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) – Max Scherzer delivered a gem last night, pitching 8.0 innings and allowing 2 hits, an earned run, a walk while striking out seven. Scherzer has been quietly good this season, and according to ESPN’s player rater, he is currently 12th overall for pitchers. Scherzer has a 0.91 WHIP, 3.61 ERA, a 2.34 FIP, and a 2.57 xFIP, which looks like he still could be a buy-low pitcher if you can find an owner who is not totally buying his start. I like Scherzer as a top-10 pitcher this season. He has been nothing short of spectacular and should continue to do so.
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Mr. Clutch (hitter) – Why hello there Mike Trout. Eventually the number three overall pick was going to find his way onto this list, and he did so in a big way last night. Against Seattle, he became the third youngest player to hit for the cycle. Mike Trout went 4-for-5 with a home run, five RBIs, two runs and a stolen base. With that said, and based on his lofty draft status, he has been a bit disappointing, but this could be the game that really gets him going. He still on pace for a 30-30 season, but when drafting him, you probably expected 40 or 50 steals. I like Mike Trout going forward, and even if he has that buy-low feel, you are not prying him away for cheap. Not after a game like this.
Surprise, surprise! – Any pitcher to go into Arlington and dominate the way Dan Straily did is a complete shock. Straily went 7.0 innings allowing two hits and zero runs while striking out five. He is a young pitcher with high upside and starts like this prove it, but he will struggle. Going forward, I still am not ready to put him out there for every start in a one-year, 12-team mixed league.
Here comes the heat – The Tony Cingrani competition must have awoken something in Mike Leake because he has been fantastic in his last couple starts. Last night, Leake pitched 7.0 innings allowing three hits zero runs and two walks while striking out four. The big difference for Leake is he’s been inducing more groundballs and giving up less home runs, which is a good thing when you call the Great American Ball Park your home.
Left out in the breeze –Zack Greinke got shellacked last night, lasting 4.0 innings and allowing nine hits, five earned runs, three walks while only striking out one. In a small sample size, you have to be worried about Greinke going forward. Velocity is down, strikeouts are down, and looking at his advanced numbers, there is cause for concern. I never like to sell low, but if I could get 80 cents on the dollar for Greinke, I would take it.
Who’s trending? – Raul Ibanez has been as hot as it comes lately, racking up four home runs, four runs and nine RBIs in his last six games. Last night against the Angels, he finished just 1-for-3 so if he shows any signs of slowing down, feel free to drop in standard 12-team mixed leagues. He’s a ride-the-streak kind of guy.
Bench me, please? – It is time to cut bait with Brett Lawrie. Another 0-for-4 with one strikeout performance gives him a .186/.248/.347 slash line. Lawrie is also striking out way above his career numbers. This is a guy I never really liked for where you had to draft him in order to own him, and now I think he is an AL-only play. I also would not be surprised if the Blue Jays send him down to the minors. If you can get anything for this guy via trade, I would take it.
The Streamer – Francisco Liriano is trying to suck me back in, and he is slowly doing so by me recommending him as a streamer. The Cubs have a so-so offense and Liriano has been nothing short of spectacular in a small sample size. As an avid Liriano supporter in the past, I have actively ignored his success this season. He’s that crazy girl you keep going back to every time she calls you up. Well, Liriano is calling me up. Deploy with confidence!