10 Important Stories From 09/14/17 Box Scores: Impressive Outings For Weaver & Godley & More

by Ray Kuhn

History. When it comes to baseball, history is all around us. Perhaps the best thing about it, is that you never know when or in what form it will come. While, other than success of the Cleveland Indians’ individual players, their now 22 game winning streak hasn’t mattered in the realm of fantasy baseball, it certainly has been exciting to follow. Let’s jump right into some of the stories from a fantasy perspective that stood out from a busy Thursday in baseball:

 

1)      Garcia Has Finally Arrived…
While the days of referring to Avisail Garcia as “Baby Miggy” have passed, we must first remember that the onetime top prospect is still just 26 years old. So if we are going to refer to 2017 as a breakout campaign for Garcia, it could be a logical conclusion to draw. It is quite possible that what we are seeing this season is the ceiling for Garcia, I’m not sure we can expect much more from him in 2018, and even though it his performance might not reach the levels we thought when he made his debut in 2012, he has developed into a productive outfielder. Yesterday though, Garcia had his best game of the season as he went 5 for 5 with a walk. Garcia hit a three run home run in the 6th inning (his 17th of the season), and he also singled four times while driving in four more runs. On the season, Garcia has 77 RBI and is batting .333 while benefitting from a .397 BABIP.

 

2)      Benintendi Keeps on Hitting…
Another game, and three more hits for Andrew Benintendi who continues to do what was expected of him this season. And that is hit. Yesterday was another three hit game for Benintendi, two of which were doubles (25 on the season) as he drove in three more runs. With just about two weeks left in his first full rookie season, Benintendi has settled in as the number three hitter for Boston and he is hitting a solid .280 with 83 RBI. We still have some time for his power to develop, but even if it doesn’t, we still have a pretty solid, if not exciting hitter on our hands.

 

3)      Weaver Keeps on Dealing…
While the Cardinals are concerned about their 2017 playoff situation and are in an “all hands on deck” situation, Luke Weaver is taking advantage of his opportunity and staking his claim to a rotation spot for next season. Weaver picked up his sixth victory of the season last night, against just one loss, with six innings of one run ball. The right-hander limited the Reds to just two hits, and the run he did allow was unearned. In 10 games so far this season, Weaver has a 1.89 ERA and has struck out 58 batters in 47.2 innings while keeping base runners at a minimum  (1.03 WHIP). He is definitely a pitcher to keep an eye on for next season.

 

4)      Godley Shuts Out the Rockies…
Another young starter who has pitched himself into a rotation spot while his team competes for a playoff spot is Zack Godley. Godley kept things moving in the right direction yesterday with eight shutout innings at home against Colorado. The right-hander allowed just five hits, and perhaps most importantly, he didn’t walk a batter while striking out seven. Through 23 starts this season, Godley’s ERA sits at 3.00, and with a FIP of 3.30 (3.26 xFIP), you have to feel comfortable with Godley being a solid contributor next season. He has struck out 9.5 batters per nine innings so far this season, and 55.5% of his outs have come on the ground. He has benefited from a .268 BABIP, but keeping the ball on the ground will also help with that.

 

5)      Judge Awakens…
You can’t sleep on power. That is not to say that Aaron Judge has taken lengthy naps in the second half of the season, but you can’t take away the fact that he owns his power. Judge broke through in a big way last night as he went deep twice, with both home runs coming with two men on base. On the season, Judge is now up to 43 home runs and 96 RBI, while his batting average has dropped to .277. With a BABIP of .362, his batting average still might be inflated, but it’s difficult to argue with his .312 ISO. Even as Judge has struggled in the second half of the season with a .197 batting average, he still has 13 home runs, so while I wouldn’t write Judge off, we just might have to adjust our expectations for him.

 

6)      Hernandez Sets the Table…
It is not a secret that this season hasn’t gone according to plans for the Phillies. And for the past month or so the focus, rightfully so, was placed squarely on Rhys Hoskins. But a closer look, shows that Cesar Hernandez has developed into a solid lead-off man and second baseman. Hernandez picked up four hits yesterday, all singles, while also scoring two runs. You aren’t going to get much power from Hernandez, just eight home runs and 30 stolen bases, but he has managed to score 74 runs despite Philadelphia’s lackluster lineup, and he is hitting a solid .293. We also can’t overlook the 14 bases that Hernandez has stolen so far this season.

 

7)      Bruce Comes Through in the Clutch…
To say that the move to Cleveland has agreed with Jay Bruce would be an understatement. After struggling for most of his stretch with the Mets last season, Bruce has shown that he can handle the pressure of both a pennant race and a record breaking winning streak. Despite going 0-3 with a walk and leaving four runners on base, Bruce rose to the occasion in the 10th inning last night as his RBI single sent the Indians home winners. Overall, Bruce is hitting .255 with 94 RBI on the season, and since the trade to Cleveland he is hitting .253 with five home runs and 19 RBI in 28 games. Bruce is never going to hit much higher than .250, but he is a proven run producer with power who doesn’t sabotage your batting average.

 

8)      Rizzo Goes Deep Again…
Yes, I know, this season hasn’t gone according to plans for the Cubs. They have struggled and their stats just don’t compare to 2016. But don’t look now, Anthony Rizzo is getting pretty close to his production from last season. Rizzo went 3 for 4 yesterday, and added his 32nd home run of the season while driving in two runs. That brought his season total to 106, as he also raised his batting average to .280. We can’t diminish the fact that Rizzo struggled to start the season, but after last night, he matched his home run total from a year ago, and he should easily surpass his RBI total of 109 from a year ago. Rizzo even will come close to his .292 average from last season.

 

9)      Cruz Has a Perfect Night…
Nothing, will slow Nelson Cruz down. The outfielder just continues to fly under the radar, and flat out hit. Last night, he went 4 for 4 with two doubles and his 33rd home run of the season. Not only do you get power and run production (109 RBI) from Cruz, but he is also batting .289 on the season. At some point, Cruz will actually slow down, but it is clear that 2017 was not that year, and he also hasn’t given us much reason to think 2018 will be that year.

 

10)   Don’t Forget About Marwin…
The Astros have stars on their team who will, should, and do receive the bulk of the attention, but we can’t forget about Marwin Gonzalez. Not only is a he a super utility player, which means he finds his way into the lineup most nights, but he also can hit. And he is eligible just about everywhere in fantasy leagues so his owners have the same flexibility the Astros do. On Thursday, he came up with a big two RBI double, his 29th of the season, and he also added a single and scored a run. For the season, Gonzalez is batting .294 with 80 RBI, and his value can’t be underestimated.

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