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Eloy Jimenez made a major impact when he debuted with the White Sox in 2019, crushing 31 home runs and driving in 79 runs in only 122 games -- finishing fourth in the American League Rookie of the Year balloting.
He was even better as a 23-year-old during the truncated 2020 campaign, slashing .296/.332/.559 with 14 homers and 41 RBI in 55 games. He was primed to take another major step forward in 2021 and fantasy managers were taking notice. In March NFBC drafts (prior to March 24), Jimenez had an average draft position of 28, putting him at the end of the second round in 15-team leagues.
Then, tragedy struck. Jimenez crashed into the outfield wall as he was attempting to rob Sean Murphy of a home run during a Cactus League game and suffered a torn pectoral muscle. Thoughts and prayers were offered up while some thought that the injury could sideline Jimenez for the entire season. General manager Rick Hahn gave an official timetable of five-to-six months.
Fast-forward to just over four months later, and Jimenez has shown super-human powers in his recovery process. He began a minor league rehab assignment on July 10, and over 45 at-bats he hit .289/.327/.467 with a pair of home runs, four RBI and a 14/3 K/BB ratio.
Now, manager Tony La Russa announced after Sunday’s game that Jimenez is set to be activated from the injured list prior to Monday’s game against the Royals in Kansas City. He should provide a tremendous boost to the middle of the White Sox lineup -- and to fantasy managers -- over the final nine weeks of the regular season.
The White Sox -- who currently sit nine games ahead of the Indians in the American League Central -- have additional reinforcements on the horizon as well. Luis Robert (hip) began a minor league rehab assignment with High-A Winston-Salem on Wednesday and is on track to return in August.
It goes without saying, but if either of these superstar outfielders are available on waivers in shallow mixed leagues, now is the time to pounce.
Padres to Acquire Adam Frazier
Padres general manager A.J. Preller made some noise on Sunday, swinging a deal to acquire All-Star second baseman Adam Frazier from the Pirates in exchange for three prospects.
The Padres didn’t seem like a logical destination for Frazier, as they already have All-Star Jake Cronenworth entrenched at second base, but with Frazier’s ability to play the outfield as well -- and Cronenworth’s ability to move all over the diamond -- they’ll find a way to make it work. Most likely, the odd-man out may wind up being Eric Hosmer who should lose more starts at first base to Cronenworth.
The move certainly strengthens the Padres lineup and bench as a whole, as Frazier has hit a terrific .324/.388/.448 with four homers, 32 RBI and five swipes in 98 games.
Frazier’s fantasy value likely amounts to a wash with this deal. His counting stats should improve with the better surrounding cast, though it’s unlikely that he’ll be penciled in as the team’s leadoff hitter on a nightly basis the way that he was in Pittsburgh.
In return, the Pirates land 21-year-old infielder Tupacita Marcano, 22-year-old outfielder Jake Suwinski and 22-year-old right-hander Michell Miliano.
Marcano is the prize of the deal for the Pirates, as he was the fifth ranked prospect in the Padres organization according to MLB Pipeline. Marcano impressed enough during the spring to break camp with the big league club despite never having played above A-ball. He struggled in 50 plate appearances with the big league club this season, but has hit .272/.367/.444 with six homers, 26 RBI and four swipes in 44 games at Triple-A El Paso this season.
Suwinski was a 15th round selection of the Padres in the 2016 draft. He has had a nice season at Double-A San Antonio in 2021, slashing .269/.398/.551 with 15 homers and 37 RBI in 66 games. He was not ranked in the Padres top 30 prospects according to MLB Pipeline.
Miliano, 21, has posted a 3.60 ERA, 1.40 WHIP and 59/25 K/BB ratio across 30 innings between Class-A Lake Elsinore and High-A Fort Wayne this season. He's an intriguing arm, but has struggled with his command so far in his professional career.
Starting Pitchers with an EDGE
Aaron Nola - 8 2/3 IP, 1 ER, 4 H, 0 BB, 9 K, 33% CSW, 19 swinging strikes
Nola came within one out of his third career shutout (and second of the season) but he surrendered a solo homer to Austin Riley with two outs in the ninth before giving way to Ranger Suarez. Nola racked up 19 swinging strikes in the contest -- 11 on his knuckle curve and seven on his four-seamer -- while posting a CSW of 33 percent. Now 7-6 on the season, he sports a 4.37 ERA and 1.17 WHIP over 115 1/3 innings on the season.
Touki Toussaint - 7 IP, 1 ER, 5 H, 0 BB, 10 K, 41% CSW, 16 swinging strikes
On the other side of the pitching duel against Aaron Nola, Touki Toussaint was outstanding in his own right, racking up 10 strikeouts over seven innings of one-run ball. Of his 16 swinging strikes, eight came on his curveball and six on his sinker. He posted a stellar CSW of 41 percent, needing just 90 pitches (64 strikes) to navigate seven innings. He’ll surely be a popular free agent addition in many leagues.
Domingo German - 7+ IP, 1 ER, 1 H, 1 BB, 10 K, 33% CSW, 18 swinging strikes
Domingo German was outstanding in a tough-luck no-decision on Sunday, carrying a no-hit bid into the eighth inning and posting a career-high 10 strikeouts against the Red Sox. He exited after allowing a leadoff double to Alex Verdugo to begin the eighth inning, handing Jonathan Loaisiga a four-run lead. Five batters later, that lead had evaporated. German has been highly inconsistent this season, but starts like this continue to show the tantalizing upside he possesses.
Daniel Lynch - 8 IP, 0 ER, 5 H, 0 BB, 4 K, 27% CSW, 11 swinging strikes
The 24-year-old hurler dazzled in his return to the big league club on Sunday, getting 13 ground outs and needing just 95 pitches (65 strikes) to complete eight shutout innings in a victory over the Tigers. There’s plenty of talent here, but he still owns a 7.88 ERA and 1.75 WHIP over 16 innings at the big league level this season and has an extremely dangerous matchup against the Blue Jays on tap for the coming week.
Hitters with an EDGE
Austin Riley - 3-for-4, HR (17), 2 2B, R, RBI
On an afternoon where the Braves were completely shut down by Aaron Nola, Riley tallied three of their four total hits -- and staved off a shutout with a solo shot with two outs in the ninth inning. He’s settling in nicely to the cleanup spot in the Braves lineup and is now hitting .282/.366/.490 with 17 homers and 50 RBI on the season.
Chris Taylor - 3-for-4, 2 HR (16), 2 R, 2 RBI
Man, where would this Dodgers offense be without Chris Taylor this season. He smacked a pair of solo home runs off of Jon Gray on Sunday, leading the Dodgers to a one-run victory over the Rockies. He has now homered five times in his last six games and is slashing .284/.380/.497 with 16 homers, 55 RBI and nine stolen bases on the year.
LaMonte Wade - 3-for-5, 2 HR (12), 2B, 2 R, 2 RBI
Wade clobbered a solo shot off of JT Brubaker to open the game on Sunday, then added another in the third inning for good measure. He has now clubbed 12 long balls in just 171 plate appearances on the season and is slashing a healthy .264/.349/.581 on the year. Fantasy managers wanting to take advantage of his hot bat should keep in mind that Brandon Belt is only a couple of weeks away from returning.
Starling Marte - 3-for-4, 2 SB (21), RBI, BB
Marte continues to swing a hot bat as trade rumors increasingly swirl around him. He’s now slashing a terrific .301/.401/.450 with seven homers, 24 RBI and 21 swipes in just 270 plate appearances on the season. If he winds up playing for a contender down the stretch, his counting stats could go through the roof.
Shohei Ohtani - 2-for-2, HR (35), SB (13) RBI, BB
Ohtani belted a solo shot off of Danny Coulombe for his league-leading 35th home run as the Angels topped the Twins on Sunday. He also swiped his 13th base of the season -- though he was caught stealing earlier in the contest. Ohtani has now had two straight multi-hit games after getting off to a slow start offensively to begin the second half. He’s now hitting .277/.362/.684 with 75 RBI on the season.
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EDGE Priority Pickup
Brian Anderson, 3B, Miami Marlins -- Available in 88% of Yahoo fantasy leagues.
Anderson was activated from the injured list on Saturday after missing two months due to a left shoulder subluxation. It doesn’t look like he missed a beat. He went 1-for-4 in his return, then collected a pair of hits including a home run off of Yu Darvish in Sunday’s victory over the Padres. He’ll play everyday and hit in the middle of the Marlins lineup and has four homers and three swipes in 37 games on the season. In deeper leagues, you can do a lot worse as a corner infield option.
Ranger Suarez vs. Braves - 1/3 IP, 0 ER, 0 H, 0 BB, 1 K (4th save)
It didn’t look like Suarez was going to get a chance to close this one out, as Phillies skipper Joe Girardi let Aaron Nola attempt to complete his shutout on Sunday, but a two-out homer by Austin Riley brought the left-hander in to protect a one-run lead. He responded by blowing away Dansby Swanson to collect his fourth save of the season. He still owns a sparkling 1.14 ERA and 0.81 WHIP on the season and continues to gain security in his ninth inning role.
Emmanuel Clase vs. Rays - 1 IP, 0 ER, 0 H, 0 BB, 1 K (12th save)
The 23-year-old right-hander looked outstanding while protecting a one-run lead in this one, retiring all three hitters that he faced in order -- including a strikeout of Joey Wendle. It’s the first save for Clase since June 16 and comes after he blew three consecutive opportunities sandwiched around the All-Star break. Even with his recent struggles though, he has a sparkling 1.98 ERA and 1.22 WHIP on the season. Expect him to continue to share chances with James Karinchak moving forward.
Brad Hand vs. Orioles - 1/3 IP, 2 ER, 1 H, 1 BB, 0 K (4th blown save)
Brad Hand suffered his fourth blown save of the season -- and put a dagger in the Nationals playoff hopes -- as he loaded the bases on a hit batter, a walk and a single to start the ninth inning. That was followed by a sacrifice fly and a fielder’s choice, and that was all she wrote. Hand remains the unquestioned closer in Washington, though with the Nationals falling out of the race it’s increasingly likely he could get moved at the deadline, opening the ninth inning for Daniel Hudson or Kyle Finnegan.
Monday’s Matchup of the Day
Shohei Ohtani (LAA) vs. German Marquez (COL)
There aren’t many elite pitching matchups on the docket for Monday, but this battle in Los Angeles certainly has plenty of intrigue with a pair of All-Star hurlers matched up against each other.
I’ll continue to watch Ohtani every single time he takes the hill, as he has been sensational on both sides of the diamond (and on the basepaths) this season.
What’s really interesting to note again here for Ohtani this week, is that he’s tentatively lined up to make two starts -- also doing battle against James Kaprielian and the Athletics on Sunday. Now last week I gave this same recommendation, and Ohtani’s second start ended up getting pushed back a day, but barring any postponements he should actually go twice this week. Also, had you started him for his single this week (6 IP, 0 ER, 3 H, 1BB, 8 K), you came out ahead as Ohtani had a down week offensively (even with Sunday's combo meal).
On the other side, German Marquez has been outstanding this season, with a 3.50 ERA, 1.16 WHIP and 119/44 K/BB ratio across 118 1/3 innings despite playing half of his games at Coors Field. He’s coming off a clunker though where he allowed four runs on seven hits over six frames in a loss to the Mariners. This looks like a terrific spot for him to bounce back in a big way.
American League Quick Hits: Mark Feinsand of MLB.com reported that the Mariners are making a push to acquire Whit Merrifield from the Royals. … Jon Heyman of MLB Network reported that the Twins are willing to listen to trade offers on Byron Buxton after he rejected their offer for a long-term contract extension. Heyman notes the Phillies as one team that has expressed interest. … Chris Sale (elbow) will make his next, and perhaps final, rehab start on Saturday with Triple-A Worcester. … Mike Trout is set to visit a doctor on Monday after feeling something in his calf area over the weekend. Angels skipper Joe Maddon described the minor setback as nothing serious. … Franmil Reyes was scratched from the Indians lineup on Sunday due to lower back spasms. He’s considered day-to-day. … The Rays placed Collin McHugh on the 10-day IL with arm fatigue. … The Yankees placed Chris Gittens on the 10-day IL with a right ankle sprain and activated Gio Urshela from the COVID-19 IL. … Eduardo Rodriguez (migraine) will make his scheduled start against the Blue Jays on Thursday. … Matt Olson clubbed his 27th home run in a loss to the Mariners. … Lance Lynn struck out six over six innings of one-run ball in a victory over the Brewers. … Cesar Hernandez smacked his 17th home run as the Indians topped the Rays. … Ryan Yarbrough surrendered just one run over seven innings in a tough-luck no-decision. … Max Stassi homered, collected his first career triple and drove in three runs as the Angels topped the Twins. … Jorge Soler walloped a pair of home runs in a lopsided victory over the Tigers.
National League Quick Hits: The Dodgers finally gave in and placed Mookie Betts on the 10-day IL with right hip inflammation. … Carlos Carrasco struck out six over three scoreless innings in Sunday’s rehab start at Triple-A Syracuse. He’s expected to make his Mets debut in the coming week. … Jacob deGrom threw off of a mound on Sunday for the first time since being shut down with forearm tightness. There’s still no clear timetable for his return, but this was a positive step in that direction. … Stephen Strasburg (neck) is set to visit another specialist on Monday to determine the cause of his discomfort. … Javier Baez suffered a lower body injury in Sunday’s victory over the Diamondbacks. He’ll be re-evaluated on Monday. … The Cardinals acquired right-hander T.J. Zeuch from the Blue Jays. … The Phillies recalled Mickey Moniak to replace Travis Jankowski who was placed on the COVID-19 IL. … Joe Ross will return from the injured list to start against the Phillies on Monday. … Brewers manager Craig Counsell indicated that he’ll continue to deploy tandem starters in order to keep everyone in his rotation fresh. … Joe Kelly felt something in his hamstring on Sunday and will be re-evaluated on Monday. … Ryan McMahon was held out of the Rockies lineup on Sunday due to lower leg stiffness. He’s considered day-to-day. … Sandy Alcantara will make his next start on Tuesday against the Orioles. … Josiah Gray struck out six over four innings of two-run ball in a no-decision against the Rockies. … Alex Wood fanned eight over 5 1/3 innings of one-run baseball in a victory over the Pirates. … Tyler O’Neill blasted his 17th home run as the Cardinals topped the Reds. … Sonny Gray was lit up for eight runs over 3 1/3 innings in a loss to the Cardinals. … Deven Marrero went 3-for-4 with a combo meal and three runs scored as the Marlins walloped the Padres. … Trevor Williams fired 6 1/3 shutout innings and struck out six in a win against the Diamondbacks. … Pete Alonso socked his 22nd dinger as the Mets triumphed over the Blue Jays. … Rich Hill gave up three runs over five-plus innings in a no-decision in his Mets debut Sunday.