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Adley Rutschman Debuts, Alek Manoah Dazzles

Adley Rutschman

Adley Rutschman

Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports

Baltimore fans can rejoice! Adley Rutschman, the 2019 number one overall pick made his much-anticipated debut against the Tampa Bay Rays on Saturday. Rutschman was poised to make the team out of spring training but a triceps injury delayed his debut. He batted sixth and had a stand-up triple in the seventh inning for his first major league hit. He finished his first game by going 1-for-3 with a strikeout and a walk. The 24-year-old switch-hitting catcher brings above-average hit and power and if he is not rostered in your fantasy league, what are you waiting for?!? The catcher position has been dreadful, outside of a few bright spots, but Rutschman should see full-time playing for the rest of the season.

Before the season, the Toronto Blue Jays seemed to be the American League team to make it to the World Series. They signed free-agent pitcher Kevin Gausman after letting AL CY Young winner Robbie Ray walk. They had a fun, young lineup that included Bo Bichette and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. However, coming into Saturday, the Jays found themselves sitting third in the American League East; 7.5 games behind the New York Yankees. You could not blame Saturday’s starter, Alex Manoah. Manoah has been a beast of the season with a minuscule 1.71 ERA, .88 WHIP, and 39/9 K/BB ratio over 42 innings. He would lower that ERA after an impressive eight-inning outing. He scattered seven hits, picked up four punchouts, and only gave up one earned run to pick up his fifth win of the season.

Hitters with an EDGE

Rafael Devers vs. Mariners

3-for-4, 2 R, 2 HR (8, 9), 3 RBI

Devers has been on fire and Saturday was no different. He smashed a 413-foot to right-center off Mariners starter Chris Flexen to put the Red Sox on the board in the third inning. He would then put another ball over the wall for a two-run home run and his second of the night off Flexen. In the last 12 games. Devers is hitting .420/.453/.800 with three bombs, 11 RBI, and one stolen base. Devers is a special talent and well worth that second or third-round pick in your draft.

William Contreras vs Marlins

2-for-3, 2 R, 2 HR (5, 6), 2 RBI

William Contreras put the first run on the board as he blasted a ball 394 feet in the fifth and then duplicated the feat in the top of the seventh to give the Braves a three-run cushion. That cushion proved valuable as the Marlins scored a couple more runs but came up one run shy as the Braves won their 19th game of the season. Contreras the younger has played sparingly but has produced whenever he is in the lineup.

Mookie Betts vs. Phillies

3-for-4, 1 R, 1 HR (9), 3 RBI

Mookie Betts is starting to look like his pre-2021 self and Saturday was no different. The Dodgers lead-off hitter smashed his ninth ball over the fence in the top of the third and then doubled in the fifth inning to drive in Gavin Lux and Chris Taylor. Betts missed time last year to a hip injury but decided to let it heal on its own in the off-season. I was a bit skeptical and nervous about drafting him because of that injury but shame on me. He got off to a slow start but is hitting .292 with five home runs in May.

Pitchers with an EDGE

Justin Verlander vs. Rangers

6 IP, 6 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 8 K

33% CSW, 15 swinging strikes

Verlander scattered six hits over his six innings of work against the Rangers on Saturday night. He generated 15 whiffs, which lead the all of MLB on Saturday, and a respectable 33% CSW. The 39-year-old right-hander has been spectacular since returning from Tommy John surgery which cost him the entire 2021 season. He has not given up more than three runs in a start this season. He will take his 1.38 ERA, .68 WHIP and 41/9 K/BB ratio to Seattle to face the Mariners on Friday.

Justin Steele vs. Diamondbacks

5 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 9 K

30%, 11 swinging strikes

Steele limited the Diamondbacks to one hit while fanning nine batters over five scoreless innings Saturday afternoon. Steele only used his four-seam and slider but it was enough to get through five innings unscathed. The 26-year-old southpaw has a 4.50 ERA and uncomfortable 1.57 WHIP over 28 innings of work. Steele will face the Reds at Great American Ball Park on Thursday, which could prove to be a trap game for fantasy managers seeing Saturday’s line.

Michael Lorenzen vs. A’s

6 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 5 K

29% CSW, 9 swinging strikes

While Michael Lorenzen has not been a strikeout artist, he has been extremely effective and picked up his fifth win on Saturday night against the A’s. The one-time reliever has transitioned well to a starter’s role and reminds me of C.J. Wilson‘s 2012 season when he came to the Angels after being a reliever for the Rangers. The Angels are an offensive monster and if Lorenzen can throw at least five innings per start, he should be able to rack up double-digit wins. He faces a huge task in his next start as the Blue Jays come to town.

Priority Pickup

Darin Ruf (SFG) 1B, OF - Available in 95% of Yahoo leagues

While the overall line is not great, Ruf has been anything besides rough over the past two weeks. His .464/.600/.893 with three home runs and 10 RBI is a great speculative add to your roster. While he might not start every game, Gabe Kapler has called on him to pinch-hit, especially when a lefty reliever comes out of the pen. The corner-infield and outfield eligibility allow him to fit on any size roster. The Giants face a Scherzer/deGrom-less Mets at the beginning of the week and then face the Reds in Great American Ballpark to round out the week.

Closing Time

Clay Holmes vs. White Sox

1.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 K (4th save)

Holmes recorded the final four outs Saturday afternoon, preserving a two-run lead against the Chicago White Sox for his fourth save of the season. The 29-year-old has been amazing since being traded to the Yankees last summer. He has a .44 ERA, .74 WHIP, and 19/2 K/BB ratio over his 20 ⅓ innings of work. This was his first save since April 27 and with Aroldis Chapman being quite shaky, Holmes could be an interesting pick-up for saves.

Jordan Romano vs. Reds

1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 3 K (14th save)

Romano needed only 16 pitches to strike out the side and pick up his 14th save of the season. This is the first save for Romano since his blown save against the Yankees on May 14. Outside of that one game, Romano has been money with a 2.87 ERA, 1.15 WHIP, and 17/5 K/BB ratio.

Taylor Rogers vs. Giants

1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1 K (16th save)

Rogers secured his league-leading 16th save against the Giants on Saturday. He only needed 13 pitches, 10 of those were thrown for strikes, to get the job done. Fantasy managers can breathe a sigh of relief if they took the chance on Rogers as he has a stranglehold on the closer’s role in San Diego.

Mark Melancon vs. Cubs

1.0 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 2 K (9th save)

This was a crazy game. Melancon entered the 10th inning with a 7-4 lead. Moral, who began the inning at second base, moved to third after a Vargas ground out and then came around to score with an Andrelton Simmons infield single. Simmons would quickly swipe second base and then come around to score when Johnathan Villar smashed a ground-rule double to left-center field. He struck out Seiya Suzuki on five pitches to lock in his ninth save of the season. The Diamondbacks’ closer situation has been on shaky ground all season but Melancon has gotten the last two save opportunities.

Matt Barnes vs. Mariners

1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1 K (2nd save)

Speaking of shaky closing situations, the Red Sox are tied with the Tampa Bay Rays with nine blown saves this season. Six pitchers have recorded a save with Hansel Robles leading the team with two. Well, that all changed when Barnes secured his second save of the season against the Mariners on Saturday. This was an encouraging outing for Barnes has velocity was up at least 1.2 MPH and his four-seam touched 95.8 MPH. If Barnes can keep this up, he should regain the closer role but this situation is still in flux.

Kenley Jansen vs Marlins

1.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 3 K (10th save)

After getting the first two batters to strike out looking, Jansen found rough surf while trying to shut the door on the Marlins. Stallings walked on five pitches and then Jazz Chisholm reached on an infield single. Cooper doubled on a misplaced cutter to score Stallings and bring the tying run 90 feet away from scoring. Jansen only had to toss three more pitches to strike out Jorge Soler and picked up his 10th save of the season. The 34-year-old is on a new team this year but he looks like his younger self with a 2.70 ERA and .66 WHIP across 16 ⅔ innings for Atlanta.

Ryan Helsley vs. Pirates

1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1 K (2nd save)

After Giovanny Gallegos pitched in the last two games, the Cardinals called on Ryan Helsley to keep a one-run game safe. Of course, Helsley would lock this down and only needed 13 pitches to do so. Helsley has been a secret weapon for the Cardinals this season. The 27-year-old has yet to give up a run and has a 24/2 K/BB ratio over 13 ⅔ innings. The Cardinals seem content on having Helsley pitch in high-leverage situations but if Gallegos were ever to blow a few saves, they could easily change their mind.

Craig Kimbrel vs. Phillies

1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 K (9th save)

Craig Kimbrel recorded the final three outs, protecting a three-run lead against the Phillies to record his ninth save of the season. He threw 13 pitches, 10 of those were strikes. It was great to see a clean outing from Kimbrel. In his last three outings, he has picked up the save but also had an 11.57 ERA and 2.14 WHIP.

Ryan Pressly vs. Rangers

1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1 K (5th save)

It was an easy outing for Pressly against the Rangers on Saturday. He was able to generate two flyouts from Jonah Heim and Mitch Garver, respectively, before giving up a hit to Nathaniel Lowe to right-center. He locked down his fifth save of the season by striking out Sam Huff on an 81 MPH curveball. Pressly has missed time this season with knee issues however, the knee could be feeling better as we saw his fastball touch 95 MPH. As long as he can stay healthy, he will be Dusty Baker’s go-to guy in the ninth.

Josh Hader vs. Nationals

0.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 0 K (15th save)

Josh Hader extended his major-league record for saves in each of his first 15 games to start the season after coming in to get the last out against the Nationals on Saturday. It wasn’t in the plans for Hader to enter the game, however. After Hoby Milner hit Dee-Strange Gordon to load the bases, Craig Counsell called on the southpaw to get out of the sticky situation.

Raisel Iglesias vs. A’s

1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 K (9th save)

Iglesias was perfect in his traditional three-out save against the A’s on Saturday night. He induced a flyout from Cristian Pache before striking Elvis Andrus and Kevin Smith to secure his ninth save of the season. Iglesias was lights-out in April but once the calendar flipped to May, fantasy managers have seen his ERA shoot up to 4.61. His job is pretty secure as the rest of the Angels’ pen is a bit of a mess and Iglesias was nails for the club last year.

Sunday’s Matchup of the Day

Logan Gilbert (SEA) vs. Nathan Eovaldi (BOS)

Sunday will be jam-packed full of games due to some makeup games but the must-see game is the finale of the Mariners and Red Sox series at Fenway Park. Gilbert, the 25-year-old right-hander has had an excellent season with a 2.40 ERA, 1.11 WHIP, and 51/16 K/BB ratio. May has been rough for Gilbert with a 5.29 ERA but threw seven strong innings against the Toronto Blue Jays on Tuesday. On the other side of the bump, Eovaldi looks to get back on track after his previous outing against the Houston Astros. He gave up five homers in the second inning before Alex Cora pulled him from the game. The long ball has plagued Eovaldi all season but a career-high 3.02 HR/9 screams that positive regression is in his future. The 32-year-old right-hander has a 4.32 ERA, 1.22 WHIP, and 42/7 K/BB rate over 41 ⅔ innings of work.

American League Quick Hits: Chad Green was placed on the 15-day IL with a right elbow strain. … Trevor Larnach and Bailey Ober are both set to return from groin injuries on Sunday. … Shane Baz will make a second rehab start on Tuesday. … Chris Sale threw a 15-pitch bullpen on Thursday, which was his first since late April. … Bobby Dalbec’s single in the fifth was the 100th hit of his major league career. … Julio Rodriguez swiped his 12th base which leads all of MLB. … Seattle Mariners signed a one-year contract with Justin Upton ... DJ LeMahieu hit his second career grand slam off Dallas Keuchel in a five-run second inning for the Yankees. … Abraham Toro left the game with a strained left shoulder after colliding with Adam Frazier in the outfield. … Alex Verdugo left the game in the second inning due to “flu-like” symptoms. … Adley Rutschman made his major league debut in Baltimore against the Rays and his first MLB hit was a triple. … Yandy Diaz left Saturday’s game with a left shoulder strain. … Mike Trout picked up his 1,000th career run in the bottom of the sixth inning against the A’s. … Frankie Montas leaves his start early after being struck by a comebacker.

National League Quick Hits: Albert Pujols appeared in his 2,992nd game, which ties him with Willie Mays for 9th all-time in MLB. … Joe Musgrove pitched his major league-leading 8th quality start. … Josh Rojas left the game early after getting hit on the hand in the first inning. … Nico Hoerner was seen running the bases before Saturday’s game and looked about “80%. 85%” according to manager David Ross. … Giants placed Curt Casali on the seven-day concussion list and selected the contract of C Mike Papierski. … Brandon Belt was a late scratch with a knee. … Aaron Nola struck out nine Dodgers with a 40 CSW% but took this loss on Saturday. … Bryan Reynolds hit a little league home run against the St. Louis Cardinals. … Paul Goldschmidt has hit in 14 straight games after 4-for-5. … Brian Serven served up two home runs; one in each of the games of the Mets vs. Rockies doubleheader.