MLB "Turning Two" Recap: June 17, 2019

Welcome to “Turning Two.”

In this new segment I will be covering the hottest teams in baseball and breaking down their previous and upcoming series. Additionally, I’ll be giving you fantasy baseball advice on waiver wire targets that need to be on your team ASAP.

Top Teams

Atlanta Braves (42-30, 1st Place +2.5 Game Lead)

The red-hot Atlanta Braves hosted the Phillies over the weekend in a battle for first in this divisional series. The Braves entered the series with a 1.5 game lead over the Phils for 1st place in the NL East.

In Game 1 of the series, the Phillies took a commanding 5-1 lead after five frames and were ahead 8-6 in the bottom of the 9th with Hector Neris coming in for the save. That didn’t stop the Braves from putting up 3 runs to win the game and extend their win streak to 8 games. The Phillies then took Game 2 from the Braves after winning 6-5, including 2 runs in the top of the 9th to seal the win. But the Braves went home happy on Father’s Day, as they steamrolled the Phils 15-1. Ronald Acuña Jr went 4-5 on the afternoon including a home run. Josh Donaldson proved to be the X factor against Philadelphia, as he slashed a homer in each game and hit .500 on seven hits.

Atlanta, now winners of 9 out of their last 10 contests, will continue their homestand against the New York Mets on Monday. Soroka, Teheran, and Fried are slated as the starters in the three-game series. Rookie Mike Soroka has been dominant all season posting a 1.92 ERA, and Julio Teheran has allowed just three earned runs over his last 32 1/3 innings pitched. The Braves will look to increase their first-place lead against the surprisingly decent Mets on Monday night.

Boston Red Sox (39-34, 3rd Place 5.5 GB)

Now being a Sox fan and desperately looking for hope, this could be the turning point in their underwhelming season thus far. The Sox took to Baltimore for the weekend against the MLB worst 21-50 Orioles. Boston’s offense exploded on Friday night, scoring 13 runs on 16 hits including six homeruns. Eduardo Rodriguez pitched seven frames and struck out four while allowing one run in what was his best start of the season. J.D. Martinez accounted for two of Boston’s six homeruns as they took Game 1 13-2.

Chris Sale was on the bump for Game 2 of the three game series, and he continued his revenge tour striking out ten in six innings pitched in route to a 7-2 victory. In June, Chris Sale has a 0.82 ERA in 22 IP as well as 32 strikeouts. Game three on Sunday was a close one, as the Orioles had a 3-2 lead with one out in the top of the 9th. Marco Hernandez stepped up to the plate and ripped a game tying homer to center field for his first round-tripper since 2016. Rafael Devers continued his breakout season with a 458 foot go-ahead home run in the top of the 10th, adding to a five run inning to secure a win and the sweep in Baltimore.

Boston is currently riding a five-game win streak into Minnesota for a crucial matchup against the 1st place Twins. The Red Sox are currently 16-23 against teams with above a .500 record. A series win could bring some momentum back to Fenway for a homestand starting later in the week as they slowly creep up on the AL East-leading Yankees.

Waiver Wire Targets

It seems like the young stars are taking over the league. Guys like Cody Bellinger, Fernando Tatis Jr. and Pete Alonso are grabbing all the headlines across baseball. However, there are some other young guns that are playing phenomenally. We’ll look at one rookie who is certainly entering his name into the NL ROY discussion, as well as a veteran whose career is getting revived by the Texas Rangers.

Bryan Reynolds (23.6% owned/ESPN)

Bryan Reynolds. Who? Exactly. Reynolds is perhaps the most overlooked rookie in all of baseball. The Pirates do not get much attention as it is, and all of that attention that they are receiving is because of Josh Bell and his outstanding month of May. Reynolds is slashing .361/.416/.562 through 169 AB’s this season, including an OPS of .978. With players that have at least 150 plate appearances, his .361 average ranks 1st across baseball. Bryan Reynolds needs to be on your fantasy baseball team.

Lance Lynn (37.4% owned/ESPN)

The Texas Rangers gamble to sign two vets this offseason has certainly cashed out. Hunter Pence is having one of the best years of his career in his age 36 season with the Rangers, and Lance Lynn has been one of the best pitchers in their rotation. Lance Lynn is a great low-end starter for your fantasy baseball team. He’s averaging 9.73 strikeouts per nine innings, the highest mark as a starter in his nine-year career. Despite his 4.40 ERA, he’s earned a quality start in all of his last five starts. He makes for a great low-end starter on your team.

Retired Little League baseball utility player.

Twitter: @walexbelsh