by Will Overton
There’s nothing like a Friday Night full of baseball and last night was a good one. R.A. Dickey continued his season which can only be described as magical. Multiple deep league pitching options showcased their stuff for fantasy owners. And a few bats made their own claim for a share of the spotlight. All of that and more in this morning’s Around The Majors fantasy roundup:
- Aaron Hill – 2B, Arizona Diamondbacks: We’re going to call what Aaron Hill pulled off last night the super cycle, even better than the traditional cycle he hit for less than two weeks ago. Not only did he hit for the traditional cycle, but he also stole a base for good measure, giving him one of the best offensive days of any hitter all season. Hill has been scorching hot all month and with yesterday’s game he is now hitting .375 in June with 6 HR’s and 20 RBI. I don’t think Hill will be able to reach the kind of number he put up in 2009, especially not in terms of power, but he’s proving that he is more than just a one-hit wonder. A second half slide is a possibility with his streakiness, but there aren’t numbers to make you assume it’s going to happen either. If you can sell him as the top three or four second baseman he’s been so far than great, otherwise you might do well to hold on and hope this continues.
- Matt Harrison – SP, Texas Rangers: In his last eight starts, including last night, Matt Harrison is 7 – 0 with a 1.42 ERA. In his last five starts he has a 0.76 ERA, those numbers go beyond the word impressive. Last night it was a 8 inning performance in which he allowed 2 R on 8 H and 1 BB with 7 K. The only complaint anyone might have about Harrison right now is that he doesn’t strike many guys out, but you couldn’t even complain about that last night. He won’t continue to pitch at this level, he can’t. But considering the offense he has backing him up, if he just remains a sub 3.00 ERA pitcher he is going to rack up a whole lot of wins this season.
- Adam Lind – 1B, Toronto Blue Jays: A little bit of time in Triple-A may have done Adam Lind some good. In three starts since coming back he’s now 4 – 10 and he homered twice in last night’s game. I have my doubts about Adam Lind, but one thing that I don’t doubt is that the guy has serious power and it was a mystery as to where it had gone earlier this year, but I think it’s back now. Two of the last three seasons Lind has posted AB/HR ratio’s under 20.0, so the fact that he was sitting at 42.0 before last night’s game is an aberration that will get sorted out quickly I think. I don’t think he ever comes close to hitting .300 again like he did in 2009, but if you need power he can provide it and I think he’ll still post an average that you can work with from here on out. He seems to have learned something while he was away.
More Quick Thoughts
- After a rough start against the Yankees there was speculation that R.A. Dickey was returning to his old self. Instead he went out last night and threw 8 scoreless innings, allowed just three hits and K’d up 10 batters. Dickey hasn’t allowed a run in 5 of his last 7 starts and has allowed one run or less in 7 of his last 8. This is really just unreal, only way to describe it.
- For the majority of the month Alexei Ramirez has had his fantasy owners on a yo-yo, it looks like he’s breaking out and then he goes back to being borderline droppable. Well he’s on another upswing now, collecting four hits last night Ramirez now has multiple hits in five of his last nine games. He also hit his second long ball of the season, a number I expect to grow at a quicker pace here on out.
- Unbeknownst to just about every one, Justin Ruggiano continued his hot hitting last night going 3 – 4 with 1 R, 2 RBI and 1 SB. Ruggiano is now 10 for his last 20 and hitting a very impressive .388 over the course of 49 AB’s. Until Emilio Bonifacio returns Ruggiano should see lots of playing time, enough to make him deep league worthy.
- Recently Ian Kennedy has been on a good one start, bad one start kind of schedule. Last night he was scheduled for a good one and he had a good one. Kennedy went 7 IP an allowed just 1 ER, also fanning seven batters on the night. Kennedy was light out dominant in the second half last season and his owners hope he finds the consistency to do the same this season. I still view him as a good buy low candidate.
- After being absolutely awful early this season, Mike Leake has done a 180 the last month or so. Leake has a 2.55 ERA over his last nine starts and a 46:11 K:BB ratio as well. He threw a complete game last night allowing only one run. He isn’t a top strikeout pitcher, but he’s pitching good enough to still merit attention from fantasy owners.
- The Nationals hitters, and especially Mike Morse have been beating the cover off the ball here lately. Morse was 4 – 4 last night scoring 3 R and hitting a HR. In four games Morse is 12 – 19 with 8 R, 2 HR and 6 RBI. That’s a great week, let alone just four games. Morse has been struggling to get going after being hurt early, but the struggles are behind him.
- He doesn’t get included in enough discussions of top players in fantasy baseball, but Andrew McCutchen is having the kind of year that puts him in that group. McCutchen hit another HR last night and now has 15 for the season. He also collected four hits total, scoring every time, and knocked in three runs. No discussion of baseball’s best is complete without this guy.
- One guy AL only owners and deep league players should have on their radar is A.J. Griffin in Oakland who was tearing up the minor leagues and has looked sharp in two starts in the bigs. Griffin threw 6 innings of scoreless, two hit baseball last night against baseball’s best offense in Texas. He’s allowed just two runs in 12 IP so far. He showed fantastic control in the minors and a decent to good strikeout rate as well. It’s certainly a favorable park to be pitching in.
- He hadn’t homered since April 24th, but last night Desmond Jennings went deep not once, but twice. And both times he did it off arguably the best pitcher in baseball, Justin Verlander. Jennings has had his struggles lately, but his last few games indicate he might be on the upswing.
- It was Paul Maholm taking his turn shutting down the Astros yesterday with 8.1 scoreless IP and 6 K’s. Take away a poor start against Arizona and Maholm’s last three starts would be 20.1 IP, 5 ER and 19 K. Unfortunately you can’t take that bad start out or any of his other bad starts this season which is why he’s still no more than a very deep league, NL Only option.
- Missing half a season doesn’t seem to have affected Salvador Perez to greatly as he reached base twice last night, including his 2nd HR in five games. Perez has hit safely in all five games he’s played so far and has 5 RBI already. He’s already ownable in all league formats.
- With all the Kansas City Royals big name prospect pitchers that haven’t panned out lately it’s no surprise that their current best pitcher is a guy who came out of nowhere. Luis Mendoza started his fifth game of the month yesterday and allowed only 1 ER in 8 IP. He has a 3.07 ERA in June, but a lack of K’s and a struggle with control will eventually be his downfall. It’s an interesting story, but pay no attention outside of AL only and the deepest of deep leagues.