Yesterday was one of the best days on the calendar, and it had nothing to do with the action on the field. Instead, while there was an exciting slate of games going on, six more players were being inducted into the Hall of Fame. So if that had your attention, or it was just focused on staying cool, we have you covered with some of the performances of note from a busy Sunday:
1) Any Given Day
Prior to yesterday, Asher Wojciechowski had four major league wins. At the age of 30, the right-hander had 94.2 innings under his belt, and at best, the right-hander is a journeyman with no fantasy value to speak of. But on a team like Baltimore, the innings need to be filled by someone, and that brings us Wojciechowski. Looking at this game Sunday morning, all signs pointed towards targeting Boston’s offense, but instead, Wojcieschowski flirted with history. After taking a no-hitter deep into the game, he finished with 7.2 shutout innings in which Boston managed just that one hit and two walks while striking 10. Through 23 innings pitched so far this season, he does have 31 strikeouts, a 3.91 ERA and just a 1.04 WHIP, but I still find myself being skeptical. Unless innings are really at a premium in your league, don’t read too much into Sunday’s start. At the same time though, you never know when a breakout will occur, so file this start away.
2) Blackmon Goes Deep
Unless you are in a head-to-head league, the fantasy production counts just the same regardless of when it is compiled. Of course you crave consistency, but if you are in it for the whole season, there is going to be a slump or two that you must power through. And over his past 15 games, that appears to be what is going on for Charlie Blackmon, as even including yesterday’s 4 for 5 game, he is still hitting just .246 in that stretch. The hope, is that all Blackmon needed to get back on track. Included in that four hit effort, was his 21st home run of the season, good for his 60th RBI as well, as he also scored three times. Despite, the slump, Blackmon is still hitting .319 on the season, and there doesn’t appear to be any cause for concern.
3) Free Yairo
He isn’t a spectacular player, but whenever Yairo Munoz is in the lineup, all he does is hit. The fact that he is eligible at multiple positions is helpful to fantasy teams just as much as it is to the Cardinals, but playing time is an issue with Munoz. Now, no one is saying he is an elite option, but when in the lineup, the utility man won’t hurt you either. After a 3 for 4 effort, Munoz is now hitting .306 in 108 at bats. Currently in the lineup with Matt Carpenter on the Injured List, Munoz hit his second home run of the season on Sunday, giving him 10 RBI. Now that production is not going to move the needle, to say the least, but if you need to plug a whole, the batting average will help.
4) Snell Cruises to Victory
Finally, this is the Blake Snell we have been waiting for. Snell took care of business against the White Sox on Sunday, as he did exactly what he needed to do. In picking up his sixth victory of the season, Snell scattered just three hits and two walks while not allowing a run and striking out 10. The southpaw’s 4.28 ERA isn’t exactly what we expected to see from Snell at this point in the season. Even with yesterday’s strong start, the left-hander’s ERA in his last seven starts is 6.23. The strikeouts haven’t been an issue, 38 in 29 innings over that stretch and 136 in 101 innings for the season, but as of late, walks have been an issue (29 in 72.2 innings over his last 15 starts). With a 3.40 FIP, and we know Snell has talented, I wouldn’t panic, and there is no reason why he can’t build on Sunday’s victory.
5) The Quiet One
In a lineup full of stars, Michael Brantley kind of just blends into the background. Now, by no means, is this a knock against Brantley, as it is clear that he is a legitimate hitter. While hitting home runs isn’t an issue, it also isn’t a large part of Brantley’s game, but on Sunday he did go deep twice. The two run shot and solo homer gave Brantley 15 home runs on the season, as he is getting closer to his career high of 20. But even if the home run power does take a backseat, it’s very hard to argue with Brantley’s production at the plate. He is batting .332 with 55 RBI and 55 runs scored, with Carlos Correa coming back, Houston will then be at full strength for this season; of course barring any other injuries, and Brantley is a very quiet, and perhaps underrated, option.
6) Kepler Continues His Strong Season
Now that Max Kepler is hitting .264 on the year, it’s hard to really find fault in his game. He will never be a .300 hitter, but at least now, Kepler is not a liability. The outfielder also appears to be comfortable batting lead-off for the Twins, and Kepler will go down as one of the better late round picks of the 2019 season. On Sunday, all Kepler did was go 3 for 6 with four RBI (64 overall), two runs scored, and his 24th home run of the season. Kepler has sailed past his career high of 20 home runs from last season, and he needs just six more RBI to set a career high in that department as well.
7) Tatis Clears the Table
As a lead-off hitter, you would expect Fernando Tatis to be setting the table instead of clearing it, but so far in his rookie season, he has shown the ability to do both. With two more hits yesterday, Tatis brought his batting average up to .324 for the season, but more importantly he drove in three runs. Through 247 at bats so far in 2019, Tatis has 49 runs scored, but more importantly, he is displaying a strong power/speed combination. Currently, Tatis has 16 home runs and 14 stolen bases, and slew of 30/30 season would not be at all surprising.
8) It Was not Buehler’s Day Off
Sorry for the bad pun, but it certainly was applicable. Walker Buehler only needed one run of support on Sunday, but instead, the Dodgers gave him nine. The right-hander also picked up his ninth victory of the season, against just one loss, with seven shutout innings of work. After allowing three home runs to the Phillies in his last start, Buehler scattered just five hits as he lowered his ERA to 3.23 while striking out 11. With 0.98 WHIP, has benefited from keeping the walks at a minimum (17 in 117 innings), and his overall numbers have been able to compensate for a few rough outings. As long as you are looking at the big picture, there aren’t many pitchers better.
9) A First Round Value After All?
Despite his .297 batting average over his last 30 games, Jose Ramirez is still hitting just .232 for the season, so that tells you have bad he previously was. But I mean let’s be honest do I really have to remind any Ramirez owners of his struggles? In reality, it really has been the last two weeks or so where he has really taken off hitting .317 in his last 15 games, with a .345 average in his last seven games, and Ramirez is primed to continue that success. On Sunday, Ramirez went 2 for 4 with his 10th home run of the season. Six of those 10 home runs have come in his last 30 games, but we know what Ramirez is capable of, so in reality, it is about time. With 46 runs scored and 46 RBI, at least Ramirez hasn’t been a total dud, but more importantly, he has stolen 20 bases so far this year. I know it’s not going to full compensate you for the lost production from your first round pick, but at least there is some value, and now upside to be had.
10) Gausman Returns Victorious
We have seen Kevin Gausman have success in the past, after his trade to Atlanta from Baltimore, and we also know that the right-hander is talented. It was the third victory of the season for Gausman, in 14 starts, as even after his seven innings of one run ball, his ERA still sits at 5.71. Gausman, scattered just five hits on Sunday as dealt with a solid Washington lineup without much issue. Of course, that hasn’t been the case so far this season, but Gausman’s 3.86 FIP does offer up some optimism. And he certainly took a step in the right direction on Sunday.