With the Astros having gotten swept by the Blue Jays over the weekend, they still hold a 3.5 game lead in the AL West over the Rangers. But being in contention for a playoff spot for the first time in years, they are not settling for anything less than putting the best team that they can on the field and they are calling up top prospect Carlos Correa to be their everyday shortstop. The move to call him up is earlier than I would have anticipated, but it was something that I said should happen with Jed Lowrie and Luis Valbuena forming a strong platoon at third base once Lowrie returns from the DL to make room for Correa and allow him to showcase his elite talent on an everyday basis.
The number one overall pick in the 2012 draft, Correa missed a good chunk of the 2014 season due to an injury, but he has been tearing it up this season. He began the year at AA and received a recent promotion to AAA and he has a combined line of .332/.402/.602 with 10 HR, 43 RBI, and 18 SB in 52 games between the two levels. His production began to tail off once he reached AAA, but there’s no denying his talent and how he can help this Astros ball club. With Lowrie being on the DL, the Astros have been using a combination of Marwin Gonzalez and Jonathan Villar at shortstop who have not been getting the job done.
Expectations for Correa, who will be 21 years old in September, need to be kept in check, but the fantasy baseball community cannot help but to be extremely excited over this promotion. Correa definitely needs to be picked up in any league format because the shortstop position is so thing that he could realistically be a top 8 option at the position the rest of the way.
For the rest of the season I am going to project him for: .267/.338/.384 with 7 HR, 44 RBI, 48 R, 15 SB, 77 K, 33 BB in 352 AB
Let’s take a look at what else happened on Sunday!
Mike Trout – 1 for 4, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 R, 2 K. Trout has now homered in back to back games and is hitting .283 with 16 HR, 33 RBI, 42 R, and 8 SB. Those are clearly elite numbers at this point in the season, but he’s leaving a lot to be desired in the AVG department. However, his strikeouts are down and he’s posting the best line drive and hard hit rates of his career while using all parts of the field. So that would tell us that he should be in for some positive regression as his .308 BABIP is incredibly low for his standards considering he has a .356 career BABIP.
Albert Pujols – 2 for 4, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 R, 1 K. Pujols put another one over the fences for his 7th HR in the last 10 games and that brings his season total up to 15. He’s looking like a good bet to reach the 30 HR mark for the first time since 2012.
C.C. Sabathia – 6 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 7 K with the W. Sabathia recovered from two solo HR by Trout and Pujols in the 1st inning to shut down the Angels the rest of the way. Sabathia is still dealing with an ERA upwards of 5.00, but the K/BB ratio of 64 K/15 BB in 72 IP is pretty nifty. With the lowest swinging strike rate of his career though, he is clearly relying on being more of a finesse pitcher with well located pitches to record strikeouts and it’s also probably why he is giving up a lot of hits too as he still tries to perfect this transformation. You figure that he will see an improvement in his numbers due to the high BABIP and strand rate, but consistency appears to be an issue for the veteran.
Jose Reyes – 2 for 5, 1 RBI, 1 R, 2 SB. Reyes really took advantage of Astros catchers in this series as he recorded another 2 SB to bring his season total to 9. It’s a great sign that he’s been running so much this past weekend. He appears to be well passed his rib injury.
Jose Bautista – 3 for 4, 2 HR, 2 RBI, 3 R, 1 SB, 1 BB. Ever since Bautista got a cortisone shot for his ailing shoulder a couple weeks ago, he has gone 17 for 42 (.405 AVG) with 4 HR and 11 RBI in 11 games. I would have to say that the cortisone shot did him well. Hopefully it can do the same for his teammate Edwin Encarnacion who received one for a bothersome shoulder of his own. Bautista has nicely recovered from an early season slump to bring his season line up to a .262 AVG with 11 HR, 36 RBI, 39 R, and 3 SB in 51 games while walking more than he has struck out. He still remains one of the premiere sluggers in the game.
Russell Martin – 2 for 4, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 1 R. I expected Martin’s power to go back up this season coming back to the AL East and playing his home games at the hitter friendly Rogers Centre in Toronto, and that’s exactly what’s been happening so far. Martin now has 8 HR on the year to go along with 3 SB. There may not be any other catcher in the game that can match his combined power and speed potential and that’s why I had him ranked so highly.
Jake Marisnick – 2 for 3, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 2 R. Marisnick had been hitting just .181 since May 1 when he hit his last HR. The young Astros outfielder was finally able to deposit another ball over the wall on Sunday for his 4th HR of the year. He’s got potential as a 15 HR/30 SB type of player, but with the prolonged slump it looks like he still needs some more time to fully develop. Maybe next season will be a true breakout year for him.
Luke Gregerson – 0.1 IP, 4 H, 3 ER, 0 BB, 0 K with the BS and L. See the “BLOW-PEN Report.”
Carlos Carrasco – 4 IP, 7 H, 5 ER, 2 BB, 3 K with the L. Carrasco’s defense didn’t really do him any favors in this one, but he also didn’t pitch very well so it looks like I was wrong about his breakthrough game coming in this start.
Matt Wieters – 2 for 5, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 2 R, 1 K. Like Reyes, Wieters is also trying to make me look stupid by homering on Sunday after I said I don’t expect him to hit for much power in his return from Tommy John surgery.
Bud Norris – 5 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 7 K with the W. Norris returned from the DL after a lenghty stint of bronchitis and he turned in a pretty decent outing. He was horrible before landing on the DL and I’ve never been a fan of his at all. I personally would never have him on my roster.
Jay Bruce – 2 for 4, 2 HR, 4 RBI, 2 R, 1 K. Bruce has never been one to hit for a good AVG, but it’s likely that this era of defensive shifts is hurting him even more in that area. He still has the pop though, hitting 2 HR on Sunday.
Devin Mesoraco – Mesoraco is heading out for a rehab assignment where he will exclusively be playing left field. I mentioned this the other day and playing the outfield gives fantasy owners hope that they can squeeze some value out of Mesoraco this season. He does have the hip impingement still though, so it’s possible that he may not even prove healthy enough to play everyday or to stay off the DL. But it’s an interesting development nonetheless, and he should be scooped up in any leagues that he was dropped in and inserted back into the catcher slot in fantasy lineups once he is activated.
Johnny Cueto – 7 IP, 4 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 9 K with the W. Cueto brought his A-game on Sunday, blanking the Padres for 7 innings. We still have to be worried about the health of his arm going forward though after he missed a start with elbow stiffness.
Rusney Castillo – 2 for 4, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 1 R, 1 K. Castillo is a better contact hitter than fellow Cuban sensation Jorge Soler, but it appears that Castillo is also suffering the same issue as Soler with a much higher strikeout rate than he showed last season in limited time. Castillo did belt his first HR of the season on Sunday, but 11 K/1 BB in 15 games is not very impressive. The Red Sox and fantasy owners will be expecting much more.
Tyler Clippard – 0.1 IP, 4 H, 3 ER, 0 BB, 1 K with the BS and L. See the “BLOW-PEN Report.”
Gerrit Cole – 7 IP, 6 H, 0 ER, 3 BB, 7 K with the W. I don’t really need to keep saying it, but I will. Cole is a legitimate ace and is now 9-2 with a 1.73 ERA, 1.10 WHIP, and 86 K/19 BB in 78 IP.
Maikel Franco – 2 for 4, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 2 R, 1 K. Franco now has 4 HR in 6 games in June, continuing to flex that muscle and surpass my power expectations from him. I’m becoming a believer in his power now though and he may have some 25+ HR seasons in his future.
Jeff Samardzija – 7.1 IP, 10 H, 6 ER, 1 BB, 5 K with the L. Samardzija still is living down to my expectations. The bigger they are, Samardzija they fall…
J.D. Martinez – 2 for 4, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 1 R. Martinez wasn’t going to hit .315 again this year considering that was driven by a .389 BABIP last season, so it’s no surprise to see his AVG down so much. But he at least is showing the same type of power that he did last year, and he really needs to turn it up a notch for the Tigers to succeed. Sunday was a nice start with a HR and a few steaks.
Mike Fiers – 4.1 IP, 7 H, 2 ER, 3 BB, 3 K with the L. Fiers has had a weird season as his 10.45 K/9 is an elite strikeout rate, but his hard hit rate of 40.5% is also the highest in the Majors, which would suggest that his very high .379 BABIP may not be unlucky. He now has a 4.06 ERA and 1.55 WHIP and he’ll keep trying to turn it around. As a Fiers owner, I am trying to remain optimistic, but the hard hit rate is a very discouraging statistic.
Danny Santana – Santana was demoted to AAA on Sunday. Well well well… Here’s what I said about Santana in the pre-season: “He is going to be given a chance to hit leadoff again this year for the Twins, but I can foresee a situation where he struggles to hit because he will see what it’s like to have a more normal BABIP and then he will either get moved to the bottom of the batting order or get benched and then his season will be deemed useless.” He did start the season as the leadoff hitter and then he did move to the very bottom of the order after struggling. And now he’s been worse than benched, he’s been demoted. Eduardo Escobar will serve as the Twins starting shortstop, but he’s not very exciting from a fantasy perspective. #nailedit
Mike Pelfrey – 8 IP, 8 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 7 K with the W. Pelfrey pitched another gem to improve to 5-2 with a 2.28 ERA and 1.22 WHIP. The strikeouts in this game were nice since he’s not a strikeout pitcher at all. But as I’ve mentioned before, he’s very good at inducing ground balls as he has gone back to using his sinker a lot more this season. What he’s doing is not completely for real, but it’s not completely a fluke either. The ERA will regress and land somewhere in the 3’s, but he can be a quality real life pitcher.
Greg Holland – 1 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1 K with the SV. Holland pitched a perfect 9th inning for his 9th save of the season, and he has now been perfect in his last 3 appearances. In this game he only threw 1 fastball out of his 11 pitches and that fastball came in at 92 MPH, which is well below his velocity from last year and something that I have documented several times this year and featured in “Mr. Holland’s Opus is Not Music to My Ears.” Perhaps he didn’t really use his fastball in this game because he knows that it’s just been ineffective for him this season. Whatever the case, my confidence level in Holland to hold the closer’s role for all season is not high unless he regains that velocity.
Chris Archer – 7 IP, 7 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 11 K with the W. Archer with another dominating performance. Check out “Archer Hits the Bullseye” for more information on his changes and improvements that are leading to this big time breakout season.
Kevin Jepsen – 1 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1 K with the SV. See the “BLOW-PEN Report.”
Curtis Granderson – 2 for 5, 2 HR, 2 RBI, 2 R. Nice game for Granderson as he took Josh Collmenter deep twice for his 7th and 8th HR of the season. He can’t hit lefties well and will sit versus a lot of them, but he still has some pop and a little bit of speed. He makes for an okay daily play in the right matchups.
Jacob deGrom – 7 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 3 BB, 10 K with the W. It wasn’t as convincing as he’s been, but deGrom took care of business on the road again as he tries to shed the “deGromination” label of only being able to do well at home. He’s been very filthy as of late and he improved to 7-4 with a 2.42 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, and 81 K/16 BB in 78 IP.