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Sports Data APIs for Individuals!
Atlanta Braves outfielder Ronald Acuna Jr. (knee) has taken the next step in his rehab from right knee surgery and has resumed hitting on the field. Acuna had surgery back in July of last year to fix a torn ACL, and he missed the rest of the 2021 season and Atlanta's improbable World Series run. Despite the progress, Acuna is expected to be limited when players report to spring training at the end of February if MLB and the players reach an agreement to end the ongoing lockout. There are still many steps for him to clear, and he could still miss the beginning of the 2022 season, which makes him much more risky as an early first-round selection in fantasy drafts. Speed is a big part of Acuna's game, and it remains to be seen if he'll run as much when he eventually makes his 2022 season debut.
Seattle Mariners outfielder Julio Rodriguez had another nice game at the plate in Tuesday's 8-2 win over the Angels. Rodriguez went 3-for-5 with two singles, a two-run home run, and two strikeouts. The 21-year-old has been a huge fantasy asset all season long, slashing .270/.331/.476 with 19 HR, 61 RBI, and 21 stolen bases. Fantasy managers will be glad to see he hasn't missed a beat since returning from a recent wrist contusion and should continue to have him in their lineups at all times.
Los Angeles Dodgers closer Craig Kimbrel blew his fourth save of the season and took his fifth loss in Tuesday's 5-4 extra-innings loss to the Brewers. Kimbrel came in to pitch the bottom of the 11th inning with a one-run lead and a ghost runner on second. He allowed a leadoff single, got an out on a strikeout, walked the bases loaded, and allowed a two-run single to end the game. However, manager Dave Roberts said after the game that he still isn't considering a change at closer, per Dodgers beat writer Jack Harris. Kimbrel has been frustrating for fantasy managers once again this season, as he does have 20 saves but also has a 4.57 ERA. It sounds as though his job security is still there, but fantasy managers may consider benching him if they have other options given his recent volatility.
Chicago White Sox closer Liam Hendriks picked up his 27th save of the season in Tuesday's 4-3 win over the Astros. Hendriks came in to pitch the ninth inning up by a run to face the top of the order and turned in a 1-2-3 inning with a strikeout. Hendriks had some bumpy patches towards the beginning of the season but has settled down into the top fantasy closer managers expected, converting all but three save opportunities with a 2.95 ERA and a 12.87 K/9 rate. He remains one of fantasy's most-trusted closers for the rest of the season.
Houston Astros starting pitcher Justin Verlander turned in a pedestrian start by his standards in Tuesday's 4-3 loss to the White Sox. Verlander went up against fellow Cy Young candidate Dylan Cease and pitched 7 innings, allowing three runs on eight hits and a walk with four strikeouts. The fact that this was a down start for the 39-year-old speaks to how well he has pitched this season, as he is now 15-3 with a 1.95 ERA, an 8.69 K/9 rate, and a 1.57 BB/9 rate over 22 starts and 143 IP. Fantasy managers who put their trust in Verlander have been well-rewarded this season. He will look to keep things going in his next start against the Twins at home.
Houston Astros utility man Aledmys Diaz (groin) could be headed for the injured list after experiencing left groin discomfort in Tuesday's 4-3 loss to the White Sox, per MLB.com's Brian McTaggart. Diaz started in left field and went 0-for-2 before departing and being replaced by Chas McCormick. This would be a blow to both the Astros and fantasy managers, as Diaz can play all over the field and has a .252/.303/.417 slash line with 10 home runs and 32 RBI in 274 plate appearances this season. Fantasy managers should keep an eye out for further news but should start preparing for Diaz's potential absence.
New York Yankees outfield prospect Estevan Florial is expected to be called up from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre to join the Yankees on Wednesday, per MLB columnist Bob Klapisch. The 24-year-old could provide a spark to a slumping Yankees offense, as he has slashed .284/.365/.487 with 14 home runs, 37 RBI, and 32 stolen bases over 396 plate appearances at Triple-A this season. Florial has likely been on dynasty fantasy managers' radars for some time now, but fantasy managers in redraft leagues should wait and see what his role may be and how he performs at the big-league level before trusting him.
The Atlanta Braves and rookie outfielder Michael Harris II completed an eight-year, $72 million contract extension Tuesday, per the team's Twitter account. The extension seems well-deserved, as the 21-year-old has slashed .287/.325/.500 with 12 home runs, 39 RBI and 13 stolen bases in 268 plate appearances in his first big-league season. The extension shows the confidence the Braves have in Harris, and fantasy managers should show the same confidence in him for the rest of this season.
Tampa Bay Rays relief pitcher Jason Adam earned his seventh save of the season in Tuesday's 3-1 win over the Yankees. Adam entered the game up by two with two outs in the eighth inning and a runner on first. He got Aaron Judge to ground into a force out to end the inning and stayed on to pitch the ninth, delivering a 1-2-3 inning with two strikeouts. Adam has pitched very well this season, compiling a 1.13 ERA with 16 holds and a 10.57 K/9 rate. He has also seen two of the Rays' three save opportunities over the last seven days, which is an encouraging sign. Adam is worth a look in deep roto leagues at this time given how well he has pitched, but fantasy managers should be wary of the Rays' reluctance to designate one bullpen arm to save situations.
Baltimore Orioles closer Felix Bautista turned in another solid performance in Tuesday's 4-2 win over the Blue Jays, picking up his seventh save of the season. Bautista entered to pitch the ninth inning with a two-run lead and turned in a 1-2-3 inning with two strikeouts. The big righty has pitched well all season long and has slotted into the team's closer role since they traded Jorge Lopez at the trade deadline. Bautista has a 1.62 ERA with an 11.88 K/9 rate over 50 innings pitched and now appears to be a legitimate fantasy option down the stretch.
New York Yankees closer Clay Holmes (back) said his back locked up on him a couple of days ago, and it sounds like he's headed for a stint on the injured list. However, Holmes doesn't think the injury is a long-term situation. The 29-year-old right-hander has been great for the Yankees in the closer's role in 2022 with a 2.39 ERA, a 1.02 WHIP, 17 saves and 51 strikeouts in 49 innings pitched, but he's really struggled recently. In his last five games over just four innings pitched, he's allowed seven earned runs on six hits while walking four and striking out three. Three of those five appearances resulted in blown saves. Whether he's actually injured or not, it seems like Holmes needs a break. Left-hander Aroldis Chapman is likely to handle most of the save opportunities for however long Holmes is sidelined.