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Top Fantasy Baseball Stories of the Week - Tucupita Marcano, White Sox, and Juan Soto

Juan Soto - Fantasy Baseball Rankings, MLB Injury News, DFS Lineup Picks

Hello again, RotoBallers, and welcome to another new week of the fantasy baseball season. With lineups set and little to do but wait for the games to commence, it is a great time to catch up on news you may have missed from the last week. Every Monday I post a roundup of some of the bigger stories and trends from around the league. Hopefully, this column helps steer you out of the tunnel vision that can come with the grind of micromanaging your fantasy baseball team(s).

Once again a gambling scandal made the biggest waves in the baseball world last week. One player received a lifetime ban and four other players were suspended for one year for violating Rule 21 of the MLB rulebook. In on-field news, the White Sox set a new franchise record that underscored the futility of their season. And Juan Soto was the latest star to deal with forearm discomfort, though the news may not be as bad as initially thought.

Fantasy baseball revolves around an expansive league with a six-month-long season. It can be easy for news to get lost in the shuffle, especially if it doesn’t directly relate to players we roster or actively follow. To stay on top of the latest action, bookmark our fantasy baseball news feed, download our mobile app, and check back for the next installment of the Stories of the Week every Monday.

Be sure to check all of our fantasy baseball lineup tools and weekly lineup resources:

 

Yet Another Gambling Scandal

On Monday, June 3, it was announced that injured San Diego Padres infielder Tucupita Marcano was under investigation for gambling on baseball. The next day MLB banned Marcano for life for betting on his own team in 2023 while he was with the Pirates. All told, Marcano placed 387 bets on baseball totaling more than $150,000 during two periods in 2022 and 2023. 231 of those wagers were on MLB games.

Four other ballplayers were also handed punishments on Tuesday for violating the league’s policy against gambling on baseball. Michael Kelly of the Oakland A’s and minor leaguers Jay Groome, Jose Rodriguez, and Andrew Saalfrank each received one-year suspensions. MLB determined none of the players bet on teams they played for, hence the lighter consequence. Kelly’s bets added up to $99.22 and each of the others’ total wagers were in the hundreds of dollars.

Fantasy impact: Marcano was a light-hitting utility player who was in a constant fight just to stay on a big league roster, let alone break into a lineup. His .217 career batting average in 406 at-bats spread over the last three years will not be missed in fantasy circles. Of the suspended players, Kelly was the only one on a major league roster but his role as a middle reliever lent him no fantasy value.

 

White Sox Lose 14 In A Row

In what is already shaping up to be a historically bad season, the Chicago White Sox achieved another unfortunate milestone on the night of June 6. The team’s 14-2 defeat at the hands of the Boston Red Sox on Thursday extended their losing streak to 14 games, setting a new franchise record for consecutive losses. Chicago’s previous high of 13 straight losses was set almost 100 years ago, in August of 1924.

The White Sox were overmatched by Boston starter Tanner Houck, who took a no-hitter into the sixth inning and finished with nine strikeouts. The Red Sox racked up 24 hits in the game and tagged starter Jake Woodford for seven earned runs.

Chicago finally stopped the bad run with a 7-2 win over Boston on Friday. Luis Robert Jr., Gavin Sheets, and Andrew Vaughn all homered, and starter Garrett Crochet struck out 10 in his six innings of work. The team followed up with another victory on Saturday but dropped the final game in their four-game series against Boston on Sunday.

Fantasy impact: At 17-49, the White Sox currently own the worst record in the majors. They are also last in the league in hits (468), runs (203), team batting average (.217), team on-base percentage (.279), and team slugging (.342). The pitching staff’s ERA (4.93) and WHIP (1.43) both rank second-worst. As can be expected with this kind of team production, there is little to find in terms of fantasy value on this roster.

However, even the worst of teams will offer someone enough volume to make use of on a fantasy squad. Improbably, it is looking like that player for the 2024 White Sox might be shortstop Paul DeJong, who has 12 home runs (third most among shortstops) and 27 RBI. Luis Robert Jr. and Eloy Jimenez should come along, but already their seasons have been interrupted by injury, limiting their productivity.

On the pitching side, starters Garrett Crochet and Eric Fedde are the entire show. They, along with reliever Jordan Leasure, are the only White Sox pitchers with an ERA under 4. Crochet leads the team with six wins, has 103 strikeouts in 75 ⅔ innings pitched, and his 28.7 K-BB% is second only to Jack Flaherty (29.9%). There is a possibility of an innings limit in the surprise ace’s future, though, as the 25-year-old has never thrown more than 65 innings in a season in college or the minor leagues.

 

Juan Soto's Injury Scare

Partway through the Yankees’ 8-5 win over the Twins on Thursday, June 6, Juan Soto reported feeling forearm discomfort to team doctors. Soto was removed from the game during a rain delay as a precaution. The star outfielder later explained that he had felt soreness in the arm for the last two weeks but the pain was not exacerbated by hitting or throwing so he continued to play through it.

Imaging the next day was encouraging, showing signs of inflammation and no ligament damage. Manager Aaron Boone, relieved by Soto's prognosis, indicated on Friday that he will avoid an injured list stint and the injury will be managed day-to-day. Soto ended up missing the Yankees’ weekend series against the Dodgers to give his arm some time to rest.

Fantasy impact: Soto is having an incredible season already, slashing .318/.424/.603 with 17 home runs, 49 runs, and 53 RBI. He has offered consistent production as well. Soto has reached base safely in all but eight games so far and the longest he has gone without an RBI is just four games.

In his absence, Trent Grisham should continue to see an uptick in playing time. Grisham happened to be starting in the game from which Soto departed early and pulled a start in each of the games against the Dodgers over the weekend. Grisham went 2-for-8 in the series and delivered a three-run homer in Sunday’s win. Jasson Dominguez is still mashing at Triple-A, though he is unlikely to be called up as a fill-in with Soto dodging a trip to the IL.



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