In the pre-season, I highlighted Arizona Diamondbacks center fielder A.J. Pollock to be “This Year’s Michael Brantley.” So follow the link for a more in-depth analysis on Pollock as not much has changed my views on him since then. But let’s talk about what he has done so far this season to paint a new picture in the lineup for the Diamondbacks.
There were a lot of fantasy baseball people who liked Pollock for 2015, but I think that I liked him a bit more than most so I drafted him (or paid) a bit earlier (or more $) than I would have liked because I did not want to miss out on his predicted breakout season. So far he has not let me down and I am not minding the the earlier picks (extra $) that I spent on him as I am enjoying the season that he is having. Pollock hit a game-winning pinch-hit HR this past Tuesday and then on Wednesday he made the baseball diamond his canvas and turned in quite the masterpiece as he went 3 for 4 with a walk, leading to 4 runs scored and 3 stolen bases. The strong game brought his season line up to a .298 AVG, 4 HR, 15 RBI, 27 R, and 9 SB — he is doing a little bit of everything.
While he is not likely to have a huge breakout in the same statistical way that Michael Brantley had in 2014, Pollock is on pace for a great season. One thing that is different than I anticipated is that Pollock has gotten the majority of his at-bats in the 2-hole with the emergence of Ender Inciarte as a viable leadoff option. I like the 2-hole more for Pollock as it gives him a little bit more RBI opportunity without changing his upside in any other aspect. He is still getting some time in as the leadoff hitter, and actually is also occasionally in the lineup as the cleanup hitter versus lefties because he has great splits against them southpaws. Pollock is getting rested more than I would like to see due to the Diamondbacks having a crowded outfield situation, but he usually does find his way into the game as a pinch-hitter if he wasn’t in the starting lineup and this perhaps can actually aid him in staying more fresh and healthy. What prevented Pollock from a true breakout season last year was his health, but with good health on his side and being protected by Paul Goldschmidt in the lineup, the outlook for him can be amazing. For the rest of the season, I’ll give him: .290 AVG, 10 HR, 48 RBI, 63 R, 23 SB
Now on to the rest of the Wednesday daily report.
Josh Reddick – 0 for 4, 2 K. Reddick is now 2 for his last 23 and has seen his AVG drop to .305, and he finally has more strikeouts than walks on the season. It was bound to happen as I’ve mentioned before, but he can still be decently productive, especially if he does maintain a good strikeout rate.
Evan Gattis – 1 for 3, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 1 R, 1 BB. Gattis has been textbook “feast or famine” on the year as he belted his 8th HR and now has 24 RBI on the year. His .196 AVG is incredibly unappealing, and he is showing very little patience at the plate with just 5 walks in 38 games. How the Astros are staying atop the AL with 3 regular starters (Gattis, George Springer, Chris Carter) hitting below .200 is pretty remarkable. Gattis won’t keep hitting below .200, but he clearly won’t be sniffing any batting titles soon.
Dallas Keuchel – 7 IP, 6 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 4 K with the W. The ground ball king reigns supreme and improves to 6-0. He won’t be living on a .227 BABIP all season long, but he does seem to have a knack for inducing weaker contact. So despite the high ground ball rate, he could be able to keep a below average BABIP all season long.
Ian Desmond – 1 for 4, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 R, 2 K. I mentioned earlier this week that he’s going to be put in a good spot with the absence of Jayson Werth, and yes he is taking advantage of it and definitely appears to be warming up.
Bryce Harper – 0 for 1. Harper was ejected from the game, pretty much for stepping out of the batter’s box while the home plate umpire stepped away to yell at Nationals manager Matt Williams. Harper has done some douchey things in his short career, but he hardly deserved this ejection.
Jordan Zimmermann – 7 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 6 K with the W. Zimmermann’s velocity continues to slowly creep up and with it he is seeing better results. Perhaps I was premature to suggest him as a sell candidate a couple weeks ago. If his velocity remains on the upward trend then he is fine to hold, but I also wouldn’t expect his strikeout rate to reach the heights of 8.20 K/9 like last year. He seems more likely to settle in around 7.00 K/9.
Roenis Elias – 7.2 IP, 6 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 4 K with the W. Elias does have some decent potential and could be worth a grab in deeper leagues, but expectations should be tempered.
Fernando Rodney – 1 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 2 K with the SV. Not such a pretty save for Rodney as he continues to be less than stellar. A lot less than stellar actually. Rodney owners or those speculating on saves need to have Carson Smith on speed dial. I am thinking that this could develop into a blow-pen situation soon, as Smith has been lights out compared to Rodney’s shenanigans. If anything, like I’ve said before, Smith should definitely be closing games for the Mariners next year with Rodney’s contract expiring at the end of this season.
Drew Hutchison – 6.2 IP, 6 H, 4 ER, 2 BB, 5 K with the L. Sadly, Hutchison’s stats for the season improved nearly all across the board with this mediocre stat line. It was his first loss of the season, but he has been the victim of some bad luck in other ways (BABIP, LOB%). He’s shown good improvements over his last few starts and better days are ahead of him.
Ryan Braun – 1 for 2, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 1 R, 2 BB. Braun with the hot stick is now up to 10 HR on the season and 4 HR in his last 6 games. Would be a shame if he tested positive for PEDs again…
Yasmany Tomas – 2 for 5, 1 BB. I think I am Tomas’ inspiration or something, as that is now the 5th multi-hit game in a row for him ever since I said how I am liking him and his opposite field hitting abilities. His AVG is now up to .346. You’re welcome, Yasmany.
Chase Anderson – 8 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 2 K with the W. Great game for the Diamondbacks, but if you own him in fantasy then you’re wondering where all the K’s are. He should be able to start striking out some more guys with his changeup being a pretty good weapon. On the season he is 1-1 with a 2.54 ERA, 1.03 WHIP, and 34 K/13 BB in 49.2 IP.
Bartolo Colon – 4.1 IP, 11 H, 8 ER, 2 BB, 4 K with the L. Colon came unraveled on Wednesday at the hands of the Cardinals, and the 2 walks that he issued were more than he had given up all season long. Hopes of a 40.0 K/BB ratio have been shattered.
Kolten Wong – 3 for 5, 2 RBI, 2 R, 1 K. Hitting leadoff on Wednesday, Wong proved his worth, and he really is probably the team’s best option there, at least against righties. Mike Matheny should stop fiddling with the lineup so much and just go with Wong at the top. Wong is continuing his breakout season.
Carlos Martinez – 6.1 IP, 4 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 5 K with the W. Nice showing for C-Mart and he’s going to have games like this. Unfortunately, he’s also going to have games where he walks 4 guys and gives up 5 runs. I’m going to like him for 2016 a lot more than 2015.
Williams Perez – 5 IP, 6 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 7 K. Making his first Major League start, Perez had a very nice outing. He is a ground ball heavy pitcher but not a big strikeout guy despite what his Wednesday outing might suggest. Due to his inexperience, he makes for a little bit of a risky proposition in fantasy, but I do enjoy his ground ball tendencies.
Joe Kelly – 7 IP, 7 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 7 K with the L. Cy Young here he comes! Oh wait, he got the loss? Never mind, no Cy Young for him.
Delino DeShields – 1 for 3, 1 SB, 1 BB. 11th SB of the season for DeShields. I told you what this guy could do several times, did you listen and pick him up?
Shawn Tolleson – 1 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 0 K with the SV. I said in the “BLOW-PEN REPORT: Neftali No Es Feliz” (and even before that) that Feliz was going to be on his way out and Tolleson on his way in. It wasn’t the cleanest of saves, but Tolleson worked out of it to convert the opportunity. I don’t just pull this stuff out of thin air, I do know what I am talking about (sometimes), so hopefully you were able to grab him. Maybe he doesn’t pan out in the end, but at the very least he got the save here and has earned himself the next opportunity as well probably. Roll with it.
Jeremy Guthrie – 6 IP, 5 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 3 K with the W. It is a wonderment to me how Guthrie just doesn’t get hammered every time he takes the hill. As my dad always says, it’s better to be lucky than good sometimes.
Josh Harrison – 3 for 6. Harrison is riding an 8-game hit streak where he is 18 for 35 (.514 AVG) during that span and his season AVG has risen from .173 to .255. It’ll be hard to pry him away from his owners now. Also, with the slumping Gregory Polanco sitting out on Wednesday, Harrison might have just reclaimed his role at the top of the Pirates order for the foreseeable future. We’ll see next time they’re both in the lineup.
Andrew McCutchen – 3 for 5, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 BB, 1 K. McCutchen continues to steadily improve with the bat. I’m still not sure he’s going to do a whole lot of running though.
Joe Mauer – 2 for 6, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 2 R. We have a Joe Mauer sighting, ladies and gentlemen. It was his first HR of the season. With Mauer earning $23 million annually, his 4 HR from last year had to have been the worst HR/salary ratio ever, at least for players who didn’t suffer a season-ending injury (will have to check with the Elias Sports Bureau on that one). But so far, Mauer appears set on having an even worse mark this year.
Mike Pelfrey – 6 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 5 K. It is a wonderment to me how Pelfrey just doesn’t get hammered every time he takes the hill. As my dad always says, it’s better to be lucky than good sometimes. Wait, deja vu?
Jose Ramirez – 2 for 3, 1 RBI, 2 R, 2 SB, 2 BB. Ramirez isn’t good for much, but he does have 8 SB on the season…If you’re desperate for speed. But also if you’re desperate for Speed then you’re going to have to contact this guy.
Shaun Marcum – 6.2 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 0 BB, 6 K with the W. Overall it was a good game for Marcum as he stepped into the Indians rotation. I hardly would expect this to last though as he is bound to get injured or get burned by the long ball (both runs he gave up on Wednesday were on solo shots). I would much rather see Zach McAllister get another chance in the rotation.
Carlos Rodon – 6 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 5 BB, 4 K. Same story, different day. Rodon has great swing and miss stuff, but the walks are a big time issue. He now has 19 BB in 21.2 IP and is making Aaron Sanchez and his 6.35 BB/9 look like Greg Maddux. Rodon has a nice future outlook, but he really could use some more seasoning in the Minors to work on that control.
Tsuyoshi Wada – 4.2 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 9 K. Wada was inserted into the Cubs rotation and he was doing pretty well, racking up the strikeouts, before he ran into some trouble in the 5th inning and was relieved before even being able to qualify for the win. The 9 K’s were very impressive, but is not going to be a regular occurrence. However, he still should make for an interesting flier in deep leagues.
Tyson Ross – 7 IP, 4 H, 3 ER, 3 BB, 8 K with the L. Looks like a typical Ross performance that I outlined in “Are Tyson’s Punch Outs Enough?” Control issues leading to stolen bases leading to runs, but logging lots of strikeouts. Ross falls to 2-4 with a 3.93 ERA, 1.46 WHIP, and 62 K/29 BB in 52.2 IP. He should have some better days ahead of him, but just know what you might be getting into if you’re trading for him and don’t say I didn’t warn you.
Buster Posey – 3 for 4, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 2 R. Didn’t I say that he can get hot with the best of them like three times? Now that his AVG is finally over .300, I will stop saying it.
Tim Lincecum – 7 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 4 K with the W. Well this was surprising, but don’t buy into it.
Corey Dickerson – I forgot to mention in Tuesday’s notes that Dickerson hit the DL with plantar fasciitis in his left foot. I already liked him less than most people going into the season, but this couldn’t have been foreseeable.
Hyun-Jin Ryu – After spending all season on the DL, the Dodgers lefty has decided to undergo shoulder surgery to effectively end his season. Well, that is a big loss for the Dodgers, though they have been filling his absence nicely with guys like Carlos Frias and Mike Bolsinger. However, even with the solid performances they have received from those guys, the Dodgers will probably look to the trade market eventually. As for Ryu, obviously it’s time to let him go in redraft leagues, but for keeper leagues he probably will be ready for Spring Training 2016. But word of caution would be that shoulder surgery is usually more difficult to make a full recovery from than Tommy John surgery.