It was an abbreviated day of games, but there was plenty of action worth discussing. Just how bad was Ryan Dempster in his debut with the Rangers? Which Royals hitters could get hot for the final two months? How did Mike Olt’s MLB debut go? Let’s answer these questions and all the rest from yesterday’s games:
- Jon Lester – Boston Red Sox – Starting Pitcher – He was outpitched by Sam Deduno (6.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 H, 4 BB, 1 K), but Lester’s performance was much more important for fantasy owners. He allowed 3 ER on 7 H and 0 BB, striking out 8, over 8.0 innings of work, his best start in some time (4+ ER in five of his previous six starts). Yes, it was against the Twins, but it is an important step in the right direction. The strikeouts (entered the day with a 7.55 K/9) have been the biggest issue, but he also has suffered from poor luck (.325 BABIP, 64.1% strand rate), has given up too many home runs (15.5% HR/FB) and has been hit hard (23.5% line drive rate). Given the luck and his career track record, I would bet on him for the remainder of the season.
- Ryan Dempster – Texas Rangers – Starting Pitcher – He wasn’t the only starting pitcher to struggle in the Rangers-Angels game (C.J. Wilson allowed 8 ER on 10 H and 3 BB, striking out 7, over 5.1 IP). However, having allowed 8 ER on 9 H and 3 BB, striking out 6, over 4.2 IP, Dempster did not get off to the start anyone hoped for with his new team. Unfortunately for fantasy owners, this also isn’t unexpected. As we discussed at the trade deadline he had been very lucky over the first four months, has seen his strikeouts decline and moves to a much tougher league. This could just be the start of this debacle.
More Quick Thoughts:
- The Reds have primarily used Zack Cozart as their leadoff hitter this season, but he has not thrived in the role (.213 with 37 R and 1 SB in 314 AB out of that spot in the order). He was hitting sixth yesterday, however, going 2-5 with 1 RBI and 1 R, with Xavier Paul (0-5 with 4 K) hitting atop the order. It’s clear that the team is looking to find an alternative, but Paul isn’t the answer (nor will he play regularly). This is a situation to monitor moving forward, though Cozart needs to be considered just a low-end option right now. Let the Billy Hamilton speculation begin.
- Ronnie Cedeno was the offensive hero for the Mets yesterday, going 3-5 with 5 RBI. However, he doesn’t play regularly and isn’t a major source of offense. Nice day, but no story.
- It was a nice start for Chris Young, allowing 1 ER on 4 H and 0 BB, striking out 4, over 7.0 innings against the Giants. However, he has shown some cracks lately (5+ ER in two of his prior four starts) and rarely brings usable strikeout stuff (2 of 11 starts with more than 4 K). It makes him nothing more than a low-end option in deeper formats, especially given the risk of injury.
- Jayson Werth returned from the DL and hit sixth in the order, going 1-3 with 1 RBI. Depending on your team needs Werth could be a nice addition for the final two months of the season. He brings potential speed and power and hitting in that spot of the order should allow him to put both on display.
- Adam Laroche went 3-4 with 1 HR, 2 RBI and 1 R, extending his hitting streak to 10 games. Over the streak he’s gone 16-37 with 4 HR, 9 RBI and 5 R. He’s not a top option, but he does have 20 HR and 64 RBI on the year. He entered the day with believable marks with a 43.5% fly ball rate and 16.8% HR/FB, so consider him a solid play for the rest of the way.
- It was not a good outing for Nathan Eovaldi, allowing 6 ER on 8 H and 1 BB, striking out 1, over 2.0 innings of work. These types of starts happen and I wouldn’t read too much into it. Long-term, I still like him as a viable fantasy option.
- Geovany Soto (2-5, 2 RBI, 2 R) and Mike Olt (1-3, 1 R) both contributed a little bit in their first starts for the Rangers. When it comes to Soto, we unfortunately can’t get used to him being in the lineup. As for Olt, the Rangers were quick to pinch hit for him with Mike Moreland once C.J. Wilson left the game. It will be interesting to see how much he plays or if he is just here to face lefties. Keep that in mind, though if he hits they aren’t going to keep him out of the lineup.
- The Indians-Royals game was all about disappointing players who could help to carry your team over the final two months. For the Indians it was Carlos Santana, who went 2-5 with 1 HR, 4 RBI and 1 R (he’s now homered in back-to-back games and 4 times in his past seven). For the Royals it was Eric Hosmer, going 2-5 with 1 HR, 3 RBI and 2 R, and Alex Gordon, who went 2-5 with 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 R and 1 SB. The problem for Gordon has not been in the average department (he’s hitting .295), but he hasn’t provided much power (6) or SB (5). However, he already has 37 doubles and hit 23 HR a year ago. Is it really a stretch to think some of those doubles are going to start flying over the fences? It’s possible this is just the beginning.
- Alex White returned from the minor leagues to face the Cardinals, allowing 2 ER on 5 H and 1 BB, striking out 3, over 5.1 innings. He struggled earlier this year with the Rockies, though in 11 starts at Triple-A he posted a 3.71 ERA and 45 K over 60.2 IP. The key to his performance last night was recording 12 outs on the ground (at Triple-A he had a 1.73 groundball-to-fly ball ratio) and keeping the ball in the ballpark (8 HR in his first 10 starts, though didn’t allow one yesterday). He has potential, so I wouldn’t write him off, but he’s obviously tough to trust every week, especially right now. Keep him stashed away in deeper formats if he sticks in the rotation.
- Josh Reddick went 2-4 with 1 HR, 2 RBI and 1 R, snapping an 0-18 streak over his previous 4 games. He continues to prove that he can hit the ball out of any ballpark, with 13 HR at home vs. 10 on the road, so that should not be a concern. He should continue to be a source of power for fantasy owners who grabbed him in the final rounds of their drafts.