Yesterday we saw the returns of Shaun Marcum and Brandon Morrow from the DL. We also had Adrian Gonzalez Los Angeles debut, another win for Mike Minor, some production from Justin Upton and so much more. Let’s take a look at everything we need to know from yesterday’s games:
- Kyle Saeger – Seattle Mariners – Third Baseman – All of Seattle’s offense came from Seager last night, as he went 2-4 with 2 HR, 4 RBI and 2 R. He now has 15 HR and 73 RBI on the season and there actually is a little bit of upside. He’s hitting .252 on the year courtesy of a .278 BABIP. Yes, he does hit a lot of balls in the air (42.9%), but he has a good enough line drive rate (20.1%) and doesn’t strike out an excessive amount (17.0%), that you would think he’s capable of a better average. He’s not likely going to develop into a 30 HR hitter, but he appears to have the potential to hit .270 with 20+ HR and 90 RBI. There’s nothing wrong with that.
- Mike Minor – Atlanta Braves – Starting Pitcher – It was another good start for Minor, allowing 3 ER on 4 H and 0 BB, striking out 5, over 6.2 innings to defeat Madison Bumgarner (6.1 IP, 4 ER, 7 H, 4 BB, 5 K) and the Giants. He has now allowed 3 ER or less in 9 straight starts, allowing 16 ER over 57.2 innings of work. While he hasn’t been piling up the strikeouts, it is hard to argue with the results. While he did suffer from some poor luck earlier in the year, it is easy to look at his 23.7% line drive rate in August entering the day vs. his .266 BABIP and 83.3% strand rate and realize that there is luck working in his favor. He’s not as bad as he was earlier, but he also isn’t this good. Keep that in mind.
More Quick Thoughts:
- Brett Jackson went 2-3 with 1 HR, 2 RBI and 1 R, giving him home runs in back-to-back games. Of course he also struck out, giving him seven consecutive games with at least 1 K and 15 over his past 10 games (33 AB). Since being recalled he has whiffed 31 times in 61 AB, so his .197 average should not be surprising. He has potential to be a Drew Stubbs type player, but there is going to be a learning curve.
- It was nice to see Josh Rutledge come off the bench and hit a home run (1-1, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 1 R). Fantasy owners continue to wait for him to come off the DL and rejoin the lineup. Hopefully soon.
- R.A. Dickey controlled the Astros yesterday, for whatever that is worth. He allowed 1 ER on 5 H and 1 BB, striking out 2, over 7.0 innings to improve to 16-4 with a 2.76 ERA and 1.02 WHIP. He’s rebounded strong from a bump in the road in July, posting a 2.50 ERA in August and allowing 2 ER or less in five of his past six starts. He’s clearly in the hunt for the Cy Young Award and has established himself as one of the better starting pitchers in the league.
- Josh Reddick was dropped to the sixth spot in the order, going 3-4 in the process. Given his struggles it makes sense to move him out of the third spot, but I wouldn’t expect it to be a long-term change. Seth Smith (1-4, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 R) was hitting cleanup, a less than ideal scenario. Look for Reddick to move back up in the not too distant future.
- Ian Kinsler finished a double short of the cycle, going 3-5 with 1 HR, 4 RBI and 1 R to help lead the Rangers over the Twins. He is now on a seven game hitting streak, going 11-28 with 2 HR, 9 RBI and 6 R. We all know he’s one of the best second basemen in the league, so it’s definitely nice to see him producing like it.
- Unsurprisingly, Jaime Garcia’s second start was not quite as good as his first off the DL. Taking on the Reds he allowed 4 ER on 7 H and 2 BB, striking out 5, over 6.0 innings of work. We all knew he wasn’t the strikeout pitcher that he showed (10 K over 8.0 innings), so that regression isn’t a surprise. That said, he should strikeout enough batters to go with good control (2.83 BB/9 for his career) and good groundball rate (54.8% for his career). He should remain a good low-end option.
- Justin Masterson continued his on-again, off-again ways. Taking on the New York Yankees, all he did was allow 1 ER on 7 H and 2 BB, striking out 6, over 6.2 innings. Before we get excited let’s remember he allowed 7 ER over 5.2 innings against the A’s his last time out. The fact is, he actually has been a significantly different pitcher at home than on the road this season. Entering the day he had a 3.27 ERA at home vs. a 6.48 ERA on the road. Certainly makes you think he’s worth using for home starts, doesn’t it? Stifling the Yankees at home only helps fuel that fire. While his next start is a rematch against Oakland, this time around he’s at home. Depending on your options, he is still worth rolling the dice on, though keep in mind that he has struggled against the A’s throughout his career (6.89 ERA). It really comes down to your other options.
- In his first start off the DL Shaun Marcum allowed 4 R, though none of them were earned. He also allowed just 5 H and 1 BB, striking out 5, over 5.0 innings of work. He threw just 88 pitches, 62 of which went for strikes. Injuries have always been a concern for Marcum but, when he’s on the mound, there’s no questioning his appeal. He’s a must use option and, now that he’s healthy, he should be active in all formats.
- Brandon Morrow came off the DL and allowed 4 R (2 earned) on 6 H and 1 BB, striking out 7, over 4.2 innings of work. Don’t read too much into it, as it is his first start back. He has big strikeout ability and the potential to emerge as a must use option for years to come.
- J.J. Hardy went 3-5 with 1 HR, 2 RBI and 3 R. He had gone 14 games without a home run and had just 5 HR in his previous 331 AB. We all know the potential, and this could be the start of a strong finish to the season. Considering he entered the day with a .243 BABIP and 9.2% HR/FB, I would be buying if he’s available on your waiver wire.
- Chase Utley went 1-3 with 1 RBI, 1 R and 2 SB. He’s clearly not the player that he once was, but it’s nice to see him pick up a pair of SB last night (and 3 in the past two days). His knee apparently feeling good, so hopefully he can have a strong finish to the season.
- With Doug Fister not being able to start, Drew Smyly was recalled from the minor leagues to make the start. He held up well, allowing 3 R (1 earned) on 4 H and 2 BB, striking out 6, over 6.0 innings of work. He proved that he could handle Major League hitters before injuries and acquisitions banished him to the minors, so the performance shouldn’t be a big shock. At the same time, if Fister is healthy he isn’t going to stick in the rotation. We’ll have to monitor the situation, but without a rotation spot Smyly does not hold fantasy appeal.
- Jeff Francoeur went 0-4 with 1 R last night, extending his homerless streak to 16 games, a span where he has just 2 RBI. He hasn’t had a multi-hit game in his past 14. In fact, he has just one month this season where he has hit over .230, had more than 2 HR and picked up more than 9 RBI (all in May, when he hit .321 with 5 HR and 12 RBI). How much longer can the Royals keep Will Myers in the minors at this point? You wouldn’t imagine that it is going to be long and, at worst, a September call-up has to be likely. Even in yearly formats he has the potential to produce value so stash him now if you can.
- Nice to not only see Justin Upton back in Arizona’s lineup, but producing as well. He went 2-4 with 1 HR, 2 RBI and 1 R last night. We all know he’s better than what he’s shown, so hopefully this is just the start of things to come.
- Ian Kennedy did not have a good night as the Padres belted him for 3 HR (Chase Headley, Carlos Quentin & Yonder Alonso). His final line was 6 ER on 4 H and 4 BB, striking out 6, over 5.1 innings. These types of blowups have become a little too common for Kennedy this season, as it’s the third time in his past nine starts he has allowed at least 5 ER.
- Welcome to Los Angeles Adrian Gonzalez! He homered in his first at bat, finishing the day going 1-5 with 1 HR, 3 RBI and 1 R. The Dodgers lineup suddenly has the potential to be explosive, doesn’t it?