As we head into the All-Star break, there was a busy day of action on Sunday. While it is a much needed break for all, there is also a few days to lay the ground work for the second half. Before we know it, the trading deadline will be upon us, and there will be just two months left in the season. But before we get to that point, let’s take a look at some of the performances that caught our attention:
1) Lourdes Shows off Power and Speed
Talk about productive trip to the minor leagues. Earlier this season, Lourdes Gurriel didn’t look like he belonged at the major league level, but that has quickly changed. He looks at home both in left field and batting third for Toronto, and that continued on Sunday as he went 2 for 4 with his 16th home run and third stolen base of the season. Gurriel is now batting .303 with 37 RBI on the season, but the majority of his production has come in his last 30 games. Over that stretch, Gurriel is batting .336 with 12 home runs and 24 RBI, and with a 12.1% barrel rate and 45.7% hard hit rate, it’s hard to argue with the quality of his contact either. There is no reason not to expect his success to continue over the remainder of the season.
2) Bauer Cruises to Victory
His days with the Indians may be numbered, but Trevor Bauer closed out the first half with his eighth victory of the season. The right-hander didn’t have much trouble dispatching the Reds as he limited them to just one run on four hits and three walks while lowering his ERA to 3.61. After striking out nine, Bauer is now up to 10.16 strikeouts per nine innings on the season. Bauer’s 3.61 ERA this year is still a far cry from his 2.21 mark a year ago, and with a 4.10 FIP and 4.41 xFIP, it is clear we aren’t seeing the same pitcher. Home runs have been an issue for Bauer, 1.16 per nine innings, and he has also benefited from a .267 BABIP. He is still a talented pitcher, but thinking of Bauer as an ace could get you in trouble.
3) Morton Overpowers the Yankees
While he only got through 5.2 innings on Sunday, missing out on that elusive quality start, Morton still turned in a dominating performance. However, Morton did manage to pick up his 10th victory of the season while allowing just one run on five hits, including a solo home run, and one walk. What matters though, is that Morton struck out 10, 11.34 per nine innings, while lowering his ERA to 2.32. The move to Tampa Bay hasn’t appeared to slow Morton down, and he has been as dependable as they come so far this season.
4) Nola Flirts With History
Aaron Nola has 19 starts under his belt so far this season, and those struggles earlier in the year appear to be past him. For the season, Nola’s ERA sits at 3.74, but in his last 15 starts, that mark drops down to 2.96. The right-hander took a no-hitter into the sixth inning yesterday, as he picked up his eighth victory of the season with 6.2 innings of two run (one earned) ball. A Pete Alonso home run is the lone damage against Nola as he struck out six batters. Nola, who is striking out 10 batters per nine innings, hasn’t gotten back to elite levels this season, but after just 0.71 home runs per nine innings in 2018, he is up to 1.22 in 2019. We know all about that being a common theme, and there is no reason to be concerned about Nola, and all things considered, he is still one of the better options on the mound.
5) Keuchel Turns in a Solid Effort
Dallas Keuchel got off to a slow start, well after a delayed start, but yesterday the left-hander turned in his best start of the season. After allowing two runs over seven innings in his last start, Keuchel threw 7.1 innings of two run ball against the Marlins on Sunday. He held Miami to five hits and one walk while striking out four to lower his ERA to 3.60. The sample size is small, but Keuchel has appeared to find his groove, and we know what he is capable of; as long as you aren’t looking for the strikeouts that is.
6) Corbin Gets Nothing for His Efforts
Despite the fact that Patrick Corbin picked up a no-decision on Sunday, it’s hard to ask for much more from him. Corbin scattered five hits while not walking a batter over seven shutout innings. His ERA now sits at 3.34 on the season after striking out 11 on the day. The left-hander also now has an identical FIP while striking out 10.24 batters per nine innings on the season with just 2.62 walks. While there have been some rough starts mixed in for Corbin this season, you can’t ask for much more from an overall production standpoint in 2019.
7) Yuli Keeps on Slugging
Things are going well for the Gurriel brothers over the past few weeks, and Yuli Gurriel has shown a sudden increase in the power in the department. Yesterday, it came in the form of a grand slam as Gurriel went deep for the 14th time this season. Thanks to Carlos Correa’s injury, Gurriel has picked up eligibility at both corner positions this season, and after a cold start to the year, it hasn’t impacted his performance at the plate either. While we can’t dispute Gurriels’s ability at the plate and as a run producer, he isn’t exactly known as a home run threat, his previous career high was 18, but nine of those home runs have come in his last 15 games. Over that stretch, Gurriel is hitting .339, and that jumps up to .367 over his last seven games to bring his season average up to .277. Don’t expect the home run barrage to continue, but the fact that Gurriel has driven in 50 runs so far this season shouldn’t be taken as a surprise.
8) That Darn Pitch Count
There is no telling what would have happened, but after 71 pitches, the Diamondbacks stuck with their plan to remove Alex Young. That is only notable, because in his second major league start, Young had yet to allow a hit to that point. The lone blemish on his record was a walk, as he struck out three to earn the victory. Young has been victorious in both of his starts, and he currently sports a 0.68 ERA. Strikeouts are going to be an issue for the left-hander, 375 in 448 minor league innings, and his 6.09 ERA in Triple-A prior to his promotion didn’t exactly predict this level of success, so I would keep that in mind moving forward, as for his career, he has a 4.34 ERA; last season’s 5.17 mark didn’t exactly help.
9) Laureano Goes Deep Again
Known for his defense, and drafted for his speed, Ramon Laureano has been a well-rounded fantasy asset over the first half of the season. Yesterday, the outfielder went deep for the 16th time this year as part of a 2 for 4 effort that saw him boost his average to .265 on the season. With 47 RBI and 52 runs scored, Laureano has been a solid source of overall production this season, with his 10 stolen bases playing a large part in that. While a 20/20 season might appear to be a bit lofty, we could be looking at 25/15 option who is offers four category production while not being a batting average liability.
10) Tatis Shows off the Power
Despite spending some time on the Injured List, Fernando Tatis is making sure he doesn’t leave any production on the table. On Sunday, the shortstop both set and cleaned the table as he went deep twice to give himself 14 home runs for the season. Between the two home runs, a solo shot and a three run homer, Tatis accounted for four of San Diego’s five runs on Sunday while bringing his RBI total up to 33. With 13 stolen bases on the season, Tatis is proving to be another one of those incredibly valuable power/speed combination threats. However, with a .327 batting average, he is also showing himself to be a five category contributor.