There were a lot of impressive performances yesterday, like the outburst from Jonathan Lucroy to the continued resurgence of pitchers Josh Johnson & Josh Beckett. That said, there are just as many questions burning in fantasy owners minds (like if Paul Goldschmidt will continue to start, for example). Let’s take a look at everything from yesterday’s games:
- Max Scherzer – Detroit Tigers – Starting Pitcher – We all know that he’s a frustrating pitcher. He brought his A game yesterday, however, never giving the Pirates a chance. In 7.0 innings he allowed 2 ER on 4 H and 1 BB, striking out an impressive 15. While he is still sporting a 5.73 ERA, he also entered the day with a .403 BABIP and 67.6% strand rate. So, there is definitely room for his underlying numbers to improve. He has solid control (career 3.12 BB/9) and electric stuff (as he showed yesterday). Unfortunately, he’s always been prone to the poor outing, so it is something that you will just have to stomach. That said, given the poor luck he’s had thus far, you would think there are more good days then bad ahead of him. I wouldn’t give up a lot to acquire him, do to his “instability”, but he is worth owning.
- Paul Goldschmidt – Arizona Diamondbacks – First Baseman – He went 1-4 with 1 R yesterday, putting him at .242 with 2 HR, 16 RBI and 13 R scored in 120 AB. So, why do we care? It will be very interesting to see how the Diamondbacks work their lineup in the coming days when they no longer have the DH at their disposal. With Chris Young back, could Jason Kubel shift to first allowing the team to put out an outfield of Young, Gerardo Parra and Justin Upton? While Parra has struggled, he went 0-2 with 1 R and 1 SB yesterday and provides a potential spark at the top of the lineup (something the team needs). Goldschmidt owners need to be prepared for this type of lineup to be used in the coming days and weeks.
- Jonathan Lucroy – Milwaukee Brewers – Catcher – To see he had a monster day yesterday would be an understatement. Hitting in the cleanup spot, Lucroy went 3-5 with 2 HR, 7 RBI and 3 R. On the season he’s now hitting .342 with 4 HR and 27 RBI. While he’s not likely to see many days hitting fourth in the Brewers lineup (Aramis Ramirez was given the day off) and he’s not going to maintain this type of pace, he clearly has emerged as a viable option in all formats. A preseason sleeper, hopefully you were able to take advantage.
More Quick Thoughts:
- Josh Johnson has very quietly gotten things going. Taking on the Indians yesterday he allowed 1 ER on 5 H and 2 BB, striking out 4, over 7.0 innings. Over his last three starts he’s gone 2-0, allowing 5 ER on 15 H and 5 BB, striking out 16, over 21.0 innings. Granted, the opponents haven’t been the best (Houston, Pittsburgh & Cleveland), but it’s important that we saw quality results. Hopefully you haven’t given up on him yet.
- Tim Hudson (7.2 IP, 0 ER, 4 H, 2 BB, 3 K) outpitched David Price (7.0 IP, 1 ER, 6 H, 3 BB, 7 K) to improve to 3-1 with a 3.03 ERA. Hudson isn’t an ideal fantasy option, with just 19 K over 32.2 innings of work. Just keep that in mind before overcommitting to him.
- It was another good outing for Johnny Cueto, who allowed 2 ER on 8 H and 2 BB, striking out 5, over 7.0 innings against the Yankees in Yankee Stadium. While he is now 5-1 with a 1.97 ERA, he also entered play with an 84.8% groundball rate. We have already established that he’s not going to be a source of strikeouts and a regression wouldn’t be surprising. He’s a good option, but don’t consider him an elite option.
- Things started off poorly for Frank Francisco, walking the leadoff hitter and then allowing a little slap single to Jose Bautista (3-5, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 1 R). However, he came back strong and struck out the next 3 batters to lock down save 10. While he isn’t a lock to hold the job all season, he appears to be safe for now.
- It was another strong start for Josh Beckett, who outpitched Cliff Lee (5 ER over 7.0 IP), as he allowed 1 ER on 7 H and 2 BB, striking out 5, over 7.2 innings. There was a lot of concern about Beckett, but he’s now allowed just 1 ER over his last 14.2 innings. While he’s going to have his ups and downs, we all know he’s good enough to stick with. That said, given his career trend of having poor seasons in even number years (I know it is meaningless, but he has been doing it since 2006), I wouldn’t be opposed to selling him while he’s pitching well.
- It has been a disappointing season for Danny Espinosa, though his owners would call that an understatement. In his previous six games he had gone 3-19 with 0 HR, 0 RBI and 0 R. He entered play hitting .207 with just 3 HR. However, he hit leadoff yesterday, in front of Bryce Harper (2-4, 2 RBI, 3 R) and delivered by going 2-5 with 1 HR, 2 RBI and 2 R. Time will tell if it is the start of something, but there’s enough upside to keep him stashed on your bench.
- With the Astros taking on Colby Lewis (8.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 H, 1 BB, 6 K, W), J.D. Martinez once again found himself on the bench. A popular preseason sleeper, would it surprise anyone if he is the next player demoted to Triple-A (where he never actually spent time)? I would prepare for life without him, though considering he’s hitting .221 you probably have already done that.
- Once again Tim Lincecum just didn’t have it, allowing 4 ER on 5 H and 3 BB, striking out 5, over 4.0 innings against the Oakland A’s. That makes three consecutive starts where he has allowed 4 ER and 6 out of 9 starts where he has gone fewer than 6.0 innings (to compare, in 2011 he didn’t make his sixth start of fewer than 6.0 innings until September 3). We’ve talked about him before, but the concerns just continue to build. However, before you are quick to trade him, it all depends on the value you can get back.
- Peter Bourjos went 1-4 but, after Vernon Wells and Ryan Langerhans both left due to injury he could become a very relevant fantasy option once again. After losing the bulk of his time to Mike Trout (3-4, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 2 R and 2 SB), we have to hope that the second time is the charm. He offers some power and some speed and, in five-outfielder formats, is worth grabbing if he’s available.
- Making his Major League debut, Matt Adams hit seventh and went 2-4 with 1 R. It’s a nice performance, though we all know the value is ultimately going to come from his power. It doesn’t make sense to call him up if he’s not going to play and he’s worth owning in all leagues that require a corner infielder. If he’s available, I’d grab him.
Make sure to check out some of our other recent rankings: