Fantasy Baseball Daily Dose: He’s not your average Joe

Minnesota Twins starting pitcher Joe Ryan delivers in the first inning of a baseball game against the Cleveland Indians, Wednesday, Sept. 8, 2021, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)

Minnesota Twins starting pitcher Joe Ryan delivered another impressive performance in his start on Wednesday. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)

Twins right-hander Joe Ryan piqued the interest of many fantasy managers when he was called up from Triple-A Durham on September 1. The 25-year-old right-hander — who came over from the Rays in the Nelson Cruz trade — had posted a 3.41 ERA, 0.79 WHIP and 92/12 K/BB ratio over 66 innings at Triple-A.

He didn’t disappoint in his first start either, as he racked up five strikeouts over five innings of three-run ball against the Cubs. All of the damage done against him in that one came on one mighty swing by Frank Schwindel in the third inning, and with the way Schwindel is going right now it’s hard to fault him too much for that one. Ryan generated 14 swinging strikes in that contest and walked just one batter.

He was the top free agent acquisition in many fantasy leagues last week, with managers anxious to deploy him against the Indians on Wednesday night. He exceeded all expectations. Ryan carried a bid for a perfect game into the seventh inning, where Amed Rosario’s one-out ground ball single gave the Indians their first baserunner. That would be the only runner against him in seven dazzling innings. The right-hander struck out four in the game and didn’t walk a batter. He fired 61 of his 85 pitches for strikes, generating seven swings and misses while posting a CSW of 27 percent.

Through two starts he now boasts a 2.25 ERA, 0.42 WHIP and 9/1 K/BB ratio across 12 innings of work. He’s set to take on these same Indians in Minnesota next week, making him a tremendous streaming option wherever he may be available. He’s currently rostered in a staggeringly-low 16 percent of all Yahoo leagues.

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Starting Pitchers with an EDGE

Sandy Alcantara – 9 IP, 1 ER, 4 H, 1 BB, 14 K, 37% CSW, 27 swinging strikes

Alcantara delivered the finest start in his young career on Wednesday, racking up a career-high 14 strikeouts over nine brilliant innings of one-run baseball. The flame-throwing right-hander touched as high as 101.5 mph with his fastball in this magnificent effort. Unfortunately for the Marlins and fantasy managers, the Marlins were unable to provide the requisite run support for him to earn a victory. Alcantara generated a whopping 27 swinging strikes in the contest on his way to a 37% CSW. For the season, the 26-year-old hurler now boasts a 3.24 ERA, 1.10 WHIP and 178/48 K/BB ratio over 178 2/3 innings in 29 starts.

Nathan Eovaldi – 7 IP, 0 ER, 3 H, 2 BB, 8 K, 32% CSW, 20 swinging strikes

Eovaldi hurled one of his finest games of the 2021 season on Wednesday night, racking up eight strikeouts over seven shutout innings against a tough Rays lineup, but unfortunately the Red Sox offense couldn’t score him a single run while he was in the game and he was denied a well-deserved victory. Of the 20 swinging strikes that he generated, just one came on his fastball while eight came on his majestic curveball. He has been a rock-solid option for the Red Sox and fantasy managers alike this season, compiling a 3.57 ERA, 1.15 WHIP and 171/30 K/BB ratio over 163 2/3 innings through 28 starts.

Frankie Montas – 7 IP, 1 ER, 6 H, 2 BB, 7 K, 29% CSW, 15 swinging strikes

Frankie Montas pitched the Athletics to a much-needed victory over the White Sox on Wednesday night, allowing just one run on six hits over seven strong innings of work. He generated 15 swinging strikes in the contest, including six each on his fastball and splitter. The 28-year-old hurler has been locked in since the All-Star break, with a 2.26 ERA and 76/19 K/BB ratio over 63 2/3 innings over 10 starts since the Mid-Summer Classic.

Yu Darvish – 6 IP, 1 ER, 3 H, 1 BB, 7 K, 31% CSW, 12 swinging strikes

Now this is the version of Yu Darvish that Padres fans and fantasy managers have been clamoring for. Darvish dominated the Angels in this one, allowing just one run over six strong innings. In a brutal second half that has been plagued by injuries, Darvish had posted a horrifying 7.57 ERA over 44 innings in his last nine starts dating back to July 3. This was just the third time in his last 10 outings that he allowed fewer than four earned runs. Hopefully this is a sign of things to come over the final 3 1/2 weeks of the regular season.

Hitters with an EDGE

Miguel Cabrera – 4-for-4, 2B, 3 RBI

The 38-year-old notched his first four-hit game since April of 2019. It followed a three-hit night on Tuesday, raising his season average from .248 to .261 in the process. Cabrera had run-scoring hits in the first, third and fifth innings, driving in the Tigers first three runs in a victory over the Pirates. He has already checked the 500 home run milestone off of his list this season, perhaps this late-season surge will allow him to also challenge for his 3,000th career hit. He’s now just 29 hits shy of the hallowed total with 21 games remaining. For the season, he’s slashing .261/.326/.404 with 15 homers and 66 RBI in 112 games.

Andrew Benintendi – 3-for-5, HR (13), 2B, 5 RBI, R

Benintendi had a monster night at the plate in a losing effort against the Orioles, clubbing a three-run homer off of Dillon Tate in the ninth inning to pull them to within a run, but that’s where their comeback effort would fall short. He also had an RBI single in the first and plated a run with a fielder’s choice in the third inning. He has had a nice bounceback season, slashing .256/.302/.412 with 13 long balls, 51 RBI and eight stolen bases (in 16 attempts) over 111 ballgames.

Vladimir Guerrero Jr. – 2-for-4, HR (41), RBI, R

Guerrero Jr. pulverized an Aroldis Chapman fastball for a 398-foot solo homer in the ninth inning on Wednesday, helping to lead the Jays to victory over the Yankees. The blast had a monstrous exit velocity of 114.3 mph. It was his 41st home run of the season, putting him just two long balls behind Shohei Ohtani (and one behind Salvador Perez) for the major league lead. His 99 RBI on the season rank fourth in baseball behind only Perez, Jose Abreu and Rafael Devers. He has provided that massive power while slashing a robust .320/.411/.605 in what has been an unbelievable season for the 22-year-old slugger.

EDGE Priority Pickup

Bobby Dalbec, 1B/3B, Boston Red Sox — Available in 67% of Yahoo fantasy leagues.

Dalbec has been a disappointment for the majority of the 2021 season, but he has been sizzling at the plate over the last two weeks in an attempt to rectify that. Over his last 12 games, he’s hitting .341 (14-for-41) with six homers and 17 RBI — raising his season-long average from .229 to .242 in the process. He’s now got 20 homers and 69 RBI in 395 plate appearances on the season. He finds himself in the Red Sox lineup on a near nightly basis and comes with two positions of eligibility. Fantasy managers should ride the hot streak for the remainder of the season — or at least until he shows signs of cooling down.

Closing Time

Tyler Wells vs. Royals – 1/3 IP, 0 ER, 0 H, 0 BB, 0 K (2nd save)

Wells was summoned to protect a one-run lead in the ninth inning after Andrew Benintendi had blasted a three-run shot to make things close. Both of his saves on the season have come in the last four contests and it looks like he may be establishing himself as the team’s primary option in the ninth inning.

Jordan Romano vs. Yankees – 1 IP, 0 ER, 0 H, 0 BB, 1 K (16th save)

On the day that Julian Merryweather made his long-awaited return to the Blue Jays bullpen, Romano made sure to assert himself as the Alpha in the ninth inning with a perfect inning to protect a three-run lead against the Yankees. He’s now up to 16 saves on the season to complement his 2.50 ERA, 1.09 WHIP and a 72/20 K/BB ratio over 54 innings of work. He should continue to dominate the save chances for the Jays from here on out.

Hansel Robles vs. Rays – 1 IP, 0 ER, 1 H, 0 BB, 2 K (12th save)

After incumbent closer Adam Ottavino had given up runs in each of his last two outings, Red Sox skipper Alex Cora elected to mix things up on Wednesday night and called upon Hansel Robles to protect a one-run lead in the ninth inning. The 31-year-old hurler was up to the task, striking out a pair in a scoreless inning to record his 12th save of the season. He owns a troublesome 5.34 ERA and 1.52 WHIP over 58 2/3 innings on the season, but has had success in the ninth inning before and could continue to see his name called in save situations. The best bet here is probably a committee with Ottavino and Matt Barnes once he returns from the injured list.

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Thursday’s Matchup of the Day

Ranger Suarez (PHI) vs. Antonio Senzatela (COL)

It’s another short day on the MLB schedule with just eight games on tap for Thursday. The matchup that intrigues me the most on this slate is in Philadelphia where Ranger Suarez will do battle against Antonio Senzatela.

Suarez has made the unorthodox in-season conversion from closer to starting rotation look absolutely seamless. In seven starts since joining the rotation he boasts a 1.71 ERA, 1.24 WHIP and 30/15 K/BB ratio over 31 2/3 innings of work. He appears to be getting stronger as he goes too, as he delivered his best start of the season his last time out with seven strikeouts over five shutout innings against the Marlins.

On the other side of the diamond, Antonio Senzatela has once again been logging quality innings for the Rockies. Through his first 23 starts on the season he owns a 4.11 ERA, 1.31 WHIP and 90/27 K/BB ratio over 132 innings. Not terrible when playing half of your games at Coors Field. He has been even better of late though, with a 3.36 ERA across 61 2/3 innings in his last 10 outings dating back to June 18.

The right-hander has faced the Phillies one time this season, allowing four runs on five hits over five innings in a no-decision in Colorado back on April 24.

Given the tremendous success that Suarez has had this season and the Rockies struggles to score runs away from Coors Field, it’s no surprise to see the Phillies installed as -190 favorites in this one.

American League Quick Hits: The Rays placed Randy Arozarena on the paternity leave list, he’s expected to miss the entire weekend series against the Tigers in Detroit. … Eloy Jimenez (knee) was held out of the White Sox lineup on Wednesday. He’s dealing with a significant bone bruise after he was smoked by a foul ball in the dugout on Tuesday. … Ji-Man Choi (hamstring) returned from the injured list on Wednesday. … Jake Rogers underwent successful Tommy John surgery on Wednesday. … The Blue Jays activated Julian Merryweather from the 60-day IL. … Matt Manning was removed from Wednesday’s start against the Pirates with a left knee contusion. … Miguel Sano clubbed his 25th home run of the season as the Twins defeated the Indians. … Triston McKenzie struck out seven over six innings of one-run ball in a tough-luck loss to the Twins. … Robbie Grossman went 4-for-5 with a homer and three runs scored as the Tigers topped the Pirates. … Josh Lowe singled, walked and stole a base in two plate appearances in his big league debut against the Red Sox on Wednesday. … Hunter Renfroe crushed a two-run homer and notched a pair of outfield assists, propelling the Red Sox past the Rays. … Nate Lowe went 3-for-5 with a double, triple and three runs scored as the Rangers dispatched of the Diamondbacks. … Brett Gardner slugged a three-run homer in a losing effort against the Blue Jays. … Luis Gil issued seven walks over 3 1/3 innings of three-run ball in a no-decision against the Jays. … Dallas Keuchel surrendered five runs on eight hits over 5 2/3 innings in a loss to the Athletics. … Salvador Perez slugged his 42nd home run of the season as the Royals fell to the Orioles. … Whit Merrifield went 3-for-5 and swiped his 40th base of the year in that defeat. … Ryan Mountcastle slugged a two-run homer as part of a nine-run rally in the eighth inning to beat the Royals. … Matt Chapman smacked his 25th long ball as the Athletics beat the White Sox.

National League Quick Hits: Phillies right-hander Zach Eflin will undergo surgery on Friday to repair his right patellar tendon. The expected recovery time is six-to-eight months, which could impact his availability for the start of the 2022 season. … Jesus Aguilar landed on the 10-day injured list with left knee inflammation. … The Rockies recalled infield prospect Colton Welker from Triple-A Albuquerque. … Johnny Cueto (elbow) is not expected to resume throwing for at least the next 10 days. … Wilmer Flores (hamstring) could rejoin the Giants as early as Sunday. … Keibert Ruiz (knee) returned to the Nationals lineup on Wednesday. … Tony Gonsolin (shoulder) is expected to be activated from the injured list on Thursday. … Mike Yastrzemski was pulled from Wednesday’s game after fouling a ball off his foot in the eighth inning. … Rich Hill punched out eight over six innings of one-run baseball in a no-decision against the Marlins. … Bryan De La Cruz went 3-for-4 and delivered a walk-off hit as the Marlins edged the Mets in 10 innings. … Max Muncy clubbed his 31st home run in a losing effort against the Cardinals. … Jake McGee closed out the Rockies to earn his 30th save of the season. … Yadier Molina reached base three times and smacked a two-run homer as the Cardinals defeated the Dodgers. … Adam Wainwright allowed four runs over 8 1/3 innings in that one to earn his 15th victory of the season. … Joey Votto swatted his 29th home run in a loss to the Cubs. … Jason Heyward slugged a walk-off three-run homer in the 10th inning to beat the Reds. … Juan Soto crushed a go-ahead solo homer in the seventh inning on Wednesday, powering the Nationals past the Braves. … Bryce Harper belted his 29th homer in a loss to the Brewers. … Eduardo Escobar smacked a go-ahead home run in the sixth inning to lead the Brewers past the Phillies… Adam Frazier doubled and drove in three runs on Wednesday as the Padres topped the Angels.