Around the Majors: May 28: Evan Longoria, Andrew McCutchen & More

It was another great day around the league, so let’s take a look at all the stories from yesterday’s games:

  • The Tampa Bay Rays were desperate to try and awaken Evan Longoria’s bat, shifting him to the leadoff spot.  It worked, to an extent, as he went 2-4 with 1 HR, 1 RBI and 1 R.  It will be interesting to see how long the Rays will maintain this lineup, because Longoria’s value is certainly diminished hitting atop the order.
  • Jered Weaver and Anthony Swarzak took part in an incredible pitching duel, with neither man willing to blink.  You would expect it from Weaver, who tossed 9.0 shutout innings, allowing 2 H and 2 BB, striking out 7, in a no decision.  Swarzak too took a no decision, after carrying a no hitter into the eighth.  He finished having allowed 1 H and 2 BB, striking out 7, over 8.0 shutout innings starting in place of Francisco Liriano.  Despite the impressive outing Swarzak had posted a 3.90 ERA in six Triple-A starts prior to his recall, a 6.21 ERA in 22 Triple-A starts in ’10 and just isn’t likely to get many looks in the Majors.  It was an impressive start, but he remains a longshot to handle fantasy appeal moving forward.
  • With his spot in the rotation supposedly on the line Edwin Jackson tossed a stinker, allowing 6 ER on 9 H and 1 BB, striking out 7, over 6.2 innings.  If you are an owner, you are going to want to monitor the news because this outing could ticket him straight to the bullpen.  However, he wasn’t the only starting pitcher to appear in the game.  With the game going 14 innings, Gavin Floyd actually pitched the final inning, allowing 1 R on 2 H in his inning plus to take the loss.  Tough break for owners who had him active this week.
  • Corey Patterson was the hero for the Blue Jays, going 5-7 with 1 HR, 1 RBI and 4 R (he had scored just 2 R over his past 9 games).  As always Jose Bautista also made his presence felt, going 3-4 with 1 HR, 3 RBI and 3 R.  At .353 with 20 HR and 35 RBI, is anyone still calling 2010 an aberration?
  • It certainly appears like Andrew McCutchen is comfortable in the third spot, doesn’t it?  He went 2-5 with 1 HR, 2 RBI and 2 R, putting him at 4-9 with 1 HR, 3 RBI, 2 R and 2 SB over his past two games since the lineup reshuffle.  While he may not have lived up to expectations thus far, it certainly doesn’t appear that there is anything to be concerned about.  He’s just beginning to find his groove.
  • Paul Maholm was dominant, allowing 3 H and 0 BB, striking out 4, over 9.0 shutout innings.  He’s now 2-7 on the season, despite a 3.18 ERA and 1.17 WHIP.  Do the peripherals make him worth owning?  He’s pitching well, but he is only going to continue to excel if he can continue to strikeout batters (he has a career K/9 of 6.42) and if he can keep his BABIP down (he entered the day with a .276 mark, despite a career .311).  I wouldn’t be putting much faith in him.
  • Blake Tekotte got his first start in the Major Leagues, going 2-3 with 1 RBI and 1 R.  He has a ton of speed and, if given the opportunity, could quickly prove viable in deeper formats thanks to his stolen base potential.  He’s certainly worth monitoring.
  • It was another solid start for Jordan Zimmerman, despite taking the loss.  He allowed 2 R on 5 H and 1 B, striking out 4, over 6.0 IP.  He now has allowed 3 ER or few in each of his last five starts and is sporting a 3.88 ERA and 1.16 WHIP.  In his first year back from injury you have to be concerned about how much he’ll have in the tank as the season progresses and how careful the Nationals will be with him. 
  • Miguel Tejada went 0-4, dropping his average to .212.  Just to give you a better idea of his struggles, the last time his average was above .225 was on April 16.  You really have to wonder if, when Pablo Sandoval returns to the lineup, Tejada will find his way to the bench.  Regardless, there really is no reason to have him active right now.
  • It has not been the same type of season for Casey McGehee, who went 0-3 with 1 RBI yesterday.  That puts him at .251 with 4 HR, 22 RBI and 19 R on the season.  Over his past 7 games he has gone 4-25 with 0 HR, 1 RBI and 1 R.  With all the injuries to the 3B this season he remains a usable option, but you have to hope that he can turn it around soon.
  • Matt LaPorta continued his breakout campaign, going 2-3 with 1 HR, 1 RBI and 1 R.  On the year he is now hitting .257 with 6 HR and 23 RBI.  Are they electric numbers?  Nope, but they certainly are viable in deeper formats.  At least he is slowly starting to live up to the potential, so don’t give up on him yet.
  • The Texas Rangers scored 10 runs, courtesy of five home runs against the Royals Sean O’Sullivan (5.2 IP, 10 R, 15 H, 2 BB, 1 K).  With a 6.75 ERA, you have to wonder if O’Sullivan’s spot in the rotation will soon be gone.
  • It was the bottom of the Rangers order that did the damage, with hitters 5-9 all homering: Adrian Beltre (2-4, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 1 R), Nelson Cruz (3-4, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 2 R), Mitch Moreland (3-4, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 R), Mike Napoli (1-2, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 1 R) and Endy Chavez (2-4, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 R).  Cruz had been 2-19 with 1 HR since returning from the DL, so fantasy owners certainly enjoy seeing this time of performance.  As long as he can stay healthy, it won’t be the last time.
  • While it hasn’t been an overly impressive stretch for Stephen Drew of late, he delivered yesterday going 4-5 with 1 RBI and 2 R.  In his last seven games he has actually now scored 8 R, with at least 1 in six of the seven games (despite going 0-9 in his past three).  He has not yet flashed his power, with just 3 HR, though you have to figure it is only a matter of time, considering he has hit at least 12 each of the past four seasons.  While he isn’t an elite option, he remains a solid one in all formats.
  • Bud Norris didn’t have an impressive outing, allowing 6 R (2 earned) n 7 H and 2 BB, striking out 4, over 5.0 innings.  He’s now 0-3 over his past 5 outings, allowing 16 ER over 31.1 IP (4.63 ERA).  He does over strikeout potential, so I wouldn’t give up hope quite yet.  With his next start coming in San Diego, he should likely be in fantasy lineups for the coming week.
  • The Mets bullpen abandoned Mike Pelfrey, who had looked stellar for 7.2 innings.  His line finished having allowed 2 ER on 4 H and 2 BB, striking out 6.  It’s a nice bounce back outing, after getting beat up by the Yankees (5 ER over 6.0 IP), but is one outing really enough to trust him?  I wouldn’t think so, though his next outing against the Pirates has the potential to be appealing.  Pelfrey has actually been spectacular at home (2.00 ERA entering the day), so if you are in a deeper formats he may be a good sleeper that is flying under the radar.
  • Chase Utley is showing that there shouldn’t be a concern about his injury, going 2-3 with 1 RBI, 2 R and 1 SB.  There’s no reason to have him on your bench.
  • Cole Hamels continues to impress, allowing 2 ER on 7 H and 0 BB, striking out 10, over 7.0 IP to improve to 7-2 on the season.  On most teams he’d be the ace, but he’s the third starter on the Phillies.  Just how dangerous does that make them as a team come playoff time?
  • Maybe you want to argue that Jaime Garcia was due for a poor outing.  Maybe you want to say that it happens to everyone.  If you are an owner of him, no matter how you try to sugarcoat it, the bottom line is that Garcia was hideous last night.  He allowed 12 R (11 earned) on 11 H and 4 BB, striking out 6, over 3.1 innings against the Colorado Rockies.  His peripherals entering the day weren’t unrealistic (.276 BABIP, 75.2% strand rate), so it is hard to say that you saw this coming.  It simple should be written off as one of those days.  Keep him active in all formats with the Giants next on the schedule.
  • Eric Young Jr. was playing 2B and hitting leadoff, going 3-6 with 1 RBI, 1 R and 1 SB.  If he’s going to get regular playing time, he is going to have value with his speed.  However, it feels like we’ve been down this road before, doesn’t it?  Don’t pencil him into the lineup regularly quite yet, though if he hits he should play.
  • It was a big day for Chris Iannetta, going 4-6 with 2 HR, 6 RBI and 2 R.  He certainly needed that, having not homered since May 9.  The Rockies are finally showing patience with him and they were rewarded yesterday.
  • Brian McCann went 4-5 with 2 HR, 2 RBI and 2 R in a much needed big day.  It’s only the second game he has homered in since April 14 (and both times he hit two home runs).  While you would like to see a little bit more consistency, he is hitting .295 with 6 HR, 27 RBI and 15 R, so it really is hard to argue with the production from a catcher.
  • Maybe Bronson Arroyo’s back wasn’t alright after all?  He allowed 5 R on 9 H and 1 BB, striking out 0, over 3.0 innings.  While he has the potential to blow-up, in back-to-back games it doesn’t happen often.  How about in back-to-back-to-back?  Over his last three starts he has allowed 19 ER over 12.2 IP, striking out just 6.  Starting him against the Dodgers in his next scheduled start would be a tremendous risk at this point.
  • It was a second solid outing for Josh Outman, though that doesn’t mean that we should be running to pick him up.  He allowed 2 R on 6 H and 5 BB, striking out 2, over 6.0 IP and has now walked 8 batters over 13.0 innings.  Compare that to his 4 Ks, and there are certainly warning flags out there.  His next start comes in Boston and he should be avoided in all formats for now.
  • Have the Orioles finally given up on Luke Scott or are they simply just giving him an extended rest?  He was on the bench for his third straight game, going 0-1 as a pinch hitter.  It’s tough to bench him, due to his streakiness, but if he’s not going to play it’s impossible to use him.  Part of the problem is that he is 2-25 (.080) against southpaws, and the Orioles have three lefties on the schedule for the coming week (not to mention a date with Michael Pineda).
  • For the second time in his last four starts Ivan Nova failed to go four innings, and considering this one came against the Mariners it is fairly worrisome.  He allowed 4 R on 5 H and 3 BB, striking out 1, over 3.2 IP.  He’s not usable outside of maybe AL-only formats for his next start against the Angels, with him sporting a 4.67 ERA and 1.59 WHIP.  You also have to wonder how much longer the Yankees will stick with him in the rotation.
  • Franklin Gutierrez went 3-5 with 1 R and now has multi-hit games in two of his last three.  He’s still trying to find his groove, so stay patient, though it looks like he may be starting to get going.
  • It is not common for Hiroki Kuroda to post back-to-back poor outings, but that’s what fantasy owners have gotten from him of late.  He allowed 5 ER on 10 H and 1 BB, striking out 2, over 5.1 innings.  He’s allowed 9 ER over his last 11.0 innings and has actually allowed 4 ER or more in three of his past five starts (sandwiching 14.2 shutout innings).  Clearly he’s been inconsistent, but do not give up hope at this point.  His post-All-Star Break ERAs the past two seasons have been 2.98 and 2.87.  If someone is getting impatient, for some reason, don’t hesitate to pull the trigger.

Make sure to check out these other great articles from Rotoprofessor:

3 comments

  1. Chief Aloique says:

    I took one of those fantasy baseball flyers and picked up Juan Nicasio for his ML pitching debut yesterday. (What the heck, everything else being equal, you can’t really teach someone to throw with triple-digit velocity like this guy can and I was hoping for little more than to bag some K’s without hurting my ERA and WHIP too much.)

    Well, I didn’t get the K’s (only 2) but I was more than rewarded with about as quality of a start as you could hope for, given the circumstances: 7 brisk innings against the hard-hitting Cardinals on only 88 pitches, 1 unearned run, 1.14 WHIP. Very, very impressive, even more so from a fantasy standpoint. When they come — and with triple-digit velocity they WILL come — the Ks will be a bonus.

    Now the rant: Despite that performance, I’m reading that a guy like this may be sent back to the minors to make room for the return to the staff off the DL for — wait for it — Aaron Cook!

    That’s right, the Aaron Cook who’s never had an ERA lower than 3.7 or a WHIP, except once, under 1.4. Never any K’s to speak of either.

    Every year this happens to me. I’m no Colorado fan, but it seems like every year I wind up taking flyer on a promising Rockie pitcher — De La Rosa, Chacin, and now Nicasio. They deliver, and then I have to tear my hair out while they give way to Aaron Cook, at least for awhile.

    What is it with Colorado’s fascination with the “talents” of Aaron Cook? Outside of a good half-year in 2008, his 10-year career consists of woefully inflated ERAs, WHIPs and DL stints. At some point, Colorado has to correlate his performances with their annual close-but-no-cigar runs for a pennant and come to the same conclusion that fantasy baseball players have drawn long ago: “This guy ain’t a viable piece of the puzzle.”

  2. big o says:

    it’s about time somebody said it.
    well done , Chief.

  3. Rotoprofessor says:

    Chief, if you want to hear something funnier, I was listening to NY sports talk radio (I listen to all sorts of sports talk at work) and a Mets fan called up and said that the Mets should trade David Wright to Colorado for a package centered around Aaron Cook!!!!

    Really?!?!?!

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