by Will Overton
We had some solid pitching yesterday, which has become the norm. We also had some good hitting performances from some unlikely sources. Either bats that are coming out of nowhere, or bats that have been silent for quite some time. Either way, deep league players should appreciate the possibility of some new talent sources.
Here is the rundown of yesterday’s baseball action:
1. James McDonald – SP, Pittsburgh Pirates: There really aren’t enough good things to say about James McDonald and what he has done so far this season. After walking a season high five guys in his last outing he didn’t walk one yesterday going 7 IP with 4 H, 1 ER, 0 BB and 10 K. Only 11 balls were put in play and only three were fly balls. Of the 24 batters he faced, he got the first strike against 18 of them. McDonald has gone from a pitcher with promise to flat out, one of the best pitchers in baseball this season. And a lot of his success is sustainable. He has a high LOB rate, but not much higher than last season. And he has a low BABIP, but he has is also becoming a better pitcher. He might be closer to a 3.00 ERA kind of pitcher than a 2.00 one, but he’s nothing but solid.
2. Pedro Ciriaco – 2B/SS, Boston Red Sox: With Dustin Pedroia on the DL Pedro Ciriaco has been called up from Triple-A, to apparently split time with Nick Punto at 2B. It was Ciriaco starting both games yesterday though and considering the utter ineptitude of Punto offensively, Ciriaco may keep seeing the better half of that split. Ciriaco struggled in the first game going 0 – 4 with 2 K’s. But he bounced back in game to go 3 – 5 with 2 R, 3 RBI and 1 SB. Ciriaco was doing well at Triple-A with a .301 average and 14 SB’s. You shouldn’t expect huge numbers for Ciriaco while he is filling in, but if you need speed in a deep league he can be helpful.
More Quick Thoughts
- After starting the month of July in a 1 – 19 slump Nick Swisher busted out against the Red Sox yesterday going 2 – 3 with 1 R, 1 HR and 3 RBI, also taking a couple of walks in the first game of the DH. He was hitless in the second, but did take two more walks. After hitting 6 HR’s in April, Swisher only has 7 since, so it’d be nice to see yesterday’s game spark a run of power hitting here.
- Because of injuries the Yankees were forced to put Freddy Garcia back into the rotation, and he’s answered the call well. After looking strong in May and June out of the bullpen with a 1.56 ERA he has started two games in July going 12 IP and allowing only 3 ER with a 9:2 K/BB ratio. Both starts have been on the road though so it’ll be interesting to see what he does at home. So far he looks like a guy who could be serviceable in deep leagues again though.
- Those in deep leagues and AL only leagues may want to put Justin Germano on their radar. Recently called up by the Red Sox he served in relief yesterday and ended up throwing 5.2 scoreless innings with 2 BB and 7 K’s. With the Sox rotation so beat up he could wind up starting the next time out. He has never posted great K rates in the minors, but he has outstanding control.
- The hit streak for Austin Jackson is up to 14 games now after he went 3 – 5 yesterday scoring a run and driving in one as well. He’s also had multiple hits in three of his last four games. Really the only thing more one could ask from him right now is that he steal more, but that’s likely up to the coaches, and the Tigers just don’t run much.
- Things are slowly picking back up for J.D. Martinez who is now 10 for his last 32 at the plate. And after picking up three this yesterday he has 4 multi-hit games in his last 8 outings. With solid power he could be valuable is he can get his average around .260 consistently.
- Another quality start racked up for Dillon Gee who now has 8 in his last 9 outings. Gee shutdown the Cubs for 8 innings of one run ball, striking out four and not walking anyone. Gee continues to be a solid pitcher with decent strikeout potential flying under the radar. Sooner or later owners will notice.
- After an improbable 36 AB’s without a hit Luke Scott has three in his last two games, and two of them are homers. Three hits hardly means a guy has turned the corner, but he has a history of hitting homers in bunches, with half the ones he has this year coming in a span of 12 games earlier this season. So with a HR two games in a row one of those stretches may be coming.
- The move of Ian Desmond to the middle of the order was a curious one to me, but he is producing and producing with power, hitting his 16th HR of the season yesterday. Part of wonders how long this can last, but he showed some power in the minors and he’s still young enough where it’s no surprise to see his power blossoming.
- That ERA of Gavin Floyd’s shrinks a little more every game it seems lately. For the third time in four starts Floyd held an opponent scoreless yesterday, going 7.2 IP in the win. Floyd has now allowed just 4 ER in his last 26.1 IP bringing his ERA from 5.63 to 4.54. He only has 19 K’s in those outings, but he’s never been the 8.0+ K/9 pitcher he’s been so far so that isn’t unusual.
- Things started a little slow for Nelson Cruz this season, disappointing many fantasy players who were high on him after a big post season last year. He’s getting it going now though and has been especially hot lately going 9 for his last 22, including three hits last night. Just waiting on one of his big power streaks now.
- I am not sure there is anyone in the American League pitching as well as Jered Weaver this season, including Justin Verlander. Weaver went 8 scoreless innings last night, allowing only four base runners and striking out five. Weaver has won his last four starts while allowing 1 ER in 27.2 IP. That’s not good, that’s remarkable. His K numbers are down which may keep him out of the discussion for best fantasy pitcher, but he’s still up there on the list.
- Another pitcher in the AL West getting the job done, a little more under the radar, has been Jason Vargas. Vargas pitched a complete game yesterday allowing one run. In his last three starts he has given up 4 ER in 23.2 IP. And he has 22 K’s in those 23.2 IP. While Vargas is still not a top flight strikeout pitcher, he has improved this season and he’s a very nice deep league guy and standard league spot start.
- On the offensive end it was Casper Wells making it happen for Seattle last night as he went 2 – 4 with a HR, RBI and 2 R. He’s been playing well enough to get an everyday starting job for the Mariners and he has power. He strikes out way too much, 38 in 111 AB’s, but in deep leagues that can be overlooked if he’s producing.