For anyone who owns Sean Doolittle in fantasy leagues, the question was going to be “What Would Doo Do (in his first game back from the DL)?” @whatwouldDOOdo also happens to be the Twitter handle of the Oakland lefty, and he does tweet some funny stuff and is worth the follow on Twitter if you’re into that sort of thing.
Doolittle had been recovering and rehabbing from a shoulder injury that has had him on the DL all season, but he was finally activated on Tuesday and got into game action on Wednesday. Doolittle entered the 6th inning of Wednesday’s game against the Tigers in a very low leverage situation with the team down 3 runs and the bottom of the Tigers order coming up. Doolittle caught Nick Castellanos looking on strike 3, got Bryan Holaday to hit a flyout, gave up a single to Dixon Machado, and then struck out Anthony Gose swinging through a fastball. So in box score terms that was 1 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 K.
Looks pretty good, right? He should be back to closing games in no time? Well, it is possible but hold that thought. While he did finish his first outing back with a clean inning and even struck out 2 batters, let’s not forget that 2 of the batters he faced are normally bench players and one of the other batters cannot hit lefties worth a lick. Then throw in the fact that Doolittle’s fastball was sitting at just 89 MPH, which corroborates reports of his velocity being way down in his rehab appearances, and we could possibly have a tease situation on our hands if we were to just look at the box score.
Doolittle’s fastball is a pitch that has regularly averaged 94 MPH on the gun over the last couple of seasons, so to be sitting at 89 MPH and topping out at 90 MPH does raise a decent level of concern. Coming back from a shoulder injury, it shouldn’t be expected that Doolittle has the same type of velocity, but a 5 MPH difference is very discouraging. To look on the brighter side of things though, the fastball is a pitch that he throws 85-90% of the time, so he’s not one to rely on changing speeds a whole lot. Instead, he is more about locating the fastball where he wants it to be. So he doesn’t necessarily need the really good velocity, but it also is an extreme plus to have it and hitters may start to tee off on him if he’s without good velocity.
Doolittle of course can regain the velocity as the season goes on and as his shoulder gets stronger. However, without any guarantee that happens, Doolittle may be in for some tough times. If I owned him, which I do, I would shop Doolittle around to owners that are looking for saves to see if you can get something that may be of good use to you. It won’t be a star player, but a quality role player can go a long ways. There’s a chance that Doolittle ends up being fine, reclaims the closer role after a couple more good innings, and goes on to be a quality closer the rest of the way. However, I would be fine taking my chances and getting rid of him if I can find the right deal.
Let’s see what else happened on Wednesday!
Jason Kipnis – 3 for 5, 2 R. Kipnis, Donaldson, Rizzo, Fielder. #playersiwishihad
Carlos Santana – 1 for 3, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 2 R, 2 BB. Outside of Santana’s 2013 season when he had a .301 BABIP, he has posted just a .262 BABIP. Clearly his 2013 mark was an outlier. He’s got the pop and walk skillset, but he’ll never hit for a high AVG due to a career 53.1% pull rate that is the 3rd highest mark since Santana entered the Majors in 2010 (1st highest is Mark Teixeira, 2nd highest is Chris Young). Teams just shift the heck out of him.
Nick Swisher – 2 for 5, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 R, 1 K. Swisher was a long time productive and consistent player having breached the 20 HR mark in his first 9 full seasons in the Majors before failing to get there last year due to an injury plagued season. Since returning from the DL this season, he has been basically a full-time starter for the Indians, so if you’re super desperate for some sort of power then Swisher could be your guy. Though with his walk and strikeout rates trending in the wrong directions since last year, he isn’t the threat that he once was. He is hitting .242 with 2 HR and 6 RBI in 21 games.
Lonnie Chisenhall – 3 for 5, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 2 R, 1 K. Chisenhall came on strong last season for a good stretch of time before tailing off, but he still finished the season with decent numbers and the best year of his career. However, he’s been back to his lousy ways as he is rarely squaring up the ball this season. He had a nice game on Wednesday though to bring his line up to a .216 AVG, 4 HR, 19 RBI, 17 R, and 0 SB. If he doesn’t start having more games like this then Chisenhall may find himself pushed out of the starting lineup by Indians third base prospect Giovanny Urshela who now has 140 games played at AAA under his belt and could be ready to contribute in the Majors.
Carlos Carrasco – 8 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 8 K with the W. It wasn’t the mind blowing breakout game that we have been waiting for from Carrasco but it does qualify as his best start of the season, which was impressive versus an incredibly hot Rangers offense. He’ll take his 6-4 record, 4.24 ERA, 1.19 WHIP, and 66 K/13 BB in 57.1 IP into a road start at Kansas City where the strikeouts may be harder to come by against the best contact team in the league.
Delino DeShields – 0 for 4, 1 K. DeShields started in center field and led off, but failed to make a mark in the box score. Meanwhile Leonys Martin came in and hit a pinch-hit home run. I think that this may be the end of DeShields’ full-time starts unless the Rangers try him out as the starter at second base.
Colby Lewis – 2.2 IP, 11 H, 9 ER, 1 BB, 2 K with the L. Finally! The big time blasting that I’ve been waiting for Lewis to suffer! I know, I’m mean when it comes to fantasy players I don’t like. He now has allowed at least 5 ER in each of his last 3 starts to see his ERA rise from 2.40 to 4.70. Lewis can have quality starts every now and again, but he’s definitely not someone that you’ll ever want to rely on.
Nolan Arenado – 2 for 4, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 1 R, 1 K. Arenado is 9 for his last 16 with 3 HR and 10 RBI. Now this is the guy that I was expecting to see this year. I still like him a lot and he is up to a .287 AVG with 10 HR, 31 RBI, 23 R, and 0 SB, putting him close to the pace that I projected him for.
Todd Frazier – 2 for 3, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 1 R, 1 BB. The man just doesn’t stop. His fly ball rate is up over 8.0% from last year, which does suggest that he is intentionally trying to hit for more power by getting the lift on the ball, but that will negatively effect his AVG over the long run. He’s at .260 AVG, 14 HR, 28 RBI, 29 R, and 6 SB.
Billy Hamilton – 2 for 4, 1 R, 1 SB. Hamilton has recently been used as the 9th hitter, behind the pitcher in the 8th slot, in the Reds lineup since returning from a road trip to the American League. It would be nice if he was able to get back to leading off, but it may take an extended hot streak for that to happen. The main difference in his batted ball profile from last year is that he is not hitting the ball hard as often and he’s just not getting infield and bunt hits at the same rate. A player with his speed needs to take more advantage of his speed and get those infield and bunt hits. He is hitting .221 with 3 HR and 18 SB.
Justin Bour – 2 for 4, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 R, 1 K. I mentioned Bour and his power the other day, and here he is putting it on display. With Mike Morse hitting the DL, I said Bour’s power would be something to watch. So if you need some power potential then he may be your man.
Christian Yelich – 1 for 4, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 R. Yelich has been quite the disappointment this season and he may not develop in the fashion that was expected of him this year. He’s continually pounding the ball into the ground at an insane rate over 75% of the time, which will limit his HR potential in the end and it is also bringing his AVG down since he’s not legging out many of these ground balls for infield hits. And since he is not performing well, he has been hitting in the lower half of the order instead of the 2-hole that he started the season at. If he can start trading a lot of those ground balls for line drives then he would be in business. Perhaps the back spasms that landed him on the DL earlier this season are affecting his play, but whatever the case, he’s been a colossal fantasy failure up to this point. With his HR on Wednesday, he now has 2 HR on the season to go with a .209 AVG and 4 SB.
Gerrit Cole – 7 IP, 7 H, 2 ER, 0 BB, 7 K with the W. G. Cole workin’ it. This is becoming the norm for him. He’s now 7-2 with a 2.11 ERA, 1.09 WHIP, and 70 K/14 BB in 64 IP. Ace status for sure.
Josh Donaldson – 1 for 4, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 1 R. DONG-aldson! He saw my rest of season projections that I had for him and wanted to get a head start on fulfilling them. Check it out at “DONG-aldson Alert.”
Jose Abreu – 3 for 5, 2 RBI, 1 R. Abreu fell a HR short of the cycle a day after that I said I would like to start seeing some more hits out of him. I ask and I receive.
Jeff Samardzija – 7 IP, 8 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 5 K. Samardzija has been steadily improving since I put him on blast earlier in the season in “The Bigger They Are, Samardzija They Fall.” I still am personally not a fan of his for this season, but I will give him this — it definitely appears that he has the control part of his game down and that should no longer be questioned. He is now 4-2 with a 3.84 ERA, 1.25 WHIP, and 54 K/13 BB in 68 IP, which are the rates that I envision him ending the season at — which isn’t bad, just not great and not what someone who drafted him was probably hoping for.
David Robertson – 2 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 2 K with the BS and W. Ouch, another blown save for Robertson on consecutive days as Josh Donaldson really has his number apparently. Still not much to worry about here as his 31 K/3 BB in 20.2 IP is still very juicy.
Chris Young – 6 IP, 7 H, 4 ER, 2 BB, 7 K with the L. The good run has come to an end for Young, although it wasn’t a terrible start for him. He will start getting scored upon more and more though. All those fly balls that he allows can’t stay in the park forever! His best HR/9 rate came back in 2007 at 0.52 HR/9. Outside of that season, he has not once posted a HR/9 under 1.00 (minimum 25 innings pitched). With 2 HR allowed on Thursday, his season rate sits at 0.66 HR/9.
Alex Rodriguez – 2 for 4, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 1 R, 1 K. A-Rod mashing some more as he now has 11 HR on the season and 665 HR in his career. He is also just 5 RBI shy of 2000 in his career. But who really cares about any milestones that he gets to?
Michael Pineda – 6.2 IP, 6 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 8 K with the W. Pineda got some revenge on the Royals who touched him up for 5 runs on 10 hits a couple starts ago. Very much digging Pineda and what he’s doing and feel that he should finish the season with marks that are certainly better than his current 3.36 ERA and 1.14 WHIP. If someone offers you Christian Yelich for Pineda, you can’t click the “accept” button fast enough! (A friend of mine was given that offer today).
Dustin Pedroia – 2 for 4, 2 HR, 4 RBI, 2 R. Pedroia bragged about his power being back during the off-season and I believed him when he said it, which is why he was one of my top second base targets, and boy is he showing it. He now has 7 HR on the season, which equals his total from 135 games last year. At the plate, he is looking like his former self, but not so much on the base paths. He has just 1 SB on the year after a career low 6 SB last year. So there is some concern in that department, but he should still go on to have a fine season if he can avoid another injury.
Lucas Duda – 3 for 4, 2 HR, 2 RBI, 3 R. Big day for Duda as he is now hitting .305 with 8 HR, 23 RBI, 29 R, and 0 SB. For a more in depth look at the Mets first baseman, check out “Duda Do Thaaaaat?”
Noah Syndergaard – 7.1 IP, 6 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 6 K with the W. Thor dropping the hammer yet again, but this time on both sides of the ball as he also went 3 for 3 with a HR. Have yourself a game, kid! He’s now 2-2 with a 2.55 ERA, 1.09 WHIP, and 22 K/5 BB in 24.2 IP. The next few years are looking pretty bright for the Mets on the pitching front. On the hitting side of things, that’s a different story.
Nelson Cruz – 1 for 4, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 1 R, 2 K. Still Cruz-ing. 17th HR of the year.
Felix Hernandez – 9 IP, 4 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 8 K with the W. Felix being Felix. I spent $65 on Felix in a returning keeper auction draft H2H points league this year. Seems like a lot of money, but if you knew the scoring format then you could see why he would be worth it. He’s actually proving to be more than worth hit so far. He is 8-1 with a 1.91 ERA, 0.89 WHIP, and 71 K/15 BB in 70.2 IP.
Chris Archer – 8 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 12 K. Such a tough break for Archer to not get a win here as he actually pitched better than Felix. I keep waiting for at least a little regression to take its place, but Archer refuses to let it happen. Despite a 2.12 ERA, 0.99 WHIP, and 82 K/20 BB in 68 IP, Archer only has a 5-4 record to show for it.
Brad Boxberger – 1 IP, 1 H, 3 ER, 2 BB, 2 K with the L. Boxberger created his own trouble here by walking 2 guys and then giving up the big bomb to Cruz. It wasn’t a save situation, so at least he avoided the blown save, but obviously losing the game still is not very fun. With Jake McGee also giving up a huge blast the previous day, Boxberger still should be okay as the closer, but it does give manager Kevin Cash the “out” to turn to McGee in the near future if he so pleases.
Joe Panik – 2 for 4, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 1 R, 1 K. Panik homered for the 3rd time this season and has been a very valuable player for the Giants. He’s not very exciting for fantasy purposes though. I can’t wait for the day that Panik hits a home run off of Anthony DeSclafani whose nickname is “Disco” (after his teammates had too hard a time pronouncing his last name). Then I can say “Panik! At the Disco!”
Ryan Vogelsong – 6 IP, 6 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 5 K with the W. Wait a second, that’s now 3 road starts in a row at hitters parks where Vogelsong didn’t get lit up in any of them? What kind of bizarro world have we fallen into and how do I get out of it?
Scott Kazmir – 3 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 3 BB, 4 K. Kazmir left his start with a tight left shoulder and will undergo an MRI on it on Thursday. Ruh roh. Kazmir is certainly no stranger to the DL, so any hint of an injury is very concerning. Stay tuned.
Yoenis Cespedes – 2 for 3, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 1 R, 1 BB, 1 K. Cespedes is doing a fine job in his first season in Detroit, and an interesting trend so far is that he has completely reversed his ground ball and fly ball distribution. Hitting more ground balls seems to be helping him maintain a healthier BABIP and AVG. With a .260 AVG last year and a .240 AVG in 2013, a decent looking AVG would be a very welcoming sight.
Evan Gattis – 3 for 4, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 2 R. Despite the slow start, somehow I still think Gattis gets to 30 HR if he avoids the DL. Just watching him swing the bat you can see why he hits balls a long way. He swings so hard that I feel that his beard is going to come flying off. He’s at 10 HR with a .218 AVG.
Collin McHugh – 6 IP, 9 H, 4 ER, 0 BB, 5 K. McHugh’s fastball velocity is down 1.4 MPH from last year, which is the likely culprit for his K/9 being down from 9.34 K/9 last year to 7.35 K/9 this year. However, he is still getting swinging strikes at about the same rate as last year thanks to his great curveball. So some hope for better strikeout potential is still there, but he’s still unlikely to match last year’s due to the missing velocity. He is now 5-2 with a 4.24 ERA, 1.24 WHIP, and 52 K/11 BB in 63.2 IP.
Chris Davis – 2 for 4, 2 HR, 3 RBI, 2 R. Two longballs for Davis, who was not to be outdone by Khris Davis with a “K” who had two triples. The power is certainly there for Davis, but he is neck and neck with Steven Souza for the strikeout lead (Souza 65 K, Davis 64 K).
Jon Lester – 7 IP, 7 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 10 K with the L. Another good one for Lester in quite a pitcher’s duel. Now this is the guy that the Cubs paid for.
Max Scherzer – 7 IP, 5 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 13 K with the W. 6-3 with a 1.51 ERA, 0.88 WHIP, and 85 K/10 BB in 71.2 IP. ‘Nuff said.
Brad Ziegler – 0.2 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 2 BB with the BS and L. This Arizona bullpen is just awful. Could this reopen the door for Addison Reed to get his job back? Do we even care since Reed would just suck in the role again anyway? There are blow-pen situations that you want to follow because the next option to become closer is a good one (i.e. A.J. Ramos, Shawn Tolleson, Carson Smith), but in Arizona every option is just as bad as the previous. I’m usually a closer hoarder when it comes to plucking the soon-to-be closers off the wire, but this is a situation I would not want to get involved in anywhere.
Andrew Cashner – 7 IP, 8 H, 3 ER, 1 BB, 6 K with the W. In “Cash In With Cashner,” I suggested buying the Padres righty while he still had an ugly win-loss record that kept his perceived value down. While it wasn’t a masterful start, it still was decent and finally good enough for a win. His strikeout rate is up as he’s wisened up and throwing the slider more, which is just one reason why he is a recommended trade target.
Alex Guerrero – 1 for 4, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 R. Guerrero got the start in LF with Justin Turner starting at 3B in the Dodgers first game without Juan Uribe, and I do like the Guerrero/Turner combo as a fantasy platoon (check it out here). Guerrero homered in this one as he continues to display his beastliness. Proceed to pick him up if by chance he is available in your league.
Zack Greinke – 6 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 9 K. Still waiting for the wheels to come a little loose for Greinke. I mentioned him as a sell candidate a week and a half ago, but he’s still going strong. But the notion still stands to sell him and you can see why in “Getting Cranky With Greinke.”
Alex Wood – 7 IP, 7 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 6 K with the W. This was probably Wood’s most complete start of the season, but we definitely need to see him do this one or two more times before clearing him from his early season struggles.