Fantasy Forward: Pocket steals by the Judge and Bellinger

As the Dodgers wrapped up a sweep of the Mets, they set a franchise record hitting 15 home runs. Cody Bellinger chipped in with three during the series to take over the National League lead in home runs with 22 on the season. Aaron Judge leads the majors and the American League, hitting his 25th Thursday night.

With the 20 home run and 20 stolen base player pool shrinking, players like Judge and Bellinger take on added value due to their occasional stolen bases. Bellinger stole his fifth base last night to put him on pace for 48 home runs and 11 stolen bases over 118 games. Judge is pace of 58 home runs and 14 stolen bases in 157 games flies a bit under the radar as well.  There will be all the off-season regression takes, but keep in mind, any player who hits for power and can swipe double-digit bases translates to increased fantasy value.

Speaking of paces, George Springer could make a run at the Astros franchise home run record set by Jeff Bagwell in 2000 when he hit 47. Springer is currently pacing towards 46, but took a pitch off the hand in Oakland last night. He lobbied to stay in the game, but the team took the cautious route. Early reports indicate Springer will play on Friday, but monitor this as an owner. Stephen Vogt became the latest victim of the A’s youth movement with the team designating him for assignment. Deeper league players should take a look at Bruce Maxwell, it’s his job at catcher going forward.

Both Matt Kemp’s hamstring may have flared up on Thursday night. He singled in the fifth inning, then the Braves replaced him with Danny Santana as a pinch-runner. Brandon Phillips left this same game with a groin injury. Each veteran should be tracked by their fantasy owners. Homer Bailey will make his 2017 debut in Washington on Saturday after rookie Luis Castillo takes the mound in the majors for the first time Friday night. Bailey struck out 17 over 16.2 innings allowing two earned runs leading up to tomorrow’s start. By the way, the Angels activated Huston Street and used Cam Bedrosian in the seventh when they owned a three-run lead. Mike Scioscia does not care about our fantasy requests. Off to the recaps.

Starting Pitcher Observations

Aaron Nola kicked off a wild day of pitching, out dueling Carlos Martinez at home for his fourth win. Nola limited the Cardinals to four hits, one earned run and two walks with eight strikeouts over 7.1 innings.

Jose Quintana bounced back to win his fourth as well striking out nine Twins in Minnesota. Quintana threw 6.2 shutout innings allowing five hits.

Chase Anderson pitched six innings giving up two hits, two earned runs and two walks with seven strikeouts for his sixth win.

Perhaps the most impressive start of the day happened in Colorado. Not by a Rockie, their last two starters each allowed nine earned runs or more on back-to-back days for the first time since 1998. Arizona’s Zack Godley worked seven innings at Coors allowing four hits, three earned runs and one walk with eight strikeouts on 17 swinging strikes. Thinking he will stick in the rotation.

Houston’s David Paulino won his second, lasting 5.1 innings giving up seven hits, three earned runs and two walks with six strikeouts. He generated 12 swinging strikes.

It was not vintage Jake Arrieta, but he won his seventh game holding the Marlins to one run on six hits with three strikeouts on six swinging strikes.

Andrew Moore won his first professional start against the Tigers in Seattle. Moore lasted seven innings allowing six hits, three earned runs and struck out four.

Two southpaws battled in Los Angeles with neither factoring in the decision. Steven Matz pitched six innings yielding five walks, three hits and three earned runs with eight strikeouts in a quality start? Hyun-Jin Ryu countered with a five inning outing giving up two earned runs with three strikeouts.

Bullpen Musings

No save registered by the Phillies, but conflicting reports after the game regarding Pat Neshek with Manager Pete Mackanin suggested Neshek could not work the ninth inning after recording two outs in the eight on five pitches. Neshek told reporters he wanted to pitch. Perhaps the Phillies understand his trade value and wish to keep him healthy, but Neshek and his 0.63 ERA looks to be the only arm the team can trust right now in relief.

Corey Knebel locked down his 12th save and extended his streak of at least one strikeout to 38 appearances. He’s whiffed 65 over 37.2 innings this season and lowered his ERA to 0.96 for the Brewers.

Handcuff saves for Chris Devenski (3) who struck out the side and Steve Cishek (1) with two strikeouts in a clean inning. Kenley Jansen also turned in a clean outing recording four outs for his 16th save.

Jim Johnson’s latest dirty save resulted in his 14th save, but he has allowed at least a run in four of his last outings after giving up two earned last night. His ERA in June rose to 5.40 as a result. Arodys Vizcaino could get a chance, but the Braves will be patient trying to squeeze all the value out of Johnson leading up to the trade deadline. Vizcaino’s 1.17 ERA in June with 10 strikeouts and 1.04 WHIP seem poised to move up in the pecking order. Stay tuned.

Hitter Highlights

Paul DeJong represented the Cardinals offense hitting his fourth home run, a solo shot. Freddy Galvis countered with his seventh home run, and Tommy Joseph’s 11th home run along with three RBI sealed the Phillies victory.

Jose Abreu (13), Todd Frazier (12) and, of course, Matt Davidson (17) homered for the White Sox. Davidson has hit seven home runs over his last 10 games and finished with three hits in four at-bats.

Jose Bautista led off again for the Blue Jays going 2-for-4 with a double, walk and run scored. Russell Martin hit second, tallied two hits in four at-bats scoring a run, doubling and driving in one. Kendrys Morales extended his hit streak to eight and multiple hit game streak to five going 2-for-4 with an RBI.

Adrian Beltre also finished 2-for-4 with a double, two runs and two RBI. Carlos Gomez stayed white-hot with three hits, two home runs (9) and five RBI. Since coming off the disabled list he is 9-for-23 with nine runs, five home runs, and 14 RBI hitting .391/.440/.1.087, but walking just once with eight strikeouts. Ride him while he’s hot, but there will be correction with no discipline. Robinson Chirinos added his ninth home run as well in 92 at-bats this year. Pretty good ratio.

Gregory Polanco hit a home run – not a typo, his fifth of the year. Eric Sogard racked up three more hits, two of which were doubles, and scored two runs. Travis Shaw launched his 14th home run. Reading the quotes about playing through his daughter’s sickness keeps things in perspective.

Paul Goldschmidt went 3-for-5, scored two runs, hit his 16th homer, and drove in four. Chris Owings added his ninth home run and three RBI. Charlie Blackmon finished 2-for-3 with his 16th home run, a golf shot, and two RBI.

Filling affably for Springer, Jake Marisnick hit his 10th home run and drove in three. Marisnick’s homered in three of his last five games. Josh Reddick showing no signs of rust going 3-for-4 with a triple, his seventh home run and a walk. Evan Gattis drove in three, and Marwin Gonzalez hit his 13th home run with three RBI. Matt Olson of the A’s went 2-for-3, scored a run, doubled, drove in two, and walked twice. Newly promoted Bruce Maxwell went 3-for-4 with two runs, a double and an RBI. Godspeed Stephen Vogt.

Although his multiple hit streak ended, Jose Ramirez maintained his 10-game hit streak going 1-for-4 with two runs. He’s hitting .381/.416/.702 in June with 11 doubles, two triples, four home runs and eight RBI. Austin Jackson finished 3-for-5 with a run, triple and three RBI. Erik Gonzalez played left field and hit his second home run of the season. Seth Smith launched his eighth of the year for Baltimore, and Manny Machado chipped in with two hits, a double, an RBI and a walk.

Cameron Maybin continues to spark the Angels offense. He went 1-for-3, but scored three runs, drove in one, walked twice and stole his 22nd base. Albert Pujols and Yunel Escobar each tallied two hits with Pujols driving in two. Brett Gardner stole his ninth base, scored a run and drove in one. Aaron Judge hit his 25th of the year with three RBI.

Kris Bryant drove in three runs for the first time since April 15th with his 16th home run among two hits last night. Willson Contreras hit his seventh home run and second in four games. Addison Russell went 4-for-5 with three runs, two doubles, his seventh homer and two RBI. Ian Happ also notched four hits in five at-bats with a run, double, two RBI and swiped his first base of the season.

Marcell Ozuna represented the Marlins offense with two hits and his 20th home run. He’s the 11th Marlin to reach 20 home runs prior to the All-Star break with the franchise record of 28 in sight. Mike Lowell set the record in 2003.

San Francisco and Atlanta combined for 23 runs last night after a rain delay. Joe Panik went 2-for-4 with three runs, his fifth home run, and three RBI. Buster Posey played first base, went 3-for-5 with two runs, two doubles, his 10th home runs, and three RBI. Posey is hitting .344 with a .964 OPS. Brandon Belt launched his 13th home run entering the game as a pinch hitter. F

or the Braves, Brandon Phillips hit his fifth home run before leaving the game. Nick Markakis added four hits with his third home run of the year and drove in three. Matt Adams stayed hot with his 13th home run. Since May 12th, he is second to Cody Bellinger (13) with 12 home runs without the hype. Lane Adams also homered as a pinch hitter, the first of his career and drove in three.

Ian Kinsler seems to be percolating. He homered for the third straight game, his eighth, and drove in two. He has also stolen three bases over the last three games. Miguel Cabrera also hit his eighth driving in two. Robinson Cano launched two home runs, one a grand slam, to raise his total to 13 on the season driving in six. Ben Gamel stayed hot with a hit, a run, a double, and two RBI. Gamel’s hitting .352 with a .898 OPS.

For the second straight day, Curtis Granderson led off with a home run for the Mets, his ninth, and he finished 2-for-4 with a double, an RBI and a walk. Travis d’Arnaud added his eighth of the year. Justin Turner returned to the lineup hitting his fifth home run of the year and third in four starts. He’s hitting .415/.500/.732 since returning from the disabled list with four home runs and 10 RBI. Kike Hernandez hit his seventh with two RBI and Joc Pederson entered as a pinch hitter finishing with two hits along with his fifth home run. Austin Barnes did not tally a hit, but walked three times and stole two bases (4). He’s a poor man’s version of J.T. Realmuto, but does not get enough playing time to warrant mixed league status.

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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