by Will Overton
Yesterday’s slate of games had a nice theme too it. We had good young pitching showing up and doing work like Carlos Rodon. Then we had the veteran bats that some people were writing off at the beginning of the year showing up and reminding us that they still have a little gas left in the tank.
Here is the full breakdown of the days most important stories:
1) Can Jesse Hahn Pitch Against The Tigers Every Time?
Two starts ago Jesse Hahn threw his first ever complete game shutout against the Tigers in Oakland. Yesterday he didn’t quite reach that level, but he went into Detroit and handled the Tigers lineup again. This time Hahn allowed one run in seven innings, striking out five batters. This is now the fifth consecutive quality start for Hahn and he has a 2.36 ERA in those five starts. Hahn has shown good control and a good ability to induce ground balls. So far Hahn only has a K/9 rate of 6.03, but he’s always shown a 8+ rate in the past in the minors and last year as a rookie in San Diego. If Hahn can maintain the control and bring the K’s up there is some sleeper value in fantasy leagues here.
2) Wei-Yin Chen Keeps In Step With Dallas Keuchel
So far Dallas Keuchel has been one of the best starting pitchers in baseball, but Wei-Yin Chen went step for step with him yesterday in a solid pitching duel in Houston. Chen only allowed two runs on five hits and two walks over 6.1 innings and racked up nine strikeouts. Chen has been quietly strong so far this season with a 3.18 ERA and 1.16 WHIP. The strikeouts were a nice perk in this game too. The Astros strikeout a lot as it is, but Chen’s K’s have been going up in other starts as well with 37 in 39.1 IP. Chen quietly put up a nice season last year as well, but if he can maintain this K/9 rate over 7.00 he’s earned a shot in the majority of leagues.
3) The Good Times Keep Rolling For Torii Hunter Owners
The month of May was remarkable for Torii Hunter owners, but he doesn’t look to be done yet even though the calendar has flipped to June. Hunter was 3 – 5 last night with 2 R, 1 HR and 3 RBI. Hunter isn’t like to have many, or any, more months like May where he hits .333 and drives in 25 runs. That said, he isn’t likely to just disappear into the fantasy abyss either. Hunter will continue to be a quality outfielder in five outfielder formats, there will be highs and lows, but Hunter will continue to have value in his bat.
4) Brandon Phillips Is Healthy And Hitting Once Again
Much like Torii Hunter, age has not defeated Brandon Phillips quite yet either. Phillips missed time last week with a turf toe as he strung together an 0 – 15 stretch at the plate. Phillips is clearly healthy now and has snapped out of his hitting funk these last four games. Yesterday Phillips was 3 – 5 at the plate, for the second game in a row, and he had 1 R, 2 RBI and 1 SB. In his last four games he is 10 – 20 with 6 R, 1 HR, 6 RBI and 2 SB. Phillips is hitting at the top of the Reds lineup and seems firmly entrenched in that spot. I was one of the people writing Phillips off at the beginning of the year as over the fantasy hill, but he’s proving us wrong and putting up solid numbers.
5) Aaron Harang Comes Back To Earth
For the first two months of this season Aaron Harang has pitched the best baseball of his career, at the age of 37 in his 13th major league season. The Cincinnati Reds brought Harang back to earth a bit last night though, roughing him up for six runs, five of them earned, over 5.2 IP. Harang walked five in the game and struck out only one. The question is; Is this the game that grounds Harang or just a bump in the road? Harang has turned in a few quality seasons over his career, but he is clearly pitching over his head right now. When the dust does settle and Harang comes back to earth for good, it doesn’t necessarily mean he won’t have fantasy value, but you really shouldn’t expect the last few months to carry out all season.
6) Dominance From Carlos Rodon Wins The Night
We’ve been talking about what Carlos Rodon is capable of on the mound, and last night we got a first hand glimpse of it as he completely dominated the Rangers. Rodon went six innings and allowed just a run on five hits and three walks, striking out 10. The walks are still alarming, but if he’s striking guys out the way he was last night it’ll go a long way in helping him overcome his control issues. Rodon is still very raw, but last night shows us why the White Sox are willing to risk the struggles to keep Rodon in the big leagues and it shows us why fantasy owners should be willing to risk the same to roster him on their team. When Rodon is going good, he’s going to have some really impressive performances.
7) Robbie Ray Looks Good In A Showdown With Matt Harvey
With Archie Bradley hitting the DL, Robbie Ray got the callup and start yesterday for the Diamondbacks. After getting into trouble in the first two innings, Ray settled down and ended up with five scoreless innings pitched, only to be outdone by Matt Harvey and foiled by his own bullpen. Ray allowed six hits and a walk while striking out four in the game. This is the second spot start made by Ray where he has looked really good. He should get a couple more chances to show his stuff before Bradley returns and could turn a nice run of starts into a permanent gig if he keeps pitching well. Ray should be targeted now in NL Only and watched closely in other leagues.
8) John Mayberry Jr With A Big Night For The Mets
After two months of basically doing nothing for the Mets, John Mayberry Jr got the start last night against a lefty and ended up with a huge night. Mayberry went 4 – 5 with 2 R, 1 HR and 2 RBI. This was the first time this season that Mayberry has gotten multiple hits in a game. While this game is impressive, and I do expect Mayberry to be better the rest of the season than he has been so far, this won’t earn him more playing time. Mayberry is likely still going to get occasional starts against lefties and get plugged in for injuries, for fantasy owners this is nothing more than a nice game.
9) It’s Time For Fantasy Players To Notice Roenis Elias
Ignore the fact that Roenis Elias actually lost his start last night and focus on how good he was and how good he has been for a while now. Elias allowed a pair of runs on five hits and one walk over the course of eight innings last night. Elias also struck out six Rays bats in the outing. This is now the fourth time in five starts he has allowed two runs or fewer and it’s his sixth quality start in his last seven outings. Control issues have been Elias downfall in the past, but aside from a couple bad outings he’s been much improved in that department this season. The K Rate isn’t huge at 6.9 K/9, but there is room for improvement considering he posted a 7.8 last season. Elias has been consistently showing up at home and on the road and he certainly should be getting more attention from fantasy owners.
10) Another Aging Veteran Getting It Done In Jhonny Peralta
When the Cardinals brought in Jhonny Peralta to fill their hole at shortstop I doubt they expected to get the kind of production they have gotten this season. Peralta turned in another nice game last night going 3 – 4 with a run scored and a run driven in, bringing his average for the year up to .318. Peralta also now has 27 runs scored and 32 driven in. The slowdown is expected at some point for the 33 year old, but you should keep in mind it was only two seasons ago that he hit .303, so don’t assume the bottom is totally going to be dropping out. Peralta is what you want from a shortstop these days with good on base skills and enough pop to get you the counting stats you need. Score another one for the vets.