by Will Overton
There was a couple of dominating pitching performances yesterday including a pair of one-hitters. There was also some fine hitting displays, primarily from the homerun hitters, and I don’t mean Trevor Plouffe for once. Here is a mix of some of the day’s best stat lines:
- Jason Hammel – SP, Baltimore Orioles: It was starting to look like Jason Hammel was coming back to earth after a terrific start to the season, allowing 9 runs over his last 17.2 innings. Then he came out yesterday and had his best outing of the season throwing a complete game, one-hit shutout. Hammel showed great control giving up just two walks again, and he struck out eight batters to keep his strikeout rate impressively high at 8.49 K/9. Hammel’s previous career high in K/9 is 7.14 so it’ll be interesting to see if he can keep that up, but it seems clear that a change of scenery from Colorado to Baltimore has done Hammel a whole world of good. At this point he deserves to be owned in all leagues, but I would still sell high if someone will buy him as a surefire sub 3.00 ERA and plus 8 K/9. There’s a chance he maintains it, but it’s no lock.
- Ryan Braun – OF, Milwaukee Brewers: Whatever one makes of Ryan Braun’s offseason it’s clear at this point that it has had no effect on his production. Braun is on an 11 game hit streak and has 4 HR’s in his last three games bring his total is now up to 19 for the season. So far in June Braun is hitting .367 with 5 HR’s and 11 RBI and the month is only half over. Matt Kemp and Josh Hamilton have gotten all the talk about being the best hitter in baseball so far this season, but Braun is right there and he might be the most sure bet of the bunch.
- Ervin Santana – SP, Los Angeles Angels: It’s been an up and down season for Ervin Santana, with more downs than ups, but last night he was in top form. Santana threw a perfect game for six innings and ended up with a one hit, one walk complete game shutout in the end. So far this season Santana got crushed his first four starts and at one point had a 7.23 ERA. Then he recovered from that and had five straight quality starts. That was followed by four more starts where he couldn’t even go six innings. Things have come in streaks so far, and hopefully this is the beginning of another good streak. Santana does tend to get better as the season wears on so his best baseball is likely still to come.
More Quick Thoughts
- There were concerns about Andy Pettite coming back at 40 years old after not pitching at all last season. Pettite has been nothing but impressive so far though including last night when he allowed two runs in 7 IP with 6 K. He’s now allowed just four runs in his last 20 IP with 24 K’s.
- I don’t know where Carlos Quentin is going to be playing a month from now, or even a week from now, but I do know he’s playing at a high level right now. Quentin hit his 6th HR in 15 games since coming off the DL and is hitting .417 in those games. Imagine him outside of Petco.
- Taking a no-hitter into the 6th inning yesterday Tyson Ross had one of his best performances of the season, though that’s not hard considering his 6.11 ERA. He looked good in his six innings of work yesterday, but he still walked four batters and he still shouldn’t be on your fantasy radar despite the outing.
- After a 1-2-3 9th inning yesterday in which he struck out two batters Ryan Cook converted his third save in as many chances since being added to the closer committee in Oakland, a committee he appears to be chair of at the moment. At some point Cook’s control problems may be an issue, but right now anyone getting saves on a regular basis should be owned.
- The bat of Casey McGehee continues to be one of the hottest around in the month of June. After hitting a HR and driving in four runs yesterday McGehee is now hitting .389 this month with 3 HR and 8 RBI. I have to think the Pirates find a way for him to play everyday even after interleague play is done.
- One of the guys competing with McGehee for playing time, Pedro Alvarez, showed another glimpse of his potential going deep twice yesterday. Alvarez now has 10 HR’s this season, but he’s also hitting below the Mendoza line and was 4 for his last 34 going into this game. Even with the glimpses of power it’s tough to own him.
- Yesterday marked the return of Doug Fister from his second DL stint of the season. And it was an impressive return as he dominated the Rockies for six innings allowing just three hits and no runs, striking out six batters. Owned in just 50% of ESPN leagues you should rush to grab him.
- The bat of Mike Moustakas had been quiet lately after a hot start, but he took off again yesterday going 3 – 5 with 2 R, 1 HR and 4 RBI. Moustakas isn’t a superstar he was touted to be yet, but he is on his way and has put last year’s struggles out of people’s minds.
- Another guy who has turned his struggling month of June around last night is Matt Holliday who was 4 – 5 with 2 R, 1 HR and 5 RBI. Holliday is still one of the best OF’s in baseball for fantasy purposes and if you can buy low because of his recent struggles, do it.
- He didn’t have the K’s yesterday, but Homer Bailey did have a strong performance going 8 IP and allowing just 3 H, 1 R and 1 BB with 3 K’s. He now has six QS in his last seven outings and has shown some strikeout potential outside of yesterday’s game.
- It’s still a mystery as to how Ben Revere was sent down earlier this season. He’s certainly done nothing but rake since he came back including hitting .390 in his last nine games including six multi-hit performances. He also has 4 SB’s in those games. Now the Twins just need to start knocking him in more.
- The Brewers have gotten four good starts from Michael Fiers and he might be on his way to locking a job in the rotation up. Fiers allowed four hits and one run over seven innings yesterday with five strikeouts. After four starts Fiers has a 3.60 ERA and a 22:4 K:BB ratio. He’s already 27, but he posted some impressive numbers in the minor leagues, especially in terms of K’s and could be a nice sleeper going forward in deep leagues.
- For those waiting for Jon Lester’s season to turn around it might be starting to happen. Lester has recorded three good starts in a row, though none dominating, it’s still a nice step. Yesterday Lester allowed three runs over six innings and struck out eight.