DONG-aldson Alert (and other notes from 5/26/15)

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Josh Donaldson had an incredible night at the plate as he took the first offering that he saw from John Danks way beyond the left field fence for a solo dong in the 1st inning.  Then he ripped a double off Danks in the 3rd inning, which put the fear in Danks to walk him next time in the 5th.  Donaldson then came up in 7th and knocked a single up the middle off Jake Petricka.  And for the grand finale, he took David Robertson deep to the opposite field for a 3-run walkoff DONG-aldson home run.  Overall, Donaldson finished the night 4 for 4 with 2 HR, 4 RBI, 5 R, and 1 BB.  The perfect night put him at a .315 AVG, 12 HR, 33 RBI, 40 R, and 2 SB in 48 games as he is proving to be a fantasy juggernaut in his first season as a Blue Jay.

Heading into the season, it was much assumed that the home park switch from Oakland to Toronto would give Donaldson a boost to his HR total, but he is on an absolutely torrid pace right now as he is hitting .380 with 9 HR and 21 RBI in 100 AB at the Rogers Centre.  And not only is he obliterating pitchers when he is at home, but as I have mentioned several times, he also makes left-handed pitchers want to curl up into a ball and die in the corner of the dugout.  Versus lefties this season, Donaldson is hitting .474 with 4 HR and 9 RBI in 36 AB.  So Donaldson facing a left-handed pitcher at home is just about the most optimal situation for any hitter in the Majors.

At a .338 mark, Donaldson’s BABIP may seem a little high at first, because his line drive rate is pretty low at 15.5%.  However, his hard hit rate is up at a career best pace, and he is spraying the ball to all portions of the field instead of being primarily a pull hitter like in years past.  Those are some great indicators that he is doing things differently and well, and it gives some hope that he will be able to have a BABIP that’s higher than his career mark and subsequently hit for a nice average.

I think that we all knew that Donaldson would be able to put up some solid numbers this season moving to a hitter’s park and being a part of one of the most powerful lineups in the Majors.  But he is delivering so well on his potential that Billy Beane has absolutely got to be second guessing trading him away when he still could have been under team control for 3 more years.

For the rest of the season from May 27 onward, I will give Donaldson a line of:  .284 AVG, 23 HR, 71 RBI, 71 R, and 4 SB

That means that I am projecting him to finish the season with a final overall line of:  .292 AVG, 35 HR, 104, RBI, 111 R, and 6 SB.  That is a fantasy monster.

Now let’s check out the rest of Tuesday’s slate…

Jimmy Paredes – 3 for 4, 1 R, 1 SB.  Paredes had fallen into a HUGE slump as he was hitless in two games in a row heading into Tuesday’s action.  Yes, believe it or not that does qualify as a huge slump for Jimmy P.  It was the first time this season he failed to record a hit in two games in a row — that is how good he has been.  He made up for it though by getting 3 base knocks on Tuesday.  He is surely one of my favorite players of the season so far and is now batting .348 with 25 RBI, 20 R, and 2 SB in 33 games.

Preston Tucker – 0 for 3, 1 BB, 2 K.  I’ve been recommending Tucker as a waiver wire pickup and he actually got inserted into the #3 spot in the lineup for the Astros on Tuesday.  This was a great opportunity for Tucker, but unfortunately he failed to do anything with it.  I still recommend him as an outfield pickup though and hopefully he gets more opportunities to hit in the middle of the order like this.

Mark Teixeira – 2 for 4, 1 HR, 4 RBI, 2 R.  That’s Teixeira’s 14th HR of the season as he continues to be one of the biggest surprises of the season.  He’s not only hitting bombs, but he’s showing remarkable plate discipline and ability to make contact with the ball as he has more walks (28) than strikeouts (22).  He has completed one season with more walks than strikeouts and that was way back in 2008.  He seems incredibly locked in at the plate and I think that this could last all season barring an injury.

Adam Warren – 6.1 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 5 K with the W.  Warren has been solid for the Yankees, but certainly nothing spectacular.  His start on Tuesday was his best outing of the year and it came against a Royals team that has been tough by putting the ball in play a lot to make things happen.  So it was pretty impressive, but not a whole lot should be expected of him in his first year as a starting pitcher in the Majors.  He is now 3-3 with a 3.91 ERA, 1.24 WHIP, and 32 K/18 BB in 50.2 IP.

Lorenzo Cain – 0 for 4, 1 K.  With a hitless day on Tuesday, Cain’s average has fallen to .298, which is the first time that he has been below .300 since opening day.  I said a few weeks ago that Cain has the knack of maintaining a high BABIP, so if he could maintain an improvement in his strikeout rate then he could be a near lock to hit .300.  Unfortunately, he hasn’t been able to maintain that lower strikeout rate that he had earlier in the season, so he definitely won’t be a lock for a .300 AVG, but I believe he should finish the season in the neighborhood.

Mike Morse – Morse hit the DL with a finger sprain, which opens the door for the powerful lefty Justin Bour to get some more playing time and showcase his skills for more of a full-time role for his new manager.  Morse wasn’t doing much anyway with just a .211 AVG and 2 HR in 37 games.  He has been quite the bust for the Marlins and should not be considered a fantasy option when he comes back from the DL.

Kris Bryant – 1 for 4, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 R.  Pretty weird to think that Bryant is older than Bryce Harper, but it should be pretty fun to watch them be National League rivals for years to come.  Harper has a leg up on Bryant, but the Cubs third baseman is holding his own and now has 7 HR and 31 RBI in his first 37 Major League games.

Kyle Hendricks – 7 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 4 K.  Hendricks followed up his CGSO in his last start with another nice performance against a good Nationals squad.  His only blemish was a Bryce Harper HR of course.  He has a 3.76 ERA and 1.14 WHIP, but he should continue to see his strikeout rate of 7.01 K/9 dive down a bit more.  But as I’ve said before, he can be quality in ERA and WHIP to give him value.

Denard Span – 2 for 4, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 R.  Not known for his power, the Denard dawg now has home runs in back to back days to give him 5 on the season.  He had 5 HR all of last year and his career high is 8 HR in 2009, so this type of power that he’s showing is odd but a welcome sight.  Span had a breakout year last year and is showing little signs of slowing down this year despite missing the start of the season with an injury.  He also has a .322 AVG but only 3 SB on the year, but that’s hard to complain about given this unexpected power surge.  He is an underrated fantasy asset.

Bryce Harper – 1 for 4, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 R.  It was nearly a given that Harper was going to hit a HR off Kyle Hendricks.  Going into Tuesday: Harper vs. RHP – .355/.481/.832 with 15 HR.  Harper vs. finesse pitchers – .382/.506/1.059 with 14 HR.  Harper vs. average fly ball/ground ball pitchers – .380/.483/.789 with 8 HR.  Guess what handedness Hendricks is and what type of pitcher he is?

Jose Abreu – 1 for 5, 1 HR, 4 RBI, 2 R, 3 K.  Abreu now has 2 HR in his last 3 games after I called him out on his power outage.  However, I would still like to see more hits out of him as his AVG is down to .274.

David Robertson – 0.1 IP, 3 H, 3 ER, 0 BB, 0 K with the BS and L.  Robertson came on in the 8th inning to try and convert the 4-out save, but unfortunately he only was able to get 1 out before losing the game in walkoff fashion.  It was his first true blemish of the season, so it isn’t a cause for concern.  The poor outing dropped his ERA to 2.41 and his WHIP to 0.80.

Jose Bautista – 3 for 4, 5 RBI.  Bautista sat out on Monday after receiving a cortisone shot for his ailing shoulder, but he was back in the lineup as the DH on Tuesday and knocked 3 run-scoring doubles.  It looks like his shoulder is fine, but the big test will come next week when the Blue Jays visit the Nationals where the DH spot won’t be available to him.

Nick Hundley – 2 for 3, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 R.  A few weeks ago I said this about Hundley: “Hundley’s home/road splits are pretty even so far this year, but with a slight edge to playing at home.  But as the season goes on, expect the difference between home and road to grow and Hundley could conceivably grow into a top 10 play at catcher, especially when he is at home.”  Since then, the difference between his home/road splits has grown and his HR on Tuesday was his first HR on the road.  Overall, he is batting .317 with 5 HR, 16 RB, 17 R, and 0 SB, and he surely is looking like a top 10 catcher.

Chris Rusin – 7 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 4 BB, 5 K.  Rusin made his first appearance as a Rockies player after spending a log time in the Cubs organization, and it was actually a pretty nice start.  However, I am going to tell you that he is not one to consider for fantasy purposes.  So you can go ahead and ignore this start.

Michael Lorenzen – 7 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 3 BB, 3 K.  Lorenzen has been doing decently for the Reds as a rookie pitcher, but he hardly strikes out enough guys to put himself on my fantasy radar.  Also his 4.50 BB/9 is hardly appealing.  Try not to get fooled by the 3.12 ERA, rather his 1.42 WHIP is more telling of what to expect from him.

Jacob deGrom – 7.1 IP, 6 H, 2 ER, 0 BB, 9 K.  Another example of deGromination from the Mets hurler.  He just is a whole different pitcher when he is at home.  Unfortunately, his bullpen couldn’t keep his lead in tact as 2 runs got charged to him and he was left with a no-decision.  He’s got a couple road starts coming up at San Diego and Arizona, and I would be okay with starting him at San Diego but Arizona might be iffy.  Play him at your own risk.

Austin Jackson – 1 for 5, 1 R, 1 SB, 1 K.  Jackson returned from the DL and got in the SB column.  He’s not a great option for fantasy purposes, but he does have some speed.  But what his return means is that Brad Miller probably won’t be seeing much time batting 1st or 2nd for the Mariners anymore.

Kyle Seager – 3 for 5, 2 HR, 6 RBI, 2 R.  This was a huge game for Seager both for fantasy purposes and for his team.  He first hit a grand slam HR in the 8th inning to give his team the lead, and then in the 10th inning he hit another go-ahead HR that turned out to be the game-winning run.  And remarkably, he did it off the Rays’ two best relief pitchers.  I have mentioned him a couple times in the past few days saying that he would get it going soon, and I think it is safe to say that he is.  With 4 HR in his last 4 games, Seager is now batting .281 with 9 HR, 29 RBI, 21 R, and 1 SB.  He remains a rock solid option at third base for fantasy purposes, especially with the adjustments he has made at the plate to hit it to the opposite field to beat the shift.

Fernando Rodney – 1 IP, 3 H, 3 ER, 1 BB with the BS.  Another brutal one for Rodney.  May I refer you to this article:  “BLOW-PEN REPORT:  Fernando Rodney and His Broken Arrow.”  I would say that if he has two more bad outings in his next 4 appearances or less then he is getting the boot.  It may just be a temporary boot, but a boot nonetheless.  Carson Smith should be scooped up on the waiver wire if available.

Jake McGee – 0.1 IP, 3 H, 3 ER, 0 BB, 0 K with the BS.  This was a tough one for McGee as he gave up a grand slam to Kyle Seager in the 8th inning to blow the lead.  He had looked very sharp upon returning from the DL, but this game should just be a blip on the radar.  However, it does not bode well for his chances of returning to the closer role that he served in last year.

Brad Boxberger – 1 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 1 K with the L.  Boxberger took the loss in this one after he also gave up a HR to Kyle Seager.  The good news for Boxberger owners is that Jake McGee did worse!  I still have to standby the notion that Boxberger should be and will be the main closer for the Rays all season long.

Jason Kipnis – 1 for 4, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 R, 1 BB, 2 K.  You know the drill by now.  Kipnis, the man on fire!

Danny Salazar – 5.2 IP, 6 H, 3 ER, 3 BB, 6 K.  Salazar developed an issue with a finger on his pitching hand in this outing, but he stayed in the game.  But it is possible that had some negative effect on his performance in this one.  He still remains a strong pitching option, just hope that the finger injury isn’t anything too serious.

Prince Fielder – 3 for 5, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 1 R.  I outlined Fielder in “Prince’s Return to Royalty” but this is just getting out of control.  .371 AVG, 10 HR, 38 RBI, 24 R, and 0 SB.  He is on the list of players that I really wish I had, along with Josh Donaldson.

Mitch Moreland – 1 for 4, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 R, 1 K.  Moreland has been getting it done with a .306 AVG, 5 HR, and 18 RBI in 29 games played.  The power has always been there for Moreland but he’s never been one to hit for a good AVG at the Major League level.  However, his improved strikeout rate this season may allow him to post a career high in AVG if he can maintain that rate.  I don’t have a whole lot of confidence that he will though.

Mike Pelfrey – 7 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 4 K with the W.  Pelfrey is now 4-1 with a 2.77 ERA and 1.25 WHIP despite just 26 K/16 BB in 52 IP.  Pelfrey has always been a ground ball pitcher, but he is inducing them at a career high pace this year due to an increased reliance in his sinker.  It’s certainly working out for him and the Twins, but that doesn’t make him fantasy material.  He can definitely end the season with an ERA anywhere from 3.50-4.00, but the WHIP will be over 1.30 and the strikeouts will be near non-existent.

Glen Perkins – 1.1 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 0 K with the SV.  Perkins locked down another save with a 4-out one on Tuesday.  He leads the Majors in the category for a surprising Twins team.

Brandon Belt – 1 for 4, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 R, 2 K.  Belt belted another on Tuesday as he got back to flexing his muscles after going homerless for 4 games.  He’s found his groove and could be just as valuable in roto leagues the rest of the way as someone like Joey Votto.

Yasmany Tomas – 2 for 5, 3 RBI, 1 K.  Tomas just keeps on hitting as he smacked two doubles in this one.  He actually had a chance to knock in two more guys in the 9th inning, but he grounded out to end the game.  All the hits are nice, not complaining, but when are we going to see this power of his?

Archie Bradley – 3.2 IP, 5 H, 6 ER, 3 BB, 3 K with the L.  Rookie pitchers with bad control.  I’ll tell ya… I’ve said it before, Bradley, and pitchers like him (that means Carlos Rodon), are best left alone in redraft leagues as they will just give you a big headache.  In keeper leagues though, they are definitely worthy of a roster spot.

Enrique Burgos –  Burgos hit the DL, but his opportunity to close out games for the Diamondbacks may have passed anyway after he had a poor outing this past weekend.  This leaves Brad Ziegler as the closer for the Diamondbacks until further notice.

Matt Holliday – 2 for 4, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 R, 1 K.  Holliday has now reached base in his first 42 games this season to tie a franchise record.  With only 3 HR on the year, his power is not what it used to be, but he still is a professional hitter and a tough out for opposing teams.

Jhonny Peralta – 2 for 4, 2 RBI, 1 R, 1 K.  Peralta has had a great start to the season as one of the top shortstop performers.  He is hitting .308 with 7 HR, 25 RBI, 23 R, and 1 SB.  Start him with confidence.

Matt Adams – Adams is going to hit the DL with a quad injury.  Adams has yet to resemble the type of hitter that he was in the Minors when he displayed .300 AVG and 30 HR power.  But he’s still young, he’s only turning 27 this summer, so maybe next year will be his year if he can figure out left-handed pitching.  In the meantime, Mark Reynolds will receive an uptick in playing time versus righties while Adams is on the shelf (Reynolds was already starting against some lefties).

Matt Shoemaker – 7 IP, 4 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 6 K.  Shoemaker looked pretty good on Tuesday and I’ve been saying that he might make a decent buy low candidate as long as he can show improvement in his velocity.  Last year he averaged about 90.5 MPH with his fastball, whether it be his four-seam fastball or two-seam fastball.  Coming into this start, this year his average fastball velocity was sitting around 89.0 MPH.  But in Tuesday’s start against the Padres, out of the 50 fastballs that he threw, he averaged 90.14 MPH.  Interesting development we have here if he can keep it up.  If you can get him for cheap then I think he’s worth a shot.  However, he is currently scheduled to face the Tigers next and then a road date with the Yankees.  It’s hard to recommend him for either of those games.

Odrisamer Despaigne – 6 IP, 5 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 5 K.  So this is what happens when you have a struggling right-handed pitcher going on the road to face the team with the 3rd lowest wOBA in the Majors against righties.

Julio Teheran – 4.1 IP, 10 H, 8 ER, 3 BB, 1 K.  Yikes, what a beating that Teheran suffered by the hands of the Dodgers.  I said after his last outing where he had a very nice showing against the Brewers that I wasn’t going to clear him of his control issues and being out of trouble for the season because the Brewers are not a patient hitting team.  The Dodgers, however, are a very patient team that knows how to draw walks and work their way into favorable hitter’s counts to get a pitch to drive.  And that’s exactly what they did against Teheran.  Teheran should have an easier time in his next start versus the Pirates as they have the 3rd lowest walk rate in the Majors.

Adrian Gonzalez – 1 for 3, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 2 R, 1 BB.  A-Gon ended a 17-game homerless drought and he also saw his AVG decline from .376 to .344 during that time.  But hey, .344 is still really awesome.  I thought A-Gon’s time as a premiere slugger in the game was done a couple years ago, but with a decreased strikeout rate and a walk rate that is at its highest since 2010, A-Gon is showing that he still can handle the bat.  To go along with that pretty AVG, he has 10 HR, 35 RBI, and 32 R in 44 games.

Clayton Kershaw – 7 IP, 4 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 10 K with the W.  For the first time all season, Kershaw had a scoreless outing.  He had 7 scoreless outings last year and another 10 games where he only gave up 1 run.  This was a great game for Kershaw and I want to say that this is the point in his season where he turns things around and begins to absolutely dominate, but up next he currently has a date scheduled at Coors Field.  If he can get through that one in a nice fashion then I will deem his season as a turnaround.

Jesse Chavez – 8 IP, 5 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 4 K with the L.  A tough luck loss for Chavez as he allowed one unearned run to cross the plate.  But since moving into the A’s rotation on April 23, he has been very solid despite a 1-5 record.  In 7 starts, he has posted a 3.40 ERA, 1.09 WHIP, and 36 K/14 BB in 45 IP.  I do like what Chavez can bring to the table with some strikeout upside and decent control, so I think he is a fine option in fantasy leagues.  And he also does have SP/RP dual eligibility, which can be pretty useful for fantasy leagues if you check out my article “Fantasy Baseball Strategy:  Player Multi-Functionality.”

Sean Doolittle – Doolittle was activated from the DL on Tuesday, but did not make it into game action.  The A’s are likely to ease him back in by using him in low leverage situations before thinking about reinstating him as their closer.  If he can prove healthy and useful, then he will become the A’s closer again as I do not think this is a situation that resembles what has been going on in Tampa Bay with Jake McGee and Brad Boxberger.  Tyler Clippard has been good but not great for the A’s in the 9th inning, so if Doolittle’s shoulder is right then he should be the man.  However, I do have some doubts on whether or not his shoulder is right or if he needs some more time to get it right.  There are reports of his velocity being way down in his rehab outings, so this will be something to monitor whenever he gets back into a game this week.

David Price – 7 IP, 5 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 3 K with the W.  A nice game for Price as he improves to 4-1 with a 2.97 ERA and 1.17 WHIP.  His strikeout rate may not meet the same height that it was last year, but he’s one of the more reliable pitchers in fantasy.

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One thought on “DONG-aldson Alert (and other notes from 5/26/15)

  1. Pingback: What Would Doo Do? (and other notes from 5/27/15) | The Backwards K

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