You know how in Spring Training, players really ease into the workload, first starting off with one plate appearance, then two, slowly working their way up to full games? There’s a good reason. I just took several months off from playing basketball and then played on back-to-back nights, and I am dead now. You are reading the work of a ghost. An old, sore, broken-ass-jumper ghost.
On the agenda:
1. Alright Gary, chill
2. Various News and Notes
3. Streaming Pitcher Options
Alright Gary, chill
Gary Sanchez is now the fastest player to 19 career home runs, and he’s welcome to just chill the heck out any time now. As everyone rushed to write up the historic 18th of his rookie season, Sanchez forced a quick re-file by smashing another. No player had ever hit 19 home runs in their first 50 games, and Sanchez managed it in 45 (remember he played two games last season, totaling two plate appearances). He now owns a 203 wRC+ on the season, knocking in 38 runs in 188 plate appearances and slashing .337/.410/.747. 747! The man is flying high right now.
Because Sanchez played just a quarter of a season or so, his overall value on the season still has him ranked 582nd. But in a year where catchers have struggled, Sanchez ranks 11th already. Far more notably, since he got the call on Aug. 3, he ranks first at the position by a long-shot and eighth in value among all players. His draft stock will be very interesting to watch in 2017 – the excitement is likely to strip a lot of the profit potential away, but he’s a big bat at a premium position, so that’s to be expected.
Various News and Notes
Jay Bruce was a scratch one day after getting pinch-hit for. He’s slashing .176/.255/.289 since joining the Mets, so Terry Collins was trying to give Bruce a “mental break.” They better hope he figures it out by the postseason. Sticking with the Mets, if anyone ever wanted to buy me a present, this is the one.
Some other notable updates: The Royals are not expecting Lorenzo Cain back this season, with Ned Yost saying it’s “probably” not going to happen, and the Royals figure to be out of the wild card race soon with little reason to push it; Danny Salazar won’t be back, either, as we knew, but he’s “feeling great” and thinks he could be ready for the ALDS.
The Rays hit four home runs off of Masahiro Tanaka yesterday, all in one inning (including a back-to-back-to-back set). Tanaka still owns the best ERA in the AL at 3.07 and is tied for fourth with Rick Porcello at 4.7 WAR, but he’ll have to hope there’s no recency bias in the Cy Young voting after that outing. My guess is that Corey Kluber takes it home, anyway.
Hunter Renfroe was intentionally walked in his first career plate appearance. The 24-year-old now owns a .000/1.000/.000 career batting line, which is nice work if you can get it.
Last note: Never bench Yasiel Puig again, Dodgers.
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: Blake Snell vs. NYY ( Luis Cessa)
Thursday, as you may expect, is an ugly day for streaming. There are some decent options with tough matchups, boring low-upside plays, and Blake Snell, who looks to play spoiler against a pretty decent Yankees lineup. That lineup owns a 103 wRC+ over the last month, so this is hardly safe, but at 22-percent owned Snell is worth the flier here. Not only does he possess better peripherals beneath his 3.87 ERA (like a 23.9-percent strikeout rate), he also has the benefit of being a lefty, and the Yankees have posted an 89 wRC+ against southpaws this season.
A pitcher for tomorrow: Albert Suarez @ SD (Edwin Jackson)
Playing it a little safe here, grabbing a ground-ball pitcher in Petco Park in Albert Suarez. Suarez hasn’t exactly blown anyone away with his stuff in a swingman role this year, but he’s been serviceable, and his strikeout rate is actually a little higher as a starter. This is more a bet against the Padres, though, as they own a 68 wRC+ over the last month and managed almost nothing (one run in five innings) off of Suarez on Sept. 13. Maybe a second look scares you off a bit, but it’s not a flush day to stream and Suarez essentially comes free.
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.