We’re nearing the 40% mark of the season, which means our favorite pitchers are fully loose and getting all sorts of problems with their shoulders and [reads notes] A4 pulleys. OK! Every day, we learn something new. Today, I’m going to teach you the following: the Electric Slide, the G.O.A.T. recipe for yakisoba, and also, what an A4 flexor pulley tendon is. I’m not even sure I wrote that last part correctly, but I’ll trust the editors to fix it up.*

*Editor’s Note: Budget cuts have led to our dispossession of a copy of Grey’s Anatomy, both the book and the first season on DVD. Without McDreamy, we have no compass to guide our knowledge. 

News and Notes:

Chris SaleShoulder. Inflammation. Well, at least it’s not shoulder inflation, right? [clears Google search history]. Sale sliced through batters in May and was on his way to resume his status on his path to the “Hall of the Very Good,” where he would undoubtedly join the likes of Torii Hunter, Kevin Brown, and Barry Bonds. Sale had an MRI and CT scan on Friday, which means that after the doctor returns from his Caribbean trip on Monday morning, y’all will probably be rolling in the news that Sale will get another MRI two weeks from now. Some people like being put in a giant tube, and others like to put other people in giant tubes. [clears Google search history again].

Shoulder inflammation means that Sale has an odd-on chance of being on the IL for a month or more, even if there’s no structural damage.

For your fantasy team, 12-teamers have no choice but to roll the IL dice. Sale’s about halfway through his guaranteed contract, and the team will want him to be a part of their inevitable September collapse to the Tampa Bay Rays. If Sale returns in 2-3 weeks, you’ve got gravy. If he returns in August, you’ve got Jack Flaherty.

Eduardo Rodriguez[squints real hard at a climbing injury website] An A4 pulley is the softish pad in the middle of your finger. According to the first result on Google,

The best analogy for [a flexor tendon pulley] is a fishing rod. The eyelets of a fishing rod, like the pulleys of your finger, keep the fishing line close to the rod when it bends. This optimizes the finger flexor tendons’ line of pull, allowing you to grasp and climb. The pulleys create efficient mechanics for your fingers by maximizing the amount of finger flexion gained per muscle contraction length. Without pulleys, the tendon would pull away from the joint’s axis of rotation during flexion and decrease the functionality of the system.

Y’all worried about AI cheating when I’m over here with copy-paste. ChatGPT can’t replace me!

ENYWHEY. E-Rod’s finger can’t grip a ball anymore because of that section where I copy/pasted, and he’ll miss about 2 months of time while he rehabs his fishing line. Am I being metaphorical or literal? You decide!

This is unfortunate for fantasy managers because E-Rod had finally become the reliable stalwart we all knew he could be. I know you’re smirking right now. Remember 2018-2021, when E-Rod went 45-19 with a 10 K/9 and nearly 10 combined WAR? He was an RCL super-stud. He’s still only 30 years old — half a decade younger than deGrom and Sale, mind you.

E-Rod managers have to ride the IL train as well — he’s got great potential when healthy, but that’s something he’s struggled with over the past two years. That didn’t stop you from drafting Jacob deGrom in the second round, did it?

Jacob deGromHad a kiddo this week. I’ve had three kids, and I can tell you that when you’ve got a newborn, a healthy elbow is critical to their safety. I’m sort of amidextrous, and although I’m primarily right handed, I do a bunch of things left-handed: cutting meat, putting on pants and shoes, and carrying infants. Apparently deGrom bats left-handed and throws right-handed (thanks statistic sites!). Maybe, he too will ensure the survival of his genes by carrying L’enfant deGrom with his non-injured left arm while allowing his right arm to continue healing.

This is really just me riffing on the non-news that appeared this week regarding deGrom’s return to action. DeGrom has thrown five bullpens yet the Rangers don’t know precisely where he’s at in his rehabilitation…? Sounds like continued issues. Did you know that if you combine deGrom’s last four seasons, he has 20 more IP than Sandy Alcantara had last year alone?

It’s still up to you what you want to do with deGrom’s elbow, but he’s missed, effectively, six weeks so far. He hasn’t made any rehab starts yet. He hasn’t thrown a simulated game yet (at least, not one that’s been reported). He doesn’t have a formal clean bill of health yet to even start those more advanced activities. You make the choice about whether he stays on your team’s IL spot, or whether you save it for somebody more lucrative, like [gulps] Jon Gray.

Jack FlahertyIn the pre-season, I called him your favorite streamer for 2023. He whiffed out of the starting gate and took more walks than a fundraiser. He’s lighting in a bottle right now, but over his last four appearances, he’s notched two quality starts (and nearly a third) while K’ing 25 to (only) 8 walks. His ERA over that span is a paltry 1.88, but his FIP is 2.45, so we’ve got some great indications of sustainability. If you’re struggling to recover from losing Sale, E-Rod, or the continued absence of deGrom, Flaherty is a great pivot. You’ll have a wild ride, but that’s the fun of fantasy baseball.

Eury PerezSomehow, he’s 3-1 on the season despite never throwing past 5IP. Especially on the Marlins, that’s magical Win luck! Over the past month, his K/9 is still below 8, BB/9 still above 4, and those games were against the murder’s row lineups of the Athletics, Angles, Rockies, and Nationals. Y’all know I’m not the herald of rookie pitchers, and it looks like EP could be in some trouble coming up.

Logan WebbHad a nasty start to the season and I told y’all to hold tight, like gripping your favorite beverage when dancing in the moonlight. All Webb has done over the past 8 starts is deliver 7 quality starts and a 1.95 ERA with 2.98 FIP. You’re welcome.

Spencer StriderGoing through a weak phase, but this is fine and expected. Fastball velocity is still right where it should be, and his swinging strike rates are still way, way above average. He’s got two quality starts in a row, so nothing to worry about here.

Shane BieberHow the mighty have fallen? It’s not like the Guardians are doing a lick of work to inspire their Cy Young winner — they’ve sold off all of their great players except JoRam. Bieber still won’t see a free agent contract until 2025 — that’s two more years! And Biebs just doesn’t have the oomph that he had in 2021. Even in 2022, Biebs quietly put together a great fantasy year with 200 IP, nearly 9 K/9, and a 2.88 ERA. Flash forward to 2023 — especially May — and he can’t find the strike zone. His K/9 is down in the depths with Jordan Lyles, and he’s been blown out of two games while also notching a handful of quality starts. What’s a fantasy manager to do?

Bieber’s fastball has increased in velocity recently, which is a good sign. His swinging strike rates have been paltry, which is problematic. His magic number of K’s seems to be 4: he’s started 12 games, and 8 of them finished with 4 K’s (and another game had 3 K’s). Yuck.

There’s life left in Bieber, no doubt. Even our patron Saint Justin revived his career after his Ludacris start. We’ve gotta give Shane at least another month before saying anything actionable, but it’ll be a rough month. He’s slated for some above-average challenges coming up: BOS, HOU, and ARI (how did that even happen?!?). If you’re looking to trade Bieber, now’s a good a time as any — he’ll undoubtedly be better in the future, but do you want to take that risk, or let another manager take that risk? Your call.

Matt StrahmStill your favorite Roleless Rob! Since his demotion from starter to Rob, he’s notched 2 Wins, 1 Save, 1 Hold, all while posting a 16:3 K:BB rate and a 2.45 ERA. It’s worthwhile to note that he’s opened some games, which could be a detriment to leagues that have limits on Games Started. However, for you RCL’ers looking for efficient metrics, Strahm still seems to be your cheat code for 2023.


Tier Name Team Confidence Own% L30$/G
1 Spencer Strider ATL 4.457 100 14.6
1 Kevin Gausman TOR 4.241 100 6.7
1 Mitch Keller PIT 4.069 100 33.5
1 Matt Strahm PHI 3.958 39 -13.1
1 Shohei Ohtani LAA 3.938 100 -3.6
1 Hunter Greene CIN 3.686 100 -6
1 Zac Gallen ARI 3.388 100 2.9
1 Kodai Senga NYM 3.352 100 15.4
1 Luis Castillo SEA 3.300 100 13.4
1 Joe Ryan MIN 3.259 100 9.3
1 Framber Valdez HOU 3.210 100 41
2 Sonny Gray MIN 3.185 100 -16.7
2 Nathan Eovaldi TEX 3.149 100 51.3
2 Logan Gilbert SEA 3.143 100 11.4
2 Zack Wheeler PHI 3.108 100 -10.1
2 Logan Webb SF 3.026 100 31.3
2 Shane McClanahan TB 3.024 100 19.1
2 Pablo Lopez MIN 2.951 100 -12.2
2 Merrill Kelly ARI 2.932 100 41.7
2 Gerrit Cole NYY 2.885 100 -23.2
2 Cristian Javier HOU 2.874 100 39.3
2 Marcus Stroman CHC 2.803 100 18.6
2 George Kirby SEA 2.793 100 13.6
2 MacKenzie Gore WSH 2.784 100 -12.2
2 Jesus Luzardo MIA 2.754 100 -7
2 Edward Cabrera MIA 2.747 92 1.5
2 Charlie Morton ATL 2.671 100 0
2 Clayton Kershaw LAD 2.594 100 -10.9
2 Hunter Brown HOU 2.589 100 -7.7
2 Yu Darvish SD 2.570 100 -9
2 Max Scherzer NYM 2.570 100 21.4
2 Jose Berrios TOR 2.568 100 16.6
2 Eduardo Rodriguez DET 2.552 100 21
2 Reid Detmers LAA 2.539 100 -33.5
2 Aaron Nola PHI 2.494 100 -4.2
2 Sandy Alcantara MIA 2.486 100 -18.5
2 Lucas Giolito CHW 2.474 100 1.3
2 Justin Steele CHC 2.468 100 -3.1
2 Alex Cobb SF 2.428 100 -3.5
2 Chris Sale BOS 2.426 100 32.1
2 Miles Mikolas STL 2.424 91 23.5
2 Corbin Burnes MIL 2.417 100 -3.2
2 Dylan Cease CHW 2.414 100 -24.5
3 Jon Gray TEX 2.389 100 43.6
3 Zach Eflin TB 2.361 100 24.2
3 Tanner Bibee CLE 2.327 100 -8.5
3 Jordan Montgomery STL 2.326 100 -43
3 Logan Allen CLE 2.324 100 -6.3
3 Bailey Ober MIN 2.312 100 13.3
3 Shane Bieber CLE 2.307 100 -16.7
3 Zack Greinke KC 2.306 3 8.6
3 Andrew Heaney TEX 2.279 100 8.6
3 Jack Flaherty STL 2.266 94 -27.1
3 Nick Martinez SD 2.263 7 -15.8
3 Kyle Gibson BAL 2.258 41 -6.4
3 Bryce Elder ATL 2.258 100 7.1
3 Drew Smyly CHC 2.258 100 -2.3
3 Dane Dunning TEX 2.234 98 7.3
3 Michael Kopech CHW 2.220 96 25.7
3 Michael Wacha SD 2.214 94 33.5
3 Dustin May LAD 2.207 72 18.6
3 Tyler Wells BAL 2.191 100 11.7
3 Anthony DeSclafani SF 2.173 99 -7.2
3 Domingo German NYY 2.160 98 -2.6
3 Lance Lynn CHW 2.156 100 -8.2
3 Nick Pivetta BOS 2.155 5 -16.6
3 Julio Urias LAD 2.138 100 7.6
3 Kyle Bradish BAL 2.137 95 2.4
3 Clarke Schmidt NYY 2.113 55 -3.2
3 Braxton Garrett MIA 2.095 87 -24.9
3 Patrick Sandoval LAA 2.092 98 -13.7
3 John Brebbia SF 2.084 0 -1.2
3 Blake Snell SD 2.081 100 -12.2
3 Dean Kremer BAL 2.073 16 13.4
3 Ian Hamilton NYY 2.049 2 -1.9
3 Jacob deGrom TEX 2.041 100
3 Chris Bassitt TOR 2.026 100 28.3
3 Josiah Gray WSH 2.024 100 -15.5
3 Carlos Hernandez KC 2.022 0 -18.1
3 Jacob Webb LAA 2.016 0 0.7
3 Tanner Houck BOS 2.010 42 -24.7
4 Graham Ashcraft CIN 1.958 67 -55.2
4 Steven Matz STL 1.913 14 -35
4 Roansy Contreras PIT 1.899 73 -38.3
4 Rich Hill PIT 1.896 8 -21.8
4 Kyle Freeland COL 1.893 25 -14.6
4 Ben Joyce LAA 1.885 0 -1.1
4 Jaime Barria LAA 1.883 0 9
4 Michael Lorenzen DET 1.882 78 19.6
4 JP Sears OAK 1.870 37 -2.2
4 Reese Olson DET 1.869 0 10
4 Freddy Peralta MIL 1.862 100 -22.4
4 Johan Oviedo PIT 1.861 34 -23.4
4 Taj Bradley TB 1.835 100 -8.7
4 Louie Varland MIN 1.812 100 8.8