Do You Smell What The Brock Is Cooking? (and other notes from 6/16/15)

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Brock Holt came on for the Red Sox last year in a super utility role and finished the season hitting .281 with 4 HR, 29 RBI, 68 R, and 12 SB in 106 games.  From a season long viewpoint, those stats aren’t anything special, but his worth to the team was invaluable and he made for a decent spot starter for fantasy squads with his extreme multi-position eligibility.

This season Holt has been doing much of the same, playing all over the field — he has started at least 1 game at every position except pitcher and catcher — and coming up with some big hits.  Holt has been collecting more starts as of late, starting 13 of the Red Sox 15 games in June so far, filling in all over the diamond as the Red Sox have been dealing with some slumping players and minor injuries.  On Tuesday, Holt showcased his talents by hitting for the cycle to bring his season line up to a .309 AVG with 2 HR, 15 RBI, 20 R, and 3 SB in 49 games.

Just like last season, those numbers are not that great overall in the grand scheme of things when viewing it from a fantasy perspective.  But for season long fantasy leagues, his ability to be slotted into a variety of positions can be extremely helpful, especially in leagues that allow daily changes — check out “Fantasy Baseball Strategy: Player Multi-Functionality” for an in depth look at how someone like Holt can help fantasy teams win championships.  And in daily fantasy sports (DFS), Holt can make for an excellent plug in as a cheap option at different positions whenever he is in the starting lineup, especially when he is slotted into a prime spot in the lineup like he was on Tuesday in the leadoff spot.  The sample size is small, but he has hit for a .391 AVG in 64 AB this season when he has hit 1st or 2nd in the order.

We can’t expect Holt to continue to start in games at the rate that he has lately, but he’s still going to get his fair share of starts and deserves fantasy consideration for his multi-position eligibility and perhaps he does eventually ascend to full-time starter status if there is a long term injury for one of his teammates.  However, because he doesn’t start everyday, his value is maximized in leagues that allow daily lineup changes.

Let’s see what else happened on Tuesday!

Kevin Siegrist – 1 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 1 K with the SV.  With Trevor Rosenthal battling what is reported as a minor bicep injury, it’s been Siegrist to collect saves for the Cardinals in consecutive days.  Siegrist is a left-hander but he has actually done much better versus right-handed batters and he has a 1.52 ERA, 1.11 WHIP, and 40 K/11 BB in 29.2 IP.  So that could make him an effective closer for the time being and he makes for a good pick up given the uncertainty of Rosenthal’s injury.

Jose Altuve – 1 for 4, 1 RBI, 1 RBI, 1 BB.  Altuve returned to the lineup after missing 3 games with a hamstring injury, but he looked extremely limited while running the bases.  If he continues to play through this injury, there is a chance that he may injure himself further.  At the very least, he shouldn’t be expected to be stealing many bases for the time being.

Luis Valbuena – 2 for 3, 2 HR, 4 RBI, 2 R, 1 BB.  I’ve been saying all season how Valbuena does not hit lefties very well, and the numbers show it as he entered Tuesday’s play with just a .103 AVG and 2 HR in 68 AB versus southpaws.  But on Tuesday he managed to take lefty Chris Rusin deep twice to be an unlikely DFS hero.  He now has 16 HR and 30 RBI on the season, but he’s only hitting .188.  You take the good with the bad with Valbuena (and a lot of his other Astros teammates).

Vincent Velasquez – 4.2 IP, 7 H, 5 ER, 2 BB, 7 K.  Velasquez made his 2nd start of his Major League career and it didn’t go over very well.  He was doing decently and was one pitch away from qualifying for the victory, but then he served up a 2-run HR to Carlos Gonzalez.  Oops.  On the bright side, the 7 strikeouts were very nice to see and he figures to improve his overall performance as he collects more experience at the big league level.

Chris Rusin – 4 IP, 9 H, 7 ER, 2 BB, 4 K with the L.  After 3 nice starts to begin his 2015 season, Rusin has seen the wheels fall off in his last 2 starts that were not even at home at Coors Field.  He’s got a 5.14 ERA and can safely be left alone as previously advised.

Billy Burns – 1 for 3, 2 RBI, 1 R, 1 SB, 2 BB.  I love me some Billy Burns.  What a great find for the A’s this season.

Andrew Cashner – 5 IP, 5 H, 5 ER, 3 BB, 3 K.  Cashner struggled once again in his start versus the A’s.  It looks like I might’ve been wrong on him, but I still think he is due for a turnaround.  He pitches at Arizona next though, which is not a great environment for pitchers.  Until he does show signs of a turnaround, he might be best left for the bench.

Matt Duffy – 3 for 4, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 2 R.  Duffy has been a great player for the Giants as he has taken over as the team’s third baseman.  The Giants keep on churning out unspectacular but solid players, and Duffy does garner deep league consideration and also makes for a nice cheap option in DFS.

Julio Teheran – 6.1 IP, 13 H, 6 ER, 1 BB, 3 K with the L.  This would surely qualify as a setback for Teheran who had been doing pretty well over his last few starts.  He just hasn’t been right all season long and is just not commanding the zone well.  He now has a 5.07 ERA and 1.47 WHIP and has been one of the biggest pitcher busts of the season.  I wasn’t high on him entering the year, but I did not imagine him to be this bad.

Mookie Betts – 3 for 5, 1 RBI, 2 R.  Signs of life for Mookie!  He had missed a couple games with a minor injury, but he now has back to back 3-hit games to bring his AVG up to .253.  This could be the start of a massive hot streak for Betts and maybe he can go on to be the player that I thought he would be over the course of the rest of the season.  I still believe in the Mookie Monster.

Starling Marte – 2 for 5, 1 R, 2 SB, 2 K.  Nice game for Marte and it is nice to see him swipe a couple bags.  For most of the season he had more HR than SB (not complaining), but he is much more well known for his speed and he now has 13 SB vs. 12 HR.  He is a fantasy beast that can provide positive value in every hitting category.

Francisco Cervelli – 1 for 3, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 R.  Cervelli has been on a bit of a hot streak and is hitting .324 with 2 HR and 19 RBI for the season.  His BABIP is over .400, so that’s bound to come down, but he is enjoying a very nice first season in Pittsburgh and he has been hitting in a nice spot lately versus left-handed pitching to boost his numbers a bit.  There are certainly worse catchers to have in fantasy than Cervelli.

Charlie Morton – 7 IP, 4 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 3 K with the W.  You have to know the story by now with Morton.  He can help out in ERA and WHIP because of his great ground ball tendencies, but he doesn’t strikeout many guys.  It was another classic Morton outing versus the White Sox on Tuesday.  He now is 5-0 with a 1.62 ERA and 0.99 WHIP, but obviously he’s bound to see some regression soon.  He will remain a decent fantasy option though.

Maikel Franco – 1 for 4, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 1 R.  In Tuesday’s DFS strategy post I suggested Franco as a good pick for the day against Chris Tillman who has struggled versus righties (despite being right-handed himself).  So here we are with a Franco HR.  He continues to impress in the power department and has 7 HR over his first 30 games this season.  He’s surpassing my original expectations in power, but remember that he did hit 31 HR in the Minors in 2013.

Manny Machado – 3 for 4, 2 HR, 3 RBI, 3 R, 1 BB.  The Macho Man went double dong on Tuesday and is killing it with a .290 AVG, 13 HR, 33 RBI, 42 R, and 9 SB.  Keep in mind that he is about to turn only 23 years old.

Jimmy Paredes – 1 for 5, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 1 R.  Paredes has been on a little bit of a downward turn after his blazing hot start, but he hit one out on Tuesday to show that he still has some fight in him.  His AVG is at .299 and figures to be lower than that by season’s end, but his 7 HR and 3 SB so far showcase his talent.

Chris Parmelee – 4 for 5, 2 HR, 2 RBI, 3 R.  Parmelee received sporadic playing time in the Majors with the Twins over the last four seasons, but now he is with the Orioles and he received his first call up to start on Tuesday and boy, did he ever make it worth while with 2 big flies.  The left-handed first baseman/outfielder has always shown some decent pop at any level he has played at, and this outburst could put him in line for more playing time, especially against right-handed pitchers.  This could be another Chris Colabello situation where the quad-A type of power hitter gets hot upon the call up and runs with it.  Deep, deep leaguers could give Parmelee a shot.

Todd Frazier – 2 for 4, 2 HR, 2 RBI, 2 R, 1 K.  In the DFS strategy post I recommended Frazier as a good play today against a soft-tossing lefty and it just so happens that he took that soft-tossing lefty deep twice.  The 2 HR on the day give him 20 for the season already.  It would appear that he is going to blow by the career high of 29 that he set last season.

Derek Dietrich – 2 for 4, 1 RBI, 1 R, 1 BB, 1 K.  With Martin Prado nursing a shoulder injury and not likely to return for another week or longer, Dietrich was recalled on June 12 and he has received starts in the last two games where he homered on Monday and had another nice day at the plate on Tuesday.  The left-handed hitting Dietrich had 7 HR in 56 games at AAA before his promotion and he also has a couple of 20 HR seasons in his professional career.  Those who play DFS need to pay attention to Dietrich as a cheap option until Prado returns.

Giancarlo Stanton – 2 for 4, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 2 R.  Mike drop again.  Stanton is now batting .265 with a league leading 24 HR and 62 RBI in 65 games.  He truly is the finest HR hitter in the game today.

Nathan Eovaldi – 0.2 IP, 9 H, 8 ER, 0 BB, 0 K with the L.  This was certainly an outing to forget for Eovaldi as he couldn’t fool any of his old Marlins teammates.  Eovaldi has looked pretty lost on the mound for most of the season and he really doesn’t deserve to be on any fantasy teams.  Maybe one of these years he will figure it out.

Matt Harvey – 7 IP, 4 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 6 K with the W.  A nice bounce back effort from Harvey versus a tough Blue Jays lineup.  The Blue Jays aren’t as dangerous versus right-handed pitching, but it was still a very encouraging effort from Harvey who had been giving up tons of bombs.

Bobby Parnell – 1.2 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 K with the SV.  With regular Mets closer Jeurys Familia having thrown 48 pitches in the last two days, it was former Mets closer Parnell who got a 5-out save on Tuesday.  Parnell just recently came back from the DL, so it is rather surprising that they have inserted him right away into these high leverage situations.  However, when healthy, he is probably the team’s best setup option.

Bryce Harper – 3 for 3, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 R, 1 BB.  Harper crushed his 22nd HR and the walk he got gives him more walks on the year than strikeouts.  Harper has a mind blowing 1.216 OPS.

Wilson Ramos – 2 for 5, 2 HR, 4 RBI, 2 R.  Ramos has always had the potential to hit 20 HR in a season, but injuries always seem to derail him and prevent him from reaching that plateau.  But so far so good this season in staying healthy, and he is now batting .265 with 7 HR and 31 RBI.  Pretty good production out of the catcher spot.  Hopefully I didn’t just jinx his health.

Clint Robinson – 4 for 5, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 3 R, 1 BB.  Robinson has been filling in for the injured Ryan Zimmerman at first base for the Nationals and has done a pretty decent job.  He is a 30-year old career Minor Leaguer and now in his fourth organization, so we can’t take him too seriously as someone who can have consistent production.  But he has hit as many as 29 HR in a season in the Minors, so the power can be intriguing for as long as he is up in the bigs.  And for DFS, he is going to be a quality cheap option against right-handed pitching.

Danny Espinosa – 5 for 5, 3 R.  Espinosa knocked 5 singles on Tuesday to improve his AVG from .246 to .267 as he continues to be a solid role player for the Nationals.  The switch hitting infielder usually does most of his damage versus left-handed pitching, but he’s holding his own against righties this year.

Chi Chi Gonzalez – 8.1 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 2 K.  Okay, I am really dumbfounded by the overall success that Gonzalez is having since being called up by the Rangers for his debut a few weeks ago.  He actually nearly had a complete game shutout as he was only 2 outs away before he served up a HR and then was yanked.  He now has a 0.90 ERA and 1.00 WHIP, but he still has issued more walks (12) than he has strikeouts (10) and he’s got an unreal .183 BABIP and 94.6% strand rate.  The blow up is coming, it’s just a matter of when?  I thought that this was going to be the outing where he got blown up so I was in love with a Dodgers stack in DFS, but boy was I ever wrong.  His next start comes against the White Sox, which is actually a very nice matchup, but I’m not going to trust him against any offense.

Justin Turner – 1 for 4, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 1 R.  Turner homered on Tuesday for the first time in over a month, but he is batting .355 in June to bring his season AVG up to .319 and he has been the primary beneficiary of the departure of Juan Uribe from a few weeks ago.  I think that Turner should continue to produce well and he does deserve the full-time role, but he does have the Cuban defect Hector Olivera looming in the Minors.

Jason Kipnis – 1 for 3, 3 R, 2 SB, 1 BB.  Kipnis swiped two bags on Tuesday to bring his season total up to 10, and he also is riding an 11-game hitting streak now.  There’s very little that is slowing Kipnis down this season.

Trevor Bauer – 6 IP, 4 H, 0 ER, 3 BB, 5 K with the W.  Bauer had struggled with his control in his previous two starts, and he did once again on Tuesday, but he was able to work around the walks to shutout the Cubs over 6 innings of work.  Like I said last time, Bauer has dealt with a lot of control issues in the past, so it is worrisome that it is popping up again.  He gets a nice matchup against the Rays in his next start though.

Jake Arrieta – 5 IP, 3 H, 4 ER, 6 BB, 6 K with the L.  Bauer’s opponent on Tuesday was Arrieta, and oddly enough Arrieta posted a line that I was expecting Bauer to have.  The high walk total was very uncharacteristic of Arrieta as he had an excellent walk rate of 1.75 BB/9 entering Tuesday, so I’m not sure what threw Arrieta off in this one.  He gets a very nice matchup at Minnesota in his next start, so I would expect a nice bounce back.

Chris Young – 7 IP, 5 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 3 K with the W.  Young worked his fly ball magic again on Tuesday to hold the Brewers scoreless for 7 innings.  He’s only allowed 4 HR so far this season, which is unusually low for his strong fly ball tendencies, so I have to keep expecting regression in his near future.  However, he still can remain a quality option.  He now has an impressive 1.98 ERA and 0.92 WHIP.

Albert Pujols – 1 for 3, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 2 R, 1 BB.  Pujols stayed hot and hit his 19th HR of the year and he now leads the American League in the category.  Check out “Pujols’ Blast From the Past” for more information on his power outburst.

Garrett Richards – 7 IP, 4 H, 0 ER, 3 BB, 4 K with the W.  It wasn’t an overly impressive start for Richards with the walks and few strikeouts, but it’s nice to see him hold down an offense and not allow a HR for the first time in 5 starts.  He is now 7-4 with a 3.59 ERA, 1.22 WHIP, and 59 K/30 BB in 72.2 IP.


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