Fantasy Forward: Nolan Arenado walks off for the cycle

Despite the rarity of hitting for the cycle, factoring in hitting a walk-off home run to complete one seems poetic. However, when Nolan Arenado replicated this feat on Sunday, it’s the 31st time a player’s done so according to MLB history. Arenado’s home run raised his season total to 15 and pushed his RBI count to 55 for Colorado. He has hit more home runs away (9) from Coors than in his home park (6) with a lower ground ball rate, lower strikeout percentage (despite being more aggressive), and a higher walk rate. On the surface it may not seem like he’s getting better, but there’s still a little room for growth in his power.

Two Boston players were dinged up in the same inning last night. Mookie Betts took a pitch on the inside of his knee, and then a pick-off attempt off of his elbow after he reached second base due to Dustin Pedroia taking a pitch in the ribs. Betts stayed in the game and scored on a single, but Pedroia left the game to receive X-rays. There’s no word regarding Pedroia’s availability in Kansas City. A.J. Pollock recorded a walk and a double during his rehab and remains on track to rejoin Arizona this week.

Speaking of rehab, the Houston pitching staff seems to be progressing. Dallas Keuchel played catch and will ramp up to bullpen sessions this week, Lance McCullers could pitch in Seattle on Saturday, Charlie Morton could head to a rehab assignment if he passes his bullpen session on Monday, and Collin McHugh will throw live batting practice at the spring training facility in Florida. Off to the recaps.

Starting Pitcher Observations

Toronto’s J.A. Happ won his second game lasting 6.2 innings allowing eight hits, three earned runs and striking out nine with 16 swinging strikes generated. Kenta Maeda only pitched five innings, but won his fifth game giving up three hits, one earned run and a walk with five strikeouts on 11 swinging strikes.

Rookie Jacob Faria continues to impress winning his third straight decision pitching seven innings in Detroit allowing six hits, one earned run and one walk with nine strikeouts on 13 swinging strikes. Tampa Bay will have a difficult decision demoting him. Keep tabs on the Rays since Blake Snell could return after the All Star break once they return Erasmo Ramirez to the bullpen or make a trade.

Jacob deGrom homered and won his sixth game of the year pitching eight strong innings against the Nationals, giving up three hits, one run (unearned) and two walks with six strikeouts on 13 swinging strikes.

He is hard to like, but John Lackey pitched six effective innings in Pittsburgh allowing two hits, one earned run and three walks with four strikeouts for his fifth victory.

Both Jose Urena and Mike Foltynewicz turned in quality starts with neither pitcher factoring in the decision. Each pitched six innings allowing two earned run with four strikeouts. Urena won the swinging strike battle with 13 to Foltynewicz’s eight.

Trevor Bauer won his sixth game pitching seven strong innings in Minnesota giving up four hits, two earned runs and two walks with eight strikeouts. Jharel Cotton struck out six over 6.1 innings at home to win his fourth game in spite of allowing three earned runs.

A complete game gem by Jimmy Nelson not only resulted in his fifth win, but provided his team’s bullpen with a much-needed day off. Nelson allowed six hits, one earned run and two walks with 10 strikeouts. His 17 swinging strikes produced also led the way for pitchers on Sunday.

David Price won the night-cap in Houston, but needed 107 pitches to complete five innings. Price gave up eight hits, three earned runs and three walks with three strikes battling for his second win of the season.



Bullpen Musings

Kenley Jansen continues to add to his historical start to the year with two more strikeouts during his 15th save for 50 strikeouts without a walk. Craig Kimbrel locked down his 20th save on Sunday night giving up a hit with a strikeout to lower his ERA to 0.85. These two have been the top reliever in their respective leagues this year.

Archie Bradley won his third game giving up two hits with two strikeouts, and Fernando Rodney shut the door for his 20th save by striking out the side. Jim Johnson walked one with a strikeout for his fifth win of the year with the Braves walking off with a win for the second straight day.

It looks like the Indians will revert back to matching up in the ninth inning due to match-ups with Andrew Miller appearing in the ninth inning on consecutive games for his first save of the year. Cody Allen recorded his second straight hold walking one on Sunday.

Mark Melancon’s tough year continued in a four run meltdown in Coors. It marks his fourth blown save, and he recorded one out in the process. His ERA now sits at 5.09 this season.

Kelvin Herrera improved his trade stock saving his 15th game getting the games last two outs after the bullpen created a bit of a mess in the ninth inning. Santiago Casilla nursed his non-pitching shoulder paving the way for Sean Doolittle to save his second game in as many days. Doolittle looked strong striking out four of the seven batters he faced the last two days.

Hitter Highlights

Kendrys Morales hit his 15th home run and third in four games with two RBI. Russell Martin added his seventh home run with two RBI and two walks.

Justin Turner is back for the Dodgers and went 2-for-4 with his third home run of the year, three RBI, and a walk. Logan Forsythe hit his second of the season as he tries to right the ship. Billy Hamilton finished 3-for-5 with two runs, a double and his 29th stolen base. Scooter Gennett hit his eighth home run with three RBI, Adam Duvall hit his 16th, and Eugenio Suarez his 11th.

Corey Dickerson continues to rake with three hits and stole his second base of the season. Mallex Smith stole his eighth base as well. Evan Longoria hit his 10th home run, Logan Morrison hit two more (21) with three RBI, and Steven Souza drove in four including his 13th homer.

Michael Conforto went 2-for-3 with two RBI and his second stolen base. T.J. Rivera finished 4-for-4 with a run and a double.

Gregor Blanco sparked the offense with two hits, a run, his seventh stolen base, and an RBI. Paul Goldschmidt hit his 16th home run with two RBI, and Chris Owings added his eighth home run. Aaron Altherr (12) and Maikel Franco (8) homered for the Phillies in another extra innings loss.

Lead-off hitter Anthony Rizzo finished 3-for-5 with three runs, a double, and his 16th home run. He is 9-for-22 (.409) hitting atop the lineup with two doubles and three home runs. Ian Happ added his eighth home run becoming the fourth Cub since 1925 to reach this total over his first 31 games. Kyle Schwarber also achieved this in 2015. As the team tinkers with the lineup, Willson Contreras hit third and finished with three hits, two doubles and three RBI. Jordy Mercer provided the Pirates run with his sixth homer of the season.

Dee Gordon tallied two hits, scored a run, and stole his 25th base. Marcell Ozuna launched his 18th home run with two RBI, and Justin Bour added two hits with two RBI. Brandon Phillips drove in the walk-off run for the second straight day leading the Braves to another win at home.

Dexter Fowler stayed hot homering for the fourth straight game and finishing 2-for-3 with two RBI and a walk. Fowler’s hit 13 this year and is now on pace for 31 – patience pays. Stephen Piscotty hit two homers (6), and Yadier Molina (7) added a solo shot. Baltimore also played home run derby with Seth Smith recording three hits with his seventh home run, Mark Trumbo hit his 10th, Trey Mancini his 12th, and Welington Castillo his seventh.

For the sixth straight game, Jose Ramirez finished with a multiple hit outing. On Sunday, Ramirez went 3-for-4 with two runs, two doubles, and a walk while stealing his seventh base. He is 16 for his last 31 (.516) with nine runs, eight doubles, three home runs, and seven RBI. Teammate Edwin Encarnacion launched two home runs (16) and drove in five runs. Encarnacion has hit six home runs his last 10 games while raising his average by 21 points and is back on pace for 39 home runs.

In a pitcher’s duel in Miller Park, Hernan Perez (10) and Manny Pina (4) homered to provide the Brewers with both of their runs.

Kyle Seager went 3-for-5 with two runs, three doubles and three RBI. I, of course, played him in DFS on Saturday. Danny Valencia hit his seventh home run for the Mariners with two RBI. Carlos Gomez homered for the second time in three games off of the disabled list.

Brandon Crawford tallied three hits and his sixth home run with three RBI. Hunter Pence added his ninth home run as a pinch hitter. Trevor Story seems to be awaking with his 10th home run and second in three days. Story’s nine for his last 22 (.409) with six RBI. D.J. LeMahieu notched his third multiple hit game in his last four going 2-for-4 with two runs.

Salvador Perez went 3-for-5 with his 14th home run and three RBI. Mike Moustakas added a three-run double to spark the Royals to a win on Sunday.

Matt Holliday hit his 14th home run, and Didi Gregorius added his seventh. Khris Davis went 2-for-4 with a double and his 18th home run driving in two, leading the A’s to a sweep of the Yankees.

Xander Bogaerts launched two home runs (4) with four RBI to lead the Red Sox to a road win on Sunday night in Houston. George Springer (19), Carlos Correa (13) and Jake Marisnick (8) all homered for the Astros.

Statistical Credits: Fangraphs.com, BaseballSavant.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