Fantasy baseball analyst Fred Zinky looks back at Thursday’s MLB news and offers his key takeaways.
Big Trouble at the Big Apple
Mets fans’ worst fears came true on Thursday when Max Scherzer found that the pain that took him out of the game on Wednesday was an oblique injury that would take him out of the game for 6-8 weeks. The right-hander is one of baseball’s most competitive players and will certainly try to cut back on his schedule, but he’s also 37 and may not heal as quickly as he did at the start of his career.
My advice to fantasy managers is to expect Scherzer to make his next start shortly after the All-Star break. This is a big loss, especially for those who haven’t found many breakthrough starters like Carlos Rodon or Pablo Lopez in subsequent rounds. My best advice to Scherzer managers is to broadcast starters in favorable matchups, for example the Cardinals are adding prospect Matthew Liberatore (more on him below) this weekend. And complement those who started streaming with experienced center pitchers like Clay Holmes or Michael King of the Yankees.
Cardinals make their move
Sitting at 20-18, the Cardinals are in the thick of the NL postseason race. And the club took an important step towards staying ahead of the competition when they promoted their top players to the majors on Thursday.
Let’s start with the infielder Nolan Gorman, who is already eligible for third base in the Sportzshala leagues and will qualify for second base after five starts at that position. Gorman is considered the 29th prospect in baseball. MLB pipeline, and 12 prospects ahead of him are not expected to debut this season. In fact, we can count on the fingers of one hand the number of leads who rank higher than Gorman and debut in 2022 during the remainder of this campaign.
Gorman lived up to the Minors hype, including hitting .308 with 15 homers and 1,044 OPS in 34 games in Triple-A this year. The youngster would have to go head-to-head with the Cardinals to ever return to the minors, and he could quickly rise to a place in the premium lineup. Overall, I prefer Gorman to any other prospect who debuted in May, including Alec Thomas, Joseph Miranda, MJ Melendez and John Yepez. In addition to 10-team leagues, Gorman is instantly added in any format.
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As for the pitch, the Cardinals add a prospect Matthew Liberatore to their rotation on Saturday. Liberatore is only slightly behind Gorman in the MLB Pipeline Leads rankings, ranking 39th overall. The left-hander spent all of last season in Triple-A, posting a 4.04 ERA and 1.25 WHIP as a 21-year-old. He started well this year with a 3.83 ERA and a 46:12 K:BB ratio over 40 innings. Liberatore was selected by the Rays in the first round in 2018 and became a key player for the season. Randy Arozarena trade until the 2020 season.
Liberatore’s future is less clear than Gorman’s. The 22-year-old will start against the Pirates on Saturday, a result of the Cardinals needing an extra starting lineup after they played a double header earlier this week. After that game, Liberatore could have returned to Triple-A. There are no obvious gaps in the team’s rotation as their only starting player with a bloated ERA is Stephen Matz, which showed a K:BB ratio of 44:8. I like the idea of racing Liberatore in leagues with 12 teams on Saturday and then seeing what happens next.