• German Marquez lost a no-hitter in the ninth inning Tuesday but still recorded a shutout (and just the second “Maddux” in Coors Field history). Few pitchers are throwing better right now, as Marquez has posted a 2.00 ERA and a 0.77 WHIP over his last eight starts. Five of those came in Coors (and another in Cincinnati), so he deserves a ton of credit despite an easier schedule (including a lowly Pirates offense Tuesday night). Marquez has nearly twice as many starts in Colorado than on the road so far this season, which he’s turned around in a big way after seeing his ERA bloat to 5.56 in mid-May. There remains just one no-hitter in Coors Field history.
• Shohei Ohtani homered two more times Tuesday, giving him 11 long balls (and two steals) over the last 13 games and an MLB-leading 28 on the season. He’s emerging as the AL MVP favorite, though WAR has Vladimir Guerrero Jr. right there with him (although that can get complicated). Ohtani leads MLB in Barrel% by a significant margin and has become a fantasy superstar.
Kyle Schwarber just doesn't stop
Schwarber led off Tuesday’s game with yet another home run, tying him (with the great Barry Bonds) for the most HR (16) in MLB history over an 18-game span. He’s also now up to 16 homers over 69 at-bats since moving to the leadoff spot. It’s hardly surprising Schwarber’s seen a power boost since leaving Wrigley Field, which is one of the toughest venues on lefty power (it’s decreased HR for LHB by 16% over the last three seasons), but Nationals Park has weirdly been extremely tough on left-handed power in 2021.
After boosting run-scoring by 10% from 2017-2019 (Coors Field is the only current park that increased offense more during that span), Nationals Park has suddenly become an extreme pitcher’s park since the beginning of last season. If there were any cosmetic changes to Nationals Park, I’ve yet to discover them. Meanwhile, Victor Robles hit his first homer of the year Tuesday night, fittingly on many fantasy benches (in weekly formats) after he sat out Monday’s game injured. Robles doesn’t have a steal since June 9.
• Walker Buehler dominated a Giants lineup that entered with the fourth-best wRC+ in baseball, remarkably becoming the fourth Dodgers pitcher to record his eighth victory of the season (just 10 other pitchers have that many across baseball). Buehler’s spin rate was significantly down during Tuesday’s start (the Dodgers have lost the most spin since the crackdown), but he allowed no earned runs anyway.
Buehler would easily be worth a first-round fantasy pick in drafts today.
• Joey Gallo swatted two more long balls Tuesday, giving him five over the last three games. While six steals have been a nice bonus, Gallo has been a better player for the Rangers (140 wRC+) than for fantasy managers (.230 BA), although that gap has narrowed with the recent homer binge. Moreover, Gallo is a real trade candidate next month, which could be big news for his fantasy value if he left Globe Life Field for a place like Yankee Stadium.
• J.D. Davis is set to begin a rehab assignment Wednesday and should be added in deeper fantasy leagues now. He’s dealt with a series of unfortunate injuries this season, but Davis has scorched the ball when healthy. He’s recorded a .390 BA, while his Barrel% and average exit velocity would both rank in the top-10 if he qualified. It’s been a small sample, but Davis’ bat has always intrigued. He’s 3B/OF eligible and available in more than 60% of Yahoo leagues.
What's wrong with Wander?
• Wander Franco’s OPS is down to .598, and he has zero extra-base hits since homering during his debut, but he shouldn’t be dropped, not even in shallow formats. The small sample struggles at the plate have also come with as many walks as strikeouts (and a steal despite a .290 OBP), and he was batting third in Tuesday’s lineup. Franco is baseball’s best prospect and still hasn’t totaled even 200 ABs above A ball, so some growing pains are to be expected. But before you get impatient, realize THE BAT X projects the rookie to hit .292 with 15 homers/steals and a 130 wRC+ rest-of-season. This is a special prospect capable of being a huge fantasy help over the final three months.
• Jarren Duran homered twice Tuesday while continuing to impress in Triple-A and is worth stashing in deeper fantasy leagues. With “70” speed and nice stolen base numbers throughout the minors, Duran has both fantasy upside as well as a clear path with Boston’s current center fielder Danny Santana sporting a 32 wRC+ (it was 40 last season, meaning he was 60% worse than a league-average player). Duran is available in 70% of Yahoo leagues.
• Raimel Tapia is the only qualified hitter with a negative launch angle. Meanwhile, Juan Soto and Bo Bichette are both surprisingly bottom-10 in the metric, which isn’t especially encouraging when projecting their second-half power.