Brett Cecil began the year as the closer for the Blue Jays, but then was replaced by 20-year old righty Miguel Castro very early into the season because Cecil was struggling with velocity issues. Castro held down the gig for two weeks converting 4 of 6 save opportunities, but then he began to struggle and eventually was sent to the Minors to allow Cecil to reclaim the job in late April as his velocity began to climb back up. However, though he was the closer, Cecil amazingly saw only one save opportunity in the month of May. But over the last couple of weeks, the Jays have been finding themselves in more situations where they have had a 3 run lead or less in the 9th inning and Cecil has managed to collect 3 saves since June 12.
But in Cecil’s last three outings, he has given up 8 runs on 6 hits and 3 walks in only 2.1 IP, and he got charged with one blown save and two losses in those games. Cecil just isn’t pitching well right now and he definitely is not an ideal closer as a left-handed pitcher who has allowed a .273 AVG and .352 wOBA to right-handed hitters in his career.
I said in Sunday’s notes that Cecil would probably not be given the next save opportunity, and on Monday with the Jays up 3 runs, Cecil was nowhere to be found. Perhaps he was just being given the night off after having thrown a total of 65 pitches in the last 3 days, but I think at the very least Cecil is being downgraded to a closer by committee situation. I suggested that 20-year old fireballer Roberto Osuna would be the guy to see the next save opportunity for the Jays and indeed it was Osuna on Monday who came in to put out a fire, and he got the 6-out save with an amazing 5 strikeouts.
Osuna now owns a 2.12 ERA, 0.92 WHIP, and 40 K/10 BB in 34 IP. He certainly has the stuff to succeed as a 9th inning man and he is worthy of a pickup in all formats for now and he can run away with the job. Watching him get the 6-out save on Monday was pretty amazing, as the Rays hitters didn’t know what to do with the heat that he throws, continually swinging through the fastball. But as I’ve mentioned previously, beware of the Jays trading for a proven closer, which would push Osuna back to a setup role and render Cecil useless.
Let’s take a look at the rest of Monday!
Brett Gardner – 4 for 4, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 2 R, 1 BB. What a game for Gardner. I can’t say enough about how good of a job he’s done this season. He is now hitting .290 with 8 HR, 36 RBI, 51 R, and 15 SB.
Michael Pineda – 3.1 IP, 11 H, 8 ER, 1 BB, 0 K with the L. Well, this beating was unexpected. However, I did issue a warning in the DFS strategy post for Monday that the Phillies don’t strike out much and that Pineda doesn’t meet expectations when priced at a certain level on DraftKings. He’ll try to do better next time out in a matchup against the Astros who strikeout a ton.
Ben Revere – 3 for 6, 1 RBI, 2 R, 1 SB. About a month ago when Revere was hitting around .240-.250, I said he should be able to get that up to around .300. So here we are now seeing him with a .287 AVG after back-to-back 3-hit games. He also recorded his 18th SB of the season on Monday. AVG, SB, and some runs is all that we can expect from Revere, but that is useful fantasy material. He is a trade candidate, but he could stick around with the Phillies through the end of the season since he won’t become a free agent till after the 2016 season.
Maikel Franco – 4 for 5, 2 HR, 5 RBI, 3 R, 1 K. Franco hit 2 HR at Yankee Stadium on Monday and he is blowing away my expectations hitting .312 with 9 HR, 24 RBI, 21 R, and 1 SB in 36 games since being called up. I think it is becoming clearer that the 2014 version of Franco in AAA was an outlier as he only hit .257 with 16 HR in 133 games. Franco is much more resembling the 2013 version of himself in A+ and AA when he hit .320 with 31 HR in 134 games.
Trevor Bauer – 3 IP, 8 H, 7 ER, 4 BB, 3 K with the L. I said in the DFS strategy post for Monday that I felt Bauer was in a poor spot here against a Tigers team that is much better with Victor Martinez back in the lineup, and Bauer has also been having some control issues that once again surfaced on Monday. Bauer impressed early on in the season, but if he keeps having these control problems then it’s going to continue to be a struggle. The awful outing pushed his ERA up to 3.86 and WHIP to 1.33.
Yoenis Cespedes – 3 for 3, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 2 R. Cespedes had been doing pretty well when Victor Martinez was on the DL, but having V-Mart back is going to do a lot of good things for the Tigers lineup, and it will allow Cespedes and J.D. Martinez to feed off of it to boost their own stats. Cespedes is having a fine season with a .308 AVG, 10 HR, 39 RBI, 41 R, and 3 SB.
Jose Bautista – 1 for 4, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 R, 1 BB, 1 K. Bautista absolutely crushed one deep into the night in Tampa Bay as he continues his onslaught on AL pitching. It was his 15th HR of the year.
Dioner Navarro – 3 for 4, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 3 R. Navarro got a rare start on Monday and he did the most with it by hitting his 1st HR of the year. Unless he gets traded or Russell Martin gets injured, Navarro won’t be seeing much time in the starting lineup. But if he does fall into a starting gig somehow, he is a decent bat for a catcher.
Kevin Kiermaier – 3 for 6, 1 RBI, 2 R, 1 SB, 2 K. Kiermaier will sit against a lot of lefties and get pinch hit for late in games if he’s against a lefty, but when he’s in versus righties he is batting leadoff a lot of the time and provides some nice potential with a little bit of pop and speed. Keep him in mind as a cheap DFS option when facing righties.
Logan Forsythe – 2 for 3, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 R, 2 SB, 2 BB, 1 K. I mentioned Forsythe a little while ago and he just keeps on producing and he did it with both his bat and his legs in this one. He hits in a prime spot in the Rays lineup and is multi-position eligible with the shallow 2B position being on of them. He is now batting .293 with 8 HR, 32 RBI, 28 R, and 7 SB and is deserving of a spot on many fantasy rosters.
Kris Bryant – 2 for 3, 2 HR, 3 RBI, 2 R, 1 BB, 1 K. Bryant went double dong on Monday with one coming off Clayton Kershaw. In his first 60 games, he now has 10 HR. At this point, I would have expected him to have around 15 HR, but I am not complaining too much because he is getting it done by driving in and scoring runs, and stealing bases as well.
Byron Buxton – 3 for 5, 3 R, 1 K. Versus the lefty John Danks, the rookie Buxton led off for the first time since being called up. It’ll be interesting to see if manager Paul Molitor comes back tomorrow with this same lineup arrangement with Buxton at the top or if it was just something that he wanted to do against a left-handed starting pitcher. Obviously if Buxton settles in as the team’s everyday leadoff hitter that would be tremendous for his fantasy value. We’ll have to wait and see what happens, but even if Buxton is only batting .200 right now, he is putting all his skills on display — with the bat, on the base paths, and with the glove. He’s surely looking like a future star.
Brian Dozier – 2 for 5, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 1 R, 1 SB. Dozier contributed all across the fantasy board in this one. He’s clearly an elite second baseman and is now batting .261 with 14 HR, 35 RBI, 55 R, and 6 SB. And here’s a helpful hint: he is an extremely elite play in DFS when facing southpaws.
Kennys Vargas – 4 for 4, 1 HR, 4 RBI, 2 R. Vargas was sent down to AAA after beginning the year in a prolonged slump, but he was recalled a couple weeks ago and still was doing next to nothing until Monday when he had a perfect day at the dish. He can safely be left on the waiver wire in fantasy leagues, but do keep an eye on him because if he gets hot then he could be a cheap source of power.
Domingo Santana – 1 for 2, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 R. The rookie Santana slugged his 2nd HR of the season, but he also struck out for the 7th time in 14 plate appearances. This sounds about right — he’s got some big power potential but will strikeout a ton. He’s not getting regular playing time for the Astros, so he’s not an option in most leagues. But he can definitely be used as a cheap option in DFS when he’s in the starting lineup (preferably against left-handed pitching).
Albert Pujols – 2 for 3, 2 HR, 3 RBI, 2 R, 1 BB. Pujols again and again? Wowee. That’s 12 HR in 20 games in June.
Hector Santiago – 6 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 4 K. Santiago continues to defy logic with a ridiculous 89.0% strand rate. For reference, the league average is around 72.0%, so this just means that a large portion of the batters that he allows to reach base are not coming around to score. It’s a certainly unsustainable rate and as a fly ball pitcher who allows his fair share of HR, he is extra fortunate because it would seem that most of the HR that he has given up this season are solo shots like the one he served up to Domingo Santana. He improved his ERA to 2.68 and WHIP to 1.17, but as I’ve been saying all along, he’s not as good as those numbers would indicate and it’s just a matter of time before he’s around a 3.75 ERA and 1.30 WHIP.
Robinson Cano – 1 for 4, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 R, 1 K. Cano hit his first HR of the month and is now hitting .244 with 3 HR and 23 RBI. I said a few weeks ago in “Robinson Cano? More like Robinson Can-Blow!” not to expect much at all from Cano this season, and he’s still barely doing any hitting. Sounds about right. But he did manage to hit one out on Monday. He could seriously be left on the waiver wire in fantasy leagues.
Joe Blanton – 6 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 7 K with the W. Call me crazy, but I recommended and played Blanton on DraftKings on Monday and he ended up pitching great and now has two solid starts under his belt since being inserted into the Royals rotation. Physically, this does not look like the same Joe Blanton that we last saw in 2013 with the Angels. He has slimmed down a lot and appears to be taking things extra seriously in his attempt to revive his baseball career after temporarily retiring last season. I watched part of his start and even though it was against the lowly Mariners offense, Blanton looked very good. He was using a pitch that the announcers were calling a slider and saying that it had better and different movement on it than in years past, but PITCHf/x data is classifying it as a cutter, which would possibly explain the difference and the improvement. I am not going to recommend him just yet in season long leagues just based on his past reputation as a gas can, but color me intrigued by his new body type and cutter. He may not be as bad as we want and picture him to be. He gets the A’s next at Oakland and could make for another productive DFS play there.