We're heading into the weekend with some bad news, as Shane McClanahan, the No. 1 pitcher in both H2H points and Rotisserie leagues so far this season exited his start with mid-back tightness. Hopefully it ends up being a relatively minor issue that doesn't cost him much time, but if it is, you might need some replacement options.
I'm Chris Towers, and in today's FBT newsletter, I've got a preview of this weekend's coming action, including a handful of waiver-wire pitchers to consider adding. But Thursday's action also gave us a couple of pitcher performances to be aware of if you need a McClanahan replacement:
Braxton Garrett, Marlins – Garrett took advantage of the slumping Pirates for what was probably the best start of his career. Garrett struck out 13 over seven innings, racking up 14 swinging strikes, seven of them with his very good slider, and he's now down to a 3.64 ERA and 1.15 WHIP with 90 strikeouts in 76.2 innings of work. Take out a disastrous 11-run outing against the Braves, and his ERA drops to 2.49. Garrett is 71% rostered, which might be about 29% too low.
Bryan Woo, Mariners – Woo wasn't nearly as impressive against the Yankees, but with 5.1 shutout innings, it was still pretty good. I'd clearly prioritize Garrett over him, but Woo now has 23 strikeouts in 14.2 innings, and both his four-seam fastball and slider look like pretty good swing-and-miss pitches, so there's something there. I don't mind taking a flier to see if he can keep building – he now has two or fewer earned runs allowed in three straight starts.
Neither of those guys is going to be a real replacement for McClanahan if he has to miss real time, so let's cross our fingers on that one. But both could be useful moving forward, with Garrett starting to look like a potential difference maker. Just maybe.
Before we get to the rest of the newsletter, here's the content from the FBT team this week you might have missed:
And now, here's what you need to keep an eye on this weekend:
Waiver-wire starting pitchers to watch
These players are listed roughly in order of how interested I am in adding them. They're also (mostly) viable streamers this weekend:
Emmet Sheehan vs. HOU (Friday) – Sheehan wasn't overwhelmingly dominant in his debut, but we're not here to tut-tut six scoreless innings. He's a clear add in all formats right now after putting up a 1.86 ERA and 41.7% strikeout rate at Double-A. That minor-league production probably overstates his actual upside at the major-league level, but let's not overthink this: He's a talented, young pitcher with a shot, so you should add him. Worry about upside or long-term role later.
Brayan Bello @CWS (Friday) – Bello's results have been pretty tremendous lately, and he's lowered his overall ERA to 3.49 now. I'm not sure I buy it, though – he's only had more strikeouts than innings once in his past five starts, and outside of his changeup, his arsenal seems pretty limited. Bello isn't bad, and he's worth adding to see if he figures it out, but my expectations remain somewhat limited.
AJ Smith-Shawver @CIN (Friday) – The Braves were aggressive with Smith-Shawver's call-up, and the 20-year-old has a 2.03 ERA in his first 13.1 innings, so it's gone pretty well so far. His velocity ticked up in his most recent start and he racked up 17 whiffs, a good sign after some underwhelming results in that regard in his first two appearances. The Reds are red-hot (I will not apologize), so if Smith-Shawver looks good again, he'll be a must-add.
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Dane Dunning @NYY (Friday) – Dunning has a 2.78 ERA, but I'm not buying into that at all. This is more of a, "Hey, don't be too surprised if you're dropping him" warning than anything else. If not after this outing, soon.
Wade Miley @CLE (Friday) – We're now going on 200-plus innings of Miley sporting an ERA below 3.40, and yet he's rostered in just 40% of CBS Fantasy leagues. I can't say the disinterest is unearned – MIley rarely gets strikeouts, so his success is probably not sustainable – but he's also pretty consistently outrun his peripherals, and this is a good matchup, so he seems like a pretty fine streamer.
Yusei Kikuchi vs. OAK (Sunday) – Kikuchi is 80% rostered for his two-start week, and that feels like about the ceiling for how many leagues he should be rostered in, even in a two-start week. However, if you do play in one of the leagues where he's available, I think he's a fine streamer – famous last words, perhaps.
Waiver-wire hitters to watch
These players are listed roughly in order of how interested in adding them I am:
Henry Davis, C, Pirates – Davis slugged his first homer Thursday and has started all four games since getting called up, three at right field, one at DH. In this instance, we really don't care that he isn't catching; in fact, we might prefer it, if it means he's going to play every day or somewhere near it. The path to the top 12 at catcher looks pretty clear right now.
Bo Naylor, C, Guardians – Naylor started the first three games after being recalled before getting Thursday off, and with Cam Gallagher looking like Cam Gallagher, Naylor seems sure to be the primary catcher moving forward. He might not have quite as much upside as Davis, but I'd be trying to add him anywhere if I needed catcher help.
Joey Votto, 1B, Reds – I'll grant, this one feels like a long shot. Votto hit just .173/.340/.333 in 22 games at Triple-A before coming back from the IL, so the likeliest outcome is he's toast. But I'll give a potential Hall of Famer a chance to prove himself, especially one who was really good just two years ago.
Spencer Torkelson, 1B, Tigers – It's been a bit of a mixed bag of late for Torkelson, who is hitting for more power in June, but has also seen his strikeout rate climb to 28% this month. I'm starting to lose faith, but I don't want to give up on him entirely.
Michael Busch, 2B, Dodgers – Injuries have given Busch some runway, and he has started five straight games heading into the weekend. He hasn't done much with them and may be relegated back to the minors when Chris Taylor is healthy, but we'll keep an eye on the career .279/.369/.497 hitter at Triple-A this weekend.
Luis Matos, OF, Giants – We haven't seen much in the way of power from Matos yet, but he's started every game since coming up and has seven runs in eight games, plus six walks to just two strikeouts. Two steals help make up for the lack of pop, too. I'm looking to add him in most 12-team-or-deeper leagues.
Leody Taveras, OF, Rangers – Taveras has been terrific this season, and he hasn't shown much sign of slowing down, hitting .277/.319/.569 in the month of June. The quality-of-contact metrics are suddenly pretty good, too, with a .347 xwOBA compared to an actual .360 mark. He might be enjoying a legitimate breakout.
Alek Thomas, OF, Diamondbacks – I have real questions about whether Thomas is ever going to be able to hit enough to stick at the MLB level, but he has prospect pedigree and a career .348/.415/.580 line at Triple-A (plus 25 homes and 20 steals in 159 career games between Double-A and Triple-A), so I'm going to keep a close eye on this post-hype sleeper.
Earlier this week, Scott White wrote a Bullpen Report column, which you'll want to make sure you check out for the latest on the Cardinals, Rays, Tigers, and more bullpens. He wrote that Tuesday, so here's a rundown of what's changed over the past few days:
Rays: Pete Fairbanks got two consecutive saves coming off the IL, and was in the game with the game tied after Jason Adam gave up two runs in the eighth Thursday. Fairbanks gave up a run and took the loss, but seeing as Adam also struggled Thursday, I don't think the equilibrium has changed much here.
Diamondbacks: Scott McGough has two saves in the past two days, with Thursday's coming after Joe Mantiply allowed two runs with a four-run lead. I don't think McGough's hold on the job is particularly strong, but he has the team's past three saves, so I'd bet on him getting the next one, at least.
Yankees: Tommy Kahnle got called on to clean up a bit of a mess for Michael King on Wednesday, but it was just his first save of the season so I don't think he's particularly likely to get another save the next time out. This still seems like a situation where Clay Holmes is the primary closer, but he's not going to get every save opportunity.
Nationals: Hunter Harvey got the save Wednesday night, just his second in the past month. But, notably, it was Kyle Finnegan setting him up in that one, and Finnegan hasn't had a save since May 27, so I think this is Harvey's job, for whatever it's worth. Not much unless you're desperate, but still.
Injuries, news & notes
The Rays have temporarily benched Wander Franco, pulling him from the lineup through at least Fridays' game for disciplinary reasons. Manager Kevin Cash hinted that Franco was not dealing with his frustrations "the way we ask our players to uphold being the best teammate." It sounds like this is simply a bump in the road, so hopefully Franco will be back out there this weekend.
Aaron Judge has progressed to pool/balance/strength work, and he may start throwing and hitting Friday. He's working his way back from a toe injury, and it sounds like he's made real progress in the past few days.
Walker Buehler threw a bullpen session Thursday, his first since undergoing Tommy John surgery last August. He's targeting a September return, but isn't likely to make much of an impact for Fantasy this season.
Sean Murphy appeared as a pinch-hitter Thursday but won't be ready to start Friday's game yet. He's been hampered by a tweaked hamstring and is a risk for this weekend.
LaMonte Wade has missed three straight with right side tightness.
Alex Verdugo was placed on the bereavement list and plans to rejoin the team Tuesday against the Marlins.
Trevor Rogers remains shut down from throwing. He was shut down recently with discomfort in his non-throwing shoulder after nearly recovering from a biceps injury in his other arm. It sounds like he's probably not a candidate to return before the All-Star break at this point.
Will Brennan was out of the lineup with left shoulder soreness.
The Red Sox promoted infield prospect David Hamilton on Wednesday, and he made his first start Thursday. Hamilton is hitting .255 with 11 HR, 27 SB as a 25-year-old at Triple-A and probably doesn't have much more than deep, category-based appeal if you need steals.