by Ray Kuhn
Entering last night, weather had the potential to cause issues at quite a few games around the league. Ultimately, there were no rain-outs, and everything was played to completion. The problem though, is that thanks to the rain, we only got to see two innings from Michael Kopech in his debut. We also had some player movement as Daniel Murphy now heads to the Cubs, with Matt Adams joining the Cardinals and Bryce Harper remaining in Washington after the Nationals pulled back his waiver status.
We also went from Buster Posey potentially having season ending hip surgery, to now planning to be in the lineup today. Jose Abreu is in fact having surgery, so now fantasy owners have to deal with replacing him, potentially for the remainder of the season. Then there is Justin Upton hitting the disabled list for a lacerated finger, Aroldis Chapman having an MRI on his knee, and more.
So yes, it was a busy day around the league to say the least. Let’s take a look at some of the fantasy performances that stood out:
1) An Abbreviated Debut
Did you really think we would make you wait to talk about Michael Kopech? Despite only making it through two innings of work before the weather took over, the right-hander certainly impressed in his major league debut. After putting up a 3.70 ERA in 126.1 innings at Triple-A this season, with 170 strikeouts, Kopech faced the Twins on Tuesday. In flashing his explosive arsenal, the right-hander worked around three hits to not allow a run while striking out four. After walking just about a batter every other inning earlier this season, it was a good sign that Kopech didn’t walk a batter. However, control will be something to monitor, as we know that the strikeouts will be there.
2) Atlanta is Agreeing With Gausman
I know I covered Kevin Gausman entering the week as one of the pitchers to target who was taking the mound twice, but after last night’s performance, we have to give him further attention. The right-hander threw eight shutout innings to pick up his eighth victory overall for the season, and his third with Atlanta. After last night, Gausman has a 2.00 ERA with the Braves in 27 innings of work, and overall his ERA now sits at 3.99. Gausman limited Pittsburgh to just four hits and two walks while striking out five batters and continuing his success.
3) McKinney Get the Call
Freed from the Yankees’ system of simply too many outfielders, it seems like Billy McKinney will get a chance to show what he can do with Toronto. In his fourth game with the Blue Jays, McKinney certainly made his presence felt as he went 2 for 3 with a walk and two runs scored. His night included a solo home run and three RBI, and now we look to see if McKinney can continue to be a fantasy asset down the stretch. For his career, he is a .269 minor league hitter with just 57 home runs since 2013, so unless you are in a deeper league mining for at bats, I would pass for now.
4) McNeil is Perfect
It seems that since his promotion, all Jeff McNeil does is hit. The Mets have not been shy about plugging him into their lineup each night, batting second and playing second, and through 100 plate appearances, he has not disappointed. Just about every time the Mets are doing something good offensively since his promotion, it seems like McNeil is part of it. Last night, McNeil had a perfect night at the plate, three singles and a double, while driving in a run and scoring twice. After having success at both Double-A and Triple-A to start the season, McNeil is just keeping that going with his .326 batting average, and while it’s possible he finishes the season closer to .290 (he has a .351 BABIP), he is still worth a look.
5) Zimmermann Picks up a Victory
I guess, this is why the Cubs need Daniel Murphy. For the fifth straight game, all Chicago has managed is one run via a solo homer, and last night, Jordan Zimmermann was the pitcher who got things started for the opposition. The veteran right-hander picked up his sixth victory of the year by allowing that one run over six innings of work. Chicago did have other opportunities against Zimmermann as he scattered seven hits and a walk, but he was able to diffuse any other threats while lowering his ERA to 4.18. On the surface, your instincts are saying to avoid the right-hander since an implosion can come at anytime, but he has shown so far this season to be a solid streaming option. Just don’t hold your breath for a victory.
6) The Second Stint is Working Out Pretty Good
After his first stint with the Indians didn’t exactly end well due to his struggles, I thought that might be the last we see of Melky Cabrera. However, the outfielder is back with Cleveland, and this time, he is locked in at the plate. Last night, Cabrera went 3 for 4 to raise his average to .275 on the season, as he finished a triple shy of the cycle. Cabrera hit his sixth home run of the season on Tuesday, a solo shot, and four of those six home runs have come in his last seven games. During that stretch, Cabrera is hitting .400 with nine RBI, and in the short term, this is a streak worth riding.
7) Gennett The Run Producer
With a lot of the focus in Cincinnati focused on Eugenio Suarez and all of his RBI, we can’t lose sight of Scooter Gennett and his production in the middle of the order. Last night’s two hit effort, including Gennett’s 19th home run of the season (a solo shot), but he did drive in three runs for the game which brought his season to 75 RBI. Combine that with a .313 batting average, and you have a second baseman who is deserving of our attention.
8) Hosmer Goes Deep
To say that it was been a disappointing season for Eric Hosmer in San Diego could potentially be an understatement. Yesterday, the first baseman went deep for just the 13th time this season, a two run shot, as part of a two hit effort. With just 54 RBI, a .261 batting average, and .730 OPS, Hosmer isn’t exactly doing a lot to earn both his contract and spot in the middle of the order for San Diego. What’s done is done though, and the first baseman is simply too good of a player to sit on the bench, as you likely don’t have a better fantasy option. However, Hosmer has turned things around in his last 30 games as he is hitting .303. The problem though, is that the power (three home runs), and run production (13 RBI) really isn’t there.
9) The Anderson Stream Works
Target the Rangers, and do it from the friendly confines of a pitcher’s park. That sounds like a favorable match-up if you are looking for some cheap or streaming starting pitching, and Brett Anderson certainly delivered last night. The southpaw came through with seven shutout innings to pick up his third victory of the season and bring his ERA down to 3.47. Texas managed just one hit and one walk against Anderson, who struck out six, as he continues to be an asset for Oakland down the stretch. It was the second straight scoreless outing for Anderson whose value is limited by his 4.76 strikeouts per nine innings and 4.23 FIP, but not limited enough to avoid using as a streaming option.
10) Peralta Has a Perfect Day at the Plate
When we look at fantasy outfielders, it’s easy to overlook David Peralta because he isn’t exactly a flashy player. Don’t look now though, but the Arizona outfielder is putting together quite the fantasy season; humidor be damned. Last night, Peralta went three for three with a walk, while hitting both his 24th double and 24th home run of the season. His three RBI gave him 68 on the season as he brought his batting average up to .305. A lot of this production has come recently for Peralta, as in his last 15 games, he is hitting .390 with eight home runs and 15 RBI. That has allowed him to surge past the 14 home runs he hit last season, but even without the sudden influx of power, he is still a dependable fantasy contributor.