The baseball community came together on Monday afternoon to mourn the tragic loss of Tyler Skaggs, who passed away unexpectedly in his Texas hotel room just hours before the Angels were scheduled to face the Rangers. He was 27 years old. A cause of death has not been made public at this time. According to a statement from the Southlake Police Department, he was found unresponsive and pronounced deceased at the scene. No foul play is suspected and the investigation is ongoing. “Tyler has, and always will be, an important part of the Angels Family,” the Angels said in a statement. “Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife Carli and his entire family during this devastating time.” Monday’s game between the Angels and Rangers was postponed and will be made up in August, with the exact specifics yet to be announced. The two teams are scheduled to begin a three-game series at Globe Life Park on Tuesday.
Skaggs attended Santa Monica High School in California and was selected by the Angels with the 40th overall selection in the 2009 MLB Draft, just 15 picks after they took a New Jersey outfielder named Mike Trout. The talented left-hander was traded to the Diamondbacks in 2010 and later re-acquired by the Angels via trade prior to the 2014 campaign. He spent the vast majority of his 10-year professional career with Los Angeles. Our heartfelt sympathies and deepest condolences go out to the Skaggs family and the entire Angels organization.
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Eovaldi Converting To Closer
According to Tom Caron of NESN, the Red Sox plan to use right-hander Nathan Eovaldi as their closer once he returns from the injured list. The 29-year-old right-hander has been sidelined since mid-April after undergoing surgery to remove loose bodies from his elbow and subsequently experiencing soreness in his right biceps during his rehab. From a fantasy perspective, the unexpected transition immediately boosts his fantasy stock, as he profiles as a potential upper-echelon closer. However, the greatly diminished workload as a reliever opposed to a starter, caps his realistic upside over the remainder of the 2019 campaign. It was his versatility that drove the Red Sox to acquire him prior to the trade deadline last July. Not only did he excel as a member of their starting rotation, but he was also extremely effective when called upon to serve as a relief ace during their World Series run last fall. The Red Sox bullpen has been among the worst in baseball, posting a 4.37 ERA and blowing 17 saves, second only to the Mets (21 blown saves) this season. Clearly, they felt the need to do something drastic to shore it up prior to the trade deadline later this month. Eovaldi needs to be owned immediately in all fantasy formats.
Ring The Bell
With only five games on tap, Monday’s condensed docket represented one of the lighter days of the entire 2019 season. Therefore, it’s only fitting that the Pirates single-handedly supplied enough offense to compensate for the lack of a full-slate. On the heels of being named to his first All-Star team, Josh Bell went 4-for-6 with three home runs and a career-high seven RBI to power the Pirates to an 18-5 blowout win over the Cubs on Monday. He took Cubs rookie starter Adbert Alzolay twice in the early stages of the contest, launching a three-run homer to right-center field in the opening frame and smacking a two-run dinger to right in the ensuing frame. He capped off the first three-homer game of his career with a two-run laser to right-center field off Craig Kimbrel in the eighth. The 26-year-old slugger has blossomed into a true four-category fantasy monster, posting a sublime .308/.381/.654 triple-slash line with 65 runs scored, 25 home runs and 77 RBI across 362 plate appearances. He has a realistic shot at eclipsing the 40-homer plateau this season.
Bell may have spearheaded the Pirates offensive explosion, but he had plenty of help from his teammates in this one. Adam Frazier went 5-for-6 with four doubles and three runs and Colin Moran finished 5-for-5 with a pair of doubles and two RBI in the lopsided victory. Meanwhile, the Cubs pitching staff was battered for 23 hits, including five home runs. Alzolay, who had been sensational in his first two major-league appearances, was lit up for seven runs on 10 hits and lasted just 2 2/3 innings. Kimbrel was tagged for three runs on three hits, including a homer, in his lone inning of work. The bitter rivals will continue their pivotal four-game series on Tuesday with Pittsburgh trailing Milwaukee by five games for the division lead and the Cubs by four games for a Wild Card spot.
Rays two-way rookie sensation Brendan McKay went 0-for-4 in his first start as a designated hitter against the Orioles on Monday. The 23-year-old is unlikely to garner significant playing time for the Rays as a hitter on days when he isn’t pitching, but there is clearly some life in his bat, which makes him an extremely intriguing fantasy asset. He really struggled with the bat at the Double-A level, but was impressive at Triple-A Durham, posting a .265/.400/.551 triple-slash line with four home runs in 60 plate appearances prior to his promotion. Clearly, there is some talent here, but it may take a while for his bat to catch up to his arm. McKay was sensational in his major-league debut on the mound, firing six shutout innings with three strikeouts and one walk against the Rangers last Saturday. He’ll make his next start against the division-rival Yankees on Friday. He needs to be owned in all fantasy formats.
AL Quick Hits: Jon Morosi of MLB Network reports that the Astros have interest in acquiring Matthew Boyd from the Tigers. … Freddy Galvis went 3-for-4 with two homers and a double in the Blue Jays’ blowout win over the Royals. … Cavan Biggio went 3-for-5 with a run scored and four RBI in that victory. … Kevin Kiermaier went 2-for-4 with a three-run homer to lift the Rays to a win over the Orioles. … Jose Alvarado pitched a scoreless ninth to earn his first save since coming off the restricted list in that contest. … Rays manager Kevin Cash told reporters on Monday that the hope is that Diego Castillo (shoulder) will be activated from the injured list on Friday. … Dylan Bundy's next scheduled start has been pushed back to Friday against the Blue Jays. … Astros right-handed pitching prospect Jose Urquidy will start Tuesday's game against the Rockies. … Rangers designated Shelby Miller for assignment. … Orioles acquired Asher Wojciechowski from the Indians for cash considerations. He’ll start on Tuesday against the Rays. … Royals released Brad Boxberger.
NL Quick Hits: The Phillies have moved Aaron Nola's next start up from Wednesday to Tuesday. … Pirates general manager Neal Huntington said that Chris Archer (hip) might miss his scheduled Wednesday start against the Cubs. He also said that the team is not looking to trade closer Felipe Vazquez. … Hunter Renfroe (illness) returned to the Padres' starting lineup on Monday. … Christian Yelich went 2-for-4 with a homer, walk and three RBI in the Brewers’ win over the Reds … Keston Hiura also chipped in two hits, including a homer and two runs scored in that one … Eugenio Suarez went 3-for-4 with two homers and four RBI in the loss … Jeff Samardzija whiffed six batters over eight innings of two-run ball in the Giants’ lopsided win over the Padres. … Kevin Pillar homered for the second consecutive game in that contest. … Fernando Tatis Jr. swiped his 13th base of the year in the losing effort. … Ender Inciarte (shoulder) will begin a rehab assignment with High-A Florida on Monday. … Giants recalled Austin Slater from Triple-A Sacramento.