Admittedly, I was way too low on the Toronto Blue Jays offense coming into the season. To be fair, Marcus Semien and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. are performing at their 90th percentile outcomes (or better), but that still doesn't take away from how awesome they've been. Despite being named an All-Star starter, Teoscar Hernandez is the one that's kind of flown under the radar. As a result, I'd be looking to buy him in Fantasy.
Hernandez has carried over his line-drive heavy approach this season. His 29.6% line drive rate is third best among qualified hitters. Not only has his quality of contact remained stellar, but he's managed to lower his strikeout rate. Hernandez's 25% strikeout rate is his best since 2016, his rookie season. The overall numbers don't stand out, but if he continues to hit the ball this hard in the middle of that Blue Jays lineup, even better numbers are coming.
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Breaking down Brujan's debut
The next big-time prospect is up and it's Rays 2B Vidal Brujan. He made his debut on Wednesday and kicked things off with an RBI single in his first plate appearance. That was awesome, but more importantly he also finished the game with a stolen base and a run scored. The key here is the steal -- Brujan stole 103 bases between 2018 and 2019 in the minors and has 80 grade speed. Up until this point in 2021, he had 15 steals at Triple-A.
In addition to the speed, the biggest takeaways from Brujan's debut is that he played both games in the doubleheader (finishing 1 for 6), one at second base and one in right field. As of now, he doesn't have OF eligibility, but that should change fast. It's very likely he'll continue to make starts in the outfield with Manuel Margot out of the mix.
Overall, it was a pretty exciting debut for Brujan when you consider he already helped you in the main category you expected him to (steals). He could be a player who can ultimately help boost you back up in that category. One minor note: Brujan was sent down after the game, but this is not concerning -- the plan is for him to be called back up for Friday's game.
When the underlying numbers don't match the bottom line
Paddack got rocked on Wednesday when he went just two innings against the Nationals and allowed nine runs (eight earned), nine hits and seven hard-hit balls. He has now failed to complete three innings in two of his last three starts. He had absolutely nothing, no command in this start. His ERA is up to 5.40, but prior to Wednesday he accompanied it with a 2.58 xFIP, 11.3 K/9, 1.7 BB/9, and a 14% swinging strike rate over his last five starts.
Chris remains pessimistic that Paddack will be able to turn things around. Bottom line: he feels like an average strikeout and average quality-of-contact kind of pitcher. His control is strong, but his overall profile isn't there. Paddack doesn't offer anything that's special anymore. Paddack can be dropped in 10-team points leagues but is still worth stashing in 12-team leagues.
Rodriguez also struggled on Wednesday against the Angels. He lasted just five innings and allowed four earned, nine hits and no walks. He struck out five batters with an impressive 15 swinging strikes on 87 pitches. However, once again, the bottom line wasn't there in the box score. Rodriguez has a 5.52 ERA with a 3.38 xFIP and 3.31 xERA.
This is actually Rodriguez's best xERA of his career. He has good quality-of-contact numbers, the lowest walk rate of his career and the highest strikeout rate of his career. Chris can get behind a turnaround for Rodriguez a lot faster than for Paddack.
More news and notes
- Dodgers SP Clayton Kershaw was placed on the IL with left forearm inflammation, which is a huge blow. Kershaw currently has a 3.39 ERA with a 0.98 WHIP and a career-high 16.3% SwStr rate. There's no timetable for his return. This all but ensures David Price, who is 21% rostered, will be stretched out for the rotation.
- WE HAD ANOTHER NO-HITTER! The Rays bullpen combined to allow zero hits to Cleveland in Game 2 of their doubleheader, so it was a seven-inning game. But for real -- anybody who just needs ratios and strikeouts from a reliever, Collin McHugh has been awesome for the Rays with a 1.77 ERA, 13.4 K/9, career-high 15% SwStr rate. He's just 8% rostered.
- Angels DH Shohei Ohtani went 2 for 4 with his 32nd home run and now has the most homers in a season by a Japanese-born player, passing Hideki Matsui
- Braves 2B Ozzie Albies exited as a precaution with neck tightness. This is something to monitor as Albies has quietly been one of the best hitters in Fantasy.
- Cubs 1B/3B/OF Kris Bryant left with hamstring tightness.
- Nationals SP Stephen Strasburg took part in a heavy workout Tuesday, one day after throwing 60 pitches in a bullpen session, and Nationals manager Dave Martinez said he was "getting close" to a rehab assignment. I would be pleasantly surprised to get anything from Strasburg this season.
- Red Sox pitching coach Dave Bush said that Chris Sale won't be activated from the 60-day injured list until he's stretched out to throw 5-6 innings.
- Cleveland OF Eddie Rosario did indeed land on the IL with that abdominal strain. Daniel Johnson started in Cleveland's outfield. He had nine homers and six steals at Triple-A, albeit with a .218 average.
- Astros SP Jose Urquidy said Wednesday he'll remain shut down from throwing for at least two weeks. He's on the IL with shoulder discomfort.
- White Sox C Yasmani Grandal had successful surgery and is expected to return this season.
- Remember Blue Jays RP Julian Merryweather was supposed to potentially be the closer earlier in the season? Well, he had another setback with his left oblique strain.
- Yankees SP Domingo German was scratched from Wednesday's start after he underwent an emergency root canal.
- Yankees SS Gleyber Torres returned to the lineup after missing one game with a hamstring injury, going 1 for 4 with two RBI.
- Cardinals SP Carlos Martinez went to the IL with a torn ligament in his right thumb.
- Cubs SP Jake Arrieta went to the IL with right hamstring tightness.
- Orioles 3B Maikel Franco went to the IL with right ankle soreness. Domingo Leyba started at third base Wednesday.
- Tigers OF Daz Cameron went to the IL with that right toe sprain. Nomar Mazara started in right field Wednesday.
- A's RP Trevor Rosenthal will undergo surgery next week to repair a torn labrum in his hip and miss the rest of the 2021 season. Lou Trivino's job is safe.
- Players not in the lineup on Wednesday: Cubs SS Javier Baez with a sprained right thumb, Cardinals OF Tyler O'Neill with an allergic reaction, Phillies OF Odubel Herrera with ankle/wrist soreness, Twins 3B Josh Donaldson with the hamstring issue.
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