Fantasy Forward: Two doubleheaders and prospects promoted

Harkening back to the olden days when Ernie Banks would be quoted to saying, let’s play two, Saturday provided two doubleheaders with the Mets sweeping the Braves and the A’s gaining a split with Tampa Bay in Florida. Steven Matz made his 2017 debut for New York, but after Atlanta moved up top prospect Sean Newcomb who pitched very well in an eventual loss. This should put Bartolo Colon’s time with the Braves on watch.

Milwaukee placed Jonathan Villar on the 10-day disabled list and promoted one of their top prospects, Lewis Brinson. Due to the lateness of the promotion, he made it to Arizona, but did not get there until the game started so his debut may be on Sunday. In 45 games at Triple-A, Brinson’s hitting .312/.397/.503 with six home runs and seven RBI. Once the Super-2 date’s passed, look for more teams to start calling up the best players in their systems or make moves to pave the way for their arrival.

Giancarlo Stanton owners can breathe a collective sigh of relief. He did get hit in the wrist and leave the game, but reports confirm he will miss a couple of days and not weeks with the X-ray coming back clean. Dustin Pedroia returned to the lineup for Boston, as did Welington Castillo of Baltimore. Padres reliever Carter Capps was activated from the 60-day DL list and assigned to Triple-A; he should back in the majors soon. Matt Andriese left his start after an inning and will undergo an MRI today to determine the severity of the injury. Now for the recaps.

Starting Pitcher Observations

Turning in a quality start at home, Gio Gonzalez pitched six innings allowing three hits and one earned run with nine strikeouts on 12 swinging strikes. He only helped those in quality start leagues with the bullpen blowing the win and eventually the game.

An encouraging day for the Mets with both Robert Gsellman and Steven Matz winning their starts in the doubleheader. Gsellman’s turned things around his last four starts (the opponents help), he gave up four hits over 6.2 shutout innings with four strikeouts. Matz made his season debut working seven innings giving up five hits, one earned run and one walk with two strikeouts. For Atlanta, Sean Newcomb pitched well in his debut striking out seven over 6.1 innings while giving up an unearned run and generating 12 swinging strikes. Take your time Bartolo.

In the other twin-bill, Oakland received strong outings from Sonny Gray and Sean Manaea. Gray allowed five runs, but only two earned over six innings with 12 strikeouts and 20 swinging strikes produced. Manaea won his start pitching seven innings giving up six hits, two earned runs and two walks with five strikeouts.

Pitching without Yadier Molina did not seem to matter to Carlos Martinez who fired a complete game shutout allowing four hits and one walk with 11 strikeouts. Guess the match-up trumps who squats behind the plate.

Beware of the wind they said, and rookies in Wrigley. Jeff Hoffman’s stuff proved to be too much striking out eight over 6.1 innings against the Cubs allowing four hits, one earned run, and a walk for his fourth win on the year. Rockies rookies are now 23 – 8 this year with a 3.51 ERA in 51 starts per their beat writer, Patrick Saunders.

A pitcher duel in a ballpark which favors them did not break out between Jose Berrios and Jeff Samardzija, reinforcing predicting this game is never easy. Berrios pitched 5.2 innings giving up six hits, two earned runs and three walks with eight strikeouts for his fifth win. Samardzija allowed three earned runs over six innings of work, four hits and one walk.

It feels like when fantasy owners buy into Mike Fiers, he implodes, but he fired 7.1 innings of two-hit baseball at home allowing a run (zero earned) and two walks with eight strikeouts.

Luis Severino’s breakout continues for his fifth win, giving up two hits and two walks against eight strikeouts against the Orioles. He generated 15 swinging strikes, eight with the slider.

Boston’s Chris Sale won his eighth game battling the Tigers for seven innings giving up nine hits and three earned runs with seven strikeouts. Sale induced 19 swinging strikes, 11 courtesy of his slider.

Alex Wood finished one out shy of a quality start, but did strike out seven in 5.2 innings of work. Zack Godley fired a gem allowing two hits and two earned runs with four strikeouts to defeat the Brewers at home.

Ariel Miranda walked five during his start against the Blue Jays opening the door for Marcus Stroman to win his seventh game. Stroman pitched seven innings allowing six hits, two runs (one earned) with six strikeouts.



Bullpen Musings

According to the Nationals beat writer, Koda Glover tweaked his back in the shower, but did not tell the team resulting in his blown save. This paved the way for Keone Kela to win his third game, striking out four in two innings of work.

Addison Reed saved his 10th game working 1.2 innings and striking out two in Game 1 of the doubleheader. After saving 12 in a row, Alex Colome blew his third save this year allowing two hits and an earned run in the first game against Oakland. Sean Doolittle did make his return to the A’s as well on Saturday.

In the debate between will it be Felipe Rivero or Juan Nicasio, Rivero owners unite in his 1.1 inning save with three strikeouts. Tony Watson owners should take note. David Robertson worked two innings of relief striking out four against a walk for his 10th save in Cleveland.

Houston’s Ken Giles saved his 16th of the year walking one but striking out the side. Kenley Jansen won his fourth game working a clean ninth and the Dodgers walked off the Reds bullpen.

Fernando Rodney notched his 16th save giving up a walk with a strikeout, and Roberto Osuna pitched a clean ninth with two strikeouts for his 15th save.

Hitter Highlights

Many focus on other Rangers hitters, but Delino DeShields has recorded four straight multiple hit games with four stolen bases in them. He’s nine for his last 16 and hitting .388 (26-for-67) over his last 23 games played. Shin-Soo Choo (8) and Robinson Chirinos (7) also homered for the Rangers. Adam Lind sparked the Nationals offense going 2-for-5 with his fifth home run and two RBI. He’s hitting .333 with a 1.008 OPS as a reserve player.

Yoenis Cespedes made his return in style with a grand slam in the ninth inning. It marked his seventh home run this year, but he did say he’s not able to run at 100 percent – handle with care. Wilmer Flores continues to rake with six hits in nine at-bats during the doubleheader with three doubles, a triple and an RBI. He’s now slashing .333/.359/.519 this year. Jay Bruce launched his 16th home run in Game 2 with three RBI.

Matt Carpenter doubled and drove in two while Jedd Gyorko finished with three RBI with a double as well for the Cardinals. Will this offense heat up?

Charlie Blackmon hit his 15th home run, scored three runs, and now has 53 RBI this year, just like his teammate Mark Reynolds. Reynolds added his 17th dinger which surpasses his season totals in each of the last two years. In fact, Reynolds has homered 17 times in 60 games this year compared to 14 in 118 last year or 13 in 140 games in 2015. You can sell high or enjoy the ride.

Miami lost a slugfest in Pittsburgh which had to do more with the starting pitching than the offenses. Marcell Ozuna doubled twice and scored two runs. J.T. Realmuto also hit two doubles, his sixth home run, and drove in three, and Derek Dietrich hit his third homer. Josh Bell tallied three hits with a triple and an RBI along with Andrew McCutchen who recorded three hits driving in two.

Brian Dozier’s power swing may be heating up as he hit his 10th of the year, and teammate Kennys Vargas added his sixth. Brandon Belt hit his 11th for San Francisco.

Brian McCann fared well again against Ricky Nolasco hitting his ninth home run off of him and his ninth of 2017 as well in a pitchers duel in Houston.

Lorenzo Cain broke out the power in Petco hitting two home runs (6) including a grand slam among his three hits. Eric Hosmer added his sixth of the year, Salvador Perez his 13th and Alcides Escobar his first. Jose Pirela turned in another solid day with three hits including a double and his first home run for three RBI.

Baltimore struggled on offense, but Chris Davis did hit his 14th dinger with Joey Rickard adding his second as a pinch-hitter. All of the Yankees in an onslaught but here’s the recap anyway. Aaron Judge with three hits and his league leading 19th home run with three RBI. Matt Holliday racked up three hits with his 13th home run and three RBI. Starlin Castro hit his 11th with three RBI, Didi Gregorius his sixth, and Gary Sanchez added three hits with his ninth home run and four RBI. Good lord. By the way, Chris Tillman will land on the disabled list soon, he’s cooked.

Jose Abreu returned one day after being hit on the knee with a pitch for a 3-for-5 day, and Melky Cabrera added three hits as well. Carlos Santana (8) and Edwin Encarnacion (12) homered for the Indians.

Dustin Pedroia returned going 2-for-4 with three runs scored, and Xander Bogaerts finished 3-for-5 with two runs, two doubles and an RBI. Mitch Moreland continues to lead the team in OPS with a double and .874 mark, but Xander’s closing in.

Devin Mesoraco showed signs of life with a three-run home run against the Dodgers, his fourth of the year. Chase Utley went 3-for-4 with two doubles along with Corey Seager’s two double game with two RBI including the game winner. Cody Bellinger launched his 13th home run.

With Villar on the disabled list, more playing time will emerge for Hernan Perez who hit his ninth home run and his third in five games. However, Brandon Drury’s sixth home run proved to be the difference in the game.

Mallex Smith finished 3-for-8 with a run and his seventh stolen base without being caught this year. Evan Longoria went 5-for-9 in both games with three runs, three RBI, two doubles and his ninth home run. Yonder Alonso started the day hitting a respectable .289, after going 7-for-10 with two doubles and two RBI, he’s hitting .314 on the season. Josh Phegley (3), Ryon Healy (14) and Chad Pinder (8) all homered in Game 2 for Oakland. 

Kendrys Morales (12), Ezequiel Carrera (5) and Justin Smoak (18) all homered for the Blue Jays in their comeback win over the Mariners.

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