Even when you're a fan of one specific major league baseball team, it can be difficult to keep track of all of the news that surrounds your favorite club on a daily basis.
However, when you're a fantasy baseball owner and you now have to multiply that effort by 30 in order to be as up to date as possible with each and every club? It's a fool's errand that borders on the impossible.
Fear not! We'll be here each and every Monday to give you a snapshot of what's going on in the world of baseball, with one fantasy takeaway from each of the league's 30 teams. Think of it as your one-stop shop for the week ahead.
Here are the takeaways for this week, as the second week of August gets underway:
Arizona Diamondbacks: Zack Greinke (left oblique) is finally ready to be activated from the disabled list and will make his first start since June 28 on Tuesday against the Mets. His last rehab start didn't go well on the scoreboard, as the pitcher allowed five runs in five innings for Triple-A Reno last Wednesday. However, Greinke deemed the 86-pitch outing a complete success from a physical standpoint.
Atlanta Braves: Don't look now, but Ender Inciarte has an 18-game hitting streak working. The left fielder has been one of the hottest outfielders in the game in the second half of the season, with a .376 batting average -- behind only Kansas City's Paulo Orlando (minimum 50 at-bats). Yet inexplicably, he's owned in just 18 percent of ESPN standard leagues.
Baltimore Orioles: It's not exactly a Colin Rea situation here, but Steve Pearce, acquired by the O's at last Monday's deadline, had to leave Sunday's game with an elbow strain after making a throw from right field. Pearce said he had been dealing with the injury all year, but it hadn't been a major issue when he played in the infield for Tampa Bay. He received a cortisone shot and is hopeful he'll be ready to return to action by the end of the week.
Boston Red Sox: Don't be surprised to see Mookie Betts dropped down to No. 3 in the Red Sox order this week. Manager John Farrell is pondering juggling his lineup to drop Betts down to third in order to capitalize on his ridiculous .369 batting average with runners in scoring position. If Farrell makes the move, Dustin Pedroia would be elevated to the leadoff spot. Pedroia has hit into 19 double plays this season, the second-highest total in baseball.
Chicago Cubs: The return of Jorge Soler to the Cubs' lineup this weekend was a triumphant one, as the slugger hit two home runs and drove in runs in all three games in Oakland. However, the real question of how much Soler will play going forward has yet to be answered, as the outfielder's hamstring still needs to be tested in the field. Soler was able to DH in an American League park, but Chicago won't return to that kind of environment again until Sept. 9.
Chicago White Sox: August is just a week old, but James Shields is probably already sick of it. The right-hander has started two games this month, allowing 14 earned runs in just 6 1/3 innings (19.89 ERA). Since joining the White Sox on June 8, Shields has struck out just 31 batters in 12 starts, while walking 29. Shields was one of the most-dropped players in ESPN Fantasy this past week, which is actually amazing when you consider he was only owned in 37.4 percent of leagues when it started.
Cincinnati Reds: This is the Billy Hamilton that fantasy owners have been waiting for since he debuted in 2013. Hamilton totally frustrated the Pirates on Sunday, stealing four bases and scoring three times while also making a terrific catch in the field. Gerrit Cole was totally flummoxed, "You can't stop him. You can only hold him for a few pitches. ... We did neither today." Hamilton, whose bugaboo has been getting on base, has a .366 OBP and 21 steals in the second half.
Cleveland Indians: Andrew Miller admits he hasn't been as focused as he would like this past week in the wake of being traded to the Indians. Facing his former team, the Yankees, this weekend didn't help him get settled either: "None of it was fun, honestly. It's tough. It's just a huge distraction, honestly." That said, Miller has struck out five of the past eight batters he has faced, and earned his first save for his new club in Saturday's win over the pinstripes. It should only get easier for the reliever as time goes on.
Colorado Rockies: Gerardo Parra (ankle) went 1-for-4 on Sunday in his return from the disabled list. Parra played right field, spelling Carlos Gonzalez in a planned day off. However, with the emergence of David Dahl, it's unclear how much playing time Parra will get going forward. Manager Walt Weiss doesn't know what his plans are: "I'm not sure how it's going to work out. I've got four really good outfielders, and they are all major league-quality outfielders. I've got to keep them all involved."
Detroit Tigers: Nick Castellanos will miss at least a month after getting hit on the hand by a pitch on Saturday. He was diagnosed with a non-displaced fracture. Veteran Casey McGehee started at the hot corner on Sunday, and will likely see a lot of time at the position going forward, though manager Brad Ausmus may decide to platoon McGehee with both Mike Aviles and Andrew Romine.
Houston Astros: Since July 3, Colby Rasmus went just 3-for-66 at the plate. Slumps are normal in baseball, but this one? Yeesh! Not to excuse Rasmus' poor play completely, but at least there does seem to be an actual reason for the decline. On Sunday, Houston placed the outfielder on the disabled list with a cyst in his right ear that had triggered bouts of vertigo and he may eventually require surgery to fix the problem. As any vertigo sufferer will tell you, the fact he was simply able to remain upright and walk to the plate 66 times is quite impressive.
Kansas City Royals: Unless there are injuries to deal with, you pretty much know what the Royals lineup is going to look like on a daily basis -- and for the past 22 games, that lineup has started with Alcides Escobar. Yet in spite of a .217 batting average from the shortstop over that stretch (and his team going seven games under .500 during that stretch), manager Ned Yost has no plans on making a change. "I've thought every which way about it and until we get the middle of our order hitting, it's not going to make any difference," Yost said.
Los Angeles Angels: Only 110 wins and 1,736 career strikeouts and a lot of wondering what might have been had injuries not reared their ugly head for Tim Lincecum ... that's what we're left with as the Angels have decided to designate the two-time Cy Young winner for assignment after nine starts yielded a 9.16 ERA and a .395 BAA. Conceivably, Lincecum could agree to go to the minors and hope for a turnaround, but we may well have seen his final pitch as a major leaguer.
Los Angeles Dodgers: It remains a mystery as to whether Clayton Kershaw will return at all in 2016, but for the first time in a while, there's some reason for optimism. Yesterday, Kershaw threw a baseball for the first time since July 16. While the team wouldn't discuss details, manager Dave Roberts seems to hint that a September return for his ace is realistic: "Whenever he feels he's ready to go, we're going to pencil him in and get him going."
Miami Marlins: Congratulations are in order for Ichiro Suzuki, who reached the 3,000-hit milestone Sunday. In terms of fantasy, with just 2.5 percent ownership in ESPN leagues, this historic feat has little impact. However, had the veteran outfielder's quest for this hit gone on into September, it may have eaten into at-bats for Giancarlo Stanton, Christian Yelich and Marcell Ozuna. Now, while Suzuki may still get a spot start every now and then, there'll be no urgency to get him in the lineup, and owners of the regular trio of starters can relax.
Milwaukee Brewers: Junior Guerra (7-3, 2.93 ERA) has been one of the few bright spots in an otherwise dreary 2016 campaign for the Brewers. Now, his season has hit a huge roadblock. Guerra, who lasted just four innings in a 12-3 loss on Wednesday, is suffering from elbow inflammation and a disabled list stint is a very real possibility. Wily Peralta, who pitched for the Brewers on Opening Day -- believe it or not -- before getting demoted on June 11 with a 6.68 ERA, has been recalled from Triple-A to pitch in Guerra's rotation spot Tuesday.
Minnesota Twins: It looks as though Miguel Sano may have saved his spot on the Twins' roster with three home runs over the weekend in Tampa. There had been buzz that Sano was going to be sent down to the minors Monday in conjunction with third baseman Trevor Plouffe's activation from the disabled list. However, Sano's sudden vitality at the plate may have been what led to the Twins opting instead to send Byron Buxton to Triple-A Rochester.
New York Mets: Since Logan Verrett joined the Mets' rotation on July 9, he has posted a 5.61 ERA and the team has gone 1-5 in his six starts. He may not get a seventh. Verrett is due to pitch again at home on Friday against the Padres, but chances are a change will be made, with either Jonathon Niese or rookies Gabriel Ynoa or Robert Gsellman getting the ball from manager Terry Collins instead. Zack Wheeler, currently on an injury rehab assignment, is still several weeks away from a return.
New York Yankees: It was quite the week in the Bronx. Carlos Beltran was traded to Texas on Monday. On Friday, Mark Teixeira announced he would retire at the end of the season. And Sunday, Alex Rodriguez held a news conference declaring his final game with the team would be Friday. Change may not yet be done, as catcher Brian McCann has reportedly cleared waivers, clearing the way for a potential deal over the next few weeks. Although McCann does have a full no-trade clause, with his teammates seemingly fleeing the clubhouse in droves perhaps he'll be willing to follow them out the door.
Oakland Athletics: Sonny Gray has given up five runs in a game on five occasions this season. All in all, 2016 has been a disaster for the pitcher who finished third in the Cy Young voting last season, and now things have gotten worse with the news he has been placed on the 15-day disabled list with a right forearm strain. Oakland's rotation is in a shambles, with names such as Zach Neal, Jharel Cotton and Raul Alcantara all possibly taking the mound as starters this week.
Philadelphia Phillies: Ryan Howard has two months left to showcase his skills before what is almost certainly going to be an offseason of free agency. Although there is a $23 million club option on the first baseman for 2017, it would be shocking if the Phillies chose not to opt instead for the $10 million buyout. Still, Howard has hit .371 with four home runs in his limited action since July 15, so those fantasy owners who have Howard in dynasty leagues may not want to completely give up on the veteran just yet.
Pittsburgh Pirates: As a leadoff hitter this season, John Jaso has hit .262, which ranks 28th among qualified No. 1 batters in the league. That may be why manager Clint Hurdle has decided to move to Josh Harrison as his new leadoff option. Harrison hit first in all three games of the weekend series against the Reds, going 4-for-12 with three runs scored. "For right now, he's given us the spark we were looking for, absolutely. That's why we made the change," Hurdle said.
St. Louis Cardinals: Crisis averted? Matt Carpenter, who returned to the Cardinals lineup on Friday after missing a month due to an oblique injury, was pulled from Saturday's game by manager Mike Matheny and then did not play on Sunday -- which certainly raised some eyebrows. However, Matheny said that all is well with Carpenter, and the decision to pull him was because he felt that his player didn't trust that he could go at 100 percent: "Everybody is confident with where he is. It's just a matter of him getting into that good feel." He should be in the lineup on Monday.
San Diego Padres: Innings caps are the bane of fantasy owners' existence, especially when young pitchers they've counted on for help in their rotations all season long suddenly disappear come September. San Diego is hoping to avoid a complete shutdown of Christian Friedrich and Luis Perdomo, both on short leashes this season, by going to a six-man rotation over the next few weeks. Clayton Richard, just signed by the team after being released by the Cubs on Wednesday, is expected to jump in and give the team some much-needed innings.
San Francisco Giants: Bullpen arms who aren't closers don't have any fantasy value per se, but having a healthy supply of relievers can definitely help starting pitchers earn a few extra victories (and lower their ERAs a bit) by not allowing inherited runners to score. San Francisco is about a week away from getting Cory Gearrin and Josh Osich back from rehab assignments. Their return may do wonders for an overtaxed pen that was nine games over .500 in May and June, but which has gone just 5-6 since.
Seattle Mariners: On Sunday, James Paxton was two outs away from a complete-game victory (while wearing a hideous throwback uniform, no less -- take that, Chris Sale!) when he was struck in the elbow by an Andrelton Simmons comebacker and had to leave the game. X-rays showed no broken bones and Seattle is currently optimistic that Paxton, who has posted a 1.59 ERA over his past four starts, won't have to miss any time. Phew!
Tampa Bay Rays: Has Desmond Jennings played his last game in 2016? That's a legitimate question after the outfielder fouled a ball off his surgically-repaired left knee last week, ultimately landing him on the disabled list over the weekend. Manager Kevin Cash said that Jennings was frustrated and "and I think he's in a very similar feeling that he was before his surgery last year." Outfielder Mikie Mahtook (hand) was activated from the DL and hit fifth on Sunday.
Texas Rangers: Sam Dyson blew a save Sunday, marking only the third time he failed to convert all season long. That said, the closer has now allowed runs in three of his past six appearances and has just one strikeout in his past 40 batters faced. Newly acquired Jeremy Jeffress is 3-for-3 in holds with the Rangers but also struggled yesterday, entering the game with a 3-0 lead and leaving after one inning with the score 3-2. In general, despite Texas' spot in the standings, this bullpen is best avoided altogether in fantasy.
Toronto Blue Jays: Jose Bautista, when healthy, had been batting leadoff for the Blue Jays for much of the season, but recently, manager John Gibbons has turned to Devon Travis to kickstart his offense. Although Toronto has scored just 2.4 runs per game so far in August, Travis has hit .355 with three home runs in the past seven games, six of which he was atop the order. Glass half-full?
Washington Nationals: When it comes to hitting streaks, we kind of know whether or not to be impressed with a player's run of good play, given we all immediately can relate it to Joe DiMaggio's 56-game record. However, what do we make of Jayson Werth's active 38-game streak of reaching base safely? It is the longest in the majors this season (Marcell Ozuna went 36 games in April/May), but there were five streaks of 40 or more games last season. The MLB record -- and second spot -- is owned (no surprise) by Ted Williams (84 games in 1949, and 74 in 1941). DiMaggio is tied for second at 74 (1941, naturally) and then there's -- wait for it -- former Montreal Expos infielder Orlando Cabrera (63 in 2006, though he did it while playing for the Angels).