by Will Overton
What a day in baseball yesterday as the bats came alive all over the league. Lots of teams scored double digit runs and lots of individual players had huge games. At the same time, even though there weren’t a ton of great pitching performances, the ones we did have we’re exceptionally good. This is one of those days where narrowing this list down to 10 is not easy task, but nonetheless here are my top 10 stories of the day:
1) The Ship Looks to be Righted for Corey Kluber
If you had some concerns about Corey Kluber after a couple rough starts this season, you should be breathing a little easier this morning. Kluber couldn’t have been much better yesterday against the struggling Tigers as he went eight strong innings with 2 H, 1 R, 1 BB and 10 K, earning his first win of the season after three straight losses. Even with this outing mixed in his ERA is still 4.67, but every other number points to a big time turn around. Kluber has a WHIP of 1.07 and a K/BB rate of 29/5 over 27 innings of work. Kluber has been a bit unlucky in a couple starts, but what we saw yesterday is a reminder that this guy is still one of the better pitchers in all of baseball and the numbers will reflect that soon.
2) Big Day at the Plate Breaks the Slump for Yan Gomes
The Cleveland Indians really were piling it on against the Tigers yesterday as they scored 10 runs to go with the brilliant pitching effort of Kluber. One of the biggest days of all came from Yan Gomes, a welcome sign for the Indians as this broke him out of a 4 – 28 slump. Gomes went 3 – 5 in the game yesterday with 3 R, 1 HR and 5 RBI. This doubled both the HR and RBI total for Gomes for the season. Gomes has been the everyday catcher so far this season and that’s good news for fantasy owners, because Gomes is capable of 20 HR’s as the everyday catcher and we’ve seen it before.
3) Impressive Debut Performance From Blake Snell
The Tampa Bay Rays needed a spot starter yesterday and they called upon their number one prospect in Blake Snell to make his first ever major league start. Snell answered the call with a five inning, one run performance in which he allowed just two hits and one walk, striking out six against the Yankees. Snell was sent right back down after the game, but the Rays brass aren’t going to forget about this performance. Snell has been on fire early on at Triple-A and it’s only a matter of time before he gets called up for good. If you have a deep enough bench to stash him you should and otherwise watch closely for him to make his return to the bigs when he should be owned in all formats.
4) Dominating Performance Turned in by Tanner Roark
I think the Minnesota Twins are going to be good for allowing pitchers to have career days a lot this season, and Tanner Roark for the experience yesterday. Roark went seven shutout innings and allowed only two hits and three walks while striking out a career high 15 batters. Going into this game Roark had just nine strikeouts in 17 innings so the electric stuff came as a bit of a surprise. Roark has always been much more of a control pitcher than a power guy and his velocity is actually a little down from last year so far. So I don’t know that you’re going to see this again, but in deeper leagues Roark has some value.
5) Still Trying to Find His Footing in Toronto, Troy Tulowitzki has a Big Night
For the first time this season Troy Tulowitzki had a multi-hit game last night. Tulowitzki went 3 – 4 last night with a pair of solo homeruns. This also comes after he had to sit out last night with a hip injury making it more impressive. Tulowitzki has not been hitting the ball well, but his numbers other than average aren’t that bad, and he has seven RBI in his last 10 games now. Leaving Coors Field has put a serious damper on Tulo’s fantasy value, but I’m not completely throwing in the towel yet. I’m willing to still buy low on him because I still believe he is a great hitter and it’s going to come back around soon.
6) Big Bounce Back Start From Carlos Rodon
In his last start Carlos Rodon only managed to get one out and allowed five runs before getting pulled. Not letting a start like that turn into a series of bad starts is important for young pitchers and Rodon put it behind him quick last night. Rodon battled the Rangers over 6.2 innings, allowing them just two runs on two hits and two walks, striking out seven. Outside of that one bad start Rodon has been very good so far this season with quality starts in all three of his other outings and he has 20 K’s in 20 IP. The 23 year old starter has a crazy high ceiling and if owners in your league cut bait on him after that last start you should jump in on him now.
7) A Massive Game From Odubel Herrera Last Night
On a night of big time performances at the plate, none may have been better than the one turned in by Odubel Herrera of the Phillies. Herrera went 3 – 4 last night with 4 R, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 2 SB and 2 BB. I had tabbed Herrera as a big time sleeper going into this season, and I know many others did as well. Going into this game though he hadn’t really been doing a whole lot aside from getting on base, but this shows his upside. Herrera is not a power hitter by any means, but he has legit top level speed and hopefully the Phillies will start giving him the green light more often to try and make some things happen. Herrera also has a serious knack for getting on-base too, with 17 walks so far leading to a .442 OBP. The numbers are going to start adding up for him and you should get in on him now.
8) Eugenio Suarez Keeps His Big Season Going With Another Nice Game
Who would have guessed that after three weeks of action that Eugenio Suarez would be top in the National League in R, HR, RBI and SB. Suarez kept piling up the numbers last night by going 3 – 4 with 3 R, 1 HR and 4 RBI, also walking once as well. Suarez and Zack Cozart have been quite the dynamic duo atop the Reds lineup so far and the fantasy numbers are just rolling in. Suarez won’t be able to keep up this pace I am sure, but I don’t think that changes the fact that he is a legitimate fantasy asset and a top 10 fantasy shortstop and third baseman.
9) The Red Hot Kenta Maeda Is Almost Unhittable Again
The early results for Kenta Maeda have been near perfect and far better than the Dodgers could have ever hoped for. Maeda threw 6.1 scoreless innings last night and struck out a season high eight batters while walking only one. This is the third time this season that Maeda hasn’t allowed a run and gone at least six innings. In the one other start he’s made he allowed just one run in seven innings. That means he’s given up one run in 25.1 IP and he has 23 K’s compared to just five walks so far. Maeda isn’t a big time power pitcher, but he has fantastic control and uses movement well to make hitters miss. We’ve seen before where a guy comes over from Japan and dominates and then eventually gets figured out by big league hitters after they see him enough. Time will tell if that happens with Maeda and part of me thinks selling high might not be a bad idea, but I can’t blame you if you ride this hot streak out.
10) Chris Davis Is Still A Force at the Plate
He may have walked into last night’s game hitting just .192, but I don’t think anyone was surprised to see Chris Davis smash the ball last night and raise his average all the way up to .246 in one game. Davis went 4 – 5 with 3 R, 1 HR and 2 RBI. Davis has his flaws as a hitter, he strikes out too much for sure, and he can be a little all or nothing, but he is still a scary dude to see come up to bat. Davis now has 17 runs scored, second most in the American League, and his six HR’s also put him second in the American League. And while you can’t make up for the strikeouts, his walk rate is incredible and he still has an OBP of over .400 despite his less than stellar average. If you can convince someone in your league to sell you Chris Davis based on his poor batting average, make it happen.
Make sure to check out all of Rotoprofessor’s Preseason Top 10 Prospect Lists: