by Will Overton
We had a no-hitter involving six different pitchers, the starter being a 37 year old. We also had several hitters going deep multiple times and some fantastic performances from the present and future stars of the Washington Nationals. All that and more in this fantasy baseball roundup:
- Bryce Harper – OF, Washington Nationals: It really is hard to believe that Bryce Harper is only 19 years old when you see the level he plays the game at already. Harper has started to find his major league power swing as he hit a HR last night, which was his third in his last ten games. Harper’s three hits also led to three RBI and two runs scored. There may be bumps in the road, but right now the kid is hitting .288 with a .367 BP and he’s just now starting to find his power swing. In a standard one year league I still may try and trade him because he does hold so much value and he could hit some rookie struggles at some point. But in a keeper or dynasty league you have struck gold with this guy.
- Kevin Millwood – SP, Seattle Mariners: The bullpen did a lot of work to help, but it was Kevin Millwood who did most of the work as the Seattle Mariners pitching staff through a cumulative no-hitter. Millwood had to leave the game after six innings because of a groin injury, and the Mariners used five different relievers to finish the last three inning of the no-hitter. Millwood was fantastic allowing just one walk and striking out six over his six innings. Millwood struggled in his previous performance, but take that bad start away and he has allowed one run or less in five of his last six outings, including three outings of scoreless pitching. I am not sure how long he can maintain this success, but right now you have to take him seriously in the deep leagues.
- Huroki Kuroda – SP, New York Yankees: It certainly seems as if Huroki Kuroda has settled himself into New York now after a rough start to the season. Kuroda took down the Mets last night allowing just one hit over seven scoreless innings. Just two and a half weeks ago Kuroda’s ERA was 4.56, three starts later he has lowered it over a full point down to 3.46. Kuroda has allowed just two runs in 22 innings over his last three starts and has 14 K’s compared to 3 BB’s, seven of those K’s coming last night. Kuroda has never been a big time strikeout pitcher in the past, but he’s always been better than he is this year and it looks like the K’s are going to start going up now. Available in 50% of leagues he’d make a nice pickup right now.
More Quick Thoughts
- It was Kevin Millwood stealing the show last night, but the opposing pitcher wasn’t too shabby either. Nate Eovaldi threw six scoreless innings himself allowing five hits, and striking out six. Eovaldi has pitched well in three starts now and while rumor has it he will be going down when Ted Lilly comes back, he might be forcing the Dodgers hand a bit with the way he’s pitching. If he stays up he’s worth a shot in deep leagues.
- Once again fantasy players seem to be undervaluing Shane Victorino who is quietly turning in another nice season. He’s only hitting .258 but after a HR last night he now has 8 for the season to go with 13 SB’s. He also knocked in five runs last night on his three hits. Victorino flies under the radar but he’s a top 25 – 30 OF and people don’t realize it.
- Thinking of the possibilities of Bryce Harper and Stephen Strasburg on the same team for the next ten years is almost enough to make me become a full fledged Nationals fan. While Harper was doing it with his bat last night Stras was dominating on the mound allowing two runs in six innings and striking out 13 batters. Out of 18 outs recorded, 13 were K’s, amazing.
- A spark might be coming to the bat of Brennan Boesch. The Tigers outfielder was put back into the two spot in the lineup a couple days ago and is 5 – 8 in two games in the spot. Last night Boesch was 3 – 4 with a HR and 2 RBI. Out there in a lot of leagues he’s worth monitoring.
- It continues to astound me that Jed Lowrie is hitting the ball the way he is. Lowrie picked up two more hits last night including his second HR in as many nights and third HR in his last five games. Lowrie had some hot streaks in Boston that he eventually fizzled out of, but nothing like this. You still shouldn’t expect him to keeping hitting a HR every 18 AB’s, its just not sustainable.
- Those who expected a big regression from C.J. Wilson this season as he joined a new team have so far been horribly wrong. Last night Wilson allowed one run in 8 IP with 9 K’s. Wilson has now allowed just two runs in his last 28 IP and has 26 K’s over that stretch.
- Corey Hart’s been playing a lot of first base, and should be 1B eligible now. He’s also hitting with first baseman power as he went deep twice last night to give him 13 HR’s for the season. Hart was a little slow out of the gate, but he’s been taking care of business as of late. Seemingly always undervalued Hart might make a decent trade target.
- Two more HR’s for Alfonso Soriano as well last night, which gives him the same total as Jed Lowrie, 11. Soriano may just be auditioning for a new team, but he’s hitting the ball extremely well right now with 5 HR’s and 10 RBI in his last ten games. Standard league owners who have been reluctant to grab him should at least pick him up to ride out this streak.
- Never one to be outdone, Torii Hunter had 2 HR’s of his own last night and topped everybody by driving in six runs. Hunter might be getting up there in age, but he can still hit and hit for some power. Currently he has a 18.5 HR/AB rate. I am very surprised to see him available in 50% of leagues.
- It was Shawn Camp and not James Russell going for the save last night for the Cubs and Camp failed miserably allowing two runs to pick up the loss as well as blow the save. Russell also allowed a run in the setup role, but I still think the next time a save is on the line it’ll be Russell pitching. No real good option in Chicago, but Russell seems to be the best of the bunch for the present time.
- Brian Fuentes has not been the A’s closer for long, but he already has three blown saves and I doubt anyone is surprised. I wouldn’t be surprised at all to see the A’s remove Fuentes from the role now or in the near future. It could go back to Grant Balfour potentially, but Ryan Cook is emerging as an intriguing option with a 0.69 ERA right now and strikeout stuff.
- Win number eight was collected by Matt Harrison last night as he continues to be a nice fantasy surprise. Harrison threw a complete game shutout last night and has only allowed six runs in his last 30.2 innings. Harrison doesn’t get a ton of strikeouts, but with a good offense behind him and solid control he can still be a fantasy useful pitcher.
- It was a night of unsung heroes for the Rangers who also got a 5 – 5 night from their number eight hitter, Craig Gentry. The outfielder is hitting .341 while platooning with David Murphy. Until he starts seeing the better side of that platoon he isn’t usable, but if he starts getting more at-bats you should take notice.