Happy Monday, everyone! It was another exciting weekend for New York Mets fans -- sorry I mean baseball fans too. Just let me enjoy it while it lasts please -- we all know where most Mets seasons end up. It felt like this weekend particularly had some notable standout performances, but I first wanted to start with Brewers SP Eric Lauer and his 13-strikeout outing. You read that right -- he fanned 13 through six nearly immaculate shutout innings. The underlying numbers are even more exciting with 17 induced swinging strikes on just 98 pitches. This could be a true breakout season for the 26-year-old who now boasts a 2.20 ERA and 1.04 WHIP with 23 strikeouts to just four walks through 16 1/3 innings.
It was also a great weekend for Chris Towers as Twins OF Byron Buxton returned to the lineup in a big way. Last week, Buxton had an injury scare, so it was great to see him return to the lineup so fast -- and he picked up right where he left off -- absolutely crushing the baseball. Buxton delivered a double dong night including his second home run -- a towering 470-foot blast off one of the game's best closers Liam Hendricks. If he stays healthy, Buxton has a legitimate chance to be one of Fantasy's most valuable players. Since the start of the 2020 season, when it all seemed to click for him at the plate, Buxton has jacked 38 home runs in just 110 games.
We'll dive into more of the action from this weekend including standout pitchers, hitters, a San Francisco Giants reclamation project who you probably won't want to let keep sitting on the waiver wire and more.
And of course, as always, you can follow to make sure you get the latest episodes of Fantasy Baseball Today right when they drop on Apple and Spotify.
The next Giants' reclamation project?
What is it about the San Francisco Giants and their innate ability to take on players who other teams have given up on and make them whole again -- and in some cases -- better than they ever were. That might be the case for Giants OF Joc Pederson. On Sunday, Pederson followed in the Buxton footsteps and dropped a double dong while going 3 for 3. Pederson is hitting the ball harder than he ever has with a 94.9 MPH average exit velocity. He's still just 38% rostered in CBS leagues and worth scooping now if you need OF help -- the Giants have a knack for this stuff.
Other standout hitters
Jeremy Pena, SS, Astros: The talk out of Astros spring training was all about how Pena had a chance to be something special and he hasn't disappointed. Unlike some of the other prospects who have taken a bit longer to get going, Pena continues to rake. He hit home run No. 3 on Sunday against arguably the game's best closer so far this season -- Jordan Romano -- in the process collecting his first career mutli-RBI game.
Julio Rodriguez, OF, Mariners: Speaking of prospects, Rodriguez had himself a nice little weekend for your category leagues. He collected five hits, three RBI, three runs and more prominently another two stolen bases. In the era of no speed Fantasy Baseball, the rookie already has six stolen bases and is single-handedly giving you an edge in your Roto leagues.
Ty France, 2B/1B, Mariners: France was slept on this draft season with a profile that didn't generate much buzz in category formats but he's absolutely raking the ball in the early going and showing more power -- and a better home run to fly ball rate -- than we're accustomed to seeing. France hit home runs Nos. 4 and 5 this weekend.
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Cole breaks out of his funk
There were a whole lot of Fantasy Baseball managers (and Yankees fans) panicking prior to Gerrit Cole's Sunday start. The hot takes I heard living in the area were unparalleled. And as a Mets fan, I can't pretend I didn't enjoy hearing them. They've settled down now though as has Cole. He delivered a vintage Cole performance on Sunday, striking out nine and inducing 14 swinging strikes over 6 2/3 shutout innings. Despite the ugly start, Cole's stat line reads much better than you'd imagine for all the panic: 4.00 ERA, 1.17 WHIP, 21 strikeouts over 18 innings.
Other standout pitchers
Kyle Wright, SP, Braves: OK, maybe this whole Kyle Wright breakout thing is real. He delivered another six shutout innings while only allowing four hits and more importantly striking out 11 with 20 induced swinging strikes on 95 pitches thrown. Wright has a 26:2 strikeout to walk ratio and a 16% swinging strike rate this season. Those are elite SP1 numbers.
Shane McClanahan, SP, Rays: A favorite breakout pick for me and Frank Stampfl, McClanahan continued his pristine 2022 season on Sunday with another victory. McClanahan struck out seven over seven innings with a ridiculous 21 induced swinging strikes. This is what a true breakout season looks like: 2.45 ERA, 0.95 WHIP and 31 strikeouts with just five walks.
News and lineup notes
Every night the Fantasy Baseball Today team dives into all of the happenings around the MLB from top performers to injuries, trades and more. The podcast is a must listen for any diehard, if I do say so myself. Tune in to the podcast to hear the FBT crew expand on the news and notes below.
- White Sox OF Eloy Jimenez was placed on the IL with a hamstring strain that will keep him out 6-8 weeks. I think there is immense talent but he has not been able to stay healthy. Andrew Vaughn (73% rostered) and Gavin Sheets (13%) should see more consistent playing time.
- Speaking of injured White Sox, OF Luis Robert did not play this weekend because of that minor groin strain.
- Astros RP Ryan Pressly looked good while throwing a live batting practice session on Sunday.
- Reds manager David Bell said C Tyler Stephenson could miss next weekend's series at Colorado.
- Padres 1B Luke Voit was placed on the IL with a biceps injury.
- Twins 1B/OF Alex Kirilloff will begin a rehab assignment on Tuesday.
- Giants OF Mike Yastrzemski was placed on the COVID IL after testing positive.
- Marlins closer news: Anthony Bender did not enter Saturday's save opportunity due to hip soreness. Instead, lefty Tanner Scott picked up the save and then it was Louis Head who got the save Sunday. Also, Dylan Floro began a rehab assignment Friday.
- OF Michael Conforto will not play this season after recently undergoing shoulder surgery. He can be dropped.
- Joe Barlow is seen as the Rangers' closer by Chris Woodward. Matt Bush picked up the save Saturday, though, as Barlow pitched Thursday and was fully warmed up on Friday.
- Lucas Sims was activated Friday and picked up the save on Sunday. He's 34% rostered in CBS leagues.
- Brewers RP Aaron Ashby is expected to start Wednesday against the Pirates. He's 41% rostered.
- Orioles SP John Means will undergo Tommy John surgery and miss the rest of this season.
- Padres SP Mike Clevinger will make his third minor-league rehab start at Triple-A on Tuesday. He's looked good in the first two.
- Tigers DH Miguel Cabrera got his 3000th hit on Saturday, becoming the seventh player in ML history with 3000 hits and 500 HR.