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Fantasy Forward: Marcell Ozuna’s two home runs, swinging strikes and more

As fantasy owners in weekly leagues sweat out the Mike Trout news, today should tell the story if he lands on the disabled list or not. From the reports Trout wants to play, but the team is being cautious with the precedent of Yoenis Cespedes trying to play hurt for the Mets. Colorado dealt with hail and torrential rain ending in a postponement and giving us day baseball as a result. Speaking of the Rockies, Jon Gray had a bone scan which revealed his foot is healing, but there still not timetable for return.

While many debated the level of rebound so far by Jason Heyward, he landed on the 10-day disabled list retroactive to May sixth. Tyson Ross pitched live batting practice on Monday for those in deeper leagues holding out hope. Keep Jameson Taillon in your thoughts. He underwent surgery to start a battle with testicular cancer – life always trumps fantasy baseball. As for the Pirates, the hits to the team keep coming, but not during their at-bats.

Toronto placed catcher Russell Martin on the disabled list as well forcing owners to dig a bit deeper at the position. For those who need it, James McCann and Austin Hedges are hitting for power if you can tolerate the risk they present to a team’s batting average.

Starting pitcher observations

It seemed easy, the Nationals offense hitting on all cylinders and get Bryce Harper back – they will blast the Orioles, right? Then Kevin Gausman reminded those of the upside they targeted in the preseason. Gausman allowed five hits, two earned runs, one walk and struck out eight to defeat Washington. The key was his split-fingered fastball which generated seven swinging strikes and three strikeouts.

Nate Karns led the way last night in swinging strikes according to BaseballSavant.com with 19. Those who played Blake Snell immediately had buyers regret in this match-up. Karns finished with the win over 6.1 innings with 10 strikeouts against two walks. He seems to be all or nothing in his starts, but he’s on the periphery of 12-team mixed league consideration.

Mets pitcher Jacob deGrom accounted for 51 strikeouts during his last 30.2 innings pitched, but took a no-decision. Walks and home runs seem to be his downfall of late. But there is hope for him to continue the strikeouts with 17 swinging strikes last night, tied for second on the night.

Raise your hand if you knew the pitcher tied with deGrom with 17 swinging strikes plays in San Diego. Trevor Cahill worked 5.1 innings with seven strikeouts, but needs to cut down the five walks allowed to be 10-team worthy. His 57 percent ground ball rate with the strikeouts makes him someone to kick the tires on for as long as it lasts.

Add Brandon McCarthy to the list of pitchers to land on the disabled list which put Alex Wood on the mound yesterday. Wood responded with 11 strikeouts in five innings with two hits and one walk against in 90 pitches. Stream against the Pirates – especially with left-handed pitchers.

Carlos Martinez struck out seven in Miami and drove in four runs to support his cause. He only produced seven swinging strikes, odd. Ricky Nolasco fired a quality start in Oakland with 16 swinging strikes, seven of which came with the slider. He’s up and down, but stream worthy in the right match-ups.

Perhaps the oddest stat of the night, Masahiro Tanaka struck out six in Cincinnati with 16 swinging strikes in seven innings of work. He gave up four runs, three earned, to tally the road win with plenty of run support.



Bullpen Musings

Roberto Osuna seems to be turning the corner with his fifth save in an inning of work with a strikeout. His ERA dropped to 3.75 on the year. Hopefully his early season struggles were attributed to the back injury.

Brad Brach allowed some contact with two hits and a walk with a run scored, but locked down his eighth save on terrible base running by the Nationals.

Mets closer Jeurys Familia picked up the win after working a clean ninth inning when Neil Walker walked off the Giants.

Hitter’s highlights

As alluded to in the title, it’s easy to see Giancarlo Stanton’s power return, but does Marcell Ozuna get overlooked? After hitting two more home runs last night, Ozuna and Stanton each have 11 this year pacing towards 57. In fact, Ozuna’s average of .325 and slugging of .642 should warrant more attention. Too bad the Marlins have no pitching.

Plucky Joey Rickard hit a home run off of Gio Gonzalez and raised his average against left-handed pitching to .312. Both Mark Trumbo and Trey Mancini extended their modest five-game hit streaks with home runs. Trumbo hit his third this year, and may be heating up with a .421 average in the streak. Mancini’s 10 for his last 16 with two home runs and eight RBI.

Ho-hum, Bryce Harper returned to the lineup and went 2-for-3 with his 10th home run and two RBI to push his total to 29 for the year.

Carlos Santana recorded two more hits along with Edwin Encarnacion. A power binge may be on tap for both moving forward. Keep this in mind for DFS later with Encarnacion’s price going down.

Start Blake Snell versus the Royals they said, it’ll be great they said. Personally, I avoided Snell for season long, so why did I buy into his start against Kansas City to work? Stupid. Anyways, Lorenzo Cain had a little league home run when a ball went under Kevin Kiermaier’s glove. Isn’t he playing because of his defense? I digress. Eric Hosmer showed signs of life going 3-for-5 with two stolen bases.

Leadoff hitter Corey Dickerson finished 3-for-4 with a run and a walk as his rebound season continues. Colby Rasmus tripled and homered in the loss.

Facing the Yankees right now can be an unenviable task for pitchers. Brett Gardner extended his hit streak to 11 with his sixth home run in nine games. Aaron Hicks played with Aaron Judge getting the day off to rest his knee and went 2-for-5 with two runs. Matt Holliday launched his sixth home run, but left late in the game for a defensive replacement. Which remains bad news for those hoping Hicks gets more playing time moving forward.

Matt Carpenter continues to rake with a triple in Miami and two more RBI. Over his last 11 games he has hit five home runs with 17 RBI, and his 26 walks shares the lead in the majors.

The Angels scored both runs after Luis Valbuena’s first inning home run. He has hit well off the disabled list which will be bad news for the C.J. Cron supporters. Oakland won on a walk-off home run by Jed Lowrie, his second of the night. Those in deeper leagues should look at Lowrie who seems healthy so far in 2017.

Playing the Joey Gallo role in the National League, Ryan Schimpf hit his ninth home run of they year with a .172 average but a .803 OPS. Teammate Austin Hedges launched his seventh home run and may be heating up again.

Los Angeles scored early and often last night. Chris Taylor his a grand slam in the first inning for his third home run of the season. He’s hitting .395 with a 1.205 OPS right now. No, really. Joc Pederson went 3-for-5 with two runs and two RBI in the rout as well.

Statistical Credits: BaseballSavant.com, Fangraphs.com, MLB.com, ESPN.go.com

 

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Greg Jewett
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

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