10 Important Stories From 04/28/17 Box Scores: Dominant Taijuan Walker, Urias’ ’17 Debut & More

by Ray Kuhn

As the first month of the fantasy season winds down, let’s hope your fantasy team isn’t in the same situation as the Mets. Matt Harvey was forced into making yesterday’s starts, and the results were typical of someone who was pressed into action three hours before game time, and Yoenis Cespedes exited with a hamstring pull. Things haven’t exactly been going well for New York to begin with, and seeing their best player headed to the disabled list is far from ideal. However, that is an obstacle fantasy owners likely have had to overcome already. Let’s just hope you are doing it better than the Mets are.

Here are some of the performances that stood out from a full day of baseball:

1) Do we Have an Ace in Philadelphia…

Even the most ardent Jeremy Hellickson backers could have expected a start to the season like this after he accepted the qualifying offer last winter. Hellickson picked up his fourth victory of the season, in five starts, while allowing just one run in six innings of work. The right-hander scattered seven hits and didn’t walk a batter while striking out just one. In 30 innings so far this season, Hellickson has allowed just six runs, but his 1.80 ERA likely is not here to stay based on his .198 BABIP. This is a sell high situation, although even after his ERA adjusts itself, we still have a solid starter despite his 89.2 average fastball velocity.

2) Is Jose Reyes Waking Up…

There aren’t many good things to say about the Mets lately, as we touched on above, and one of the players they need to get going is Jose Reyes. The third baseman’s struggles likely haven’t had much of an impact on your fantasy team, but if he gets back on track, he could have some value as an injury replacement. Moved out of the lead-off spot and to the bottom of the order, Reyes did come through in a losing effort on Thursday going 2 for 3 with a home run, walk and two RBI. While he is batting an abysmal .138 so far this season, the only place for Reyes’ .161 BABIP to go is up.

3) Is the Cardinals Outfield Getting on Track…

We have seen Dexter Fowler begin to wake up over the last week or two, and now Randall Grichuk appears to be next. He came off the bench in the first game of St. Louis’ doubleheader on Thursday to 2 for 2 with a walk. Grichuk hit a big, game tying home run in the ninth inning (his third of the season) while also driving in another run to give him 11 RBI on the season. The outfielder then started the next game and went 1 for 4 with a walk. His average now sits at a respectable .250 after it was .190 a week ago as Grichuk represents a buying opportunity.

4) It’s Good for Everyone Else That Washington is Leaving Colorado…

Don’t worry, yesterday they only scored 16 runs as Coors Field clearly agrees with the Nationals. While it was a team effort, the usual suspects stood out for Washington. Trea Turner went 3 for 6 with a double to raise his average to .347 while scoring twice and driving in two runs. However, he was outdone by both Bryce Harper and Daniel Murphy. Each went deep, the eighth for Harper and fifth for Murphy, while both drove in three runs to raise their RBI totals to 25 apiece. This is clearly a batting order to be reckoned with.

5) And Then There Were Two in the Dodgers’ Rotation…

We know Clayton Kershaw is written into Los Angeles’ rotation in permanent ink, but there are questions surrounding the other four pitchers. After taking it easy on him for the first month of the season, the Dodgers promoted Julio Urias, hopefully to stay, on Thursday. The 20-year old is extremely talented, but there likely will be some bumps along the way as he looks to find his footing in the major leagues. Los Angeles will also be careful with their prized prospect. He got a no decision for his efforts on Thursday against the Giants after allowing one run in 5.2 innings of work. Four was the magic number for Urias as that is the number of hits, walks, and strikeouts he had.

6) Corey Kluber Settles Down…

It hasn’t been an especially strong start to the season for Kluber, but there is no reason to be concerned about the right-hander. After allowing a solo home run in the second inning and two runs in the third, Kluber bounced back to pitch four scoreless innings as Cleveland took the series against the Astros. Kluber struck out 10 to improve to 3-1. His ratios still are not ideal, 4.19 ERA and 1.25 WHIP, but they are going in the right direction and he has a track record of success. There are a lot of other players who are more deserving of your concern.

7) Efficiency in Boston…

Speaking of elite pitchers who you should not worried about, Masahiro Tanaka took care of business in Boston last night. Matched up against Chris Sale, who once again did not disappoint (three runs, two earned in eight innings with 10 strikeouts), Tanaka was even better. The right-hander needed just 97 pitches for the complete game victory as he pitched to contact, 16 ground ball outs, while striking out just three. Boston managed just three singles against Tanaka as he improved his ERA to 4.20 and his WHIP to 1.27.

8) Chris Owings Takes Advantage of the Competition…

What did you actually think was going to happen with Jered Weaver on the mound? Well the way things have been going for Owings so far this season, it hasn’t really mattered all that much who is pitching for the opposition. Taking advantage of being a legitimate starter, Owings continued his success this season. The shortstop went deep twice, both solo home runs, to give him four on the season while raising his RBI total to 19. Owings also stole his sixth base of the season as his average rose to .319. Arizona is building a legitimate lineup, and Owings certainly is a large part of it.

9) Taijuan Walker Continues His Dominance…

Between the change of scenery, move to the National League, and improved health, it was a good April for Walker. He took advantage of the competition on Thursday, San Diego, as he picked up his third victory of the season. Walker turned in eight strong innings in which he allowed just two runs while striking out 11. So far this season, Walker has 33 strikeouts as compared to just seven walks to go along with his 3.94 ERA. Don’t look past the right-hander as this could the year we see the production match the talent.

10) Mat Latos, Really…

Look past the results, and remember who Mat Latos really is. While spot starters and streaming options are always in need, sometimes you are just better off leaving a starting pitcher on the wire. The same goes for cheap options in DFS. Unless you really have a stomach for risk and want to take a chance, stay away and exercise caution. If you used Latos on Thursday, you got lucky, but I’m not sure we can expect to see that again. In his second start of the season, Latos went six scoreless innings while allowing just three hits to go along with his four walks and four strikeouts. It helped to cut his ERA essentially in half after allowing four runs over five innings in his first start of the season. I need to see more before I even think about considering to invest.

Make sure to check out our Preseason 2017 Prospect Rankings:

Top 50 Prospects1-50
Catcher1-10
First Base1-10
Second Base1-10
Shortstop1-10
Third Base1-10
Outfielders:1-1011-20
Right Handed Pitchers:1-1011-20
Left Handed Pitchers:1-10

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