by Will Overton
It’s a crazy season when Caleb Joseph has as many homeruns in the last four days as Bryce Harper has had all season. We also saw a few guys hit multiple long balls last night too including Javier Baez, Cubs rookie phenom. Here are the top ten stories of the night:
- Bryce Harper Finally Gets The Ball Out Of The Yard
This has been a really rough year for Bryce Harper and a rough year for Bryce Harper’s owners. Harper played for three weeks then ended up sidelined for a little over two months. Since coming back he just hasn’t looked the same, hitting .224 since that time. Going into last night he hadn’t hit the ball out of the park for the first time in three weeks, just his fourth homerun of the season total. Since July of last season Harper has a homerun just once every 38.7 at-bats. Does Harper have power? I think so, I want to believe it. Hard to believe when you see the numbers in black and white though. It’d be nice to see a healthy Harper finish this season strong now, but if he doesn’t it’ll be interesting to see where he winds up in fantasy leagues next year.
- The Tigers Bats Get Stifled By Shane Greene
In what was really a dominant performance, the 6’4 Shane Greene shut the Tigers down last night. Greene pitched eight shutout innings, allowing five hits and three walks, striking out five batters. Greene is now 3-1 with a 2.89 ERA in six starts this season since being called up. It’s been a bit of a surprise after Greene was called up with a 4.61 ERA at Triple-A. Greene had another dominant performance like this earlier against the Orioles, and while he hasn’t been great in between then and now, he hasn’t been completely awful either. Greene has a solid fastball with power, and if he can add a second pitch or even a third one, he has the chance to be a decent middle of the rotation guy.
- Kyle Hendricks Flying Under The Radar In Style
The Chicago Cubs traded pitching and it opened up the door for the likes of Kyle Hendricks who is personally running with his opportunity. Last night Hendricks went to Coors Field and tore up the Rockies, throwing eight innings of two run ball. This was Hendricks third win in his last four starts and in those four starts he has a 1.27 ERA, allowing just four runs in 28.1 IP. Hendricks is not an overpowering pitcher who racks up huge strikeout numbers, but he has a consistent track record of success at every level of the minor leagues. Because he doesn’t get a ton of strikeouts he isn’t a must own, but he is worth a look if you are wanting a pitcher to help out your ratios.
- Making An Entrance: Javier Baez Makes A Splash In Colorado
Welcome to the big leagues Javier Baez. We’ve long heard about his power and we’ve seen the numbers he put up in the minor leagues, but now we’re getting a first hand taste. Baez made his third start since being called up and he hit his second and third homeruns in this game. Baez is now 4 – 14 in his three games with three of his four hits being long balls. Baez had 23 HR’s when he was called up this year and he had 37 last season between two levels. This guy is a legitimate power hitter and a big piece of the Cubs future. Baez average may not do much to help you this season, but he will hit for power at any level.
- Wily Peralta Wins His Fifth Straight Start
Things are rolling along for Wily Peralta right now who won his fifth straight game last night. Peralta only allowed one run in 6.2 IP and struck one nine Giants batters. Peralta has allowed just six runs in his last five starts, good for a 1.39 ERA in those five starts. Peralta is having a fantastic season and while he isn’t dominant in terms of strikeouts, he did top 100 for the season last night. Peralta is still available in a fair amount of leagues, only slightly more leagues than Jake Peavy who he beat in this game and doesn’t deserve to be owned in nearly as many leagues.
- Maybe Colin McHugh Is The Real Deal For Houston
You can’t be blamed for wondering when the bottom was going to fall out on Collin McHugh. I personally still wonder when or if it’s going to happen. At this point though we have to start thinking about the possibility that he is the real deal and just a late bloomer. The 27 year old Astros starter looked brilliant again last night, holding the Phillies to just one run seven innings, striking out eight and not walking a batter. McHugh now has 115 K’s in 102 IP and is sporting a 3.18 ERA. He’s never struck out batters at this rate before, though he has shown flashes of this in the minor leagues. Not to keep picking on Jake Peavy, but it’s crazy that Peavy is owned in half of leagues and McHugh is owned in 18%. Maybe the bottom will fall out, but maybe he’s legit, until we know for sure why not keep riding this wave.
- Warmer Weather Has Chris Carter Bringing The Power
Since the beginning of July Chris Carter has been a homerun hitting machine. Carter went yard twice last night and now has 11 HR’s since the beginning of July. Four of those homeruns have now come in his last nine games. In August, Carter is hitting .400 so far, despite the steady stream of strikeouts. Don’t expect Carter’s average to continue to stay high like this first week of August, but he really is one of the best pure power hitters in baseball and he can help a team in need of homeruns and runs batted in. Carter seems like a frustrating option, but he has a specific skill he brings to the fantasy game and he does it really well.
- Owning Edinson Volquez Is Like Owning A Roller Coaster
Being a fantasy owner of Edinson Volquez has more ups and downs then a ride at Six Flags. Going into the all-star break Volquez was on a tear, allowing only three runs in his last 30 IP. Coming out of the break he was nothing but shaky in three straight starts before last night. Then last night he throws a one hitter for seven innings, not allowing a run to cross the plate and striking out seven. Volquez could be just a spot starter, but even then he’s hard to predict and his home/road splits are very similar. Really if you want to gamble, roll with Volquez, just know it’s always a guessing game.
- J.A. Happ Strikes Out 12 Against The Baltimore Orioles
The presence of Aaron Sanchez might be a bit motivating for J.A. Happ as he looks like a pitcher fighting for his job. Happ allowed only two runs last night in eight innings and struck out 12 batters while only walking one. Happ has now allowed just five runs total since the all-star break in 26.1 IP. Happ has now lowered his season ERA from almost 5.00 to just a slight shade over 4.00. The strikeouts last night aren’t necessarily the norm for Happ, but he is at least an average strikeout pitcher most of the time. I don’t know if Happ will get to standard league status, but he is a deep league ownable pitcher right now.
- What Has Gotten Into Caleb Joseph?
The Baltimore Orioles have been hoping and waiting for Caleb Joseph to come through and help make up for the loss of Matt Wieters, this week he has come through in a big way. Last night Caleb Joseph hit a two run homerun, his fourth straight game with a homerun. Joseph had just three HR’s all season going into this week and now he has seven. This isn’t totally out of nowhere, Joseph hit 22 long balls in the minor leagues last season so we knew he had some power, we just didn’t know how much of it translated to the major league level. In AL only leagues Joseph has to be owned, in 12 team two catcher leagues he seems like he’d be worth a flier as he’s getting into his groove. In standard leagues though, I wouldn’t jump on board fully just yet.