on the COVID-19 injured list … Giants activated Mike Yastrzemski from the 10-day injured list … Francisco Lindor blasted a two-run homer in the Mets’ win over the Padres … Fernando Tatis Jr. walloped his 18th round-tripper of the season in the losing effort … Joc Pederson homered for the third consecutive game, while Ian Happ and Sergio Alcantara also went deep in the Cubs’ blowout win over the Cardinals … Kyle Schwarber socked his 10th round-tripper of the season in the Nationals’ win over the Giants in the first game of Saturday’s doubleheader … Christian Yelich went 2-for-3 with three RBI in the Brewers’ win over the Pirates … Bryce Harper went 3-for-5 with two RBI in the Phillies’ win over the Yankees in an extra-inning marathon … Adam Duvall homered and stole a base in the Marlins’ win over the Braves … Tyler Naquin went 3-for-5 with two RBI in the Reds’ lopsided win over the Rockies … Freddie Freeman went 3-for-4 with a two-run homer in the Braves’ loss to the Marlins … Josh Rojas slugged a pair of solo homers in the Diamondbacks’ loss to the Angels … Nolan Arenado and Paul DeJong left the yard in the Cardinals’ loss to the Cubs … Tommy Pham went 3-for-4 with a stolen base in the Padres’ loss to the Mets … Adam Frazier tallied three hits in the Pirates’ loss to the Brewers … Erick Fedde posted seven strikeouts and scattered four hits over five scoreless innings in a win over the Giants … Jose Musgrove recorded seven strikeouts over 6 1/3 innings of three-run ball in a loss to the Mets … Zach Thompson notched six strikeouts over five scoreless innings in a win over the Braves … Corbin Burnes recorded eight strikeouts over four innings in a no-decision against the Pirates … Kyle Hendricks was charged with two runs over six innings in a win over the Cardinals … Wade Miley gave up three runs (two earned) over seven innings in a win over the Rockies … Vince Velasquez allowed two runs over five innings in a no-decision against the Yankees … Caleb Smith allowed five runs over three innings in a no-decision against the Angels … Max Fried surrendered three runs over six innings in a loss to the Marlins … Trevor Bauer was lit up for a season-high six runs (four earned) in a loss to the Rangers … German Marquez was torched for nine runs (eight earned) over five innings in a loss to the Reds … Kevin Gausman allowed two runs over four innings in a loss to the Nationals … Chad Kuhl was shelled for six runs (five earned) over 3 1/3 innings in a loss to the Brewers … John Gant surrendered five runs over 1 1/3 frames in a loss to the Cubs … Nationals placed Daniel Hudson on the 10-day injured list with right elbow inflammation … Aristides Aquino (hand) is expected to be activated from the 10-day injured list on Sunday … Johnny Cueto will start for the Giants on Sunday against the Nationals … Wil Crowe will start for the Pirates on Sunday against the Brewers … Brewers acquired Hunter Strickland from the Angels for cash considerations.