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In a season where rookies haven’t exactly performed up to the level of expectations, one player that had - if not succeeded them - was Nick Madrigal.
Unfortunately, we won’t see Madrigal on the diamond for a while, and it’s possible his 2021 season is over.
Madrigal was placed on the 60-day injured list on Thursday with a right hamstring tear. The second baseman will not be able to resume baseball activities for another six weeks, and White Sox manager Tony La Russa told reporters before the game against the Blue Jays that it’s possible the infielder would need surgery. That surgery would end the year for the 24-year-old, and even without it, it’s possible that his season is done.
It’s yet another big blow for the White Sox, and a big blow for fantasy managers, too. The infielder was hitting .305 with two homers, 21 RBI, one steal and 30 runs scored in his 54 games with the Pale Hose. The power/speed production isn’t great, but getting those kind of runs scored and that average certainly helped compensate for the lack of pop and steals.
As for what the White Sox plan to do in Madrigal’s absence, the answer for now appears to be Leury Garcia and Danny Mendick alternating at the keystone. Neither of those players provide any intriguing in fantasy formats, so managers are going to need to look outside of Chicago for potential replacements. One potential pickup is Jonathan India, who is rostered in 39 percent of Yahoo leagues. Ty France, Jurickson Profar and Colin Moran are also rostered in less than half of leagues -- although keep in mind on Moran as he is currently out with a hand injury -- and while they have different skill sets, they’re capable of helping.
It’s just another injury to a quality young player in a year that’s been full of them, and while we got a glimpse of what Madrigal is capable of, it’s unfortunately going to be no more than a glimpse it appears.
Starting Pitchers with an EDGE
Zack Wheeler -- 8 IP, 0 ER, 0 BB, 12 SO against Atlanta.
Ian Anderson -- 7 IP, 0 ER, 1 BB, 4 SO against Philadelphia.
What a pitcher’s duel this game was. Unfortunately for Anderson and Wheeler, they both came away with undeserved -- but deserved because of how well their opponent pitched -- no-decisions in the contest. Wheeler continues to miss bats at a level that few are matching right now; that’s his fourth double-digit strikeout game in his last five appearances, and he had a palty eight strikeouts in the other one. Hope you can see the sarcasm drip there. He also hasn’t allowed more than three earned runs in a start since giving up four on May 1. He’s been well worth the contract he signed with Philadelphia and then some. Anderson didn’t have the same kind of swing-and-miss stuff, but he kept the Phillies’ hitters off-balance all afternoon, and he bounced back nicely from his struggles last Friday against the Phillies. This was a fun one for those of you who like pitching. And you should.
Trevor Rogers -- 7 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 8 SO against Colorado.
Ho hum. Just another impressive start for a rookie that certainly wasn’t an unknown coming into the year, but to say he’s exceeded expectations is the understatement of understatements. When you give up two runs over seven innings and your ERA goes up (from 1.97 to 2.02) you know you’ve had a good year. It’d be almost impossible to be hyperbolic about how good Rogers has been in 2021.
Hitters with an EDGE
Mitch Haniger -- 3-for-5, 2 HR, 3 R, 2 RBI against Detroit.
Haniger helpers, as we (I) like to call em. It comes in a loss to the Tigers, but Haniger’s two homers give him 16 on the season. The only negatives here for the outfielder are that he’s hitting just .256 with a middling .306 on-base percentage, but it’s fun to see this production after he basically missed two seasons due to a variety of injuries. It’s possible that he’s dealt at the deadline by the rebuilding Mariners, but even if he stays with Seattle, the power is going to be there.
Starling Marte -- 4-for-5, HR, 2 R against Colorado.
Part of this has to do with the fact he’s only played in 27 games, but even still, there has not been enough attention paid to how good Marte has been in 2021. The homer is the fifth of the year for the former Pittsburgh star, and he’s now slashing a robust .360/.454/.600 in his first full season with the Marlins. It’s also probably the last, as Marte is a free agent to be and Miami doesn’t really have anything to gain by keeping him on the team. He’s a darn good fantasy option with the fish. With a contender? Sky's the limit.
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Luis Severino -- available in 47 percent of Yahoo fantasy baseball leagues.
I have always operated under the assumption that it’s much better to be too early than too late. That’s why Severino is the pick here even if he isn’t likely to make his debut for another couple of weeks. He’s making another rehab appearance on Saturday, however, and we’ve seen how effective he can be when healthy. There just aren’t many -- any? -- arms with more upside on the waiver wire than Severino.
There were two -- count em -- two saves on Thursday as of publication. One of them was by Liam Hendriks, who has his 16th save of the season after nailing down the stop against the Blue Jays. The other was by Phil Bickford, which came in a rain-shortened game against the Pirates. That was Bickford’s first save not just of the season, but the first of his MLB career. Baseball is a game of contrasts.
On the other end of the spectrum, things didn’t go well for Aroldis Chapman. The left-hander was tasked with protecting a 5-3 lead and gave up a single, homer, single and walk-off homer to pick up the blown save and loss against the Twins. Even while giving up four runs without giving up an out Chapman has a 1.96 ERA and has blown just two saves on the season, fantasy managers have the right to shake their head a bit after that one.
Friday’s Matchup of the Day
Jacob deGrom (NYM) vs. Blake Snell (PHI)
It feels like cheating to pick deGrom but as long as he’s facing a decent pitcher he’s got a good shot to be in the matchup of the day. He’s facing one who is more than decent in Snell, and he’s coming off his best start of the year when he fired seven innings of one-hit baseball with 10 strikeouts against the Mets. The issue for the southpaw has been on the road, and it’s worth pointing out that this start takes place in Queens and not San Diego. Still, if he’s a semblance of the pitcher we saw last Friday this should be a good one. Worst comes to worst you get to watch deGrom.
American League Quick Hits: Byron Buxton (hip) homered twice and drove in five runs on Thursday in a rehab game with Triple-A St. Paul … Lance McCullers (shoulder) gave up one run over four innings on Thursday in a rehab start for Triple-A Sugar Land … Michael Kopech (hamstring) will resume throwing bullpens in the coming days … Trevor Rosenthal (shoulder) is progressing "rapidly" through his strength program according to Athletics manager Bob Melvin … Alex Kirilloff has left Thursday's game against the Yankees with a left low-grade ankle sprain … Adalberto Mondesi (hamstring) took batting practice before Thursday's game against the Athletics … Yankees manager Aaron Boone told reporters that Giancarlo Stanton isn't likely to play in the outfield against the Phillies over the weekend … Cavan Biggio (neck) could return off the injured list over the weekend … Justin Dunn (shoulder) will start on Friday against the Indians … Josh James (hip) suffered a setback in his rehab conditioning. Yusei Kikuchi is still listed as the starter for Sunday against Cleveland … Mariners acquired 1B/OF from the Indians for a player to be named later or cash considerations.
National League Quick Hits: Rockies activated INF Trevor Story from the 10-day injured list … Jazz Chisholm Jr. launched a three-run homer on Thursday, leading the Marlins to an 11-4 blowout victory over the Rockies … Thursday's game between the Giants and Nationals has been postponed due to inclement weather … Jaylin Davis (knee) has reported to Triple-A Sacramento to begin a rehab assignment … Trent Grisham (heel) hit leadoff and played centerfield for Triple-A El Paso on Thursday … Reds manager David Bell told reporters that Tejay Antone was not available for Thursday's game against the Brewers. When asked why, Bell told reporters that he would discuss Antone on Friday … X-rays returned negative on Colin Moran's hand … Diamondbacks fired hitting coach Darnell Coles and assistant hitting coach Eric Hinske … Cardinals activated INF Paul DeJong off the 10-day injured list … Phillies placed RHP Chase Anderson on the COVID-19 injured list. This comes just two days after Anderson was activated off the COVID-19 injured list.