Pablo Sandoval, Jason Kipnis & Trevor Plouffe all returned to the field on Monday. Ryan Dempster & Mike Fiers were among the pitchers who got blown up. Jeff Samardzija had a stellar outing. Let’s look at those stories and all the rest from yesterday’s games:
- Jeff Samardzija – Chicago Cubs – Starting Pitcher – After hitting an extremely rough patch in June (10.41 ERA), he has rebounded strong. Taking on the Astros he allowed 1 ER on 4 H and 3 BB, striking out 11, over 7.0 innings. Samardzija posted a 1.91 ERA in July and has been solid in August with a 3.26 mark. More impressive are his 56 K over 52.1 innings of work. He has maintained his velocity while being in the starting rotation, averaging 95.0 mph and posting a .304 BABIP and 70.6% strand rate (entering the day). He is sporting a 4.06 ERA and 1.28 WHIP, both realistic numbers given his other metrics. Consider him a viable option in all formats.
- Mike Fiers – Milwaukee Brewers – Starting Pitcher – Fiers entered the day with a 1.80 ERA and 1.01 WHIP with an impressive strikeout rate (9.00 K/9). Considering his 83.6% strand rate and .284 BABIP (which was low given his 27.2% line drive rate) it really shouldn’t be surprising to see him hit a bump in the road. I would certainly call yesterday a pretty significant bump, allowing 8 ER on 9 H and 0 BB, striking out 1, over 2.0 innings at Coors Field. Obviously, with big-time strikeout potential (370 minor league K in 346.2 IP, though some as a RP) he is going to maintain value. Just be cautious, as this could be just the beginning of a regression given his line drive rate.
More Quick Thoughts:
- We are starting to get a feel for Ryan Dempster in the AL and, unsurprisingly, we don’t like it. He was rocked by the Yankees last night, allowing 8 ER on 9 H and 2 BB, striking out 4, over 6.0 innings. It’s the second time he has allowed 8 ER in three starts since the trade (he also got bombed by the Angels). Yes, he mixed in a good start against the Red Sox, but as I said at the time of the trade this one had disaster written all over it.
- Nick Swisher had a big day, going 2-4 with 1 HR, 5 RBI and 1 R. A streaky player, this was his first home run since July 19. Don’t be surprised if this is the beginning of a hot streak.
- While Nathan Eovaldi took the loss against the Phillies, it was not a poor outing though also not a good one. Over 5.0 innings he allowed 3 R (2 earned) on 8 H and 3 BB, striking out 2. That’s way too many base runners, so he should consider himself lucky that he wasn’t completely torched. He has upside, but he has only struck out 5 batters over his past 12 innings and he has given up a ton of base runners (20 H and 10 BB). Potential is one thing, but right now he obviously can’t be trusted in your starting lineup.
- While Anthony Gose (0-2, 1 R, 1 SB) has gotten a lot of the attention among young Blue Jay outfielders, you should not overlook Moises Sierra. He went 2-3 with 1 HR, 1 RBI and 1 R yesterday, his first Major League HR. On the season he is hitting .375 with 1 HR and 3 RBI. At Triple-A (377 AB) he was hitting .289 with 17 HR and 7 SB prior to the recall. It was the PCL, so don’t get too excited about the power potential (he had just 16 doubles and 1 triple), but there is potential to contribute a little bit across the board. However, he only has value in deeper formats.
- There was a lot of speculation over who would replace Huston Street as the Padres closer while he’s on the DL. It appears that Dale Thayer will once again get the first opportunity. Luke Gregerson struck out the only batter he faced in the eighth, then Thayer came in and pitched a perfect ninth, with 1 K. While Gregerson is worth stashing, if you are chasing saves Thayer is the guy to own.
- It certainly appears like Shane Victorino is settling in atop the Dodgers order, doesn’t it? He went 2-4 with 1 HR, 3 RBI and 2 R yesterday. In his past five games he has now scored 7 R, something that should continue with the lineup behind him.
- Big night for Garrett Jones, going 4-4 with 3 RBI and 1 R. He has been playing regularly of late, but unfortunately it isn’t a guarantee to continue. Ride him while he’s hot.
- Darin Matroiainni went 3-5 with 1 HR, 3 RBI, 1 R and 1 SB yesterday. The stolen base isn’t a surprise, as he now has 14 in just 108 AB this season. The power, which his third HR, is a bit more surprising. He didn’t hit one in his 113 AB in the minor leagues this season and had 3 in 488 AB a year ago (14 HR in 2,159 career AB). In other words, despite the solid numbers this season, he is not a speed/power guy. He is a speed option, so value him accordingly.
- It was good to see Trevor Plouffe come off the DL and start at 3B for the Twins. He went 0-4 and you at least a part of you has to wonder if he can recapture the magic he had earlier in the season. With a 21.6% HR/FB, I would have my doubts. Now that he is healthy it is the perfect time to shop him (if your trade deadline hasn’t hit yet) to try and get value.
- Justin Masterson continues to be a frustrating pitcher to own, isn’t he? In a start most probably thought he would get destroyed, he tossed 6.0 shutout innings allowing 6 H and 3 BB, striking out 4, against the Angels. Granted, the WHIP is a little elevated but is anyone really going to complain about that? He has now allowed just 2 ER over his last 13.0 innings of work. Has he finally turned it around? Considering how hit or miss he has been I wouldn’t count on it, but he certainly has the potential to be a strong option over the final few weeks. I’d definitely scoop him up if someone in your league grew frustrated and cut bait.
- It appears Jason Kipnis is closing in on a return, appearing as a pinch hitter and delivering a sacrifice fly. It remains to be seen if he will be in the starting lineup today, but the DL doesn’t appear to be an option. Just sit tight at this point.
- Ben Zobrist went 3-4 with 1 RBI, but possibly more importantly is that he has now played 4 straight games at SS. In a lot of leagues he’ll need one more start there (which he should quickly get) to earn eligibility. It just adds a little more versatility to a player who already is eligible at 2B and OF. Not a huge difference, but with 12 HR and 13 SB he will be one of the better options in the league.
- Pablo Sandoval came off the DL and appeared as a pinch hitter (0-1). Look for him to be back in the starting lineup today.
- The Washington Nationals put up 14 R and 21 H, led by Danny Espinosa (4-6, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 3 R), Roger Bernadina (4-6, 3 RBI, 1 R) and Kurt Suzuki (3-6, 4 RBI). In his past 10 games Espinosa is now hitting .357 with 3 HR, 9 RBI and 10 R. He has 132 K on the season, making it tough to hit for a big average, but he brings power and speed to the table and should definitely be in all lineups while he’s smoking hot.