by Ray Kuhn
Depending on your viewpoint, Sunday is either the start or the end to another week. While from a fantasy perspective it is the last day of the week when it comes your lineup, it is also the day when you look forward to the new week and plan out your waiver moves. At any rate, we had an exciting slate of games yesterday afternoon, and let’s take a look at some of the performances that stood out:
1) The Young Yankees Come Through
As the afternoon progressed in the Bronx, it looked like we would be seeing history yesterday. In his first career start, Domingo German held the Indians without a hit through six innings before we was replaced, after 84 pitches, by Delin Betances. The right-hander kept the no-hitter going for another inning before his 2018 struggles continued. However, it still doesn’t discount the work of German who allowed just two walks while striking out nine. While German was likely on the radar of many entering Sunday, all his performance did was increase the acquisition cost. New York ultimately emerged victorious as Glyber Torres came through with a three run, walk off homer in the bottom of the ninth. It was the second home run of his career as Torres is now up to 11 RBI in 52 at bats to go along with his .327 batting average. While the sample size is small, Torres certainly looks like he belongs and the buzz surrounding his promotion was warranted.
2) Desmond Shows off the Power
Although it likely came on the bench for most fantasy owners, Ian Desmond went deep twice on Sunday. Desmond’s career in Colorado hasn’t exactly gotten off to the start people expected to, but based on his skill set, he must remain on fantasy rosters. The two home runs Desmond hit on Sunday, both solo, gave him six on the year to go along with 16 RBI. That production certainly could be worse, but it is the .188 batting average which truly sends Desmond to the bench. With that being the case, I would still slot Desmond in as a buy low candidate. Last year, the issue with him was the power, just seven home runs and 40 RBI in 95 games, but he did hit .274. So far this season, the power and run production is there, but the batting average isn’t. Once his .198 BABIP begins to rise, you will look at Desmond differently.
3) Scherzer Continues to Dominate
What more can we really say about Max Scherzer? At first glance, fantasy owners might have something snide to say about the fact that Scherzer only went 6.1 innings and left with a no decision, after 111 pitches, but the production certainly was there. The right-hander limited Philadelphia to just one run on five hits and two walks, but of more importance were the strikeouts. Of the 19 outs that Scherzer recorded, 15 came via the strikeout as he lowered his ERA to 1.74 on the season. Especially in leagues that count quality starts, you can’t ask for anything more.
4) Rosario the Run Producer
Batting fifth appears to agree with Eddie Rosario, although Eduardo Escobar as the clean-up hitter does appear to be a little unconventional. Yesterday was the seventh game for Rosario out of the fifth spot in the order this season, and he is currently hitting .464 with four home runs 12 RBI. One of those home runs, his seventh of the season, and two of those RBI (24 overall) came on Sunday as Rosario raised his average for the season to .282 as part of a 2 for 4 day. Rosario doesn’t exactly generate much buzz, but he is a solid middle of the order hitter who shouldn’t be ignored either. Now let’s just hope Minnesota leaves him in the fifth spot.
5) Dickerson Keeps on Slugging
Yes, the “trade” of Corey Dickerson to Pittsburgh really was just a dump move, but give the Pirates credit for taking advantage of the situation. The same credit can go to Dickerson as he hasn’t missed a beat with his new team. On Sunday, the outfielder continued the success he is having this season with a 3 for 5 day. Dickerson, who is batting .310 overall, doubled for the 10th time this season while also driving in two runs to bring his total for the season up to 24. When looking at Dickerson, what truly stands out is the decrease in strikeouts. In after striking out 24.2% of the time last season, career average of 22.%, Dickerson’s strikeout rate so far this season is just 9.6%. As long as that trend continues, there was some true value here.
6) Another Win for Junis
While not every start has been without stress, you can’t argue about the overall body of work from Jakob Junis. On Sunday, the right-hander picked up his fourth victory of the season with seven strong innings against the Tigers. Yes, I know, it did come against a Detroit team who is now without Miguel Cabrera, but it counts in the standings just the same. And that is a situation that needs to be exploited. Junis earned his victory with seven innings of two run ball in which he allowed eight hits, but just one walk, while striking out eight. The start brought Junis’ ERA down to 3.18 as he has moved past the two starts in which he allowed a combined 10 runs in 10.1 innings. Something to note though, is Junis’ .213 BABIP which directly leads into his 5.14 FIP and 4.27 xFIP. That doesn’t fully eliminate his value for me, but it does cause me to look a little closer at his match-ups.
7) Sale Does What Sale Does
There really is no other way to explain it. No one should be surprised by what transpired during Chris Sale’s start in Texas on Sunday. The southpaw shut down a Rangers team that does leave a lot to be desired offensively. In seven innings of work, Sale limited Texas to just four hits and one walk with their lone run coming via a Ryan Rua home run in the seventh inning as Sale was beginning to tire. Overall, he threw 103 pitches, 71 of which were strikes, as he struck out 12 batters. It was just Sale’s third victory of the season which illustrates how fluky that statistic can be considering Boston’s success and Sale’s 2.02 ERA.
8) Koch Out Duels Verlander
It’s not like Justin Verlander did bad on Sunday, two runs (one earned) in six innings, but Matt Koch did a little better. The rookie held Houston to just one run (an Alex Bregman solo homer) on six hits in six innings for his second career victory. Koch struck out just three batters, but it didn’t matter as he kept the ball on the ground; eight ground ball outs compared to three outs in the air. Koch now has four starts with Arizona under his belt this season, and you might be playing with fire. While he has a 2.13 ERA, Koch is sporting a 4.42 and he has benefited from a .214 BABIP. Koch isn’t a heavy strikeout pitcher, and he hasn’t exactly dominated at the minor league level either; an 8.40 ERA in 45 innings at Triple-A last season is one example. With that being said, tread carefully here and resist the urge to be blinded by his initial success.
9) Ohtani Makes it Back to the Mound
It could just be me, but I feel like yesterday’s start by Shohei Ohtani didn’t generate as much buzz as some of his earlier starts. Regardless, the right-hander didn’t appear to miss a beat on the mound as he picked up his third victory of the season; and career if that is what you prefer. Ohtani wasn’t as dominant as he was against the A’s, but he still held his own against a strong Seattle lineup. Over six innings, Ohtani limited the Mariners to just two runs on six hits and two walks while striking out six and lowering his ERA to 4.10. After previously picking up both of his victories against the A’s, it was a good sign to see Ohtani have some success against Seattle.
10) Castro Drives in Three
Two singles doesn’t exactly make for an exciting day at the plate, but Starlin Castro owners aren’t exactly going to be complaining either. The second baseman, and Miami’s unlikely number three hitter, also drove in three runs as he brought his average up to .315 on the season. Castro really doesn’t do much of anything that stands out from a fantasy perspective, but he does have 16 RBI on the season, and you have to like his spot in the batting order as well.
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