We are in the final two months of the season, meaning more and more young players are going to start getting their opportunities to prove that they belong in the Majors. In Chicago things are in full gear, with Josh Vitters & Brett Jackson joining the Major League team. How did they fare? How did Matt Harvey look in his third start? Is Kris Medlen a must add option? Let’s look at these stories and all the rest from yesterday’s games:
- Kris Medlen – Atlanta Braves – Starting Pitcher – He took a no decision allowing 1 ER on 5 H and 2 BB, striking out 6, over 5.1 innings of work. He’s looked good thus far since being moved to the starting rotation, allowing 2 ER on 9 H and 3 BB, striking out 9, over 10.1 innings of work. It’s hard to draw conclusions based on his track record, making just 26 starts in 105 minor league appearances (and 19 starts in 109 Major League appearances). However, with a 10.30 K/9 and 2.13 BB/9 in the minors (and 7.44 K/9 and 2.47 BB/9 in the Majors) there is an awful lot to like. If he’s still available in deeper formats he is worth the flier, though there’s the risk he can’t go deep into games and therefore won’t deliver the W.
- Matt Harvey – New York Mets – Starting Pitcher – After two solid outings to start his career everyone probably figured Harvey would steamroll past the Padres. Unfortunately there is a reason they play the games. He lasted just 5.0 innings allowing 5 ER on 8 H and 1 BB, striking out 5. It’s going to happen, but it’s important to note that he still struck out a batter per inning and showed good control. There are going to be growing pains, but in three starts he has 23 K vs. 7 BB in 16.1 innings of work. In keeper formats he’s a must own and in yearly formats he should provide strikeouts and potential over the rest of the season.
More Quick Thoughts:
- The Cleveland Indians thought they had built a comfortable extra inning lead, scoring three runs in the top of the tenth. However, Chris Perez imploded allowing 5 ER on 3 H and 2 BB over 0.2 innings to blow the save and take the loss. The big blow came off the bat of Miguel Cabrera (2-4, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 1 R). I was concerned about Perez preseason, but he has been outstanding this season (29 saves in 32 chances). Outings like this happen, but his job is in no jeopardy.
- As expected Hisashi Iwakuma’s performance in New York was a far cry from his previous outing. He allowed 4 runs (3 earned) on 7 H and 2 BB, striking out 4, over 5.0 innings of work. Remember he struck out 13 in his start against the Blue Jays, but that was the aberration not the rule. He’s a decent option, but not one that is going to provide you a significant number of strikeouts.
- Drew Stubbs is on fire these days if you haven’t noticed. He went 1-3 with 1 HR, 1 RBI, 2 R and 1 SB yesterday. Over his past 12 games he’s gone 18-50 with 5 HR, 12 RBI, 19 R and 6 SB. Strikeouts have continued to be a problem, so it is hard to imagine him continuing to hit for a strong average for long, but he always offered the potential to bring power and speed to the table.
- Chris Johnson went 1-4 with 1 HR, 2 RBI and 1 R, giving him 5 HR and 13 RBI over his past 9 games. Think he’s been revived getting out of Houston?
- Have the Nationals officially made a change at closer? Drew Storen was called upon yesterday with the game on the line, allowing 1 hit and striking out 1 in his inning of work to pick up his first save of 2012. Before we jump to any conclusions, Tyler Clippard had pitched three consecutive days. However, does anyone expect a change not to come before long? Ride Clippard while you can, but you have to assume he’s going to lose his job.
- The Red Sox had Carl Crawford hitting second where he went 3-5 with 1 RBI, 2 R and 1 SB. He’s now put together a three-game hitting streak going 7-14 with 1 HR, 5 RBI, 4 R and 1 SB. Over his past 9 games he’s delivered 3 HR, 9 RBI, 8 R and 1 SB. We all know what type of potential he has and this could be just the start for him, despite his previous disappointments in Boston.
- Desmond Jennings went 0-5 and has now gone 0-9 in his past two games and is hitting .184 with 1 HR, 2 RBI, 5 R and 2 SB over his past 10 games. On the season he’s hitting .233 with 8 HR, 31 RBI, 45 R and 19 SB as he continues to disappoint. Despite entering the day with a 19.2% line drive rate and plenty of speed, he had just a .278 BABIP. The power surge he showed last season was never realistic, but his average, runs and speed should be significantly better. There is still plenty of upside over the final two months and, if you are in desperation time, he is worth rolling the dice on.
- While Dan Haren took a no decision he pitched well for the third straight start since returning from the DL. Taking on the Chicago White Sox he allowed just 1 R on 4 H and 2 BB, striking out 4, over 6.0 IP. Since returning from the DL he’s allowed 4 ER on 12 H and 6 BB, striking out 13, over 18.0 innings of work. He had allowed 4+ ER in each of his five starts prior to landing on the DL and now we can safely say that it was a well needed stint. He’s a must use in all formats.
- Mike Olt only playing against lefties? I guess not, as he got the start against Luke Hochevar yesterday as the 3B (Adrian Beltre was the DH) and went 0-2 with 1 RBI, 1 R and 1 SB. He did strikeout once, which is the most important thing for us to monitor. As we’ve said, despite the average risk Olt is a must use option in all formats.
- While Tim Lincecum got the W, can we really say it was an impressive performance? He lasted 6.0 innings allowing 1 ER on 5 H and 5 BB, striking out 3. He has been pitching better of late, now having allowed 2 ER or less in four of his past five starts. That said, he needs to do a whole lot better than this to regain owners’ confidence. Still, with the signs he’s given us (including 7+ K in 5 of his past 9 starts) I would continue to hold hope.
- Anthony Gose was moved into the second spot yesterday and went 2-4 with 1 RBI and 2 R. If he sticks in that spot he could be dangerous, but remember Brett Lawrie was out of the Blue Jays lineup. Gose provides speed potential, but needs to make consistent contact (17 K vs. 3 BB in 48 AB) to hold value. Long-term he should be worth owning, but for now he really only holds value in the deepest of formats.
- Both Brett Jackson and Josh Vitters were recalled by the Cubs prior to yesterday’s game. While Jackson started (2-4 with 1 R) and Vitters didn’t (0-1 as a pinch hitter), there was no reason for the Cubs to recall either unless they are going to play every day. Both hold risks, but also potentially big rewards. Jackson needs to make contact (33.8% strikeout rate at Triple-A this season) and could be a drain on your average. Vitters, meanwhile, had previously been labeled a bust but finally put it all together this season hitting .304 with 17 HR and 68 RBI in 415 AB. He made good contact (17.0%) and had a realistic BABIP (.337) while also adding 32 doubles and 2 triples. Given his potential there is an awful lot to like. He is worth owning in most formats and the player I would prefer between the two.
- Kyle Lohse continued to pitch well, tossing 6.0 shutout innings against the Brewers allowing 4 H and 3 BB, striking out 6. He is currently sporting a 2.79 ERA and 1.13 WHIP, but it is hard to imagine him maintaining the numbers. He doesn’t bring enough strikeout potential (5.40 K/9) and is benefitting from a .268 BABIP (.299 for his career) and 79.1% strand rate (70.5% for his career). Sooner or later you have to think he’s going to implode, but enjoy him while you can.