by Will Overton
The bats were going last night in the big leagues. Six teams scored eight runs or more, and not every team in baseball was even playing. The Tigers themselves scored 16 and the Angels scored 15. Still there were a few solid pitching moments mixed in as well. Here are all the highlights of the night…
- Hot Prospect Arismendy Alcantara Bursts Onto The Scene In Chicago
It’s been a pretty good year to be a top prospect in MLB and Arismendy Alcantara is the latest call-up with big expectations set for him. Alcantara is one of many young infielders in the Cubs system and he should be manning second base for the rest of this season. In his second game ever Alcantara was 4 – 5 at the plate, including a double and a triple, and scored two runs while knocking in three more. Alcantara’s debut of 0 – 4 with a pair of K’s was quickly put behind us with this effort. Alcantara was hitting .307 before his call-up with 10 HR’s and 21 SB’s. He’ll likely strike out a fair amount, but he’s going to hit at or near the top of the lineup and is in my opinion already a major league ready hitter. Second base can be a tough position to fill off waivers and Alcantara may be the best one to come along on waivers this season.
- Jon Lester And Jose Quintana Have Great Starts Wasted
It was quite a pitching duel between Jon Lester and Jose Quintana and unfortunately both guys walked away with no decisions. Jose Quintana kept his hot streak going as he allowed just three runs in seven innings, striking out seven. Quintana now has a 1.51 ERA in his last five starts with 38 K’s in 35.2 IP. For the last month Quintana has been one of the best pitchers in baseball and is still owned in just 50% of leagues. As good as Quintana was though, Jon Lester was even better. Lester only surrendered one run in seven innings, striking out 12 batters. Lester hasn’t allowed more than two runs in any of his last six starts and he may be the only pitcher in the AL better than Quintana the last month as his career year continues.
- Scott Kazmir Gets It Done On The Road Too
This year Scott Kazmir has been nothing but dominant. He’s got an ERA of 1.57 at home this season and as we saw yesterday he can get it done on the road too, a 3.57 ERA pales in comparison, but it’s still great. Kazmir shut down the other team from the bay, the Giants, to the tune of a three hit scoreless seven innings with nine strikeouts. It’s amazing really that Kazmir was almost out of the league just a couple of years ago and now all of the sudden he’s a front runner for the Cy Young.
- Stephen Vogt Doing What An Athletic Hitter Does And Getting On Base
If you’re going to hit in Oakland they expect you to get on base and that’s what Stephen Vogt is doing as he extended his hitting streak to 10 last night. Vogt went 2 – 5 last night with 3 RBI against the Giants. This was the fourth time in five games getting two hits for Vogt and he is 16 for his last 35 AB’s. Vogt was hitting .366 at Triple-A before being called up and is hitting .367 now in the bigs, with three HR’s in both Triple-A and the majors. Vogt can play catcher, first base or outfield which has been getting him in the lineup almost every day lately. As a guy with catcher eligibility Vogt has budding fantasy value and could be a nice commodity down the stretch at a thin position.
- The Hot Hitting Of Steve Pearce Continues
There are some Baltimore Orioles not living up to expectations at the plate. But Steve Pearce is exceeding them and in a big way. Pearce went 2 – 4 last night against the Nationals, scoring two runs and hitting a solo homerun. This was Pearce’s fourth homerun in ten games and his 11th of the season hitting one every 16.4 AB’s. Pearce also has 11 runs in his last 10 games. It’s taken Pearce a while to get to this point, he’s 31 years old right now, but he seems to be for real right now. The average will likely dip some, but I do believe in Pearce’s power remaining. Pearce hit for power in the minor leagues and he has increased his LD rate this season which plays a factor for sure. Pearce should be able to hit for power enough to hold value.
- Edinson Volquez Gets The Complete Game
After his start on June 18th Edinson Volquez had an ERA of 4.67. Four starts later he has lowered it a full point down to 3.65, that’s how good he has been. Volquez last three starts have been against the Phillies, the Mets and the Rays which aren’t the greatest offensive teams in the league. Last night it was the Cardinals who got dominated, as Volquez threw a complete game allowing only one run to score. The Cardinals haven’t been the best offense so far either, but after four strong starts it’s hard to ignore him. Volquez has only allowed three runs in his last 30 IP as he keeps on rolling. Volquez has seen a sharp decline in his K rate this season which makes it harder to own him, but if those numbers come up he still could be a decent fantasy option, especially in deep leagues.
- Jason Kipnis Putting His Poor Start Behind Him
Going into the month of July Jason Kipnis was hitting .245 with almost no power at all and had dealt with injuries through the first three months. After a huge year last season this wasn’t what anyone was expecting from him. July has been a different story though and Kipnis is trying to put the first half of the season behind him now. Kipnis was 3 – 4 last night and scored two runs with two stolen bases. Kipnis is now 14 – 40 this month. The power still isn’t there, 0 HR’s and 1 RBI, but Kipnis has 10 R in nine games and five steals, all of them in his last three games. It’s frustrating to see Kipnis only get 1 XBH out of 14 hits, but right now you take what you can get and as the Indians leadoff hitter Kipnis will have value if he gets on base.
- At 41 Years Old What Is Bartolo Colon’s Value To Fantasy Teams
What should fantasy owners do with Bartolo Colon at this point in his career? Colon has had an odd season with a rough start, followed by a hot streak and now things seem to be evening out a bit. Last night Colon took a hard luck loss, going eight strong innings and allowing three runs. Colon didn’t walk anyone and struck out seven, but it wasn’t enough for a win. Colon continues to have some of the best control in baseball, 17 walks in 121.2 IP, and his 6.49 K/9 rate is better than the last two seasons in Oakland. I would be a little cautious about using Colon when he’s on the road, but he’s been fantastic in New York and I would rather have Colon right now then someone like Volquez who was mentioned earlier.
- Who Is Jake Smolinski And Should You Care?
The Los Angeles Angels were the team that scored 15 runs last night against the Rangers, but it’s the Rangers Jake Smolinski that I am going to talk about. Smolinski went 3 – 4 last night, two of the hits being doubles, with 2 R and 3 RBI. This was the second game in a row that Smolinkski has gotten three hits and he has eight hits in his last three games. Smolinski was just called up this week to take over as the team’s left fielder after Michael Choice was sent down. It’s hard to get too excited though right now. Smolinkski is 25 and he has spent seven full seasons in the minor leagues before getting his first look at the bigs this week. Smolinski has only twice hit .270 or better in the minor leagues. Smolinski does have some power with 10 HR’s this season in the minors. In an AL only league Smolinski is worth a flier and in 14 or 16 team leagues he might be too, but don’t get too worked up even though it has been a great start.
- There’s Still No Slowing Down For J.D. Martinez
This hot streak of J.D. Martinez’s sure is lasting a while. Martinez went 2 – 3 last night with 2 R and 3 RBI against the Royals. Now, everyone on the Tigers was hitting last night as they scored 16 runs, but this was Martinez ninth straight game with a hit. Martinez is now hitting .429 in nine July games with 8 R, 3 HR and 9 RBI. This hot streak has been going since the beginning of June as Martinez has a .370 average, 18 R, 10 HR and 27 RBI. You can’t really expect him to continue at this rate, but you also can’t write this off as a guy just getting hot, not for this long. If you’re going to sell high on Martinez make sure you’re getting your money’s worth because se seems to be at least partially for real.