by Will Overton
We had some young guys proving their merit and arguing for their place on their teams and yours. We also had David Wright taking another step towards proving he’s a first round talent still and Ubaldo Jimenez continued dominance. These are just some of the things happening around the majors last night. Here’s a look at the top box score standouts:
David Wright (2 GMS, 4 – 6, 2 R, 4 RBI, 1 SB): The average so far is a bit lower than what you’d expect, but his OBP is .416 so he’s getting on base and he’s very quietly stealing a lot of bases as well as today he nabbed his 7th. A lot of people were suspect on him coming into the season and some still are. With that in mind I think he may still be a good buy low candidate in some leagues.
Cliff Pennington (4 – 5, 1 R, 1 HR, 4 RBI): He’s not on many people’s radars, but he’s been solid so far this season and as an owner in an AL Only league he’s a pleasant surprise. He got a chance at the leadoff spot for the 3rd time this season last night and made the most of it. He now has 15 RBI on the season as well as 3 HR’s, 8 R’s and 2 SB’s. He’s available in just about every league and is worth a look in 14 – 16 team leagues.
Ian Desmond (2 – 4, 1 R, 2 RBI, 2 SB): He’s competing for playing time with Adam Kennedy and Christian Guzman so nights like this are encouraging for Desmond owners as its his third multi-hit game in his last four. He also showed off some speed that we have not seen a ton of at the major league level, but saw in the minors where he would get 15 – 25 steals a year. I’d rather have Pennington right now because of the more regular playing time, but Desmond is a nice option in deep leagues and NL Only as well.
Ryan Doumit (3 – 5, 2 R, 1 HR, 4 RBI): He’s now on a seven game hitting streak in which he’s raised his batting average from .200 to .286. He’s always been one of those guys who you wondered how good they could be if they stayed healthy and so far so good this year on the health end of things. We know he has power and even though last night was only the second I think there is more to come.
Eric Young Jr. (2 – 4, 2 R, 2 RBI): His teammate Carlos Gonzalez may have had the better game, but everyone knows about him already. The buzz on Young has kind of died down from what it was and his call up was surprisingly not very noticed as most I assume think it’s going to be temporary. I’m not convinced and Young doesn’t look like he plans on going anywhere either. Clint Barmes has been awful so far this year and the Rockies haven’t found a true top of the lineup guy yet as Fowler has struggled as well. Young was a speed demon in the minors getting 87, 73, 46 and 58 steals in the last four years. Hitting at the top of this lineup, in this park, Young could have real value this year in all formats.
Francisco Liriano (8 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 10K, W): Not a whole lot left to say about this guy now. If anyone thought this comeback was a fluke at first, you should probably be coming around by now. The guy has been lights out not giving up a run since his first start of the season with 24 K’s and 5 BB’s in those three starts. Liriano is back.
Clay Bucholz (8 IP, 7 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 4 K, W): Last night’s Blue Jays vs. Red Sox game was the complete opposite of the night before’s 13 – 12 game. This was a pitchers duel between Bucholz and Marcum and Bucholz came out on top, though Marcum did not take the loss. Bucholz has gotten a little better with each start this year and while the strikeouts weren’t as high as usual he had very good command of the strike zone and wasn’t giving the Jays anything good to hit. He did go well over 100 pitches for the 3rd straight game though and it might be something to be wary of as the season rolls on.
Jon Garland (6 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 3 BB, 10 K, W): He came out of the gate a bit rocky, but his last 3 starts have all been solid allowing only 2 ER’S in 18 IP during the 3 games. The strikeouts last night were an aberration as his career K/P rate is only 4.7 and this is the first time this year he’s had more than 4. But he’s pitching in a pitchers park and the offense is better than expected so far so he’s good value in deep leagues and a spot start in smaller mixed ones.
Trevor Hoffman (1 IP, 4 H, 5 ER, 1 BB, 1 K, L, BS): This was his third blown save of the year and this was a bad one coming to the Pirates with 2 HR’s to Ronny Cedeno and Ryan Doumit. That’s now 5 HR’s in 8 innings, he gave up 2 all of last year. It looks like age might be catching up with the 42 year old and you wonder how much more patience the Brewers have with Carlos Villanueva pitching so well.
Ubaldo Jimenez (6 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 6 K, W): Again this is not a case of you needing me to tell you that he’s good. But I just want to point out how good he has been. In the last 3 games he has pitched 23.1 innings without giving up a single run. He has won all 5 games he has started without giving up more than 2 runs in any of the 5 games. He’s taken the step from good to great this year and can be the ace of any fantasy staff. And if you are worried about him only going 6 innings last night, his team had a massive lead and he had thrown 120 pitches 2 games in a row, nothing to worry about.
What do you take away from these performances? Anyone other than these guys stand out to you?