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Happy Thursday, everyone! Now that the dust has settled in what was a whacky and downright wild MLB trade deadline that saw two of the best players in their respective roles — Josh Hader and Juan Soto — both move to the same contender. We move forward as we must with a very interesting landscape for the rest of the way, and I’m especially intrigued by how the NL postseason is shaping up.
So let’s have some fun and here’s how I would power rank my top-five teams from this point on given how their rosters looks post-deadline and how I’m projecting these teams to perform moving forward:
1. Yankees: Although they’ve been somewhat cold since the break — losing to the Mariners on Wednesday — they still came out of the deadline a lot stronger with Frankie Montas and two relievers they didn’t have before it. At 10 games up in their own division, it’s easy to see a path where the Yankees are the most dominant team in the league like they were prior to the break.
2. Dodgers: It’s hard not to rank the Dodgers first or second even after a quiet trade deadline. They have been on an absolute tear for the past month and change and still have the deepest roster in baseball.
3. Mets: Call me optimistic, maybe, but if Jacob deGrom and Max Scherzer are pitching in October, I don’t know that there’s a team in baseball I’d wager to win a series over the Mets. And can you really blame me for that? I know — it’s a big if.
4. Padres: The Padres may not have the first-half tear the Yankees had, or the deep roster the Dodgers have or the 1-2 punch for the Mets, but they have so much else to offer — and potentially the nastiest consecutive hitters in any batting order with Fernando Tatis, Juan Soto and Manny Machado.
5. Braves: There’s something about this Braves team that screams to me it hasn’t even fully hit its stride yet — now pun intended as Spencer Strider continues to look like the best rookie pitcher in a long time. Ronald Acuna definitely has another level he can take his game to, and he’s not the only one.
Below, we’ll break down some other key takeaways from Wednesday’s action. But first, make sure you’re all caught up with everything going down at CBSSports.com/Fantasy. Scott broke down the deadline winners and losers .
It was a rough go for baseball’s top hitting prospects during the 2021 season, but the 2022 season feels like a totally different animal. Bobby Witt and Julio Rodriguez have emerged as mainstays and could be selected as early as the second round in next year’s drafts — maybe even higher. I’m not saying Miguel Vargas is next on that list, but you have to love seeing him find his footing so fast at the MLB level.
Vargas went 2 for 4 on Wednesday with a double, two RBI and he stole a base. This was his third stolen base since being called up to the majors. He hasn’t struck out once, the double he hit had a 106 mph exit velocity and went 396 feet. Vargas is still just 33% rostered, but with five games next week, he profiles as a perfect player to add to your benches now with the hope of him emerging as an everyday starter for you during this final two-month stretch run.
Boy did Lance Lynn need a strong outing to start balancing out his 2022 season, and he got exactly that on Wednesday against the Royals. Lynn threw six innings of one-run ball and allowed just four hits. Perhaps most importantly, he didn’t walk a batter while striking out eight Royals and inducing 17 swinging strikes on 89 pitches. Lynn completely ditched his slider in this start while opting to instead lean into his cutter. Maybe that’s a sign of things to come, but for now Lynn lowers his ERA to 5.87.
Yankees fans weren’t too pleased with Wednesday’s outing for Gerrit Cole. Although the consensus SP1 during this draft season has been mostly excellent after a horrible first month, Wednesday’s bombing marks the fifth time he’s allowed an eruption of runs in a single outing. Cole allowed a career-high six earned runs in the first inning against the Mariners but finished the next five innings strong and allowed zero in those frames. He finished with seven hits and a walk allowed with eight strikeouts and six earned runs allowed over six innings. This is the fifth time he’s allowed at least five runs in a start and his ERA is now 3.56 on the season (with 170 strikeouts through 131 1/3 innings).
For a complete recap of every injury, update and more make sure you’re locked into the Fantasy Baseball Today podcast where Frank, Scott and Chris dive deep into every player note. For the CliffsNotes version, we’ll recap the biggest news and notes you need to know right here:
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