Nick Nelson

Week That Was

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Week That Was: Bruised Apple

Saturday, June 17, 2017


Meet the Mets, meet the Mets, step right up and greet the Mets!

 

That is, if there are any left.

 

An already frustrating season took another tough turn for the Metropolitans this week, with bad news coming in bunches.

 

Matt Harvey, who has been struggling to find his game, was diagnosed with a stress injury to the scapula bone in his right shoulder, and is likely out until at least August. Noah Syndergaard, who was expected to get back on a throwing program in the near future based on his initial timeline, is being shut down for another four weeks as he rehabs a partially torn lat.

 

And in a more unexpected turn of events, second baseman Neil Walker also hit the disabled list after suffering a partial hamstring tear on Wednesday. He, too, figures to be out until after the All Star break. He follows fellow middle infielder Asdrubal Cabrera, who landed on the DL with a thumb sprain earlier in the week.

 

The Mets are already operating without third baseman David Wright and closer Jeurys Familia, who are battling ambiguous shoulder issues.

 

Look for Gavin Cecchini, Jose Reyes and Wilmer Flores to hold down the Mets infield with all the starters sidelined, but there's not much upside to be found in this group.

 

Hopelessly buried in a division where the Nationals are running away, New York is just trying to stay in the wild-card mix and will find it more difficult with key players continuing to drop. On the bright side, Seth Lugo looked great in his season debut last Sunday, firing seven innings of one-run ball.


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* The American League club in New York was not able to escape the injury bug, with CC Sabathia suffering a Grade 2 hamstring strain in Tuesday's start against the Angels. He may miss up to four weeks; Luis Cessa was called up to fill in. It's quite unfortunate because the big lefty was enjoying a bounceback year across numerous categories, providing a stable force in the first-place Yankees rotation.

 

Greg Bird, who was on a rehab stint working back from an ankle injury, fouled a ball into his foot, leading to renewed swelling, so he has been shut down again for the time being. Jacoby Ellsbury, out since May 24th with concussion symptoms, still has no return timetable.

 

The Big Apple is badly bruised right now.

 

* It's not all bad for the Yankees. Sensational slugger Aaron Judge continues to dominate at the plate, with core numbers that are as impressive as his jaw-dropping StatCast measurements. The right fielder went deep four times in three games from Saturday through Monday, and added another bomb on Friday night. Judge now boasts a 1.160 OPS with 23 homers and 52 RBI through 61 games.

 

What. A. Beast.

 

* From the time of his MLB debut, it took Adrian Gonzalez more than 13 years to land on the disabled list. But after returning from that first DL stint, it took less than a month for the second.

 

Gonzalez's back, which caused him problems earlier in the season, locked up on him again last weekend and he was diagnosed with a herniated disc. It's the type of injury that takes a while to get right, so don't expect to see the veteran back anytime soon. In his absence, Cody Bellinger will move to the infield and take over at first base while Chris Taylor looks to become the primary shareholder in left. Taylor, owned in 60 percent of Yahoo leagues, can run and hit for some power, making him well worth an add where he's available.

 

* Heading into the season, Tom Murphy was a popular name in fantasy circles. A bat-first catcher in Colorado with a chance for regular ABs? What's not to like?

 

Unfortunately, a hairline fracture in his right wrist, suffered during spring training, erased much of his first half here in 2017. On Thursday, he finally joined the Rockies lineup, starting at catcher and slotting eighth in the lineup. Murphy had been locked in during a minor-league rehab stint, batting .414 in seven games with Class-AAA Albuquerque.

 

Tony Wolters has done a pretty decent job as Colorado's main option at catcher, posting an excellent .397 OBP in 43 games while receiving the staff well, but Murphy offers much more offensive potential. If you have the roster spot for a stash, or are badly in need of help at catcher, grab the 26-year-old backstop while his ownership remains low.

 

* When Rays pitching prospect Jacob Faria came up to make his big-league debut on June 7th, it looked like it would be a short-term affair, as Matt Andriese was due back in short order. This was unfortunate, because Faria has been exceptional in the minors and hurled 6 1/3 innings of one-run ball against the White Sox in his first start with Tampa.

 

Faria was optioned following his successful outing, but not for long as it turns out. Andriese made it through only one inning his return before heading back to the DL with an aggravation that's expected to sideline him until August. Faria came back to make his second MLB start on Tuesday and was absolutely brilliant. Once again he allowed just one run over 6 1/3, and this time he fanned eight while facing a much tougher opponent: the Blue Jays, in Toronto.

 

The rookie right-hander should stick around for awhile this time and offers a lofty ceiling. Pick him up if you can.

 

* During the offseason, Oakland signed infielder Trevor Plouffe to a one-year, $5.25 million deal. It didn't take half the season for them to decide they had seen enough. On Thursday, the Athletics designated Plouffe for assignment. He hit .214/.276/.357 with seven homers and 14 RBI in 58 games, but has a strong track record against left-handed pitching and caught on quickly with the Rays, who sent cash to acquire him.

 

To replace him on the roster, the A's called up top prospect Matt Chapman, who had a .942 OPS with 16 homers in 48 games at Triple-A. He figures to draw regular starts at third base and his promising power makes him a favorable target in most standard leagues.

 

* Lance McCullers has been a key ingredient in first-place Houston's success up to this point, posting a 2.58 ERA over 13 starts, but for now he joins Dallas Keuchel on the disabled list due to lower back discomfort.

 

It sounds like there's a chance he misses only one start and returns next week. But given their experience with Keuchel, who came back quickly from a neck strain only to get re-injured, the Astros might show additional caution with McCullers. The two starters are a combined 15-1.

 

* With their No. 1 pick in the MLB Draft, the Twins took prep shortstop Royce Lewis in favor of consensus top talent Hunter Greene, who went Cincinnati at No 2. It will be interesting to see how Greene a high school right-hander with triple-digit heat, comes along in the Reds system, but Lewis is an exceptional prospect in his own right. With high-end speed and developing power, he could eventually be a fantasy stud.

 

The names to watch in the short-term are collegiate stars Brendan McKay (Tampa) and Kyle Wright (Atlanta). They're quite polished and could rise quickly.



Nick Nelson is a frequent contributor to Rotoworld's baseball coverage and regularly blogs about the Minnesota Twins at Twins Daily. Follow him on Twitter @NickNelsonMN.
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