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) – Stephen Strasburg was brilliant last night in shutting down the Rockies. In his second start after coming off of the DL, He allowed five hits and an earned run while striking out nine. His value has been very tough to gauge this season. Stephen Strasburg has the ability to be the best pitcher in all of baseball, but injury and lack of offense by the Nationals have put a damper on his value. For me, going forward, I would put him in the bottom half of the top 10 for pitchers, which is a very conservative outlook for Stephen Strasburg.
Mr. Clutch (hitter) – Another big night for Paul Goldschmidt. He blasted a couple more home runs in Arizona’s route of the Reds. He continues to be one of the best first basemen in fantasy, putting up video-game numbers and trailing only Chris Davis as the top first baseman. He’s on pace for 40+ home runs and double-digit steals which, makes him that much more valuable.
Surprise, surprise! – The Flyin’ Hawaiian, Shane Victorino, matched his career high of five RBIs last night in the Red Sox victory over the Tigers. Throw in a third-inning blast over the right field wall and you have what could be said as a very productive evening. Victorino has been dealing with nagging injury issues all season long, but was quoted as finely starting to feel healthy for the first time this season. If he starts belting home runs and filling the stat sheet like last night, Victorino could be a sneaky second-half buy.
Here comes the heat – Could Matt Garza finally be turning it around? Last night, a winning effort, was quite possibly his strongest performance of the season, albeit against the lowly Houston Astros. In eight innings, he racked up eight strikeouts while only allowing four hits and two walks. Throw in a three-hour rain delay in the midst of this game, and the performance becomes all that more impressive. This is now two solid back-to-back performances for Garza, the previous coming against the Mets. He has struggled against left-handed hitters at home more than anything, so the heavy right-handed batting lineup at Milwaukee should be a good matchup for Garza next Thursday.
Left out in the breeze – Both Doug Fister and Johnny Cueto share the honor of getting touched up last night. Fister didn’t last four innings against the Red Sox, allowing 11 hits and six runs. Cueto lasted 4.1 innings before the Diamondbacks sent him packing. He allowed seven earned runs and a career-high 11 hits. Going forward, this should just be a blip on the radar for these two pitchers, though I do not like Cueto’s next start Friday at Texas.
Who’s trending? – The Bryce Harper watch is in full effect. The Nationals have been more wishy-washy about Harper’s condition than the Doc Rivers to the Clippers trade. Reports a few days ago said his knee would show inflammation after light workouts, now he’s heading out on a rehab assignment. If he is still having issues with his knee, the likely hood of a setback seems all the more probable. Could we see Harper in a couple weeks? Yes. Could he be out until the All-Star break? Whatever the outcome, I expect him to be 100 percent healthy and to go back to putting up MVP type numbers.
Bench me, please? – What is going on with Mike Napoli? Regular time off plus a two-week slump has me worried. He has been the fourth or fifth best catcher on the season, but this last month, he has been just dreadful. He has been dealing with what reports say, a “concussion-like” syndrome. So, for now, let him ride the pine.
The Streamer – The Minnesota Twins, as a team, are one of the worst teams in the league against right-handed pitching, and they face red-hot Corey Kluber. In his past three starts, Kluber is 2-1 with a 1.88 ERA and a 1.04 WHIP. Owned in just 33 percent of leagues, he seems to be the ideal streaming option for today.