by Ray Kuhn
Yesterday was a busy day in baseball, and not all of the action took place on the field. While there were nine games around the league, we also had the first day of the draft. Depending on the format of the league(s) you play in, the draft had varying levels of importance, but ultimately these are the players we will be drafting and analyzing in a few years time at the major league level. Let’s take a look at some of the performances of note from the night around baseball; on the field:
1) A Bounce Back in Queens…
With all of the the issues surrounding the Mets, and there are a lot, Jacob deGrom appeared to be the one constant with the pitching staff. However, his last two starts left fantasy owners seriously doubting that and there were concerns entering his outing last night against the Cubs. Chicago does come with their own set of concerns, but they are still a powerful lineup featuring legitimate offensive threats. None of that mattered to deGrom though as he bounced back in a big way. The right-hander picked up the complete game victory with his lone blemish being a solo home run. Of his 116 pitches, 80 were strikes as deGrom allowed five hits and four walks. He was helped out in a big way by his infield and his ability to generate ground balls as Chicago hit into a double play in four straight innings. The start lowered his ERA to 4.33, but with a 3.36 xFIP, I wouldn’t be concerned about deGrom moving forward.
2) An Even Better Pitching Story in Pittsburgh…
Jameson Taillon wasted no time in coming back after being diagnosed with cancer. The right-hander missed a little over a month to get treatment, and he didn’t miss a beat last night against Colorado. The Pirates eased Taillon back into action as he picked up his third victory of the season with five shutout innings. They lifted him after 82 pitches in which he allowed five hits and two walks while striking out five. Aside from the short outing, you would have never known Taillon had been sidelined as he lowered his ERA to 2.90.
3) Lind Takes Advantage…
While you never want to see a player sidelined, especially one doing as well as Ryan Zimmerman is this season, opportunity always follows. Well that is, if you are a Zimmerman owner. In a limited role so far this season, Adam Lind has impressed, and now he will receive steady at bats over the next week or two. Batting fifth on Monday, he wasted no time as Lind went 3 for 5 to raise his average to .341 on the season. Lind scored a run while also driving in his 24th run of the season; in 82 at bats. If you are in need of some offense, give Lind a look, as on a temporary basis there can be real production there.
4) Adams Continues to Hit…
If we are going to talk about a first baseman who is taking advantage of an opportunity, how can we forget about Matt Adams. Adams is making sure he takes full advantage of his new home in Atlanta and all of its benefits; the home park and the opening at first base due to Freddie Freeman’s injury. The first baseman went deep twice last night, a three run shot off Stephen Strasburg and a solo blast off Jacob Turner, while also adding a single, a walk, and another run scored. On the season, Adams is now batting a respectable .277 with nine home runs and 26 RBI. Before the trade, Adams had 48 at bats with the Cardinals had just one home run and eight RBI in sporadic playing time. Now that he is playing every day with Atlanta, we are finally seeing what Adams is capable as the remainder as his production has come in 89 at bats. As the ball continues to fly out of the park in Atlanta, I would look for that output to continue.
5) Benintendi Keeps on Slugging…
Slumps are a part of baseball, and they are pretty much unavoidable. However, when you are a young player who much is being expected of the, the scrutiny sometimes makes things appear worse than they are. In May, Andrew Benintendi batted .333 and fantasy owners were getting greedy. After all, the outfielder hit when he was promoted last season, and he just kept it going in April. May wasn’t nearly as kind though as the outfielder hit just .204 with two home runs, although he drove in 13 runs, but June has been a nice recovery. After going 3 for 5 with two RBI and his ninth home run of the season, a solo shot, Benintendi is hitting .314 so far in June and .274 on the season with 36 RBI. He continues to bat in a prime position in Boston’s lineup, and the outfielder can flat out hit. While there might be some bumps still along the way, and he is not a true power hitter, there certainly is fantasy production to be had.
6) Mancini Goes Deep…
Regardless of the position, first base or left field, Trey Mancini keeps on hitting. While playing time is sometimes an issue, when he is in the lineup, it’s hard to ignore the production. Last night, Mancini started the game in the outfield and then moved to first base when Chris Davis left with an oblique injury. If Davis misses an extended time, he is going for an MRI, Mancini certainly will benefit. On Monday, he went deep for the 10th time this season (a three run shot) in 159 at bats, while also singling to raise his average to .289. That brought his RBI total up to 33 as he has shown the ability to be a solid run producer with some power.
7) Valencia and Zunino Continue to Slug…
Both Danny Valencia and Mike Zunino started out the season as disappointments in Seattle. To be honest, the whole team started off slow so they weren’t alone, but both pretty much eliminated any fantasy value they had. However, in the past few weeks they have found themselves worth of being waiver wire additions as they have found their strokes. Both players went deep last night as they combined to go 5 for 10 with five RBI. It was Valencia’s sixth home run of the season (33 RBI) and Zunino’s fifth (19 RBI), as they look to find their footing in Seattle. So far in June, Valencia is hitting .342 with two home runs and 14 RBI while Zunino .364 with four home runs and 15 RBI. While the batting averages surely aren’t going to continue, there is some validity to the power production, and at the very least, these are hot streaks to be ridden.
8) Darvish Dominates…
Despite the fact that Yu Darvish is an ace, there was some skepticism about his performance last night since it was coming in Houston. Darvish put all of that to rest as he held the Astros without a hit until two outs in the fifth inning. An RBI single was the lone damage Houston was able to get off Darvish as the right-hander went seven innings for his sixth victory of the season. Darvish did walk three, while striking out four, as he lowered his ERA to 3.03, but he kept the Astros hitters off balance all night. With a 1.09 WHIP and 93 strikeouts in 89 innings, Darvish appears to be healthy as he is holding opposing hitters to a .194 batting average against.
9) Tanaka Moves in the Right Direction…
The Yankees said it was a one time thing, but Masahiro Tanaka was given an extra day between starts as he looks to get his season on track. That lined up with to start in Los Angeles last night against the Angels, instead of at home against the Orioles, and Tanaka took advantage. He was however, hindered both by his defense (of the three runs he allowed, two were unearned) and his bullpen (Tyler Clippard blew the save and then picked up Tanaka’s win). The right-hander went 6.2 innings while limited the Angels to four hits and two walks while striking out eight. It still wasn’t an ace level performance, but as Tanaka lowered his ERA to 6.06, it was a nice step in the right direction as this is still a situation that needs monitoring.
10) Pirela Keeps it Going…
With a team like San Diego, there are always going to be fantasy opportunities for players coming out of nowhere. Even if their success is fleeting, it doesn’t matter as fantasy owners have to look for every edge they can find; even if it is a temporary hot streak. Plus, you never truly know how long it can be sustained for. Now, I wouldn’t go crazy with my investment in Jose Pirela, but he can’t be ignored either. Batting lead-off on Monday, and this time playing left field, he went 2 for 4 with a walk, an RBI, and two runs scored. In 26 at bats with the Padres since his promotion, Pirela is now batting .500 with six RBI and seven runs scored.
Make sure to check out all of our updated rankings:
|First Base||June 3|
|Second Base||June 5|