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As we flip the calendar to August, teams are making their final pushes with the trade deadline days away. Multiple playoff contenders are bound to improve, but there might not be a more significant “addition” than the return of Mets ace Jacob deGrom.
Fantasy managers who have waited patiently for deGrom's return are finally set to be rewarded, with the flamethrower's imminent return to the Mets on Tuesday. His rehab assignment included four starts, spanning almost an entire month due to a small shoulder setback. DeGrom is stretched out to four innings, with his most recent start for Syracuse on Wednesday.
As for the results during his rehab tour, they've been mixed. DeGrom posted a sparkling 21/4 K/BB in 12.2 innings against minor league hitters, but his most recent outing was shaky with four runs allowed and three walks in four innings.
Of course, deGrom's pure stuff and health seem more significant than the results, with the Mets finally thinking like a team that will be playing in October. The result will likely be limited innings and pitch counts as New York tries to keep him off the injured list. Obviously, there's only so much the team can do for a pitcher who has suffered multiple arm injuries over the last two years and last reached 200 innings in 2019.
For the likely investment in March and early April drafts, deGrom will finish 2022 as a disappointment for fantasy managers in almost any case. Still, he has a chance to make up for lost time and vault fantasy teams up the standings with the hope of about 10 regular season starts remaining.
-DeGrom is the most significant pitcher returning from injury next week, but he's certainly not the only one. Fantasy managers scouring the waiver wire might find potential in the likes of Rich Hill, Matt Manning, and Jesus Luzardo returning from injury, with Dustin May just behind them in mid-August. Like deGrom, we must temper expectations with starting pitchers who are still building up their workloads and trying to finish the year healthy, but these pitchers are viable options in a year when starting pitching is seemingly as thin as ever.
-What an interesting ride it's been for Brady Singer in 2022. He began the regular season in the Royals bullpen for some reason, and then was even demoted to Triple-A. Singer's demotion tried the patience of fantasy managers, but he's really paid off. The former college star has a 3.31 ERA after tossing seven scoreless innings at Yankee Stadium on Thursday. He's looked like the true ace many envisioned over his last two outings, with 22/3 K/BB in 13 innings, perhaps showing a boost as a result of extra rest from the All-Star break. He has a somewhat difficult two-start slate against the White Sox and Boston, but has quickly become a must-start.
-It's a two-start bonanza next week if you're looking to catch up on innings, as more than half the league is scheduled to play seven-plus games. Do keep in mind that many two-start schedules will be ruined by Tuesday's trade deadline and the resulting starting rotation changes, but for the most part, you should have ample options to help make up ground in pitching categories.
Note: Probable pitchers as of Friday, July 29, and are subject to change.
Kevin Gausman: @TB, @MIN
Tarik Skubal: @MIN, TB
Jon Gray: BAL, CHW
Triston McKenzie: ARI, HOU
Drew Rasmussen: TOR, @DET
Luis Garcia: BOS, @CLE
Michael Kopech: KC, @TEX
Brady Singer: @CHW, BOS
Nathan Eovaldi: @HOU, @KC
Noah Syndergaard: OAK, @SEA
Lucas Giolito: KC, @TEX
Marco Gonzales: @NYY, LAA
Cal Quantrill: ARI, HOU
At Your Own Risk
Brad Keller: @CHW, BOS
Domingo German: SEA, @STL
Chris Archer: DET, TOR
Devin Smeltzer: DET, TOR
Rich Hill: @HOU, @KC
Spencer Howard: BAL, CHW
Matt Manning: @MIN, TB
Kyle Bradish: @TEX, PIT
Corbin Burnes: @PIT, CIN
Max Scherzer: @WAS, ATL
Yu Darvish: COL, @LAD
Spencer Strider: PHI, @NYM
Logan Webb: LAD, @OAK
Andrew Heaney: @SF, SD
Tyler Anderson: @SF, SD
Jacob deGrom: @WAS, ATL
Mike Clevinger: COL, @LAD
Adam Wainwright: CHC, NYY
Keegan Thompson: @STL, MIA
Braxton Garrett: CIN, @CHC
Josiah Gray: NYM, @PHI
At Your Own Risk
Kyle Gibson: @ATL, WAS
Antonio Senzatela: @SD, @ARI
Jose Urena: @SD, @ARI
Tyler Gilbert: @CLE, COL
Bryse Wilson: MIL, @BAL
Patrick Corbin: NYM, @PHI
The following pitchers are generally available in over 50 percent of fantasy leagues and have favorable match-ups this week:
Wednesday, August 3: Lance Lynn vs. KC
Lynn damaged many ERAs upon his return from a knee injury, but he's coming off a dominant start vs. Cleveland and has a weak Royals lineup in front of him. KC has already moved Andrew Benintendi, with possibly more hitters to follow, and have a .678 OPS vs. right-handers.
Wednesday, August 3: Yusei Kikuchi @ TB
Kikuchi looks like he's back on track after spending time on the IL with a neck injury, allowing only one run in five innings vs. Detroit on Thursday. The Rays banged up lineup could help him build more momentum, with a .703 OPS against lefties this season.
Thursday, August 4: Janson Junk vs. OAK
Another lost season is giving young Angels like Junk a chance. He cruised against the Royals in his first start, and has shown exemplary control at Triple-A (11 walks in 48.2 innings). Oakland's lineup presents an easier task, with a .609 OPS against right-handed pitching.
Thursday, August 4: Kyle Freeland @ SD
Freeland has oddly struggled away from Coors Field this season, but he's coming off arguably his best outing of the season, when he threw seven scoreless at Milwaukee. A visit to San Diego is nearly as favorable, with the Padres sporting a .702 OPS against lefties.
Friday, August 5: Drew Smyly vs. MIA
A good real of thumb for spot starters in 2022 is finding left-handers facing the Marlins. Miami has a pitiful .599 against southpaws, and Smyly has been good when healthy. He's coming off back-to-back decent outings.
Friday, August 5: Mitch Keller @ BAL
Keller earned hype in Spring Training, and he's finally starting to deliver on it with a 2.88 ERA and 25/3 K/BB in 25 innings over his last four starts. The recent trends show a pitcher who is using more offspeed stuff, and there's hope the success continues against an O's lineup with a .693 OPS against right-handers.
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6: BAL, NYY, TB, TOR
7: BOS, CLE, CHW, DET, HOU, KC, LAA, MIN, SEA, TEX
6: ARI, CHC, CIN, MIA, MIL, PHI, PIT, SF, STL,
7: ATL, LAD, WAS
8: COL, NYM, SD
Here's some injuries to prominent players from the last week, and other players to watch for in the coming week. You can get a full listing of injured players at NBCSports Edge's Injury Page.
C.J. Abrams: Day-to-day (biceps)
Jo Adell: Day-to-day (arm)
BrIan Anderson: Placed on IL (shoulder)
Daniel Casteno: Out indefinitely (head)
Diego Castillo: Placed on IL (shoulder)
Garrett Cooper: Placed on IL (wrist)
Adam Duvall: Out for the season (wrist)
Rony Garcia: Placed on IL (shoulder)
Luis Gonzalez: Day-to-day (back)
MacKenzie Gore: Placed on IL (elbow)
Joe Kelly: Out indefinitely (biceps)
Max Kepler: Day-to-day (foot)
Steven Matz: Placed on IL (knee)
Francisco Mejía: Placed on IL (shoulder)
Max Meyer: Out for the season (elbow)
Jake Odorizzi: Placed on IL (blister)
Jace Peterson: Placed on IL (elbow)
Jorge Soler: Placed on IL (back)
Giancarlo Stanton: Placed on IL (Achilles)
Tyler Wells: Placed on IL (oblique)
Matt Wisler: Placed on IL (neck)
Bobby Witt Jr.: Day-to-day (hamstring)
Angel Zerpa: Placed on IL (knee)