Written by Eric Stashin the Rotoprofessor

 

Albert Pujols finally erupted.  The talk of Max Scherzer fixing his mechanics in the minor leagues certainly looked legit.  Buster Posey appears to belong in the middle of the Giants order.  Let’s look at these stories and all the rest from yesterday’s games:

Hitters:

  • Mark Teixeira (2-4, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 1 R) -Is this the beginning of something for him?  Generally just slow in April, Teixeira just hasn’t gotten going quite yet.  He has scored runs in four straight, but this was his first home run and multi-RBI game since May 15.  We wall know a hot streak is coming, so all you can do is stay patient and hope this is it.
  • Lyle Overbay (2-3, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 1 R) - He’s not hit three home runs over his last two games.  That isn’t likely to continue, but he should continue raising his average (currently at .211).  If you are desperate for a corner infielder (and you may be with Kendry Morales’ injury), as I said yesterday an Overbay hot streak could make him usable in the short-term (click here for the article).
  • Albert Pujols (3-3, 3 HR, 4 RBI, 4 R) - We all knew that a day like this was there, just waiting to bust out off his bat.  Finally, right?  It was a great day from the best player in the game.
  • Jason Heyward (2-5, 2 RBI) - Hitting third for just the third time this season, Heyward continues to thrive in the major leagues.  There’s a good chance that he settles into this lineup spot for good, which certainly would be music to fantasy owners ears.
  • Mike Napoli (1-5, 1 R) – He played 1B, in place of Kendry Morales.  It’ll be interesting to see how often he sees time there, but if the Angels start turning to him more and more, his potential value is going to increase dramatically.  He was plenty of power, but consistently found himself on the Angels bench.  Keep a close eye on this one.
  • Howie Kendrick (2-5, 2 HR, 4 RBI, 2 R) - He entered the game hitting .253 with 2 HR, so this was definitely a nice showing for fantasy owners.  He entered with a .282 BABIP, so the upside is still there if his luck can change.  In deeper formats, he’s definitely got value.
  • Rickie Weeks (3-4, 2 HR, 3 RBI, 2 R) – He’s a perpetual sleeper, but he’s now hitting .251 with 8 HR, 28 RBI, 32 R and 3 SB.  Yeah, you want to see more speed from him, but he’s certainly proven to be usable in most formats.  He’s hitting in front of Ryan Braun & Prince Fielder, so as long as he gets on base, he’s going to score runs and be worth using.
  • Ryan Zimmerman (2-5, 2 HR, 2 RBI, 2 R) – He hadn’t homered since 5/13 and hadn’t had an RBI since 5/20.  Needless to say, this was a welcome sight for fantasy owners.
  • Buster Posey (3-5, 1 RBI) – Was anyone worried about his bat?  Obviously, this won’t continue, but he’s now 6-9 with 4 RBI since being recalled.

Pitchers:

  • Max Scherzer (5.2 IP, 0 ER, 2 H, 4 BB, 14 K, W) - Well, it would certainly appear like his time spent in the minor leagues helped, huh?  We discussed his time there recently (click here to view) and as I said, you just don’t find strikeout options like this on the waiver wire.  If someone in your league gave up on him, get him and get him now if it is not already too late.  His next start comes in Kansas City, so get him active in all formats.
  • Anibal Sanchez (6.2 IP, 0 ER, 3 H, 3 BB, 7 K, W) - A day after Roy Halladay’s perfect game, the Marlins take another pitcher’s duel, this one going in their favor.  He’s allowed 2 ER or less in eight straight starts, going 5-1 over that span.  He’s also struck out 6 or more in five of his last seven starts, meaning he certainly is usable in all formats right now.
  • Jon Lester (7.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 H, 4 BB, 5 K, W) – He’s now 6-0 over his last eight starts, allowing 9 ER over 56.2 IP.  This start was only the second time during that stretch that he was under 7 Ks (he’s had four starts of 9 K or more).  Needless to say, Lester is living up to the hype of being one of the elite starting pitchers in the game.  His next start comes in Baltimore.
  • Mike Leake (6.0 IP, 0 ER, 7 H, 3 BB, 3 K) - He just continues to get results.  He’s gone at least 6 innings in all ten of his starts allowing more then 3 ER just once.  Yes, he’s had some luck (entered with a .270 BABIP and 77.2% strand rate), but you have to be impressed by what you’re seeing.  His next start comes in Washington, where he certainly is an advisable option.
  • Jake Peavy (5.1 IP, 5 ER, 10 H, 0 BB, 5 K, W) - He may have won, but that’s only because James Shields (5.1 IP, 7 ER, 11 H, 1 BB, 3 K) struggled more.  Peavy has now allowed 4 ER or more in each of his last four starts (21 ER over 27.2 IP) and five times in his last seven starts.  Needless to say he hasn’t been dependable, but with the Indians on the schedule next I’d roll the dice with him once again.
  • Clayton Kershaw (5.0 IP, 2 ER, 4 H, 4 BB, 9 K, W) – He’s been great since that debacle against the Brewers, improving to 4-1 since then.  He’s among the top pitchers in the game, though he does walk a few too many hitters.  Still, with 72 Ks in 64 IP, there’s a lot to like.
  • Derek Holland (1.0 IP, 3 ER, 3 H, 3 BB, 0 K) – According to TR Sullivan on Twitter, he’s suffering from “left shoulder soreness”, which forced him from the game early.  Chances are he’s heading to the DL, so you’d be best off looking elsewhere for the upcoming week.

What are your thoughts from yesterday’s games?  Which ones caught your eye? And which ones did I miss?

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Written by Eric Stashin the Rotoprofessor

It’s time to look at the potential two-start options for the upcoming fantasy week.  If I have someone rated as a three, four or five-star option, they are someone I would definitely use.  A two-star option is someone who is borderline, but I’d strongly lean against it unless I have no other options.  The one-star options are an absolutely not scenario.

So, with that said, let’s take a look at the players available to you this week:

Five-Star Options:

  • Ubaldo Jimenez – Colorado Rockies – @ Col, @ Ari
  • Tim Lincecum – San Francisco Giants – vs. Col, @ Pit
  • Justin Verlander – Detroit Tigers – vs. Oak, @ KC

Four-Star Options:

  • Chad Billinglsey – Los Angeles Dodgers – vs. Ari, vs. Atl
  • Matt Garza – Tampa Bay Rays – @ Tor, @ Tex
  • Tommy Hanson – Atlanta Braves – vs. Phi, @ LAD
  • Tim Hudson – Atlanta Braves – vs. Phi, @ LAD
  • Roy Oswalt – Houston Astros – vs. Was, vs. CHC

Three-Star Options:

  • Nick Blackburn – Minnesota Twins – @ Sea, @ Oak
  • Mark Buehrle – Chicago White Sox – vs. Tex, vs. Cle
  • John Ely – Los Angeles Dodgers – vs. Ari, vs. Atl
  • Jamie Garcia – St. Louis Cardinals – vs. Cin, vs. Mil
  • John Lackey – Boston Red Sox – vs. Oak, @ Bal
  • Francisco Liriano – Minnesota Twins – @ Sea, @ Oak
  • Brett Myers – Houston Astros – vs. Was, vs. CHC
  • Ricky Nolasco – Florida Marlins – vs. Mil, @ NYM
  • Andy Pettitte – New York Yankees – vs. Cle, @ Tor
  • Ervin Santana – Los Angeles Angels – @ KC, @ Sea

Two-Star Options:

  • Bronson Arroyo – Cincinnati Reds – @ Stl, @ Was
  • Joe Blanton – Philadelphia Phillies – @ Atl, vs. SD
  • Jeremy Bonderman – Detroit Tigers – vs. Cle, @ KC
  • Trevor Cahill – Oakland Athletics – @ Det, vs. Min
  • Doug Fister – Seattle Mariners – vs. Min, vs. LAA
  • Gio Gonzalez – Oakland Athletics – @ Bos, vs. Min
  • Rich Harden – Texas Rangers – @ CWS, vs. TB
  • Luke Hochevar – Kansas City Royals – vs. LAA, vs. Det
  • Joel Pineiro – Los Angeles Angels – @ KC, @ Sea
  • Hisanori Takahashi – New York Mets – @ SD, vs. Fla
  • Jason Vargas – Seattle Mariners – vs. Min, vs. LAA
  • Javier Vazquez – New York Yankees – vs. Bal, @ Tor

One-Star Options:

  • Luis Atilano – Washington Nationals – @ Hou, vs. Cin
  • Brian Bannister – Kansas City Royals – vs. LAA, vs. Det
  • Dave Bush – Milwaukee Brewers – @ Fla, @ Stl
  • Kevin Correia – San Diego Padres – vs. NYM, @ Phi
  • Rodrigo Lopez – Arizona Diamondbacks – @ LAD, vs. Col
  • Brian Matusz – Baltimore Orioles – @ NYY, vs. Bos
  • Brandon Morrow – Toronto Blue Jays – vs. TB, vs. NYY
  • Chris Narveson – Milwaukee Brewers – @ Fla, @ Stl
  • Ross Ohlendorf – Pittsburgh Pirates – vs. CHC, vs. SF
  • Nate Robertson – Florida Marlins – vs. Mil, @ NYM
  • Craig Stammen – Washington Nationals – @ Hou, vs. Cin
  • Mitch Talbot – Cleveland Indians – @ NYY, @ CWS
  • Jake Westbrook – Cleveland Indians – @ Det, @ CWS

Scheduling Notes:

  • Will the Mets use a Wednesday off day to avoid needing a fifth starter?  If they do, that will mean two starts for Mike Pelfrey.  He’s a must use option as it is, but if he gets starts against the Padres and Marlins, he’d be a four-star option.
  • It is not yet known who will start on Monday for the Cubs, with Tom Gorzelanny or Randy Wells being named options.  Even with solid matchups (@ Pit, @ Hou), do you trust either right now?  Whichever it is would be put into the two-star options.

Thoughts:

  • Justin Verlander is not Tim Lincecum or Ubaldo Jimenez, but we all know the type of pitcher he is after April and he has two fantastic matchups.  That’s enough to bring him up to a five-star option for this week.
  • I don’t think anyone would have expected John Ely to develop into a must use option, but he’s given up two earned runs or less in each of his last five starts (3-1 over that span).  If you can keep the Dodgers in games, you are going to get an opportunity for wins.  The matchups aren’t the best, but he’s still worth rolling the dice on given his recent performance.
  • We all know that Mark Buehrle has struggled, but he hasn’t allowed a run in his last 10.1 innings (he was ejected in his last outing after just 2.1 innings).  We also know that he’s better then he’s shown.  The Rangers are a tough matchup, but he’s pitched well against them over his career (11-4 with a 3.07 ERA) and then has an easier matchup with the Indians.  With that in mind, he’s worth using in all formats.
  • Nick Blackburn has won his last five starts, including two matchups with the Yankees.  Over that span he’s allowed 3 ER or less in each start, while going at least 7 innings.  He doesn’t offer much in strikeouts, but when you are pitching that well to go along with those matchups, he’s worth using in all formats.
  • Jeremy Bonderman has solid matchups, but does anyone really trust him?  I know he’s been pitching fairly well (4 ER over his last 4 stats), but he has just 1 win over that time.  That’s what helps to differentiate him from Blackburn.
  • Brian Matusz and Brandon Morrow have a ton of upside.  We all know it.  However, with those matchups, it is impossible to use either of them this week.

What are your thoughts?  Who have I ranked too high?  Who do you think will outperform my rankings?

 

Here’s a look at the unheralded players who played well yesterday.

 

Ted Lilly, Chicago Cubs
Lilly threw 7 scoreless innings allowing 3 hits with 5 Ks to improve to with 2-4 a 3.63 ERA and a 1.16 WHIP.

 

John Ely, Los Angeles Dodgers
Ely took the loss despite holding the Cubs to 1 run on 4 hits. He fell to 3-2 with a 3.00 ERA and a 1.00 WHIP.

 

Ryan Spilborghs, Colorado Rockies
Spilborghs went 3 for 4 with 2 runs, a HR, and 2 RBIs. He doesn’t get enough ABs to make him useful.

 

Jason Hammel, Colorado Rockies
Hammel gave up 2 runs in 5-1/3 innings with 8 Ks. I’m still scared off by his 6.93 ERA.

 

Aubrey Huff, Baltimore Orioles
Huff went 3 for 4 with a HR (5). He’s hitting .281 with 21 RBIs.

 

P.J. Walters, St. Louis Cardinals
Walters threw 5 scoreless innings to beat the Padres. It was his first career win.

 

Kevin Kouzmanoff, Oakland A’s
Kouzmanoff went 1 for 3 with 3 RBIs. He’s hitting .260 with 24 RBIs.

 

Scott Rolen, Cincinnati Reds
Rolen continued his big year going 3 for 4 with 2 runs, a HR, and 3 RBIs. He’s  hitting .272 with 11 HRs and 30 RBIs.

 

Nick Blackburn, Minnesota Twins
Blackburn gave up 2 runs over 7 innings to improve to 6-1 with a 4.28 ERA.

 

Potent Middle Relievers
Wilton Lopez,  HOU:  1 IP, 0 Runs, 2 Ks (13 Ks, 16 IP)
Carlos Villanueva, MIL:  1 IP, 0 Runs, 3 Ks (34 Ks, 25-2/3 IP)
Marco Estrada, MIL:  1  IP, 0 Runs, 2 Ks (7 Ks, 8-1/3 IP)
Matt Belisle, COL:  1 IP, 0 Runs, 3 Ks (33 Ks, 30-1/3 IP)
Evan Meek, PIT:  1 IP, 0 Runs, 2 Ks (30 Ks, 29 IP) 
Pedro Feliciano, NYM:  1 IP, 0 Runs, 2 Ks (18 Ks, 20-1/3 IP)
Jonny Venters, ATL:  1 IP, 0 Runs, 2 Ks (15 Ks, 18 IP)
Takashi Saito, ATL:  1-2/3 IP, 0 Runs, 3 Ks (29 Ks, 21 IP)

 

Image courtesy of Icon SMI

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I am going to vote for the MLB All-Star Game every Friday morning based on who I feel deserves it at the time.  My decisions will be based upon cumulative stats to date. Vote here.

 

Ballot #6 (Based on stats through 5/26)

 


American League

1B – Justin Morneau
2B – Robinson Cano
3B – Evan Longoria
SS – Alex Gonzalez
C – Joe Mauer
OF – Magglio Ordonez
OF – J.D. Drew
OF – Vernon Wells
DH- Vladimir Guerrero
SP – David PRice

 


National League

1B – Joey Votto
2B – Dan Uggla
3B – Casey McGehee
SS – Troy Tulowitzki
C – Rod Barajas
OF – Ryan Braun
OF – Andre Ethier
OF – Jayson Werth
SP – Ubaldo Jimenez

free-agent-pool

Brought to you in honor of Strikeout for Troops.

 

 

Some reasonably available players to assist you in the Strikeouts category.  Realize that some of these will come with high ERAs & WHIPs because if a Pitcher has low numbers in those categories and a good K total, they’re already spoken for.

 

Jeremy Bonderman, Detroit Tigers
Bonderman has 22 Ks in his last 21 innings (9.4 K/9) with a 1.29 ERA and a 0.9+5 WHIP. On the year he’s 2-2 with 43 Ks (8.1 K/9) with a 3.78 ERA and a 1.22 WHIP. Jeremy is owned in 6.1 percent of ESPN and 37 percent of CBS leagues.

 

Kevin Millwood, Baltimore Orioles
Millwood has 20 Ks in his last 21 innings (8.6 K/9) with a 4.71 ERA and a 1.29 WHIP. On the year he’s 0-4 with 56 Ks (7.4 K/9), a 3.71 ERA and a 1.28 WHIP. Kevin is owned in 12.1 percent of ESPN and 41 percent of CBS leagues.

 

Tom Gorzelanny, Chicago Cubs
Gorzelanny has 17 Ks in his last 16-2/3 innings (9.2 K/9) with a 5.40 ERA and a 1.68 WHIP. Despite getting lit up his last time out (5 earned runs, 5 IP) he is 2-5 with 53 Ks (9.2 K/9), a 3.66 ERA, and a 1.35 WHIP. He could move to the bullpen when Carlos Zambrano returns to the rotation, but Gorzelanny could still have some value as a middle reliever.

 

Derek Holland, Texas Rangers
Holland has 16 Ks (7.9 K/9)  in his four games since making his season debut on May 12th. He’s 2-0 with a 2.95 ERA and a 1.04 WHIP. Derek is owned in 26.1 percent of ESPN and 54 percent of CBS leagues.

 

Hisanori Takahashi, New York Mets
Takahashi has 16 Ks in his last 15-1/3 innings (9.4 K/9) with a 1.17 ERA and a 1.30 WHIP. Included in that span is 12 scoreless innings against the Yankees and Phillies. On the year he’s 4-1 with 44 Ks (10.4 K/9) with a 2.13 ERA and a 1.24 WHIP. Hisanori is owned in 4.7 percent of ESPN and 28 percent of CBS leagues.

 

High Strikeout Middle Relievers
Joel Hanrahan, PIT:  13 Ks in last 6-2/3 IP (17.5 K/9) with a 2.70 ERA and a 1.20 WHIP
Matt Belisle, COL:  12 Ks in last 8-1/3 IP (13 K/9) with a 2.16 ERA and a 0.84 WHIP
Joaquin Benoit, TN:  10 Ks in last 5 IP (18 K/9) with a 0.00 ERA and a 0.20 WHIP
Takashi Saito, ATL:  10 Ks in last 6-1/3 IP (14.2 K/9) with a 5.68 ERA and a 1.58 WHIP
Carlos Villanueva, MIL:  10 Ks in last 6-1/3 IP (14.2 K/9) with a 4.26 ERA and a 1.58 WHIP
John Axford*, MIL:  10 Ks in last 6 IP (15 K/9) with a 3.00 ERA and a 1.33 WHIP

 

*Axford is owned in just 1.5 percent of ESPN and 6 percent of CBS leagues despite being Milwaukee’s new closer. Will Ohman (8 Ks in last 4-2/3 IP) is owned in just 3.3 percent of ESPN and 11 percent of CBS leagues despite holding down the Orioles’ closer gig.

Here are some pitchers that you can plug into your lineup today.

 

Gio Gonzalez, Oakland A’s
Gonzalez is 5-3 with a 3.46 ERA, 1.19 WHIP, and 46 Ks in 54-2/3 innings. He draws a good match-up against the Orioles.
Result:  No-decision, 6-1/3 IP, 3 Runs, 6 Ks

 


Daisuke Matsuzaka, Boston Red Sox
Dice-K was nearly unhittable his last time out. Consistency has been an issue with the unconventional righty. He takes on the Royals at home, where he’s 2-0 with a 4.38 ERA, 0.89 WHIP, and a .178 BAA.
Result:  Loss, 4-2/3 IP, 3 Runs, 1 K

 

Today’s Totals:  0-1,11 IP, 6 Runs, 7 Ks
Yesterday’s Streamers:  2-0, 13-2/3 IP, 1 Run, 5 Ks
Season Totals:  33-33, 565-1/3 IP, 244 Earned Runs (3.88 ERA), 392 Ks

 

I like Johnny Cueto (CIN) against Pittsburgh, but I’m afraid his recent success moves him out of the ranks of a streamer.

 

Image courtesy of Icon SMI

 

Here’s a look at the unheralded players who played well yesterday.

 

Luke Hochevar, Kansas City Royals
Hochevar gave up 2 runs in 6 innings to improve to 5-2 with a 4.95 ERA and a 1.38 ERA.

 

Jeremy Bonderman, Detroit Tigers
Bonderman gave up 1 unearned run on 5 hits with 6 Ks in 7 innings, but got a no-decision. He lowered his ERA to 3.78.

 

Rajai Davis, Oakland A’s (pictured)
Davis went 3 for 5 with 2 runs and 3 SBs (18). He may have burned a lot of fantasy owners who missed out on is performance thanks to his .258 average and .298 OBP.

 

Trevor Cahill, Oakland A’s
Cahill, one of yesterday’s streaming options, gave up 1 run on 2 hits in 6 innings to improve to 3-2 with a 3.31 ERA and a 1.10 WHIP.

 

Bronson Arroyo, Cincinnati Reds
Arroyo, yesterday’s other streaming option, threw 7-2/3 scoreless innings allowing 5 hits to improve to 5-2 with a 4.30 ERA and a 1.22 WHIP.

 

Hisanori Takahashi, New York Mets
Takahashi threw 6 scoreless innings with 6 Ks to beat the Phillies and improve to 4-1 with a 2.13 ERA and a 1.24 WHIP. In his last 12 innings he’s held the Yankees and Phillies scoreless.

 

Nate Robertson, Florida Marlins
Robertson got a no-decision despite holding the Braves to 1 unearned run on 2 hits in 6 innings. He struck out 5 while lowering his ERA to 4.05.

 

Ian Desmond, Washington Nationals
Desmond went 2 for 4 with 3 RBIs. He’s hitting .271 with 23 RBIs.

 

Kevin Correia, San Diego Padres
Correia got a no-decision despite throwing 6 scoreless innings. He lowered his ERA to 4.03.

 

Potent Middle Relievers
Tony Pena, CHW: 3 IP, 0 Runs, 4 Ks (19 Ks, 25-2/3)
Hector Ambriz, CLE:  1 IP, 0 Runs, 2 Ks (11 Ks, 13-1/3 IP)
Phil Coke, DET:  2/3 IP, 0 Runs, 2 Ks (18 Ks, 21-2/3 IP) 
Jerry Blevins, OAK:  2 IP, 0 Runs, 4 Ks (20 Ks, 17 IP) 
Renyel Pinto, FL:  1 IP, 0 Runs, 3 Ks (13 Ks, 14-2/3 IP) 
Hong-Chih Kuo, LAD:  1-1/3 IP, 0 Runs, 4 Ks (13 Ks, 10-2/3 IP) 
Santiago Casilla, SF:  1 IP, 0 Runs, 2 Ks (5 Ks, 2 IP)
Luke Gregerson, SD:  1 IP, 0 Runs, 2 Ks (28 Ks, 24-2/3 IP)
Mike Adams, SDL  1 IP, 0 Runs, 2 Ks (24 Ks, 21-1/3 IP) 
Jason Motte, STL:  2/3 IP, 0 Runs, 2 Ks (20 Ks, 17-2/3 IP)
Dennys Reyes, STL:  1 IP, 0 Runs, 2 Ks (9 Ks, 14-2/3 IP)
Edward Mujica, SD:  Win, 2 IP, 0 Runs, 3 Ks (23 Ks, 23 IP)

 

Image courtesy of Icon SMI

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