by Ray Kuhn
Yesterday was a busy day around baseball, so let’s not waste any time taking our trip around the major leagues. Here are some performances that stood out to us from a fantasy perspective:
1) Arenado is a Complete Player…
By now, everyone has likely seen, or at least heard about the highlight worthy defensive play made by Nolan Arenado. That should not come as a surprise, as Arenado is one of the best defenders in the game. And yes, I know, we don’t get any fantasy credit for that. However, while he consistently gets attention for his defense, we shouldn’t forget how good he is at the plate; and therefore in fantasy baseball. Yesterday, was just a normal game for Arenado as he picked up two hits, to raise his average to .294 and drove in two more runs to bring his season total to 61.
2) Strikeouts Galore in Washington…
If you expected the Cubs to be fired up by Miguel Montero’s comments and subsequent release, Stephen Strasburg took care of that. In seven innings of work, the right-hander struck out 13 batters while allowing three runs (two earned) on just four hits and one walk. It was the ninth victory of the season for Strasburg, against just two losses, who despite his success, is carrying a 3.51 ERA. That is not going to break your team, but you would also like to see your elite pitchers sit slightly lower than that. However, Strasburg has taken full advantage of all the run support Washington offers, and with a 3.09 FIP, we should see some improvement in the second half of the season. You also have to like his 1.10 WHIP and it’s always a good thing when a pitcher strikes out 10.69 batters per nine innings.
3) Is There a New Catcher in Pittsburgh…
Yes, Francisco Cervelli is injured, but it’s not like he’s especially successful at the plate. And it’s hard to argue with the performance we have been seeing from Elias Diaz. At the very least, I would expect there to be more of a time share behind the plate when Cervelli returns; given Diaz keeps hitting. Last night, Diaz picked up two hits and two RBI. In 68 at bats, he is batting .294 with 13 RBI after hitting .281 in Triple-A prior to his promotion this season. Last year, Diaz spent time at three levels in the minor leagues and hit .290. With a career high of 54 RBI, no one is going to confuse Diaz with a top prospect, but he is a catcher who is currently hitting, so therefore he should be on your radar.
4) Stroman Dominates the Orioles…
That is how you take care of a divisional opponent. Now that he is back from his knee injury, and also the WBC, we are beginning to see on a consistent basis what Stroman is capable of. The right-hander shutout the Orioles last night over 7.2 innings as he limited them to just five hits and one walk. Stroman, who struck out eight, lowered his ERA to 3.41 as he picked up his eighth victory of the season. Stroman isn’t going to blow batters away, 7.53 strikeouts per nine innings, but he is going to limit the walks, 2.15, and pitch into the seventh inning in most starts. With a 3.45 xFIP, you can also feel comfortable with his performance.
5) Perez Continues with the Power…
The concern with catchers is always going to be that their performance slows down as the season progresses. But so far, you are getting more than enough production from Sal Perez to deal with that situation. With the Royals still on the fringe of the playoffs, they are going to continue putting their best team on the field each night, and that includes Perez. On Wednesday, the catcher picked up two more hits which included his 16th home run of the season (a two run shot). All together, Perez drove in three runs, giving him 48 RBI on the season, and raised his average to .291.
6) Matz Gives the Mets What they Need…
I’m not sure there are enough words to accurately describe the Mets pitching and injury situation. And that is just how it impacts the team as a whole, let alone fantasy players who have had to scramble. But for one night, all was right in the world as Steven Matz provided a glimpse into what should be. The southpaw provided seven dominant innings of work in Miami as he led the Mets to a rare, stress free, victory. Matz limited the Marlins to just six hits and one walk while not allowing a run and striking out four. In his brief time with the Mets this season, Matz has a 2.67 ERA and it’s hard not to feel confident with him moving forward. However, you should just be aware that this is the Mets we are dealing with and, regardless of how good he looked last night, Matz still has an injury history. You can buy into the success, just tread carefully on the health.
7) A Nice Debut for Andujar…
Seeing Miguel Andujar make his major league debut last night wasn’t exactly expected or on the radar, but injuries have made it possible. While there are certainly better and more exciting prospects around baseball that have more talent and a better track record, you have to be aware of each infusion of young talent we receive. And last night, Andujar wasted no time in making his presence felt. Getting the start at the DH spot with Matt Holliday sidelined, Andujar went 3 for 4 with a walk and drove in four runs. The rookie singled twice and doubled as he looks to expand on his success in the minor leagues prior to his promotion. Between Double-A and Triple-A so far this season, Andujar is hitting .314 with eight home runs and 54 RBI. There is going to be a direct correlation of performance, but keep an him as long as he receives regular playing time with the Yankees.
8) Reddick Has a Nice Night…
When a team scores 11 runs and has 17 hits as the Astros did last night, it likely was a balanced effort. That was certainly the case on Wednesday, but we should give some attention to Josh Reddick. He mostly plays against right-handed pitcher, and bats second at that, but it is easy to forget about him with all of the young stars Houston has in their lineup. Last night, he went 3 for 4 (all singles), but he scored twice and drove in three runs. On the season, Reddick is hitting .305 and has driven in 31 runs. That production isn’t going to make or break your season, but it is nice to get out of your fourth or fifth outfielder.
9) Wainwright Picks up the Win…
Don’t let last night’s success fool you; Adam Wainwright is still a shaky fantasy option. Aside from a stretch of close to a month in May, the right-hander has not been kind to the ratios of fantasy owners. The problem though, is that in some cases, as he did last night, Wainwright produces like a fantasy relevant option. He picked up his eighth victory of the season (there is another problem as you look to chase wins) by holding the Diamondbacks to two runs in 6.1 innings. However, Wainwright did allow eight hits and a walk while striking out eight batters to lower his ERA to 5.17. At 1.54, his WHIP isn’t any better, but his 4.04 FIP should give you some optimism. Use him for the strikeouts and a chance at a victory, but do so at your own peril knowing what he can do to your ratios.
10) Margot is Back…
And yes, Manuel Margot looks fine. While what he does at the plate matters, that is not the true focus here. What is most important to fantasy owners, is how Margot looks on the bases, and that was answered last night. The speedy outfielder picked up two stolen bases on Wednesday, to give him seven on the season, and fantasy owners are likely feeling a lot better this morning. At the plate, Margot singled twice and walked while coming around to score each time he reached base.
Make sure to check out all of our updated rankings:
|First Base||June 3|
|Second Base||June 5|