C. Heston From the NRA to the NHA? (and other notes from 6/9/15)

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So we know that Hollywood legend Charleton Heston was the president of the NRA (National Rifle Association), but there’s a new Heston in town by the name of Chris Heston who became the 238th member of the NHA (No-Hitter Association) on Tuesday.  Heston of the Giants managed to no-hit the Mets while recording 11 strikeouts in the process.  What spoiled the perfect game wasn’t a walk or an error, but rather Heston beaned three separate batters.  This sounds like a job for the Elias Sports Bureau, but this might be the most hit batsmen recorded by a pitcher who completed a no-hitter.  Whoever had Heston in the “first no-hitter of the season” pool has to be a rich person, but one sick individual to make such an adventurous pick.

Heston is a 27-year old rookie and he has been one extremely tough pitcher to figure out this season.  It seems as though he is either really good or really bad.  He has 5 starts this season where he has given up at least 5 earned runs, but then the other 7 starts he has made he has gone at least 6 innings allowing either 0 or 1 earned run.

Initially, I thought that maybe he was just a pitcher who did some really good home cookin’ while struggling on the road, but with his clunker last week at home versus the Pirates and this no hitter on the road versus the Mets, that theory can be safely laid to rest.  The fact of the matter is that Heston has just had a couple really bad starts at Coors Field that have negatively skewed his overall stat line.  I hate to cherry pick certain games out of a player’s stat line, but taking those Coors Field games out does make a big difference as he would have a 2.71 ERA, 1.05 WHIP, and 60 K/15 BB in 63 IP (compared to a 3.77 ERA, 1.19 WHIP, and 66 K/18 BB in 74 IP including the Coors Field starts).

Heston doesn’t come as heralded as some of the other rookie pitchers because of his age and the fact that he’s not a hard thrower topping out around 90 MPH.  But with a sinker, curveball, and changeup arsenal, he is able to generate a ton of ground balls at 56.2%, which is the 6th highest in the league, and he also has above average control with sneaky strikeout potential (career rate of 7.96 K/9 in the Minors).

Earlier in the season when I was still trying to figure out what to make of Heston, I suggested the possibility of him being this year’s Matt Shoemaker as the old, non-glamorous rookie pitcher who falls into a rotation spot and outperforms expectations with great control and the sneaky strikeout potential.  The more I see of him, the more I think that Heston will be that pitcher and he is worthy of a fantasy play as long as he’s not playing at Coors Field.

Let’s see what else occurred on a full Tuesday slate of action…

Mookie Betts – 0 for 3, 1 BB, 1 K.  Over the last week, Betts has been moved down toward the bottom of the Red Sox lineup and he has not exactly responded very well.  He is now batting just .237, but he is much better than this.  I have to back up my boy and expect him to turn it around, but being moved to the bottom of the order is a big blow to his fantasy value.  There’s still plenty of time left in the season, but perhaps he is not going to breakout in big time fashion like I had projected.
Eduardo Rodriguez – 6 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 3 BB, 7 K.  E-Rod has done it again.  He didn’t come away with the win in this one, but another quality and scoreless start to improve his ERA to 0.44 and WHIP to 0.73.  He’s a very nice pitching prospect and surely won’t be relinquishing a spot in the rotation anytime soon.  He should have already been picked up in most fantasy leagues, but if for some reason he wasn’t then he needs to be.

Taylor Jungmann – 7 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 5 K with the W.  Jungmann made his Major League debut for the Brewers on Tuesday and had a good showing and the victory.  He is one of the Brewers better pitching prospects, but due to his below average control in the Minors and not quite a strikeout per inning material, I don’t think that he’s going to make a lasting impact this season if he gets additional looks.  A matchup against the Pirates was a good one for him for his debut since the Pirates are not a patient hitting team.

Stephen Drew – 2 for 4, 2 HR, 2 RBI, 2 R.  Drew had his second multi-HR game in a week to push his season total up to 9.  Pretty weird, but it’s true.  He is taking advantage of that home field of his with 6 of his 9 HR coming at Yankee Stadium.  However, his inability to hit for a good AVG (currently .175) prevents him from being a decent fantasy option at shortstop.

Masahiro Tanaka – 7 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 6 K with the W.  Tanaka looking good once again in his second start back from the DL.  As I said last time, Tanaka will be good, ace material even, a lot of the times he pitches, but his arm could fall off at anytime — not literally, that would be kind of gross.

Bryce Harper – 2 for 4, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 R, 1 K.  Harper was the only one who could put something together against Tanaka and it was his 20th HR of the season.

Max Scherzer – 6.2 IP, 8 H, 4 ER, 1 BB, 7 K with the L.  Scherzer has now allowed 4 ER in each of his last two starts, but it really is no worry.  He’s still (and will continue to be) one of the best.  He’s 6-5 with a 2.13 ERA, 0.95 WHIP, and 97 K/13 BB in 84.1 IP.

Giancarlo Stanton – 2 for 3, 2 HR, 2 RBI, 2 R, 1 BB, 1 K.  Another two Mike drops for Stanton.  That’s 21 for the season.

A.J. Ramos – 0.1 IP, 2 H, 2 ER, 0 BB, 1 K with the BS and L.  Ramos was charged with his first blown save of the season, but he still is in good shape in the Marlins bullpen as he’s done a remarkable job since stepping in.

Edwin Encarnacion – 1 for 3, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 1 R, 1 K.  Encarnacion returned to the lineup after missing a couple of days after receiving a cortisone shot for his ailing shoulder.  And like his teammate Jose Bautista, Encarnacion homered in his first game back from the coritsone shot.  Those cortisone shots must be something amazing.  Hopefully the power barrage continues for both Encarnacion and Bautista.

Anibal Sanchez – 7.2 IP, 6 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 7 K with the W.  The roller coaster ride with Anibal continues.  You never know which Anibal you’re going to get.

Jon Lester – 4.1 IP, 9 H, 5 ER, 2 BB, 5 K with the L.  It had looked as though Lester had turned around his season after a sloppy first month, but he’s now dropped three straight games that includes two pretty decent beatings in his last two.  This isn’t the guy that the Cubs ponied up all the money for.  He’ll have a decent shot of a rebound in his next start versus the Reds.

Albert Pujols – 3 for 4, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 3 R, 1 BB.  Pujols with another HR for his 16th of the year and 8th in the last 11 games.  I’m sure he’ll have another big cold streak in him at some point this season, but it’s nice to see him surging like this.

Kole Calhoun – 3 for 5, 4 RBI, 1 R, 1 K.  Calhoun had not done much at all since being moved from leadoff to cleanup for the Angels.  He saw his batting average drop from .299 to .266 entering Tuesday’s play, but with a strong game on Tuesday he had just his second multi-RBI game since the lineup switch.  It’s a shame that his switch in the lineup coincided with Pujols’ hot streak because he ended up missing on a lot of runs scored opportunities and Pujols stole a bunch of his RBI opportunities.  But maybe this game will kick start Calhoun.

Matt Shoemaker – 6.1 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 6 K with the W.  Shoemaker was moved to the bullpen for a little bit, but it was never meant to be a permanent switch.  With the break from the rotation, it could have been hoped that Shoemaker would have been able to recover some of that lost velocity, but he came in clocked at an average of 89.4 MPH on his fastball in Tuesday’s start, which is right in line with his season average.  With the decline in velocity, he can still have some good games here and there, but he will also be bound to have some big blow ups.

Nate Karns – 5.2 IP, 9 H, 4 ER, 2 BB, 4 K with the L.  Karns has now had back to back starts versus the Angels and it has not gone over well.  He was due for some regression and he’s due for even more.  He now has a 3.86 ERA and 1.23 WHIP and is not a largely recommended option for the remainder of the fantasy season.

Joey Votto – 3 for 4, 3 HR, 4 RBI, 4 R, 1 BB.  Votto-matic.  He’s now slashing .300/.406/.560 with 13 HR, 35 RBI, 32 R, and 5 SB in 56 games.  Yeah, I’d say he’s fully healthy and having a comeback season.

Todd Frazier – 3 for 5, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 2 R, 1 K.  Frazier isn’t flashy but he continues to get the job done with his 17th HR of the season.

Will Venable – 3 for 5, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 2 R.  Venable has filled in great for the injured Wil Myers and with Myers working out at first base in addition to his normal outfield spot, Venable could still be in line for some starting playing time once Myers returns.  But it still likely won’t be enough to warrant fantasy consideration.

Joe Panik – 2 for 5, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 R, 1 K.  Panik is now hitting .318 with 5 HR.  He’s going to be able to hit for a high AVG because of his great ability to put the ball in play, but the 5 HR at this point in the season is a bit of a surprise and he can’t be expected for a whole lot more.  However, he does have double digit stolen base potential, so he remains a bit of a sneaky fantasy option.

Yan Gomes – 2 for 4, 2 HR, 2 RBI, 2 R, 1 K.  Gomes had a breakthrough game in a season that has been marred by injury, but this should be a game that he can build on.

Giovanny Urshela – 0 for 3.  The Indians called up third base prospect Urshela and demoted the struggling Lonnie Chisenhall.  Urshela had an unimpressive debut on Tuesday and he doesn’t profile as someone who is going have a ton of fantasy value.  He was hitting just .275 with 3 HR in 21 games at AAA and looks more like a player that will end up as league average in his best seasons.  I surely wouldn’t break the bank on Urshela.

Carson Smith – 1 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 0 K with the SV.  Smith converted his 2nd save of the season in as many opportunities, though it did have a little blemish.  I’ve been calling for Smith to take over for the awful Fernando Rodney, but I also said I do think Rodney will be given another shot soon.  With an imperfect inning on Tuesday from Smith, I wouldn’t be totally shocked to see Rodney earn a save opportunity soon, but whether or not he converts it cleanly is another story.

Carlos Rodon – 6 IP, 4 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 5 K with the W.  Rodon has now turned in 4 quality starts in a row, but he might have the highest WHIP ever at 1.55 for a pitcher that has an ERA as low as his at 2.66 through 40.2 IP.  That is probably an exaggeration, but still that’s very odd.  However, he has shown some steady improvement as he collects more appearances, so perhaps things will be evening out soon.  I still have to expect more control issues along the way though.

Carlos Correa – 2 for 4, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 1 R, 1 SB, 1 K.  In his second Major League game, Correa had his first Major League HR and SB.  He’s a keeper.  Check out “Houston’s Astronomical Promotion: Carlos Correa” for more information on the youngster.

Salvador Perez – 2 for 4, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 R, 2 K.  With 9 HR on the season in 53 games, Perez appears to finally be making good on the 20 HR potential that was once thought of him.  It wouldn’t hurt him to walk every once in a while though as he has just 4 walks all season long.

Chris Young – 6.1 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 3 BB, 2 K with the W.  Young has the knack for turning in very low hits allowed in games due to his extreme fly ball tendencies, but he’ll also have the games where he gives up a bunch of HR for the same reason.  His start on Tuesday was one of the former.

Greg Holland – 1 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 1 K with the SV.  Holland averaged just 93 MPH out of 13 fastballs that he threw on Tuesday.  He still managed to convert the save, but I still remain skeptical here.

Trevor May – 6 IP, 7 H, 1 ER, 3 BB, 5 K with the L.  May now has a 2.77 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, and 28 K/4 BB in 26 IP over his last 4 starts.  As I said after his last start, he is someone that is deserving of our attention.  He’s showing great improvement in his control this season and his SIERA and xFIP are much lower than his 4.16 ERA.  He could be on the verge of something pretty good here.

D.J. LeMahieu – 3 for 4, 1 RBI, 1 R.  I featured the Rockies second baseman earlier in “D.J. LeMahieu Spins the Hits” and he spun even more hits on Tuesday to bring his AVG up to .350.  Follow the link for more information on LeMahieu.

Jhonny Peralta – 1 for 4, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 R, 1 K.  Peralta pouring on the power once again for this 10th HR of the season to go with a shiny .315 AVG.  He’s never really a hugely sought after player in fantasy, but for three of the last four seasons (minus the suspension he had for PED use) he has been one of the top producers at his position.

Michael Wacha – 6.2 IP, 9 H, 4 ER, 1 BB, 10 K with the L.  Wacha had a meeting with the Rockies at Coors Field on Tuesday and after what his teammate John Lackey went through the previous day, Wacha and his fantasy owners had to have been concerned about this start.  However, even though he didn’t get the win, it wasn’t a terrible start because of the big strikeout number.  If the strikeout performance here is a sign of things to come, then Wacha owners should gladly accept the less than mediocre ERA and WHIP he had here.  He has his strikeout rate up to 6.66 K/9 now and it should continue to go up to around 7.50 K/9 or better I would think.

Nick Martinez – 6 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 3 BB, 3 K with the W.  Martinez imploded in his last start versus the White Sox but he was able to quiet the A’s on Tuesday.  Further implosions should be in his near future.


3 thoughts on “C. Heston From the NRA to the NHA? (and other notes from 6/9/15)

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