We are officially one week away from the All-Star Break, as fantasy owners really start to figure out how they can improve their teams for the stretch run. Who is heating up and worth targeting? Who is struggling? Let’s take a look at all of the fallout from yesterday’s games:
- Drew Pomeranz – Colorado Rockies – Starting Pitcher – One of the keys to the trade that sent Ubaldo Jimenez to the Indians last season, Pomeranz struggled earlier in the year and was sent back to Triple-A. He thrived in the Pacific Coast League, 2.51 ERA and 46 K over 46.2 IP (9 starts), and appears to have brought the improved production back to the Majors with him. He allowed an unearned run on 2 H and 3 BB, striking out 1, over 6.0 innings against the Padres. Yes, it was the Padres and yes, we’d like to see better control (he also walked 20 at Triple-A) and strikeout more (he has the potential to do so). Still, the results are promising. In deeper formats, while he isn’t a must add, he has the potential and looked more than good enough to stash immediately. The strikeouts should be there.
- Justin Masterson – Cleveland Indians – Starting Pitcher – There was a small hiccup in his previous outing against the New York Yankees, but for the most part he appears to have figured it out. He allowed 2 R (1 earned) on 5 H and 0 BB, striking out 7, over 7.0 IP while getting 10 outs on the ground. He’s now allowed 1 ER or less in four of his past five outings and seen his ERA, which was 5.40 on 5/13, fall to 3.92. He’s generating strike outs, avoiding walks and causing opponents to drive the ball into the ground. In other words, you have to love what you’re getting and he’s a good play in all formats.
More Quick Thoughts:
- Ricky Nolasco had a nice outing yesterday against the Phillies, allowing 2 ER on 5 H and 0 BB, striking out 6, over 7.0 innings to improve to 7-6 with a 4.62 ERA. He’s now posted back-to-back strong outings, allowing 1 ER over 13.2 IP. Of course, his outing prior to that saw him allow 9 ER over 3.1 IP to the Red Sox. In fact, he had allowed 3 ER or more in 8 straight starts prior to these two. He entered the day with a 67.9% strand rate, which is unlucky, though he’s at 68.0% for his career. Such is life for Nolasco owners and you have to consider him a mediocre option in all formats.
- Ryan Zimmerman continued to reawaken, going 3-5 with 1 HR, 4 RBI and 2 R. He now has 13 RBI over his last 8 games while going 11-37 with 3 HR. It certainly appears like that cortisone shot did wonders, doesn’t it? Hopefully he can continue to produce like this, as his track record would certainly indicate it as possible.
- It was definitely a better outing for Drew Smyly in his second start since coming off the DL, though it took him 92 pitches to get through 5.0 innings. He allowed 3 ER on 3 H and 1 BB, striking out 4, to earn the win. Yes, the W is great, but it’s hard to accumulate too many working just 5 innings. He’s going to need to work deeper into games to give fantasy owners more faith in him. It’s something to keep in mind, as he has yet to work more than 6 innings in a start. Helps to explain why he only has 3 W on the season.
- Is there anyone hotter than Robinson Cano right now? He went 2-4 with 1 HR, 2 RBI and 1 R yesterday. He is now hitting .385 with 6 HR and 13 RBI in his past 10 games. Since hitting 1 HR with 4 RBI in April, he has 19 HR and 42 RBI since.
- After Phil Hughes gave up 2 R in the first inning owners had to be concerned. He recovered, however, and finished allowing just those 2 ER on 6 H and 1 BB, striking out 8, over 8.0 IP to improve to 9-6 with a 4.29 ERA on the year. He’s had an occasional blowup, but he’s actually been pitching well of late. He’s allowed 2 ER or less in five of his past six starts and 8 of his past 10. Home runs have been his issue (he entered with a 1.98 HR/9) and, if he can keep the ball in the ballpark, will be a very good option moving forward.
- There has been plenty of speculation that Tyler Skaggs could ultimately come up to take Daniel Hudson’s spot in the Diamondbacks rotation. Maybe he will, but Josh Collmenter likely gave himself a little longer leash last night after allowing 1 ER on 3 H and 0 BB, striking out 5, over 6.0 IP. Would I expect Collmenter to pitch well enough to hold the job? Not likely, but for now he is probably safe. It’s just going to take one or two blowups, though.
- It looked like it was Glen Perkins chance to get a save, as Jared Burton came into the eighth inning of a close game (he allowed 0 ER on 1 H and 1 BB, striking out 2, in his inning). The Twins added on in the bottom of the inning, eliminating the save chance, but Perkins implosion may have lost him the job completely. He allowed 3 ER on 4 H in his inning. Yes, it was a non-save situation, but you can probably bet on Burton getting the next chance unless it’s a lefty-heavy lineup.
- Neil Walker hitting cleanup? Yes, he went 2-3 with 1 R and yes, he has a 5-game hitting streak (10-20 with 4 RBI and 7 R), but still. He has 4 HR on the season and 7 SB. He doesn’t offer enough power or speed to be an elite option and, while he does have 34 RBI and 35 R, is more of a MI in my book.
- Travis Wood was fantastic for the Cubs, albeit against the Astros, tossing 7.2 shutout innings allowing just 3 H and 0 BB, striking out 4. He’s now allowed 1 ER in his past three starts (20.2 IP). Before we get too excited, he entered the day with a .233 BABIP and 82.0% strand rate. I wouldn’t get too excited.
- It has been pretty quietly, but Erick Aybar has slowly begun to pick up his production. After going 2-4 with 1 RBI yesterday he has raised his average to .258. One June 15 he was hitting .215, but since then has gone 26-70 with 1 HR, 6 RBI, 9 R (he’s scored in 4 straight) and 0 SB. Obviously, we’d like to see more numbers in the other categories, but baby steps. He could quickly re-emerge as a viable MI, though until he’s generating R or SB he’s not there yet.
- Brandon Belt continued to pick up his production, going 3-4 with 1 SB last night. He hit .296 with 4 HR and 15 RBI in June and, with regular playing time, should continue to produce. He does lose some time when they move Buster Posey at first, but he’s playing more than enough to have value in most formats.
- It was an impressive outing for Travis Blackley, allowing 1 ER on 7 H and 0 BB, striking out 3, over 7.0 IP against the Rangers. He had allowed 5 ER in 21.0 IP in his three prior starts, though those came against the Padres, Dodgers & Mariners, so they were easily ignored. His key has been great control (1.68 BB/9 for the A’s), because opponents have been hitting the ball with authority (23.4% line drive rate). I’d be skeptical.
- Dee Gordon showed off what was possible with him last night against the Mets, going 2-5 with 1 RBI, 1 R and 3 SB. Obviously he still has a long ways to go and would look a lot better if the Dodgers had the ability to consistently drive him in when he’s running wild on the bases (plus, he was lifted in the ninth inning so we will have to make sure he’s healthy). That said, the potential is still there and he’s still worth using as a MI. We’ll talk about him a lot more during this week.