Fantasy Forward: Jumping the Shark

One of the most difficult things to do when playing fantasy baseball is staying patient. A rough outing or cold stretch and owners make an impulsive decision to drop a player for the latest hot player rather than trusting the research spent in the preseason honing in on draft targets. Jeff Samardzija can be a tough player to trust in fantasy, especially after his slow start to the season. For those who stood by their pick, he has rewarded them with 59 strikeouts against one walk since May first.

Things will get interesting in the Angels bullpen with Cam Bedrosian coming off the disabled list. He will join Bud Norris, 10 for 11 in save chances since Bedrosian’s injury, to form a nice tandem in the late innings. Carlos Rodon looked sharp in a rehab outing and may make for a nice stash for teams looking for starting pitching. Colorado may leave Jeff Hoffman in the rotation with Jon Gray on the way back to make for an interesting summer in the National League West. Here’s the recaps from last night’s seven game slate.

Starting pitcher observations

After six strong innings in Cincinnati, Carlos Martinez unraveled a bit in the seventh giving up four earned runs to lose a chance at the win and a quality start in the process. He did strike out eight but with seven swinging strikes, using his change-up less in recent starts. Asher Wojciechowski generated 12 swinging strikes versus the Cardinals and finished with six over six innings of work allowing two earned runs in a no-decision.

Nick Pivetta won the first game of his major league career lasting five innings in Atlanta. He allowed six hits, three earned runs and three walks with four strikeouts. Take note, he only produced four swinging strikes. Tread lightly.

As referenced above, Jeff Samardzija turned in a strong outing in Miller Park with 10 strikeouts, 15 swinging strikes and only one earned run for his second win of the year. Focus on the 59:1 K:BB since the start of May rather than his current 4.29 ERA.

Getting a quality start in Chicago’s not bad and Dan Straily did so with five strikeouts in seven innings. He did give up three earned runs on six hits but pitched well on the road. Eddie Butler won against Miami allowing three hits and one walk in 5.2 innings with four strikeouts. He’s been up and down but useful in the right match-up. Mike Montgomery tallied more swinging strikes (6) in 3.1 innings than Butler (4) for his second save of the season in long relief.

Adding Mike Fiers did not feel right, but those who did gained a win during his five inning appearance in Kansas City. He did allow seven hits and a walk against two earned runs with four strikeouts.

Southpaw Sean Manaea won his fourth start in a row for Oakland. He’s pitched at least six innings in his last three outings and finished with 19 swinging strikes for seven strikeouts against the Blue Jays. As long as Manaea stays healthy, he seems to be on his way the breakout season many anticipated.

Although Hyun-Jin Ryu took the loss, he did make it through seven innings at home against the Nationals. Ryu allowed four earned runs on seven hits with four strikeouts but induced more swinging strikes (11) than his opponent, Gio Gonzalez (8). Gonzalez won on the road working six innings giving up four hits, two earned runs and striking out five.

Bullpen musings

In a relatively quiet evening for saves, Raisel Iglesias continued his dominant season by striking out the side for his 10th save and lowered his ERA to 0.61 in the process.

Kelvin Herrera worked in a non-save appearance again for the Royals and struggled. He’s pitched 14 innings in save chances with a 3.21 ERA this year and nine innings with an ERA of six in non-save outings. Someday teams will learn.

Santiago Casilla walked one but struck out two to record his ninth save of the season for the A’s. Reeling from a rough day in Oakland, the Nationals gave the day off to Koda Glover and Shawn Kelley. Matt Albers and Oliver Perez matched up in the ninth inning with Perez getting the one out save, his first of the year. Do not overreact.

Hitter highlights

St. Louis disappointed again with the offense, but Yadier Molina stole his fifth base with two hits and Tommy Pham knocked in a run with a double. Zack Cozart continues to impress this year. I profiled him here if interested. Cozart’s hit safely in 16 of his last 18 games with back-to-back multi-hit games. Eugenio Suarez and Scooter Gennett each doubled and drove in two runs.

Odubel Herrera’s going streaking. After being benched three times last week, he’s recorded three straight games with multiple hits and two doubles in each one. Herrera’s also homered in back-to-back games. Those calling for Tommy Joseph to give way to minor league talent have quieted down. He hit his 10th home run, went 3-for-5 with three RBI and Aaron Altherr added his ninth home run as well.

Eduardo Nunez homered for the second straight game and extended his modest seven-game hit streak. Of more interest, he’s hitting second for the Giants. Buster Posey went 2-for-5 with two runs and his 15th RBI of the year despite a .345 average and .947 OPS.

Kris Bryant launched his 13th home run and drove in two while Albert Almora Jr. finished 2-for-3 with his third home run. If he can wrest at-bats from Jon Jay moving forward, fantasy owners should take note of his potential upside.

Houston won its 11th game on the road in Kansas City. Brian McCann hit his seventh home run and drove in two while Yulieski Gurriel finished with three RBI on his sixth dinger. Jorge Bonifacio continues to fly below the radar for Kansas City hitting his eighth home run in 38 games with a .286/.341/.516 slash and a 126 wRC+. Meanwhile, Jorge Soler’s at Triple-A.

When the Blue Jays face a southpaw, get Justin Smoak in the lineup. He hit his 15th home run of the season and his fourth off of left-handed pitching in 48 plate appearances with a .317 ISO.

Yonder Alonso went 2-for-4 with a double and a run scored but Ryon Healy carried the A’s offense with two more home runs (13) and five RBI. He’s eight for his last 15 with two doubles, four home runs and nine RBI over his last four games played.

Anthony Rendon hit his 11th home run against the Dodgers. He’s another player many wanted to drop early in the season but presently hitting .294 for the Nationals. Corey Seager finished 3-for-4 with a double.

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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