by Will Overton
We had a good mix of strong pitching and hitting performances yesterday. B.J. Upton had a career day with 3 HR’s, James Shields continued his hot streak and Buster Posey further cemented his case for being the best catcher in baseball.
All of this and more in yesterday’s games:
1. B.J. Upton – OF, Tampa Bay Rays: Yesterday was one of those career days for B.J. Upton where he reminded everyone that he’s got a lot more than just speed. Upton crushed three HR’s in yesterday’s Rays win against the Rangers. Upton now has five HR’s in his last six games and yesterday’s three gives him 21 for the season. This marks the second straight season in which Upton has gone 20/20 and he should clear 30 SB’s at some point this week. Upton is also just three HR’s away from a career high with a few weeks left to play still. The average is tough to deal with cause it looks like .250 – .260 is what he is, but the power/speed combo still makes him a borderline top 20 OF year in and year out.
2. Ricky Nolasco – SP, Miami Marlins: When he’s right, Ricky Nolasco can be a fantastic pitcher, he just can’t ever seem to stay right for more than a few starts at a time. Nolasco pitched a complete game shutout yesterday allowing just four hits and one walk to the Nationals while striking out six batters. This was the second complete game shutout in three starts for Nolasco. The start in between the two of those was a one earned run outing that spanned seven innings. Nolasco is a risk to use because of his inconsistency, but with the way he’s pitching right now I might be willing to take a chance on him. He’s available in 75% of standard leagues right now.
More Quick Thoughts
- I think it’s safe to say that Zack Greinke has adjusted to life in the AL now. Greinke won his fourth straight start yesterday going 7 IP and allowing just 2 R on 5 H with 7 K. Greinke has gone at least seven innings and allowed no more than two runs in each of his last four outings.
- For the second game in a row Edgar Gonzalez looked good, tossing 5 innings of 1 run ball, striking out 6. Gonzalez has gone 5 innings and allowed just 1 run in each of his two starts for the Astros this month. Looking at his career minor league numbers though I can’t imagine he keeps this up. I’d probably still be staying away from him.
- The Captain still has it as Derek Jeter continues to turn in a season worthy of a top five shortstop. Jeter was 2 – 4 yesterday, including hitting his 15th HR of the season. Jeter is 14 – 28 in his last 6 games raising his average to .324 for the season.
- It’s encouraging to see a little late season surge from Anthony Gose. Yesterday he collected two hits for the third game in a row. He also grabbed another steal, his fourth one in four games. He’s got value to a team down the stretch and could be a big contributor next season.
- Three straight games with a HR for Giancarlo Stanton after he went deep yesterday, his 33rd bomb of the year. Stanton has a HR every 12.3 AB’s right now and you wonder if he could’ve approached 50 HR’s if he hadn’t gotten hurt.
- The second start for Jeff Locke went a whole lot better than his first one earlier last week. Yesterday Locke went 6 IP against the Cubs and allowed just two runs. Locke struck out six and walked none in the game. Despite his struggles in his first start I still like Locke’s upside down the stretch.
- Yesterday was a big game for the Rays and James Shields took care of business. Shields threw a complete game two-hit shutout against the potent Rangers offense. Shields walked none and struck out eight along the way. Shields isn’t going to approach the year he had last season, but he’s on a tear right now. Shields has a 1.90 ERA and a 0.649 WHIP over his last eight starts with six wins.
- Another strong outing for Hector Santiago yesterday who has come out of the White Sox bullpen and started two games now. Santiago only pitched 4 innings yesterday, but he didn’t allow a run and had 8 K’s. He did give up three walks, but is he’s striking out guys at that rate he can compensate for that. He may be an intriguing deep league pitcher to grab for the playoff run.
- Opposite Santiago was Jeremy Guthrie who had another quality start, going 8 scoreless innings. Guthrie continues to be a completely different pitcher in Kansas City, lowering his ERA with the Royals to 3.23 yesterday. His last three starts he’s allowed three runs in 22.1 IP.
- It has been an up and down season for Justin Morneau in his recovery season. Morneau went 2 – 4 yesterday and hit 2 HR’s. Morneau hasn’t been great, but he’s been good and the numbers are worth owning in all leagues.
- Another strong start racked up for Andrew Werner yesterday against the D’Backs. Werner went 6.1 IP with 4 H, 1 R, 3 BB and 6 K. Werner has now gone six innings in all four starts and has allowed two runs or less. Werner also has 23 K’s in 24.1 IP so far.
- Yesterday was a nice rebound start for Tommy Milone who couldn’t pitch more than three innings last time out. Yesterday Milone went six innings and allowed just two runs with 10 K’s. Milone has a nice schedule coming up for the stretch run and could have a big month.
- I think it’s safe to say that Buster Posey is the best catcher in fantasy baseball now. Posey his his 20th HR of the season yesterday and is on pace for 100 RBI and an average approaching .330. And there is still room for growth for Posey at 25 years old.