Sam Darnold is projected by some to be the first guy taken in the draft, but regardless of when he’s picked, he’ll be the fifth USC quarterback selected since the 2008 draft. Darnold is expected to be the first USC quarterback taken in the first round since Mark Sanchez was drafted fifth overall in 2009. If Darnold goes No. 1, he’ll be the first Trojans quarterback selected first since Carson Palmer in 2003.
Dexter Fowler (B), 48 percent, St. Louis Cardinals at Pittsburgh Pirates (LHP Steven Brault): However, he also has a history of success to rely on. Brault has struggled with control throughout his career, including a 4.4 BB/9 this season. He also sports a low 5.6 K/9. Fowler as the patience to take advantage of Brault’s wildness, not to mention benefiting from a good chance to put a strike in play.
Friday poses a standard schedule, with the typical afternoon game at Wrigley Field when the Cubs are hosting a weekend series. Postponement and off days have scrambled rotations such that each slate has a little of everything. Corey Kluber headlines Friday’s games with the marquee matchups pairing off Stephen Strasburg and Zack Godley along with Dallas Keuchel entertaining Sean Manaea.
Drew Pomeranz (L), rostered in 44 percent of ESPN leagues, Boston Red Sox vs. Tampa Bay Rays: Pomeranz’s initial start of the 2018 season drew mixed review. He fanned seven but allowed five hits, two walks and three runs to the Athletics. His follow-up won’t be a cakewalk as the Rays tote an above-average .332 weighted on-base average (wOBA) versus southpaws into Fenway Park. Still, with strikeout upside, a rested bullpen and good run support, Pomeranz is in play.
San Diego Padres skipper Andy Green stated he’ll use closer Brad Hand when most needed, as opposed to strictly ninth-inning duties. This begs the question, “Who will vulture the saves when Hand is deployed earlier?” Usage patterns and early-season numbers suggest Kirby Yates, but don’t overlook what Adam Cimber has done so far, fanning 22 with just three walks in 17 innings.
Leonard Fournette is the only LSU back to be taken in the first round (No. 4 to the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2017) in the past 10 years, but the Tigers could get another one this year with junior Derrius Guice making the early NFL leap. Guice, who battled through injuries in 2017, rushed for 1,251 yards and 11 touchdowns while averaging 5.3 yards per carry. ESPN NFL draft guru Mel Kiper lists him as his No. 2 running back on his final Big Board.