NO ONE KEEPS THEIR WORD ANYMORE
Remember back when the Tigers said they were going to give hot hitting Brad Eldred a chance to run with a spot in the daily lineup? Like I predicted, the Tigers were never going to be true to their word no matter how well Eldred had done in the minors (he was hitting .388 with 13 homers and 35 RBI in just 20 games at Triple-A, truly phenomenal numbers by the way). On Friday, Eldred was designated for assignment so that the club could activate Delmon Young from his suspension. So how many at-bats did the Tigers give to the guy that they said would get a legit shot to keep his bat in the daily lineup? Try 16. Seems like the people in Detroit (a) have never heard of a thing we call sample size and (b) hadn't bothered to realize that Eldred has never been able to sustain any success at the big league level. Still, you have to feel for a guy who has been given just 276 at-bats in the bigs since 2005. It's not like anyone has ever pat him on the back and said 'Brad, you're getting 150 at-bats so relax and have it.' It's pretty tough to produce when you literally know that if you don't get a hit that night you are more than likely going to get demoted the next day.
HOW INJURED IS HE?
Nolan Reimold still hasn't joined the Orioles as he's continuing to receive treatment for a herniated disk in his spine. The team is still saying that it is possible that Nolan will be back in action this weekend, but you have to be concerned if you are a Reimold owner given that he has appeared in only 16 of the Orioles 25 games this season. He's been great, hitting .313 with five homers, 10 RBI and 10 runs scored, but his playing time and health issues threaten to render him an afterthought in shallow mixed leagues pretty darn quickly if he doesn't get back out on the field.
With all the talk about closers and who is pitching in the 9th inning there have been plenty of middle relievers who have been lights out to this point of the year but overlooked because they aren't in the mix for 9th inning work. Kudos to the following fellas who have been so impressive that they have been solid plays in league specific setups even without a hint of saves.
Ryan Cook, A's: He's made 11 appearances covering 12.1 innings, and to this point he's been mind-blowingly effective allowing only two hits while striking out 13 batters. Sure he's walked seven guys, but the end result is a 0.00 ERA and 0.73 WHIP, not to mention seven holds.
Jake McGee, Rays: Remember last year when there were whispers that he might open the year as the Rays closer? It didn’t happen, but he didn't pitch horribly with five wins, four holds and 27 Ks in 28 innings. This season he's come out firing bullets leading to 11 Ks and just three walks over 7.2 innings. He's no closer to picking up saves than he was last year, but he's working on a run of nine scoreless outings in which he's posted 10 Ks and just one walk.
Logan Ondrusek, Reds: It's OK to admit you didn't even know what team he was on. It's also alright to admit that you had no idea that he was actually 6'8”. No matter. Logan has two wins and two holds in his last five outings, and through 13 appearances he has yet to allow a run while posting a 0.92 WHIP.
Joel Peralta, Rays:Why am I listing a guy who has a 5.56 ERA here? It's all about sample size. A reliever has a bad outing or two and their ratios can take a massive beating, especially early in the year. Peralta is one of those guys, as he allowed seven runs in his first four outings to tank his ERA. However, since that point he's appeared in10 games and allowed a total of zero runs. Zip. None. He's also allowed only three hits while walking one batter as he has struck out 11 batters. He's also racked up six holds and a save in that time. He's pitching lights out even if no one has noticed.
Cory Wade, Yankees: A rather innocuous fantasy potion in his two years with the Dodgers, Wade had a 2.04 ERA and 1.03 WHIP for the Yankees last year in 40 games. This year he's appeared in 10 contests posting 15 punchouts against just two walks in 12.1 innings. He's also been a ratio booster with a 1.46 ERA and 0.89 WHIP, not to mention that he's held batters to a .196 average. He doesn't have a hold yet but that could easily change with Mariano Rivera out of the mix.
BY THE NUMBERS
.346: The batting average of Miguel Cabrera at home since the start of the 2009 season. In those 254 games he also hit 57 homers with 192 RBI, a 162 game pace of .346-36-122. Overall, Cabrera has averaged 34 homers, 116 RBI and hit .337 the past two years which shows that it really doesn't matter where he hits, the results are always all-star worthy.
2.09: The difference between Lance Lynn's current ERA (1.60) and his career mark in the minors (3.69). In fact, everything that Lynn has done so far with the Cardinals is light years ahead of his career numbers in the minors. Take a look.
Minors: 3.69 ERA, 1.33 WHIP, 7.8 K/9, 2.39 K/BB, 8.7 Hits/9
Majors: 1.60 ERA, 0.91 WHIP, 9.2 K/9, 3.89 K/BB, 5.8 Hits/9
I'm just pointing out what should be obvious to everyone, and that is Lynn has no pedigree or track record of success at this level so you would be wise to investigate dealing him if you can get a nice return.
3: The number of hits that Jose Bautista has produced this year with runners in scoring position. It's an embarrassing number for a guy who had 124 and 103 RBIs the past two years. Jose has gone 3-for-15 this year leading to a .200 batting average with RISP. Amazingly, that's better than his overall mark of .172.
4: The number of pitchers who have thrown a nine inning shutout, while allowing three or fewer base runners while requiring fewer than 90 pitches over the past six years. The four men are Jason Marquis (June 30, 2009), Armando Galarraga (June 2, 2010), Jaime Garcia (August 22, 2010) and Joe Blanton (Thursday). Blanton tossed 88 pitches in the outing, the fewest by a Phillies arm in a shutout since Mike Grace needed a mere 84 pitches against the Yankees on September 2nd, 1997. Blanton has looked sharp this season with a 2.83 ERA and 1.06 WHIP, but the last time he posted an ERA under 4.00 was 2007 when he was still saddled with an unimpressive 3.95 mark. That was also the last season his WHIP was under 1.32 at 1.22.
5: The number of times that Jake Peavy has been named his leagues Pitcher of the Month after he was awarded the title for April in the American League. Peavy went 3-1 with a 1.67 ERA, 0.69 WHIP, 33 Ks and just five walks over 37.2 innings. His 1.67 ERA is the best he's every had through five starts tying the mark he also posted in 2007. His best ERA after six outings was the 1.80 mark he threw up there in 2004. Currently, Peavy leads or is tied for the AL lead in base runners per nine (6.45), BAA (.162), OBPA (.197), SLGA (.246), CG (two), Shutouts (one) and QS (five).
9: The hitting streak of David Wright (he's actually failed to reach base this year in just one of 22 games). In those nine games Wright has hit .419 to up his average to .392 on the season. Wright is also second in the big leagues with a .495 OBP as he's been an offensive force. Those that thought he was washed up appear to have been completely off base as Wright has also hit three homers, knocked in 14 runs, scored 16 times and posted a 1.077 OPS.
13.1: The most innings thrown by any reliever in baseball who has failed to allow an earned run. After our discussion above about relievers who were rocking it, I felt it appropriate to add this little diddy. Who is the arm that has had the most success? It's the Reds' Aroldis Chapman who has looked as impressive as any pitcher in the game. In his 13.1 innings he's allowed a mere five hits, walked just four batters and struck out 23 men. All told, he is sporting a 0.68 WHIP while holding batters to a .111 average. By the way, the Reds' bullpen leads baseball with a 2.54 ERA.
17: The hitting streak of Angel Pagan. How is it possible to have a current 17 game hitting streak and to be hitting just .250 for the year? In what has to be one of the most anemic 17 game hitting streaks in the history of baseball, Pagan is hitting a mere .299 with a sickly .316 OBP marking him as a middling, at best, play in standard mixed leagues despite his apparent success.
113: The number of RBIs that Brian McCann has in 102 career at-bats with the bases loaded. McCann has hit .353 with eight grand slams and an OPS of 1.067. I know it has nothing to do with fantasy baseball, but it was just such a cool set of numbers that I felt the need to throw it in here.
Ray Flowers can be heard daily on Sirius/XM Radio on The Fantasy Drive on Sirius 210 and XM 87 from 5-8 PM EDT, Monday through Friday. Ray's baseball analysis can be found at BaseballGuys.com and his minute to minute musings can be located at the BaseballGuys' Twitter account.