Fantasy Baseball Today: James Paxton’s grim diagnosis, Ketel Marte lands on IL, Week 3 sleepers and more notes

Happy Friday! Especially for those who have Lance Lynn or Corbin Burnes on their Fantasy Baseball teams. If you have both, just ask for your league’s trophy now. Kidding aside, both were ridiculous on Thursday and are clear top-20 starting pitchers. With Burnes, he might actually have top-10 talent. We just have concerns over workload. Before the season the Brewers mentioned they wanted to increase their starting pitchers’ workloads by about 100 innings this season. That would project Burnes for about 160 innings. That’s fine, but not an ace. However, if the Brewers are in it down the stretch, they won’t be able to afford limiting Burnes. Only time will tell.

As usual, we had more injuries Thursday, starting with the unfortunate news to both James Paxton and Trevor Rosenthal. On top of that, we lost Ketel Marte to a right hamstring strain. As for the rest of Thursday, Yermin Mercedes and Byron Buxton both continue to mash while Griffin Canning’s debut was impressive. Planning for next week? We have two-start pitchers, plus sleepers below and on today’s podcast. Enjoy your weekend and go Yankees!

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Tommy John suggested for Paxton

Mariners SP James Paxton was one of the feel-good stories of the spring. After missing most of the 2020 season with an elbow injury, a return to Seattle’s friendly ballpark seemed like the perfect remedy for the once borderline ace, and he looked like he got his groove back in the spring with a 1.08 ERA and 17/4 K to BB ratio over 8 1/3 innings. Paxton was forced to leave his first start and Jon Heyman of MLB Network reports that Tommy John surgery has been recommended for James Paxton. If Paxton does undergo the surgery, he will be forced to miss the rest of the 2021 season.

Logan Gilbert is the top SP in the Mariners farm system and still just 25% rostered. Go scoop him up if you have the bench space! Gilbert is a former first-round pick in 2018. He compiled a 2.13 ERA, 0.95 WHIP, 165 K in 135 innings pitched across three different levels in the minors in 2019. On the flip side, Scott is betting against the Mariners calling up Gilbert early and doesn’t think he’ll be called up for quite a while. Chris also believes they’ll let him pitch in the minors at first in May before calling him up.

More news and notes

  • Diamondbacks 2B/OF Ketel Marte lands on the IL with a right hamstring strain. Tim Locastro was in center field with Josh VanMeter at second base and Geraldo Perdomo at shortstop on Thursday. There was no sign of Josh Rojas, who sat out two of three games in Colorado. Locastro has a .251 BA and 27 steals in 151 career games
  • Here are some 2B/OF replacements we suggest if you just had to move Marte to your IL: Jorge Polanco, Jonathan India, Nick Solak, Starlin Castro, Luis Arraez, Manuel Margot, Akil Baddoo, Garrett Hampson, Cedric MullinsAnd in deeper leagues: Donovan Solano, Marwin Gonzalez.
  • Diamondbacks SP Zac Gallen threw 67 pitches Wednesday at the team’s alternate site. He threw at least one curveball in each inning, which was the pitch that caused him to feel pain in his forearm. This is very good news.
  • Twins OF Max Kepler left Thursday’s game with an apparent injury but told reporters he was fine afterward.
  • Athletics 1B Matt Olson was back in the lineup after sitting out the last two with a knee contusion.
  • Blue Jays OF George Springer was diagnosed with a low-grade quad strain. Late April looks like the earliest we’ll see Springer.
  • Athletics RP Trevor Rosenthal underwent thoracic outlet surgery on Thursday. He’ll be re-examined in eight weeks. Maybe he makes his return late in the season, but I’m doubtful.
  • Sticking with the A’s, they placed SP A.J. Puk on the IL with a left biceps strain. He just cannot stay healthy.
  • Astros SP Framber Valdez, dealing with a fractured ring finger in his pitching hand, has resumed a throwing program on flat ground. This sounds like progress but no timetable has been mentioned.
  • Twins 3B Josh Donaldson, dealing with a hamstring injury, could play in simulated games this weekend.
  • Brewers 2B Kolten Wong played Thursday but re-aggravated an oblique injury he was dealing with. If you play in leagues where you set your lineup for the weekend, you may want to get him out of there.
  • The league is cracking down on Dodgers SP Trevor Bauer! Per Ken Rosenthal’s article from The Athletic: The umpire’s in Bauer’s start Thursday collected multiple balls he threw during the game, according to major-league sources. The balls had visible markings and were sticky, and were sent to the league offices for further inspection, the sources said. It remains to be seen whether the league can prove he was responsible for their application, or whether any punishment imposed by Rob Manfred would stand.

Thursday’s OMGG player 

Chris Towers’ pick: Umpire Ron Kulpa

Yeah, you read that right. The rare umpire pick for the “Oh My Goodness Gracious” pick of the night. Chris was considering attending this Mets-Marlins game for New York’s home opener and he’s so glad he chose not to. Kulpa blew a game-deciding call on a hit-by-pitch to score a run that should have never been. He even admitted he blew the call after the game!

“The guy was hit by the pitch in the strike zone,” Kulpa said, via Newsday. “I should have called him out.”

Towers’ actual pick: Twins OF Byron Buxton

His home run today was only 393 feet and it looked a lot deeper. 109 MPH exit velocity and he hit two balls over 105 MPH today. He had three balls hits over 99 MPH. He’s an incredible talent and I believe in the home run increase over the last two seasons. He’s turning doubters into believers. He’s locked in.

Scott White’s pick: White Sox DH Yermin Mercedes

Mercedes hit a 485-foot home run on Thursday. That’s not a typo. It may seem fake, but it’s not. He’s batting over .500 for the season with just three strikeouts and he always showed good plate discipline in the minors as well. I don’t see how he’s still available in 40% of CBS leagues and Scott has him as the No. 1 sleeper for next week despite the fact that the White Sox don’t even particularly good matchups.

My pick: Brewers SP Corbin Burnes

Burnes pitched six shutout innings with the following stat line: 1 H, 0 BB, 9 K, 18 whiffs on 86 pitches. He now has 20 strikeouts and zero walks on the season. Through two starts he’s throwing his cutter 49% of the time and averaging a ridiculous 96 MPH on the pitch. He used that pitch only 31% of the time last season.

Sleeper picks for Week 3

  • White Sox DH Yermin Mercedes CLE (4 games), @BOS (3 games)
  • Rangers 1B Nate Lowe @TB (4), BAL (3)
  • Reds 2B/3B Jonathan India @SF (3), CLE (3)
  • Reds OF Nick Senzel @SF (3), CLE (3)
  • Tigers OF Akil Baddoo @HOU (3), @OAK (4)
  • Royals OF Michael Taylor LAA (3), TOR (4)
  • Orioles OF Cedric Mullins SEA (4), @TEX (3)
  • Twins 2B/SS Jorge Polanco BOS (4), @LAA (3)
  • Rangers 3B/SS Isiah Kiner-Falefa @TB (4), BAL (3)
  • Rangers OF Nick Solak  @TB (4), BAL (3)

Two-start SPs for Week 3

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Scott’s picks

My picks

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