"Yo MDS, some people say my chinstache is scarier than my fastball."
It's time to check in on the peasant workers of the league and those trouble making, late-inning relievers; the Ugueth Urbina Pen Pals. Ryan Franklin was at it again. This time he blew the save and took the loss without recording an out. The stakes have been raised, we'll see how Brian Fuentes responds. You know what time it is, grab your machete and meet me after the jump.
Welcome back Grady Sizemore. In his first game since May of 2010, Sizemore doubled and homered off Baltimore's Brad Bergesen. Grady hit leadoff while Travis Buck filled in for Michael Brantley. I'd be surprised if Sizemore continued to lead off, but I'm surprised by MLB coaches every day of the season.
Jonny Gomes hit his sixth home run of the season (off Jeff Karstens). He never hit six home runs in any month from '10. Gomes was a little unlucky with his HR total last year. His 9% HR/FB% was five percent below his career average. He should have hit ten more home runs than he did (18 HR from '10). The six home runs from April tie for the second highest total he's hit in one month, the most being the 11 HR he hit in April of '06. The hot streaking Red Outfielder is available in half of Y! leagues.
Logan Morrison (61% owned) went 1 for 2 with a RBI and his first SB.
Dillon Gee (1%) was awarded a win as he made his first start [5.2 IP, 5 H, 2 BB, ER, 4 K] filling in for the forever injured Chris Young. The stat line looks nice, but Dillon looks like he will be a league average pitcher. We're talking low-6 K/9, mid-3 BB/9 with a little help from the home ballpark. He's scheduled for another start (vs ARI) and should get another ten to twenty starts if he continues to fill in for Young.
Jacoby Ellsbury leads the Red Sox with three home runs.
Danny Espinosa had a big day for Washington in the doubleheader. He went 2 for 7 with a triple and his second home run of the season (off Yovani Gallardo). Danny nearly doubled his RBI total with 6 today out of the leadoff spot. His 14 RBI leads the team and trails only Prince Fielder's 16 RBI for the league lead. He's now ranked inside the top 100 players (at No. 93) and is available in nearly 90% of Y! leagues.
Marco Estrada (0%) looked good against the Nationals sad faced lineup. He's off to a fast start and isn't that bad a pitcher. The track records suggests the 8.31 K/9 will come down to the high-6, low-7 range and the 2.08 BB/9 will end up closer to three than two. However, he makes for a solid NL-only option. He's better than Dillon Gee.
Sam Fuld (48%) went 2 for 5, raising his AVG to .347.
Johnny Damon extended his hit streak to nine games in his first at bat with a RBI-single. He left in the fourth inning after taking a pitch to the hand during a bunt attempt. He is considered day-to-day. The recent hero is available in over 80% of Y! leagues.
Cameron Maybin (16%) went 2 for 5 with a run, triple and his fourth SB.
Justin Smoak (18%) went 2 for 4 with a run and is now hitting .300.
Michael Pineda worked his way around four walks for his third strong performance [6 IP, 4 BB, 3 H, ER, 5 K]. The Royals didn't offer much for the Sasquatch-sized pitcher from the Pacific Northwest. Pineda now has a 1.03 WHIP, 2.33 ERA with 16 K in 19.1 IP. He is available in 49% of Y! leagues. That number should be closer to 80%.
Jeff Francis (13%) may not have been able to defeat Bigfoot, but he does own a streak of four straight quality starts. He is auditioning to join the Carl Pavano club. Low strikeouts (4.67), very low walks (1.00) and plenty of ground balls (55%). They could use the extra guy with Joel Pineiro on the DL. Jeff is expected to join the club soon.
Maicer Izturis went 3 for 4 with two runs. He is hitting .383 atop the Angels batting order. Maicer is available in nearly 60% of Y! leagues and qualifies at 2B, SS and 3B.
Mark Trumbo (4%) hit his second home run of the season (off Mark Buehrle).
Seth Smith (9%) hit his second home run (off Ryan Dempster). He's hitting .312 now. His ownership rate should be much higher.
Jonathan Herrera extended his hit streak to nine games with a RBI-single. He's hit safely in 9 of 10 games and sits comfortably in the lineup between Dexter Fowler and Carlos Gonzalez/Troy Tulowitzki. Herrera pretty much owns the second base job now, is ranked 68th overall in the Y! game and is owned in only 28% of leagues.
How about that Trevor Cahill. His current sports a 9.59 K/9 after posting a 5.4 K/9 in '10. It'll be difficult for him to maintain a 87.8% Z-Contact%, but his Changeup and Curveball are generating more swings and misses this season. His usage rate for the Curveball has gone up too (13.6% to 24.1%). I was expecting his K/9 to rise, but not this much. His K/9 will likely settle into the high-7 to low-8 range. This combined with an expected regression in BABIP (.224 with a 21% LD%) makes Cahill a sell high candidate. We're not selling just to sell here, Cahill will be a good pitcher.
The oft-injured Brad Penny labored against Oakland's lineup. He has only one quality start in four games now. Penny has always had trouble missing bats, but now he's struggling with his control. He is walking nearly as many batters as he is striking out (5.48 to 5.06). Keep your ears open for the promotion of Andrew Oliver. The Tigers No. 3 prospect has a 10.5 K/9 and 2.25 BB/9 in 12 IP at AAA.
and now for the Ugueth Urbina Pen Pals
Evan Meek had another rough appearance. He's had a lot of bad luck with the BABIP, but he's also walking too many batters. It's not fun holding onto him, waiting for the Joel Hanrahan trade. I'm 50/50 on Meek. If I had only two closers in a h2h league or I was desperate for saves in a roto league, I'd hold tight. I released him in a h2h league, but I had three closers and limited roster space. Joel Hanrahan cleaned up Meek's mess today and then cleaned up his own in the ninth inning for his fifth save.
It didn't take long for Matt Capps to get his first save since being labeled "the man". He pitched a clean inning against Tampa while all the king's horses and all the king's men tried to put Joe Nathan back together again. Capps doesn't look like he's as effective as he used to be, but he shouldn't have many troubles filling in for Nathan as he tries to regain his pre-Tommy John form. He's missing a couple mph on his fastball and he lacks control, typical of TJS victims. There's no timetable set for Nathan's return to the role.
Drew Storen recorded a two inning save, his first of the season. He was clocking in at 95 mph today. Could we be seeing a changing of the guards in Washington? Sean Burnett wasn't called in for the ninth inning after blowing the save on Friday. He hasn't been overworked. Drew Storen's numbers look nice: 0.87 WHIP and 0.87 ERA with 8 K in 10.1 IP. I was thinking of buying low on Storen, but I think my window just closed. I'm not ready to say the switch is imminent, but no one can stop it from happening.
Our buddy, Mark Melancon, was charged with a 7/8th inning blown save. He should be next-in-line when Brandon Lyon is traded or demoted. Melancon has now appeared in ten of Houston's fourteen games. He's on pace to pitch in 115 games and Wilton Lopez was placed on the DL just days ago. I haven't received word of whether or not the Yankees believe this is criminal abuse.
Brandon League surrendered two singles and a run, but recorded his third save.
Jordan Walden loaded the bases with a double and two walks, but escaped the jam and locked down his third save of the season.
Jonathan Broxton gave up a double to Matt Holliday, intentionally walked Lance Berkman and then surrendered a RBI-single to David Freese. He was all set up for the Loss until...
Trevor Miller relieved Mitchell Boggs in the bottom of the ninth and gave up a double to Andre Ethier. Then a crack tore through the earth and Ryan Franklin emerged from hell. Matt Kemp took his fifth pitch, it may have been thrown underhand, deep for his third home run of the season. Game over. Broxton looks good while looking bad and Ryan Franklin continued to make a mockery of Tony LaRussa's love for old, wrinkly players. This is Franklin's fourth blown save and his second loss. The one save he did convert came against the Pirates.
Mitchell Boggs is the popular add. I fear he is overrated because of the impressive K/9 and minuscule BABIP. The highest K/9 he posted in the past was 7.82 at single-A ball. His plate discipline statistics tell a different story than that of a pitcher with a K/9 of twelve. His Sw-Str% hasn't improved and batters are making contact with 96% of his pitches that are inside the zone. Jason Motte is the other logical choice (if that's a relevant point in this discussion). Motte has been long thought to be the heir apparent to the Cards closing gig. He is a better pitcher than Boggs, but he is having some issues with his control (5.14 BB/9, F-Strike% down 6%). Eduardo Sanchez is another option for those who don't know Tony LaRussa hates rookies. He has the stuff to close games. If you're desperate and have no shame, there is Miguel Batista. He was rumored to be next-in-line. I have shares of Boggs/Motte spread over many teams, but I hope the team trades for Jason Isringhausen. I guarantee the thought has crossed Tony's mind.