Even when you’re a fan of one specific Major League Baseball team, it can be difficult to keep track of all of the news that surrounds your favorite club on a daily basis.
However, when you’re a fantasy baseball owner, and you now have to multiply that effort by 30 in order to be as up to date as possible with each and every club, it’s a fool’s errand that borders on the impossible.
Fear not! We’ll be here each and every Monday to give you a snapshot of what’s going on in the world of baseball, with one fantasy takeaway from each of the league’s 30 teams. Think of it as your one-stop shop for the week ahead.
Here are the takeaways as we head into Week 14 of the 2017 season:
Arizona Diamondbacks: After hitting a pair of home runs for Triple-A Reno on Friday, things are looking good for a return to Arizona for A.J. Pollock. Manager Torey Lovullo had said that he wanted to see Pollock play on back-to-back days before recalling him to Arizona, but Reno’s game on Saturday was rained out. However, on Sunday, Pollock led off and went 1-for-3 with two walks and two runs scored in the first game of a double-header, so he could still get the call for tomorrow’s game in Los Angeles against the Dodgers.
Atlanta Braves: On Saturday, Freddie Freeman‘s first attempt at transitioning to third base was halted due to rain after just five innings, but he did manage to field one ground ball successfully before the tarp appeared. “That was a perfect ground ball to start your career,” Triple-A Gwinnett manager Damon Berryhill said. “He has been working hard. He’s more than capable of doing that. Talking to him, he’s all in [with playing third base].” Freeman sat Sunday and is planning to play a full game today. A post-break return to Atlanta seems very achievable.
Baltimore Orioles: Another player seeking a post-break return is Chris Davis, who has been out with an oblique injury suffered on June 12. Davis threw for the first time on Sunday, and will travel with the team to Milwaukee. “Usually, you get a pretty good idea of what you’re dealing with when they start throwing — these oblique guys. That’s the first step. If all goes well, and he feels good (on Monday), we have something mapped out for the All-Star break,” manager Buck Showalter said.
Boston Red Sox: It was a pretty good week heading into Sunday for Mookie Betts, as the outfielder had hit .435 in his previous six games. After a 4-for-6 day with two home runs and eight RBIs, Betts’ week got even better. “When you get to the plate, you’re just expecting a good pitch to hit and you’re ready for it,” Betts said. “Today I was just more ready than other days.” According to ESPN Stats & Information, Sunday’s outing tied a major-league record for RBIs in a game by a leadoff hitter.
Chicago Cubs: Ben Zobrist is 0-for-5 in the month of July but still all smiles, simply because he’s back on the field for the Cubs. Zobrist went on the 10-day DL on June 13 with swelling in his left wrist but now believes his problem is behind him, “Before I went on the DL, it was getting worse. Now, even with playing, it’s getting better. It’s hard to play when you’re injured. I tried to do that for a little while. It’s just nice to finally feel healthy.”
Chicago White Sox: Mired in a 1-for-23 (.043) slump and out of the Chicago lineup since June 28 with some left knee soreness, Avisail Garcia needed some good news. He got it on Sunday, getting named to the All-Star team for the first time — as the only White Sox representative, no less. Garcia says he has already put his recent cold spell behind him, “It’s a big thing in this game. You just gotta keep your mind strong and be focused and positive and try to make that adjustment fast.” He expects to be back in the lineup Monday against the A’s.
Cincinnati Reds: Jackson Stephens did well in his debut on Friday, striking out eight Cubs in a 5-3 win, though he did get tagged for a pair of third-inning home runs in the process. Stephens made up for that, though, with a two-RBI single of his own in the fourth. Although Stephens was sent back down to the minors, manager Bryan Price said the rookie would be back, “It’s real easy to crash and burn in these situations. And he didn’t, he held his own and I would anticipate that he’s going to see some more opportunities in the second half if he continues to throw that way in Louisville.”
Cleveland Indians: On Saturday, Andrew Miller earned the save for Cleveland with a clean ninth inning against the Tigers. Yesterday, Cody Allen got the call to put out the fire after Detroit rallied for six runs in the bottom of the ninth to put what was an 11-2 lead in jeopardy. So, who is the closer? According to manager Terry Francona, it depends. “Sometimes it depends on how much they’ve pitched, sometimes it depends on who’s hitting, sometimes it’s both. When they both have to pitch, there are going to be times Cody might go ahead of him because Andrew has carried such a workload that I’d like to see Cody shoulder that for a little bit.”
Colorado Rockies: The Colorado outfield seems to be disappearing, little by little. On Sunday, Ian Desmond had to leave the game early after coming up lame while catching a routine fly ball. He’s listed as being day-to-day with a right calf strain. Gerardo Parra (quad) and Carlos Gonzalez (shoulder) are both currently on the 10-day DL, although CarGo is expected back to play in the series against the Reds that begins Monday. Parra, if a Monday MRI goes well, could be back by the end of the week.
Detroit Tigers: It was a brutal start for Justin Verlander on Sunday, as the veteran got lit up for seven runs on nine hits in 3 1/3 K-less innings. Manager Brad Ausmus remains confident in his pitcher, saying that there’s nothing wrong with Verlander’s arm. “The raw stuff is still there,” Ausmus said. “Sometimes the action on his pitches isn’t what he wants and the command is not as good as he’d like. But the raw stuff gives you hope that it’s fixable. When the stuff declines, then you get concerned.”
Houston Astros: Houston ended up with five players getting named to the All-Star team, but Marwin Gonzalez was not one of them. That’s too bad. Gonzalez, who has already played six different positions this season, is batting .313 on the season and .349 for his last 12 games, including his 14th home run of the season on Sunday. Dallas Keuchel thought Gonzalez should have made the roster, “We’re the best team in the American League, and if you look at the last couple of years, the best teams always represented with the most players … I think some of the guys have been snubbed.” Gonzalez is owned in only 68.2 percent of ESPN leagues, so he’s being snubbed in a lot of places, it seems.
Kansas City Royals: When Whit Merrifield was getting a lot of buzz in the midst of his 19-game hitting streak earlier this season, most people felt the Royals’ second baseman would soon fade back into obscurity. After another strong week — .310 BA, five extra-base hits, four steals — and it doesn’t look like he’s going away. “We’re playing good right now,” Merrifield said. “Hitting is contagious and … we’ve got a good lineup top to bottom, no matter who is in there.” Merrifield is owned in only 21.6 percent of ESPN leagues, despite being in the top 20 at his position on the Player Rater.
Los Angeles Angels: Mike Trout was named to the All-Star team on Sunday and, despite having yet to play since undergoing thumb surgery on May 31, he may still be able to participate in the event. Manager Mike Scioscia was preaching patience with Trout, but there is a chance he could start rehab games at Class A Inland Empire on Wednesday and be cleared to return to action in time for next Tuesday. “A lot of this is going to be determined by how he comes out of his workouts, how he feels,” Scioscia said. “We’re not going to miss any steps.”
Los Angeles Dodgers: Nobody should question whether Cody Bellinger deserved to be named as an All-Star, given his 24 home runs. That said, there’s a chance his second half of the season might not be quite as rosy. Bellinger’s last seven games have produced only one extra-base hit (a double) and a .148 batting average, to go along with a 12 strikeouts in 27 at-bats. “This was way off the radar when I first came up … When I was called up, I didn’t expect (this), so for me, I’m just riding it out,” said Bellinger. As should his fantasy owners, but don’t be afraid to sell high, either.
Miami Marlins: With his next home run, Marcell Ozuna will match his career high in that category (23), which he’s done twice in the last three seasons. Ozuna’s batting average sits at a career-best .316, so it’s no shock to see him named as an All-Star starter. “He’s been huge for us all year, consistent, peppering the ball over the place, and he deserves to start for sure,” teammate Giancarlo Stanton said of Ozuna. His fantasy owners — especially those in points leagues, where he ranks No. 3 among National League outfielders, behind only fellow All-Star starters Bryce Harper and Charlie Blackmon — would agree.
Milwaukee Brewers: Chase Anderson suffered a strained left oblique while batting in the second inning last Wednesday, and is now expected to be out 4-6 weeks as a result. “Any time you lose one of your five starters, it’s a big blow,” said manager Craig Counsell. “We’re probably going to lose him for a pretty good bit of time here. He’s certainly pitching very, very well and we’ll have to cover in his absence. It’s going to be difficult.” Brent Suter, who has already made one spot start for the team this season, will take the mound on Monday in Anderson’s spot.
Minnesota Twins: Griffin Jax is trying to become the first player drafted out of the Air Force Academy (2016, third round) to make the major leagues. He was unable to play this season until he graduated in May, but in his first start with Class A Cedar Rapids on Sunday, Jax threw seven shutout innings while striking out four. He’s a long way off from Minnesota, but is definitely a name to file away for the future.
New York Mets: Lone Mets All-Star Michael Conforto certainly hasn’t been playing like it of late, with just a .222 batting average and no home runs since June 3. He was placed on the disabled list over the weekend with a bruised left hand, though the move was made retroactively, so Conforto is expected to return by this weekend in St. Louis. “I always had a feeling, even if I didn’t start with the team, I knew I was gonna be able to make an impact at some point. I guess that makes it a little bit more special,” Conforto said.
New York Yankees: Multiple Yankees on the disabled list might be back this week, according to manager Joe Girardi. Pitchers CC Sabathia (hamstring) and Adam Warren (shoulder) both are expected to be activated and ready to throw on Tuesday. Starlin Castro (hamstring) “has a really good chance to be back before (the break),” Girardi said. “He has some hurdles, he hasn’t started running yet, but I think there’s a chance.”
Oakland Athletics: Marcus Semien, who fractured his wrist in April, is just about ready to return to the Oakland infield. He played a full game at shortstop for Triple-A Nashville on Saturday and followed that up by DH-ing for the team on Sunday. The team is optimistic that Semien will be back for the series with the Mariners that begins on Thursday. With Adam Rosales hitting just .228 on the season as the primary shortstop replacement, there’s every reason to believe that Semien will move right back into a starting role.
Philadelphia Phillies: Timing is everything, isn’t it? Pat Neshek went through the entire month of June without allowing an earned run in any of his 13 appearances. On Saturday, he blew a save by serving up a home run to Asdrubal Cabrera, which is likely to keep his ESPN ownership anchored near his current 11.0 percent, even after being named as the only Phillies All-Star Sunday.
Tampa Bay Rays: Things were bound to even out eventually, but even with an 0-for-5 game on Sunday, Adeiny Hechavarria‘s Rays career has gotten off to a hot start. The shortstop is batting .421 with three RBIs since joining the club via trade last week. Brad Miller doubled in all three of the games he played this weekend for High-A Charlotte as he rehabs a strained groin. It’s unclear how Miller will fit back into the infield mix when he’s activated.
Texas Rangers: Robinson Chirinos has started three of the last four games behind the plate for the Rangers, while Jonathan Lucroy took his weekend swings as the team’s DH. All of this is fueling speculation that Texas is shopping Lucroy for some help in the bullpen. Manager Jeff Banister attempted to quell that buzz by stating, “We are going to continue to use both catchers.” Still, with Lucroy headed for free agency, a trade does seem likely.
Toronto Blue Jays: Miguel Montero, who was exiled from the Cubs last week after some pointed comments toward his teammates, has been traded to the Blue Jays for a player to be named later. Russell Martin will likely continue to handle the bulk of the catching duties, but Montero — even with his throwing issues this season — should be an upgrade from light-hitting Luke Maile (.115) as the No. 2 backstop.
Washington Nationals: Trea Turner was placed on the 10-day DL on Friday after it as determined the shortstop had a non-displaced fracture in his right wrist. He is out for an indeterminate amount of time, and a 6-to-8 week estimate may be conservative. For now, Stephen Drew and Wilmer Difo will likely fill in for Turner in the infield, though the team did promote Adrian Sanchez from Triple-A Syracuse. Washington manager Dusty Baker knows that Turner is not truly replaceable, “Trea was our igniter. As he went, our offense usually followed closely behind him.”