by Will Overton
Another Monday of baseball is in the books with nine games in total scheduled and nine games actually played. The bats we’re stealing the show last night for the most part, but there are some pitching performances to breakdown as well. Let’s get to the breakdown of all the top 10 stories of the night:
1) Kevin Gausman Shows Us Another Glimpse of his Potential
We keep getting these snapshots of what Kevin Gausman could be if he could just put it all together for one full season. Gausman looked fantastic last night against the Indians, even in a losing effort. Gausman had a line of 8 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 1 BB and 7 K. This is the third straight quality start for Gausman, who has an ERA of 3.24 if you take out his first start of the season where he was beat up by the Twins. These last three starts include facing the Yankees, Blue Jays and Indians. I still don’t know if we’ll ever see it fulfilled, but Gausman has the potential to be a top level pitcher still.
2) So Maybe Yonder Alonso Does Have Real Power Now?
After five seasons in the major leagues of being a good on-base guy who lacked power for a corner infielder, Yonder Alonso suddenly changed his M.O. last season when he hit 28 HR’s. I had a hard time not seeing it as a fluke, but 20 games into the 2018 season and I can’t help but be rethinking that stance. Alonso was the only one to get to Gausman last night, hitting a two run homer, his third HR in six games and fifth of the season. Alonso’s averaging is struggling, but his OBP is still pretty solid and you can’t ignore the power. I don’t think he’s a top 10 first baseman or anything, but it’s hard to ignore a guy on pace to surpass 30 HR’s and he does make an appealing corner infield option.
3) The Surprising Resurgence of Nick Markakis Continues
At 34 years old Nick Markakis was assumed to be on the decline, and it looked that way last year when his power took a big hit. Markakis has come out this year like a guy who is hardly on the decline and is out to prove he’s still a valuable asset to his team and to your fantasy team. Markakis was 3 – 4 last night with 1 R, 1 HR and 3 RBI, picking up multiple hits in five of his last nine games. Markakis isn’t likely to hit 40 or even 30 HR’s, but if he’s still able to hit .280 – .300 with 15 – 20 HR’s in the cleanup spot for the surprisingly good Braves offense, he’s got legitimate fantasy value.
4) A Much Needed Bounce Back Start from Masahiro Tanaka
The last two outings for Masahiro Tanaka have been near disasters with a combined 12 ER allowed in 10 IP, allowing almost two base runners per inning in the two starts. The Yankees pitcher went into last night’s game with a 6.45 ERA. Last night was a different story, which I am sure was a relief to Yankee fans and fantasy owners alike. Tanaka had a line of 6.2 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 3 BB and 5 K, picking up his third win of the season. Tanaka was also able to keep the ball in the park for his whole start for the first time this season. This was certainly a good sign for Tanaka owners, and while I don’t think he’s a top 30 pitcher as many project him, he’s still not someone you should drop.
5) Is Miguel Andujar Flying Under the Radar?
It’s hard to fly under the radar as a Yankees prospect, but with so many big bats stealing the attention and super prospect Gleyber Torres just being called up, I do believe Andujar isn’t getting enough attention. Andujar has settled as the most regular guy at third base, and with the way he is hitting he’ll only play more. Andujar was 2 – 5 last night with 1 R, 1 HR and 1 RBI. Andujar is now on a seven game hit streak and has multiple hits in six of these seven. This is also the sixth consecutive game with at least one RBI and his third HR in five games. This might be just a hot streak, but I do believe Andujar is a legit hitter with 15 – 20 HR pop in his bat. He hits eighth, but I don’t really see that as a huge drawback in this offense. I don’t know if Andujar is a must own in all formats, but he certainly has to be in consideration.
6) Tyler Skaggs Outduels Gerrit Cole
Shutting down the Astros offense is no easy task, but Tyler Skaggs was up to the job last night as he bounced back from a rough outing last time out (6 ER in 4.1 IP), and kept his stellar start to the season going. While Gerrit Cole was great for the Astros (7 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 BB and 8 K), Skaggs was just a little better with 7 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 1 BB and 3 K. That last start for Skaggs was definitely no good, but take that out and he has pitched 23 innings and allowed only three runs, and while he wasn’t overpowering with the K’s last night, he still has 24 K’s in 27.1 IP. Injuries and time have derailed the hype train that Skaggs once had, but this guy used to be an elite prospect, and that upside is still there for the 26 year old who is the definition of post-hype sleeper.
7) So Far Yoan Moncada is What We Thought He’d Be
When you dug into the minor league stats of Yoan Moncada and watched him play you had certain expectations for him. Moncada is a guy with serious power/speed combo potential whose average is going to fluctuate and likely hurt a bit, largely due to his high strikeouts. That was who he was in the minor leagues and it’s who he has been in the major leagues thus far. Last night Mocada had one of his better games going 3 – 5 with 3 R, 1 HR and 1 RBI. Moncada now has four HR’s to match his four SB’s and he has 13 runs scored from the leadoff spot. I think the White Sox will ride things out with Moncada at leadoff despite the K’s as he does offset them to some extent with a high walk rate. Moncada is still young with flaws to work through, but he will finish this season as a top 10 2B and by season’s end will be poised to take his place in the top five in coming years.
8) Why Can’t Marcus Semien Get a Little Bit of Love?
Owned in only 30% of leagues, Marcus Semien is criminally underrated right now. Semien has been red hot of late and kept it rolling last night going 2 – 6 with 2 R, 1 HR and 1 RBI from the leadoff spot for the A’s. This is Semien’s fourth multi-hit game in his last five and has his average up to .273 with a solid .330 OBP. The A’s offense has been surprisingly good and it shows with Semien’s 20 runs scored, which puts him on pace for more than 130. We know Semien has real power, he hit 27 HR’s two years ago, and now entrenched at leadoff this guy should absolutely finish the season top 10 at SS, if not pushing the top five. Give Semien some respect people!
9) Should Fantasy Owners Be Paying Attention to Chris Stratton?
When someone string together a few impressive starts in a row you have to take notice as a fantasy owner, and Stratton is doing just that. Last night Stratton went 6.2 innings allowing 2 R on 4 H with 3 BB and 5 K. This was Stratton’s third consecutive quality start and brings his season ERA down to 2.32. Stratton isn’t overpowering with his stuff, but he gets a lot of ground balls, and his 7.0 K/9 is at least respectable. I don’t think Stratton is someone you have to add in every league, but you should definitely at least be paying attention to the name.
10) The Dodgers Getting Surprising Offensive Help from Enrique Hernandez
The 26-year-old Hernandez has done a little of everything for the Dodgers this season, playing six different positions in the field already and hitting from almost every possible spot in the batting order as well. Last night Hernandez was hitting second and led the Dodgers offense going 3 – 4 with 1 R, 1 HR and 1 RBI. In just 51 AB’s now Hernandez has 3 HR and 9 RBI and is providing steady offensive production. The problem is that he doesn’t start every day, and while he has shown a little bit of pop the last couple of years, historically his batting average in the basement level, and so a .275 average is going to be hard to maintain.
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