To say we closed June with an impressive day of baseball would be an understatement. We saw Mat Latos continue his resurgence, Yasmani Grandal & Martin Perez impress in their first career starts, Anthony Rizzo homer and so much more. Let’s take a look at all of the stories from yesterday’s games:
- Mat Latos – Cincinnati Reds – Starting Pitcher – It’s like he suddenly flipped the switch and realized how dominant of a pitcher he’s supposed to be, isn’t it? For the second consecutive start Latos was fantastic, carrying a 1 H shutout into the ninth inning and finishing allowing 1 ER on 2 H and 0 BB, striking out 7, in a complete game victory. Over his last two starts he’s now allowed 2 ER on 6 H and 2 BB, striking out 20, in 18.0 IP. Those who have stuck with him are finally be rewarded for their patience. As I’ve said all along, Latos is the type of pitcher that you would be well advised to stay patient with, and now we’re seeing why. He has the potential to continue pitching like an ace for the remainder of the season, so keep him active in all lineups.
- Yasmani Grandal – San Diego Padres – Catcher – It really makes you wonder why it took the Padres so long to turn their catching job over to Grandal, doesn’t it (he went 2-4 with 2 HR, 3 RBI and 2 R yesterday)? Granted, his power potential is not as great as he showed last night, but he offers significantly more upside than Nick Hundley did. He had only 6 HR in the PCL this season over 194 AB, but he’s a career .314 hitter in the minors (596 AB) and could offer 10-12 HR type power. If you are in a two-catcher format he’s a must own.
- Martin Perez – Texas Rangers – Starting Pitcher – He impressed in his Major League debut, allowing 2 ER on 6 H and 1 BB, striking out 5, over 5.1 IP. We all know about the upside, though he hasn’t shown it in the minor leagues quite yet (4.59 ERA at Triple-A this season and a 5.81 K/9 over the past two years). It’s hard to imagine him suddenly figuring it out in the Major Leagues, though I wouldn’t consider it impossible either. However, he’s not likely a long-term solution to the Rangers rotation, as he’s more of a short-term fill-in while they wait for Derek Holland and Colby Lewis to get healthy. Just keep that in mind before you do anything drastic to grab him. In keeper leagues, however, I would do a little bit more.
More Quick Thoughts:
- How often do you get a game where both starting pitchers strikeout 11 batters? That’s what happened in New York with the matchup between Jake Peavy (8.0 IP, 4 ER, 8 H, 0 BB, 11 K) and Hiroki Kuroda (7.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 H, 1 BB, 11 K, W). I think we would all agree that Kuroda was the bigger surprise, having entered the day with a 6.51 K/9 (previous high was 8 K) and hadn’t struck out more than 9 since June 6, 2008 (against the Cubs). In other words, don’t expect this type of performance again.
- Garrett Richards has been good for the Angels, but he wasn’t yesterday as the Blue Jays torched him for 10 R (5 earned) on 9 H and 4 BB, striking out 3, over 4.1 innings. Among the hits was a home run by Brett Lawrie (3-4, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 3 R). Richards did enter the day with an 86.7% strand rate, so this one was somewhat of an equalizer outing. He still holds a 2.81 ERA, so he shouldn’t be written off based on this one poor outing.
- Things have continued to tumble for Lance Lynn as he allowed 6 ER on 7 H and 4 BB, striking out 6, over 5.0 innings against the Pirates. He’s now allowed 17 ER over his last 15.1 IP (three starts). It’s been a rough stretch, to say the least, and you have to wonder if the number of innings is starting to catch up to him? Last season he threw just 109.2 total innings (he was at 164.0 in ’10). It’s something to watch, but I would expect him to bounce back.
- Shin-Soo Choo continues to excel in the leadoff spot for the Indians. He went 4-5 with 1 HR, 3 RBI and 4 R yesterday. He’s now hitting .324 with 7 HR, 18 RBI, 38 R and 4 SB hitting atop the order. The RBI may suffer from hitting in this spot, but fantasy owners have nothing to complain about.
- Anthony Rizzo went 1-4, but the one hit was a two-run home run, his first as a Cub. Fantasy owners and Cubs fans expected him to be the immediate savior, though that was unrealistic. He has been solid, however, now hitting .267 with 1 HR and 3 RBI, with the best likely yet to come.
- While Mike Minor may have gotten the win, he was hardly impressive. He allowed 4 ER on 5 H and 5 BB, striking out 2, over 5.0 innings of work. He is sporting a 6.20 ERA on the season and has allowed 4 ER or more in three straight starts and in 10 of his 15 starts this season. Forget about metrics, the performance simply hasn’t been there. You really have to wonder how much longer the Braves can stick with him in the rotation.
- Obviously the demotion to the minor leagues hasn’t done much for Gaby Sanchez, has it? After going 1-4 yesterday he is 10-53 with 1 HR and 5 RBI in June. It’s extremely hard to trust him and, if you do own him, he should be planted squarely on your bench until he starts to give us hope.
- The resurgence of Ike Davis continued as he went 2-4 with 1 HR, 3 RBI and 2 R. He finishes June hitting .264 with 6 HR, 24 RBI and 16 R. Considering the way he was producing over the first two months, owners have got to be thrilled. The power has really started coming of late, with 4 HR in his past 8 games. There obviously are still better 1B options, but he’s a good play as a CI in all formats. He still has a long ways to go, but there are plenty of reasons to see him continue to produce.
- The Twins swept a double header from the Royals, with Kansas City’s starting pitchers continuing to struggle. Yesterday it was Luke Hochevar (6.0 IP, 5 ER, 8 H, 1 BB, 0 K) and Jonathan Sanchez (4.1 IP, 6 ER, 10 H, 6 BB, 4 K) who did the damage. You really have to start to wonder how long it will be until we see Jake Odorizzi in the Majors, don’t we?
- Michael Fiers was impressive, tossing 6.0 shutout innings allowing 2 H and 3 BB, striking out 10. In his last four appearances (there was one relief appearance) he has allowed 1 ER over 21.1 IP and struck out 24. He posted a minor league career K/9 of 9.61, so don’t write his strikeout numbers off in the least. He also has good control and entered the day with a believable .313 BABIP and 79.0% strand rate. We’ll talk about him in much more detail in the coming days, but he’s a name worth adding.
- Alex Avila went 0-4 yesterday and, in 8 games since returning to the lineup, he’s gone 6-30 with 0 HR and 2 RBI. Overall he’s hitting just .241 with 5 HR and 22 RBI. We all knew he was going to suffer a regression from his ’11 performance (when he benefitted from a .366 BABIP). Unfortunately, while the BABIP has fall (he entered with a realistic .310 BABIP), his fly ball rate has also plummeted (40.5% to 28.9%). Unless he rectifies the latter, his numbers are going to continue to suffer.
- Adrian Gonzalez extended his hitting streak to 11 games, going 3-5 with 1 R. Over the streak he’s gone 17-46 with 1 HR, 7 RBI and 6 R. While we’d like to see more production, we all knew he’d warm up sooner or later and the power will come as well. Just stay the course.