by Will Overton
We had a nine-game slate last night and unless you live on the west coast or are a night owl you probably missed half the games with a west coast slate. Have no fear though, the RotoProfessor staff runs on little sleep and we have you covered! We’re breaking down the top10 stories of the night and giving you the fantasy implications. Now let’s get to work:
1) Another Rough Outing for Jose Quintana
It was starting to seem like things we’re going to even out for Jose Quintana after a bad start to the season. Quintana had two quality starts in his last three outings and had his ERA down to 4.42, but that was short lived. Last night the Braves teed off on the Cubs starter, as he ended his night with a line of 4.2 IP, 9 H, 6 R, 3 BB and 6 K. Quintana couldn’t keep the Braves off the bases and couldn’t keep the ball in the park allowing three HR’s. I don’t anticipate his ERA will stay above 5.00 like it is now, but he’s clearly still got some things to work out. His next scheduled start is against Cincinnati which makes it hard to bench him, but he’s definitely not a must start right now.
2) Matt Duffy is Swinging a Real Hot Stick
Once again, Matt Duffy had a nice night at the plate and he’s been racking up the hits. Duffy was 3 – 4 for the Rays last night, driving in both of the Rays runs in their 2 – 1 win. Duffy wasn’t perfect by any means as he got caught stealing twice, which steals are supposed to be his fantasy bread and butter, but it can be forgiven given his other numbers. This is the sixth multiple hit game for Duffy in his last nine starts and he’s 10 for his last 20, bringing his average up to .322. Duffy is in the lineup every day and he’s hitting third right now, so the numbers should pile up if he keeps hitting and the steals should start coming in bunches too.
3) Is Matt Olson’s Power About to Come Around?
The A’s pulled off a surprising road win against the Red Sox last night and Matt Olson played a role in that. Olson was 2 – 4 with 2 R, 1 HR and 1 RBI. Olson has been a big time fantasy disappointment after hitting 24 HR’s last year in just 189 AB’s, to go with the 23 he hit in the minors. Last night was just the fifth for Olson in his first 145 AB’s of this season. Olson’s power is down in general with only seven doubles as well. It’s a bit surprising with his LD% up so far this year, though his FB% is down. I’m still a believer in the raw power of Olson and I think the HR’s will come. If you need power on the cheap making a trade offer for Olson could be a sneaky good move.
4) Mike Fiers Puts Together Another Strong Outing
The Tigers have a few surprising success stories so far this season and one of them is Mike Fiers. The veteran starter allowed only one run in six innings last night, surrendering just three hits and a walk, striking out five and picking up his fourth win of the season. Fiers has his ERA down to 4.23 and an impeccable walk rate with only six walks all season in 38.1 IP. Fiers typically gets a few more strikeout than what we’ve seen this season, but the Tigers have also been cautious about how many pitches they allow him to throw for some reason. Fiers hit 92 pitches last night and hopefully that’s a sign that they’ll start letting him go later into games. He’s still just a deeper league and AL only guy, but he’s been steady and there’s a place for him in the right league.
5) Fantasy Alert: Keep an Eye on Niko Goodrum
Another one of those early season surprises of the Tigers is Niko Goodrum who was the star of the show last night. Goodrum was 2 – 4 last night with 2 R, 2 HR and 5 RBI. In his last three starts now he is 7 – 11 with 3 HR’s hit and 5 runs scored. Goodrum has just 70 AB’s and has been used as a utility guy coming in late in games in different situations. Now though with both Miguel Cabrera and Jaimer Candelario on the DL and Nick Castellanos missing time as well, there’s a spot somewhere for Goodrum any night and with as hot as he’s hitting you’d think the Tigers will keep him in the lineup. In his 70 AB’s Goodrum has four HR’s and four SB’s. I don’t think he’s an every league kind of guy, but there’s some sneaky upside here for sure.
6) Jake Odorizzi and Wade LeBlanc Battle for Six Scoreless Innings
The Twins and Mariners game was ultimately decided by the bullpens after Jake Odorizzi and Wade LeBlanc each pitched six strong scoreless innings. LeBlanc gave up just three hits and didn’t walk anyone, striking out four. This was the third start of the season for LeBlanc who was being used as a reliever and is just now being stretched out in a starter role. Based on history I don’t expect too much from LeBlanc as a starter, but this at least was a good outing. Meanwhile for Odorizzi, he gave up four hits and a walk while striking out seven. Over his last four starts he has allowed just five runs in 22.1 IP, while striking out 21 and walking seven. Control and the long ball continue to be the two things keeping Odorizzi from going to another level, but when he can keep those things under wrap like last night he can be a pleasant fantasy contributor.
7) Back on Track: Jonathan Villar Getting Some Good Swings In
After being benched for a few games over the weekend, Jonathan Villar came out and had one of his better games of the season last night. Villar was 3 – 4 with 3 R, 1 HR, 1 RBI and 1 SB. Villar’s HR was just his second of the season and the steal now given him seven. Villar is just two years removed from a season in which he had 19 HR’s and 62 SB’s, one of the best fantasy seasons of the year. It’s frustrating because you know he has the talent, he just has to put it all together, here’s hoping this is the start of a good run for him.
8) Andrew Heaney Delivers a Huge Performance Against Houston
Shutting down the juggernaut that is the Astros is no easy task, but Andrew Heaney made it look easy last night. Heaney pitched eight innings, giving up just one run on four hits and a walk, and striking out 10 batters. Heaney struggled in his first two starts of the season, but in the last four outings he has allowed just five runs in 25 innings and he has 26 strikeouts. Heaney showed some glimpses of his upside in 2016, but injuries and inconsistency have derailed him the last two seasons. Now it looks like he might be getting ready to put it all together, and fantasy owners should keep a watchful eye here.
9) Slump Busting: Scott Schebler Has a Big Game to Hopefully Break May Swoon
May has not been kind of Scott Schebler thus far, but hopefully last night can be the beginning of his fortunes starting to shift. Schebler went 3 – 4 last night with 3 R, 1 HR and 1 RBI. This was Schebler’s fifth HR of the season to date. After hitting 30 HR’s last season the expectations were kind of high for the slugger this year. It hasn’t helped his case though that the rest of the Reds offense has been so poor. I do think Schebler can get this figured out and right the ship and with that should start to come some more long balls, stay patient.
10) Are We Due for Another Brandon Belt Hot Streak?
Every year it seems there are always a couple of stretches in the season in which Brandon Belt just goes on a tear and looks like one of the top 10 hitters in the whole league for a couple of weeks. You have to wonder if we aren’t entering one of those stretches again. Belt was 3 – 5 last night with 2 R, 1 HR and 3 RBI. This was his second straight game going 3 – 5. The HR last night was the 7th of the season for Belt and you have to wonder if maybe this is the year in which Belt tops 20 HR’s for the first time after four seasons of hitting either 17 or 18. For fantasy owners though I will say make sure Belt is in your lineup right now because like I said, when he starts getting hot he can go on some incredible runs.
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