Fantasy Forward: Altherr’s surge continues and the Gyork-Store remains open for business

With the Dodgers treading water with the rotation, help will be on the way in the week ahead. Brandon McCarthy finished a four inning simulated game throwing 60 pitches remaining on track to pitch Monday in San Francisco. Rich Hill worked five inning in a minor league rehab start with his return pending as well. The team did lose Andrew Toles to a torn ACL. Reports suggest a platoon at first base until Adrian Gonzalez can return with Cody Bellinger taking over in left field. Bellinger homered for the sixth time during their win over the Pirates last night.

Chicago promoted Eddie Butler from Triple-A where his below two ERA in the hitter friendly PCL puts him on the radar in deeper formats moving forward. It appears Kendrys Morales will avoid the disabled list, and add Hanley Ramirez to the injury reports after he left Wednesday night’s game with a trapezius injury.

Starting pitcher observations

Rookie German Marquez dazzled in Coors taking a no-hitter into the seventh inning and worked eight innings allowing three hits, one walk and striking out eight. He’s the youngest pitcher at Coors to record eight shutout innings.

Working with reduced velocities, Kyle Hendricks turned in another quality start working 6.1 innings giving up four hits, three runs (two earned), two walks with seven strikeouts. His ERA is down to 3.40 and over his last four starts, he’s 1 – 1 with a 1.52 ERA.

Oakland’s Andrew Triggs bounced back with a win against the Angels working six innings with four strikeouts. After a strong start and some regression, he seems to be settling in.

Bench Wade Miley they said, but he did turn in five innings against the Nationals on the road allowing two earned runs. He still provided too many free passes (four) but his ERA of 2.45 at the end of the game puts him on notice moving forward.

Stephen Strasburg gave up five earned runs at home with nine strikeouts. He did generate 16 swinging strikes, eight with the change-up. But he is still a second starter for fantasy purposes.

With the top start of the night, Chris Archer struck out 11 at home against the Royals to lower his ERA to 3.04. He produced 15 swinging strikes with 12 courtesy of his slider.

Home runs to no name hitters seem to befall Yu Darvish all the time. His “quality start” allowed seven hits at home to the Padres with three earned runs and six strikeouts. Fantasy owners expected more, rightfully so.

Zack Godley struggled at home last year, but only ceded one earned run to Detroit at home with six strikeouts for the win. More encouraging, his 14 swinging strikes, eight from his curve. Deeper league stash, but worth watching.

Those who dropped Kenta Maeda may be regretting the decision. Of course, shutting down the Pirates does not seem difficult right now, but he struck out five in 8.1 innings of work for the win. Maeda did generate 16 swinging strikes, and the slider led the way with nine. Potential buy low pitcher.

Bullpen musings

Many raised an eyebrow when the Rockies invested in Greg Holland this off-season, but may be getting the last laugh. He’s 14-for-14 in save chances giving the bullpen much needed stability.

With Zach Britton out for 45-to-60 days, those who added Brad Brach breathed a sigh of relief. However, with Darren O’Day not at full strength and others struggling, he’s worked three times in the last four games. He blew the save last night, but more disturbing, Brach gave up 18 earned runs all last year with eight allowed already this year.

Seung-Hwan Oh closed out his ninth save, with a hit and two walks against. Matt Bush looked strong hitting 99 MPH on the gun en route to his second save with two strikeouts. He’s done well in the role. but opportunities have been scarce. There’s a bit of irony with the Giants bullpen in flux and Santiago Casilla saving his sixth game with two strikeouts.

Hitter highlights

It seems like the Mariners enjoyed their visit to Philadelphia. Robinson Cano went 4-for-5 yesterday with his eighth home run to boost his average to .296 and distinguish his owner’s worries about missing time to injury. Ben Gamel recorded two more hits with two walks to push his OPS to 1.063 on the year. Many gave up on Danny Valencia, but his 4-for-6 day with his fourth home run provides encouragement moving forward.

One cannot stop Aaron Altherr. He hit two home runs yesterday and has three run home runs in three straight games. Altherr is on an eight-game hit streak in which he’s 13-for-30 with nine runs, five home runs, 15 RBI, and reached base 20 times in his last 37 plate appearances. Mercy.

Teammate Tommy Joseph hit his fourth home run with many looking to Rhys Hoskins down the road. Joseph’s hit in five of his last six going 9-for-20 with four runs, three doubles and two home runs.

How does one explain Buster Posey hitting his fifth home run with a .367 average and having eight RBI? No really, how?

After losing his tenth home run to a rain delay, Jay Bruce finally cashed it in at home against the Giants. Over his last 20 games he’s 23-for-79 (.291) with 13 runs, eight doubles, six home runs and 18 RBI.

Another anomaly, Freddie Freeman launched his 12th home run and has 20 RBI? Teammate Matt Kemp extended his 11-game hit streak during which he’s hitting .354 with three home runs.

Slow starts can make owners nervous, but Carlos Correa is turning his season around. He hit two more doubles yesterday with two RBI, and over his last 15 games he is hitting .338 in 65 at-bats with 10 doubles, three home runs and 14 RBI.

Speaking of hot, Mark Reynolds does not want to lose playing time with the Rockies. He’s walked five times in the last two games, and during his last 10 he’s 14-for-34 (.412) with a .512 OBP, five home runs and 10 RBI.

Manny Machado is still not hitting for average (.227) but recorded his ninth home run yesterday. Mark Trumbo is on a seven-game hit streak with 11 hits in his last 29 at-bats (.379) with six runs, two home runs and five RBI. Jonathan Schoop extended his on-base streak to 25 games, second in the majors right now.

Speaking of second, when Jayson Werth bats there he has scored nine runs with three home runs, four RBI and slashes .350/.447/.625 over 47 plate appearances. Michael Taylor pitched in with his first home run of the season and three RBI on Wednesday.

Can one trust Ezequiel Carrera? He hit his third home run, along with Jose Bautista yesterday, and seems to be thriving hitting second as well. The Indians moved Jason Kipnis to third in the lineup and he responded with three RBI and a double. They need him to heat up.

While many focus on the Yonder Alonso experience, perhaps Logan Morrison is being overlooked? He hit his ninth home run last night and is on pace to surpass his career high of 23 in 2011. Corey Dickerson recorded his 15th multi-hit game this year and his 51 extra-base hits since the All-Star break of last year places him second to Brian Dozier in the American League.

Colby Rasmus starts fasts then fades, so ride him while he’s hot. He finished 3-for-5 with a home run, and five of his last eight hits have been for extra-bases with three home runs in his last 17 at-bats.

Those who predicted regression for Jedd Gyorko may be disappointed. His 3-for-4 night included the sixth stolen base of his career (second this year) and extended his hit streak to seven. During 65 plate appearances hitting cleanup this year, he has scored eight runs with three home runs, 12 RBI hitting .377/.415/.639 with a .262 ISO.

Both Christian Yelich (5) and Justin Bour (5) homered in the Marlins loss with the Lance Lynn regression coming to the surface. Interesting lineup notes, Dee Gordon stole two bases but hit ninth, and Giancarlo Stanton dropped to fifth with Marcell Ozuna moving to fourth. Stay tuned.

Why does Yu Darvish struggle to win games? He lets Erick Aybar hit a home run and steal a base off of him. Owners will accept one to Myers, but Aybar? Come on Yu.

Arizona played well in their win with A.J. Pollock going 2-for-5 with two RBI, Yasmany Tomas hit his sixth home run and, Brandon Drury continues to bounce back with his second home run of the year and his average up to .312.

Cody Bellinger will be here to stay. The power’s for real; he hit his sixth home run yesterday, but his average will start to regress soon as teams get the book on his swing. Still a strong rookie of the year candidate for a franchise which seems to corner the market on this award.

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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