It was an amazing day around baseball yesterday. We saw some hot hitters continue to rake (like Matt Holliday and Adrian Beltre). We saw some returning pitchers excel (like Daisuke Matsuzaka and Brett Anderson). We also saw some young pitchers, like Casey Kelly and Tyler Skaggs, pitch extremely well. Let’s look at these stories and all the rest from yesterday’s games:
- Casey Kelly – San Diego Padres – Starting Pitcher – One of the key parts of the trade that originally sent Adrian Gonzalez to Boston, Kelly made his Major League debut last night against the Braves and pitched terrific. He tossed 6.0 shutout innings allowing 3 H and 2 BB, striking out 4. He has always been a highly touted prospect, though his minor league numbers may not represent that (3.77 ERA, 1.27 WHIP, 7.27 K/9). Just 22-years old (he will turn 23 after the season is over), it shouldn’t be a complete surprise that the numbers may not fully reflect the talent. He may not be a tremendous option in 2012 (in part because wins are likely going to be tough to come by), he definitely has long-term appeal and should be owned in all keeper leagues.
- Daisuke Matsuzaka – Boston Red Sox – Starting Pitcher – He came off the DL and was impressive as he shut down the Royals for 7.0 innings. He allowed 1 R (0 earned) on 5 H and 2 BB, striking out 6. His control, which has always been the biggest question mark for Matsuzaka, was incredibly impressive. Of the 101 pitches he threw, 71 of them went for strikes. Of course, we have all seen more than enough from him in the past not to get too excited off this one outing. If he can continue throwing strikes he has the potential to excel, but that is a huge if for a player with a career BB/9 of 4.31. He’s worth monitoring, however, and in deeper formats he’s worth a bench spot depending on your other options.
More Quick Thoughts:
- Brett Anderson tossed 7.0 shutout innings against the Indians, allowing 2 H and 2 BB while striking out 5. In 14.0 innings since coming off the DL, he’s allowed just 1 ER on 6 H and 2 BB. Is he quite that good? Of course not, but the results are unbelievable for a pitcher coming off Tommy John surgery. I would expect some bumps in the road, but he’s definitely worth owning.
- Hopefully you haven’t forgotten Nate McLouth, who is making noise in Baltimore. He went 1-3 with 1 HR, 3 RBI and 1 R last night. Since returning to the Majors in August he is hitting .246 with 2 HR, 9 RBI, 13 R and 5 SB. Obviously we’d like to see a better average, but that is obviously our only possible complaint. While he isn’t going to be the same player he was during his 2008 breakout, he still offers some power and speed. In five outfielder formats he is becoming an intriguing option.
- Matt Holliday went 2-4 with 1 HR, 1 RBI and 1 R, extending his hitting streak to 7 games (14-31 with 1 HR, 9 RBI and 7 R). However, his hot streak goes far beyond just that. He is now hitting .311 with 24 HR and 90 RBI on the season, including 10 HR and 34 RBI in just 167 AB after the All-Star Break. Remember when people were concerned he couldn’t play outside of Coors Field?!
- Both Rafael Soriano and Casey Janssen (1.0 IP, 1 ER, 1 H, 0 BB, 2K) blew saves in the Yankees-Blue Jays game, but Soriano’s was much more spectacular. Soriano allowed 3 ER (a three run home run to Colby Ramsus) on 3 H and 0 BB, striking out 2, over his inning for his third blown save of the season. Keep in mind that Soriano was struck by a comebacker in converted a save on Sunday, so there will likely be speculation that there could be an injury. It’s worth monitoring, but these types of outings happen. Don’t get too concerned.
- Adam Lind returned to the Major Leagues and went 2-5 with 1 HR, 1 RBI and 1 R. Could he finally produce this time around? It’s worth the flier if you are in a deeper format.
- Ryan Braun (4-6, 1 HR, 5 RBI, 3 R) and Aramis Ramirez (3-5, 2 HR, 4 RBI, 2 R) led the way as the Brewers rocked the Cubs 15-4. While Ramirez is no Prince Fielder, he certainly is holding his own in filling the cleanup role behind Braun. He’s now hitting .295 with 20 HR and 81 RBI on the season and has re-established himself after there were concerns about his wrist injury last season.
- How hot has Adrian Beltre been lately? He went 3-3 with 1 HR, 4 RBI and 1 R last night and in his past 7 games he’s gone 15-29 with 6 HR, 13 RBI and 7 R. There were once concerns that he only performed in contract seasons, but that clearly is not the case any longer. Playing in Texas he has established himself as one of the Top 2 or 3 third basemen in the game.
- What is there to say about Felix Hernandez that hasn’t already been said? He tossed a complete game shutout against the Twins, allowing 5 H and 1 BB, striking out 5. However, the bigger story may have been the performance of Liam Hendriks, who nearly matched Hernandez pitch for pitch. He too tossed a complete game, allowing 1 ER on 3 H and 3 BB, striking out 6, in a losing effort. As I said in yesterday’s Pitch & Ditch column, Hendriks “is your prototypical Twins starting pitcher, with a minor league career K/9 of 7.94 and BB/9 of 1.64. In other words, if he is on he should provide you adequate strikeouts and the potential for a very good WHIP.” He has the potential to be a viable option the rest of the year, though I would certainly play matchups.
- While most of the damage came against the bullpen, it’s not like Josh Beckett was tremendous in his Dodgers debut. He lasted 5.2 innings against the Rockies, allowing 3 ER on 7 H and 3 BB, striking out 6. You would think that a move to the NL would serve Beckett well and we all know he needed a change of scenery. We’ll have to wait and see how this plays out, but Beckett is definitely worth owning.
- Tyler Skaggs was not bad in his second start for the Diamondbacks, though it wasn’t enough. He last 5.2 innings allowing 3 R (2 earned) on 5 H and 2 BB, striking out 5, against the Cincinnati Reds. Obviously it is just two starts, so the luck metrics are fairly pointless (small sample sizes and all). He has a ton of potential and, while it’s hard to depend on any rookie pitcher, he has the upside with good control and strikeout stuff. He’s definitely worth owning in deeper formats.