by Ray Kuhn
Even with four games rained out on Wednesday, there was still plenty of baseball to be played. And there was not a shortage of action that was fantasy relevant. Let’s get right to it.
1) Clayton Kershaw is on His Way Back, Rejoice Fantasy Owners
Yes, I know this spot is generally reserved for what takes place in the major leagues, but Kershaw is a special case. After making one start in Australia the first round pick has been out of action with a back injury for the past month. But after Wednesday’s start in AA, I think we can all agree that the southpaw is ready to go for next week. Kershaw got in five innings of work two runs one, one earned, on 86 pitches with six hits and nine strikeouts.
2) Has Aaron Harang’s Bubble Burst?
I think everyone can agree that it was only a matter of time until the league caught up to Harang. In fact I would venture to say that we could have in fact seen this coming. Yes heading into the game Harang was sporting a .85 ERA and .88 WHIP with a 3-1 record and 33 strikeouts, but the Marlins’ offense has been surprisingly strong so far this season. After tonight’s start where the right-hander gave up nine runs on 10 hits in 4.2 innings, I would certainly tread carefully with Harang moving forward.
3) But Nate Eovaldi is Someone to Pay Attention to
Eovaldi kept up his strong start to the season with another dominating start against the Braves. Now we do know that Atlanta’s offense has been having their share of struggles and as a team they are free swinging, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t give any less credit to Eovaldi. He took a 2.87 ERA into his start and after seven innings of one run ball to earn his second win of the season Eovaldi’s ERA now sits at 2.58 on the season. For someone who was likely taken towards the end of drafts, if at all, this is turning out to be pretty good value after the first month of the season. His five strikeouts Wednesday night give him 35 for the season to go along with the five walks he has allowed so far this season. That is a recipe for continued for success.
4) Yes, Allen Craig is Back
After Monday’s success from we questioned whether or not Craig was on the way to making up for his poor start. I think after Wednesday’s performance we can say that owners who either bought low or did not give up on Craig are rejoicing. Craig had a 4-5 performance against the Brewers where he had two doubles, three RBI’s and a home run finishing off a series that saw him go 8-17 in his last four games. In daily formats, strike now before his value starts to climb.
5) It is no Secret, Max Scherzer is a Stud
I know this should not come as a shock to anyone, but Scherzer is showing that he is a top tier starter. Scherzer had six scoreless innings against the White Sox in just a normal day at the office for the right-hander. He allowed seven base runners total while striking out seven batters to lower his ERA to 2.08 on the season to go along with a WHIP of 1.05. As we evaluate things after the first month of the season, Scherzer is proving his early draft status.
6) Is Jordan Zimmerman Turning a Corner After a Rough Start?
Entering this season, Zimmerman was viewed as a very solid and dependable SP2. Prior to Wednesday’s start against the Astros, Zimmerman and his 4.05 were viewed as a disappointment to some. While that might be a bit harsh, it is true that he was not living up to expectations that fantasy owners have come to expect from him. But facing the Astros is often all pitchers need to get back on track. And that is exactly what happened as Zimmerman pitched 6.1 innings for his second win of the season while striking out seven batters and allowing seven hits and walk in keeping Houston off the scoreboard.
7) Anthony Rendon is Becoming an Impact Player
After another successful performance, Rendon’s average is now sitting at .316 on the season. Rendon had two doubles as part of his 4-5 tonight to give him 10 on the season. Washington’s current third baseman also hit his fourth home run of the season while driving in three runners. On draft day Rendon was viewed as a solid middle infield prospect for deeper leagues but really nothing more than that. He beat out Danny Espinosa for the starting second base job and didn’t let go. The injury to Ryan Zimmerman has opened up playing time for both players, but the former top prospect is starting to realize his potential, and fantasy owners should take note.
8) Oakland’s Offense is Dangerous
Based solely on name value, Josh Donaldson and Yeonis Cespedes are the only two players that fantasy owners should pay attention to, but that is selling the rest of the team short. The A’s can put up runs, and they are a team filled with smart hitters. Oakland plays the platoon system perfect, and one player who is a perfect example of that is Derek Norris. Hitting from the right side, Norris is now hitting .386 on the season after the bearded catcher went 3-5 with two runs scored against the Rangers. In leagues that allow daily moves, this something that warrants even more consideration.
9) Does Hank Conger Have Any Value?
Yes, I do know what I just wrote. But yes, I am serious. After going 2-3 against the Indians with a solo home run, Conger is now hitting .324 on the season. I also know that the sample size, 34 at bats, is small and playing time is an issue. However, you do have to wonder how long the Angels will stick with Chris Iannetta and his .218 batting average. If Conger does get more playing time, you could expect some RBI’s along with a decent average which makes him a perfect second catcher.
10) How Much Longer Will the Dodgers Stick with Carl Crawford?
It is not a secret that the Dodgers have an overflowing outfield. The emergence of Dee Gordon at the leadoff spot has eliminated the need for Crawford at the top of the order, and to be honest he hasn’t hit well enough for any spot of the lineup at all. Crawford got the start against Minnesota on Wednesday, but it was in the ninth spot in the order and the Dodgers also had the benefit of the designated hitter. An 0-4 performance brought his average down to .194 so I would make sure you have an alternative.