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Closing Time: Freddy Peralta returns Tuesday

Freddy Peralta should be back in The Show next week (AP Photo/Jim Mone)

Freddy Peralta has made two starts for the Brewers, one fantastic and one mediocre. So we’re curious to see how he breaks the tie next week, if he gets recalled as expected. 

If you’re not familiar with Peralta, it’s time to catch up. He’s a 22-year-old right-handed pitching prospect, and he’s been on point most of the year. He has a 6-1 record, 2.75 ERA, and 1.220 WHIP over 12 Triple-A turns, with 84 strikeouts against 27 walks over 59 innings. Sure, you’d like better control. But the strikeout rate sings to us. 

Peralta made two starts for the Brewers earlier this year, a dazzling 13-whiff performance at Coors Field, of all places, and then a hiccup at Minnesota (4 IP, 3 H, 4 R, 6 BB, 5 K). As usual, all we’re looking for is plausible upside, the idea that maybe the time is right for the story to explode. 

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Peralta is likely to pitch Tuesday at Pittsburgh. The Pirates are eighth in runs and 11th in OPS, so the matchup is perhaps more formidable than the name-brand value suggests. But PNC Park is a reasonable place to pitch, and heck, Peralta tamed Coors Field earlier this year. 

The rookie righty is available in 95 percent of Yahoo leagues, and he’s also NA-tag eligible if your league uses that designation. In medium and deeper pools, this is someone to know, and perhaps someone to act on. Get your popcorn ready. 

• Everyone can see Miguel Sano is in the midst of a lost season. He’s slashing .203/.270/.405, with seven homers in 37 games. He’s dealt with a hamstring injury, spent some time on the DL. His walk rate is down a speak, and his strikeout rate — always a problem with him — has spiked to 40 percent. 

Nonetheless, it was a shock to see Sano optioned to Single-A Fort Myers on Thursday. For all his flaws as a player, he’s also conked 25 and 28 home runs the last two years, without even reaching 500 at-bats in either season. 

There is no one-size-fits-all fantasy advice for Sano owners. In some shallower formats, he could be an instant drop. Heck, in one 10-teamer I play in, I cut Sano in advance of his demotion — the wire had juicier options. 

But I’d understand anyone who wanted to hold onto Sano, especially in a deeper format. Perhaps the team just wants Sano to get his head together and some confidence back. The team’s Spring Training facility is in Fort Myers, which allows Sano to take advantage of familiar resources. 

“We have his best interests in mind. We’re not getting what we expect from him. He’s got to go down there and get to work,” manager Paul Molitor said.

Minnesota’s deep infield roster complicates the Sano situation. Eduardo Escobar has been the club’s second-best player this year (.290/.340/.564, 12 homers), and Jorge Polanco only has 15 games remaining on his suspension. Does the best theoretical Twins lineup, for 2018 anyway, have Sano on the card? Sano needs to hit to be a contributor; he’s not a good defensive third baseman. 

You know your league better than I do. It’s your move.  

• For as much as power rules the world of baseball in 2018, Dylan Covey has a good thing going with the White Sox. He’s made six starts with the big club, and has yet to surrender a homer. He’s also kept the ball on the ground (61 percent), and struck out three batters for every walk. It adds up to a 2.29 ERA, which makes you wonder why he’s only 19-percent owned in Yahoo.

To be fair, that ERA doesn’t jibe with his 1.30 WHIP, and when those two stats collide, I tend to trust the WHIP. The SIERA estimator for ERA spits out a 3.48 number — still worth at least streamable consideration, but not someone to instantly add in every format. 

Covey’s path to MLB significance has been a meandering one. He was a first-round pick out of high school in 2010, one selection after Chris Sale, but he was diagnosed with Type I diabetes in his post-draft physical. He ultimately decided to go to college, and he slipped to the fourth round of the 2013 draft. He couldn’t gain much traction with the Athletics (in part due to injuries), and eventually he was exposed to the 2016 Rule V Draft. 

Covey had an auction with the White Sox last year and it went nowhere: 0-7 record, 7.71 ERA, 1.57 WHIP. But the development curve is different for everyone. Even when the home-run rate starts to balance out, perhaps he’ll stay in mixed-league relevance. 

• The Giants scored a 16-inning victory at Miami, but it came at a price. Evan Longoria broke a bone on his left hand, and although it’s not clear if he’ll need surgery or not, this should be a 6-8 week injury.

Longo’s first season in San Francisco has been ordinary at best. He’s slashing .246/.278/.434, with 10 homers and 34 RBIs. If you hash out the 5×5 fantasy value of all 3B-eligible players in Yahoo, he merely ranks 25th. 

With Longoria out of the mix, perhaps Pablo Sandoval is worth considering in deeper leagues. Panda’s biggest splash this year came in his one surprise inning as a relief pitcher, but his bat hasn’t been bad (.271/.341/.424, four homers in 118 at-bats). While Longoria has an OPS+ of 94 (100 is average), Sandoval is at 111. The team also might try Alen Hanson (1.067 OPS in a modest 71 at-bats) as a third baseman, at least occasionally. He’s a been a second baseman and outfielder for most of his pro career.  

Panda is two-percent owned in Yahoo, and Hanson is a mere seven-percent rostered. They’re ready if you need them.

• If you like recorded audio conversations, I have a couple for you to check out. Michael Salfino was the featured guest on the excellent Baseball HQ Podcast this week, and Salfino and I do a weekly pod of our own (subscription required), alternating between football and baseball. You can’t listen to music all the time! Give them a listen if you can.

(If you don’t like recorded audio conversations, that’s fine, too. Kick out the Jams. Rock on, rockers.)

Follow the Yahoo fantasy baseball crew on Twitter: Andy BehrensDalton Del Don, and Scott Pianowski