Is there anyone hotter than Brewers outfielder Christian Yelich right now? Less than 24 hours after recording his first career multi-homer game, the 26-year-old burgeoning superstar hit for the cycle to lead the Brewers to a 13-12 win over the Reds in extra-innings on Wednesday. He went 6-for-6 -- notching the third six-hit effort in the major leagues this season --- with a two-run homer, his 26th of the year. He’s slugged an astounding eight home runs in his last 10 games. Last season, he managed 18 total in 156 games in Miami. Yelich has already surpassed his previous career-high (21 homers), established back in 2016. He’s hitting an absurd .372 (58-for-156) with 33 runs scored, 15 round-trippers, 32 RBI and a pair of stolen bases in 36 games since the All-Star break.
Yelich has blossomed into a full-fledged five-category fantasy superstar in his first year with Milwaukee. Not only is he hitting .319 in 524 plate appearances, but he’s on pace to eclipse 30-homers and has also chipped in 14 stolen bases for good measure. To put those numbers in context for a moment. According to the Baseball-Reference Play Index, only nine hitters since 2010 have recorded a .300 batting average while topping 30 homers and 15 steals in a single campaign. Mike Trout, Paul Goldschmidt and Ryan Braun are the only ones to accomplish the feat multiple times. It was reasonable to expect Yelich to take a modest step forward in the power department moving to Miller Park, but I’m not sure any reasonable fantasy owners could have forecast his evolution into one of the most dynamic power and speed threats of the last decade virtually overnight.
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Deal or No Deal?
According to multiple reports, the Blue Jays are expected to place veteran third baseman Josh Donaldson -- who has roughly $4 million remaining on his expiring contract -- on revocable trade waivers with the intent of trading the 32-year-old impending free agent before Friday’s waiver trade deadline. The former American League MVP hasn’t appeared in a major-league game since May 28 due to a calf injury. He kicked off a minor-league rehab assignment, going 1-for-2 with an RBI and a walk at High-A Dunedin on Tuesday. According to Shi Davidi of Sportsnet, he was held out of the lineup on Wednesday because of soreness in his calves and legs. The central question here is whether a contender should even consider dealing for him given all of his medical red flags. There’s no doubt concerning the Blue Jays’ strong desire to move him before August 31, but he hasn’t even been healthy enough to showcase for other teams on his current rehab stint. It’s a bizarre situation that will be resolved within the next 24 to 48 hours.
Price Exits Early, Avoids Serious Injury
The Red Sox postseason aspirations flashed before their eyes momentarily when David Price was struck on the left wrist by a 102-mph line drive off the bat of Austin Dean and forced to exit Wednesday’s 14-6 comeback win over the Marlins after only three innings. However, it appears the veteran southpaw somehow avoided major injury. He was diagnosed with a wrist contusion and x-rays came back negative. If he can manage the swelling, he should be able to avoid a trip to the disabled list. Price told reporters after the game that he fully expects to make his next scheduled start in Atlanta on Monday.
The Red Sox own an American League-leading 92-42 record, and remain 7 1/2 games ahead of the Yankees in the American League East race, despite a rash of significant injuries to their starting rotation. Eduardo Rodriguez is slated to return to the rotation on Saturday, but their ace Chris Sale remains sidelined. The 29-year-old southpaw threw on flat ground for the third consecutive day Wednesday, but there’s still no timetable for his return. He’s been out since August 15 because of shoulder inflammation. It’s been Price who has admirably filled the gaping void in recent weeks. The 33-year-old left-hander is 4-0 with a 1.62 ERA and 43/7 K/BB ratio in seven starts since the All-Star break. It appears that the Red Sox dodged a bullet. They simply can’t afford to lose Price for an extended stretch at this stage in the year.
Pujols Undergoes Season-Ending Surgery
Veteran slugger Albert Pujols underwent arthroscopic surgery on his left knee on Wednesday and will miss the remainder of the 2018 season. The news came as a bit of a shock considering that he was playing regularly and started the Angels last game on Tuesday. The 38-year-old bounced back admirably from a horrific 2017 campaign, hitting .245 with 19 homers and 64 RBI in 117 games this year, but he’s no longer a viable mixed league option at first base. He's still owed $87 million over the next three years. From a fantasy perspective, the future Hall of Famers’ absence opens up even more opportunities at designated hitter for rookie sensation Shohei Ohtani over the final month. The 24-year-old has been on fire recently, recording a truly sublime .327/.413/.709 triple-slash line with six home runs, 18 RBI and four stolen bases in 22 games since August 1. He’s certainly lived up to the hype and exceeded even the most optimistic expectations with his performance at the plate this year. Remember when anonymous scouts questioned his ability as hitter in spring training? Good times.
American League Quick Hits: Indians placed Andrew Miller on the 10-day disabled list with an external impingement in his left shoulder. … X-rays came back negative on Jean Segura's left foot after he Wednesday's game against the Padres early. … Justin Upton (finger laceration) hopes to return from the 10-day disabled list on Thursday. … Jon Heyman of Fancred Sports reports that Kendrys Morales has cleared revocable waivers. … Astros manager A.J. Hinch told reporters that Charlie Morton (shoulder) is expected back in early September. ... Mookie Betts went 3-for-4 with a home run, three RBI and three runs scored in the Red Sox’ victory over the Marlins. … Eduardo Nunez also went 3-for-4 with a home run and two RBI in the victory. … Adalberto Mondesi went 2-for-3 with a two-run homer and four RBI in the Royals’ blowout win over the Tigers. … Alex Bregman reached base four times in Houston’s walk-off victory over the Athletics. … Adam Jones went 2-for-5 with a grand slam and five RBI in the Orioles 10-5 win over the Blue Jays. … Mychal Givens recorded a one-out save, his fifth of the year, in that one. … Devon Travis went 3-for-4 with a home run in the loss … Reynaldo Lopez fired seven innings of one-run ball in the White Sox’ victory over the Yankees. … Jace Fry worked a scoreless ninth inning to pick up his fourth save of the year in that one. … C.J. Cron went 4-for-5 with a homer and a double to lead the Rays past the Braves. … Mitch Moreland was unavailable Wednesday due to a contusion in his left knee. … Mark Trumbo will have season-ending surgery on his right knee … Cedric Mullins (hip) hopes to return to the Orioles lineup on Friday.
National League Quick Hits: Dodgers manager Dave Roberts told reporters that Kenley Jansen will be their closer starting on Friday with the series against the Diamondbacks. … Cardinals manager Mike Shildt told reporters that Matt Carpenter, who left Wednesday’s game early due to nausea, is dealing with a a 24 hour virus. … Braves acquired Lucas Duda from the Royals for cash considerations or a player to be named later. … Bryce Harper was out of the lineup for Wednesday's contest against the Phillies due to illness. … Trevor Williams struck out eight over six innings to lead the Pirates to a victory over the Cardinals. … Felipe Vasquez notched his 28th save in that contest. … Alex Wood hurled seven shutout innings in the Dodgers’ 3-1 win over the Rangers. … Kenta Maeda picked up his first save of the year in that one. … Juan Soto went 2-for-5 with a two-run homer in a loss to the Phillies. … Manuel Margot went 3-for-4 with a homer and two RBI and Luis Urias went 3-for-5 with a double in the Padres’ win over the Mariners. … Joey Lucchesi whiffed nine batters to pick up a victory in that one …. Todd Frazier went 2-for-5 with five RBI in the Mets’ win over the Cubs … Giants placed Steven Duggar on the 10-day disabled list with a right shoulder injury. … Jeremy Hellickson (wrist) threw a 30-pitch bullpen session on Wednesday. … Ross Stripling (back) will throw a bullpen session on Thursday. … Braves manager Brian Snitker told reporters on Wednesday that Mike Soroka won't pitch again in a game this season. … Brandon Morrow (biceps) played long toss from a distance of 105 feet on Wednesday. … Giants manager Bruce Bochy told reporters on Wednesday that it's doubtful that Jeff Samardzija (shoulder) returns this season.