by Will Overton
We saw some old faces in new places and we saw them doing pretty well last night from Hanley Ramirez to the lesser talked about move of Ryan Roberts to Tampa. We also saw a couple Cy Young favorites in Stephen Strasburg and David Price show why they are so worry of that title.
All of that and than a little bit more in last night’s action, here’s my breakdown of it all:
1. Torii Hunter – OF, Los Angeles Angels: Not anywhere near what he once was, Torii Hunter is still not washed up at all and still has value in standard five OF leagues. Hunter has had a rough month of July, but he went 4 – 5 yesterday with 3 R, 1 HR and 3 RBI. Despite his .232 average in July Hunter is 9 – 22 in his last five games. This was also Hunter’s first HR in almost a month’s time. Despite his recent struggles Hunter is still hitting second in the lineup behind possibly the hottest hitter in baseball and ahead of Albert Pujols and Mark Trumbo. There is still a good amount of value here despite the age.
2. Stephen Strasburg – SP, Washington Nationals: It almost feels like just another start from Stephen Strasburg when he does something like what he did yesterday. Strasburg allowed only 1 R on 4 H over 7 IP yesterday and struck out 11 batters. It’s actually Strasburg’s first time in double digit K’s in six starts which is a long time for him. Strasburg now has a mind blowing 151 K’s in 117.1 IP and it makes you wonder how many he could rack up in 200 – 220 IP. But the Nationals are dead set on this 160 IP limit, or so they say, and that may shut Stras down early on in September.
3. A.J. Griffin – SP, Oakland A’s: The offense stole the show for Oakland yesterday, but A.J. Griffin deserves his due respect. Oakland is hot as can be right now and their young pitching is a big part of that. Griffin struck out 9 over 6 IP yesterday not allowing any runs and surrendering only three hits. Griffin has fantastic control, is a good, though maybe not great, strikeout pitcher and has the benefit of pitching in Oakland. So far Griffin has started six games in the big leagues this season and has a quality start in all six of them, winning the last three in a row. Until he proves unworthy of it Griffin is ownable in all formats.
More Quick Thoughts
- With Ian Desmond out for a while the Nationals are counting on Danny Espinosa to pick up the slack and he’s answering the call. Espinosa extended his hit streak to 11 games yesterday goint 2 – 4 with 2 R, 1 HR and 1 RBI. Espinosa is 8 – 17 the last four games with 5 XBH. He is standard league worthy.
- NL Only players should keep Jeremy Hefner on their radar. Hefner allowed just 2 ER over 6 IP yesterday while striking out 7. Hefner has been decent in periodic spot starts and he might get a couple more starts now with Johan Santana on the DL.
- What a weird start for Tommy Hanson who went 5 IP with 3 H, 1 R and 7 K. The weird part is he had just as many BB’s as K’s and has 11 BB’s in his last 9 IP. Hanson will never be considered elite until he can get this consistency thing down.
- In a spot start for the Braves yesterday Juan Francisco ended up going 3 – 4 with a HR and 3 RBI. Francisco has 6 hits in his last 12 AB’s including 2 HR’s. He could make a nice pickup if Chipper Jones gets hurt.
- I may be crazy, but I’m still waiting on Rickie Weeks to put together a nice streak. Weeks was 4 – 4 yesterday to get his batting average back up to .200. This snapped his recent 1 – 21 stretch. If you have room on your bench I’d still stash Weeks there, but time is running out on that streak I’ve been waiting for.
- The closer woes of the Brewers have continued with Francisco Rodriguez blowing his second save in his last two chances. After allowing two runs yesterday, Rodriguez has 6 ER in his last 1.1 IP. It might not be long before John Axford is back as closer.
- The second half magic that led Jesus Guzman to a .312 batting average last year didn’t carry over to the beginning of this season, but Guzman may pick it back up for this second half. Guzman was 3 – 4 yesterday with 3 R, 2 HR and 3 RBI and is now 7 for his last 14. He’s playing almost every day right now and might hold value in deep leagues.
- I can’t get too excited about Jason Marquis, but he’s had enough good starts in San Diego to at least be deep league spot start worthy. Marquis struck out 8 in 7.1 IP yesterday only allowing 1 ER. Marquis now has 56 K’s in 62 IP in June and July with a 3.48 ERA.
- After allowing 10 R in his last 14 IP Jake Peavy bounced back to allow only 1 ER in 6 IP last night, albeit against the Twins. Peavy struck out 6 and walked 2. Peavy is proving he has the durability to last right now and should finish strong.
- There have been a bunch of ups and downs this season for Dayan Viciedo, but the overall numbers are still awfully impressive considering his youth, 23 years old. Viciedo went 3 – 4 yesterday and hit his 16th HR of the season and his 4 RBI which gives him 50 total. In keeper leagues Viciedo should be considered good value.
- Solid games keep on coming for Anthony Rizzo who was 2 – 3 yesterday with a HR and 2 RBI. Rizzo is hitting the ball well, keeping his K’s down and showing good power. I think this is more what Rizzo is capable of than what he showed at the end of last season.
- In his first game as a member of the Tampa Bay Rays Ryan Roberts looked good going 1 – 2 with 3 R, 1 HR, 2 RBI and 1 BB. A change of pace could help Roberts who is better than his numbers so far this season indicate. A few good games and Roberts should move up in the lineup from the 7th spot.
- Everyone wants to talk about Jered Weaver and Justin Verlander for Cy Young, but David Price might be the front runner. Price picked up his 6th win in 7 starts last night by striking out 10 over 7 IP and only allowing 1 R. Price has a 1.82 ERA in these last 7 games.
- I think good things may still be in store for Derek Holland who allowed 3 ER in 7.2 IP with 7 K’s. Holland has a decent WHIP at 1.25 and a solid .246 BAA, but the long balls are killing him and he has a surprisingly low LOB %. If Holland can keep the ball in the park, and see his luck change a little he still has a couple months left to turn things around.
- Coco Crisp is turning things around this month with a .361 average in July. Crisp was 3 – 6 yesterday with 3 R, 2 HR and 2 RBI. Crisp is 12 for his last 29, scoring runs and stealing bases the way he should be. The power is a mirage, but Crisp is worthy of standard leagues right now.
- There were pretty high expectations for Bud Norris coming into this season, but he’s been nothing but a letdown so far. Last night though Norris was good going 7 IP, allowing 1 R and striking out 7. Who knows what to expect from Norris the rest of the way, but you shouldn’t have any expectations.
- In his first game as a member of the Dodgers Hanley Ramirez went 2 – 4 with a R and an RBI. A change in location may be just what Hanley needs to turn his season around and get his career back on track. It’s certainly worth a flier offer.