10 Important Stories From 07/05/17 Box Scores: Is Alex Wood An “Ace”, Cole Rebounds & More

by Ray Kuhn

While weather was an issue across baseball last night, we only lost one game. Other than the Mets game in Washington, all of the other impacted games were completed; albeit after a late start. The day was full of action, so let’s jump right into some of the performances that stood out from a fantasy perspective.

1) It Doesn’t Stop for Judge…

If you are waiting for Aaron Judge to stop, or even slow down, you aren’t going to be happy. In fact, all you are missing, is more home runs. Judge took care of another record yesterday, as with his 29th home of the season, he tied Joe DiMaggio for most home runs by a Yankees rookie. While that is impressive on its own merits, we also should not that Judge has about half of the season left. It was a two run shot for the outfielder, who also added a single to bring his average up to .331, giving him 65 RBI. The realist in me knows he can’t keep this pace up, at least to this extent, but Judge hasn’t shown too many, if any, signs of a true slow down.

2) Smith Had a Close to Perfect Day…

When it comes to a player like Mallex Smith, batting average (and on base percentage) is important. While you obviously want to do in that category, it’s different when it comes to Smith. After all, he can’t do what he is most valuable at, steal bases, if he doesn’t reach first. Yesterday, Smith was perfect at the plate as he went 4 for 4 with a double, while also scoring three out of the the four times he reached base. If it is possible though, fantasy owners left slightly disappointed, as Smith only stole one base. It was the 10th stolen base of the season for Smith who is hitting .333. With him hitting at the top of the order, and hitting well at that, the stolen bases will continue to come for the speedy Smith.

3) A Bounce Back Start for Cole…

Whether Gerrit Cole stays in Pittsburgh or is traded in the next few weeks, one thing is clear. The right-hander needs to find his consistency. In fact, that those two things might be related as his Cole’s next few starts could be an audition for his new employer. June was a case of extremes for Cole as he ended the month with a 6.17 ERA. In three of his starts, he allowed seven earned runs each, however in the other three starts, the right-hander held opponents to just one run each. Yesterday, he bounced back to hold the Phillies to two runs on seven hits and a walk to bring his ERA for the season down 4.43. Cole struck out eight batters on the day and for the season he is striking out a solid 7.61 batters per nine innings. If you are looking to find optimism along with the inconsistency, Cole’s xFIP is 3.96 (while his FIP is 4.56).

4) Don’t Discount Garza…

I will fully admit it, I am very much guilty of this. When looking at potential streaming options or a starting pitcher to fill out the back of my rotation, I always bypass Matt Garza. It really doesn’t matter who the opponent is or how Garza is doing, but I just don’t trust him. While I’m certainly not rushing to my waiver wire to add him, this season might be slightly different. Starting at home against the Orioles yesterday, Garza shut Baltimore out for 6.1 innings as he allowed five hits and two walks. Garza struck out four batters as he brought his ERA down to 3.98 while picking up his fourth victory of the season, in 13 starts. You aren’t getting true domination from Garza as he has just 51 strikeouts in 72.1 innings to go along with a 1.27 WHIP, but he has only allowed more than four runs once in a start.

5) Something Different from Springer…

George Springer is clearly having an All-Star season as he has been one of the best outfielders in the game so far in 2017. The future also looks to be bright for Springer who should be in the conversation for AL MVP. But for as good as Springer has been, there also has been one part of his game that was missing. Not that he hasn’t been a fantasy asset all season, but he could be better. With that being said, the focus from last night shouldn’t be on the the three hits he picked up to bring his average to .300 on the season, the three runs he scored, or the two runs he drove in to give him 55 RBI on the season out of the lead-off spot. Instead, we have to hone in on the fact that Springer stole two bases. For someone with his speed, that should not be breaking news, but they were the first two stolen bases of the season for Springer. Let’s hope this trend continues, as his value will only skyrocket.

6) Odor Goes Deep…

While Roughned Odor only had one official at bat last night, we has a huge factor in the game for Texas as he scored three runs. But what fantasy owners truly care about, is that Odor made his one at bat count. The second baseman took Doug Fister deep for a two run homer, which was his 16th of the season. For all of the talk of Odor struggling this season, which he has, he hasn’t been an full disappointment due to the home runs. However, those home runs have been essentially his entire production on the season as he has just 38 RBI and he is batting only .216. Odor’s BABIP is just .239, so eventually his average will start to climb, but aside from those home runs (and power is more plentiful these days) it has been a disappointing year for Odor. His strikeouts are up to 24.2% this season from 21.4% last season while his ISO is down to .180 from .231 last year. If Odor is a buy low candidate for you, making sure you buy very low. But at the very least, he should get to 25 home runs on the season.

7) Bridwell Shuts out the Twins…

The Angels are going to look for pitching anywhere they can find it, and that has brought them to Parker Bridwell. The right-hander, who was released by Orioles at the beginning of the season, has had a very pedestrian minor league career, and had a 4.28 ERA in six games with the Angels’ Triple-A team prior to his promotion. When you are investing in Bridwell, you aren’t doing it for the upside, as it is simply a move to catch lightning in the a bottle for this season. That is what happened last night in Minnesota, as Bridwell didn’t allow a run in six innings of work as he picked up his third victory of the season. The Twins picked up four hits and three walks but couldn’t get a run across the plate as Bridwell struck out five and lowered his ERA to 3.24. But with a 6.45 FIP entering last night, and a 5.40 xFIP, I would stay away unless you are planning to stream an opposing offense against Bridwell; last night notwithstanding.

8) Stanton Goes Deep, Twice…

We are halfway through the season, and don’t jinx it, but Giancarlo Stanton has remained healthy. The outfielder took Mike Leake deep in consecutive innings last night to bring his home run total up to 23 for the season. Stanton started off with a solo shot and then added a three run blast, he also walked and singled, and he is now up to 54 RBI on the season while batting a solid .271. Last night was the 37th game in which Stanton batted second, and it appears to be making no difference to the outfielder whether he bats second or third in the lineup.

9) The Moose is Loose…

If there is ever a season in which to truly break out in, the one in which you will be a free agent at its conclusion would be that season. As he is truly healthy, we are getting the perfect look at what Mike Moustakas is capable of at the plate. Last night, the third baseman hit his 25th home run of the season as part of a three hit night. The two run shot gave Moustakas 54 RBI on the season and he is hitting a solid .275. While there are lots of third baseman having good seasons, you could argue that Moustakas is one of them more valuable commodities from a fantasy perspective based on how he is outperforming his draft position.

10) Wood Can’t Be Touched…

Another start, and another victory for Alex Wood as he is now 10-0 on the season. The last year and a half or so was tough for the southpaw as he battled injury and was lost in the shuffle with the Dodgers, but we also should remember that he is still just 26 years old. Last night might have been his best start of the season, as Wood struck out 10 batters in seven innings of work while not allowing a run. The Diamondbacks picked up just three hits and two walks, while Wood lowered his ERA to 1.67 and his WHIP to just 0.89. In 80.2 innings so far this season, Wood has struck out 97 batters and the most runs he has allowed a game so far this season is four (twice). May might have been the best month for Wood, as after allowing four runs in his first start, he 23.1 scoreless innings to close out the month. Entering last night, Wood’s FIP was 2.12 and he had an xFIP of 2.59, so you can feel confident his outlook moving forward. However, despite the seven innings he threw last night, his workload will likely be monitored, and I wouldn’t elevate him to “ace” status just yet.

4 comments

  1. Sir Fredrick Freeman says:

    10Team Roto Keeper.

    1) Who would you rather have for the next 3 years, Marcell Ozuna, Adam Duvall, or Scott Schebler?

    2) I’m looking for SV and RBI and have found someone with Ozuna and Duvall. How unbalanced is Ozuna($6) or Duvall($10) and Kenley Jansen($34) for Aaron Sanchez($12) or Ian Kinsler($20), Schebler($10), and Edwin Diaz($12)? Next year’s values shown.

    I’m interested to get your reaction/take if any of these players are worth long term potential and reaching for.

    • Rotoprofessor says:

      1) Ozuna, without question

      2) Diaz’ price helps to offset the deal, but I don’t think the other owner would take it. Ozuna at $6 should be a nice bargain, and the best of anyone in that deal

      • Sir Fredrick Freeman says:

        If the owner would go for it, what’s your thoughts on all four:
        Sanchez($12), Diaz($12), Kinsler($20), Schebler($10) for,
        Ozuna($6) and Jansen($34)

        They’re in desperate need of 2B (Ben Zobrist) and if they don’t want 2 reds, then I could sub Ryan Braun($33) for Schebler($10) as Braun is most likely not kept.

        • Rotoprofessor says:

          If they’d go for it, then sure. Diaz is the only real value you’d be giving up (though I’d be hesitant to swap Braun in)

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