by Ray Kuhn
There is never anything wrong with a full day of baseball. Well we were missing one game, and just about all of the games were at night, but it was exciting nonetheless. As crazy as it may be, we have just weeks left to the regular season. So let’s jump right into some of the performances that stood out from a busy Saturday night around baseball.
1) Montgomery Strikes Out Nine
With the game going into extra innings, Jordan Montgomery gets nothing for his efforts. Fantasy owners though, certainly appreciated it as the southpaw threw 5.2 innings of one run (unearned) ball limiting the Orioles to just three hits and one walk while striking out nine. In returning from injury it hasn’t been the best of seasons for Montgomery who lowered his ERA to 4.76. After making it through just four combined innings in his last two starts allowing six runs, it was a good bounce back effort for the southpaw who has 32 strikeouts in 34 innings. At the very least, Montgomery has shown he can be a dependable option for the remainder of the season.
2) The Rookie Continues to Dazzle
It’s hard to ask for a better debut than we have seen from Ian Anderson to begin his major league career. The Braves were desperate for rotation help and the southpaw has more then answered the call since his promotion. He improved his record to 3-0 by defeating the Nationals with seven innings of shutout ball. Washington managed just one hit and three walks off Anderson who lowered his ERA to 1.64 while striking out nine. Opposing hitters do have a .184 BABIP against Anderson who has benefited from a 59.2% ground ball rate. With 2.96 FIP and 3.53 xFIP, Anderson’s dominance won’t continue to this level, but he has proven that he can pitch at this level.
3) Harper Picks up Three More Hits
All in all, it’s proving to be another solid season for Bryce Harper. He went 3 for 4 on Saturday missing the cycle by a triple. It was the eighth home run on the season for Harper, who has driven in 22 runs to go along with his .263 batting average and .929 OPS. On the surface, Harper’s stat line this year really doesn’t jump off the page at you, but he has been a dependable producer in the middle of Philadelphia’s lineup.
4) Villar Steals Two
Watching Jonathan Villar play baseball sometimes could be frustrating. Some of the things he does just doesn’t make sense as far as how you are supposed to play the game. But does that really matter from a fantasy perspective? What does matter though is how rare stolen bases are and the fact Villar has 11. Last night the fact that Villar went 2 for 4 with an RBI takes a back seat to his two stolen bases. It didn’t make a difference that Villar was batting seventh either, and that is just what fantasy owners need to see.
5) Abreu Says “Notice Me”
The young stars on the White Sox get a lot of attention, but Jose Abreu deserves a fair amount of that. Last night the first baseman stood out from the pack even as Chicago scored two touchdowns against the Tigers. All Abreu did was go 4 for 4 with a walk, five runs scored, and seven RBI. With two home runs, Abreu is now up to 15 on the season with 47 RBI while batting .319. Those numbers are staggering, and factoring everything in, including his pre-season ADP, Abreu will go down as the Fantasy MVP of 2020 unless something changes drastically over the next weeks. With a .308 ISO, Abreu’s power this season is off the charts to go along with a career high barrel rate of 12.7%. To say Abreu is seeing the ball well would be an understatement as the remainder of his Statcast metrics also back up his success.
6) Mondesi Goes Deep Again
If Abreu is the MVP, then Adalberto Mondesi might have been the anti-MVP. But perhaps the might be turning a corner? Mondesi was back up to the second spot in the order on Saturday and he picked up two more hits. Included in that was a two run homer, his fourth on the season, as the shortstop brought his batting average up to .213. All four of Mondesi’s home runs have come over his last seven games, and in that stretch he has six stolen bases and is batting .296. Overall, Mondesi has 16 stolen bases this season, so all is not completely lost but no one is complaining about the sudden resurgence.
7) Three More Hits for France
Getting traded to the Mariners has worked out to be a positive for Ty France as he is now getting the chance to play everyday. Batting in the second spot for Seattle, France went deep for the second straight day on Saturday as part of a three hit effort. It was the fourth home run of the season for France who is hitting .333 with 16 RBI in 84 at bats this year. In the eight games following his trade from the Padres, France is hitting .379 with six RBI while taking advantage of his opportunity.
8) Hudson Picks Up Another Victory
As Dakota Hudson picked up his third victory of the season on Saturday while lowering his ERA to 2.92, I guess I was wrong about the right-hander this season. At the very least, he continues to get positive results. Against the Reds, Hudson allowed one run on one hit and four walks while striking out four. Again though, despite Hudson getting those results, there are those other metrics that give him pause. This season, it is his .194 BABIP, 4.41 FIP, and 4.18 xFIP.
9) Hill Picks up the Victory
As long as he is healthy, Rich Hill will continue to be a dependable starter. You aren’t going to see him throwing seven or eight innings, but at this point, who does? Just pitch five innings and get me that victory as he did on Saturday. Hill allowed two runs on four hits and two walks while striking out seven, but he got the outs he needed to. With a 3.81 ERA, the left-hander just continues to get results, and there is nothing wrong with that.
10) Gurriel Drives in Three
Compared to most other first baseman, Yuli Gurriel sometimes just blends into the crowd. He isn’t a prolific home run hitter, but batting fourth (or somewhere in the middle) of a strong Astros’ lineup has to count for something, right? Last night, Gurriel went 2 for 3 with a walk while driving in three runs. Overall, he is batting a solid .265 with 21 RBI, and as the Astros try to set themselves up for the playoffs and likely get Jose Altuve back on Tuesday, Gurriel should be in position to drive in a solid amount of runs over the last two weeks of the season.