by Will Overton
We knew going into yesterday that we might get a lot of solid pitching performances, just by looking at the slate of starters. It was almost more impressive than expected though with some under the radar pitchers coming through too. The pitching was so good that strong starts from the likes of Felix Hernandez and Max Scherzer were just blips on the radar by comparison.
Here are the 10 most important stories of the day for fantasy owners:
1) Production Continues To Come From Jonathan Schoop
Before getting hurt a couple weeks into the season Jonathan Schoop was hitting the ball well. Since coming back from the injury earlier this month he has picked right up where he left off. Schoop was 2 – 4 yesterday with 1 R, 1 HR and 3 RBI. This is the fourth time in five games where Schoop has gotten two hits in a game and it’s his third homerun hit in the nine games since he has been back. Schoop has a history of power, including 16 HR’s last season. The difference is he’s hitting .100 points better right now than he did last season and his BABIP doesn’t point towards it being luck. Schoop plays second base, one of the game’s weakest position, and he hits for power, which is hard to find on the wire. He should be owned in 50% of leagues right now at least and instead he’s owned in 10%. Jump on him now before it’s too late.
2) Eugenio Suarez Holding His Own As The Starting Shortstop For The Reds
The injury that ended Zack Cozart’s season seemed pretty rough for the Reds at the time, but Eugenio Suarez has filled in admirably and the team really hasn’t missed a beat at the shortstop position. Suarez was 3 – 5 last night with 2 R, 1 HR and 1 RBI. Suarez has now hit safely in eight of his last nine games and he has three HR’s in those games too. Suarez had some nice moments last season for the Tigers, but he looks as though he has taken yet another step this season. Suarez doesn’t have the same kind of pop as Schoop, but he’s good for a HR right around every 25 AB’s or so. Like I said with Schoop, middle infielders aren’t easy to find on the wire and so Suarez makes for a nice pickup for your MI position.
3) What Zack Greinke Is Doing Right Now Is Absurd
This scoreless inning streak of Zack Greinke is just getting incredible right now. Greinke went eight innings last night, running his scoreless streak all the way up to 43.2 innings, his career high. In his last six starts, all scoreless starts, Greinke hasn’t even allowed any more than four hits in a game, and never more than five baserunners total. Greinke even struck out 11 batters yesterday bringing his season total to 117. Right now Greinke’s ERA sits at 1.30 and his WHIP at 0.82, numbers that just shouldn’t exist at this point in the season. At 31 years old and in his 11th season, Greinke is having his best season yet and at this rate it could go down as one of the best seasons in baseball history.
4) Jesse Chavez Bouncing Back Strong After A Few Rough Starts
After amassing a 2.52 ERA in his first 11 starts of the season, Chavez hit a little bit of a rough spell lately, allowing 16 runs in his last 22 innings pitched. Chavez used the Twins yesterday to get back on track though. Chavez went six scoreless innings, allowing only three hits and one walk in the game. Chavez also struck out nine batters in the game too. Chavez was transitioned to a starter late in his career, but with his strikeout rate and improving control he has a strong amount of fantasy value, even after the rough patch he just ran into. Currently owned in just a quarter of all leagues Chavez has the talent and value to be owned in far more leagues.
5) What Should Fantasy Owners Make Of Jake Smolinski’s Big Game?
The Oakland A’s acquired Smolinski from the Rangers earlier this month and he made a nice impression in his first start yesterday on the A’s. Smolinski was 3 – 5 with 3 R, 2 HR and 4 RBI in the game starting in left field. Prior to today Smolinski has seen some AB’s as a pinch hitter, but this was first start, and despite the effort I don’t know that he’ll keep getting them regularly. The A’s seem inclined to use him as a specialist bat against left handers only, which means plenty of pinch hitting duties, but probably only a couple starts each week. This will limit his fantasy value in leagues outside of AL only.
6) Danny Duffy Looks To Be Turning Things Around
Last season Danny Duffy had seemingly figured it out and put it all together once and for all. Then an injury ended his season early and he has struggled to put it back together this year. Duffy came into yesterday with a 4.65 ERA and a 1.54 WHIP, and that was after a few good starts in a row. Duffy had maybe his best start of the season yesterday, holding the White Sox to just one run in eight innings, allowing six hits and a walk, striking out four. Duffy has allowed just three runs in his last 20.1 IP, though the K’s are still lagging behind. Duffy still doesn’t warrant a spot in standard leagues in my opinion because of his strikeout regression, but in deeper leagues the upside may warrant your attention.
7) The Strikeouts Continue To Rise For Dallas Keuchel
For the second time in five games and third time in 10 games Dallas Keuchel struck out double digit batters last night. Keuchel struck out 13 Rangers in seven innings last night, allowing only two hits in the game and not a single walk. Yesterday was a day full of great pitching performances, but Keuchel may have been the best right there with Greinke. After only striking out 60 batters in his first 81.2 innings, he has 67 K’s in 62.2 innings. Considering just how great Keuchel has been in every way, now that he’s upped his K’s it starts pushing him closer to the elite group of pitchers, and frankly, he might be there.
8) What Kind Of Short Term And Long Term Value Does Preston Tucker Hold?
The Astros outfield is a mix and match much of the time, but Preston Tucker has been a mainstay in the mix as of late. Tucker had a big game yesterday, games which have come and gone for him all season. Tucker was 3 – 5 yesterday with 3 R, 1 HR and 2 RBI against the Rangers and Yovani Gallardo. Tucker has six HR’s now this season in 189 AB’s, but he has the upside for far more, just consider the fact that he had hit 10 at Triple-A before being called up in the early part of May. Tucker won’t hit .300 anytime soon I don’t think, but he gets on base enough, and since being moved up to number two in the lineup he’s hitting .289. Tucker has value as a fringe OF this year in a 5 OF format, best served though for 12 or 14 team leagues. Long term though he hold much more value with upside to be a 25 – 30 HR a year guy.
9) Another Young Cardinals Pitcher Looking Impressive In Tim Cooney
The St. Louis Cardinals seem to have uncovered yet another young pitcher, of which they seem to have an endless supply. Cooney went 5.2 scoreless innings yesterday in his fifth start of the season, allowing three hits and four walks, while striking out seven. Cooney couldn’t quite get out of the sixth and was already at 102 pitches, but he still had a strong start. Cooney has had 24 K’s in 24.1 IP which is nice, but so far he hasn’t gone deep enough into games to make the K rate count and he also didn’t have this kind of K rate in the minor leagues. Going forward you should see better control from Cooney which should allow him to go deeper into games. Cooney has the upside, but I still don’t think he’s a grab outside of deep leagues and NL only.
10) Marco Estrada Dominates The Tampa Bay Rays
The Jays move of Marco Estrada from the bullpen to the rotation seems to have been a wise one as he has been very strong since making the move. Estrada threw eight shutout innings yesterday against the Rays, giving up only three hits and walking none, striking out five. Seven of Estrada’s last 10 outings have been quality starts and he has a 2.87 ERA in those 10 starts. Estrada has been a big surprise to fantasy owners the last couple months and he hasn’t even cranked up the K rate to what it has been in the past and what we know it could be. I actually think Estrada is worth consideration in standard leagues, but definitely 12 teams and deeper.