The A’s received terrible news early on Saturday. Matt Chapman, who left last Sunday’s game with a hip injury, will miss the remainder of 2020 due to hip surgery.
The injury is obviously a huge blow to the likely playoff-bound A’s. Chapman has won the Gold Glove at third base in each of the last two seasons, and also finished in the top seven in AL MVP voting in each of those seasons. Chapman’s offensive performance wasn’t quite up to his usual standard this season, but his .812 OPS and 10 home runs were still a major asset in the middle of Oakland’s lineup.
So far without Chapman, Oakland has mixed and matched at third base with Tommy La Stella, Chad Pinder, and rookie Vimael Machin. Pinder and Machin are the players most benefitting with playing time so far. While Pinder is the more proven commodity in the majors, hitting at least 13 home runs in three consecutive seasons, he missed action Saturday with a hamstring injury. Machin has yet to show much offensively in limited work this year, but did hit .295/.390/.412 between Double- and Triple-A last year.
As it stands now, neither Pinder nor Machin would seem to be a great option for mixed leagues. The best hope for the A’s is that Chapman will be 100 percent when spring training rolls around next season.
We expected weird things to happen in the 60-game season. Jose Abreu’s candidacy as a potential AL MVP is among them.
Abreu was last a legitimate MVP candidate during his 2014 rookie season, finishing fourth in the voting. The Cuban already led the AL in RBI coming into Saturday’s game, but he extended his lead with an epic night. Abreu went 4-for-4 with two home runs, seven RBI, and five runs scored in a 14-0 win by the White Sox. With the big game, Abreu trails Mike Trout and Luke Voit by only one home run with 15 on the year, but he still leads the AL in hits, RBI, and total bases.
The White Sox have had the most potent offense in the AL this season with 248 runs scored, helping lead them to a one-game lead in the AL Central standings. Abreu’s hot streak at age 33 has been at the forefront of that offensive explosion this season, though Chicago’s overall improvement isn’t completely unexpected following offseason additions Yasmani Grandal, Edwin Encarnacion, and Nomar Mazara.
Abreu’s current .991 OPS is easily the best of his career, though he did post an OPS above .900 in 2014 and 2017. Based on his track record, the production probably wouldn’t be sustainable over a full season, but Abreu is making fantasy managers happy to this point, and could potentially make White Sox fans even happier if his hitting continues into October.
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The hype has been enormous in prospect circles for Ian Anderson since he was drafted third overall in 2016 out of high school, and he has yet to disappoint. He had his best of four MLB starts so far on Saturday night.
The 22-year-old right hander had the Nats guessing all night, throwing seven scoreless innings, and allowing only one hit and three walks with nine strikeouts. The start improved Anderson’s record to 3-0, and lowered his ERA to 1.64 over 22 innings.
Anderson produced tremendous strikeout rates in the minors, including an 11.4 K/9 in 135.2 innings last season between Double- and Triple-A, and the strikeouts haven’t slowed down in his early MLB career. Flashing a fastball that’s averaged nearly 95 mph, along with an excellent changeup and curveball, Anderson has 27/10 K/BB so far.
While Anderson’s control did leave him in his last start against the Marlins, there can be few qualms with his performance so far. His arrival is likely one reason why the Braves stood pat at the trade deadline despite losing Mike Soroka earlier this season.
With the return of Soroka next season, alongside Anderson and Max Fried, the Braves franchise very well might have their next Big Three. Regardless of how far Atlanta goes in the playoffs this year, it’s an exciting time for Braves fans.
Notes: The list below is two-start pitchers for the week beginning September 14. Probable pitchers are as of Saturday, September 12, and subject to change.
Carlos Carrasco: @CHC, @DET
Jesus Luzardo: @SEA, SF
Jose Berrios: @CHW, @CHC
Cristian Javier: TEX, ARI
Marco Gonzales: OAK, SD
Taijuan Walker: @NYY, @PHI
Dane Dunning: MIN, @CIN
Ryan Yarbrough: WAS, @BAL
Dylan Cease: MIN, @CIN
At Your Own Risk
Matthew Boyd: KC, CLE
Kyle Cody: @HOU, @LAA
Julio Teheran: ARI, TEX
Asher Wojciechowski: ATL, TB
Jorge Lopez: ATL, TB
Ryan Weber: @MIA, NYY
Trevor Bauer: PIT, CHW
Yu Darvish: CLE, MIN
Dinelson Lamet: LAD, @SEA
Clayton Kershaw: @SD, @COL
Jake Flaherty: @MIL, @PIT
Pablo Lopez: PHI, WAS
Sandy Alcantara: BOS, WAS
Joe Musgrove: @CIN, STL
At Your Own Risk
Jake Arrieta: NYM, TOR
Anibal Sanchez: @TB, @MIA
Antonio Senzatela: OAK, LAD
Madison Bumgarner: @LAA, @HOU
Michael Wacha: @PHI, ATL
Brett Anderson: STL, KC
Josh Lindblom: STL, KC
American League Quick Hits: O’s manager Brandon Hyde confirmed that Anthony Santander (oblique) isn’t expected to return this season. D.J. Stewart is making the most of his playing time while Santander is absent. … Seth Brown replaced Matt Chapman on the roster for the A’s, though he doesn’t have a clear path to playing time. … Willie Calhoun is expected to return from his hamstring injury on Tuesday for the Rangers. … Elvis Andrus was placed on the 10-day IL by Texas with a back strain. … Ji-Man Choi was removed from Saturday’s game with a hamstring injury. … Ryan McBroom was optioned to the Royals alternate training site. … Stephen Piscotty returned from a wrist injury during the second game of Oakland’s doubleheader. … Brent Rooker suffered a fractured forearm and is out for the year. … Jonathan Stiever will make his MLB debut as the White Sox starter today.
Dean Kremer held his own in his second start of the year, allowing one run on four hits in five innings and fanning seven Yankees. He looks like a solid pick up down the stretch. … Jordan Montgomery got back on track, allowing one unearned runs on three hits in 5.2 innings with nine strikeouts against Baltimore. … The White Sox night overshadowed a solid start for Reynaldo Lopez, who threw five scoreless innings vs. Detroit. … Tim Anderson did what he does, going 4-for-5 with an RBI and two runs against the Tigers. He’s now hitting .358 as he tries for his second consecutive Batting Title. … Daulton Jefferies is a fine prospect, but he had a terrible MLB debut vs. Texas, allowing five runs in two innings… Jonathan Villar swiped his first two bases since joining the Blue Jays, and also had two hits in the game. … Robbie Ray got on track for Toronto, allowing one run on four hits in five innings with five strikeouts. … The disappointing Austin Meadows showed signs of life with his fourth home run of the year. … Nathan Eovaldi returned from the injured list to throw three innings at Tampa Bay, allowing one run on three hits with four strikeouts. … J.D. Martinez had yet another 0-for-4. His last hit was September 5. … Adalberto Mondesi had a big game with his fourth home run and 16th stolen base in a 2-for-5 performance vs. Pittsburgh. … Greg Holland converted his fifth save. … Kolby Allard went to 0-6 after getting rocked by Oakland, allowing six runs (five earned) in one-plus innings. … Byron Buxton now has three home runs over his last four games. … Jose Ramirez hit his 11th home run and swiped his 10th base of the year. … Ty France hit his second home run in as many games for Seattle. … Jared Walsh has been a revelation for the Angels with a home run in four straight games. It’s worth noting that he hit 36 home runs in 96 games at Triple-A last season.
National League Quick Hits: Dustin May had a CT scan on his injured left foot that turned up negative. There’s no word if he will be able to make his next scheduled start… The Giants and Padres are expected to play a doubleheader today after two cancellations due to a positive COVID-19 test. … Justin Turner (hamstring) could return early next week, at the earliest. … Zack Wheeler won’t make his scheduled start on Monday due to a cracked fingernail. … Spencer Howard was removed from his start by the Phillies with an injury. … Wade Davis was activated from the 10-day IL by Colorado. He served as the team’s closer before getting injured, but there’s no word if he will regain the job. Daniel Bard has been getting the nod as the closer recently. … Kwang-Hyun Kim has a chance to return from his kidney issue as early as Monday. … The Robbie Erlin experiment is over for the Braves. He was designated for assignment, and Sean Newcomb was recalled to replace him. … Ronald Acuna left Friday’s game with an ankle injury, but he returned to the starting lineup yesterday. … Brett Anderson was scratched from Saturday’s start with hip tightness, but he could pitch on Monday. … Cameron Maybin was scratched due to a GI issue. … Adam Eaton was scratched from Saturday’s lineup. … Jake Marisnick left with right hamstring tightness.
Patrick Corbin had one of the best starts of his disappointing season, allowing two runs on nine hits in seven innings against Atlanta. He didn’t allow a walk and fanned eight batters, lowering his ERA to 4.10… Didi Gregorius had a big game, going 2-for-4 with a home run, four RBI, and two runs scored at Miami… Jesus Aguilar launched his sixth home run, going 3-for-4 with an RBI and three runs scored… Craig Kimbrel converted the second save of his season, though he did allow two hits… Josh Hader blew his second save, allowing four runs on two home runs, in one inning against the Cubs. His ERA is up to 4.61… Ryan Braun hit the fourth home run of his season, but he’s still hitting just .226 this year… Josh Bell hit his second home run in as many games… Kenley Jansen failed to record an out while taking the loss against Houston, allowing five runs on five hits… Zac Gallen had a rare poor performance, allowing seven runs on seven hits in five innings vs. Seattle. He also walked five batters… Dakota Hudson was effectively wild for the Cardinals, walking four batters but only allowing one run on one hit against Cincinnati. His ERA is down to 2.92… Matt Carpenter had some much-needed production for the Cardinals, going 2-for-4 with his third home run of the year.