And on the seventh day, God created Max Scherzer. There’s a rumor Scherzer’s ERA can cure cancer – too bad he doesn’t have one. Yes, use you’re No. 1 waiver priority on him, and anyone who saw his debut knows why. He’s the real deal.
Tim Lincecum has to be treated like a top-10 pitcher, regardless of his teammates. He’s still walking too many batters, but it’s not often you’ll find someone with a 1.73 ERA and a .352 BABIP. His 9.9 K/9 IP is elite, and the improved 1.72 groundball to flyball ratio really portends future success. After getting touched up for 12 homers over 146 innings last season, Lincecum has allowed just one long ball in 2008.
Shane Victorino’s owners have to be a little concerned watching him on the bench during his first two games back from the DL. It’s fine keeping Jayson Werth in the lineup, but there’s really no reason to be playing Geoff Jenkins over the Flyin Hawaiian. Hopefully it’s just a minor blip and a platoon doesn’t emerge.
I recommended Brian Wilson as a cheap closer before the season, but I hardly expected nine saves through April. It’s a good reminder why not to avoid closers on bad teams or predict big save numbers from those on good teams.
Rickie Weeks is an excellent guy to target in trade talks right now. Talk up the fact he’s never played in 120 games and is a .245 career hitter who is batting .204 on the season. Hidden beneath those stats lies a sleeping giant, as the perceived disappointment is currently sporting the best contact rate (.77) of his career (by far) and is walking at an extremely high rate as well. Even while hovering around the Mendoza line, Weeks is on pace to finish with 18 homers, 30 steals and 144 runs scored. Oh, and his BABIP is .228, which is .312 for his career. Get him before it’s too late.
Don’t look now, but Edwin Encarnacion is on pace to hit 42 homers.
I’d treat Matt Kemp as a top-25 outfielder. He’s not guaranteed full-time at-bats still, but the upside is immense. The K:BB ratio isn’t pretty, but Kemp hits so many line drives, his average doesn’t suffer as much as it would most. There’s legitimate 25/25 potential this season, and it looks like he’s securing his role as the team’s No. 3 hitter.
Watching Yovani Gallardo injure his knee during Thursday’s game, I thought he was sure to miss multiple months. Seeing him stand and walk (after 10 minutes on the ground) was surprising as is, but the fact he stayed in the game and recorded five more outs (while giving up two runs) was downright shocking. It wasn’t the same knee that sidelined him this spring, so as long as he doesn’t compensate (he was still limping pretty badly), leading to an arm problem, he should be fine moving forward.
My main man Carlos Pena has been in a brutal slump, failing to record multiple hits in a game over his last 10 contests, bringing his season BA to an ugly .200. He also hasn’t homered in 16 games. Still, that’s largely due to a crazy low .226 BABIP, so he’s going to improve. He strikes out too much to ever hit better than .275, but he’s still a major threat to reach 40 homers, so now is the time to pursue him.
Is that really Chris Shelton I see back in the big leagues?
The seven homers over 25 games are impressive, but Carlos Quentin’s 15:14 K:BB ratio is also notable. Of course, he’s not quite this good, but Quentin’s disastrous 2007, which included leaving Chris Liss hanging on a live radio show after not showing up, was largely due to a serious shoulder injury. Quentin’s a legit prospect who now finds himself hitting in the league’s most homer-friendly park. He’s for real.
Nate McLouth has been unconscious this season. Before Thursday, he smacked four homers with nine RBI over the last four games, bringing his season line to a remarkable .342/.425/.658. He’s showed solid plate discipline as well (14:15 K:BB). The one disappointing facet is that he’s been caught on three of his five stolen base attempts, but while the power is sure to drop, he still possesses 30 steal potential. He’s simply been on fire. Not quite as hot as the Snorg Tees girl but still scorching.