by Will Overton
There were a couple of team offensive breakouts yesterday, but for the most part it was a day of the pitchers once again as several starts turned in strong performances. Several pitchers even turned in their best starts of the season yesterday. Here is the rundown of the top performers of the day yesterday:
1. Jason Kubel – OF, Arizona Diamondbacks: On Wednesday of this week Jason Kubel went deep two times in one game. Last night he one upped himself by doing it three times in the game. Kubel had five AB’s and it was all or nothing with the three long balls and then two strikeouts. Kubel’s three HR’s give him nine for the month and his 6 RBI yesterday gives him 20 for the month. Since the beginning of June Kubel might be the best player in baseball this side of Andrew McCutchen with 16 HR’s and 47 RBI in just a month and a half time. Kubel was always an under the radar fantasy outfielder in Minnesota, but he’s no longer under the radar in Arizona with the year he’s having.
2. Jarrod Parker – SP, Oakland A’s: The Oakland A’s keep on rolling and a big part of it is their young pitchers like Jarrod Parker. In his previous two starts Parker allowed 10 R in 10.2 IP, but bounced back strong last night against the team with baseball’s best record who is on a hot streak. Parker went 8 IP against the Yankees with 5 H, 1 R, 1 BB and had 5 K. Parker is 23 and there will be ups and downs, but he has a 3.00 ERA and a respectable 6.9 K/9 rate which should keep improving as he has the ability to get close to 8.0 or better. Parker is rolling again it seems, and this is just the beginning of what should be a great career.
More Quick Thoughts
- After two years on the shelf Ben Sheets has come back without missing a beat it seems. Sheets threw another scoreless 6 IP, and now has 12 scoreless IP in two games. Sheets allowed five hits and walked three, but proved to be able to pitch well with men on. Sheets also struck out six, which is a very promising sign.
- The Dodgers aren’t giving up hope of Juan Uribe since they keep running him out there despite his very extended slump. Uribe did have a big game yesterday going 2 – 3 with 3 R, 1 HR, 4 RBI and he walked twice too. I wouldn’t put too much stock in this game, but deep league owners can keep an eye on him.
- The career year of Chris Capuano has continued as Capuano went 7 IP with 8 H, 3 R, 1 BB and 9 K. Capuano also picked up the win which is his 10th of the season as well. For those waiting for his collapse, I’m not sure it’s coming.
- The power is starting to come back to the bat of Ryan Howard whose three-run bomb yesterday was his second in as many games and his third in his last three starts, with a couple games off in between. Howard is coming back slowly, but he’s getting there, buy low now and hope for a big final two months.
- For the fourth time in six games Buster Posey had three or more hits after going 4 – 5 yesterday with 1 R, 1 HR and 3 RBI. Posey is hitting .396 this month after his recent 14 – 24 stretch. Posey is clearly a top three catcher at this point and is still just 25 years old.
- Throughout his career Bronson Arroyo has been a second half pitcher and while his first half was good, he’s taken it up a step in July. After allowing only two runs in six innings yesterday he has a 3.38 ERA for July. He also had 6 K’s yesterday which is a nice number for Arroyo.
- I have concerns about how Yu Darvish will hold up in the 2nd half of the season and after his last outing I thought his regression might be coming. But he bounced back yesterday for 11 K’s in 7 IP and only 2 runs allowed. I’d still sell him if I could, but it’s been a long time since he has had two bad starts in a row.
- Facing his former team might be just what Mike Napoli needed, because one day after picking up three hits he hit two solo HR’s yesterday. The first HR he has hit in exactly one month’s time. The power is still there so expect more of this going forward.
- In his last three starts Wade Miley’s ERA rose from 2.19 to 3.13, but he righted himself yesterday by giving up just one run in 7 IP and striking out a career high 9 batters. Miley has 7 or more K’s in four of his last seven starts adding another piece to his impressive season.
- He got outpitched by Jarrod Parker, but Phil Hughes allowed just two runs in 7.2 IP with 6 K’s. This was the eighth time in nine starts that Hughes has allowed 3 or fewer ER’s.
- Since coming off the DL Lorenzo Cain is now 13 – 31 after going 3 – 4 yesterday. Cain also had 3 RBI yesterday bringing his total in seven starts to 9 RBI. I’d love to see him start running more, but even as things stand now he’s worth owning in all 5 OF formats.
- From time to time Rick Porcello has games like the one he had yesterday that makes us think the 23 year old still has fantasy goodness waiting to burst forth. Porcello went 8 IP with 5 H, 1 R, 0 BB and 4 K. Unfortunately too often fantasy owners hopes are crushed by Porcello too soon after these kinds of outings.
- Getting solid playing time in both games of yesterday’s doubleheader Roger Bernadina was a combined 5 – 7 with 1 R, 1 RBI and 1 SB. Unfortunately Bernadina won’t get many starts like this as the fourth OF, but if an injury happens he could be worth watching.
- After not making it out of the first inning in his last start Chris Tillman bounced back to pick up a win going 6.2 IP with 6 H, 1 R, 1 BB and 4 K. I think his last start won’t be a regular occurrence for Tillman and I see him becoming a useful option in at least deep leagues if not more by season’s end.
- July is turning into another big month for David Freese who went 3 – 5 last night with 2 R and 2 RBI. Freese is now hitting .431 this month with 8 R and 7 RBI. The power is slowing down, but most owners aren’t complaining considering everything else he’s doing.
- One has to wonder if Carlos Villanueva is going to keep this starting spot even when injured pitchers come back. Villanueva allowed 3 ER in 6 IP last night with 5 K. In four starts Villanueva is 3 – 0 allowing 6 R in 23.1 IP and has 26 K. As long as he’s starting he’s worth owning in several leagues.
- Going 3 – 6 last night Jordan Pacheco is now 12 – 34 in his last eight games. Pacheco scored a couple runs and also drove in four of them. Pacheco doesn’t provide a whole lot other than average, but he’s hitting .300 and playing every day so at least in deep leagues he has value.