We have a few hitters really turning up the dial, like Alex Gordon, Bryce Harper and Josh Reddick. We saw some pitchers shine, like Zach Britton & Ian Kennedy. We had some pitchers fall flat, like Justin Masterson and Jon Lester. Let’s look at their performances and all the rest from yesterday’s games:
- Zach Britton – Baltimore Orioles – Starting Pitcher - It was a dominant outing for Britton, allowing 1 ER on 7 H and 0 BB, striking out 10, over 7.0 innings to defeat the Chicago White Sox. He has now won three straight starts allowing 3 ER over 20.2 innings of work. While the strikeouts were impressive yesterday, over his minor league career he posted a K/9 of 7.29, so I wouldn’t get too excited over it as it is not a number we should expect to continue. That said, he should generate enough strikeouts and have good enough control (3.25 BB/9 in the minor leagues) to excel thanks to his ability to generate groundballs. In 35 starts prior to yesterday he had a 54.6% groundball rate and of his 10 non-strikeouts he got 8 groundballs. While the AL East is tough, he is a pitcher that is definitely worth considering while he is pitching well like this.
More Quick Thoughts:
- Justin Masterson continues to frustrate fantasy owners as he was once again rocked by the Oakland A’s. Over 4.0 innings he allowed 8 ER on 8 H and 2 BB, striking out 3. Considering he’s supposed to be a groundball pitcher, the fact that he allowed 3 HR is especially concerning. While he does still have potential and I wouldn’t completely write him off, it’s hard to recommend having him anywhere but your bench right now (and I wouldn’t be against cutting bait if you haven’t already if you need the roster spot). It’s hard to imagine him earning our trust once again over the final month of the season.
- Josh Reddick continued his resurgence yesterday, going 3-5 with 1 HR, 3 RBI and 1 R. He now has a five game hitting streak going 12-23 with 3 HR, 5 RBI and 4 R. Reinserted into the third spot of the order yesterday, he should continue to get opportunities to produce.
- It was a nice day for John Mayberry Jr. going 3-4 with 1 R while hitting fifth in the lineup. He’s had a few bright spots, but he has shown no consistency this season hitting .246 with 12 HR and 35 RBI in 333 AB. Obviously the power is there (17.1% HR/FB), though he entered the day with a 50.6% groundball rate. If he was hitting slightly more fly balls (28.3%), he would produce more power and better numbers overall. There is still plenty of upside, but he’ll need a strong September to earn a full-time job in 2013. He’s a player to watch closely.
- Franklin Gutierrez went 2-4 with 2 R and 1 SB yesterday and is now 3-10 with 3 R and 3 SB in three games since returning from the DL. While he has potential as a low-end option in five-outfielder formats, it’s hard to imagine him reaching the 20/20 hype we once believed was there. He’s hit just 3 HR over his past 377 AB, so if you are going to roll the dice look for him only as a source of occasional power with more upside in R and SB.
- It was a wild game between the Brewers and Cubs. Jonathan Lucroy was the biggest performer, going 3-5 with 1 HR, 7 RBI and 1 R. That’s a monster performance from a player who is now hitting .332 with 9 HR and 49 RBI despite missing time on the DL. While he entered play with a .350 BABIP, a number that he likely wouldn’t be able to maintain, the other numbers are extremely realistic. He has emerged as a viable option in all formats not only for 2012, but moving forward.
- It was a poor outing for Shaun Marcum allowing 3 ER on 5 H and 4 BB, striking out 4, over 4.0 innings of work. He had thrown 5.0 shutout innings in his first start off the DL and still has a 3.19 ERA and 1.17 WHIP on the year, so I wouldn’t be too concerned.
- Bryce Harper continued to heat up, going 2-5 with 1 HR, 3 RBI and 1 R last night. Over his past two games he’s now gone 4-10 with 3 HR, 6 RBI and 3 R.
- It was a poor outing for Jaime Garcia, allowing 6 ER on 9 H and 2 BB, striking out 2, over 5.1 innings. After returning with a bang he’s now allowed 10 ER over his past 11.1 innings. Couple his struggles with the poor outing from Joe Kelly and you can hear the calls for Shelby Miller growing louder and louder in St. Louis. As I continue to say, stash him immediately. It’s only a matter of time before he joins the Major League team and gets an opportunity.
- Carlos Villanueva got back on the right foot last night, tossing 6.0 shutout innings allowing 5 H and 1 BB, striking out 7. While he’s posted a 3.10 ERA and 1.20 WHIP, he has benefited from an 83.7% strand rate. I would expect things to regress over the final month of the season and wouldn’t lean on him too heavily.
- Once a top prospect, Matt Dominguez (acquired in the Carlos Lee trade) was called up for the Astros and will likely get a long look at 3B the rest of the way. While he went 3-4 with 1 R last night he is much better known for his work with the glove. In 447 Triple-A AB this season he was hitting .257 with 9 HR and 69 RBI. In other words, don’t get too excited by his 3-4 with 1 R performance. Chances are he won’t hold much fantasy appeal.
- With Greg Holland having worked back-t0-back days, the team turned to Kelvin Herrera for the save opportunity last night. He allowed 1 H and 1 BB, striking out 0, but didn’t allow a run and got the job done. With a 2.49 ERA he has pitched well and may be the next in line at this point, but Holland’s job is not in danger.
- Alex Gordon continued to produce, going 2-4 with 1 HR, 1 RBI and 1 R. In his past 10 games he is now hitting .400 with 1 HR and 11 RBI in 40 AB. Since the All-Star Break he is hitting .339 with 5 HR, 31 RBI, 26 R and 5 SB. That’s much closer to the production we expected and hopefully you stuck with him. He should continue to produce the rest of the way.
- While Jon Lester may have gone the distance (8.0 IP), he allowed 5 ER on 9 H and 3 BB, striking out 2, against the Angels in a losing effort. Clearly the injury that forced him out of his last start is not an issue, though we’d like to see better results. He had been pitching well and I would fully expect him to rebound in his next start at Seattle.
- Zack Greinke allowed 2 ER on 5 H and 2 BB, striking out 7, over 7.0 innings against the depleted Red Sox lineup. He’s now won back-to-back starts allowing 3 ER over 14.2 innings of work. It appears that he has rediscovered his footing after a rough stretch. Keep him active in all formats.
- With or without Matt Kemp, the Dodgers lineup is dangerous these days making Ian Kennedy’s performance last night impressive. He tossed 6.1 shutout innings allowing 2 H and 2 BB, striking out 7. While he has a 4.27 ERA on the season, we all know that he’s better than that. There are two distinct difference from last season, his BABIP of .306 (compared to .270 in ’11) and a HR/9 of 1.39 (compared to 0.77 in ’11). While he may show these flashes, unless he corrects those two numbers in September he is going to continue to be inconsistent. Just know that moving forward, but he obviously is worth using due to his upside potential.