Around the Majors: June 25: Justin Verlander, Dee Gordon, Hanley Ramirez & More

Let’s take a look at this morning’s injury news and notes:

  • Does anyone expect anything less than dominance from Justin Verlander at this point?  He was unbelievable last night against the Diamondbacks.  Forget about the fact that he allowed just 4 H and 1 BB over 8.0 shutout innings.  He struck out 14 in the process, the third time in his last four starts that he has struck out at least 10.  The 14 was a career high.  On the season he has now struck out 124 batters in 128.2 innings of work. 
  • There were a lot of impressive performances from the Yankees on Saturday, though most of the lineup is obvious fantasy mainstays.  Brett Gardner, however, is an often overlooked option.  He went 1-3 with 2 R and 1 SB yesterday, raising his average to .282 to go along with 38 R and 15 SB.  Considering that he hit .194 in April, he certainly has come a long ways.  He hit .301 in May and is now hitting .353 in June.  Obviously, when Derek Jeter returns and he moves back down to the bottom of the lineup his value is going to diminish, but only slightly.  With the Yankees lineup, it really doesn’t matter where you hit.  He has a ton of speed and, with the way he’s hitting, should score plenty of runs.  If someone in your league hasn’t bought in still, thanks to the slow start, he’s more than worth acquiring.
  • After John Danks exited with an oblique injury (we’ll have more on that in the injury report later today), Jake Peavy ultimately came in and picked up the slack.  He went 4.0 IP, allowing just 1 H and 0 BB, striking out 7.  You would think that this outing may delay his next start, but with an off day on Monday it would likely only be a day.  If that were to happen, he would face the Cubs instead of the Rockies.  Is anyone going to complain about that? It was an impressive performance and certainly should make fantasy owners comfortable in using him.
  • Tom Gorzelanny was a tough luck loser, allowing 1 R on 7 H and 1 BB, striking out 8, over 7.0 innings against the White Sox.  He has been extremely inconsistent this season, making him tough to trust.  Sure, the matchup against the Pirates looks intriguing, but I’d still consider him a risky play.
  • The New York Mets scored 14 runs?!  Really?!  Lucas Duda led the way, going 4-5 with 4 RBI and 2 R.  With the injury to Ike Davis, he certainly has the potential to earn significant playing time at 1B going forward.  Daniel Murphy (1-4, 2 RBI, 2 R) is a nice player, but he lacks the power stroke that the Mets need in the middle of the lineup.  Duda, however, had 10 HR in 129 AB at Triple-A in ’11 and had 23 HR in 425 AB between two levels in ’10.  If you are in need of a little bit of punch from your lineup, he certainly is worth monitoring.
  • For the second time in three starts Alexi Ogando was beat up by a New York team.  He allowed 6 R (3 earned) on 8 H and 0 BB, striking out 1, over just 3.0 innings.  Is this a regression?  It’s been predicted for a while, who entered the day with a .229 BABIP and 79.0% strand rate.  Also keep in mind, he tossed just 72.1 innings in 2010 and has already thrown 91.0 innings in 2011.  He really is a risky proposition moving forward.
  • Dee Gordon has hit a bit of a slump as of late.  He went 0-4 yesterday and is now just 1-17 over his past five games and is hitting just .231 on the season.  The question for the Dodgers is going to be if, once Rafael Furcal returns, they want to keep Gordon maturing at the Major League level (shifting one of them to 2B), or if they think Gordon will benefit more from time at Triple-A.  Time will tell, and with Furcal still a little bit away from returning, Gordon will have time to get things back on track.  However, he is a bit raw, with 15 K vs. 2 BB in just 65 AB and should be considered just in deeper formats right now.
  • The luck of Justin Masterson continued to be poor, as he was outpitched by Matt Cain (7.0 IP, 0 ER, 4 H, 1 BB, 6 K, W) and remains winless since April 26, a streak of 11 starts.  Yesterday he allowed just 1 R (0 ER) on 4 H and 2 BB, striking out 5, over 6.2 IP.  In fact, he has allowed 2 ER or less in each of his last four starts (26.0 IP).  In his last 11 starts, he has allowed 2 ER or less eight times.  How can you not get a victory when you are pitching like that?  Despite the lack of W he is sporting a 2.98 ERA and 1.32 WHIP, to go along with 75 K.  It’s hard to argue with the numbers.  He should continue to be viewed as a viable option, though his next start is a tough one, coming in Cincinnati.
  • Things have certainly turned for Josh Collmenter, who allowed 6 ER on 10 H and 2 BB, striking out 4, over 6.0 innings.  In his past three starts he is now 0-3 allowing 14 ER over 18.0 IP.  He entered this stretch with a 1.12 ERA and is now sitting at 2.71.  Did anyone really expect him to be able to maintain that type of success, though?
  • It was a tremendous pitching matchup in Philadelphia, with Trevor Cahill (7.2 IP, 1 ER, 3 H, 3 BB, 6 K, W) outdueling Cole Hamels (8.0 IP, 2 ER, 8 H, 2 BB, 5 K).  Obviously, those who were worried about Hamels’ back should be a lot more comfortable at this point.  As for Cahill, he went through a bit of a rough patch in late May/early June, allowing 4 ER or more in four straight starts. 
  • Wade Davis certainly has had his poor starts this season, so it is tough to get too excited when he goes out there and pitches well against the Astros.  He allowed 1 R on 5 H and 1 BB, striking out 3, over 7.0 innings to improve to 7-5 with a 4.32 ERA and 1.44 WHIP.  He entered the game with a believable .279 BABIP, 76.0% strand rate and 3.51 BB/9.  The problem?  He just isn’t generating strikeouts, with a K/9 of 4.25.  Unless he can improve there, he is not going to be fantasy viable, especially with tough matchups in the AL East.  Does he have upside?  Of course, but he’s a low-end option.
  • It’s about time we start giving Carlos Villanueva some credit, isn’t it?  He improved to 5-1 with a 3.15 ERA after shutting down the Cardinals last night.  He allowed 2 ER on 5 H and 1 BB, striking out 3, over 6.0 innings.  He is 3-0 in his last five starts, allowing 3 ER or less four times.  Of course, he also hasn’t struck out more than 3 in each of his past three starts and has just 44 K in 65.2 IP.  He entered the day with a .238 BABIP, so there certainly is good reason to think that a regression is coming.  Does anyone actually trust him?  He’s viable while he’s pitching well, but I wouldn’t hold onto him for too long.  Things could get ugly in a hurry.
  • Joey Votto posted an MVP type day, going 3-4 with 2 HR, 5 RBI and 3 R to help carry the Reds to a 10-5 victory over Brian Matusz (4.2 IP, 6 ER, 9 H, 1 BB, 5 K) and the Orioles.  It’s the type of day we have come to expect from Votto, so there is no shame for Matusz.  However, losing each of his last three starts while allowing 14 ER over just 11.1 IP certainly isn’t a good sign.  At this point, Matusz should not be considered usable in any format.  He has a ton of upside, so stash him if you can, but don’t trust him in your starting lineup.
  • The Red Sox have hit a bit of a slump, though could it give Josh Reddick a chance to play more often?  He is currently platooning with Darnell McDonald, but he is trying to make his claim on full-time duties while Carl Crawford is on the DL.  He went 2-3 with 1 HR, 1 RBI and 1 R yesterday and has now gone 6-12 with 1 HR, 4 RBI and 4 R since returning to the team on June 19.  Obviously, no one is going to hit .500, but if he could claim regular playing time in this lineup, he’ll have value in five-outfielder formats.  Keep a close eye on him.
  • Who would’ve expected this type of campaign from Joel Hanrahan?  He allowed 1 H and struck out 1 in another shutout inning, picking up save 22.  He has only allowed runs in four appearances this season and has now gone nine consecutive appearances without allowing a run. 
  • Danny Duffy made mistakes to back-to-back hitters (Aramis Ramirez and Geovany Soto went back-to-back), and that cost him a victory.  He went 7.0 innings allowing 2 ER on 9 H and 1 BB, striking out 2, in a no decision.  Unfortunately, he is likely ticketed back to the minor leagues with Bruce Chen and Kyle Davies returning to the rotation.  This probably isn’t the last we’ve seen of him in 2011, though he was predictably unpredictable as a rookie starting pitcher.  He has a bright future, but chances are he isn’t going to be bringing anyone championship glory in 2011.
  • It was a solid outing for Yovani Gallardo, who improved to 9-4 after allowing 1 R on 6 H and 3 BB, striking out 6, over 7.0 innings of work.  Don’t let his success overshadow the struggles of Francisco Liriano, who was torched for 6 R (5 earned) on 8 H and 2 BB, striking out 3, over 3.2 innings of work.  Just when you think that he has turned the corner, he slaps you in the face and tosses this type of stinker.  He had allowed 3 ER or less in each of his previous five starts, so don’t try not to read too much into this outing.  His next start is a rematch with the Brewers, though they are a much different team on the road (the next start will come in Minnesota).  Still, do you trust him?  I’d proceed with cautious, though he should remain a viable option in most formats.
  • Is Dan Uggla starting to get things on track?  He went 2-3 with 1 HR, 4 RBI and 3 R yesterday, giving him two home runs in his past three games.  Of course, he did strikeout in the one AB that he didn’t reach base and has struck out at least once in 17 of his past 19 games.  It’s tough to hit for a good average that way.  In fact, he has been below .200 since May 13.  Granted, no one expected it to be this bad, but we all knew he was an average risk when we drafted him.  He has hit 11 HR (though only 27 RBI), so at least we have that.
  • Jair Jurrjens just continued to produce, improving to 10-3 with a 2.07 ERA after allowing 1 R on 3 H and 4 BB, striking out 2, over 6.0 IP.   
  • Hanley Ramirez went 2-3 with 2 RBI and is now on a four-game hitting streak going 7-16 with 0 HR, 4 RBI, 3 R and 2 SB.  Is it a lot?  Of course not, but it certainly appears that the one-game benching from Jack McKeon may have gotten his attention.  It was inevitable that he improve his performance, but it’s still nice to see.  He’s in the cleanup spot for the Marlins now and should hopefully continue to flourish.

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  1. Phil says:

    Dee Gordon in a BIT of a slump? A BIT raw? His obp is 250 and his ops is 500. He is horrendous!

    • Rotoprofessor says:

      A horrendous may be a bit extreme, but he certainly isn’t playing well right now.

      However, he certainly does have talent and just needs to learn and adjust to the Major League game. At Triple-A he had a .361 OBP and struck out just 30 times in 200 AB. Was there luck involved? Yes, with a .371 BABIP, but with his speed he can manage a higher than expected BABIP.

      He’s going to be a singles hitter who can steal bases for now. If you value him accordingly you should get what you expect. It’s just going to take time.

  2. big o says:

    thank you

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