Fantasy Forward: Sleepless in Seattle?

Although Seattle welcomed back James Paxton to the rotation, many pieces remain missing for the franchise. Two more could join the list after both Jean Segura and Nelson Cruz left Thursday’s game early. Segura hurt his ankle on a slide, and further testing will be required prior to today’s game to determine if he will be lost to the disabled list and for how long. A hit-by-pitch took Cruz out after being plunked on the hand. Like Segura above, his pending MRI may reveal more.

As if the Angels needed more injury issues, Cameron Maybin landed on the 10-day disabled list due to an injured oblique. He finished May with the third most stolen bases (10). Dodgers starter Brandon McCarthy left his start after four innings due to a blister while teammate Alex Wood suffered a setback with his SC sprain and may miss up to a month. Francisco Liriano returns to the mound with the Blue Jays Friday night as the team purges their starting pitcher bridges putting Mike Bolsinger and Mat Latos on waivers. Off to the recaps.

Starting Pitcher Observations

Corey Kluber returned with a vengeance striking out 10 A’s over six innings with a whopping 24 swinging strikes on 77 pitches, allowing two hits and a walk. Danny Salazar made his first relief appearance striking out two and giving up a walk on his road back to the rotation.

Brewers starter Chase Anderson has thrown 14 consecutive shutout innings with seven more in New York, holding the Mets to three hits and one walk with seven strikeouts. Zack Wheeler turned in a quality start, but allowed 10 hits in 6.1 innings with two earned runs with six strikeouts.

To buy or not to buy, that is the question regarding Adam Wainwright. First, Wainwright became the first pitcher in Cardinals history to produce all the runs with a two run home run while pitching six shutout innings during a 2 – 0 win over the Dodgers. Wainwright’s lowered his ERA from 6.37 to 3.79 over his last four starts. However, his 2.64 ERA in May accompanies a 22:14 K:BB in 30.2 innings of work.

Kyle Freeland stemmed the tide for the Rockies giving up six hits, two earned runs, and two walks with three strikeouts in Seattle. Never predictable Wade Miley fired seven innings against the Red Sox giving up five hits, one earned run, and one walk with three strikeouts. As a former owner, once you buy in, he implodes. Good luck.

Can C.C. Sabathia be trusted either? He pitched 6.1 innings in Toronto allowing five hits and one earned run with seven strikeouts on only nine swinging strikes.

A pitcher’s duel between Zack Greinke and Jeff Locke ensued last night in Miami… no, I’m serious. Locke struck out seven Diamondbacks with 12 swinging strikes, allowing three hits against one earned run, just missing a quality start by one out. Greinke posted the second best swinging strike total with 17 versus Miami and finished with eight on his way to win number seven of his 10 decisions.

Either both offenses are struggling or Adalberto Mejia and Alex Meyer pitched well. Both turned in almost identical lines of five hits allowed, one earned run, and two walks with Mejia getting one more strikeout with five. Use at your own risk moving forward.

Bullpen Musings

Closer Corey Knebel has struck out at least one batter in all 26 outings this year and finished with two more on his way to save number four in New York. On the season, Knebel is now second among qualified relievers with 46 strikeouts in 26 innings of work.

Seung-Hwan Oh recorded saves on back-to-back nights locking down his 13th of the year giving up a hit with two strikeouts.

Greg Holland remained perfect with his 20th save in as many chances in Seattle, and Fernando Rodney notched his 14th save with a clean inning and two strikeouts. Of note for Arizona, Archie Bradley worked in the eighth inning as he moves up in the pecking order.

After Jose Alvarez created a mess on the bases in the ninth allowing two hits and a walk, Bud Norris did not do well entering with runners all over the bases. This created a save opportunity for Brandon Kintzler who closed out his 14th save for the Twins in a clean inning of work.

Hitter Highlights

Moving to lead-off seems to suit Jason Kipnis well. He went 1-for-2 last night with two runs and three walks. In 17 games hitting first he is slashing .310/.372/.634 with six home runs, 14 RBI, seven walks, a .324 ISO, and a 168 wRC+, pretty strong.

In one of the most surprising results of this year, Eric Sogard keeps getting on base. He recorded two more hits yesterday to raise his average to .410, he’s making contact over 90 percent of the time and his swinging strike percentage is below one. Hernan Perez added three hits for the Brewers with a double and an RBI. For the Mets, Lucas Duda bounced back with two hits, and Wilmer Flores homered off a right-handed pitcher to raise his average to .308 this year – he’s starting to hit right-handed pitching this year. Both merit looks on the waiver wire this weekend.

Home runs for Mark Reynolds (14) and Nolan Arenado (13) in Seattle during their win. One of them is hitting .307 with a .936 OPS and the other’s .276 with a .833 OPS. The higher average plays first base. Gerardo Parra stayed hot with four hits in as many at-bats as he tries to stay in the lineup.

Both Sam Travis and Christian Vazquez recorded two hits for the Red Sox against Miley, but it was Jackie Bradley Jr. who spurred the offense with his seventh home run and three RBI. It was not enough to overcome the Orioles homer barrage with Mark Trumbo (8), Chris Davis (12), Adam Jones (10) and Jonathan Schoop (8) all hitting one out of Camden.

Don’t look now, but Gary Sanchez may be heating up for the Yankees. He launched two home runs during their win in Rogers Centre to finish 2-for-5 with three RBI. Matt Holliday also contributed three hits, and Aaron Hicks went 4-for-5 with three doubles and six RBI. Kendrys Morales went 2-for-4 with his 11th home run and third over his last four games.

Nick Ahmed hit second and finished 3-for-4 with a triple and an RBI. He’s hitting .283 for Arizona. Dee Gordon stole his 17th base in the Marlins loss, and Christian Yelich stole his fourth. With Giancarlo Stanton hitting second, Yelich may return to being more aggressive on the bases.

Miguel Sano hit his 13th home run on two hits for the Twins in their come from behind win. As for the Angels, Kole Calhoun became the first player since Garret Anderson to homer twice as a left-handed hitter off left-handed pitching in the same game since 2003. Albert Pujols’ 600 watch marches on. He just does not look healthy.

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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