Fantasy Forward: Another over the Hedges

Another busy day on the transaction trail. Troy Tulowitzki, Miguel Cabrera and Cam Bedrosian landed on the 10-day disabled list. Angels starter Garrett Richards transferred to the 60-day list – his progress will need to monitored by his owners, but signs do not provide hope. George Springer left his game with a hamstring problem, so time off for him could occur as well. Plan accordingly just in case.

San Francisco outfielder Denard Span ran into the wall hard in Colorado and left the game with a jammed shoulder. Eduardo Nunez shifted to left field and may fill in there until Span can return if he avoids the disabled list. Stay tuned. If one’s not streaming against the White Sox or Padres, why not? Chicago has not scored in their last 19 innings against the Indians dating back to April 13th. Meanwhile, Dan Straily struck out 14 Padres hitters in seven innings of work. His counterpart on the mound, Jered Weaver, owns 13 strikeouts on the season in 23 innings pitched.

Starting pitcher observations

As alluded to above, Carlos Carrasco added to the White Sox offensive woes firing eight shutout innings with only three hits allowed, one walk and eight strikeouts, lowering his ERA to 1.65 on the season.

Reality reared itself in Pittsburgh with Michael Pineda giving up two home runs and three earned runs in five innings of work. Once he draws you in, be careful. Jameson Taillon showed himself well early this year, but regressed a bit against the hot Yankees bats. Taillon struck out four, but walked three and gave up four earned runs in 5.1 innings at home.

In a much-needed bounce back, Jharel Cotton beat the Mariners at home, but only tallied two strikeouts. His tremendous change moves, but his command of the pitch so far leaves much to be desired. Cotton only allowed two earned runs during his second win in four decisions.

Gio Gonzalez outdueled Jacob deGrom in New York giving up two hits in 6.1 innings of work with three walks and six strikeouts to lower his ERA to 1.35. deGrom had an outing which Nolan Ryan approves of. During his 5.2 innings, deGrom struck out 10 but walked five, something Ryan’s accomplished five times as a Met along with Tom Seaver, Dwight Gooden and Johan Santana one time each. The good news, deGrom’s velocities were normal after being skipped a day due to a sore neck.

Tyler Skaggs may be turning the corner with another seven inning outing for the win against Toronto. On the other hand, Blake Snell, once again, walked more (5) than he struck out (4) for the Rays on Saturday.

While Michael Wacha garners the early praise in the Cardinals rotation, Lance Lynn struck out seven in Milwaukee with only one run allowed in six inning of work to lower his ERA to 2.70 this season.

There’s something awry with Kenta Maeda whose pitches look flat and he is being tattooed early on. Since the All-Star break last year and including the postseason, his ERA: 5.22. Prior to the break last year, it was 2.95.

Bullpen musings

With Cam Bedrosian, Huston Street and Andrew Bailey all on the disabled list, someone has to close for the Angels, right? First shot went to veteran Bud Norris who saved the first game of his career on Saturday. He does have 11 strikeouts in 9.2 innings pitched as a reliever this year, so there’s that. Bear in mind that Bedrosian saved three games during the team’s first 17 played.

Also recording their first saves of the year, Koda Glover and Ryan Madson. Please note, Shawn Kelley, Sean Doolittle and Santiago Casilla all pitched three of the last four days and in back-to-back games prior to Saturday. For Oakland, it may signal Madson is option three ahead of Ryan Dull now.

Seung-Hwan Oh owners may exhale. He has saved back-to-back games so far in Milwaukee with three strikeouts on Friday night and a clean inning on Saturday.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, Jim Johnson reminded fantasy owners what he looked like in 2015 with four hits allowed and two earned runs to blow the extra-inning game in Philadelphia. He will have a long leash, but we’ve been down this road before when his strikeouts drop. Take heed.

Hitter’s delights

When a player starts slowly in April, things get exaggerated and open themselves to overreaction. Austin Hedges broke out in Triple-A last year and entered the season with hype for fantasy purposes. But going hitless during his first 24 at-bats caused some to panic. He has homered in three straight games and now has five this week. Patience friends.

Home run derby broke out in Cincinnati with Anthony Rizzo picking up where he left off the night before hitting his third of the season. Willson Contreras launched a grand slam for his third of the year, and with the number being wild, Jason Heyward also hit his third dinger. Maybe fantasy owners let J-Hey fall too far in drafts?

Joey Votto may be heating up to the delight of his owners. Votto finished with three hits, two for extra-bases, and his sixth home run this month. He’s being more aggressive early in counts, and if the power holds, his value increases.

With Miggy landing on the disabled list, Nick Castellanos transitioned to third in the lineup with two hits and his third home run (a theme perhaps). Guess what, Justin Upton tallied his third as well.

A middle infielder hitting cleanup may be in style this year – Starlin Castro broke the streak hitting his fourth home run in Pittsburgh and now has 13 RBI for the Yankees. Aaron Judge did not want to be left out and crushed his sixth of the season. He’s still hitting .281, and what would a home run derby between he and the next guy look like in Miami?

Giancarlo Stanton hit two home runs in San Diego, where he makes the park look small. After Stanton and Judge face each other in the home run derby, perhaps they could arm wrestle as well. People will watch.

Many Mariners fans worried about the lack of offense, but Robinson Cano is heating up, usually in accordance with the weather. Cano finished 3-for-5 with his, you guessed it, third dinger of the year to push his RBI total to 13 as well.

Trea Turner hit second, Bryce Harper hit third and walked three times while Ryan Zimmerman hit fourth. Daniel Murphy shifted to fifth which seemed to make walking Harper easy to do. Lineup construction 101 seems lost on Dusty Baker at times. He did muse about Adam Eaton hitting sixth in the preseason. By the way, Washington heads to Colorado for a four-game set after Sunday’s game. Stream their offense.

Speaking of Coors, Charlie Blackmon may be emerging with a triple and a home run Saturday. Teammate Trevor Story also homered. In 70 plate appearances, Story’s recorded nine hits, four doubles and four home runs with one single, 29 strikeouts and nine walks. His strikeout percentage: 41.4 percent. Yikes!

Arizona ran track practice at home against Maeda and the beleaguered Dodgers bullpen. David Peralta set a team record with four doubles in five at-bats and Yasmany Tomas hit two home runs.

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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