Some disappointing outfielders may be starting to come around as a couple fantasy surprise pitchers run into trouble. That and more in today's Roto Recap...
Nick Markakis has been a big disappointment this season with only five home runs and 30 RBI, but the talent is certainly there for an improvement in the second half. He has hit two home runs in 25 July at-bats and has been fairly consistent with regards to hit 18-20 home run power output for years now. There might be a buy low opportunity here, but hider expectations a bit.
Another disappointing outfielder has been Raul Ibanez. He hit his seventh home run last night and has hit third for three games in a row with Utley out. I'm going to stop short of endorsing a big second half from the 38-year-old, but given last season's production you have to think there is at least something more left in the tank.
Jason Kubel could be yet another disappointing outfielder to look at buying low. He hit his eleventh home run last night and has raised his AVG to .264 after hitting .319 in June. Kubel has also lowered his strikeout rate every month and held a 25-plus percent line drive rate last month, which has carried over so far in July. Now playing everyday, there is a chance his production picks up in the second half.
Clayton Richard owners have to be happy with the production they have received this season, but last night is the type of performance that you hate to see. Six innings, five earned runs, six strikeout and four walks. While Richard has done a good job of keeping the ball on the ground this season, he has been inconsistent with his command. Still, overall the strikeout rate is above league average and pitching in PETCO always helps, but Richard has been almost as good on the road (3.45 ERA at home, 3.57 ERA on the road). His quality of opponents faced using OPS (minimum 75 IP) is below average so that may have helped keep his ERA low to this point. The rest of this month will be the true test as Richard is scheduled to face the Rockies, Braves and Dodgers.
B.J. Upton was back in the leadoff spot for the Rays. He went 0-for-4. Upton's name has come up in trade talks and it may be best for him to get out of Tampa Bay and into some new scenery. The talent has always been there, but complacency seems to have nullified his upside to this point in his career.
Johan Santana does it all. Not only did he pitch a complete game three-hitter against the Reds, but he hit a home run to get the scoring started. Johan's strikeouts are way down from his days with the Twins and he has never been a groundball pitcher, but he continues to get hitters to swing at his best pitches. Until he shows me otherwise, I'm not betting against him.
I wrote about Michael Brantley this offseason. He's hitting leadoff of the Indians with Shin-Soo Choo out and went 1-for-4 last night with a caught stealing. Brantley stole 46 bases in the minors last season and had 11 stolen bases at triple-A this season. With regular playing time he could easily be a source of stolen bases for deeper leagues the rest of the way.
...and when did Jayson Nix suddenly become Matt LaPorta? Nix, waived by the White Sox, has hit four home runs in his last four games including two on Monday. He has hit as many as 21 home runs in the minor leagues (at high-A Visalia in 562 at-bats). Last season with the White Sox Nix hit 12 home runs in 255 at-bats (21 AB/HR). Clearly, the power has always been there. The problem comes in the AVG department as Nix has never been a big line drive hitter. For AL-only leagues and deeper mixed leagues, Nix could be a cheap source of power and runs hitting second for the Indians right now.
Is Wandy Rodriguez back? Only two earned runs allowed in his last three starts with a 19/4 K/BB rate, though two of those starts came against the Giants and Pirates. I'll be looking at this more in depth later today.
There's the Madison Bumgarner we were looking for! He went eight strong scoreless innings allowing only three hits and worked his pitches around the strike-zone. There were only a few instances where I saw him make mistakes down the middle of the plate, but he didn't get hurt by any of them.
Trevor Cahill suffered his worst loss since April 30th, but it was against the Yankees, so that happens. Alex Rodriguez actually did most of the damage himself hitting two home runs off of Cahill for five RBI including a grand slam. Given how well he had pitched prior to last night's game, I'd run Cahill out there in his next outing against the Royals after the all-star break.
On a positive note for the A's, Coco Crisp stole his fifth base in only 14 games played.
Zack Grenkie just dominated the Mariners last ngiht. Seven innings, two hits, no runs, two walks and nine strikeouts. Aside from three really poor outings this season, Greinke has been quite a valuable fantasy pitcher and there may still be a chance to by low for the second half.
Aramis Ramirez hit two home runs last night, his first long balls in seven games. It looks like he may be making strides in the right direction as he has only struck out six times in his last ten games, a much better approach than before he went on the DL.
Carlos Marmol was used to get five outs last night. He got each out by way of a strikeout. His K/9 is now over 17. Wow.
After suggesting the Marlins send Mike Stanton to triple-A for more seasoning yesterday, he goes 2-for-4 with a home run. That's all well and good, but he still struck out in his other two at-bats. I'm buying him long term, but not so much for this season.
Matt Kemp has four home runs in his last six games. I hope you had a chance to buy low. His second half could be huge.