It was a wild day of baseball with some stellar performances (like Jered Weaver’s no hitter) and some epic disasters (Roy Halladay, A.J. Burnett and Heath Bell). Let’s take a look at all of the important notes from yesterday:
- Jered Weaver – Los Angeles Angels – Starting Pitcher – It was a magical night for Weaver, tossing a complete game no-hitter and was just one walk (Josh Willingham) and a wild pitch away from perfection. He added 9 K to the effort, the third time this season that he’s struck out at least 8. In fact, he’s only allowed runs in two of his six starts, posting a 1.61 ERA and 0.78 WHIP over 44.2 innings. That said, we would expect a little bit of a regression in the BABIP (.236) and control (1.41 BB/9). Of course, if he can maintain the strikeout rate (9.07 K/9), the sky truly is the limit. The latter is the biggest question, as he’s only shown that type of potential once in his career (9.35 in ’10). I wouldn’t be looking for a reason to sell him unless you are blown away, as he has continually proven to be one of the elite pitchers in the game. Unless you predict a huge drop in strikeouts, you are going to want to stand pat.
- Edwin Encarnacion – Toronto Blue Jays – Designed Hitter – It was another big day for Edwin Encarnacion, going 1-4 with 1 HR, 3 RBI and 1 R. He has now homered in five of his past six games, adding 11 RBI over that span. While the power surge is impressive (9 HR on the season), let’s not forget that he hit .291 with 11 HR in the second half last season. It appears that he may have finally turned the corner and should be active in all formats. We’ll see if he can maintain it (there is an average risk due to a lofty fly ball rate of 52.6% entering the day), but capitalize on it while you can.
- Jake Arrieta – Baltimore Orioles – Starting Pitcher – It was a stellar performance for Arrieta in a hostile environment, especially impressive given the blowups around the league. Pitching in Yankee Stadium he tossed 8.0 shutout innings, allowing just 5 H and 0 BB, striking out 9. While he entered the day with a 4.45 ERA, he also had suffered from a 59.9% strand rate (though, also a lucky .235 BABIP). His control has been impeccable (now 9 BB in 38.0 IP), though that too is something that you would think is going to regress. In other words, while he dazzled last night and some will want to point to the strand rate, a regression in BABIP and control will lead to the numbers falling (specifically his 1.09 WHIP). We all know he has potential, but I wouldn’t be buying in yearly formats right now.
Other Quick Thoughts:
- Rafael Betancourt took a blown save, but he wasn’t entirely at fault. With two outs and a man on first, Matt Kemp came to the plate representing the tying run. Jim Tracy went the unconventional route, intentionally walking Kemp. Dee Gordon then proceeded to deliver a two-run double, tying the game. Betancourt finished with a line of 1.0 IP, 2 ER, 2 H, 2 BB (both intentional), 3 K. It wasn’t his best work, but you also can’t completely fault him either.
- Carlos Gonzalez continued to heat up, going 2-4 with 2 HR, 3 RBI and 2 R. Over his last 10 games he’s now gone 14-34 with 7 HR, 13 RBI, 12 R and 2 SB. Did anyone really doubt that he’d get going?
- In his Major League debut Will Middlebrooks went 2-3 while hitting eighth. Strikeouts are a concern, but with the rash of injuries to 3B (Ryan Zimmerman, Evan Longoria, Pablo Sandoval), he’s well worth the add thanks to his potential and opportunity.
- Once a player viewed as having tremendous talent, Chris Johnson never lived up to it. Yesterday, however, he showed us what could be possible. All he did was go 4-4 with 2 HR, 6 RBI and 2 R. We’ll have to see if he can keep the momentum going, but he could potentially have value as a short-term fill-in. However, don’t look towards him as a major source of power (53 HR in 1,762 minor league AB).
- Was this one of Roy Halladay’s worst career starts? It’s hard to argue, as he ultimately allowed 8 ER (including a grand slam to Brian McCann) on 12 H and 0 BB, striking out 5, over 5.1 innings. It all came after he was handed a 6-0 lead none the less. Obviously, there’s nothing to be concerned about, as it was just one of those nights.
- Does anyone ever expect a 7 RBI day for Carlos Ruiz? He went 3-5 with 1 HR, 7 RBI and 2 R yesterday. He’s a solid catcher, but far from an offensive juggernaut (his current 18.2% HR/FB would quadruple his mark from 2011). Continue to view him as a low-end option in single-catcher formats, though he’s worth riding while he’s hot.
- To say that A.J. Burnett simply didn’t have it yesterday may be the understatement of the year. He lasted just 2.2 innings allowing 12 ER (no, that’s not a typo) on 12 H and 1 BB, striking out 2. He had pitched well in his first two outings (2 ER, 15 K over 13.0 IP) and should fare well in the NL. Don’t let one hideous outing force you to cut bait (or, capitalize on it if someone in your league gives up).
- J.J. Putz blew his second save of the season, allowing 2 ER on 2 H (a double to Bryce Harper, who went 3-4 with 1 RBI and 2 R, and a home run to Ian Desmond) and 0 BB, striking out 2, over 0.2 innings. You wouldn’t think that his job is in jeopardy, though it’s a situation to monitor as he has now allowed runs in three of his past five outings.
- It was a quiet debut for Johnny Damon in Cleveland, going 0-3 with a walk while hitting in the leadoff spot. He’s not going to play every day, so his value is going to be minimal.
- It can’t get much worse for Heath Bell, as he entered with a 2-0 lead and failed to record an out. He faced three batters, allowing a double and a pair of singles, ultimately being charged with 2 ER. He was the relieved by Steve Cishek, who likely would take over if a change is made. At this point grabbing him makes a world of sense.