by Will Overton
Talk about a day full of offensive firepower, there were plenty of fireworks across MLB if you didn’t make it to any firework shows in your own town. There was a 21 run output an another 17 runs scored by another team, and that was just the start of it. The top 10 stories of the day have a little of everything from a well aging veteran hitting for the cycle to a post-hype starter breaking out. Let’s break down all these top stories:
1) The Cleveland Indians Win Streak Snapped, But Rajai Davis Hits For The Cycle
The Indians got out scored by the Toronto Blue Jays in an offensive showdown a day after scoring a combined three runs in 19 innings. The loss was not the fault of Rajaj Davis though who hit for the cycle in the loss. Davis was 4 – 5 with a pair of runs scored and a pair of runs batted in. Davis even took the cycle a step further by tacking on a stolen base to his stat line. The stolen base brings Davis league leading total to 22 now. The real surprise is that the homerun was Davis ninth of the season, his career high, even though Davis is 35 and we’re only at July 2nd. I can’t explain Davis’ power development and I can’t tell you if it can or will continue, but even without the power he has the value to be owned in all leagues with the steals and runs.
2) A Big Day For The Minnesota Twins, And Especially Max Kepler
The Minnesota Twins put up 17 runs on the Texas Rangers yesterday, shockingly not the most runs scored yesterday. One of the many standouts among the Twins was rookie Max Kepler who hit two HR’s and drove in seven runs. Kepler has started to find his legs a bit and wound up finishing the month of June with a pretty respectable 15 RBI. Kepler now has 5 HR’s in his last 104 AB’s and 22 RBI. Kepler’s power is still developing, so this is a nice start and it should get better. Kepler could blossom into a 20/20 guy in the next couple seasons, but 10/10 at least is within reach for this season already. Kepler is a guy to grab in all dynasty formats and he’s not a bad option for deeper single season leagues too.
3) The Cardinals Officially Make The Change To Sueng Hwan Oh For Closer
The Cardinals gave Trever Rosenthal plenty of chances before they finally pulled the plug on his run as closer earlier this week. When the Cardinals needed someone in the ninth yesterday they turned it over to Sueng Hwan Oh, the 33 year old Korean rookie who has been nothing short of dominant in relief this season. Oh pitched a perfect 1-2-3 inning and struck out two. Oh has 55 K’s in 41 IP so far this season with a 1.54 ERA and a 0.85 WHIP. We’ve seen other guys come over from Korea before and step right in as closer so this isn’t a surprise. You need to jump on Oh right away before it’s too late because he could very well be a top 10 closer the rest of the way.
4) Lucas Harrell Has A Solid Season Debut For The Braves
The Atlanta Braves season is really just a throw away already and they’ve now turned to 31 year old journeyman Lucas Harrell to fill their rotation spot. Harrell made his major league season debut yesterday by allowing just one run in six innings and striking out five Marlins batters. Harrell has been pretty mediocre and we’ve really only ever seen one semi-decent season from him in the big leagues too. This was a nice debut game, but the Marlins offense is inconsistent and it was just one start. Maybe he’s worth a shot in NL only leagues, but that’d be about it.
5) Another Top Notch Start Turned In By Danny Duffy
Moving Danny Duffy bac to the rotation was quite the brilliant move by Ned Yost because he is killing it. Duffy was just one out short of a complete game yesterday. Duffy held the Phillies to just two runs allowed and he struck out eight batters in his 8.2 innings of work. This is the second game in a row that Duffy has made it eight innings and allowed only two runs, and both times he has the 8 K’s and no walks. Duffy has 61 K’s in his last 54.1 IP as a starter, and he’s only walked nine batters total in that stretch. Duffy ‘s turned in one great season before and this one might be even better with the improved K numbers.
6) The Power Has Finally Come Alive in Kendrys Morales Bat
Not to brag or anything, but at the beginning of this week I noted Kendrys Morales as a power threat to add in fantasy leagues. Last night Morales hit not one, but two HR’s, driving in four runs. This is now four HR’s in the last three games from Morales and eight RBI in these three games too. Thiis is also now six HR’s in seven games too. Morales started the season out dreadfully, but he has started to come around with his average over the last month and now the power is coming along with it too. Morales ownership rate has jumped from 25% to 41% this week so the time is running out to add him, but he needs to be owned in a lot more leagues.
7) C.J. Cron and Carlos Perez Lead The Charge To 21 Runs For The Angels
Typically 17 runs scored would be enough to be the most in a single day, but the Angels topped the Twins total by scoring 21 against the Red Sox. Leading the way for the Angels was C.J. Cron and Carlos Perez who combined for 11 hits together. Cron went 6 – 6 in the game scoring five times, hitting two home runs and knocking in five more, making him responsible for 10 runs scored, a really incredible number. Meanwhile Perez had five hits in the game and drove in six runs himself while scoring a couple runs and knocking one out of the park. I’m more inclined to write this off as a fluke for Perez, but Cron has been doing this for a while now and I wrote about him yesterday too. Cron has 13 hits in his last five games and three HR’s and nine RBI in his last two games. The power numbers are what matters with Cron and I said yesterday I needed to see more HR’s more often from him, and he’s off to a good start on that.
8) A Nice Bounce Back Start Turned In By Scott Kazmir
After failing to reach six innings in four of his last five outings and coming into yesterday’s game with a 4.67 ERA, Scott Kazmir may have just turned in his best performance of the season. Kazmir held the Rockies scoreless for six innings, allowing only three hits and striking out 10. Kazmir was rolling so it’d have been nice to see at least one more inning from him, but he was pulled for a pinch hitter after six. Despite struggling to keep his ratios down Kazmir has been racking up the strikeouts still with 101 K’s in 94.2 IP. It’d be nice to see him string a few of these quality starts together, but he can’t be dropped with these strikeouts.
9) The Breakout Season Of Drew Pomeranz Continues To Roll On
It’s basically one strong start after another from Drew Pomeranz this season who is absolutely making good on his promise a couple years after expected. Pomeranz went seven strong innings against the Yankees, allowing one run on five hits, no walks and seven strikeouts. Pomeranz now has allowed just the one run in 14 IP over his last two starts with 13 K’s. Pomeranz has seven quality starts in his last 10 and his ERA is now all the way down to 2.65 with a very strong 10.3 K/9 rate. It’ll be interesting to see whether or not Pomeranz can maintain this as the innings pile up on him, but right now he is a locked in as an all-star and if he was on a better team he’d be in the running for the Cy Young.
10) Mike Zunino Knows How To Make An Impression
I’ve been waiting a while for the Seattle Mariners to call up Mike Zunino and it’s finally happened. Zunino made his season debut in the bigs last night and made a real impression with a pair of HR’s hit and he drove in three runs. In two other runs in the big leagues Zunino has shown us the power, but hasn’t been able to hit own weight and struck out far too much to stick around. Zunino has shown a reduction in strikeouts in Triple-A, while again, hitting for power. Zunino is still just 25 years old, so he has plenty of room for improvement, and now we’re going to see if he’s ready to make it happen. Considering the position he plays if you need a catcher he’s worth taking a stab on given his power potential and upside, just know it could go south.