Giancarlo Stanton can’t catch a break. It's possible that he unwittingly walked under a ladder or accidentally broke a mirror during the offseason because he can't seem to stay healthy right now. The 29-year-old slugger exited Tuesday's game against the Blue Jays in the fourth inning with a right knee bruise. It’s unclear how or when Stanton suffered the injury at this time, but it may have occurred on an awkward headfirst slide into third base in the opening frame. It would be unfair and misleading to characterize Stanton as injury-prone. He’s been extremely durable, playing at least 158 of a possible 162 games in each of the last two seasons. However, he’s certainly been plagued by persistent nagging issues so far this season. He’s missed time due to a variety of ailments including a biceps strain, shoulder strain and a calf strain. Now, he’s dealing with a knee issue. Yankees manager Aaron Boone told reporters after the game that results of tests on Stanton’s knee, which included an MRI, weren’t yet available. There should be some additional clarity Wednesday regarding the extent of the injury and whether it will result in any missed time. Obviously, fantasy owners will want to monitor this situation closely in the coming days.
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Anderson Suffers Sprained Ankle
Stanton wasn’t the only fantasy superstar to suffer an injury on the East Coast last night. White Sox’ dynamic shortstop Tim Anderson exited Tuesday's game against the Red Sox in Fenway Park after suffering an apparent leg injury. He had to be helped off the field and couldn't put any weight on his right leg. He was injured while making a running throw behind second base. The wet field conditions appear to have played a role in this one as Anderson appeared to roll his right ankle while attempting an off-balanced throw. He was in significant pain before being carried off. The 26-year-old burgeoning fantasy superstar was in the midst of an impressive power-speed combo campaign, hitting .317/.342/.491 with 11 homers and 15 stolen bases across 281 plate appearances. Anderson was diagnosed with a sprained ankle after x-rays came back negative and will be re-evaluated on Wednesday. It appears that Anderson avoided major injury, which is a huge relief for fantasy owners as well. He’ll likely be headed to the 10-day injured list, but should be ready to return after the All-Star break early next month.
Homecoming Part II
On the heels of an emotional homecoming for ancient slugger Albert Pujols in St. Louis over the weekend, a pair of superstars squarely in the prime of their respective careers, Manny Machado and Gerrit Cole, came back to haunt their former organizations on Tuesday night.
Machado reached base safely in three of his five plate appearances and clobbered a solo homer in his return to Baltimore, the city he called home for seven seasons before being traded to the Dodgers in a blockbuster deal last July and signing a 10-year, $300 million free agent contract with the Padres in the offseason. He received a standing ovation from the Orioles’ faithful in the opening frame before striking out looking in his first at-bat. Unfortunately, that was pretty much the only time they managed to keep him off the bases in this one. He launched a solo homer to left-center field off Jimmy Yacabonis, increasing the Padres’ lead to 5-1 in the third inning. Ironically, the titanic tater marked Machado’s 100th career home run at Camden Yards. He also tacked on an RBI single in the fourth and walked in the sixth.
Meanwhile, Cole wasn’t flawless in his first career start against the team that selected him with the top overall selection in the 2011 MLB draft, but still managed to reel off six innings of one-run ball in a win over the Pirates. He struck out three batters and also issued a pair of walks. The 28-year-old righty recorded a 3.50 ERA over 127 starts for the Pirates before being the centerpiece of a massive trade with the Astros prior to last season. He’s managed to unlock his true potential and evolve into a legitimate fantasy ace over the last two years. He currently ranks second in the majors, trailing only Nationals ace Max Scherzer, with 151 strikeouts in 102 2/3 innings this season.
Hicks Headed For Tommy John
Fantasy owners received the official confirmation on Tuesday afternoon that Cardinals closer Jordan Hicks will undergo season-ending Tommy John surgery on Wednesday. The 22-year-old fireballer will likely be sidelined until the second half of the 2020 campaign. Prior to the injury, Hicks racked up 14 saves to go along with a 3.14 ERA, 0.94 WHIP and 31/11 K/BB ratio in 28 2/3 innings. St. Louis GM John Mozeliak confirmed that Carlos Martinez will serve as the Cardinals' closer moving forward. He needs to be owned in all fantasy formats. The 27-year-old righty has pitched exclusively in relief since making his season debut on May 18, allowing five earned runs on 11 hits and five walks with 14 strikeouts in 15 innings. Martinez has some immediate job security, but there’s a chance that this could devolve into a full-blown committee situation if he struggles, given the presence of circling vultures John Gant and Andrew Miller.
The official announcement came less than 24 hours after the team revealed that Hicks had a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow. The central question for fantasy owners to consider moving forward is whether there was a direct correlation between his triple-digit velocity, a dramatic uptick in usage of his hard-biting slider and this major elbow injury. We’ve witnessed countless pitchers return from Tommy John surgery at (or close to) their previous level at exponentially higher rates than a decade ago. It’s becoming increasingly rare for a highly-touted prospect to reach the big leagues that hasn’t undergone at least one major surgery. So, it’s not unrealistic to believe that Hicks can come back and return to form next season, but he’s unlikely to make a significant fantasy impact until the 2021 campaign.
If there is one encouraging takeaway, it’s that elbow issues are less worrisome long-term than shoulder problems. However, the fact that he throws so hard and relies heavily on a violent slider as his main secondary offering, has to be a concern moving forward. According to Baseball Savant’s database, the 22-year-old righty has thrown 206 pitches in excess of 100 mph this season, which is 107 more than towering Marlins righty Tayron Guerrero, who is the next closest on that leaderboard. Last year, Hicks threw 659 100-plus mph pitches. Simply put, Hicks is a bit of a historical outlier. Outside of a few peak Aroldis Chapman campaigns in Cincinnati earlier this decade, we haven’t really seen anyone throw this hard, this often. From a long-term, keeper and dynasty league perspective, this injury likely knocks him outside the top 300 overall assets moving forward. There’s simply too much long-term risk from a health and performance standpoint to justify stashing him in shallower formats.
AL Quick Hits: Shohei Ohtani (elbow) will throw off a mound on Wednesday for the first time since undergoing Tommy John surgery last October. … Indians manager Terry Francona confirmed Tuesday that Mike Clevinger is “good to go” for Friday's start against the Orioles in Baltimore. … Max Kepler exited Tuesday's game against the Rays after being hit by a pitch on the right elbow. X-rays came back negative and he’ll undergo an MRI on Wednesday. … DJ LeMahieu, Aaron Judge, Gleyber Torres and Edwin Encarnacion launched solo homers as the Yankees’ set a major-league record with 28 straight games with a home run in their narrow victory over the Blue Jays. … Aroldis Chapman notched his 23rd save in that contest. … Brad Hand coughed up five runs and failed to record an out in an ugly blown save against the Royals. It was his first blown save in 23 opportunities this season. … Hunter Dozier blasted a go-ahead grand slam in that one. … Rafael Devers went 4-for-4 with an RBI and a pair of runs scored in the Red Sox’ win over the White Sox. … David Price struck out nine over six innings in that one. … Alex Bregman went 3-for-4 with his 22nd round-tripper of the season in the Astros’ win over the Pirates. … Daniel Vogelbach launched his 19th long ball of the season in the Mariners’ win over the Brewers. … J.P. Crawford stayed hot with a pair of hits and RBI in that one. … Jesse Chavez racked up seven strikeouts over 6 1/3 innings in a win over the Tigers … Eddie Rosario collected four hits and a pair of RBI in the Twins’ blowout win over the Rays. … Blake Snell was tagged for seven runs on 11 hits over 3 1/3 frames in the loss. … George Springer went 1-for-4 in his return to the Astros’ lineup … Joey Gallo went 1-for-4 with an RBI double in his return to the Rangers’ lineup against the Tigers. … Red Sox reinstated Steven Wright from the restricted list. … Daniel Mengden will start for the Athletics against the Cardinals on Wednesday. … Hunter Pence (hamstring) is unlikely to be activated from the 10-day injured list when first eligible on Thursday. … Salvador Perez is catching bullpen sessions, but he isn't yet being allowed to throw as he progresses after Tommy John surgery. … Astros activated Collin McHugh from the 10-day injured list. … Andrelton Simmons (ankle) will resume his minor league rehab assignment Tuesday with Class A Inland Empire. … Trevor Cahill (elbow) will be activated from the injured list on Wednesday. … Zack Cozart's injured left shoulder is not healing well and he might miss the rest of the season. … Yankees designated Kendrys Morales for assignment. … Alex Meyer announced his retirement on Tuesday.
NL Quick Hits: Mike Soroka (forearm) could miss his next scheduled start after feeling some lingering tightness while playing catch on Tuesday. He'll throw off of a mound on Wednesday, and depending on how he feels, the Braves will make a determination on his status to start over the weekend. … Rockies placed Brendan Rodgers on the 10-day disabled list with a right shoulder impingement. … Jon Morosi of MLB Network reports that the Giants and Dodgers aren't ruling out the possibility of a trade that would send reliever Will Smith to Los Angeles. … Corey Seager (hamstring) took ground balls and was able to do some light running on Monday. … Caleb Smith is slated to make an additional rehab start before rejoining the Marlins big-league rotation … Lorenzo Cain underwent cryotherapy for his injured right thumb in California on Tuesday morning. … Bryan Reynolds was scratched from the Pirates’ lineup on Tuesday because of a bruised shin. … Madison Bumgarner struck out a season-high 11 batters over six innings in a win over the Rockies. … Scott Kingery walloped his 10th long ball of the season out of the Phillies’ leadoff spot against the Mets on Tuesday. … Rhys Hoskins belted his 18th homer in that contest as well. … Jeff McNeil went 4-for-5 with a run scored in the losing effort. … Max Scherzer struck out 10 over eight innings of one-run ball in a win over the Marlins. … Trea Turner belted a three-run homer in the Nationals’ victory. … Fernando Tatis Jr. Francisco Mejia and Manuel Margot left the yard in the Padres’ lopsided win over the Orioles. … Logan Allen allowed two runs over six innings to pick up his second win in that one. … Max Fried struck out eight batters over six innings in a win over the Cubs. … Ronald Acuna and Ozzie Albies left the yard in that one. … Adbert Alzolay allowed one run over 4 2/3 innings in a no-decision against the Braves. … Jack Flaherty was rocked for seven runs on nine hits over 4 2/3 innings in a loss to the Athletics. … Robbie Ray registered nine strikeouts over 6 1/3 innings in a loss against the Dodgers. … Julio Urias fired three scoreless innings to pick up a win in relief, while Kenley Jansen recorded his 23rd save of the season in that contest. … Braves activated Sean Newcomb from the 7-day concussion injured list. … Dinelson Lamet could join the Padres' rotation after one more rehab start this weekend. … Jordan Lyles (hamstring) will likely come off the injured list to face the Brewers on Saturday … Alex Wood (back) will visit a doctor after experiencing renewed soreness in his back. … Alex Reyes will miss two or three minor-league starts with a strained pectoral muscle.