It was a bit of a quiet news day in baseball, unless you’re in a league that rewards All-Star stats. If so, well, hey, good for you but that’s weird. Anyway, I have no appropriate preamble, so here’s David Ortiz breaking his bat after a single.
On the agenda:
1. Stanton finally goes off
2. Tyler Yeahquin
3. Various News and Notes
4. Streaming Pitcher Options
Stanton finally goes off
It’s been a tough season for owners of Giancarlo Stanton. Drafted as the No. 10 player in fantasy baseball, Stanton has hit just .226 with a 107 wRC+, numbers that rank him barely inside the top 200 for overall value. But what do you do? You can’t bench a player like Stanton, because he was your first round pick and while he was bad – the strikeouts, obviously, are a major concern – he was still a slightly above-average bat, all told. And he would eventually have a game like Tuesday, when he blasted a pair of home runs (a combined 860 feet) to give him 17 on the year. One game isn’t enough to swing anything, but that performance may be a reminder to owners that Stanton is safe to deploy without thinking – his wRC+ has now jumped from 72 in May to 86 in June to 168 in July so far. Hopefully the All-Star break doesn’t kill any momentum.
It can be difficult to have the patience to stick with guys you believe in early in the fantasy season. If you like a player but he isn’t performing or isn’t getting regular playing time, there’s an opportunity cost to waiting it out and hoping that disappointing start will get the chance to be shaken off. Sometimes, you wait and Tyler Goeddel remains Tyler Goeddel. Other times, a Tyler Naquin rewards that bit of patience, but only after a stint in the minors you probably couldn’t justify hanging on to him through. Back up with the Indians, Naquin hit is seventh home run of the season yesterday, pushing his season line to .313/.373/.576 (a 151 wRC+). The eight-percent owned outfielder doesn’t warrant everyday lineup inclusion quite yet, but he’s been hitting well since being recalled and was someone I identified as a deep sleeper before the season. A former first-round pick, Naquin possesses a beautiful left-handed swing and a solid contact profile despite a high strikeout rate, and there’s more speed to go with the power than he’s gotten to show so far. He has at least the strong side of a platoon for now and may be worth running with while Michael Brantley remains sidelined.
Various News and Notes
Ahh yes, the dreaded non-save situation for a closer. Entering a game down 3-2 on Tuesday, Craig Kimbrel imploded, allowing four runs without recording an out (that’s the first time ether has happened in his career). He now owns a 6.75 ERA and 2:1 strikeout-to-walk ratio in non-save situations, and it’s unfortunate there’s not a way to only deploy him when a save’s on the line. (You wouldn’t do this, but I’ve always thought it’d be cool to have a format that allowed in-game micro-managing like that.)
Sticking with closers, Wade Davis is off to the disabled list with a right forearm strain. Kelvin Herrera has been one of the best setup men in baseball over the last five years, and he’ll now get a chance to record his first save since 2013.
Daniel Norris is also hitting the DL, citing a strained right oblique. I…I just can’t with Norris. I feel so bad for the 23-year-old, who seems like a genuinely interesting and quality person but who continues to run into road block after road block. Here’s hoping this is a short-term issue.
Less short-term is C.J. Wilson’s damaged labrum and rotator cuff, which will require season-ending surgery to repair next week. The straight-edge racer (whatever that means) only threw four innings at High-A ball this year and hasn’t pitched in the majors in nearly a calendar year. He’ll be on the radar for some next year but you can pretty safely ignore him despite his 2015 ERA looking fine.
Julio Teheran was scratched from his start today due to a thigh infection caused by an ingrown hair. Ouch. He flew back to Atlanta for treatment and could be in the mix to start this weekend. The 25-year-old owns a 2.72 ERA (with some slightly less impressive peripherals beneath it), and he’s striking out more than four times as many batters as he walks.
Streaming Pitcher Options
If you enjoy streaming pitchers or play DFS, tune into the Roto Riteup for recommendations each and every day.
A pitcher for today: Kevin Gausman @ LAD (Bud Norris)
The Dodgers have been hitting better of late and own a 91 wRC+ overall, tepid but not abhorrent, and they’re hitting for a bit more power at home (a .159 ISO vs. .143 on the road). Those are reasons to not be down about the Dodgers overall – they don’t mean they’re not a good streaming option. And Kevin Gausman is pitching fairly well, trimming his walk rate without sacrificing missed bats, and with just a 28-percent ownership tag.
A pitcher for tomorrow: James Paxton @ KC (Danny Duffy)
I wanted to dial up Hyun-Jin Ryu here, because it’s his season debut, because it’s the Padres, and because I missed him. Alas, the Padres are hitting lefties fairly well on the year. The Royals are not, as James Paxton draws an opponent with just an 88 wRC+ against southpaws and is dealing with multiple injuries. Paxton’s been getting bled to death with a .411 BABIP – part of that is admittedly hard contact allowed – and possesses a nice strikeout-to-walk ratio.
Blake Murphy is a freelance sportswriter based out of Toronto. Formerly of the Score, he's the managing editor at Raptors Republic and frequently pops up at Sportsnet, Vice, and around here. Follow him on Twitter @BlakeMurphyODC.