Around the Majors: April 29: Hanley Ramirez, Carlos Santana & More

It was another great day around the league, so let’s take a look at all the stories from yesterday’s games:

Questionable Closers
We all know that closer is the most unpredictable position in baseball and last night did nothing but raise more questions over several of the current closers.  Let’s take a look:

  • If there was any question about Jordan Walden’s hold on the closer role, seeing Fernando Rodney allow 1 R on 2 H and 0 BB, striking out 2, over an inning of work.  Walden, meanwhile, tossed a shutout inning allowing 1 H and striking out 1.  He now has 4 saves with a 0.73 ERA on the year.
  • So much for Jon Rauch’s grip on the Blue Jays closers role slipping away, huh?  He was asked to get the final four outs against the Yankees, getting the job done in just 8 pitches (7 strikes).  He now has 5 saves and a 2.45 ERA on the year.  Obviously it is no lock that he holds the job all year with the presence of Frank Francisco, but for now it certainly appears that he’s the closer for now (saves in each of his last two appearances).
  • Has Mitchell Boggs been removed from the closers role after one blown save?  It certainly is interesting to note that, on the road where a save opportunity could present itself, he was inserted into the game in the bottom of the eighth with the team down a run (he pitched a perfect inning).  Eduardo Sanchez, another closer candidate, than entered the game in the bottom of the ninth in a tie game, allowing 1 BB and 3 K over 2.0 innings of work.  Ultimately Jason Motte and Trever Miller split the final inning, protecting a 2 run lead (Miller got the final out).  At this point, it’s anyone’s guess who the closer is going to be going forward.
  • Jonathan Broxton was back in the closer’s role, though he certainly didn’t make it easy on himself.  He allowed 1 ER on 3 H and 0 BB, striking out 1, in an inning of work to get his sixth save of the year.  It is somewhat understandable that the team may be hesitant to give the job to Vicente Padilla (though they easily could), but once Hong-Chih Kuo is healthy it wouldn’t be surprising to see him unseat Broxton.

Other Notes:

  • Ian Desmond appears to be warming up for the Nationals.  After going 3-3 with 1 R and 1 SB, he is on a modest three-game hitting streak (6-11 with 1 HR, 1 RBI, 4 R and 1 SB).  Despite his poor average (up to .247), he has stolen 9 bases on the year.  That alone is more than enough to make him viable, but if he can start hitting and move to the leadoff spot, the value will increase exponentially.
  • For the third straight start Jason Marquis notched a win.  We all know wins are unpredictable, but Marquis was far from lucky en route to a complete game shutout of the San Francisco Giants.  He allowed just 5 H and 0 BB, striking out 7.  He’s not a big strikeout option, however, so don’t read much into that.  He also has a career 4.54 ERA and 1.43 WHIP, so despite his 2.62 ERA in ’11, consider him a marginal option.  In fact, it wouldn’t be surprising if the numbers turned in his next outing (at Philadelphia).
  • Vance Worley made his 2011 debut, tossing 6.0 shutout innings.  However, it wasn’t all positive, as he did walk four (only 56 of 102 pitches thrown for strikes).  Yes, he allowed just two hits and struck out five, but if he can’t get the control in order he is not going to fair as well the next time out.
  • The offensive star for the Phillies was Ryan Howard, who went 2-4 with 2 HR, 6 RBI and 2 R.  He is now up to 6 HR and 27 RBI on the year to go along with a .302 average.
  • Ike Davis continues to hit, extending his career best hitting streak to 11 games by going 1-3 with 1 HR, 1 RBI and 1 R.  He’s now hitting .352 with 5 HR and 20 RBI on the year.  He also hasn’t had one huge RBI game to get to the 20, instead he’s consistently drove in rounds on a seemingly daily basis.  He has RBI in 16 of the 26 games he’s played.  Yes, he has benefited from a .403 BABIP, so the average will fall, but that’s not enough of a reason to think that all value is going to disappear.
  • Did anyone expect anything from Alex Avila in 2011?  After going 2-3 with 2 RBI he is now hitting .314 with 3 HR, 18 RBI, 10 R and 1 SB.  Needless to say, if you took the flier on him in a two-catcher format you certainly have been rewarded.
  • The Cleveland Indians offense was led by Asdrubal Cabrera (2-3, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 3 R, 1 SB), Carlos Santana (1-4, 1 HR, 4 RBI, 1 R) and Matt LaPorta (1-4, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 R).  For Santana, he has now homered in back-to-back games (courtesy of his walk off grand slam) and could finally be starting to pull himself out of his early season funk.  Don’t panic on him yet, there is too much potential in his bat.
  • Mike Cameron went 2-4 with 2 HR, 2 RBI and 2 R.  Considering he entered the day with 0 HR, 2 RBI and 1 R, it was quite the day.  At this point in his career we know exactly what Cameron brings to the table (potential for poor average but a little bit of pop).  Unfortunately he’s more of a fourth outfielder at this point, so he has little fantasy appeal despite the potential for days like this.
  • Hanley Ramirez went 2-5 with 2 RBI and 1 R giving him multi-hit games in two of the last three.  Is it signs of things to come?  Well, he certainly can’t play any worse, as he currently has 0 HR and 3 SB on the season.  It should go without saying to sit tight with him. 
  • It was a poor outing for Travis Wood, who allowed 7 ER on 8 H and 2 BB, striking out 3, over 3.1 innings.  He is now sitting with a 6.82 ERA and 1.55 WHIP.  At this point it seems like a no-brainer that Wood will be out of the rotation once Johnny Cueto or Homer Bailey is ready to return.
  • There are days when pitchers just don’t have it and yesterday was one of those days for David Price.  He took on the Los Angeles Angels, allowing 5 ER on 12 H and 1 BB, striking out 4, over 4.1 innings.  He’s now allowed 4 ER or more in three of his six starts, though this was the first time he failed to go at least 7.0 innings.  Don’t read too much into the struggles.
  • Robinson Cano went 2-3 with 2 HR, 2 RBI and 3 R, putting him at .319 with 8 HR and 21 RBI on the year.  It really is hard to argue considering him one of the best players in the game, isn’t it?
  • Shaun Marcum has allowed 0 ER in three of his past four starts, having tossed 7.0 shutout innings against the Houston Astros.  He allowed 3 H and 2 BB, striking out 6, to improve to 3-1 with a 2.21 ERA.  This certainly is the type of performance many were expecting after he left the AL East for the NL Central, wasn’t it?  He should remain a solid play in all formats all year long.
  • The combination of Ryan Braun and Prince Fielder are certainly clicking on all cylinders in 2011.  Braun went 2-4 with 1 HR, 2 RBI and 1 R while Fielder went 2-3 with 1 HR, 2 RBI and 1 R.  On the year they have combined for 15 HR and 48 RBI.  Unbelievable.
  • While Matt Wieters still hasn’t lived up to the hype, at least he has been productive.  After going 2-5 with 1 HR, 4 RBI and 2 R yesterday he is hitting .260 with 4 HR, 16 RBI and 12 R on the year.  Maybe he never develops into the elite hitting catcher many projected, but he’s currently tied for fourth in RBI among catchers.  It certainly is hard to complain.
  • Gordon Beckham went 1-4, dropping his average to .202 on the season.  In his past 12 games he is just 4-41 with 1 RBI and 0 R.  Obviously he can’t stay this bad for long, can he?  I would stay patient, but if you are in a shallower league he’s better off on your bench until he gets going.
  • Scott Baker was strong for the third straight start, allowing 2 ER on 8 H and 1 BB, striking out 2, over 6.1 innings in a no decision.  In his last 20.1 innings he has allowed just 3 ER on 16 H and 3 BB.  Of course, his next start comes in Boston (in his career he is 0-2 with a 4.35 ERA against the Red Sox), so if you have an alternative it is worth considering.
  • Trevor Cahill improved to 4-0 with a 1.88 ERA and 1.12 WHIP after going 7.0 shutout innings allowing 7 H and 4 BB, striking out 4.  The numbers are impressive, but he also has benefited from an 87.1% strand rate.  He also has the potential to struggle with strikeouts, as he did in ’10, so don’t consider him a slam dunk.  However, if he can maintain his current 7.75 K/9, he will continue to excel.  His next start comes at home against the Indians and he is a good play in all formats.
  • It has been an extremely disappointing year for Andrew McCutchen, who went 1-3 with 1 HR, 1 RBI and 1 R yesterday.  That puts him at .207 with 4 HR, 11 RBI, 12 R and 3 SB.  He’s been moved back to the leadoff spot, as the experiment of him hitting third appears over (though he’s struggled wherever he’s hit in ’11).  Obviously, don’t sell him low as it should go without saying that he’ll turn it around.
  • Kevin Correia tossed 6.2 shutout innings allowing 3 H and 1 BB, striking out 4.  He’s now 4-2 with a 2.90 ERA and 1.09 WHIP.  Who saw this one coming?  Of course, he’s also benefited from a .233 BABIP.  Don’t look for this to continue.
  • Alfonso Soriano went 2-4 with 2 HR, 2 RBI and 2 R.  He’s hitting just .247 on the year, but he’s made the most of his hits with 9 HR and 18 RBI.  Don’t get too excited, there is little chance that he continues this type of power.
  • Hopefully Ted Lilly righted the ship, allowing 1 ER on 5 H and 1 BB, striking out 4, over 6.0 innings against the San Diego Padres to improve to 2-2 on the year.  Of course, you have to take the opponent into account.  His next start comes against the Cubs, who roughed him up for 5 ER on 11 H in just 4.1 innings on April 23.  He’s better than his overall numbers (4.45 ERA, 1.45 WHIP), so if someone in your league is willing to give him up on the cheap, it’s certainly worth exploring.

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One comment

  1. SimonJ says:

    Seems like the Cards might be looking to Salas for some save opportunities too. What a mess that bullpen is.

    On the subject of questionable closers, what about Kimbrel in Atlanta? Two blown saves in the last week and a bit, and now taking the loss tonight too. Venters still has stellar numbers, so any chance of him getting some opportunities?

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