The next big name on the move as the trade deadline nears is set to be Cole Hamels who will be heading to the Texas Rangers along with reliever Jake Diekman in exchange for starting pitcher Matt Harrison and a barrage of prospects that includes Jorge Alfaro, Alec Asher, Jerad Eickhoff, Nick Williams, and Jake Thompson.
The Philadelphia Phillies were in a good position to land a package that they wanted because Hamels is not just a 2-3 month rental for the remainder of this season. Instead, he is under contract through 2018 with a vesting option for 2019, so that meant that even non-contending teams could make a run for the 31-year old lefty and that’s exactly what happened with the 3rd place Rangers landing him. However, the Rangers are just 4 games back of the second AL Wildcard spot, so perhaps they even think that they could potentially contend for a post-season berth.
Hamels moves from the hitter friendly Citizens Bank Park to another hitter friendly stadium at Globe Life Park in Arlington, Texas. So there’s no real win or loss with the home park switch, but switching leagues from the National League to the American League should be perceived as a negative impact for Hamels’ fantasy value. His ERA, WHIP, and strikeout rate should all be expected to move in wrong directions, but that doesn’t mean that he still won’t be valuable. And there are some occasions where the NL pitcher moving to the AL doesn’t really see his stats suffer all that much, if at all.
The Rangers have had to endure a lot of injuries to their pitching staff this season, which kind of had them doomed from the get go once it was determined that their ace Yu Darvish needed to undergo Tommy John surgery before the season even began. So they likely have their sights set more on next season when Darvish hopefully returns before the All-Star break sometime. They hope that Hamels and Darvish can form a great 1-2 punch, though serious doubts should be had regarding Darvish and his control once he returns. All in all, it was a bold move for the Rangers who are starved for pitching, and Hamels will try to take the Rangers to the next level just like he did with the Phillies during the mid 2000’s when they had a great run.
Diekman, a left-handed reliever, has a poor 5.15 ERA and 1.75 WHIP this season, but he’s a power lefty that has some big time strikeout abilities and is under club control for a couple more years. He has the chance to develop into a nice bullpen piece for the Rangers if he can improve his walk rate.
Harrison should step right into the Phillies rotation, but his outlook shouldn’t really change a whole lot since he’s just rather mediocre and has been a walking injury the last two seasons. Three of the five prospects that the Phillies are receiving from the Rangers were ranked in the pre-season top 10 Rangers prospect list by Baseball America, so it appears that the Phillies did well and received a decent haul in return. But we’ll have to wait and see how they pan out.
Chris Archer – 7 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 11 K with the L. Archer took a perfect game into the 7th inning before he gave up an infield single and then an error was committed on a double play ball that led to 2 unearned runs to tag him with the loss. Still it was another brilliant performance from the Rays ace who does not seem to be letting up in his breakout season. Archer has just a 9-8 record, but his 2.54 ERA, 0.99 WHIP, and 173 K/33 BB in 141.2 IP are surely elite.
Justin Verlander – 8 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 10 K with the W. Surprisingly, Verlander was every bit as good as Archer on Wednesday. I wouldn’t read too much into the great performance unless he comes back with another gem in his next start. However, he faces the feisty Royals offense next and shouldn’t be as fortunate.
Jeremy Guthrie – 5.1 IP, 10 H, 7 ER, 1 BB, 3 K with the L. Like I said in the DFS post, Guthrie on the road against a team with solid left-handed hitting is a recipe for disaster. With the acquisition of Johnny Cueto by the Royals, Guthrie might have been pitching for his starting rotation life on Wednesday, in which case, that life may be dead. Guthrie’s saving grace may be that the other option to be booted from the rotation, Chris Young, has pitched well out of the bullpen before and he may be the preferred option to move to the pen. But if Guthrie gets ousted then it’ll be a sad day in DFS because he has been a great gas can to pick on by stacking offenses against him.
Francisco Lindor – 2 for 5, 1 HR, 4 RBI, 1 R, 1 K. Lindor came up big with a 3-run home run on Wednesday and now has 5 HR on the season in 38 games played since being promoted. He’s swinging the bat better as of late and he could develop into a 15 HR per season type of hitter. However, as I’ve been saying about Lindor, he’s not showing any speed on the base paths yet with just 1 SB on the season. It would be nice if he started revving moving those legs because he’s got the potential for 25+ SB.
Yan Gomes – 2 for 4, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 1 R, 2 K. Gomes has been having a difficult time getting things going ever since he returned from the DL awhile ago. He did hit a home run on Wednesday though and his now hitting .230 with 5 HR, and 18 RBI through 49 games played. Gomes has a BABIP of just .279 despite a very high line drive rate of 29.3% and a hard hit rate that is right in line with his norm. So it’s very possible that his BABIP will start to shoot up soon to boost that AVG of his. However, he’s really doing himself no favors with an ugly strikeout to walk ratio of 51 K/6 BB.
Giovanny Urshela – 2 for 5, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 R. Urshela has been playing third base regularly for the Indians and he’s holding down the job, but he surely is not impressing too much. He’s shown above average contact skills in the Minors, so if he can start bringing that over to the Majors then he may have a chance to develop into a not horrible player.
Corey Kluber – 9 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 6 K with the W. Kluber went the distance on Wednesday against the Royals and all the underlying metrics say that he’s been just as good as he was last season when he won the Cy Young Award — he’s just being hurt by some lousy defense. Look for him to keep things rolling.
Andrew McCutchen – 2 for 4, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 2 R, 1 BB, 1 K. McCutchen is now hitting .290 with 14 HR, 64 RBI, 54 R, and 5 SB. It’s looking like he will come in below the numbers that he’s been posting the last few years, but it’s still been quite the turnaround after a rough April.
Starling Marte – 1 for 4, 1 RBI, 1 R, 1 SB. With a stolen base on Wednesday, Marte became the third player this season to reach the 10 HR/20 SB plateau (Charlie Blackmon, A.J. Pollock). It’s been quite the season for Marte and it has to be expected that he will keep producing well, though his power numbers may dip over the rest of the season because of his inflated HR/fly ball rate.
Jung-Ho Kang – 3 for 5, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 R, 1 K. Kang has been very hot with multi-hit games in 8 of his last 10 games to bring his AVG up from .266 to .295. He’s looking like a quality regular and with Jordy Mercer on the DL, Kang doesn’t have to worry about anyone cutting into his playing time. He should be scooped up in most leagues as a nice option at a shallow shortstop position.
Ervin Santana – 5.2 IP, 8 H, 6 ER, 4 BB, 3 K with the L. I said in the DFS post for Wednesday that Santana was a “not so fave” and here’s why. He still should end up with decent numbers by season’s end, but he’s fairly inconsistent.
Dexter Fowler – 1 for 2, 1 R, 1 RBI, 2 R, 2 BB. Fowler is on pace for career highs in HR, R, and SB, but his .244 AVG leaves some to be desired. Fowler generally has been a player that has been able to maintain high BABIP marks as his career mark is .341. But he has played most of his career in Colorado, so that surely had a role in guiding his BABIP higher. But still his current .292 BABIP seems like way too much of an outlier.
Anthony Rizzo – 1 for 4, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 1 R, 1 K. Rizzo has gotten pretty cold as his AVG has dipped to .279. With the dip in AVG, he’s been scoring and driving in runs at a much slower pace as well. He’s still a very nice option, but fantasy owners will want to see him heat back up again soon. His HR on Wednesday was his 17th of the season.
Jon Lester – 8 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 14 K with the W. I mentioned Lester in the DFS post as one of my favorite plays against a Rockies team that can’t score on the road and can’t hit lefties. It was the perfect storm for Lester who has been pitching much better as of late and his numbers are finally looking like what the Cubs envisioned when they ponied up all the cash for him. The lefty is 6-8 with a 3.28 ERA, 1.27 WHIP, and 136 K/32 BB in 132.2 IP.
Hector Rondon – 1 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 2 K with the SV. Manager Joe Maddon stated on Tuesday that Rondon could reclaim the closer’s role at some point, and apparently that “some point” was the very next day. Maddon threw Rondon out there for the 9th and he closed it pretty easily. Maddon likes to fiddle with his bullpen a lot, so while Rondon is probably the guy again, it would be wise to wait and see how the next couple save opportunities play out before dropping Jason Motte.
Charlie Blackmon – 1 for 4, 1 R, 2 SB, 1 K. Blackmon stole two bases on Wednesday to bring his total up to 27, which is the 4th most in baseball and one shy of his total from last year. He’s been quite the stud this season.
Jose Reyes – 1 for 3, 1 SB, 1 BB, 1 K. In Reyes’ first game with the Rockies, he hit 2nd in the lineup, which figured to be the spot he would slide into with Blackmon doing so well as the team’s leadoff hitter. If he stays with the Rockies, then that’s going to be nice for his numbers when he’s at home. But beware that he just might get flipped to a new team within the next couple of days.
Carlos Gonzalez – 1 for 3, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 R, 1 BB, 2 K. Wow, CarGo is just simply en fuego. His HR on Wednesday came off a tough lefty, Jon Lester, and away from Coors Field. You know CarGo is going well when he does something like that. In the last 7 games, he is hitting .464 with 8 HR and 16 RBI. That is quite ridiculous. He’s a trade candidate, but it’s being reported that he’s more likely to be traded in the off-season. Once he leaves the Rockies, his fantasy value is bound to take a major hit.
Welington Castillo – 2 for 3, 2 HR, 3 RBI, 2 R, 1 BB. Castillo isn’t the greatest of offensive catchers, but he does have pop, and it was on full display on Wednesday when he took King Felix deep twice. He now has 10 HR in just 180 AB this season and is making a case for more playing time down the stretch and next season with the Diamondbacks. With a full healthy season of regular starts, Castillo would have 20 HR potential playing half his games at Chase Field.
Patrick Corbin – 6 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 6 K with the W. Corbin had a rough first start back from Tommy John surgery, but he has been very good in 4 starts since and now owns 3.21 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, and 29 K/5 BB in 28 IP. Lots of pitchers who come back from Tommy John surgery struggle with their command and control somewhat (see Matt Moore), but pitchers who previously had excellent control tend to not struggle with that issue as much (see Jose Fernandez) and that seems to be the case here with Corbin. He’ll likely encounter some rougher games along the way, but he’s looking like a fine option to use.
Felix Hernandez – 6.2 IP, 12 H, 7 ER, 1 BB, 7 K with the L. Here’s one of Felix’s occasional blow up games. Another one may be in the works in his next start as well because he has to pitch at Coors Field.
Jake Peavy – 6 IP, 4 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 3 K. Peavy is showing slow improvements, but I still need to see more from him before he becomes a recommended option. He has a 4.12 ERA, 1.22 WHIP, and a very uninspiring strikeout rate of 5.72 K/9 through 7 starts.
Jonathan Schoop – 1 for 2, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 R. Schoop hit his 7th HR of the year on Wednesday and he’s been flashing the power since he came off the DL. He’s not likely to hit for that great of a batting average, but the guy does have pop for a second baseman and is a definite deep league option.
Troy Tulowitzki – 3 for 5, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 3 R, 1 K. In Tulo’s first game with the Blue Jays, he unexpectedly hit leadoff and apparently he enjoyed it very much as he hit a HR in his second at-bat and had a really big game. If Devon Travis didn’t get injured on Tuesday then I’m not so sure that Tulo would have been chose to hit leadoff. But as is, since it worked so well in this game, he’s likely to stick there for at least a couple more games if Travis is still out. No matter where he is put in that Blue Jays lineup, his fantasy value will still be very good.
R.A. Dickey – 8 IP, 7 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 4 K with the W. Dickey has just been on point now in the last 4 starts, which is just what the doctor ordered for the Jays who need stronger performances from their starting pitching. He was cautiously recommended in the DFS post, so it’s nice to see him give some good returns. He’ll try to keep the good times rolling in his next start against the Twins.
Justin Upton – 2 for 4, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 1 R, 2 K. Attempting to help his trade value, Upton hit his 17th HR of the season, which matches his stolen base total of 17 as well. There aren’t a whole lot of players in the league who will have a shot at a 25 HR/25 SB performance this season, so Upton should be a nice trade target for a team in need of offense. However, there’s also not a whole lot of players who are worse in the outfield than Upton.
Tyson Ross – 5 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 4 BB, 5 K with the W. Ross has been pitching better lately, but he’s still very wild at times as seen in this 4 walk game. He’s hard to trust and I still wouldn’t, but if he gets traded then I would surely be more interested probably.
Lucas Duda – 3 for 3, 3 HR, 3 RBI, 3 R, 1 BB. Duda and the triple dong? Whaaaat? He had a double dong day a few games ago, so he now has 6 HR in the last 4 games. Okay, I think we can officially say he’s out of his prolonged slump.
Bartolo Colon – 2.1 IP, 10 H, 6 ER, 0 BB, 1 K with the L. It looks like Colon is finally losing it, and by “it” I surely don’t mean weight. He has a 4.96 ERA and is just getting bombed a lot. He’s not a recommended option.
Tom Koehler – 6 IP, 6 H, 5 ER, 1 BB, 4 K with the L. I said after Koehler’s last start that he’s going to go through some regression as it just doesn’t make sense that he has such a low BABIP despite such a high hard hit rate. Ironically though, his BABIP fell one thousandth of a point in this start. Keep looking for his numbers to get worse.
Bryce Harper – 3 for 4, 2 HR, 4 RBI, 3 R, 1 K. Apparently, Harper just owns Koehler, as one of his 2 HR from Wednesday was against him and it was his 4th HR against him this season.
Michael Taylor – 1 for 3, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 1 R. Taylor stayed hot on Wednesday with his 9th HR, but with Anthony Rendon and Jayson Werth back from the DL, Taylor has moved back down in the order. Obviously that hurts his fantasy value, but he’s shown his talent this season and has gotten our attention.
Jay Bruce – 1 for 4, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 R. Big boy Bruce flashing the power before the trade deadline. It’s his 17th HR of the year and he could be on the move soon, but he can be had for a decent price the next two seasons if the Reds choose to keep him.
Anthony DeSclafani – 7 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 3 BB, 3 K with the W. A solid game for the man they call “Disco.” Still his walk rate at 3.45 BB/9 is not characteristic of him from what he’s done in the Minors. So while he entered this season as a deep sleeper, he’s going to enter next season as a sleeper as well. If he can get that walk rate to mirror his Minor League rate then think of him as a Doug Fister type of pitcher.
John Lackey – 8 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 8 K with the L. Lackey has been great for the Cardinals this season and it was very unfortunate for him to come away with a loss in this one just giving up 2 hits and 1 run. He now has a 2.79 ERA and 1.18 WHIP.
Adam Eaton – 3 for 6, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 2 R, 1 K. Eaton’s bat is really coming alive and he now has 9 HR on the season. Who knew that he could potentially come up with a double digit HR season and have more HR than SB (7)?
Melky Cabrera – 3 for 5, 1 RBI, 2 R, 2 K. Speaking of bats coming alive, Melky is now 18 for his last 33 with 11 extra base hits. I mentioned him a couple weeks ago as someone to possibly target in trades, but now he’s just too hot that his asking price is not low enough anymore. He’s been a real force for the White Sox during their current 7-game win streak. The hot run has them only 1 game below .500 and only 2.5 games back of the second AL Wildcard spot.
Rick Porcello – 2 IP, 10 H, 5 ER, 1 BB, 2 K with the L. Porcello sucks and is way overpaid. That is all.
Masahiro Tanaka – 6 IP, 9 H, 4 ER, 3 BB, 3 K with the L. Well, the good news is that he didn’t give up any home runs. The bad news is that’s a pretty ugly looking stat line. He’ll try to do better against the Red Sox in his next start.
Preston Tucker – 1 for 3, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 R, 1 BB, 1 K. Check out “Presto for Preston” for more information on this Astros outfielder.
Lance McCullers – 7 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 5 K with the W. A very nice game for McCullers who is showing some of the better stuff in the AL despite being a 21-year old rookie. He now has a 2.48 ERA, 1.11 WHIP, and 78 K/27 BB in 76.1 IP. He should see a little regression over the remainder of the season, but this kid is the real deal if he can keep his walks in check.
Garrett Richards – 6.1 IP, 7 H, 4 ER, 2 BB, 3 K with the L. Make that 8 straight starts where Richards hasn’t recorded as many strikeouts as innings pitched. He’s definitely not the same this season with the diminished velocity, but he isn’t horrible either.
Chris Tillman – 8.2 IP, 4 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 K with the W. Tillman came within one out of a complete game shutout and suddenly is on fire. In the last 3 starts, he has a 0.38 ERA and 0.46 WHIP. It’s a nice run, but he’s still a difficult guy for me to trust. However, he does get another intriguing matchup in his next start against the A’s.