by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)
Jose Reyes made his return from the DL yesterday, but that was hardly the biggest and most important story for fantasy owners. What closer news came out of the day? How should fantasy owners view pitchers like Felix Doubront or Henderson Alvarez? What about the scorching hot performance of Kevin Kouzmanoff? Let’s answer these questions and all the rest from yesterday’s games:
1) The good Felix Doubront takes the mound…
If he could only find consistency, right? He allowed 2 ER on 5 H and 2 BB, striking out 7, over 6.2 innings against the Orioles yesterday. He entered the day with three glaring issues:
- Poor luck (.333 BABIP, 64.7% strand rate)
- Lack of strikeouts (4.91 K/9)
- Poor control (4.30 BB/9)
The final issue has long been a problem, but we should see improvement in the other two. He does offer the potential to strike batters out (7.8 K/9 in the minors) and the luck should improve. His inconsistency makes him a hard pitcher to trust, but there is upside there in the right situation.
2) Norichika Aoki starting to heat up…
He got off to a slow start in Kansas City, but he’s certainly starting to pick up steam. He went 2-5 with 1 RBI, 1 R and 1 SB yesterday giving him a three-game hitting streak (5-13 with 1 RBI, 4 R and 2 SB). The biggest issue was his 18.6% strikeout rate entering the day, compared to marks of 9.4% and 5.9% over his first two seasons. Look for that to improve and he should produce solid numbers atop the Royals’ lineup. If someone in your league gave up on him do not hesitate to grab him.
3) The concerns regarding Tony Cingrani continue to grow…
It was another less than stellar outing for Cingrani, allowing 3 ER on 4 H and 4 BB, striking out 3, over 5.0 innings against the Cubs. While he does have 23 K over 22.1 innings this season, he has also walked 13 and had benefited from a .231 BABIP entering the day. Throw in the concerns regarding his dependence on his fastball and it is fair to have some concerns. Just to add to things, he actually entered the day with a below average SwStr% (9.0% vs. 9.4%). That’s not to say that we should give up on him, but it is something to watch.
4) Henderson Alvarez tosses a two-hit gem against the Mariners…
It was a complete game shutout allowing 2 H and 0 BB, striking out 4. He was a groundball machine, generating 17 groundballs to pick up his first win despite a 2.66 ERA. Alvarez does offer control (career 2.29 BB/9) and groundballs (55.5% for his career), but the strikeout potential is capped (5.32 K/9 in ’14, 4.53 for his career). That final note is going to keep him from being a must use option, though there is potential, especially when pitching at home, and can be considered a backend option and streamer when things line up right.
5) Wil Myers breaks out to help lead the beat down of the New York Yankees…
He wasn’t alone, as the Rays piled on 16 runs with Evan Longoria (2-3, 1 HR, 4 RBI, 2 R) and Ryan Hannigan (3-4, 2 HR, 6 RBI, 2 R) also having big days. Myers, though, is the most noteworthy performance as he went 3-4 with 2 HR, 4 RBI and 4 R. The home runs were his first of the season and he’s now hitting .262 with 11 RBI and 9 R. There are some obvious concerns, like a 26.5% strikeout rate, a lack of line drives (14.0%) and a significant number of infield fly balls (18.8% IFFB%), some of which were concerns last season. Is there a reason to be concerned? Of course not as there is no questioning his talent, just something to monitor.
6) Is Kevin Kouzmanoff playing himself into a role in Texas…
He went 1-4 with 1 HR, 1 RBI and 1 R yesterday, putting him at .395 with 2 HR and 9 RBI as he continues to fill in for the injured Adrian Beltre. Obviously he’s not going to play 3B once Beltre is healthy, but could he settle into a DH role? It would shift Mitch Moreland to the bench, which isn’t really unthinkable, so it is something to consider. Of course, Kouzmanoff is also benefiting from a .406 BABIP (though his current 15.4% HR/FB is not unreasonable). He’s definitely a player to utilize while he’s hot in deeper formats, because the Rangers will keep his bat in the lineup, but be ready to cut bait on once he shows signs of slowing down.
7) Mark Trumbo dropped to seventh in the batting order…
With Cody Ross (0-4) back, the Diamondbacks had the middle of their lineup setup as:
3) Paul Goldschmidt
4) Miguel Montero
5) Cody Ross
6) Martin Prado
7) Mark Trumbo
Trumbo, who went 2-4 with 1 R, obviously would be impacted the most. He has hit for plenty of power this season (6 HR), and while he has plenty of it he is going to slow down (31.6% HR/FB). He also is hitting just .213, though should improve on his .200 BABIP. The bottom line? Don’t panic by the move as he should quickly move back up into the 5 or 6 hole before long.
8) Lance Lynn improves to 4-0…
He stymied the Nationals, allowing 1 ER on 5 H and 3 BB, striking out 5, over 5.2 innings of work. He now owns a 3.42 ERA and 1.31 WHIP on the season, though before we get too excited he’s long shown to be an inconsistent option. He’s actually been hit hard (26.9%), has had some home run issues (1.14 HR/9) and the strikeouts will likely regress (10.27 K/9). He’s obviously a pitcher to use, just don’t be surprised if he hits a few bumps in the road (as he always does).
9) The Angels’ replacement outfielders continue to struggle…
Sure, J.B. Shuck did hit a home run, but he went 1-4 with 1 HR, 1 RBI and 1 R to raise his average to .189 (overall he’s 2-23 in his past five games). Brennan Boesch went 0-3, hitting ninth, and is at just .167 since being recalled. Collin Cowgill, who didn’t play yesterday, is hitting .333 but that still leaves a hole in the lineup. We discussed the potential of Matt Long getting a shot recently (click here for the article), and those in deeper formats should have him on their radars just in case.
10) Closer Carousel is likely going to continue to spin…
- Is Craig Kimbrel healthy… He had not been used for a week due to shoulder issues and then struggled against the Mets in a non-save situation (2 ER on 3 H and 1 BB, striking out 1, over 0.2 IP) and had to be replaced by Jordan Walden. It’s a situation that needs to be monitored.
- The Mets have to make a change… Not that this is surprising, but Jose Valverde got beat up again allowing 3 R (0 earned) on 1 H and 1 BB, striking out 1, in his inning of work. Kyle Farnsworth is the man on the roster who could step right now, with Vic Black at Triple-A also an option (though he has 7 BB in 6.1 IP).
- Grab Jesse Crain now, if it’s not too late… The job was wide open entering the season, but no one on the active roster has been able to step up and grab hold of it. Yesterday it was Chad Qualls who imploded, allowing 3 ER on 4 H and 1 BB, striking out 1, over 0.1 innings to blow the save and be saddled with the loss. Houston relievers own a 5.34 ERA and 1.67 WHIP, hideous numbers across the board. It’s become obvious that Crain should step right into the closers role, once healthy, so now is the time to grab him before it’s too late.
- Jason Grilli implodes… He blew his second save of the season, allowing 2 ER on 2 H and 0 BB, striking out 1, over his inning of work. He now owns a 3.86 ERA and 1.43 WHIP, while setup man Mark Melancon has a 2.00 ERA and 0.78 WHIP. With the latter having proven that he can get the job done in 2013, it’s not impossible to think that a change could come.
Sources – ESPN, Fangraphs, Baseball Reference, MLB.com, Minor League Baseball