Fernando Tatis Jr. required very little time to emerge as a bona fide fantasy dynamo. Through his first 100 big league at-bats, the 20-year-old has hit .300 with six home runs, 14 runs, 13 RBI and six stolen bases — with five of those steals coming in his last eight games. For perspective, the only players with five or more home runs and five or more steals so far are Christian Yelich, Cody Bellinger, Trevor Story, Tim Anderson and Elvis Andrus. That is some very serious company, or in the case of Anderson and Andrus, slightly less serious company.
Unfortunately, Tatis will be stuck on six homers, six steals and exactly 100 AB’s for the near future, as he was placed on the 10-day IL following his ill-fated split on a force play over the weekend. The official prognosis is a left hamstring strain, but as of this writing we don’t know the full extent of the injury or how long he'll be out.
As much as we’d like to see Luis Urias (seven homers at Triple-A; six in the last week), at the moment it’s Ty France getting the starts at third base, with Manny Machado moving over to shortstop while Tatis is out. France (2 percent rostered in Yahoo leagues) is certainly worth watching given that he was hitting .423 with nine home runs through his first 78 at-bats at Triple-A El Paso.
In the meantime, we’ll hope that Tatis Jr.’s IL stint is a short one. The move was retroactive, so the earliest he could get back to destroying box scores is May 9.
Another sizable development from Tuesday is that the Reds are reportedly “contemplating” calling up top prospect Nick Senzel, possibly as soon as Friday. Chances are that means they “will” call up Nick Senzel on Friday. Either way, he’ll be en route to the big leagues soon.
The No. 2 overall pick in 2016, Senzel sustained a right ankle sprain toward end of spring training. Now healthy, he cranked his first homer of the season at Triple-A on Monday, and is hitting .290/.333/.419 through seven games with Louisville, while playing center field. With Scott Schebler struggling (he was hitting .135 through his first 74 at-bats), Senzel is not coming up to sit around. Currently rostered in 55 percent of Yahoo leagues, the 23-year-old has a .313 average and an .898 OPS in 900 at-bats at the minor league level.
Mallex Smith started the season as the Mariners’ leadoff hitter, and a player many fantasy owners were counting on as an explosive source of stolen bases. On Tuesday, Smith and his .165 average (16-for-97) were sent to Triple-A Tacoma.
It’s a stunning turn of events given that Smith was quietly really good last season: a .296/.367/.406 batting line with 40 steals, 27 doubles and a league-leading 10 triples. It would be one thing if the Mariners were replacing him with someone equally or almost as exciting, but they aren’t. It’s Braden Bishop, who has a serviceable .800 OPS with three homers at Triple-A this season, but is still a better fielder than hitter, and doesn’t yet offer much fantasy intrigue in Mallex’s place.
The real fantasy action to take here is to project ahead. Smith (a .287 hitter the last two seasons with Tampa) has been dropped in quite a few leagues — he’s now 51 percent rostered on Yahoo — and makes sense as a stash if you have roster space, patience and a need for stolen bases.
Other significant roster news from Tuesday included Anthony Rendon finally hitting the IL with his left elbow contusion, retroactive to April 27, which means he could return as soon as May 7.
Meanwhile in L.A., A.J. Pollock hit the 10-day IL with a right elbow infection. That would be his surgically repaired right elbow, and Pollock is now set for an exploratory procedure to determine what’s going on. There’s currently no timetable for his return, so fantasy owners looking to capitalize should go get Alex Verdugo (21 percent rostered), who came into Tuesday hitting .333 with four homers and 16 RBI.
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AL Quick Hits: The Rangers plan to discuss Jose Leclerc's "immediate situation" after a rough outing raised his ERA to 8.44. Shawn Kelley could take over as closer if the Rangers remove Leclerc from the role. ... Hansel Robles nailed down a save in a one-run game, and could get more save chances as long as Cody Allen is out. ... Gerrit Cole allowed just one hit in seven scoreless innings while striking out 11 against the Twins, and is now up to 65 K's in 43 1/3 innings. … Eloy Jimenez (high ankle sprain) played catch on Monday and is set to be reevaluated in two weeks. … Asdrubal Cabrera (calf) returned to the Rangers’ lineup and went 1-for-5 with a couple of RBI. … Miguel Andujar (shoulder) and Troy Tulowitzki (calf) were both set to begin rehab assignments on Tuesday with High-A Tampa, with the potential to return later this week. Meanwhile, Aaron Hicks (back) played a simulated game and should be headed for a rehab assignment of his own soon. … Blake Snell’s start got rained out on Tuesday, so he’ll start the second half of a Wednesday doubleheader against the Royals. … Matt Olson is set to begin a rehab assignment on Wednesday. … Andrew Heaney threw a 35-pitch bullpen on Tuesday. … Miguel Sano played his first rehab game. … Kyle Seager (hand) took BP and could return when first eligible in late May. … Shohei Ohtani (elbow) is nearing a return, but won’t travel with the Angels to Mexico this weekend. … DJ LeMahieu (knee) was out of the starting lineup and is day-to-day. … Spencer Turnbull (6 percent rostered) threw six innings of one-run ball against the Phillies, and has allowed just one earned run in his last three starts (spanning 17 innings of work). … Rick Porcello threw eight scoreless innings against the A’s and has a 2.29 ERA over his last three starts. ... Joey Gallo hit home run No. 10 (an absolute missile) and walked three times as his OBP rose to .404. ... Angels prospect Griffin Canning allowed four hits and three runs in 4 1/3 innings with one walk and six strikeouts in his big league debut. ... CC Sabathia became the 17th big league pitcher to record 3,000 strikeouts.
NL Quick Hits: Christian Yelich (back) was out of the lineup again on Tuesday, but is “trending” toward being ready for the weekend. … Josh Donaldson was a late scratch due to right calf soreness, though it’s not the same calf he injured last year, and his absence is considered “precautionary”. … Yoenis Cespedes (heel surgeries) has been biking, throwing and hitting off a tee, but still isn’t running and has no timetable for a return. … Franmil Reyes (33 percent rostered on Yahoo) crushed his seventh and eighth home runs off Julio Teheran. … Justin Turner finally hit his first homer of the season. ... The Pirates activated Starling Marte, who went 1-for-6 with a two-run 11th inning homer — his third. … Odubel Herrera (hamstring) estimated that he’s 5-7 days away from returning. … Robinson Cano (sore hand) was out of the lineup again. … The Marlins optioned Lewis Brinson and his .197 average to Triple-A. … Chris Paddack looked impressive again while allowing two runs in six innings against the Braves. … Ender Inciarte (hamstring) wasn’t in the starting lineup, but did appear as a pinch-hitter and struck out. … Brandon Morrow (elbow) got an injection and won’t throw for another 2-3 weeks. … Addison Russell will be optioned to Triple-A on Thursday. … The Phillies have discussed moving Nick Pivetta (8.35 ERA in the big leagues this season, currently at Triple-A) to a relief role. … Andrew Miller picked up a save with Jordan Hicks unavailable. … Jesus Aguilar homered for the third time in the last two games.