by Ray Kuhn
At this point in the season, things can go either way for fantasy owners. Either, it’s just taking too long for the year to finish, or you are totally immersed in the action each night and can’t believe that we are almost a third of the way through August. Regardless of what camp you are in, you are doing yourself a disservice if you don’t continue to follow along with the action on the field. Let’s take a look at some of the performances that stood out from a busy Tuesday around the league:
1) Soto Keeps it Up
Entering the season, Juan Soto wasn’t on the radar of many, if any, owners in re-draft leagues, but the outfielder has certainly changed that. Soto is playing well beyond his years, and he is also showing a well-rounded skill set. After yesterday’s double-header, Soto is now hitting .315 on the season following a 3 for 6 day with two RBI, a home run, two runs scored, and three walks. Soto is now up to 14 home runs and 39 RBI on the season in 287 plate appearances, but it is well rounded approach that really draws your attention. So far this season, Soto has 49 walks against 52 strikeouts, and there is no reason not to expect this success to continue.
2 Keuchel Gets Nothing for His Efforts
Pitching in a National League part hindered Dallas Keuchel on Tuesday, as Houston lifted him for a pinch hitter after 87 pitches. The southpaw had just one bad a pitch, a solo homer by Brandon Crawford, as he limited the Giants to just three hits and two walks in six innings of work. The southpaw’s ERA now sits at just 3.53 after striking out five as he continues his recent success. In Keuchel’s last seven starts, the left-hander’s ERA sits at just 1.97 with a 5-1 record and a 1.03 WHIP as he looks primed to finish the season strong as he heads into free agency.
3) He Just Doesn’t Stop
While it may be getting old, it certainly doesn’t mean fantasy owners are enjoying it any less. J.D. Martinez really just isn’t showing any signs of slowing down this season. At this point, it’s really looking like the 45 home runs and 104 RBI that Martinez put up last season was just a warm up act. After going 3 for 5 with four RBI, including a three run homer, Martinez is already at 34 home runs and 97 RBI with two months to in the season. Couple that with his .328 batting average and 1.044 OPS, and Martinez is in prime position for the AL MVP.
4) You Have to Like The Efficiency
Rightfully so, Tampa Bay is being conservative with Tyler Glasnow. But watching him pitch at this point, and also knowing what he is capable of from his days as a top prospect, could really excite a fantasy owner. Regardless of the fact that Glasnow only got through four innings last night, he is getting to the point where he should be owned in all leagues. The lack of length from the right-hander was just a philosophical decision by the Rays as they take their time in stretching Glasnow out since he worked out of the bullpen previously this season in Pittsburgh. With 41 of his 62 pitches going for strikes, you can’t say that Glasnow wasn’t efficient as he limited Baltimore to one run (a Tim Beckham solo homer) on two hits. Perhaps more importantly, Glasnow didn’t walk a batter as he struck out nine.
5) Rosario Has an Empty Day
Just because Eddie Rosario didn’t score a run or drive in a run, we shouldn’t breeze past his performance last night. The outfielder had perhaps one of the quietest four hit games possible, two singles and two doubles, as he brought his average up to .299 on the season. Rosario is now at 28 doubles overall to go with his 20 home runs, 66 RBI, and 72 runs scored. So, it’s not exactly like Rosario is struggling to produce or score runs, yesterday just wasn’t his day in that department. It was also a good sign to see the outfielder bust out, as even including last night’s effort, he is hitting just .234 over his last 15 games. Next time, let’s hope he can drive in a few runs as he looks to build on Tuesday’s performance.
6) That National League Strikes Again
If it wasn’t such a close game, and Miles Mikolas didn’t have the fortune of being due to hit in the top of the eighth inning, it’s very possible we would have seen a complete game from the right-hander on Tuesday. Mikolas cruised through seven innings against the Marlins as he needed just 81 pitches, 59 strikes, to do so. He was actually matched across the field by Pablo Lopez who also allowed two runs in seven hits, but Matt Carpenter’s eighth inning home run (30th for the season) secured Mikolas’ 12th victory of the season. Yet again, Mikolas was efficient with his control as he didn’t walk a batter (1.56 per nine innings for the season), but he only picked up one strikeout. That is the one issue with Mikolas and his 2.74 ERA, as so far this season, he is striking out just over six batters per nine innings. Mikolas benefits from a 51.8% ground ball rate, and while his 3.22 FIP and 3.73 xFIP continue to signal danger ahead, the right-hander continues to get results. And even at those levels, fantasy owners would find little to complain about.
7) Colon Makes History
While there were other more fantasy worth performances, both good (Roughned Odor continues to hit as he drives in four) and bad (11 runs, seven earned, from Felix Hernandez), how can we not give props to Bartolo Colon. In most leagues, his days of fantasy relevance are gone thanks to his 5.18 ERA, but he did pick up his sixth victory of the season last night. By no means should that be taken as an invitation to use him, but it was his 246th career victory which means Colon now holds the record for most wins by a pitcher not born in the US. It was ugly as Colon allowed four runs on eight hits in seven innings, but he didn’t walk a batter, while striking out just one.
8) Andujar Shows Why He is an Everyday Player
With Brandon Drury long gone, first to the minors and then to Toronto, Miguel Andujar’s hold on regular playing time cannot be disputed. Perhaps the third baseman has also taken the Yankees by surprise with how well he has performed to this point in the season. On Tuesday, Andujar went deep for the 15th time this year, a solo shot, as part of a three hit and two RBI day. The third baseman is now batting .292 for the season with 50 RBI, and in his last 30 games, Andujar is hitting .327. Last season, between two minor league levels, Andujar went deep 16 times in 125 games (his career high) and through 101 games so far this season, he appears poised to pass that with ease as the 23 year old’s power is still developing.
9) Reyes is Back
Injuries, Wil Myers is on the disabled list once again, have opened up playing time for Franmil Reyes, and in his last two games, he certainly is taking advantage of it. We know that Reyes has power, but he also has inconsistency and a propensity to strike out in a crowded San Diego outfield. That means treading carefully, but being aware of what could happen if he does receive regular playing time. After going 2 for 3 with a home run on Sunday, Reyes had a perfect night yesterday going 3 for 3 with a walk. He went deep again, his eighth home run in 110 at bats, while scoring three runs and driving in three. Overall, Reyes has 12 RBI and a .255 batting average, but he also has 43 strikeouts.
10) Ohtani Shows off That Power
It is still unclear whether or not Shohei Ohtani will take the mound again this season, but he has been showing some value in the middle of the Angels’ batting order. Batting third on Tuesday, Ohtani got things going for Los Angeles in the first inning with a three run homer, his 12th of the season, that brought his RBI total up to 32. In 223 plate appearances, Ohtani is hitting a respectable .273, but it’s the 27.8% strikeout rate that is causing a problem. With a .263 ISO, you can’t dispute Ohtani’s power, and despite his .203 batting average so far in August, that was his third home run.