Around the Majors: August 9: Manny Machado Impresses in Debut, Adam Wainwright Rounds Into Form & More

During yesterday’s games there were two players who finished a single short of the cycle (Billy Butler & Andres Torres).  How often can you say that happens twice in the same day?!?  That alone gives us something to talk about, but there was also the debut of Manny Machado, impressive outings from Matt Moore and Jordan Zimmermann, a pair of two home run days and so much more.  Let’s check it all out:

  1. Matt Moore – Tampa Bay Rays – Starting Pitcher – It was an impressive performance for Moore, who allowed 1 ER on 2 H and 2 BB, striking out 6, over 6.0 innings to defeat the Blue Jays.  While Moore has not been what owners expected this season he is now 4-1 in his past 5 starts allowing 2 ER or less in each of them.  Over the stretch he has allowed 5 ER over 30.2 innings while striking out 28.  His biggest problem entering the day was a 4.34 BB/9, something that he hasn’t fully corrected (7 BB over last 17.2 IP).  He also hasn’t gotten the number of strikeouts we would’ve hoped for, though it’s hard to argue with a K/9 near 9.00 (entered at 8.54).  Obviously, he is a highly recommended option going forward.
  2. Manny Machado – Baltimore Orioles – Shortstop – We spoke about him yesterday (click here to read), so make sure to check that out for more details of his potential.  In his Major League debut he was playing third and hitting ninth, going 2-4 with 1 R with a triple.  It’s a nice debut, but as we’ve seen with the Cubs’ Brett Jackson (who we will discuss shortly) you do not want to draw conclusions off of one game.  Continue to watch Machado closely, though he is worth adding in all formats and stashing on your bench.

More Quick Thoughts:

  • After hitting a bit of a rough patch in July, R.A. Dickey appears to be back in top form.  He tossed a complete game against the Marlins yesterday, allowing just 1 ER on 5 H and 0 BB, striking out 10.  In his past three starts he has now allowed 3 ER over 23.0 innings to go along with 27 K.  He is now 15-3 with a 2.72 ERA and 1.00 WHIP, making him a very real Cy Young candidate.  Would anyone have predicted that prior to 2012?
  • Eric Chavez has been on fire of late, as the Yankees needed him with Alex Rodriguez on the DL.  Chavez went 2-4 with 1 HR, 1 RBI and 2 R yesterday giving him four consecutive multi-hit games (9-16 with 2 HR, 5 RBI and 6 R).  He also has 4 HR in his past 30 AB going 14-30 over that span.  Of course, Chavez is a constant injury risk in his own right so enjoy him while you can.  Chances are it won’t last long.
  • It took Evan Longoria a few games, but he finally made his presence felt.  He went 3-5 with 2 RBI yesterday.  We all knew it was just a matter of time, didn’t we?
  • Adam Wainwright continues to return to his pre-surgery form, outdueling Madison Bumgarner (6.0 IP, 3 ER, 3 H, 1 BB, 7 K) yesterday.  Wainwright allowed 1 ER on 5 H and 3 BB, striking out 7, over 7.0 innings of work.  He’s allowed 2 ER or less in five straight starts (7 ER over 36.1 innings), taking his ERA from 4.62 to 3.90.  He’s now 10-10 with a 1.22 WHIP and it is pretty clear that he is getting close to his former ace self.  As we head towards 2013 he will likely be a Top 20 option with the potential to be a SP1.
  • After receiving a day off Jason Kubel was right back in the lineup and it appears the rest did him well.  He went 2-5 with 2 HR, 4 RBI and 2 R and is now hitting .280 with 25 HR and 77 RBI on the year.  He did enter the day with a career best 19.0% HR/FB, though his new home ballpark certainly is playing a role.  Of his 25 HR, 17 have come at home where he has a 28.3% HR/FB (compared to 9.8% on the road).  Yes, it’s a hitter’s park but this may be a little extreme.  Don’t be surprised if he slows down a little bit over the final few weeks of the season.
  • While it was Billy Butler who had the biggest day (3-5, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 3 R and a single short of the cycle), the performance from Alex Gordon is much more noteworthy.  Gordon went 3-5 with 1 HR, 1 RBI and 2 R as he has suddenly come to life on the offensive side.  He now has homered twice in his seven games, with three stolen bases over that span as well (prior to this he had 5 HR and 4 SB).  We all know the type of potential he has and finally your patience is paying off.  Keep rolling him out there.
  • Wei-Yin Chen had a rough outing, allowing 7 ER on 9 H and 1 BB, striking out 5, over 4.2 IP.  He has pitched well, entering the day with a 3.46 ERA and 1.20 WHIP, so it’s easy to overlook this one poor start.  He could regress in his BABIP (.260 entering the day), especially given his 20.2% line drive rate.  He’s a good option, but it also wouldn’t be surprising to see him struggle more.
  • It was a solid start for Ubaldo Jimenez, at least somewhat.  He allowed 3 ER on 8 H and 1 BB, nothing of which impresses you.  He did strikeout 10, however, which helps to offset the other issues.  Entering the day with poor control (5.36 BB/9) and an inflated line drive rate (23.7%), one day of good strikeouts is far from enough to make me believe.  He should be avoided in all formats for now.
  • The Cubs dropped Brett Jackson to the #7 spot in the order, but it didn’t much matter.  He went 0-3 with 1 K yesterday and is now 2-14 (remember he went 2-4 in his Major League debut) with 9 K.  In his past three games he has gone 0-10 with 8 K and 1 BB.  We expected him to struggle making contact, but this is extreme.  The Cubs have nothing to play for so it will be interesting to see how long they let him learn at the Major League level, but moving to a platoon (like they are doing with Josh Vitters) is very realistic.  The bottom line is that Jackson is a player to keep stashed on your bench, but not one to be depending on right now.
  • It was just another ho hum performance for the Nationals, led by Jordan Zimmermann (6.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 H, 0 BB, 11 K, W) and Mike Morse (2-3, 2 HR, 3 RBI, 2 R).  Morse hadn’t homered in 9 games with just 1 RBI and 1 R over that span.

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