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What a game for Jesse Winker. The 27-year-old outfielder went 4-for-4 with three home runs on Friday against the Brewers. It was the perfect matchup against sinker-baller Adrian Houser. Four of Winker’s eight home runs going into the contest had been hit off of sinkers. On Friday, he feasted. After his third home run of the night, Winker had the home crowd chanting “MVP” as he came out for a curtain call. The crowd might be on to something. The four-hit day put Winker in the lead for the batting title over teammate Nick Castellanos with a .356 batting average. And his slugging percentage of .664 leads all of baseball. Going back to last season, Winker has 20 home runs over 339 plate appearances. Last season is when this breakout really began.

Winker got off to a similarly hot start in 2020, hitting .327 with ten home runs over 120 plate appearances through August before hitting a cold stretch in September. Winker hit just .104 with just two home runs over 63 plate appearances in September to finish with a .255 batting average. That September run holding back his final numbers was a product of the short season that we saw with various players all around baseball. It was hard to tell what was real or not. Winker is putting all the doubts to rest with his incredible start. And everything in his profile suggests this is real. He’s striking out at just a 19.9 percent rate and hitting the ball hard over 50 percent of the time that includes an 11.7 percent barrel rate. Recency bias drove down Winker’s draft-day price in fantasy leagues. He’s rewarding those fantasy managers that took him in the late rounds in a big way.

Rays and Brewers complete four-player deal

The Rays traded shortstop Willy Adames and right-hander Trevor Richards to the Brewers on Friday in exchange for relievers J.P. Feyereisen and Drew Rasmussen. The trade had the baseball world speculating on who the Rays would call up to replace Adames in the Tampa Bay infield. There’s no doubt that Wander Franco’s day will come soon but for now, it’ll be Taylor Walls. Walls has been no slouch in Triple-A, hitting .327 with two home runs and two steals over 62 plate appearances. Feyereisen and Rasmussen give the Rays two more intriguing bullpen arms. On the other side, Adames goes to a much more hitter-friendly park and out of Tropicana Field where he was a career .219 hitter. On the road, he has a .291 career average with a 130 WRC+. The 25-year-old shortstop is hitting just .197 on the year but could see much better days ahead.

Starting Pitchers with an EDGE

Trevor Bauer – 6IP, 0 ER, 2 H, 4 BB, 11 K against San Francisco

Despite the Giants putting up 19 runs on the Reds just a day ago, this was actually a good matchup for Bauer. The Giants have the highest strikeout rate in the league against right-handed pitching at 28.2 percent. Bauer took full advantage of that, collecting 11 punchouts on the day and adding fuel to the rivalry.

Jordan Montgomery – 7 IP, 0 ER, 4 H, 0 BB, 11 K vs Chicago White Sox

Montgomery turned in his most impressive start this season, and perhaps his career, with seven scoreless frames and 11 strikeouts. He generated 17 whiffs and finished with a 40 percent CSW rate (called strikes plus whiffs). And, he didn’t walk anyone. It was the first time Montgomery completed seven innings since June 26, 2016, against…the White Sox.

Carlos Rodon – 6 IP, 0 ER, 2 H, 0 BB, 13 K vs New York Yankees

This one turned out to be quite a pitcher’s duel. On the other side of the matchup, Rodon was equally as impressive with 13 punchouts on 23 whiffs and no walks over six innings. He generated 11 whiffs on 20 swings with the slider. Rodon lowered his ERA to a ridiculous 1.27 with 62 strikeouts over 43 2/3 innings.

Hitters with an EDGE

Vladimir Guerrero Jr. — 3-for-5 , 2 HR, 2 R, 4 RBI, 1 BB
Marcus Semien — 3-for-6, HR, 3B, 2B, 3 R, 2 RBI, SB against Tampa Bay Rays

Guerrero Jr. and Semien drove in six of the seven runs the Blue Jays would score on the day. Guerrero Jr. swatted his 12th and 13th home runs on the year as he’s well on his way to a breakout season, slashing .338/.447/.650 over 157 at-bats. Meanwhile, Semien hit his 11th homer and stole his eighth base of the season. He fell just a single short of the cycle. Fantasy managers will take it.

Austin Riley — 3-for-4, 2 HR, 2 R, 3 RBI

The Braves exploded for 20 runs against the Pirates on Friday. The team hit seven home runs, including two grand slams. Riley left the yard twice for his sixth and seventh homers of the season. The 24-year-old third baseman had been hitting well with a .310 batting average, but it was only a matter of time before he tapped into his power.

Closing Time

Blake Treinen picked up his second save of the season on Friday for the Dodgers. Kenley Jansen was unavailable after pitching in three of four games this week.

Jacob Barnes recorded his first save for the Mets in a game that ended in the 12th inning. It was a one-out save after Aaron Loup surrendered two runs in the inning to bring Miami to within a run. Edwin Diaz pitched the tenth inning and struck out two batters.

Michael Fulmer struck out one batter in a clean inning against the Royals to record his fourth save. Fulmer could be taking over as the full-time closer in Detroit.

Priority Pickup

William Contreras (ATL) – Available in 79 percent of Yahoo leagues

William Contreras has taken over as the full-time catcher for the Braves since Travis d’Arnaud landed on the injured list with a torn ligament in his thumb that will keep him out until at least the middle of July. Contreras has shown the ability to hit, and now he’s flashing some power. The 23-year-old backstop is up to four homers through 55 plate appearances. That comes with an excellent 51.6 percent hard-hit rate and an impressive 22.6 percent barrel rate in the small sample. He’s striking out at a 29.1 percent clip, but he’s shown some good discipline with a 10.9 percent walk rate. Atlanta has one of the better lineups in baseball, so Contreras could be in line to drive in some runs. With the catcher landscape how it is, there’s top-10 upside at the position here as long as he’s playing.

Matchup of the Day

Dylan Cease vs. Gerrit Cole

Two of the top teams in the American League square off for game two of a three-game series on Saturday. On one side, we have Dylan Cease, who’s been off to a great start with a 2.41 ERA, 1.22 WHIP, and 50 strikeouts over 41 innings. For the Yankees, it’ll be Gerrit Cole, coming off his worst start of the season after giving up five runs over five innings against the Rangers. He’ll bring a 2.03 ERA, 0.78 WHIP, and 85 strikeouts over 57 2/3 innings.

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American League Quick Hits: Jose Abreu returned to the lineup against New York on Friday … Nelson Cruz was scratched from the lineup with a sore wrist on Friday … Cavan Biggio was held out of the lineup on Friday with neck soreness … Alex Verdugo was removed from Friday’s game with left hamstring tightness … Jesus Luzardo will throw his next bullpen session on Sunday … Anthony Santander was activated from the injured list … The Twins activated Alex Kirilloff from the injured list … Jose Urquidy is nearing a rehab assignment … Aaron Hicks will undergo surgery on his injured left wrist … Danny Santana was activated by the Red Sox … Randy Dobnak was recalled and tossed six scoreless innings vs Cleveland … The Rays recalled Brent Honeywell from Triple-A … The Mariners placed Robert Duggar, Will Vest, Anthony Misiewicz, and Drew Steckenrider on the COVID-19 injured list … Keynan Middleton was activated from the injured list … The Yankees signed Sal Romano to a minor league contract … Christian Arroyo began a rehab assignment with Triple-A Worcester on Friday … Baily Ober was optioned to Triple-A … Adam Kolarek was optioned to Triple-A … Tyler Ivey was recalled by the Astros … Robel Garcia was optioned to Triple-A … The Athletics activated Cam BedrosianMike Fiers was transferred to the 60-day injured list … Austin Brice was designated for assignment.

National League Quick Hits: Jacob deGrom‘s next start will be with the Mets next week … J.T. Realmuto was placed on the injured list with a bone bruise on his wrist … Pete Alonso was placed on the injured list with a right hand sprain … Starling Marte took batting practice on Friday … Stephen Strasburg was activated from the injured list and tossed 5 1/3 scoreless innings vs Orioles … Victor Robles underwent an MRI on his right ankle Friday … Brandon Belt returned to the Giants lineup on Friday … Spencer Howard will start for the Phillies on Saturday against Boston … Nick Senzel was placed on the injured list with knee inflammation … Brendan Rodgers was activated from the injured list … Wade Miley was placed on the injured list with a left foot sprain … Kyle Freeland is expected to rejoin the Rockies rotation next week … Carlos Martinez was activated from the injured list by the Cardinals and allowed two runs over six innings vs the Cubs … Camilo Doval was optioned to Triple-A … The Reds recalled Brad Brach from Triple-A … Carson Fulmer was designated for assignment … The Pirates recalled Cole Tucker from Triple-A … Ka-ai Tom was placed on the injured list with a left wrist contusion