My daily look around the majors…
Josh Hamilton is heating up lately including a 4-for-4 game on Thursday. He ended up going 9-for-12 against the Indians the past three days raising his average from .235 to .260 in the process. Since August 5th, he’s hitting .516 with a 1.365 OPS.
Here’s a list of 12-game winners in the American League: Roy Halladay, Felix Hernandez, CC Sabathia, Jered Weaver and Scott Feldman. Which one is not like the others? The surprising Rangers staff has been the handiwork of Mike Maddux, who has gone a long way towards proving he’s the best pitching coach in baseball. Leo Mazzone’s got nothing on him!
Hot prospect Neftali Feliz is being groomed the way of Johan Santana, Joba Chamberlain and many others. He’s working out of the bullpen and that’s bad news for opponents late in the game. He threw two scoreless innings on Thursday that included five strikeouts. Though he has had just four appearances, he has made quite a splash with 13 strikeouts in his six and two-thirds innings of work.
Alex Gordon hit his second home run since returning from injury as he hopes to put together two big months to close out the season. He definitely hasn’t delivered as expected since joining the majors, but showed a lot of promise with his 2008 season before missing three months this season from mid April to mid July. He’ll be 26 next year and there is still time for him to cash in on his massive potential.
This just in: Joe Mauer is good. I could probably write about him daily. I hate that he plays on a serious competitor of my beloved Detroit Tigers, but I respect the hell out of his game. He went 2-for-4 on Thursday with a double and his 21st home run of the season. With his four RBIs, he’s now at 70 and on pace for 108. Remember, he missed a MONTH!!
Orlando Cabrera extended his hit streak to 22 games with a single.
How many versions of this story are being told on fantasy baseball message boards around the world, “My season turned around as soon as I picked up Justin Verlander off of the waiver wire!”? Going into his April 27th start, he was 0-2 a 9.00 ERA in four starts. This was on the heels of an awful 2008 and some owners were just fed up. From that April 27th start through Thursday, Verlander is 13-4 with a 2.46 ERA, 1.08 WHIP, 10.4 K/9 and 2.3 BB/9 in 146 innings. He fulfilled the role of stopper on Thursday with eight shutout innings against the Red Sox helping the Tigers save a game in the 4-game set. He hit 100 MPH on pitches 122 and 123!
Clay Buchholz was solid in defeat throwing seven strong, but he did strikeout just three while walking three, too. He’s a great example that shows just how hard it is to go from AAA to the majors. He was nearly unhittable in Pawtucket this season, but has a 4.45 ERA and hideous 1.79 WHIP in 32 innings with the Red Sox.
A quick minor league note: Jake Peavy threw three shutout innings against AAA-Pawtucket allowing just one hit & one walk while striking out five for AAA-Charlotte. Of his 43 pitches, 26 went for strikes (61%).
I mentioned Hideki Matsui two days ago and he was at it again on Thursday going 4-for-5 with 4 runs scored and 5 RBIs including a pair of 2-run homers giving him 19 on the season. I don’t think there is a single Yankee regular that isn’t worth owning in at least AL only leagues if not across the board.
After knocking a solo shot out off of Ian Snell on Thursday, Derek Jeter is now one home run away from his highest total in four years and he is nearly on pace for 20 HR/30 SB season. Who would’ve bet on that at the beginning of the season? When you factor in the elite runs scored and batting average at perhaps the thinnest position, Jeter is a top 10 hitter in all of fantasy baseball. And it pains me to say that, believe me.
CC Sabathia was brilliant against the Mariners on Thursday, not that he really had to be with the run support he got. Still he went eight strong allowing just a run on three hits while walking two and striking out 10. At 3.64, his ERA is a bit of a disappointment but he has a dominant WHIP (1.14) and he’s often in line for a win with that Yankees offense (he now has 13 on the season) and even though his K rate is below seven, he is still on pace for nearly 190 strikeouts.
Ian Snell is still garbage and that isn’t particularly surprising. He moved to a much harder league and opened up facing Texas, Tampa Bay and New York. Safeco is a nice pitcher’s park and Seattle has a brilliant defense in the outfield, but Franklin Gutierrez can’t make Snell stop throwing meatballs over the heart of the plate.
It was an ugly major league debut for San Diego Padres pitcher Cesar Carrillo. The 25 year old was ripped for eight runs in just two and one-third innings. He gave up just four hits (kind of a low number for someone giving up eight so quickly), but three of them were home runs. He wasn’t necessarily tearing it up in the minors with a 4.47 ERA, 4.7 K/9 and 1.7 K:BB in 137 innings spent mostly in AA-San Antonio.
Ryan Braun, Prince Fielder and Mike Rivera were the home run hitters against Carrillo, but Fielder & Rivera weren’t done. They victimized Luis Perdomo later in the game for another home run apiece. Fielder’s pair were his 28th and 29th of the season putting him on pace for 41. Even more impressive is the massive 145 RBI pace he is on.
Kevin Kouzmanoff went 3-for-4 yesterday and I considered mentioning, but in the end I let it go. He didn’t take too kindly to that and made sure to do something about it today. He went 5-for-5 on Thursday with a double and four singles. He is 12 for his 15 (.800) in the past four days raising his average 19 points to .264. I just don’t understand how he is a sub-.300 OBP guy the past two years, but he is on track for 20 HR/90 RBI season. He’s a viable option in NL Only leagues, but otherwise he’s just as good or bad as any other waiver wire fodder for mixed leaguers.
Manny Parra did his best to give Carrillo a no-decision but couldn’t quite finish the job. He gave up six runs in five and two-thirds horrible innings in which he allowed 13 hits while walking two and striking out seven. There is something seriously wrong with him right now. He is still just 26 so there is time, but he needs to make some huge adjustments if he wants to realize his full potential.
Cliff Lee is doing his best CC Sabathia circa 2008 imitation. The latest Cleveland ace to be shipped for youth, Lee has been dominant for Phillies in three starts going 3-0 with a 1.13 ERA, 0.88 WHIP and 17 strikeouts in 24 innings. While I have no doubts that Roy Halladay would be doing as well or better, Lee was the perfect acquisition for the Phillies because of how much less he cost them than Halladay would have.
Not only did Ryan Howard rip his 27th home run, but he also stole a base. Perhaps even more amazing is that it was his 5th of the season!!! He had exactly two career stolen bases in three and half seasons before 2009. Do the steals make up for the power dip?
Jason Marquis is not to be trifled with during the day. With a domination of the Pittsburgh Pirates on Thursday, he ran his afternoon record to 7-1 with a 2.63 ERA and 0.95 WHIP in 65 innings. You would think that kind of performance would make him a great fit for the Chicago Cubs alas he had two mediocre seasons on the south side.
Dexter Fowler went 4-for-5 with 3 doubles raising his average to .271 on the season. He’s been dogged for his debut in some outlets, but I think it’s completely off the mark. A rookie that his holding his own with a decent batting average, an excellent batting eye (.368 OBP) and tons of speed (26 stolen bases) isn’t easy to come by.
Pittsburgh fielded a full lineup on Thursday. That’s about the best thing that can be said of them.
He sucks at pitching, but Mike Hampton can still hit! He went 2-for-2 raising his average to .324, but gave up three runs in five innings and took the loss moving to 7-10.
Hanley Ramirez extended his hitting streak to nine games with his 5th straight multi-hit game of the season. In fact, eight of the nine games have been multi-hit performances. He’s raised his average 13 points to .353 during the streak, too. He has a home run, 10 RBIs and 6 SBs during the nine games.
Chris Coghlan started slowly after being called up in May hitting just .212 his first month, but he has hit .309 with five home runs and 24 RBIs since spanning 230 at-bats including chipping in an RBI on Thursday night in Florida’s 9-2 rout of Houston. There are probably too many strong contenders for Coghlan to make a push for National League Rookie of the Year.
Remember Jonny Gomes? He displayed some decent power with Tampa Bay from 2005 to 2007 (21-20-17), but not too much else. He never topped 60 RBIs in any of those seasons and he appears headed for a four-peat of that feat as his three home run night on Thursday puts him on pace for 25 while the five RBIs brought his pace up to 59. He’s a proven power source that should be rostered in all NL Only leagues and some deeper mixed leagues.
Supplement lover Bronson Arroyo threw a complete game two-hit shutout on Thursday night against the Nationals in a 7-0 for the Reds. He improved his record to 11-11, but the nine clean innings only lowered his ERA to 4.74 giving a clear indication of how his season has gone.
Ryan Zimmerman extended his hitting streak to 16 games with one of Washington’s two base hits while Adam Dunn got the other in two at-bats and raised his average to .282.