Saturday, May 14, 2016


Chase Headley:  1/4 with his second HR while hitting .196.  Headley is starting to show some semblance of being a major league hitter but that is about the nicest thing I can say about a guy who was the WORST everyday guy in the game until this last week with the bat.  Yeah I said it from the beginning Headley's career-year numbers from a few seasons ago were a monster outlier fluke and he certainly has done a nice job proving me right. 
Chris Sale:  9 IP 6 H 1 ER 0 BB 6 K with an ERA of 1.67.  Sale is already up to 8 wins which is a monster pace this early in the season.  What is interesting is that his K rate is way down at 8.04 after being 11.82 and 10.76 the two seasons prior.  Not sure what that means as far as if Sale changed his approach to save pitches and last deeper into games but obviously he is as hard to hit as any pitcher in baseball. 

Luis Severino:  7 ER in 2.2 IP with a 7.46 ERA.  This has got to stop.  Severino was a big a fantasy baseball sleeper busts as one could get and I was part of the recommending club.  We have seen nothing of the top-line performances we saw a year ago when Severino debuted and that leads me to think injury or opposing hitters found something to exploit during the winter.  Either way he will either go on the DL after leaving with injury or be sent to the minors. 

Danny Valencia:  2/4 with 2 home runs (2 for season) while hitting .323.  After nearly every other team in baseball gave Valencia up for dead, he found refuge in Oakland as most fading veterans do.  He actually has done a nice job going back to his arrival midway through last season and truth be told Valencia has decent power to help you in deeper formats and especially in AL-only. 

Khris Davis:  1/5 with his 8th HR while hitting .231.  Honestly Davis is that guy who does what he is supposed to do and there are ho surprises.  .240 with 24 home runs sounds right. 

Marcus Semien:  2/3 with his 9th HR and 2nd SB while hitting .217.  If you take out the hideous average which is getting destroyed by a very high K Rate as was the knock on Semien coming up the minor ladder, the power and some speed have been solid.  Of course you need more pieces of the pie in place to be everyday usable and those 0-for-15 streaks will kill you in weekly formats.  Still rough around the edges. 

Rich Hill:  6 IP 4 H 3 ER 4 BB 7 K with an ERA of 2.68.  Hill has been tremendous and honestly this is one of the better comeback stories I have seen in years.  He is rocking a 10.92 K/9 which is ace level and the hit rate is terrific as well.  Hill struggles with control which never improved throughout his journeyman career but until the fatigue starts setting in during the summer, he actually seems quite safe to use. 

Jake Odorizzi:  5 ER in 4 IP with an ERA of 3.83.  I like Odorizzi but he is trying his owners' patience this season so far with his massive inconsistency.  When you evaluate him though, a few things stands out that recommends a buy low.  He is young and strikes out an above-average amount of guys.  Hence by low and it really won't cost much. 

George Springer:  3/5 with his 8th HR while hitting .268.  The K rate is still above 24 percent which is very high and inches above his 2015 rate which is a concern as we thought we would see some more slight improvement.  However the power remains big-time but how about more steals George? 

Travis Shaw:  2/3 with his 5th HR while hitting .328.  I can't even tell you how impressed I have been with Shaw and the only reason he is not getting more pop is because he plays a dominated and deep upper crust of the third base fraternity.  Here is how I evaluate young hitters and whether they can be viable long-terms options.  When the early slump inevitably happens as it did with Shaw the end of April, what do they do in response?  Well Shaw bumped his average back up well above .300 which means he can adjust on the fly.  That is the ultimate key and makes Shaw very useful in all formats.

Steven Wright:  5 ER in 4.1 IP with an ERA of 2.36.  Wow what do you know?  I wrote a MIRAGE opinion piece the other day on Wright and pointed out how his XFIP was over 4.00.  Upwards we go. 

Lance McCullers:  5 ER in 4.2 IP with an ERA of 9.64.  Not a shock McCullers struggles his first start since he has missed so much time with his shoulder.  He has become a pretty volatile upside power pitcher due to ill health and is in the same boat as Steven Matz there. 

Adam Jones:  2/3 with his 4th HR while hitting .248.  The other day when Jones went yard I told you the outfielder 1 veteran is rounding into form after battling an oblique all April.  Yup.

Justin Verlander:  8 IP 4 H 1 ER 2 BB 8 K with an ERA of 4.71.  This is who Verlander is now.  A veteran on the downside of his career losing velocity but who on days he feels good, is capable of a big outing once every four starts or so. 

Chris Tillman:  7 IP 5 H 0 ER 2 BB 7 K with an ERA of 2.58.  Usually Tillman pitches like an ace the second half of the season but maybe this is a correction after he bombed out post-All Star Game a year ago. 

C.J. Cron:  2/5 with his third HR while hitting .279.  Cron never took off like the sleeper I thought he would be in 2015 but that had some to do with Mike Scoscia who jerked him in and out of the lineup.  The smooth swing is still there but Cron can't hit lefties which limits his usage.  Works well in AL-only formats though.

Nelson Cruz:  1/4 with his 7th HR while hitting .270.  Cruz' power is coming around like I said it would a week ago.  He won't go back to the 40 home run mark unless he goes on an insane tear the rest of the way as he is aging but he still looks like a tremendous outfielder 2 bet. 

Steve Cishek:  blown save with 2 ER in 1 IP with an ERA of 1.86.  A lot of us have short memories with Cishek considering how awful he was a year ago but honestly he has been tremendous throughout 2016 until stumbling last night.  I bet on a solid comeback campaign as I own Cishek in the Experts League and I can't say I am disappointed in anything he has done or not done. 

Brandon Finnegan:  4 IP 4 H 3 ER 5 BB 4 K with an ERA of 4.40.  While I love young pitchers such as Aaron Nola, Steven Matz, and to a lesser extent Jered Eickhoff, I had no interest in the similarly hyped Finnegan which I stated numerous times.  The control is simply not there and there is some Yovani Gallardo on a worse level here.  No thanks. 

Jeremy Hellickson:  7 IP 4 H 0 ER 1 BB 9 K with an ERA of 4.12.  Hellickson is part of the reason the Phillies have surprised with their record thus far.  Moving out of the AL to the NL is obviously part of the reason for the decent but not great numbers but the uptick in K's is the real appeal. 

Jeanmar Gomez:  scoreless ninth for his 14 save with an ERA of 2.49.  Gomez has 14 saves ALREADY!.  Yes I own him.  Was leery at first due to the K rate but results always speak just like cards in poker. 

Edinson Volquez:  7 IP 6 H 1 ER 0 BB 2 K with an ERA of 3.51.  Volquez remains a roller coaster to own and the severe drop in K rate the last few years is not nice.  Overall though he does his job as an SP 4/5 and that's all you can ask out of the guy.
Aledmys Diaz:  2/4 with his sixth HR while hitting .387.  The Cardinals HAVE to find a spot for Diaz even when Jhonny Peralta comes back.  The expected drop in average for the .260 minor leaguer has not happened yet which means the book is not firmly written yet on the Diaz approach or else he simply is that good to ward that off.  By the end of the month is this keeps up, go with the latter and be very excited. 

Yasiel Puig:  3/5 wit his 4th HR while hitting .244.  It simply has never come together for Puig and we are getting tired of waiting.  Then again how long did we wait on Brandon Belt until he finally got things under control.  Then again 2.0, Belt was not a knucklehead like Puig is. 

Michael Wacha:  4 IP 8 H 2 ER 3 BB 2 K with an ERA of 3.23.  The ERA looks like but that is deceiving as Wacha's WHIP is 1.39 and he is not fooling anyone but instead getting BABIP luck.  I am ready to put him into the Tommy Hanson-Josh Johnson unfortunate fraternity with regards to a shoulder injury never making them the same.  What a shame as Wacha looked like a future ace when he first arrived. 


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