Taking a look around the league, here’s a recap of last night’s action and suggestions for your fantasy baseball team.
Mr. Clutch (pitcher) – The Pirates seem to be on a mission to not collapse in the second half, and it all starts with their pitching rotation, which is why they brought up top prospect Gerrit Cole this season. All Cole did was go out last night and have his best pitching performance of the season against the Nationals. He gave up a homer in the third, but went on to retire 15 of the last 16 batters he faced, finishing with seven strong innings and picking up the win. Gerrit Cole is going to have his ups and downs throughout the season, but he has shown flashes of a very talented pitcher. Keeper leagues should be all over this guy. He could be one of the pieces that gets Pittsburgh over the hump and into the playoffs.
Mr. Clutch (hitter) – Adrian Gonzalez’s home run the eighth inning pushed the Dodgers past the Blue Jays in what turned out to be a slugfest. Gonzalez finished the game going 2-for-4 with three runs and three RBIs. Gonzalez continues to underwhelm fantasy owners and has become a fringe top-10 first baseman. Considering he was being drafted in the first round just a couple of years ago, his production has definitely slowed as he as aged. Expect more of the same going forward. A .300 hitter with 25 home run power and a good source of RBIs.
Surprise, surprise! – Zack Cozart had a monster night against the Giants, going 4-for-4 with a home run and two RBIs. Unless you are in a deep NL-only league, Cozart is not going to be helping your team any time soon. The .243/.271/.380 slash line is very underwhelming. Look for other options if you play in 12-team or smaller mixed leagues.
Here comes the heat – Tony Cingrani continues to be productive despite the Reds best efforts to yo-yo him back and forth from the minors and the majors. Last night, he was effective against the Giants, going 6.2 innings and allowing two runs off five hits while walking three and striking out two. Cingrani should be sent back down until his next scheduled start against the Dodgers. While you don’t love the matchup, Cingrani, for me, is a must-start until proven other wise.
Left out in the breeze – It was the battle of the blown saves last night between Ernesto Frieri and Glen Perkins. Perkins started things off by giving up an earned run, effectively blowing the save, but making it through the inning. Frieri was the true winner here, as he just got flat-out rocked. Frieri gave up five runs off of four hits and a walk. This was easily Frieri’s worst start of the season. He had not allowed a home run since May and may have been due for a bad outing. Both relief pitchers are in fairly safe closer roles.
Who’s trending? – It’s time to look at Xander Bogaerts. The hype train is picking up major steam, and the Manny Machado comps are undeniable. With the Red Sox in contention and in desperate need at 3B, Bogaerts making his big-league debut seems eminent. If you have room to stash Bogaerts, I suggest you make the move sooner rather than later. This kid has major upside and could be the difference maker coming down the stretch for a contending team. Here is what ESPN’s Keith Law had to say about Bogaerts at the beginning of this season:
A year ago, Bogaerts looked like a high-ceiling bat who’d have to find a new position, most likely third base, but a year of full-season ball at shortstop with continued work on maintaining his conditioning has his odds of remaining in the middle of the field up over even money. And a shortstop who can hit like this is a pretty special commodity.
Bogaerts has a very easy, picturesque right-handed swing, with great hand acceleration that leads to surprisingly hard contact — the ball comes off his bat much better than you’d expect, given his size. He gets his front leg down a little late, which could lead to timing issues but hasn’t so far.
Bench me, please? – There was a lot of chirping about Eric Hosmer figuring things out and when he started to pull the ball and hit home runs, you could see the potential. But he has cooled off a bit. The batting average is there, but the power has disappeared once again. I would not drop him, but he would definitely be riding the pine for me. We forget that not every prospect is Mike Trout and that some guys have a learning curve. This is Hosmer learning the game, and his ebbs and flows are something we as fantasy owners are going to have to deal with. Stay patient.
The Streamer – How can you pass on A.J. Griffin going against the Houston Astros? Griffin seems like a lock to have a big-time start, which is always a streamers delight.
Links of the day – Somebody asked for links?
- Some guys got called up that might be helpful on your fantasy team. Check them out here.
- Who is hot and who is not? Find out the answer in this link.
- Time to sell Freddie Freeman? That’s what this guy says.
- In case you were tied to the 24/7 Ryan Braun coverage, there was also a trade made. Find out who got dealt and who could be making an impact in fantasy.
- Miguel Cabrera and Jason Grilli injured? Find out more from this link.