We're rolling without the introductory theme today. We're using the Sarah Plain and Tall title and diving straight into the recap. Same rules apply: we're talking about the lesser-owned players in fantasy baseball and closing it up with a little MLB bullpen news. Meet me after the jump.
Anibal Sanchez (49% owned) swatted the Washington Gnats once again [8 IP, 3 H, 2 BB, 9 K]. That gives him 15 scoreless innings against WAS (20 K) in back-to-back starts. Feel free to pick up Sanchez and pick on the Nationals. While I don't believe Sanchez can sustain the large spike in strikeouts (the z-contact% will rise), I do think he can post a career high in K/9. Anibal is stronger as he is further removed from injury/surgery. His fastball is showing a slight uptick in velocity. He's throwing more first-pitch strikes, the pitcher's counts enable him to get hitters to chase pitches outside the zone. Also, it's nice to see him throwing more changeups and less curveballs. He generates plenty of Whiffs with the changeup while the curveball hasn't forced one swinging strike yet (of 46 pitches). Plus he has trouble locating the pitch. Bottom line: he's stronger, getting ahead in the count and making better use of his pitches. Of course we talked about this on Starbonell Station so you already knew that. Damn you're smart.
Aaron Harang (48%) got smashed at Coors Field [4.1 IP, 9 H, 4 BB, 7 ER, 3 K, 2 HR]. I get a kick out of his 1.40 WHIP and 5.05 ERA. Petco can't save everyone. Of course this didn't affect you because I warned you about this before the season. Damn you're smart.
In a private email exchange I had to ask Starbonell, "what does Brett Wallace look like!?!" after he took offense to me saying Wallace was a better play than Matt LaPorta. Starbs had his best intentions in mind, but I wasn't having it. Wallace responded by going on a tear. He's pushing a .336 batting average after going 2 for 4 tonight (with a RBI-double). While leather-bound gimps may be able to overpower Wallace and the hot streak has cooled a bit, he's still hitting. As a First Baseman who doesn't crack the Top 15 at his position, he needs to hit to be rostered. Maybe you can squeeze a little more juice out of Brett before amicably parting ways, he's owned in only 26% of Y! leagues.
Chris Johnson (5%) had two hits tonight, including a RBI-single. Yes, Johnson was overrated coming into the season. Yes, his plate discipline stinks. Yes, he strikes out too much. Yes, he was recently diagnosed with a bruised wrist. However he does have some power and he's been known to hit a ton of line drives. Johnson has the ability to hit in bunches and he now has five hits in his past three games. I know some of us could use a hot streak at the hot corner. Poke around if need be.
Speaking of hot streaks at the hot corner (or Shortstop), Jhonny Peralta (46%) pushed the hit streak to ten games with a 2 for 3 (RBI) performance. He's filling in for Zimmerman on my Starbonell Station team. I'm hoping he can keep hitting, otherwise I may have to pick up Chris Johnson (nooooooooo!).
More 3B action: Alberto Callaspo (26%) went 2 for 4 with 2 RBI. This was his fourth straight 2 for 4 performance. He's hitting .314 now. I stole Callaspo for $2 in my AL-Only league. I was surprised no one pushed the bid to $3. I wish I had three more Albertos in that league.
Tyson Ross (5%) put up a solid line against the smelly White Sox [7.1 IP, 6 H, BB, 2 ER, 8 K]. His numbers look nice on paper [1.25 WHIP, 2.50 ERA]. The game log explains why: SEA, LAA, CLE, KC, CHW. The K/BB (24/13, 36 IP) ratio doesn't provide enough juice, this will catch up to him eventually. Be careful.
Brad Penny (5%) blanked the Royals today [8 IP, 5 H, 2 K]. The WHIP is down to 1.21 now. Looks nice, but I can't recommend a pitcher with such a low K rate (outside AL-Only leagues). If you ask me, a Penny saved makes you one cent richer. Blah.
J.P. Arencibia (33%) hit his sixth HR. He also doubled (3 RBI). No one expected him to hit for AVG, but he's proving the power is real. He should be able to raise the batting average from .230 to upwards of .250 by seasons end. He's a solid play at Catcher for a power-starved team.
Johnny Cueto (52%) came away unscathed after his date with the Cardinals [7.2 IP, 3 H, 2 BB, 3 R, 0 ER, 5 K]. That's two strong starts for Cueto since his return from the DL.
Ramon Hernandez (9%) went yard twice (both were solo shots off Kyle McClellan).
Brad Bergersen (0%) shutout the (Devil) Rays [9 IP, 4 H, BB, 5 K], but he wasn't able to stop Sam Fuld from stealing his 12th base of the season. Go Sam Fuld! Brad reminds me a bit of another Brad (Penny). Low strikeout totals, solid control and ground balls. They both remind me of another Brad (Taylor). I don't like them.
Craig Counsell (0%) went 1 for 4 with a RBI-double. He pushed his AVG up to .238 and is a must-own in all standard ten-team leagues. The Brewers slotted Craig in the two-hole between Rickie Weeks and Ryan Braun to maximize his potential. His massive, superstar potential. OK, I was just checking to see if you're still awake. Forget about Craig Counsell.
In his first MLB start, Josh Collmenter (2%) lasted six scoreless innings (2 H, 0 BB, 3 K) and was awarded the win against Chad Billingsley (who allowed only one hit through 8 IP). Collmenter posted solid numbers in the minors, I'd project modest stats for him. A K/9 near or slightly above 7.0 and a BB/9 around 3.50 would make him an average MLB starter.
Darwin Barney (43%) racked up two more singles today (.333). Like I said yesterday, he's limiting the strikeouts and lacing line drives.
Huston Street served up a double (W.Venable) and a home run (B.Hawpe) en route to his first Loss of the season. His numbers are still solid (1.16 WHIP, 3.48 ERA), but this was the fifth HR he's given up this year. Rafael Betancourt gave up two runs in the 8th to tie up the contest. Matt Lindstrom anyone? Keep his name in the back of your mind (and on your watch list).
Ryan Franklin still sucks [1.1 IP, 3 H, BB, 2 ER].
Should also mention Domonic Brown suffered a grade 1 strain of the UCL in his thumb (wait, there's a UCL in the thumb too!?). It's the same hand as his hamate fracture, never like to see 2 injuries to the same body part, but at least it's a different part of the hand, so it shouldn't be a big deal. Grade 1, so a week or 2 to RICE (rest, ice, compression, elevation) and he should be ok. It's worth monitoring, however, with 2 hand/wrist injuries from swinging/gripping the bat, will Brown alter his grip or swing to compensate? Remember how terrible Aramis Ramirez hit when he had a thumb issue and altered his grip to avoid pain? Pay attention to his early performance upon his return, compensation can lead to further injury or poor performance.
Cueto screwed me in my bad players are good league. You know what you get for pitching good when I stream you against the Cards Cueto? Bench; that and he gets that Indians this week.