The Los Angeles Dodgers originally promoted Cody Bellinger out of necessity. After injuries to Franklin Gutierrez (hamstring) and Joc Pederson (groin), the Dodgers purchased the contract of Bellinger from Triple-A Oklahoma City on April 25. He was expected to have a short stay with the big club, and he didn't appear to be ready for the show after going 1-for-10 with five strikeouts in his first three games.
Bellinger socked a pair of solo home runs April 29 against the Phillies for his second consecutive multi-hit game, and the legend was starting to build. However, manager Dave Roberts said Bellinger would be returned to OKC once Pederson was healthy enough to return from his groin injury. Bellinger kicked off the month of May with two more multi-hit games while recording three RBI against the rival Giants back on May 2, playing first base for the resting Adrian Gonzalez, and the legend grew even larger. The skipper reiterated that Bellinger would be sent back to the minors once the team's veterans became healthier.
The rookie kicked it high gear on Cinco de Mayo, the same day Gonzalez (elbow, back) landed on the 10-day disabled list for the first time in his career. Bellinger launched two homers with four RBI in San Diego, taking over the primary first baseman duties with Gonzalez on the shelf. He celebrated with his first-career grand slam with five RBI on May 6 in San Diego, as the legend grew to epic proportions. There is very little chance Bellinger is going anywhere, regardless of who else comes back from the DL.
The left-handed hitting Bellinger showed he is human with just two hits in 12 at-bats in the three-game series against the Pirates, although he did crack his sixth homer of the season off of Chad Kuhl to keep up his power stroke. He has 17 RBI through just 15 games over 54 at-bats and he has come across to score 14 times. It's obvious he cannot sustain his .333/.383/.704 slash line or 1.087 OPS, but instead of cooling off in May he has turned up the intensity. Through eight May games he has a .333 average with four homers, 15 RBI, three walks and just six strikeouts. That K/BB ratio has been amazing for a younger player.
Pederson has since returned, but with the exception of a three-hit game in the series opener against the Bucs, he hasn't done anything of note since coming off the DL. Even if he is scuffling at the plate, the Dodgers are unlikely to turn their back on Pederson. With Andrew Toles (knee) done for the season with a torn right anterior cruciate ligament, Bellinger is likely to spend a majority of his time patrolling left field. The biggest losers in terms of playing time will be Scott Van Slyke and Chase Utley.
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The switch-hitting Matt Wieters was once considered one of the top prospects in baseball, and he quickly became a fantasy favorite during a three-year span from 2011-13 when he clubbed 67 homers with 230 RBI. However, he underwent reconstructive right elbow surgery in 2014 and he was limited to just 26 games. The backstop was bugged by a sore elbow during the 2015 season, too, as he played in just 75 total games, with only 55 appearances behind the plate.
Wieters accepted a qualifying offer during the offseason before the 2016 season and earned his $15.8 million paycheck. While his ability to throw out runners was below-average, he was back offensively. He cracked 17 doubles with 17 homers and 66 RBI through 124 games, including 117 appearances as the backstop with 111 starts. However, it still took him a good while to find a home during the offseason due to his health history and declining defensive skills.
The Nationals rolled the dice on Wieters, bringing him down the short jaunt down the Baltimore-Washington Parkway and inside the Beltway. Some figured if he landed a job in 2017, it might be with an American League team where he could spend time as the designated hitter while limiting his time behind the plate. The Nationals thought otherwise and the gamble is paying off early on. He is enjoying a revival, hitting .289 with six doubles, four homers and 15 RBI across 97 at-bats over 27 games and his .847 OPS is on pace for a career high. That includes driving in the game-tying and game-winning RBI against his former mates on Wednesday. Yes, he has struggled throwing out base stealers, allowing 12 thefts on 15 attempts. However, he is error-free to date and he has re-emerged as a dependable fantasy option across the board.
David Price (elbow) continues to make progress in his return from an elbow injury. The next step is for Price to report to Triple-A Pawtucket for a minor-league rehab assignment. The southpaw is scheduled to throw five innings or 70 pitches for the PawSox, as the team eases him back into action. He is expected to make at least two starts for Pawtucket, and his return date likely hinges on how effective and any level of pain or discomfort he has during his outings.
Regardless of when Price is ready, the Kyle Kendrick experience is over in Beantown after just two starts. Two awful starts. He was fileted for six runs and 10 hits over just 4 1/3 innings in Milwaukee, falling to 0-2 while his ERA ballooned to 12.96. Until Price is ready the team will have to mix and match. That means Hector Velazquez, Brian Johnson or Henry Owens might get a cup of coffee and a start or two with the big club, but they're not going to have any staying power if summoned.
National League Quick Hits: Aaron Altherr of the Phillies cracked a pair of homers with four RBI in Wednesday's game against the Mariners, giving him seven homers and 21 RBI through 25 games. He has emerged as a must-start fantasy option across the board. … Zach Eflin pitched well against the M's, allowing three earned runs while scattering nine hits over six innings in a no-decision. He has four consecutive quality starts, but he can't catch a break. Through five starts he hasn't factored into one decision. … Derek Law was shaky in Wednesday's save chance, but he was able to close it out at N.Y. Mets. He is the closer of choice while Mark Melancon (forearm) is on the shelf. … Curtis Granderson continues to scuffle, slashing just .139/.200/.270 through 115 at-bats across 32 games. The 36-year-old veteran has looked lost at the plate and he has hit for very little pop. … Ender Inciarte failed to score a run for the 16th game this season. The Braves are just 2-14 when the outfielder fails to record a run. … Kyle Schwarber reached cult hero status in Wrigleyville last season as a postseason stud coming back from injury. So far this season he has struggled mightily to lose some of his luster. He is hitting just .195 over 123 at-bats across 32 games, although he still has a respectable 12 extra-base hits (seven doubles, five homers). … The Jedd Gyorko Show continues to roll on in the Lou, as he has recorded at least one RBI in each of his past four games while humming along with a .351 batting average and 1.032 OPS. ... Cory Spangenberg earned the golden sombrero in Wednesday's loss in Texas, dropping his average to .269. It was a shocking performance since he entered with just seven total strikeouts over his past 12 games.
American League Quick Hits: The good news is that Blue Jays slugger Jose Bautista is slowly starting to thaw, cracking his third homer with three RBI in a win against the Indians on Wednesday. The bad news is that he has the same amount of homers as teammate Ezequiel Carrera. … Shin-Soo Choo reached base four times in a blowout win against the Padres, posting three singles with a walk, run scored and RBI. He also swiped his third base while raising his average to .269. He also tied a season high by hitting in his fourth consecutive outing. … Ken Giles has been difficult to figure. Some nights he shows electric stuff, handling his business like the team expects. Other days, it's an adventure. Luckily for fantasy owners on Wednesday it was good Giles. He threw eight of his 11 pitches for strikes in a tidy ninth inning for his ninth save of the season. Still, fantasy owners in rotisserie formats aren't terribly pleased with his 3.86 ERA. … Andrew Triggs continues to post big numbers. While he threw just 58 of his 105 pitches for strikes in Wednesday's win against the Angels, he allowed just one earned run, three hits and three walks over six innings to improve to 5-2 while lowering his ERA to 2.21. His next scheduled start is set for May 17 in Seattle. That's good news, as he is 2-0 with a 0.00 ERA and 12 strikeouts over 13 innings in two road outings. … Colby Rasmus had a homer among his three hits while driving in four runs against the Royals, upping his average to an impressive .320.