Fantasy Baseball Roundup: Fernando Tatis Jr. returns with two bangs

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Prior to Sunday, Fernando Tatis Jr. hadn’t played in a game since July 30 — after another trip to the injured list with left shoulder inflammation. There were rumblings at the time, as there were earlier in the year, that the 22-year-old superstar could require season-ending surgery.

We all recall how Tatis Jr. returned to the Padres lineup the last time, after landing on the injured list with the shoulder injury. If you don’t recall, I’ll refresh your memory. On May 19, Tatis Jr. was activated from the injured list and returned to the Padres lineup. In that game against the Rockies he went 4-for-4 with two doubles, a home run, a stolen base and two RBI — leading the Padres to a 3-0 victory.

It appears he had more fireworks in store for his return on Sunday. Starting in right field for the first time in his career, Tatis Jr. opened the game with a leadoff double off of Diamondbacks right-hander Zac Gallen. In his next at-bat, he crushed a Gallen slider 416 feet to left field (with an exit velocity of 105 mph) for his 32nd home run of the season. Now that’s returning with a bang.

He wasn’t finished though. In his third at-bat of the afternoon, he tattooed a Gallen changeup 382 feet to left field (exit velocity of 92.9 mph) for his second long ball of the game and 33rd of the season. That blast gave the Padres a 2-1 lead in the fifth inning — a lead they would never relinquish.

After grounding into a fielder’s choice in his fourth at-bat, Tatis Jr. delivered a two-run single in the eighth inning and ultimately came around to score on a wild pitch. He finished the night 4-for-5 with three runs scored and four RBI. 

Tatis Jr. has now blasted 33 home runs in just 88 games this season. According to Sarah Langs of MLB.com, that’s the most by any player age-22 or younger in his first 88 games of any season in MLB history — surpassing Joe DiMaggio who had 32 in 1937. Remarkable.

For the season, he’s now slashing a monstrous .298/.378/.671 with 33 homers, 74 RBI and 23 stolen bases. Despite a couple of stints on the injured list, Tatis Jr. still leads the National League in both home runs and stolen bases on the season.

If the Padres are going to salvage their season and hang on to a wild card spot, they’ll need their superstar to continue performing like he did on Sunday afternoon.

Starting Pitchers with an EDGE

Triston McKenzie – 8 IP, 0 ER, 1 H, 0 BB, 11 K, 34% CSW, 21 swinging strikes

The Indians right-hander flirted with a perfect game in this one, retiring the first 23 batters he faced before Harold Castro lined a two-out single into right field in the eighth inning. Still, it was an unbelievable effort for the 24-year-old right-hander who struck out a career-high 11 batters in the game. Of the 21 swinging strikes that he generated, eight each came on his fastball and curveball, while five came on his slider. He still owns a bloated 5.12 ERA and 1.21 WHIP on the season, but this doesn’t look like the same pitcher that struggled with his command early in the season.

Reid Detmers – 6 IP, 1 ER, 3 H, 2 BB, 6 K, 30% CSW, 7 swinging strikes

After struggling through his first two big league starts, the 22-year-old southpaw picked up his first victory on Sunday, limiting the Astros to just one run on three hits across six innings. The only blemish on his afternoon was a solo home run by Michael Brantley. Perhaps this is a sign of things to come, and with a matchup against the Indians on tap for next weekend, he’s worth a look as a streaming option.

Eduardo Rodriguez – 6 IP, 0 ER, 3 H, 3 BB, 6 K, 31% CSW, 13 swinging strikes

The inconsistent left-hander was terrific in Sunday’s victory over the Orioles, allowing just three hits over six scoreless innings. He generated 13 swings and misses in the contest — nine of them on his fastball — while registering a solid CSW of 31 percent. For the season though, he sports a disappointing 4.97 ERA and 1.36 WHIP over 116 innings in 23 starts.

Hitters with an EDGE

Teoscar Hernandez – 3-for-4, HR (20), RBI, 2 R, SB (8)

Maybe it’s just me, but I feel like people aren’t talking enough about what an outstanding season Teoscar Hernandez is having. After delivering a combo meal in a three-hit attack in Sunday’s victory over the Mariners, Hernandez has now hit safely in eight straight games and has five three-hit efforts in his last 14 games. For the season, he’s now slashing an absurd .313/.355/.526 with 20 long balls, 81 RBI and eight swipes.

DJ Peters – 2-for-4, 2 HR (4), 2 R, 4 RBI

Peters made his first career start in the cleanup spot of the batting order on Sunday and that must have made him believe he was a power hitter, because he crushed a pair of home runs and drove in four to lead the Rangers past the Athletics. The 25-year-old now has three homers in his last three games and the Rangers have every incentive to see what they have in him, which could make him an interesting option in deep mixed leagues down the stretch.

Max Muncy – 2-for-4, 2 HR (25), 2 R, 4 RBI

Max Muncy had another monster day at the dish as the Dodgers walloped Carlos Carrasco and the Mets on Sunday night. He got things started with a 420-foot two-run shot off of Carrasco in the second inning that extended the Dodgers advantage to 6-0. He then added on an additional two-run blast off of Yennsy Diaz in the sixth inning —this one 408 feet — making it a 9-2 ballgame. He’s now slashing .272/.401/.550 with 25 dingers and 69 RBI on the season.

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EDGE Priority Pickup

Elieser Hernandez, SP, Miami Marlins — Available in 52% of Yahoo fantasy leagues.

Elieser Hernandez returned to the Marlins starting rotation on Sunday after missing 10 weeks with a strained quad and pitched extremely well against the Cubs, allowing just one run on four hits over 5 1/3 innings of work. The right-hander owns a 2.84 ERA and 0.79 WHIP in his limited action this season and looks like he could be a difference maker over the final six weeks of the season.

Closing Time

Mychal Givens vs. Phillies – 1 1/3 IP, 0 ER, 0 H, 1 BB, 2 K (3rd save)

If there were still any lingering doubts over who the Reds current closer is, Givens seemingly put those to rest on Sunday. There had been concern that Lucas Sims would re-establish himself in that role, but Sims was utilized in the fifth and sixth inning on Sunday to get out of a sticky situation. Givens was then summoned to bail out Luis Cessa in the eighth inning as the Phillies had scored a run and had the tying run at the plate, and he responded by getting Jean Segura to fly out to end the threat. He returned for the ninth inning where he allowed a one-out walk to Bryce Harper but retired the other three hitters that he faced — two of them via strikeout. If he remains unrostered in any mixed leagues, don’t hesitate to snatch him up as he appears to be locked into the role for the time being.

Joe Barlow vs. Athletics – 1 IP, 0 ER, 1 H, 1 BB, 0 K (2nd save)

The era of Spencer Patton closing for the Rangers appears to have ended as quickly as it started, as Barlow locked down his second straight attempt on Sunday. That came after Patton had allowed a run in the eighth inning to make it a save situation. It wasn’t a clean inning for Barlow — as he allowed a two-out single to Jed Lowrie and then walked Mark Canha to bring the tying run to the dish — but he escaped by retiring Starling Marte to end the game. Barlow owns a sparkling 0.61 ERA, 0.82 WHIP and an 18/7 K/BB ratio across 14 2/3 innings on the season.

Dylan Floro vs. Cubs – 1 IP, 0 ER, 1 H, 1 BB, 2 K (5th save)

There could have been a bit of a closer controversy in Miami after Dylan Floro blew a save chance on Saturday night, only to see Anthony Bender come in and work a scoreless inning to earn a save in the 10th. Marlins skipper Don Mattingly went right back to Floro on Sunday afternoon and his faith was rewarded with a scoreless inning to close out the Cubs. It looks like Mattingly prefers Bender in more of a versatile role with Floro seeing the bulk of his time in the ninth inning.

Monday’s Matchup of the Day

Jose Suarez (LAA) vs. Gerrit Cole (NYY)

Gerrit Cole makes his highly anticipated return to the Yankees rotation on Monday against the Angels after missing a couple of weeks due to COVID-19. The 30-year-old hurler hasn’t pitched since July 29 when he gave up seven earned runs in 5 1/3 innings in a loss to the Rays.

Through 21 starts on the season though, he still sports a strong 3.11 ERA, 0.99 WHIP and 176/28 K/BB ratio across 130 1/3 innings. He’ll enter this one in strong position to earn his 11th victory of the season as a -250 favorite against the Angels.

On the other side, Jose Suarez has struggled since joining the Angels rotation. The 23-year-old southpaw has posted a 5.79 ERA and 1.39 WHIP over 28 innings in six starts after excelling out of the bullpen. He’ll have his work cut out for him against a strong and revamped Yankees lineup. Suarez has pitched well in one outing against the Yankees this season, allowing just one run on two hits across 5 1/3 innings of relief back on June 28.

American League Quick Hits: Adalberto Mondesi has been shut down on his rehab assignment after experiencing renewed tightness in his injured oblique… Leury Garcia landed on the seven-day concussion injured list on Sunday. … The Red Sox claimed Travis Shaw off of waivers from the Brewers. … The Angels designated outfielder Adam Eaton for assignment. … Jose Ramirez homered and drove in three runs in a lopsided victory over the Tigers. … Adam Ottavino left Sunday’s game with a left shoulder contusion. He’s considered day-to-day. … Willians Astudillo was lifted from Sunday’s game against the Rays after being hit in the foot by a pitch. … The Tigers promoted their top two prospects — Spencer Torkelson and Riley Greene — to Triple-A Toledo, though neither is expected to see time in the big leagues this season. … J.D. Martinez crushed a three-run homer, powering the Red Sox past the Orioles. … Sean Manaea was blasted for seven runs over five innings in a loss to the Rangers… Kris Bubic was destroyed in a loss to the Cardinals, giving up seven runs over 1 1/3 innings. … Salvador Perez crushed his 30th homer in a loss to the Cardinals. … Josh Donaldson doubled and drove in three runs as the Twins beat the Rays. … Nestor Cortes struck out seven over six innings of one-run baseball in a victory over the White Sox. … Luke Voit went 3-for-5 with a homer to lead the Yankees to that victory. … Lance McCullers struck out eight in a tough-luck loss against the Angels. … Steven Matz allowed just one unearned run over five innings in a victory over the Mariners.

National League Quick Hits: Nationals right-hander Joe Ross was diagnosed with forearm tightness and a partially-torn UCL and will miss the remainder of the 2021 season. … Yu Darvish was placed on the 10-day injured list due to lower back tightness. … Mets manager Luis Rojas indicated that Francisco Lindor (oblique) could return following the team’s upcoming West Coast trip. … Jesse Winker was removed from Sunday’s game after aggravating his intercostal strain. … Reds activated Nick Senzel from the 10-day injured list and optioned him to Triple-A Louisville. … The Pirates placed Bryse Wilson on the 10-day injured list with general soreness, Dillon Peters will fill his void in the rotation for the time being. … The Pirates are expected to sign Yoshi Tsutsugo on Monday. … The Cubs activated Jason Heyward from the 10-day injured list. … Willy Adames singled, stole a base and scored twice as the Brewers topped the Pirates. … Jesus Aguilar blasted a two-run homer as the Marlins defeated the Cubs on Sunday. … Jonathan India went 3-for-5 and swatted his 15th home run as the Reds triumphed over the Phillies. … J.A. Happ fired 5 2/3 scoreless innings in a victory over the Royals. … Nolan Arenado homered and drove in three runs as the Cardinals swept the Royals. … Alex Wood struck out six over 6 2/3 innings of two-run ball in a victory over the Rockies. … Josh Rojas went 3-for-4 with a double, homer and two runs scored in a loss to the Padres…Austin Riley belted his 25th home run in a victory over the Nationals. … Max Scherzer fanned seven over six innings of two-run baseball in a victory over the Mets. … Trea Turner went 3-for-4 with a double, RBI and four runs scored to lead the charge in that one.