Fantasy Forward: Aces delight and is Miggy right?

From the amazing statistic department, Milwaukee’s win on Friday night moved them above .500 for the first time since 2014. As a franchise, they played 334 consecutive games at .500 or below. Trust the process. Speaking of which, those who drafted Jonathan Villar for his speed were not enthused by his high strikeout rate to start the year. Villar did record a hit last night, two walks and stole three bases during the team’s win.

Prayers for Dale Scott who had to leave the game in Toronto after being hit by a foul tip to his face mask umping at home plate. In injury news, Josh Donaldson landed on the 10-game disabled list with a plan to reliever the pain in his right calf. Speedster Mallex Smith also heads to the disabled list while Jackie Bradley Jr. could return as soon as Wednesday. Colorado “ace” Jonathan Gray landed on the disabled list with a stress fracture in his foot. As of now, plan on him missing a month. A time table for Garrett Richards does not seem clear, but he underwent an MRI to rule out a cervical disc issue. Richards still experiences a lack of strength in his biceps. Tread lightly. 

Keeper league owners need to take note of Raimel Tapia’s promotion along with Jesse Winker and Sal Romano who’s slated to start on Sunday. Now for the recaps of Friday’s action.

Aces take center stage

  • Any time we talk of an ace, Clayton Kershaw needs to be addressed. Kershaw shut down the Diamondbacks who loaded their lineup with right handed bats. He allowed one run on four hits with eight strikeouts and one walk.
  • Felix Hernandez won, but change may be coming in regards to his stat lines. He allowed only four hits with three strikeouts and no walks. It remains to be seen how his strikeout totals finish, but definitely monitor. As for the start, his owners need to be encouraged.
  • Defending American League Cy Young award winner, Rick Porcello did not fare well against the Rays. His streak of 43 straight starts pitching more than five innings was snapped along with giving up four home runs in the process. After 10 games, the Red Sox have hit four home runs as a team. Porcello does work hard, and as the attached article suggests, he will work on a splitter to diversify his arsenal.
  • Daniel Norris completed his first start in which he lasted more than six innings with no runs allowed. He’s not an ace, but a key component to the Tigers season.
  • Pitching through a blood blister, Noah Syndergaard only pitched six innings in Miami due to a torn fingernail. Someone needs to be sure Thor’s properly grooming his hands to ensure more innings. Through 19 innings of work, his 20 strikeouts against zero walks points to his upside with a 0.95 ERA for the Mets.
  • Stephen Strasburg generated seven swinging strikes with his fastball and five with his change against the Phillies. He did not factor into the decision but worked seven innings with eight strikeouts.
  • Aaron Nola squared off with Strasburg and finished with six swinging strikes on his curve and four with the change. If Nola continues to refine his change-up, his stock continues to rise moving forward as long as health does not derail him.
  • Part of Dallas Keuchel‘s bounce back can be attributed to keeping the ball down. Through two starts last year, he threw 44.9 percent of his pitches in the upper two-thirds of the strike zone. After two starts this year, Keuchel’s percentage in the same zone dropped to 21.4 percent. Keuchel’s right when he pounds the bottom of the strike zone and inducing ground outs.
  • Overlooked Danny Duffy won his second game with six strikeouts over seven innings of work and lowered his ERA to 1.80 as the Royals beat the Angels.

Hitting observations

  • On the surface, Miguel Cabrera‘s three-run home run will appease his fantasy owners. However, should they be concerned with his low pull percentage? Power’s nice, but if the sluggers back still ails him, it’s a situation to monitor closely. Through his first 33 at-bats, Cabrera’s pull percentage (16.7 percent) compared to his opposite field rate of 66.7 percent. 
  • Along with Villar’s nice game, Eric Thames homered for the second straight day and his slash line of .367/.441/.767 provides hope moving forward. Even if the team uses him in a straight platoon. Do note his home run on Friday occurred against a left-handed reliever.
  • Jett Bandy’s off to a slow start, so deep league players keep an eye on Manny Pina who recorded four hits on Friday night, two of which were doubles and two RBI. After the strong evening, Pina’s hitting .478 for the Brewers.
  • It’s difficult to buy into Chase Headley, but he warrants some attention. Two more hits on Friday night along with a stolen base pushes his slash line to .400/.488/.639 with two home runs as well.
  • Matt Carpenter‘s off the snide after launching his first home run of the season at Yankee Stadium.
  • Speaking of home runs, Lucas Duda hit another one Friday night. He’s up to four on the season and could be a sneaky play moving forward in the power department. Health issues aside.
  • Two Rays finished with monster games in Boston. Logan Morrison blasted a grand slam to raise his slugging percentage to .683 and seems to be carrying his late season surge from 2016 over to this year. Steven Souza may be healthy and the results agree. He’s hitting a robust .341/.442/.636 with two home runs. With two southpaws on tap, he will hit leadoff the rest of the weekend.
  • Did someone say healthy? Add Chris Davis to the list, though he kills the ball in Rogers Centre. Davis finished with two hits on Friday, including his third home run. Small sample aside, but Davis’ hitting .364/.432/.727 after nine games.
  • Hope resided in Mookie Betts four hit game on Friday and his first extra-base hit, a double. Plagued by the flu, a hot streak may be on tap for the talented Red Sox.
  • Many passed over Mike Moustakas in drafts due to his return from ACL surgery. But, he’s carried over his power surge prior to the injury. Moustakas hit his fourth home run to start the year and seems locked in right now with a .297 average.
  • Not only did Ender Inciarte record the first and last outs in the Sun Trust Park debut, he hit the first home run. Inciarte matched his home run total (3) from last year over the course of his last seven at-bats. Another player who will exceed his draft ADP, especially with a bump in power.
  • Remember when people worried about Jose Altuve? He’s reached safely in 10 straight plate appearances raising his OBP from .256 to .408, recording his 104th career three-hit game since 2011, which leads baseball and shows things even out for hitters with a strong background of data.

Bullpen musings

  • With the Rangers trying to shut down the Mariners on the road, Jose LeClerc entered the game in the sixth inning with two runners on. He struck out the side then ceded a run in his second inning of work. It appears he’s the extinguisher when trying to decide on FAAB tonight rather than a closer candidate at this point. It’s either still Sam Dyson or Tony Barnette moving forward with Matt Bush still sidelined by his ailing shoulder.
  • Edwin Diaz bounced back for his second save, but it remained a bumpy ride. He needs to refine his control to return to elite status.
  • Dominant all last year, Zach Britton did lock down his fifth save, but allowed three hits and a run in the process. His WHIP of 1.86 after seven innings of work hints he’s not right. Keep tabs on him and Brad Brach going forward.

Statistical Credits:,,,


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Greg Jewett

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I am a father, PE teacher & fantasy baseball writer. Using saber metrics & information to evaluate players & trends is exciting to me."Passion is the oxygen of the soul." Bill Butler