What can’t Mike Trout do? He debuted in the Majors at just 20 years old in 2011 and his official rookie season was 2012, and since then he has won the AL Rookie of the Year Award, been an All-Star in all four seasons, has won two All-Star Game MVP Awards in a row, has won a Silver Slugger Award in each season with another one on the way in 2015, finished 2nd in the AL MVP voting twice, took home the AL MVP Award last season, and is likely looking at being the AL MVP yet again this year. I suppose he hasn’t won a Gold Glove Award yet, but he’s been robbed of that and he still is simply stellar in center field.
On Friday, he launched the third walk off home run of his career when he took Koji Uehara deep into the night. He is now hitting .311 with 27 HR, 56 RBI, 69 R, and 9 SB, and he leads the AL in HR. If we want to nitpick at his flaws, we can look at his gradually declining SB totals over his young career or his less than stellar strikeout rate. But the fact is that he is the best all-around player in the game and he has been ever since he walked onto the field in his rookie season. There are no more words that need to be said to describe him, so just sit back and enjoy the show in Anaheim.
Let’s check out what else happened on Friday as we are now back from the All-Star break!
Mike Moustakas – 1 for 4, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 R, 1 BB, 1 K. The Moose was loose in the early going, but his AVG has fallen under .300 despite the HR on Friday. He was hitting left-handed pitching pretty well early on, but he has since regressed in that area to a .235 AVG vs. southpaws. However, he is still enjoying his finest season to date, but it’s still a far cry from what was originally expected of him after he tore through the Minors. The undeserving All-Star is now hitting .297 with 8 HR, 32 RBI, 40 R, and 1 SB.
John Danks – 6 IP, 4 H, 0 ER, 4 BB, 4 K with the W. Danks got hurt by the Royals in his first start of the season, but he was able to shut them out for 6 frames on Friday and current Royals hitters are now only hitting .192 against Danks. Danks will occasionally turn in good outings like this as this was his third start of the year where he didn’t allow a run, but gone are the days where he was once a reliable SP3 for fantasy purposes.
Yunel Escobar – 2 for 3, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 2 R. Before play was suspended in D.C., Escobar smashed his 5th HR of the season. Whether he’s been #2 or #3 in the Nationals lineup, Escobar has found himself hitting in front of Bryce Harper for most of the season and it could very well be why he’s having such a nice year at the plate with a .325 AVG. With the way that Harper has been hitting, pitchers don’t want to be pitching around the light hitting Escobar to easily put a runner on base for Harper to drive in. So they are probably giving Escobar a lot of good pitches to hit. However, Escobar’s BABIP is sitting pretty high at .362. While he is hitting line drives at a career high rate of 22.0%, the BABIP still figures to come down some. But Escobar also doesn’t strike out very much (12.7%), so he will still have a good opportunity to finish the season with a .300 AVG. He’s not the greatest of options at shortstop for fantasy, but he is pretty solid in front of Harper.
Adrian Gonzalez – 1 for 1, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 1 R, 1 BB. A-Gon hit his 19th HR of the season on Friday and he is now up to 57 RBI as well to put him in good position to reach 100 RBI yet again. Excluding his 2004-05 seasons where he wasn’t in the Majors the whole season, A-Gon has hit the 100 RBI mark 7 out of 9 seasons and has averaged 104.7 RBI per season in that time. His plate discipline and power have slowly dwindled once he reached the age of 30, but there’s no doubting that he is still one of the more reliable run producers in the game.
J.T. Realmuto – 1 for 4, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 2 R. With a home run on Friday, Realmuto is now up to a .247 AVG with 5 HR, 25 RBI, 27 R, and 2 SB. I said earlier in the season that Realmuto could eventually have some sneaky fantasy value as a catcher because he has the potential to be a 10 HR/10 SB guy and there’s just not many catchers who can make that claim. The stolen bases aren’t really coming yet though, so he’s not much of a fantasy option unless it’s a 2 catcher league. He’s only a rookie still though at 24 years old, so next year he could take some steps forward and he should enter 2016 as a bit of a sleeper.
Jose Fernandez – 6 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 6 K. It sure didn’t match up to his gem of an outing against the Reds in his previous start, but Fernandez pitched fairly well on Friday. However, against a poor Phillies offense, much more was probably expected by most people. But most importantly, the walks were kept very low yet again with just 1 issued on Friday. Fernandez has a 2.37 ERA and 0.95 WHIP to go along with a pristine 21 K/1 BB in 19 IP. He’s showing very little effect of rust returning from Tommy John surgery and he probably will continue his fantasy aceness the rest of the way.
Cesar Hernandez – 0 for 3, 1 R, 1 BB. After a crazy run where Hernandez had hits in 14 of 15 games with 9 multi-hit games, he has gone ice cold and is now hitless in 5 of his last 6 games to push his season AVG down to .275 and this could be the area where he settles into. The cold streak won’t help his chances of retaining the second base job when Chase Utley returns from the DL, but the Phillies really have nothing to lose to just let Hernandez continue to get the majority of the starts. We’ll see what happens, but I think that Hernandez will still be the primary guy and his ability to steal 30+ bases is a fantasy asset at second base (and shortstop where he is also eligible).
Alex Rodriguez – 2 for 4, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 2 R, 1 K. A-Rod launched his 19th HR of the season and has consistently been hitting all season long. He’s not letting up.
Kyle Seager – 2 for 4, 2 HR, 3 RBI, 2 R, 1 K. It seems like it’s been a bit of a slow season for Seager, but that’s the way it has been for most of the Mariners hitters not named Nelson Cruz. However, with a double dong day on Friday, Seager is actually posting a pretty decent line of a .270 AVG, 14 HR, 42 RBI, 38 R, and 1 SB. Probably most disappointing about his season so far is the 1 SB. From 2012-14, he posted SB totals of 13, 9, and 7, so it’s been a steady decline and his once sneaky speed could be vanishing.
MIke Montgomery – 6 IP, 7 H, 3 ER, 3 BB, 9 K. Montgomery rebounded from his beating that he took from the Angels in his last start to post a quality start with a lot of strikeouts on Friday against the Yankees. More regression should be in the cards for the Mariners lefty, but it is definitely looking like he has turned some type of corner this season since joining the Mariners. Check out “Montgomery’s Monumental Mound Montage” for more information on the southpaw.
Jake Odorizzi – 4.1 IP, 6 H, 6 ER, 5 BB, 1 K with the L. Odorizzi pitched 5.2 scoreless innings against the Astros in his first start back from the DL with a strained oblique last week, but he didn’t have the same type of magic on Friday against the Blue Jays. His numbers should regress over the second half of the season because his .254 BABIP is probably not sustainable, but if you recall from “Shelby Miller and Jake Odorizzi, CUT It Out,” the Rays righty has developed his cutter this season, which has been a reason for his better overall success. So he’s still a quality option, but he’s just not going to end the season with an ERA as low as 2.80 and WHIP of 1.08.
Josh Donaldson – 1 for 2, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 1 R, 2 BB. Josh DONG-aldson doing work again with his 22nd HR of the season. 15 of his 22 HR this season have come at home at the Rogers Centre. I think it’s safe to say that stadium is much more friendly to his swing than his old home stadium in Oakland.
Drew Hutchison – 6 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 3 K with the W. It wasn’t a dazzling start from Hutchison, but he got the job done to continue the trend of awesome splits at home (2.21 ERA) versus his terrible splits on the road (8.81 ERA). And once again, the Jays offense gave him a lot of run support with another 6 runs. His offense has given him 6.84 runs per game this season and they have scored at least 6 runs in 16 of his 19 starts. That is pretty outlandish.
Victor Martinez – 1 for 4, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 1 R, 1 K. V-Mart homered for the 3rd time in 4 games and as I said before the All-Star break, there could still be an opportunity to pry him away from the owner who has him in your league while his overall stats still look mediocre. He has simply been on fire since returning from the DL with a much healthier knee.
J.D. Martinez – 1 for 4, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 R, 2 K. Just Dongs doing it again. He’s up to 26 HR for the season. It would’ve been interesting to see what kind of performance he would’ve given in the Home Run Derby.
Jose Iglesias – 1 for 3, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 2 R, 1 SB. Iglesias won’t provide much in the power or run producing categories since he has very little pop and hits at the bottom of the Tigers order, but he had a big game on Friday with his 2nd HR of the season. Though, what he can give is a .300 AVG due to his excellent contact skills and decent speed with a probable ceiling of 20 SB in a season. There are worse things to have out of a fantasy shortstop.
Ubaldo Jimenez – 4.2 IP, 7 H, 7 ER, 0 BB, 5 K with the L. Ubaldo got slapped with the regression stick on Friday in the form of the Tigers offense. He’s now 7-5 with a 3.29 ERA and 1.28 WHIP. I believe that he will see his numbers regress a little bit more, but there’s no doubting that he has bounced back this season and is learning to pitch better with diminished velocity.
Marlon Byrd – 4 for 4, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 2 R. A big day for the Byrdman. He’s now up to a .253 AVG, 15 HR, 33 RBI, 32 R, and 1 SB. It is pretty odd that nearly half of his RBI have come as a result of driving himself in on home runs.
Julio Teheran – 4.2 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 3 BB, 5 K. There’s just not much trust to put in Teheran at all this season. If you own him, nobody wants to trade for him. But if you waive him, somebody will scoop him up right away. All that you can probably really do is start him against weaker offenses and bench him against the more dangerous ones. He’ll take a 4.53 ERA and 1.38 WHIP into his next start against the Dodgers, which qualifies as a definite benching situation.
Jim Johnson – 1 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1 K with the SV. Johnson notched his 6th save of the season on Friday and his first since taking over closing duties after Jason Grilli suffered a season-ending Achilles injury. With his velocity back up a bit this season, Johnson is having a solid bounce back season after a dreadful 2014. I think that he should continue to handle closing duties well for the Braves for as long as he’s with them. If he gets traded, then Arodys Vizcaino, who set up Johnson on Friday with a scoreless inning, would presumably take over as the primary closer. Hold Johnson, stash Vizcaino.
Kyle Schwarber – 3 for 4, 1 R. Schwarber got the call back up to the Majors after Miguel Montero landed on the DL. Montero is expected to be out 6 weeks, so this is going to be a great extended look at Schwarber. His defense behind the plate may not be up to par, which could mean a move to a different position in the future, but for now he’s a very intriguing play at catcher. He’s got great power skills at the plate and if he is available in your league, then you need to change that.
Mike Fiers – 7 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 7 K with the W. Perhaps the All-Star break was a good time for Fiers to clear his head and figure some things out because he turned in a brilliant outing against the Pirates on Friday. His hard hit rate is gradually coming down and he’s been doing better as of late so that trend could definitely still continue, but his hard hit rate is still the highest in the league at 37.3%. He’ll take a 3.79 ERA and 1.36 WHIP into his next start at Arizona.
Rougned Odor – 3 for 5. In the first game back from the All-Star break, Shin-Soo Choo was peculiarly not in the Rangers lineup against a right-handed pitcher, which opened the door for Odor to hit 2nd in the order. I said before the All-Star break that Odor and Choo needed to be flip flopped in the lineup, but can it be possible that manager Jeff Bannister has taken it a step further and benched Choo? Perhaps Choo was just unavailable for whatever reason, so we’ll have to see what happens in the next game, but there’s no doubt that Odor is the team’s best option to hit 2nd behind Delino DeShields. Odor has just been a hitting machine since his recall with a .365 AVG in 24 games. And remember that he is just 21 years old, so he has even more room for growth.
Martin Perez – 5 IP, 9 H, 3 ER, 2 BB, 2 K with the L. After getting Matt Harrison back last week, the Rangers now got Perez back from the DL. However, neither of them figure to be much of a fantasy option. The Rangers just have had to endure a lot of injuries to their starting pitchers, but overall, they have some pretty unspectacular pitching options.
Noah Syndergaard – 7 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 6 K with the L. Thor followed up his 13 K performance with another quality start, but he did take the loss. This guy is looking very good in his rookie season and he should be a very popular commodity in fantasy drafts next season.
Lance Lynn – 7 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 9 K with the W. Lynn is just not letting up at all this season and is now 7-5 with a 2.79 ERA, 1.24 WHIP, and 111 K/33 BB in 103.1 IP. I’ve never been a huge proponent of Lynn, but he’s flashing some great stuff this season and he could definitely finish the season at these same rates. His ERA may sneak upwards of 3.00, but it’s entirely feasible that these are the types of numbers he ends with. He is an underrated workhorse.
Ender Inciarte – 0 for 1. Inciarte returned from the DL on Friday, but he came off the bench. With Inciarte back, it’s unclear how the Diamondbacks will move forward with their crowded outfield situation as A.J. Pollock is clearly an everyday option, Yasmany Tomas should be a near everyday option, David Peralta should start against all righties, and Inciarte deserves more than just a platoon role. What will help alleviate the logjam is the fact that Tomas can play third base to give Jake Lamb some time off. We’ll see how the situation plays out in the next week, but fire back up Inciarte for leagues that have daily lineup changes.
David Peralta – 3 for 6, 1 RBI, 1 R, 2 K. And this is a perfect example of why Peralta needs to be in the lineup against all righties. He had a great day at the plate and is now hitting .279 with 8 HR in 197 AB against righties.
Robbie Ray – 5 IP, 8 H, 2 ER, 0 BB, 8 K. I wrote a feature on Ray recently in “A Ray of Light for the Diamondbacks” and he turned in another strong performance on Friday against the Giants. What was nice in this start was the high strikeout count, as that is something that he hasn’t shown much of this season but he certainly has the upside for more than just 7.53 K/9 as he had a career 8.95 K/9 in the Minors and was at 12.31 K/9 in his 9 AAA starts this season. Take a look at the previous feature on him, and give him a chance if he’s on the waiver wire in your league still.
Hunter Pence – 3 for 6, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 2 R, 1 K. Pence hit his 4th HR of the season and he’s also got a nice .296 AVG in 24 games. I’ll keep saying it, the Giants offense is much more potent with Pence in it and I would expect that offense as a whole to sneakily score a lot more runs in the second half of the season.
Wade Miley – 7 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 6 K. Miley had a no-hitter through 6 innings, but he ended up having to take a no-decision on Friday against the Angels. This was a bit of an unexpected game for Miley against a hot Angels team, but he’s not that great of a fantasy option being a part of the AL East.
C.J. Wilson – 8 IP, 5 H, 0 ER, 3 BB, 4 K. A very nice game for Wilson who is 7-7 with a 3.59 ERA, 1.20 WHIP, and 102 K/41 BB in 123 IP. He’s shown a lot better control this year at 3.00 BB/9, but that’s still mediocre and he has been slowly regressing in that area as the season has gone on. It’s the improved control that has allowed him to post such a decent WHIP, so as the walks continue to go up, so will the WHIP.
Sonny Gray – 6 IP, 5 H, 5 ER, 3 BB, 4 K with the L. The Twins handed Gray one of his worst outings of the season. As I said after his previous start where he notched a CGSO, Gray will regress some, but he is capable of maintaining an ERA below 3.00. He doesn’t get hit that hard and his underlying stats aren’t completely unsustainable.
Brian Dozier – 1 for 4, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 2 R, 1 BB, 2 K. It’s bombs away for Dozier as he now has 20 HR already. He should be blowing by his career high of 23 in no time. And to think that he was not an original All-Star selection.
Trevor Plouffe – 2 for 4, 1 HR, 4 RBI, 1 R. Plouffe continues to have a pretty decent season and is now hitting .262 with 12 HR, 50 RBI, 44 R, and 2 SB. And his last name is pretty nifty.
Ervin Santana – 7.2 IP, 5 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 1 K with the W. Santana didn’t give up an earned run to the A’s on Friday, but he also only struck out one batter. Returning to the AL this year, his strikeout rate should continue to be rather mediocre.
Charlie Blackmon – 2 for 5, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 2 R, 1 SB, 1 K. What a season Blackmon is having as he showed a bit of everything on Friday. He’s not hitting for that great of an AVG on the road at a .258 clip (compared to .321 at home), but 9 of his 12 HR this season have come on the road away from the thin air of Denver. That’s a very encouraging sign and is exemplifies how he has improved.
Matt Kemp – 2 for 3, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 R, 1 BB. It hasn’t been a great season for Kemp, but he’s working on a bit of a turnaround as he has a 6-game hitting streak with 5 of those being multi-hit games with 3 HR in that time.
Jedd Gyorko – 1 for 3, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 1 R, 1 BB, 2 K. Gyorko came into the game with a lifetime line of 12 for 17 with 5 doubles against Jorge De La Rosa, so it was only a matter of time before he took him deep. Unfortunately, he only gets to face De La Rosa 3-4 games a season, so he’s still a colossal disappointment that may never amount to much.