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Fantasy Baseball Today: Nasty Nestor Cortes, Josh Naylor on fire, Julio Rodriguez continues red-hot May, more

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Happy Tuesday, everyone! It was another exciting night in baseball, especially for the team that has enjoyed the majority of excitement so far this season – the New York Yankees. Their best story of the 2022 season, “nasty” Nestor Cortes, was back on the mound and delivered his most dominant performance yet. Cortes took a no hitter into the eighth inning and wound up with 7 1/3 shutout innings allowing just one hit and four walks. He also struck out 11 on just 103 pitches as his cutter (12 induced swinging strikes) continues to be his big-time swing-and-miss offering. It was a great bounce-back game for Cortes and his second double-digit strikeout game of the season. The general inclination is to sell high on Cortes if you scooped him, but a Tweet from Brewers OF Andrew McCutchen may make you think twice about that. McCutchen Tweeted: Nestor Cortes’ fastball plays up. Meaning his 91-94 actually feels like 97. Mix that with him messing with a hitters timing, throwing from diff arm angles, and locating well, he can be very difficult to hit. He showed that today. ”

Cortes wasn’t the only big story from Tuesday’s action. We had several standout hitting performances. We’ll dive into all of the notable hitting and pitching performances from Tuesday, but first let’s catch you up on some of the great content from the Fantasy Baseball Today team that is live on CBSSports.com/Fantasy/Baseball. Scott White broke down why George Kirby stands out among a slew of prospect call-ups and other players to consider scooping up off your waiver wire. Chris Towers dove into how you should adjust your Fantasy Baseball strategy to the league-wide slump in runs, homers and steals. He also profiled several pitchers who are red hot to start the season that you’ll want to sell high and put trade offers out for with them involved now before the weather warms up.

And of course, as always, you can follow to make sure you get the latest episodes of Fantasy Baseball Today right when they drop on Apple and Spotify.

Rodon continues Cy Young push

The best bet on the board for NL Cy Young was Carlos Rodon immediately after he signed with the Giants. Given San Francisco’s recent success with starting pitchers and Rodon’s 2021 breakout, the upside was sky high and he continues to deliver on it with almost every start. On Tuesday, Rodon struck out 12 in just six innings of work. He allowed two runs, but it’s now the second time he’s reached a dozen strikeouts in an outing. On the season, Rodon’s Cy Young campaign is highlighted by his sparkling 1.80 ERA and his 53 strikeouts in just 35 innings.

Naylor plays hero ball

It might be time to buy into Guardians OF Josh Naylor if he is still on your waiver wire. He hit a grand slam in the ninth inning to tie the game for the Guardians, who were attempting a wild comeback and then rocked a go-ahead three-run homer in the 11th. He also added a double that knocked in two to bring his absurd Tuesday totals to two homers and eight RBI. Naylor’s confidence is sky high right now and he’s batting .338 with four homers and 21 RBI in 19 games since returning from an ankle injury. It took him 69 games to reach 21 RBI in 2021 so this could easily be Naylor making the jump. Naylor is just 31% rostered in CBS Leagues.

Angels first-rounders mash

It’s always great to see the commonly-drafted in the first round Angels hitters crush the ball, and that’s exactly what we saw on Tuesday from OF Mike Trout and DH Shohei Ohtani. Trout went 2-for-3 with a homer and three RBI, and despite a brief injury scare earlier this season that turned out to be nothing, he has been everything we remember hitting .319 with seven homers, 16 RBI and 21 runs scored over 26 games. Ohtani has been catching up in the counting stats in recent weeks and added a lot more to his total on Tuesday when he homered twice and drove in five runs. Ohtani has now homered six times a year and he has driven in 21 runs. There are two MVP candidates playing for the Angels right now – good luck to opposing pitchers once the weather starts to turn.

Rodriguez rounding into a complete contributor

For a while there, Mariners OF Julio Rodriguez was a one-trick pony and only a very good one in Roto and category leagues. Rodriguez has racked up a league-leading 10 stolen bases already this season and now he’s starting to get on base more often too. In Rodriguez’s past 17 games, he’s batted .344 and lowered his strikeout rate to 22%. As a reward, the Mariners have moved him up to prime real estate in their batting order – the No. 3 hole. If and when the power comes along, Rodriguez could be the prospect who breaks out and finds himself drafted in the same range Luis Robert was this past spring.

Hitting continues to slump in May

April brought a league-wide power outage and the runs didn’t come either. So far in May, it has been more of the same with a lot of areas of the country still experiencing colder weather. Here are the numbers across the league in April vs. May.

  • April: .231 BA, .282 BABIP, 10% HR / FB ratio, .061 HR / game, .032 SB / game
  • May: .234 BA, .281 BABIP (Ks down a tad MoM), 10.3% HR / FB ratio, .066 HR / game, .029 SB / game
  • First eight days of May 2021: .243 BA, .292 BABIP, 14.6% HR / FB ratio, .081 HR / game, .036 SB / game

The league ERA was 3.72 in April, the lowest it’s been in any April since 1991. What this means is that you can likely extract some value by selling high on pitchers who are performing over their heads. These pitchers come to mind as starters you should try to trade now for hitting and aggressively looking to move before their next starts.

News and lineup notes

Every night the Fantasy Baseball Today team dives into all of the happenings around the MLB from top performers to injuries, trades and more. The podcast is a must listen for any diehard, if I do say so myself. Tune in to the podcast to hear the FBT crew expand on the news and notes below.

  • Lance Lynn is targeting an early June return. He had knee surgery just before the season.
  • Jack Flaherty will throw his second bullpen session on either Tuesday or Wednesday this week.
  • Blake Snell will make his third rehab start at Triple-A on Tuesday.
  • Dylan Floro was activated on Monday; 41% rostered
  • Seiya Suzuki was removed Monday with ankle soreness.
  • Manny Margot left his game with hamstring soreness after stealing two bases.
  • Brandon Belt scratched once again with neck stiffness.
  • Akil Baddoo was optioned to Triple-A on Monday. H
  • David Robertson was placed on the IL for undisclosed reasons, which sounds like COVID.
  • Wade Miley will make his Cubs debut on Tuesday against the Padres.
  • Rays pitching prospect Shane Baz was slated to throw batting practice Monday. I haven’t seen an update yet. He had arthroscopic elbow surgery to remove loose bodies in March. Baz is eligible to return June 6, but we’re not sure if that will happen just yet.
  • Taylor Ward won’t play Monday due to a tight hamstring, though he expects to return Tuesday.
  • Yoan Moncada made his season debut Monday going 1-3 with a walk and a run scored.
  • Jon Gray exited Monday’s start early due to left knee soreness. He’s already been on the IL once with an MCL injury in his knee.
  • Kyle Lewis is hitting well early on in his rehab assignment. He’s 6-for-17 with two homers in his first four games. He’s 48% rostered.
  • Luke Voit will return to Triple-A to get more rehab at-bats Tuesday. He’s currently 0-for-18 with 12 Ks in the minors.
  • Edward Olivares was placed on the IL with a strained right quad.
  • Andrew DeSclafani threw a bullpen session Monday. He’s been on the IL for two weeks with an ankle injury.
  • Evan Longoria is expected to return later this week. He’s 18% rostered.
  • Casey Mize will make his first rehab start at Triple-A Thursday. He’s on the IL with a right elbow sprain.
  • Tigers pitching prospect Alex Faedo is being called up to start one of the doubleheader games on Tuesday for the Tigers.
  • Adrian Martinez will make his MLB debut and start Tuesday for the A’s. He came over in the Sean Manaea trade. Has a 7.45 ERA at Triple-A this season.
  • Mike Moustakas was placed on the COVID IL Monday, joining a long list of Reds players who are on the shelf.
  • Frank Schwindel is already back with the Cubs after getting demoted on Sunday.

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