The biggest story last night was the debut of Oakland’s Dan Straily, but that was far from the only story. Could Justin Upton be waking up? Is it time to give up on Justin Masterson? How should we view Matt Moore? Let’s answer these questions and all the rest from yesterday’s games:
- Dan Straily – Oakland Athletics – Starting Pitcher – He pitched well in his much awaited debut, allowing 1 ER on 5 H and 1 BB, striking out 5, over 6.0 innings of work. He also generated 5 groundballs and was in position to win until Ryan Cook imploded (3 ER on 3 H and 0 BB, striking out 2, over 1.0 inning). We all know Straily’s story, having led all of baseball in strikeouts with 175 over 138.1 innings between Double and Triple-A. We all know he has potential, but don’t consider him a lock to produce either. He has always shown the ability to post a strikeout per inning, but was never considered a big prospect prior to his huge leap this season. That said, you aren’t going to find this type of potential on the waiver wire and is a must own in all formats.
- Matt Moore – Tampa Bay Rays – Starting Pitcher – He tossed 5.1 shutout innings allowing 6 H and 3 BB, striking out 6, against the Orioles to improve to 8-7 with a 3.84 ERA on the season. With 118 K over 124.1 innings they are fine numbers, though maybe not quite what fantasy owners had been hoping for. The biggest issue has been his control, as he entered with a 4.31 BB/9 (a number that increased after this start). Even his 8.47 K/9 was lower than anyone had hoped, after never posting a mark under 11.52 at any stop in the minors. Unless he changes those two things, his numbers will likely stay around where they currently sit. Just keep that in mind.
More Quick Thoughts:
- Justin Upton went 2-4 with 1 HR, 1 RBI and 2 R yesterday giving him hits in five of his past six games (7-25 with 1 HR, 3 RBI and 8 R). He’s also scored 12 runs in his past 10 games, another good sign. While he hasn’t walked in six straight games, he’s slowly showing signs of possibly coming out of it. Time will tell, but he’s the type of player that you don’t have much of a choice but to ride for the rest of the year and hope for the best. Sooner or later you would think he will get scorching hot.
- The Indians had Jason Kipnis in the leadoff spot, after hitting third for the majority of the year (he swapped spots with Shin-Soo Choo). The switch may have helped Kipnis, who went 2-5 with 1 RBI. Yes, if he sticks in the top spot he isn’t going to have as many RBI opportunities, but if he can break out of his slump no one is going to complain.
- Does anyone have any faith in Justin Masterson? He allowed 7 ER on 10 H and 4 BB, striking out 4, over 4.0 innings against the Tigers last night and has now allowed 15 ER over his past 9.2 innings (as well as allowing 4+ ER in five of his past eight starts). Does he have potential to be a productive option over the remainder of the year? Absolutely, but until he proves otherwise he needs to be planted firmly on your bench.
- Not that it is surprising, but CC Sabathia dominated the Mariners last night allowing 3 ER (including a home run to Dustin Ackley, who now has 6 RBI over his past three games) on 3 H and 1 BB, striking out 10, in a complete game victory. Just another ho hum performance…
- Mat Latos produced on the mound and with the bat (he slugged a two-run home run) yesterday. Of course, for fantasy owners it was his 7.1 shutout innings allowing 4 H and 3 BB, striking out 5. He’s had an occasional bump (5 ER on 7/18), but in general he has really turned his season around. In his past 8 starts he’s allowed 2 ER or less seven times. Obviously, he’s a must use option.
- Finally some signs of life from Carl Crawford, who went 3-5 with 1 HR, 3 RBI and 2 R yesterday. Of course, it is only his second multi-hit game of the year (first came on July 17). Time will tell if he can build on this or not, but for one night owners can enjoy.
- It feels like every other season we are talking about the renaissance campaign for Alex Rios. He went 3-5 with 2 HR, 4 RBI and 3 R yesterday and is now hitting .318 with 18 HR and 67 RBI on the season. He has posted four straight multi-hit games and has a five game hitting streak. We will have to take a much closer look at him in the coming days, but his .325 BABIP and 12.9% HR/FB both look realistic. The real question will be if he can put it together in back-to-back years.
- Geovany Soto went 0-3 with 1 R, but it is interesting to see him starting back-to-back games for the Rangers. Could he ultimately get more playing time then we are anticipating? Time will tell, but it definitely is worth monitoring. He’s only going to have value in two-catcher and AL-only formats, however, so don’t get too excited.
- If you believe in Yadier Molina’s power or not (for the record I am not, as his 16.0% HR/FB is more than double his career mark), you can’t argue with the rest of his numbers. He is now hitting .315 with 10 SB after going 3-4 with 2 R yesterday. It’s possible the average slides late in the season, as it’s tough for catchers to maintain a .320 BABIP, but a catcher who can get SB has value in all formats.
- The Giants scored 16 runs, so the obviously got contributions from just about everyone. The most important? Hector Sanchez, who came off the bench to go 1-1 with 2 RBI and 1 R, and Brett Pill, who went 1-5 with 1 HR, 1 RBI and 1 R. Why are they important? Because if either get hot, fantasy owners will be able to ignore Brandon Belt. Sanchez could catch full time, with Buster Posey playing first or Pill could take over as the regular 1B (as he did yesterday). It’s worth monitoring, but if you are a Belt owner I wouldn’t be too hopeful right now.
- Clayton Richard improved to 8-11 with a 4.01 ERA after allowing 1 ER on 8 H and 2 BB, striking out 2, over 7.0 innings against the Mets. This season he has shown the ability to generate significant groundballs (55.0%) and great control (1.95 BB/9). He did show that control in the minor leagues (2.47 BB/9), so it’s not impossible. The thing that really holds him back are his strikeouts, with a 4.72 K/9. Without that, he’s going to be a minimal option.
- Chad Billingsley allowed 1 ER on 4 H and 2 BB, striking out 7, over 7.0 innings of work. He’s now strung together three straight strong starts allowing 2 ER over 20.1 innings. He’s always shown potential and had streaks like this, but has never put it together for an entire season. Could he keep going? Possibly, but he’s definitely worth riding while he’s hot.
- Jose Reyes combined to go 5-10 with 2 R over the double header, extending his hitting streak to 22 games. He now has his average up to .284 to go along with 25 SB. Granted, the runs scored are not likely to get up to where we had hoped (he has 55) in part due to a weak supporting cast and in part due to being dropped in the lineup. That said, owners should be happy that he has at least put his struggles behind him.