You know it’s been a good day in baseball when a guy with the last name ‘Van Slyke’ has a pinch-hit homer, one of the best hitting prospects in baseball gets called up for his first major league game, and MLB’s most interesting starter takes the mound.
The aforementioned Scott Van Slyke slugged his first major league homer as a 25-year-old rookie, and the best part is, he wasn’t even the most interesting rookie in the game!
23-year-old Cardinals first base prospect Matt Adams went 2 for 4 in the game, showing off his great hit tool. I did a longer form write-up of Adams here but long story short: the guy is going to rake, and he showed a little bit of what he’s capable in last night’s game.
The rest of MLB had interleague play last night, and the most notable performer of the night was probably Max Scherzer, who struck out 15 Pirates in just 7 innings. That makes his K/9 total on the year a whopping 11.65 as compared to a 3.51 BB/9 rate, and his ERA of 5.73 still sits nearly 2 and a half runs higher than his xFIP of 3.31. He’s a definite buy low candidate right now, and has completely turned it around since the beginning of the year.
Stephen Strasburg struck out 8 Orioles in his 5 innings of work, but was frustratingly pulled after only 90 pitches. I believe Strasburg is the best starter in baseball on a per-inning basis right now, but it’s getting close to the point where I’d sell high on him because of the innings-cap worries.
The Brewers’ Jonathan Lucroy had 2 homers and 7 RBIs last night… this has basically no relevance, because Lucroy still isn’t very good, but it’s still a notable achievement.
I know a lot of people were worried about Jose Bautista, but slowly but surely, he’s slugging his way back into fantasy superstardom, adding another homer tonight. Another note about him is that his BABIP of .196 is about 80 points lower than his Expected BABIP (xBABIP) of .274, so he should work it out from an average perspective as well. Bautista is still a top 15 fantasy player at absolute worst: buy low.
One of my favorites Zack Greinke had another great pitching outing, but much more impressively he was 2 for 3 with 2 runs at the plate against the Twins. This probably says more about the Twins than Greinke’s hitting prowess.
In deeper leagues or AL-Only, Ben Revere is going to have sneaky-good fantasy value as a high steals / won’t kill you batting average guy. It’ll be kind of like what Dee Gordon does, except with a .280 average instead of a .220 one.
In Atlanta, the man we once knew as Tim Hudson is exactly as he used to be: no strikeouts, no walks, and a solid ERA / WHIP. He should be 100% owned, as he’ll get a ton of wins on this offense.
I love him for real life, but Jason Heyward has become overrated for fantasy. He’s got a lot of upside, but for right now he’s a .260-.280 at best batting average guy, with 20-30 possibilities but he’s no lock for that many homers or steals, and he’s got batting average risk much lower than that. I’d sell high if I could get a top 15 outfielder in return for him.
Mike Trout is a stud. He had one of the best all around days I’ve ever seen out of a player, and flashed every single one of his great tools: his power, his speed, and his tight, fast swing that will let him hit for average. I can’t put into words how graceful a player he is, you’re going to have to watch.
I hate to say it because I’m such a huge fan, but man, Tim Lincecum just doesn’t look like he’s going to turn it around. His newest bad outing (5 K’s, 3 BB’s, 4 IP 4 ER) is just making me more worried, and as one of the last people sitting in the ‘Lincecum is Going To Be Fine’ bandwagon, I’m going to have to finally leave and let Brian Sabean have the entire compartment to himself. He’s just not the same pitcher, as sad as it is.
Oakland’s second base speedster Jemile Weeks is going to be fine, he just has BABIP issues, as he managed a hit and 2 walks in 3 at bats last night. He is making basically the same amount of hard contact as last year; he’s just been shockingly unlucky, especially for someone as fast as he is. Buy low if possible.
All I’m going to say is Jose Altuve is really good at hitting, going 2 for 4 last night. He’s 5’5” but he’s got as violent a swing as anyone in the majors right now. He’s going to hit .300+, buy in if you haven’t already.
Despite having another great night and going 2 for 3 with a walk, I would sell high on Josh Hamilton to anyone who would give me fair-ish value (a top 15 player plus another top 40 player). He’s played more than 133 games in a season just once, and is striking out more than he has since 2009 when he hit .268. I’d try to get rid of him while he’s still a top 2 player in fantasy.
Lastly, I want to wish Mr. David Wells a belated happy birthday for yesterday. He is famous mostly for pitching the 15th perfect game in MLB history for the Yankees just a few days before his birthday on May 17th, 1998 against the Twins, but he put up a very respectable 61.2 Wins Above Replacement over his career, and is mostly overlooked in baseball’s history.
By Moe Koltun, exclusively for TheFantasyFix.com. Read more of Moe's excellent fantasy insight over at RotoAnalysis.com. Have a fantasy related question? You can follow the site on Twitter @RotoAnalysis or Moe on twitter@moeproblems.