Yet Another Cubs Top Prospect (and other notes from 6/17/15)

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It was almost unfair how wealthy the Cubs were with top position prospects coming into the year, but I suppose that’s the good fortune that they are entitled to after decades upon decades without a championship.  But credit does have to be given to the wonderful job that Theo Epstein has done since coming over to Chicago after years of retooling the Red Sox organization.  This year for the Cubs, top prospects Kris BryantJorge Soler, and Addison Russell have all become mainstays in the lineup, and on Tuesday they promoted yet one more of the game’s top prospects, catcher Kyle Schwarber.

The 22-year old Schwarber was the 4th overall pick from the 2014 draft and has been breezing through every level of the Minors.  He is a left-handed swinger with a very patient plate approach and his power for a catcher may be unmatched whenever he reaches his prime.  Schwarber had been crushing the ball at AA to the tune of .320/.438/.579 and he did even more crushing in his MLB starting debut on Wednesday by going 4 for 5 (which included a triple) with 2 RBI, and 3 R.

Schwarber was promoted to serve as the team’s DH this week with the Cubs visiting some American League parks, but he’s most likely going to be sent back to the Minors after this wave of interleague games is over, barring anything unforeseen.  However, with his incredible performance in his starting debut, despite it being only one game, Schwarber is proving right away that his bat can be very impactful at the Major League level.  For season long fantasy leagues, he probably doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to roster in re-draft leagues (unless it’s a really deep league), but he clearly needs to be owned in all keeper and dynasty leagues.  His bat is very legit, especially for a catcher, and he could be top 5 at the position as soon as next season.

Let’s check out the rest of the hump day action. 

Chris Parmelee – 1 for 3, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 2 R, 1 BB.  Parmelee homered once again to make it 3 HR in his first 2 games of the 2015 season.  After Tuesday’s game, I said that Parmelee has shown good power at every level he has played at and that he could parlay this into greater opportunities with the Orioles.  And I compared him to Chris Colabello as a quad-A type of player that could keep up this hot start.  Deep leaguers can surely give him a try.

Michael Pineda – 6.2 IP, 1 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 9 K with the W.  Pineda was brilliant as he had a no-hitter through 6 innings before giving up a HR.  This was a great matchup for him as I outlined in the DFS strategy post for Wednesday, and Pineda is 8-3 with a 3.54 ERA, 1.18 WHIP, and 87 K/11 BB in 81.1 IP.  He’s a must start most times that he takes the mound.

Christian Yelich – 1 for 2, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 R, 1 BB.  Yelich had a horrible start to the season, but he is slowly turning things around and has gotten back into good favor of his new manager by being regularly slotted back into the 3-spot where he began the year.  Yelich was responsible for breaking up Pineda’s no-hit bid with the HR and he’s now batting .239 with 4 HR, 14 RBI, and 5 SB.  I wouldn’t call him a buy candidate, but he’s definitely better than what he has shown so far.

Jordan Zimmermann – 7 IP, 8 H, 3 ER, 1 BB, 8 K with the L.  The 8 strikeouts were a season high, but as I have been saying all along, he’s working with diminished velocity this year, which is affecting his overall performance.  If he can get that velocity to creep back up with the strikeouts to coincide with it, then he will be a great option yet again.  But I’m not counting on that happening at the moment.

Steven Souza – 3 for 4, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 2 R.  Souza is now hitting .222 with 13 HR, 30 RBI, 34 R, and 8 SB.  Outside of the poor AVG, he has been very valuable.  Leading to that poor AVG has been his hideous 33.7% strikeout rate (84 strikeouts in 62 games).  So with that type of strikeout rate, Souza will be lucky to hit .250.

Drew Hutchison – 5.2 IP, 4 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 5 K with the W.  Hutchison had worked hard to get his ERA under 5.00 before blowing up in his last start.  But he was able to blank the Mets in his outing on Wednesday, so he’s looking to get that ERA back under 5.00 after his next start.  He needs to show much more consistency before being considered for fantasy leagues.

Alex Wood – 6 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 7 K.  Wood keeps showing flashes of a turnaround to his season and he turned in another nice one on Wednesday even though he didn’t escape with a victory.  Over his last last 5 starts he has a 2.78 ERA, 1.27 WHIP, and 28 K/9 BB in 32.1 IP.  Those numbers are much more in line with what was expected of him entering the season, so try and ignore the 3.40 ERA and 1.42 WHIP that he as for the season and focus on what he has been doing recently.

Anthony Rizzo – 2 for 4, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 1 R, 1 K.  Rizzo broke an 0 for 17 slump and hit his 12th HR of the season.  You can’t keep A to the Rizzo down for too long.  He is an obvious every day starting option regardless if there’s a righty or lefty on the hill.

Kris Bryant – 2 for 6, 1 HR, 4 RBI, 2 R.  Bryant wasn’t having such a good game, but then he got to face David Murphy in the 9th inning.  If you don’t know, Murphy is an outfielder, not a pitcher.  Bryant took advantage of it and hit a grand slam for his 8th HR of the year to go with 39 RBI and a nifty .295 AVG.  The scary thing is that he isn’t even tapping into his full power potential yet.

Tsuyoshi Wada – 7 IP, 4 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 6 K with the W.  Wada got back on track on Wednesday by keeping the Indians off the board for 7 innings.  The soft tossing Japanese import isn’t a spectacular option, but he can be usable in the right situations.  He has a 3.68 ERA, 1.30 WHIP, and 30 K/11 BB in 29.1 IP and he gets the unfortunate privilege of facing Clayton Kershaw and the Dodgers in his next start, which isn’t the greatest of spots to play him.

Miguel Cabrera – 1 for 5, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 1 R, 1 BB, 1 K.  Johnny Cueto made one mistake and it was a big one that Miggy crushed out of the yard.  He’s enjoying an amazing season with a .343 AVG, 15 HR, and 51 RBI so far.

Todd Frazier – 2 for 6, 2 HR, 5 RBI, 2 R, 1 BB, 2 K.  Frazier keeps on doing it for his 21st and 22nd HR!  I wanted to play Frazier in DFS, but because I had Price in a couple lineups, I shied away from doing so.  Darn it.

Jay Bruce – 5 for 6, 2 R.  A rare 5-hit day for Bruce, but amazingly that only brought up his AVG to .232.  Eek.

Jung-Ho Kang – 1 for 4, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 1 R, 1 K.  Kang has cooled down a bit, but he shouldn’t have been expected to hit for a .300 AVG anyway.  But he homered on Wednesday and is now the owner of a .280 AVG with 4 HR, 24 RBI, 16 R, and 4 SB.  He’s settling in very nicely as a fixture in the Pirates lineup, but where he does his most damage is against left-handed pitching.  So consider him for DFS whenever his team is up against a southpaw.

Mike Fiers – 5 IP, 8 H, 6 ER, 3 BB, 2 K with the L.  In Wednesday’s DFS strategy post, I said how Fiers was not a favorite of mine because of his league leading hard hit rate and the Royals great ability to put the ball in play.  #nailedit.  Fiers has the high strikeout rate, but overall he’s just been very ineffective.

Carlos Correa – 3 for 4, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 1 R.  Man is this kid something special.  I thought I might have been being a bit generous with my projections for him in the post “Houston’s Astronomical Promotion: Carlos Correa,” but now it’s looking like I wasn’t generous enough!  I kind of love me some Car-Cor.

Jose Altuve – 0 for 2.  Altuve left the game with the hamstring injury that he has been dealing with.  I said after Tuesday’s game how bad Altuve looked on the base paths and hinted at an upcoming possible DL stint, so it really is no surprise here that he was forced from the game.

Paul Goldschmidt – 2 for 4, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 R, 1 K.  Goldschmidt destroys all pitching, but lefties in particular.  He’s hitting .363 with 19 HR, 54 RBI, 50 R, and 10 SB.  Wowsers!

Billy Butler – 4 for 5, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 3 R, 1 BB.  Butler led the charge for the A’s who I called a sneaky stack in DFS for Wednesday.  Unfortunately, Butler was one A’s player who I did not have in my A’s stack.  Nor was Ben Zobrist who also had a nice day.  Ugh!

Jesse Chavez – 7 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 11 K with the W.  I enjoyed this matchup very much for Chavez coming into the game and he definitely came through.  I said in the DFS strategy post how he just does so much better at home, and against a Padres offense that can struggle a lot versus righties, Chavez took full advantage.  He’s been very good for the A’s since moving into the rotation and he improved to 3-6 with a 2.53 ERA, 1.10 WHIP, and 69 K/19 BB in 78.1 IP.

Joey Gallo – 1 for 4, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 1 R, 3 K.  Gallo took Kershaw deep in this one, which is a pretty amazing feat given that he struggles against left-handed pitching (he did strikeout in his other 2 AB versus Kershaw though).  Obviously his power is for real and it’s looking more and more like he’s here to stay even after all the injured Rangers get healthy.  However, remember we have to expect his AVG to remain pretty low due to his high strikeout rate.

Clayton Kershaw – 6 IP, 5 H, 3 ER, 1 BB, 10 K with the L.  Overall, it was a rather disappointing game for Kershaw who I thought had a very nice chance to post a hugely dominant game with the Rangers having 4 left-handed bats in their lineup. Better luck next time.

Felix Hernandez – 8 IP, 4 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 5 K with the W.  Felix has now alternated good and bad starts in his last 7 times taking the hill.  Rather annoying, but in the end he will have the same type of good numbers that he always does.

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