by Will Overton
Fortunes might be changing for many starters around the league after some strong performances last night. Also, the hot bats of June don’t seem to be cooling off yet as the likes of Alex Gordon and Colby Rasmus just kept their hitting ways going. All of that and more in this recap of yesterday’s games:
- Mat Latos – SP, Cincinnati Reds: This won’t be the first time this season where it’s looked like Mat Latos was turning the corner. He looked great two starts ago shutting down Cleveland, than got blown up by the same team in his last start. So don’t get too high, but Latos certainly had his best start of the season last night. Latos threw a complete game against the Brewers allowing one run on four hits and two walks. He also struck out 13 batters in the game which is a very good sign. It’s been a frustrating ride owning Latos, but he’s actually been cut in 20% of leagues by impatient owners. Those 20% will be very unhappy if he has a big second half, you could be the one that benefits from their pain. If he is available I’d still grab him, despite the inconsistencies.
- Luke Hochevar – SP, Kansas City Royals: Before the season I was quite high on Luke Hochevar as a potential sleeper this season. So far he has done nothing but prove me wrong, but his last few starts are showing signs of life. Last night was his best start of the season throwing a complete game shutout of the Tampa Bay Rays. Hochevar allowed 8 H, 1 BB and had K’s. He now has 16.2 scoreless innings combined over his last two starts and 14 K’s in those starts. Last season Hochevar was at his best late in the season, so he could be in for a repeat performance this year. If you’re in a deep league you should be taking notice.
- Jimmy Rollins – SS, Philadelphia Phillies: Every year it seems people are disappointed when the 27 year old version of Jimmy Rollins doesn’t show up. The fact is he’s a bottom part of the top ten shortstop, but he’s still a top ten shortstop, still worthy of being owned in every league and he still has life left at 33 years old. Rollins is putting together a decent season so far, and he’s especially hot right now. Rollins had two hits last night including a HR, which was his 4th HR in 5 games. The Phillies need offense and while Rollins just one man, he’s doing his part. And he’s doing his part for fantasy owners too, so long as they have the right expectations.
More Quick Thoughts
- It’s safe to say Hiroki Kuroda has found his comfort zone in New York now. Kuroda struck out 7 over 7 IP last night and only allowed one run. Kuroda now finishes June with a 2.38 ERA and 32 K’s in 34 IP for the month.
- One of the hottest bats in all of baseball belongs to Ben Revere, who after going 4 – 5 last night is now hitting .350 for the month. Revere has multiple hits in 12 of 21 June starts. He also swiped his 14th base of the season, and 10th of the month. This is a standard league guy outfielder right now.
- I can’t guarantee the wheels won’t fall off at some point, but Francisco Liriano turned in another strong performance last night allowing one run in 7 IP. Liriano has a 2.41 ERA and 0.91 WHIP since rejoining the rotation. The wheels may eventually come off, but you have to ride him until they do.
- The Cubs don’t have a whole lot of things going for them, but they keep getting solid starts from Travis Wood almost every time out. Last night he held the Mets scoreless for six innings, striking out six and walking just one. Wood has been solid with a 3.54 ERA on the season, but his one downfall has been walks, so it was good to see him show strong control last night.
- I keep waiting and waiting for the bat of Carlos Ruiz to cool off, and it’s just not happening. The guy who is number one at catcher on many player raters was at it again last night picking up three more hits and scoring three more times. I still feel like the magic is going to run out eventually, but it hasn’t yet so who knows.
- June continues to be slump busting month for Alex Gordon as his bat is white hot right now. After picking up three more hits last night Gordon is now 7 for his last 11 with 4 runs scored in 3 games. He’s also 17 for his last 41 to give a larger sample size. All talk of last year being a fluke has quieted.
- When you consider the opponent and the park, last night may have been Rick Porcello’s best start of the season as well. Porcello held the Rangers to one run over 6 IP with a season high 7 K’s. Porcello has been up and down this season, much like most of his career. Because he doesn’t typically strike batters out at this kind of clip he is best left for deep leagues and AL only.
- Remember all that hype and promise surrounding Colby Rasmus back in St. Louis? Well it’s starting to shine right now. Rasmus had three hits yesterday including a HR, his fifth one in eight games. He also has 14 RBI in his last eight games. He can’t keep up this kind of pace all season, but he’s proving that he has very legitimate power, and that’s not going anywhere.
- After a combined 9 IP and 9 ER in his first two starts it was surprising to see the domination shown by Erasmo Ramirez in yesterday’s game. Ramirez went 8 IP with 3 H, 1 R, 1 BB and 10 K. Ramirez showed some K potential working out of the bullpen, but I can’t imagine him repeating this kind of performance again. For now I think AL only players should be the one’s taking notice.
- Opposite Ramirez was Tommy Milone who was equally impressive throwing seven shutout innings, surrendering 7 hits and getting 5 K’s. Milone has now given up 1 ER in his last 16 IP. He doesn’t strike many out, but he may hold sneaky deep league value.