Fantasy baseball analyst Dalton Del Don examines Tuesday's biggest fantasy highlights across the MLB landscape.
An ace returns, Seager continues binge and more
• Chris Sale looked great during his season debut Tuesday, holding Tampa Bay scoreless over five innings in a no-decision. He produced an elite 37 percent CSW while averaging 95.1 mph with his fastball, which would be his highest in a season since 2011. Sale is capable of being a top-10 fantasy pitcher moving forward if health somehow cooperates.
• Danny Jansen made his return from the IL on Tuesday, while Gabriel Moreno was optioned to Triple-A. Jansen has 14 homers over just 124 at-bats since the All-Star break last season and would lead all catchers in OPS this year if he qualified. Despite playing the thinnest position, Jansen remains available in 90% of Yahoo leagues and is one of a handful of players you should be adding to fantasy teams.
• With Jurickson Profar going on the IL, San Diego has called up Esteury Ruiz, who leads the minors both in runs scored and stolen bases (with a whopping 60 steals). His role is uncertain, and Ruiz doesn’t hit the ball especially hard, but anyone with that kind of SB upside needs to be added in competitive fantasy leagues (he was caught trying to swipe third base during his MLB debut Tuesday night). Ruiz is second base eligible and hit .333/.467/.560 with 73 homers/steals over 77 games across the minors this season, yet he remains available in 75% of Yahoo leagues.
• Corey Seager homered Tuesday for the sixth time over the last seven games, and he’s recorded a Barry Bonds-like 1:5 K:BB ratio over that span as well. During his first season with Texas, Seager has continued his career-long trend of hitting far better at home while also showing major improvement against lefties. Seager has been one of the unluckiest hitters this season according to xwOBA, so his big power surge shouldn’t come as a huge surprise.
• Thairo Estrada went undrafted in most fantasy leagues but after going deep twice Tuesday, he’s quietly on pace to finish with 15 home runs and 20 steals. With a low K rate (15.6%), 60 grade speed and a top-five GB% among all hitters this season, Estrada’s .280 BABIP has room for massive improvement over the second half as well.
• In a crazy stat, the league batting average on hard-hit grounders has dropped 100 points over the last eight seasons. Calls to ban the shift continue to grow.
• Imagine not voting Shohei Ohtani as the American League MVP again this season.
• Clay “Sure Lock” Holmes was anything but Tuesday night, as he allowed four runs without recording a single out while trying to hold a 3-0 lead in the ninth. Holmes didn’t allow an extra-base hit during an odd outing that raised his ERA nearly a full run and cost Gerrit Cole a win after a dominant performance. Holmes should remain the favorite for saves with the Yankees, but Aroldis Chapman’s return gives him less room for any further hiccups moving forward.
• Lou Trivino blew a save Tuesday and sits with a 7.11 ERA and a 2.05 WHIP on the season. While his 37 strikeouts over 25.1 innings look nice, Trivino isn’t even top-275 among relievers in CSW, so his ugly numbers are no fluke. Meanwhile, A.J. Puk fired two scoreless innings Tuesday and has recorded a 13:0 K:BB ratio over his last seven appearances. The former No. 6 pick is finally settling in as a major league reliever, sporting a 2.53 ERA and a 0.97 on the year. Puk is available in 95% of Yahoo leagues, and there’s a good chance he’s closing for the A’s after the All-Star break.