Fantasy Forward: Carlos Martinez takes a walk on the wild side

First and foremost, Happy Easter to you and your family. Base hits seemed like hidden eggs for the Yankees facing Carlos Martinez of the Cardinals, but he handed out walks like candy on Saturday. In an outing which brought back memories of a young Nolan Ryan, Martinez struck out 11, allowed eight walks and took the loss. How many times did Ryan produce a line of at least 11 strikeouts and eight walks – 13 to be exact. No other major league pitcher’s done it more than three times. Reel it in Carlos, fantasy owners do not want to absorb the WHIP damage this type of line can induce.

On the injury front, good news on Devin Mesoraco who could return to the Reds later this week. On the other hand, Brandon Finnegan left his start after the second inning with either a lat or shoulder strain. Spring training sensation Sal Romano will make his major league debut on Sunday against the Brewers. Oakland shortstop Marcus Semien underwent an MRI which revealed a bone contusion. He may undergo a CT Scan to determine the severity of the injury but if any time could be missed, could dynasty owners be drooling over the arrival of Franklin Barreto?

A couple of fun facts, a link then the recaps. Over his last 10 home starts, Clayton Kershaw’s now 9 – 0 in them with a 0.47 ERA and 86:5 strikeout to walk rate. Courtesy of Jason Collette, Mookie Betts has not struck out during his last 113 plate appearances dating back to last September 13th, Byron Buxton’s struck out 47 times in his last 111. For those who own Michael Brantley, take note of this article by Indians beat writer Paul Hoynsie. Now for the recaps.

Rough day on rotations

  • When two of the top three finishers for the American League Cy Young face off, a pitcher’s duel can ensue. However, both Justin Verlander and Corey Kluber finished with rough box scores yesterday. Verlander allowed nine runs and three home runs in four innings of work. Kluber won the game, but gave up six earned runs with eight strikeouts. Less than ideal.
  • No one wanted Ervin Santana in drafts, but his one-hit shutout was the first for the Twins franchise since 2011. His ERA now sits at 0.41 with 15 strikeouts in 22 innings of work and three wins against zero losses.
  • Chris Sale won his first game as a Red Sox despite low run support, again. Sale struck out 12, and since 2012 leads the majors with 21 starts with at least 12 strikeouts or more. In second place, Kershaw (13) and third, Scherzer (11).
  • Another southpaw won in the Bronx with C.C. Sabathia holding down the Cardinals for his second win. He lowered his ERA to 1.47 with a 1.03 WHIP. Time to sell high may be closing.
  • A Rockies pitcher hurled a shutout in San Francisco. Tyler Chatwood‘s complete game two hitter with four strikeouts lowered his ERA to 3.54 on the season.
  • Both Lance McCullers and Sean Manaea struggled with their command. McCullers struck out six but allowed eight hits and did not make it to the fifth inning. Manaea finished five innings, walked five and struck out six as well. Both need to work longer to be effective for fantasy.
  • In Miami, Jacob deGrom deserved a better fate with 13 strikeouts in seven innings of work. He gave up back-to-back home runs but left in line to win the game. His bullpen ceded the lead and frustrated his fantasy owners. deGrom’s ERA now stands at 1.89 on the season. He’s back.
  • Knuckleballer R.A. Dickey recorded the win over San Diego after a rough start to the game. He rebounded to hold the Padres to two runs with six strikeouts. His stuff plays much better in the National League.
  • James Paxton hurled eight shutout innings against Texas with nine strikeouts. He’s yet to allow a run in 21 innings of work this year with 21 strikeouts.
  • Owners need to track Kenta Maeda who only lasted four innings with four earned runs allowed and five strikeouts. Decreased velocity may have been why he did not see the fifth inning. Concerns around his physical before signing last year decreased the value of his contract.

Hitter’s delights

  • Under valued Cesar Hernandez turned in two hits with a home run and two RBI in the Phillies win over the Nationals. He’s now hitting .313, tied for first in the majors with 11 runs scored, and his OPS stands at .895 to start the year. Now if he would just steal some bases.
  • Many scoffed at the Brewers signing of Eric Thames. He started against a southpaw and hit second. Thames responded with two home runs in the game to run his seasonal total to five and slashing .382/.462/.912 at the end of the game. It’s a small sample size, but one worth tracking.
  • Kris Bryant started slowly causing his owners to worry a bit, then hit his first two home runs on Saturday.
  • Nolan Arenado missed a cycle by a triple, finishing with three hits and his fourth home run. Do the Rockies struggle to score runs? Arenado only has six RBI with the four homers.
  • It may be time to look at Robbie Grossman in mixed leagues. He hit lead-off on Saturday, reached base four times in five plate appearances, has nine walks against six strikeouts, and is hitting .296 for Minnesota.
  • During the preseason, Mitch Moreland seemed made for Fenway. He displayed why with three hits including his ninth double and first home run of the season. He’s slugging .619 after 42 at-bats.
  • Jose Altuve moved into sixth all-time in Astros history with two more stolen bases to push his career total to 204 with the team. He’s hitting .319 and using right-field often. Perhaps adjusting to pitches?
  • Over the last three games, Jose Ramirez is 9-for-13 (.692) with five runs, two home runs and seven RBI. He went four-for-four on Saturday with two home runs against the Tigers.
  • Teammate Carlos Santana recorded three hits, a double, a home run and four RBI in the same game. Imagine what will happen when Edwin Encarnacion heats up?
  • Speaking of heating up, Yasiel Puig finished a perfect night with three hits and a walk in four plate appearances. He launched his fourth home run and drove in four during the Dodgers win on Saturday.

Bullpen musings

  • Weekend FAAB target Joaquin Benoit recorded his first save for the Phillies on Saturday.
  • Many will be worried about Ken Giles appearing in the eighth inning with Luke Gregerson working the ninth. The Astros manager publicly said Giles remains the closer, but handcuffing him makes sense.
  • Roberto Osuna returned, blew the save, then pocketed the win with a Kendrys Morales walk-off home run. Something still seems awry with Osuna.
  • As the Reds bullpen turns took center stage. Raisel Iglesias entered a tied game in the fifth inning, worked two innings and finished with the win despite giving up a run. Drew Storen set up Michael Lorenzen who recorded the save. For now, closer 1A will be Iglesias, 1B Lorenzen and 1C Storen. Rolaids will sponsor this segment.
  • Why did deGrom not get a win? His manager used Fernando Salas for the seventh time in the last 11 games and he gave up his first runs of the season. Perhaps he’s tired? In this same game, A.J. Ramos bounced back for the save with two strikeouts.
  • While the totals do not jump off the page, Atlanta’s bullpen looks good. Arodys Vizcaino struck out two in the eighth inning for the hold and Jim Johnson worked a clean inning with two strikeouts as well for the save.
  • For those in deeper leagues or head-to-head formats who love having relievers in starting pitching spots, Adam Warren has retired 20 straight batters.

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Be sure to stay up to the minute on all things fantasy by visiting the one-stop site, FantasyRundown for all the latest links to relevant information. Enjoy the holiday.

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