The Phillies lost their fifth straight game Monday night in San Diego. They also lost a starting outfielder.
Andrew McCutchen injured his left knee while in a rundown in the first inning and needed to be helped off the field. He will undergo an MRI on Tuesday to determine the severity, but a trip to the injured list is looking very likely and it’s possible the ailment is serious. McCutchen was using crutches to get around after the game and asking for prayers.
McCutchen has been productive from the leadoff spot for the Phillies, putting up a .256/.378/.457 batting line with 10 home runs. He leads the National League and is second to only Mike Trout with 43 walks and he’s tied for sixth in baseball with 45 runs scored.
Losing ‘Cutch for any length of time would be a blow, especially since Philly is already without Odubel Herrera (administrative leave), Roman Quinn (groin) and Dylan Cozens (toe). They also lost Aaron Altherr via waivers last month. The Phillies did just add Jay Bruce to their pool of outfielders, which helps, but he doesn’t play center field and that’s where McCutchen was slated to see most of his playing time with Herrera away.
Adam Haseley will be called up from Triple-A Lehigh Valley on Tuesday in what will be his first stint in the big leagues. The No. 8 overall pick in the 2017 Draft, Haseley has batted .275/.358/.466 with seven home runs, 23 RBI and five steals between Double- and Triple-A this season. He was just promoted to Triple-A last week.
Haseley’s production so far in the minors has been solid but far from eye-popping, and he wasn’t viewed as a top-100 prospect coming into the season. He’s probably not mixed league material even if he gets regular at-bats, at least not at this point.
There’s also Scott Kingery, who is an infielder by trade but who has made eight starts in center field this season. His production has slowed since a red-hot start and IL stint, but the 25-year-old’s power and speed package makes him very appealing in fantasy if the playing time is there.
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Hiura Sent Down, Shaw Activated
Keston Hiura batted cleanup for the Brewers on Sunday. On Monday he found himself back in the minor leagues.
The Brewers elected to send their top prospect back to Triple-A San Antonio in order to make room for Travis Shaw (wrist), who was activated from the injured list. It’s a move that we knew could be coming, but one that raised eyebrows nonetheless. Even president of baseball operations David Stearns knew as much, telling the media “I imagine this is going to provoke some questions.”
The reason there are questions is because it’s hard to see how this makes the Brewers’ roster better given the performances of Hiura and Shaw this season. Hiura has put up a .281/.333/.531 batting line with five home runs over 69 plate appearances, while Shaw was awful before getting hurt with a .163/.266/.281 line and four homers in 154 plate appearances.
Hiura did have a 33.3 percent strikeout rate and just a 4.3 percent walk rate, so it wasn’t all smooth sailing for the rookie in his first stint in the majors. The strikeout rate was down to 22.2 percent this past week, though, when Hiura slugged three homers in six games.
Shaw hit 30 home runs both in 2017 and 2018, and the Brewers obviously hope he can rediscover some of that. He batted just .235/.357/.324 with one home run over 10 rehab games, but Stearns said the infielder “was experimenting with some different mechanical techniques” and “probably over the last three or four games, we felt like he got himself into a good spot.” Shaw will resume third base duties, with Mike Moustakas moving back to second.
Stearns essentially confirmed that Shaw’s leash will be short, saying that “Travis is going to need to perform, and he understands that.” Whether Hiura owners should hang on to him really just depends on the depth of the league. Ideally, you’d be able to stash him, as he’ll probably get another shot this season and can be a difference-maker with regular at-bats.
Draft Hitter-Heavy up Top
The word on this year’s MLB Draft crop was that it was heavy on hitters and light on pitching. Teams evidently shared that sentiment, at least in the early going, as the first six picks were all position players for the first time in Draft history.
The first three picks had seemed pretty well locked in, and they played out as expected with the Orioles taking catcher Adley Rutschman, the Royals going with shortstop Bobby Witt Jr. and the White Sox tapping first baseman Andrew Vaughn.
All three players have the potential to be fantasy difference makers. Rutschman has an excellent bat for anyone, let alone a catcher, and since he’s also a plus defender he could move quickly. Witt will take more time since he’s coming out of high school, but he’s a potential five-tool stud. It’s rare that a short-right-handed hitting first baseman gets picked early, but that’s how special Vaughn’s bat is. Outfielder JJ Bleday, outfielder Riley Greene and shortstop CJ Abrams were the other three of the aforementioned six position players.
Our resident prospect guru Christopher Crawford did blurbs for all 32 first-round picks, plus nine more for the compensation and competitive balance selections. Be sure to check those out so that you can identify your next dynasty league target.
National League Quick Hits: Walker Buehler dominated the Diamondbacks for eight innings, allowing one run and striking out 11, in a victory Monday. … Manny Machado belted a grand slam in Monday’s win over the Phillies. … Jon Lester limited the Angels to one run over seven frames in the Cubs' victory on Monday. … Los Angeles city prosecutors will not file misdemeanor charges against Julio Urias related to a domestic violence arrest. … Javier Baez homered and drove in three runs in the Cubs' win over the Angels on Monday. … David Peralta (shoulder) was activated from the injured list Monday and went 0-for-4 against the Dodgers in his return to action. … Justin Turner (hamstring) singled twice and scored a run in his return to the lineup Monday.
American League Quick Hits: Hunter Dozier (chest) was placed on the injured list on Monday. The hope is that he will be ready to go when his 10 days are up. … Nelson Cruz (wrist) was activated from the injured list on Monday and will return to the Twins’ lineup Tuesday. … Wade LeBlanc held the Astros to one run over eight innings but took a no-decision Monday. … Dee Gordon (wrist) could begin a rehab assignment later this week. … Jon Jay (groin) began a minor league rehab assignment Monday.