The Ya Ya Yas (and other notes from 6/10/15)

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I am going to go ahead and say without any official report of it that the Diamondbacks/Dodgers game on Wednesday was the first game in baseball history that featured two players named Yasmani or Yasmany to homer in the same game, and that it was also the first game ever to feature three players whose names all start with “Yas” who all homered.  This looks like another one for the Elias Sports Bureau to tackle and as stupid as it is, I think it is pretty remarkable.  So let’s take this opportunity to give a little bit of a rundown on the “Ya Ya Yas.”

Yasmany Tomas of the Diamondbacks went yard for his 2nd HR of the season.  The Cuban defect has for the most part produced well for the Diamondbacks, but I am sure that they were expecting and would like to see more power out of that beastly 6’2″ 255 lb. frame of his.  So it was a very pleasant sight to see him deposit one over the fence on Wednesday.  Despite the lack of power, Tomas has been getting it done with his batting average at .331 because of his wonderful ability to hit the ball to the opposite field and up the middle so often.  This great skill that he has makes it incredibly hard for defenses to defend him, especially since opposing teams may not have great scouting reports on him in his first season.  His high AVG is being supported by a BABIP that is currently well north of .400, but I am still optimistic about Tomas’ outlook due to his opposite field approach and for the likelihood that his power numbers will increase as he gains more experience during the season.  With 3B and OF eligibility in fantasy leagues and being a part of one of the top offenses in the league, Tomas is a quality fantasy option.

Yasmani Grandal had that huge breakout game earlier this season where he hit 2 HR with 8 RBI at Milwaukee, and up until Wednesday, that one game had accounted for approximately 40% of his power production all season long.  But with a HR on Wednesday, Grandal is now hitting .277 with 6 HR and 21 RBI in 45 games played.  Grandal was one of the main pieces that the Dodgers received in return for dealing Matt Kemp to the Padres in the off-season, so the team clearly believed in him and so far so good.  He’s not posting numbers that are off the charts, but he’s been a rock solid option at catcher.  However, it should be noted that as a switch hitter, Grandal is much more productive as a left-handed hitter.  From the left side this season, he is slashing .283/.400/.492 with all his HR and RBI coming as a lefty, and a nifty ratio of 26 K/24 BB.  So keep this in mind if you own him and set your lineup daily, and also note that he makes for a very nice play in DFS (daily fantasy sports) when he is up against a right-handed pitcher, particularly ones that don’t throw too hard.

Yasiel Puig of the Dodgers ended up missing about 6 weeks with a strained hamstring, so he has a lot of time to make up for.  Earlier this week, he came off the DL and has been making his return well known.  On Wednesday, he had a perfect day at the dish, which included a 3-run bomb, to push his hitting streak to 4-games since returning (9 for 15 in those 4 games).  But the sign of a true recovery from his injury might be when he steals his first base of the season.  During his rehab of the strained hamstring, he suffered a setback otherwise he would have been back a few weeks ago.  So he might approach it safely initially, but if he starts to steal bases like he is capable of then that will signify all systems are a go.  Puig clearly has monstrous fantasy appeal and it’s scary to think of how good the Dodgers offense could be with him back, considering how they obliterated a lot of pitching without him.

Let’s take look at the rest of the hump day action.

Brayan Pena – 4 for 4, 2 RBI, 1 R.  With Reds catcher Devin Mesoraco being sidelined for most of the season and now currently rehabbing to come back and play left field since he is unable to play catcher due to a hip impingement, Pena has been and will continue to be the primary catcher for the Reds.  He has not produced many runs or any power, but with a 4 for 4 day on Wednesday he is now batting .307 with more walks than strikeouts.  He won’t provide much value outside of perhaps a decent batting average, but that’s still more than some other starting catchers out there will give you.

Ivan De Jesus – 1 for 4, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 1 R, 1 K.  De Jesus now has 2 HR since being called up a few days ago, but by no means is he a power hitter.  He was a former 2nd round pick but he has flamed out as a prospect and doesn’t figure to amount to much of anything in the Majors at this point in his career.  And once Mesoraco returns from the DL to play left field, De Jesus will no longer be seeing much time in the starting lineup.

Christian Yelich – 1 for 4, 2 K.  Yelich has had a dreadful season so far.  On top of a back injury that landed him on the DL for a couple of weeks, Yelich has been a very poor performer.  However, he did homer the other day and that may have given his new manager Dan Jennings some hope for Yelich to turn it around because Yelich appeared in the 3-hole in the lineup for the very first time since Jennings took over as manager.  The 3-hole is where Yelich began the season at, which should have proved to be a nice spot for him to drive in runs hitting behind Dee Gordon and to score runs hitting in front of Giancarlo Stanton.  If he can get back to hitting line drives instead of killing worms with a 70% ground ball rate, then he is going to have a chance to finish the final 3 and a half months of the season strongly.  Yelich is currently hitting .218 with 3 HR, 12 RBI, 12 R, and 4 SB in 41 games.

Marcell Ozuna – 1 for 4, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 R.  Ozuna is having some weird trends at the plate this season.  He’s shown improvements in his walk and strikeout rates to improve his AVG, but it seems to have come at the expense of his power.  With a power breakthrough last season, the same type of power or better was to be expected of him this season.  Frankly, fantasy owners would probably trade the improvement in AVG to get that power back.  With a HR on Wednesday, this is a start.

Edwin Encarnacion – 2 for 3, 2 R, 1 K.  Encarnacion had another good day at the plate in his second game back after the cortisone shot to his aching shoulder, but he then departed the game early after feeling more pain in that shoulder.  It’s getting kind of concerning that the pain isn’t really subsiding for Encar.  Hopefully it’s not something that will linger all season.

Scott Copeland – 7 IP, 6 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 4 K with the W.  A brilliant spot start for Copeland, but the Blue Jays optioned him back to AAA after the game.  He’s not someone to be keeping a lot of tabs on.

Carlos Martinez – 6.1 IP, 8 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 4 K with the W.  Martinez proved on Wednesday that he can perform decently in the thin air of Colorado, keeping his hot streak alive.

Andrew Miller – Miller has been super filthy as the closer for the Yankees with a 1.03 ERA, 0.68 WHIP, and 43 K/10 BB in 26.1 IP while converting all 17 save opportunities.  Unfortunately, he hit the DL on Wednesday with a forearm strain.  Clearly, any injury to a pitcher’s arm is awful news as the worst situation is always feared.  We don’t know much about the extent of Miller’s injurious arm in this case, but we will have to hope that it doesn’t end up being serious.  Dellin Betances, who has been just as insanely good as Miller this season, will fill in as the team’s closer.

Darren O’Day – 2 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 4 K with the SV.  O’Day has been one of the best setup men in the game for 6 of the last 7 seasons now and he recorded 6 outs on Wednesday to earn his second save of the season.  Zach Britton is still the closer in Baltimore, but should Britton ever stumble or land on the DL, the sidearmer O’Day would certainly be capable of closing out games.

Charlie Morton – 7.1 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 3 BB, 6 K with the W.  Morton has now won each of his 4 starts since returning from the DL and he has a 2.05 ERA, 1.06 WHIP, and 12 K/7 BB in 26.1 IP.  As I have noted previously, with strong ground ball tendencies, Morton can prove to be valuable in providing decent to good ERA and WHIP, but he doesn’t really miss a whole lot of bats.  He and Mike Pelfrey are pretty similar and each should have a spot on a fantasy team in many leagues despite their overall fantasy boringness.

Miguel Montero – 3 for 5, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 2 R.  Coming over from the D-Backs to the Cubs in the off-season, Montero has done an adequate job as the team’s primary catcher.  He’s now hitting .241 with 7 HR and 20 RBI in 48 games and should continue at this same rate.

Chris Coghlan – 2 for 5, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 2 R.  Coghlan now has 8 HR on the year and he already is one away from tying his career high of 9 HR that he set last year in 125 games and also in his 2009 rookie season in 128 games.  The power is certainly unexpected but welcomed, but Coghlan isn’t really fantasy material for most leagues.  However, he has been a very nice role player in his tenure with the Cubs.

Rafael Soriano – The Cubs signed Soriano on Tuesday, as I speculated on Sunday in the “BLOW-PEN Report,” and he should eventually be mixed into the 9th inning for the Cubs as manager Joe Maddon seems to be playing musical chairs with this relief pitchers.  Not much should be expected from Soriano initially, especially since he hasn’t been in game action in a long time.  But saves are saves, and if he’s in the mix then he’s worth the pick up.

Jake McGee – 1 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 K with the SV.  On Wednesday, it was McGee who earned the save for the Rays while both Kevin Jepsen and Brad Boxberger worked in front of him in the 7th and 8th innings.  Well, this clouds things a bit in Tampa Bay.  Boxberger had missed several days with some tricep tightness, which allowed Jepsen to pick up a few saves.  But now that Boxberger is back, McGee is the one to get the save?  I still would think that Boxberger will see the majority of the opportunities if he is healthy, but McGee is certainly capable of closing as well, evidenced by last season’s brilliant performance.  With both Boxberger and McGee healthy and available, Jepsen should be nothing more than a setup man.

Williams Perez – 7 IP, 4 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 5 K with the W.  The man with two last names threw another quality start on Wednesday, and he now has been rather impressive in all but one game since being called up.  If he continues on with a walk rate resembling the 4.73 BB/9 that it is now, then he’s going to run into some much tougher days.  But his ground ball inducing skills and potential for an above average strikeout rate means that he does possess some intrigue.

Travis d’Arnaud – 1 for 4, 2 R, 1 K.  D’Arnaud finally returned to the lineup after missing 6 weeks with a fractured finger.  I expect him to pick back up right where he left off and keep working toward a breakout season.  Although with missing so much time with the injury, we’ll have to call it a semi-breakout season.

Matt Harvey – 6 IP, 9 H, 7 ER, 2 BB, 2 K with the L.  Hmm, I noted last time that Harvey has been done in by the long ball this season, and it was the same story on a different day in his most recent start hosting the Giants.  He served up three more HR to bring his total allowed to 12 in 12 starts this season.  In his previous two seasons combined, he had only allowed 12 HR in 36 starts.  Most of the HR that he is allowing are coming off his fastball, so he’s going to have to work on locating that pitch better.  With a few less than stellar starts, Harvey has dropped to 6-4 with a 3.62 ERA and 1.04 WHIP.  I still have to like him a lot for this season, but this HR proneness was not something that was anticipated.

Nori Aoki – 4 for 5, 2 R.  Aoki has been included here a lot lately.  He’s now 15 for his last 31 and has his AVG up to .333.

Joe Panik – 3 for 5, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 2 R, 1 K.  Aoki’s teammate Panik is also showing up here a lot lately.  Right after I said not to expect too much more power from Panik, he goes and hits another HR.  Naturally.  Aoki and Panik are an extremely under rated 1-2 combo at the top of the Giants order in real life baseball and in fantasy.

Kyle Seager – 2 for 4, 1 HR, 5 RBI, 2 R.  Seager hit his second grand slam of the season on Wednesday.  He’s evolved into one of the steadiest and more consistent third basemen in the game and we should know what to expect from him year in and year out — something in the range of .270 AVG, 25 HR, 85 RBI, 75 R, 10 SB.

Taijuan Walker – 6 IP, 8 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 6 K with the W.  That’s now 3 good starts in a row from Walker, and he might be becoming more trustworthy to use in fantasy.  Of course since I said that, I am sure the Giants will have a hit parade versus him in his next start.

Fernando Rodney – 1 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 1 K.  Rodney got in an inning of work with his team up 7 runs and once again he could not hold the opposing team off the scoreboard.  Carson Smith remains a must have as the guy to collect current saves for the Mariners, but like I’ve been saying, Rodney will probably be given another opportunity at some point if he ever puts together a string of scoreless appearances.

Trevor Bauer – 3.2 IP, 4 H, 6 ER, 5 BB, 5 K with the L.  Bauer has been very ineffective in limiting the free passes in the last two games, which is a troublesome thought for a pitcher who struggled mightily with his control coming up through the Minors and in his first two stints in the Majors.  His overall stat line is still very respectable at 5-3 with a 3.53 ERA, 1.24 WHIP, and 75 K/34 BB in 74 IP, but he could soon find himself in a major hole if he doesn’t regain control of his pitches.  Against a poor offense like the Mariners, Bauer should have done better.

Jose Abreu – 2 for 4, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 1 R, 1 K.  Abreu has now homered in back to back games to push his season total to 11 HR, but he still definitely has left his fantasy owners wanting more so far this season.  It doesn’t help that the guys around him in that White Sox offense aren’t really supporting him.

George Springer – 5 for 5, 1 SB.  It’s certainly not everyday that a player goes 5 for 5.  And then it’s definitely not everyday that a player goes 5 for 5 and doesn’t score or drive in a run.  The great day at the plate has Springer’s batting average up to .254 to go with 8 HR, 19 RBI, 27 R, and 13 SB.  It’s not exactly what was expected of him in the RBI department, but everything else is lining up pretty well.  If he continues to hit leadoff like he has been for the last couple of weeks his RBI total will continue to suffer.

Vincent Velasquez – 5 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 4 BB, 5 K.  In his Major League debut, the 23-year old Velasquez kept the White Sox off the scoreboard.  It was against a pretty lowly White Sox offense, but still impressive nonetheless for a pitcher who skipped AAA.  If he has a couple more good starts then he should remain a fixture in the Astros rotation for the remainder of the season and for years to come.  He gets the Rockies at home next and then after that his next scheduled start would be at Seattle.  With high strikeout potential that doesn’t come with a bunch of walks (though that was not reflected in his debut), Velasquez should be picked up and given a try in any league that is 12 teams or deeper, and definitely in any dynasty leagues.

Yovani Gallardo – 7 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 10 K.  I am not exactly sure where the 10 K performance from Gallardo came from, but with the nice game he now has a 3.45 ERA, 1.23 WHIP, and 59 K/22 BB in 75.2 IP.  This is exceeding my expectations as I was ready for him to be pretty awful coming over to the AL for the first time in his career, having diminished velocity, and pitching in a very hitter friendly home park.  There’s still plenty of time left in the season though for him to live down to my expectations.

Pat Venditte – 2.1 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 3 K.  Venditte now has 5.2 innings of scoreless work to begin his Major League career.  He doesn’t hold much value outside of any leagues that count holds, but as I have mentioned before, it wouldn’t be too out of this world to think that he could be collecting saves at some point this season.  So in roto leagues he makes for an okay stash and you can use him to help out in the ratio categories (ERA and WHIP).

A.J. Pollock – 3 for 5, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 2 R, 2 K.  Pollock showcased his talent once again by hitting a game-tying HR off Kenley Jansen in the 9th inning.  So sexy.

Paul Goldschmidt – 4 for 5, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 2 R.  Goldschmidt just dominates left-handed pitching.  Brett Anderson never had a chance.


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