Here we are, just about through July, and the dog days of summer lie ahead of us. We have come such a long way since our opening days of the season, yet we still have a ways to go. The fact that there are still two months left in this season is truly a reflection of how long of a grind a Major League Baseball season really is. That being said, time is of the essence for those dealing with injuries. It’s close to the time of the year when players consider shutting it down for the season and work on getting prepared for Spring Training. Here are some of the injuries that you need to know about.
Garrett Cooper has had himself a successful season, offering a very solid batting average while providing eligibility in the outfield and at first base. Unfortunately for him, health has been a major concern over the years, as his inability to remain in the lineup has been a detriment to his overall value. Recently, he was hit by a pitch on an already surgically repaired wrist and will miss some time making it better. In his absence, prospect Lewin Diaz was called up, and he offers some interesting potential.
Lewin Diaz comes to the Marlins this year after having dabbled with them two years prior. During those brief times up, he connected for eight home runs in just under 170 plate appearances but seemed overwhelmed at the plate with a lot of strikeouts. This time around, he has shown more patience, as he’s already walked four times while also getting five hits with one being a double. He’s chasing fewer pitches, waiting for a pitch that he likes, and seems more in control of the situation he’s been handed. While this is all still a small sample size, it’s definitely an improvement over his last two appearances, and his defense is as good as advertised.
Lewin Díaz at first base. That’s it. That’s the tweet.
— Christina De Nicola (@CDeNicola13) July 28, 2022
Conclusion: Lewin Diaz is a prospect that comes to the Marlins with a high pedigree, and is a part of the Marlins’ long-term plan. His 60-Grade Raw Power and his 70-Grade Fielding should both give him the opportunities to play while the Marlins look toward the future. With Garrett Cooper linked to various teams closer to the trade deadline at the time of this writing, there is an opportunity for Diaz to show his true worth and help fantasy teams in the process. He is definitely worth a look in deeper leagues.
Continuing along in Miami, Jorge Soler came to the Marlins in the offseason with the hopes of giving their offense a power surge towards a potential playoff push. Instead, the opposite has happened, as Soler has reverted back to his low batting average, minimal power ways, and been anything but as advertised. Recently diagnosed with back spasms, this propelled the Marlins to call up yet another prospect, JJ Bleday, to step in and provide some power.
JJ Bleday has never been short on potential, as he was able to flash his power in the minor leagues this year with twenty home runs. Armed with a heavy bat, he demonstrated his patience too, garnering a 16.3% walk rate and striking out 27.0% of the time. During his brief time up with the Marlins thus far, he’s increased his ground ball rate from his minor league numbers, but he is hitting the ball hard and barreling at a solid rate. And while he’s still striking out more than he should, it could just be nerves and his pressing attempts to try and make things happen right away. He recently hit his first career home run off of one of the game’s best in Luis Castillo.
20 homers for JJ Bleday in Triple-A this season, and now his first as a big leaguer 🤩 pic.twitter.com/ardYTv8bMx
— Fish Stripes (@fishstripes) July 27, 2022
Conclusion: The Marlins are a mess right now, as they are dealing with many injuries. There is a chance that they will be sellers at the trade deadline, which could lead to opportunities in the future. Bleday is definitely someone who could benefit from this movement, as he is someone they think highly of. While it is a small sample since his arrival, he did steal a base and three of his four hits have been for extra bases. The power potential is there, and if he can exercise the patience that he demonstrated in the minor leagues, there is a chance that he can stay up with the Marlins for a while. That said, if he struggles and the Marlins do not trade away the pieces in front of him, owners everywhere should be prepared to move on, especially in redraft.
If you’re seeing a theme here, it’s that the Miami Marlins are truly in a state of flux. Over the past week, they have seen their roster decimated by injuries, causing them to reconsider their plans moving forward. One of those decisions has to come through the back end of their rotation, regarding Elieser Hernandez, who recently went to the Injured List without any designation. While the end result could be Covid-19 related, the fact is that the Marlins are looking for stability from their starters, and they may have just found some with Braxton Garrett.
Coming into the season, Garrett had been used sparingly as a starter last season, but with minimal success. He was giving up too many walks and wasn’t utilizing his best pitch, a 60-Grade Slider, enough or properly. He entered the 2022 season as an afterthought with underwhelming numbers in the minors but was given an opportunity to pitch for the Marlins again. On his second trip to Miami, he changed up his pitch mix, to the point where he began utilizing that slider more often. This, alongside additional velocity everywhere, produced better results, making him a much better overall pitcher.
Conclusion: Since undergoing his transformation in 2022, Garrett has been able to do what he does best: strike out batters with a pretty good slider. He finished the month of July with a 3.00 ERA, 33 strikeouts and only six walks over 30.0 innings pitched. Granted, two of his better games were against the Pirates, but he definitely held his own against tougher opponents as well, while utilizing his strengths. He should be given plenty of opportunities to continue this ascension, and time will tell how legitimate this potential breakout really is.
Harold Ramirez was one of the shining pieces for the Rays in an otherwise disappointing season. He came to the team as part of an offseason trade with the Cubs and has been one of their most consistent contributors ever since. Unfortunately for him and the team, Ramirez will be out of action for a while with a fractured right thumb, and may not return at all this year. Scrambling for a replacement, the always resourceful Rays called on Luke Raley to fill the void, and so far he has held his own.
Since garnering consistent playing time, Luke Raley has been able to put together an impressive week. He has hit for power, demonstrated by his home run and two doubles, while also limiting his strikeouts. He’s showing added patience at the plate, while also hitting the ball very hard, and the results have been good, to say the least. In fact, seventeen of his twenty-nine batted balls have been hit at least 90 mph, which is above league average. One has to wonder if his growth is carrying over from his time at Triple-A, where he showed a lot of this beforehand.
Since Harold Ramirez landed on the IL we’ve seen #Rays Luke Raley take on a bigger role and gain regular playing time. Has started 4 straight & 4 of 5 games total post ASB. Includes a start vs LHP (he’s a LHH)
In AAA this year:
149 wRC+ pic.twitter.com/gkF8QWpAan
— Mike Kurland (@Mike_Kurland) July 26, 2022
Conclusion: There is some risk to adding Raley, as the Rays don’t always follow the book on how things “should” be. There’s also the added concern that Raley, at age 27, may very well be a Quad-A ball player—someone who succeeds in the minor leagues but struggles to take that necessary next step. The Rays have also acquired David Peralta in a trade, which could limit Raley’s potential. All that being said, he could be an everyday player and the results since the time of Ramirez’s injury have been promising. He’s definitely worth a look, albeit with a short leash, to see if he finally catches on.
For years, Edward Olivares has been the bane of the existence of many fantasy baseball players. He was someone who paired power and speed with potential, but for one reason or another, he was never given enough time to prove himself. This season, he began to show his true colors as a potential five-category player, but injuries have derailed him, and now he finds himself on the Injured List. In the meantime, through both injury-riddled opportunities and trades, a new player has emerged as someone who may find consistent playing time, even when Olivares returns. That man is Nick Pratto.
One of the team’s top prospects, he was originally lauded as the next big thing at first base, after a successful surge in 2021. Unfortunately for him, someone named Vinnie Pasquantino did the same thing but had a better start than Pratto to begin 2022. As a result, it was Pasquantino that got the call first and has been playing at first base. Pratto later received the promotion, only out of necessity when the Royals were missing many players on a vaccination mandate in Canada. Since that time, Pratto has kept his strikeout and walk rates similar to his 2021 trends and has shown power with three extra-base hits.
Conclusion: Pratto comes to the Royals as a highly touted prospect. Ranked by many last offseason within the Top 50 in all of baseball, there’s a lot to like in the future for Pratto. Whether or not he comes close to his potential in 2022 remains to be seen, but the Royals aren’t a team to shy away from fast-tracking their farm system and playing their prospects. There’s a real chance here, after the Trade Deadline, that Pratto becomes an everyday player. If he develops in any way here, he has a shot to be something special. He’s worth adding at the end of your bench in deep leagues to see if this promise is real.
Featured Image by Justin Paradis (@JustParaDesigns on Twitter)