Delayed Season Debuts, Walker Buehler, Vaughn Grissom & More MLB Spotlights

by Corey Pieper
Ronald Acuna Injury

MLB spotlights this week include some players making their delayed season debuts soon, and more prospect watches. MLB news and things to watch for are constantly developing in the early season. A good way to keep up on all the latest fantasy baseball information is to keep checking Fantasy Six Pack every day for our daily baseball articles, including our News Tracker.

This specific article focuses on what to watch for in the upcoming weeks throughout major league baseball. It feels that the most common discourse at this point is the gloom and doom of the injuries. They are inevitable. Instead, of focusing on the negative, focus on the positive.

Every week we see new and exciting prospects get called up to make their major league debuts. Since the last MLB spotlights article, we've seen three top 100 prospects from our Dynasty Baseball Prospect rankings make their major league debuts.

We see major league players earning new, unexpected opportunities. For example, consider the values of Baltimore Orioles' Colton Cowser and Chicago Cubs' Michael Busch at the start of the season versus where they are now. A little advanced notice and you could have had a potentially breakout player on your fantasy roster.

Read on to see different MLB spotlight players to watch in the next couple of weeks.

Delayed Season Debuts, Walker Buehler, Vaughn Grissom & More MLB Spotlights

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Prospect Watch

We saw one of the two top prospects mentioned in the first edition of the Fantasy Baseball MLB Spotlight article already reach the major leagues. Jackson Holliday hasn't gotten off to a great start but don't lose faith in one of the game's brightest young stars. Listed below are two more names who we could see joining him in the next couple of weeks.

Paul Skenes, SP, Pittsburgh Pirates

Paul Skenes was the first pick overall in last summer's draft. The Pirates assigned him to Triple A after spring training which was a new level for him. In his first starts at the level, he has shown to be ready for the highest level of professional baseball. Through three starts he has pitched only 9.1 innings as the team is being cautious with his workload. He has allowed a mere six baserunners (four hits and two walks), but he has struck out 19.

The Pirates are off to a hot start and seem as if they've already found one future star pitcher in Jared Jones. With all of the injuries that we've seen to starting pitchers, there is no real reason to keep Skenes in the minor leagues. He could help them right now in their quest to win the NL Central.

At this point, he needs to be rostered in all fantasy leagues because he won't be down for much longer.

Heston Kjerstad, OF, Baltimore Orioles

As good as Jackson Holliday was at Triple-A to start the season, he wasn't even the most statistically impressive batter on his team. That isn't a slight. The start for Heston Kjerstard has just been especially remarkable. He is currently batting .361 with seven home runs and 27 RBI. The seven home runs would be tied for the major league lead. The 27 RBI are five more than Marcell Ozuna who currently leads MLB with 22.

The only reason that we haven't seen Kjerstad in Baltimore already this season is that they already have such a solid team. We've seen Colton Cowser seemingly take over an outfield spot from Austin Hays. A slow week or an injury from one of their players, you have to think that Kjerstad is the next to get the call.

Delayed Season Debuts

These MLB spotlight players are those who we are still waiting to see play this season. Each of them began the season on the injured list, but they are on the comeback trail. Listed below are five players likely to make their season debuts in the next couple of weeks.

Walker Buehler, SP, Los Angeles Dodgers

We haven't seen Walker Buehler pitch in a major-league baseball game since the middle of the season in 2022. That was when he underwent Tommy John surgery. It was his second time having the elbow surgery.

He has been pitching on his rehab assignment with the Dodgers Triple-A affiliate. So far, he has pitched well with four earned runs in ten innings pitched. It should be noted he was removed early from his last rehab start after being hit by a line drive.

His velocity is reported to be at 95 miles per hour which is an encouraging sign. That's the same velocity he had when he last pitched.

He's looking at an additional rehab assignment before rejoining the Dodgers. Expect to see him in Los Angeles though before the end of the month possibly even sooner as there is a new void in the Dodgers' rotation with the injury to Bobby Miller.

Vaughn Grissom, SS, Boston Red Sox

This offseason, Chris Sale was traded to the Atlanta Braves in exchange for infield prospect Vaughn Grissom. Excitement was understandably high for Grissom as he consistently performed when called upon for the Braves, but his playing opportunities were blocked.

We've had to wait a bit longer than anticipated for his Red Sox debut due to a left hamstring injury. The good news is that he has begun his rehab assignment with the Red Sox Triple-A affiliate.

He'll begin the season with only shortstop eligibility. When he was traded there, he was announced to be the primary second base option. Since then the team has lost shortstop Trevor Story to a season-ending shoulder injury. It will be interesting to see where he plays when he gets to Boston in the next couple of weeks.

Nathaniel Lowe, 1B, Texas Rangers

Nathaniel Lowe has been absent from the Rangers' lineup with an oblique injury. He has also begun his rehab assignment though and should be back in the next week.

He should slide right back into the Rangers' first base position on defense. It will be interesting to see where he bats in the lineup after spending most of last season in the third position. The Rangers' lineup has since added two young outfielders, Wyatt Langford and Evan Carter. Lowe should still settle somewhere in the top six positions of one of baseball's best lineups.

Jhoan Duran, RP, Minnesota Twins

Blessed with the highest average velocity fastball in all major league baseball, Jhoan Duran has established himself as one of the best closers in the game. He was being drafted by fantasy teams as a top-5 closer before an oblique injury was going to delay his season and led to his ADP dropping.

The good news for those who took the risk is that it appears his absence is going to be shorter than originally anticipated. He has already begun throwing bullpen sessions.

He will likely do a few more bullpen sessions before embarking on a rehab assignment. After that, he will be back with the Twins where he should reassume his closer role.

Braxton Garrett, SP, Miami Marlins

One pitcher reinforcement who we should be getting back soon is Braxton Garrett. Garrett has missed all of the season to this point with a shoulder injury. He is already out on a rehab assignment and pitching well.

Garrett's last start he was able to pitch six innings. He allowed four earned runs which all came on home runs. More importantly, all indications are that he has his velocity back to his baseline levels.

As the post mentions, we may see Garrett back in Miami already this week. He is only rostered in 56% of Yahoo leagues at this point. With so many teams struggling to find pitchers, that number should be higher.

Be sure to check out our weekly pitching planner!

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