It doesn't get much hotter than Joe Mauer in the month of May. After missing the first month of the season with a lower back injury, the Twins' catcher has been scorching.
With his grand slam and six RBI Thursday, Mauer is batting .417 with eight homers and a ridiculous 24 RBI in 19 games. The guy only had nine homers all of last season, so you can't expect this power to continue, but he obviously will surpass his career high.
Edwin Jackson raised his record to 4-2 with an effective, yet unspectacular, outing. He was able to pitch eight innings, allowed just three runs and whiffed seven, but he walked five guys.
Jackson is off to the best start of his career, as his ERA is just 2.55 and he had only walked eleven batters before today. I still am not a believer in Jackson, unless he is a bottom-of-your-rotation kind of guy. He is a decent pitcher, but nothing to get all that excited about.
Victor Martinez continues his torrid hitting with another two hits and three RBI. V-Mart is now hitting a nice even .400 with seven homers and 30 RBI. This is a great comeback after his injury-riddled 2008 season, and Martinez has rejoined the ranks of the elite catchers.
He is a little more help because he is also eligible at first base in most leagues. This to me isn't a sell-high opportunity, as Victor put up numbers similar to this in the past. Expect him to have a great full season.
Jon Lester pitched more along the lines of what his owners expected when they drafted him. He lasted six-and-a-third innings, allowed just one run, and struck out four. He has been the subject of many fantasy discussions as he went into tonight's game with a 2-4 record and an ERA over 6.00.
Lester bettered both of those numbers, and he continues to strikeout at least a batter an inning. He is an excellent buy-low candidate as far as I'm concerned, as I expect him to bounce back nicely going forward.
Mark Reynolds continues to be white hot for the Arizona Diamondbacks and is surpassing my expectations. After a two-homer, five-steal double dip Wednesday, Reynolds picked up another home run and another stolen base Thursday.
He now is hitting .266 with 12 homers and 10 steals. I think he has an outside shot at 30 home runs, but I don't see the stolen-base numbers continuing, and I think he will hit below .250 for the season.
Max Scherzer and Andrew Miller dueled it out today and showed how much talent in young starting pitching there is. Scherzer pitched six decent innings, allowing three runs and striking out 10. Miller made it two good starts in a row, as he allowed just two runs over seven innings and struck out nine.
Both are incredibly talented young arms, but both have shown incredible inconsistency. If I had to choose between them right now, I would go with Scherzer. But if Miller finally has figured it out, he would be a great guy to have, as well. I would probably wait and see them both pitch again to see if they are worth picking up.
Aaron Cook threw a complete-game shutout tonight for the Rockies, but I would not go getting excited or run to pick him up. His record is 3-1, but even with this shutout his ERA is still 4.68. Cook's ERA has been hovering around 4.00 over the past couple of years, and his strikeout numbers are Chien-Ming Wang-like. To be more direct, in 2008, Cook struck out just 96 batters in 211 innings.
Kris Medlen made his Major League debut for the Braves, and let's just be nice and say it didn't go to plan. Medlen was able to pitch only three innings, allowed five runs while walking five. He did strike out three, but he threw 80 pitches in just three innings. I'm sure they will give him another start, but he damn well be sure it is better than tonight.
Zack Greinke showed that he was somewhat human after all. In his "worst start of the season," Greinke allowed two earned runs, walked two, and struck out eight over just six innings. His ERA is still incredibly low 0.82, and he would have been 8-1 if the Royals had a better bullpen. Continue to start Greinke with the utmost confidence, as he continues to be the early leader for the AL Cy Young award.
Edinson Volquez has landed on the 15-day DL with a sore back. He left his last start early, had to stop a throwing session, and then—after being examined by the team doctors—was sat down for two weeks. The team is going to call up Homer Bailey to take Volquez's rotation spot, but I am so done with him. He has failed so many times in the majors I have lost count.
Joba Chamberlain was hit with a batted ball off the bat of Adam Jones and had to leave the game in the first inning. He initially stayed in the game, but after giving up two more singles, he was pulled. This could very well be the Yankees just being overly cautious with their young pitcher, but I will keep an eye out on this one for you.
Johnny Damon sat today after being "sore" after crashing into the wall Wednesday. This doesn't appear to be too serious, and Damon should be back sometime over the weekend. Monitor this situation, as Damon has clearly outperformed what we expected to this point.
Joey Votto's dizziness has been diagnosed as an ear infection that should clear up in the next couple of days. Whew! It was kind of scary to see this happen to a guy and not know what the problem is. Thankfully for Votto and his owners, it looks like he should be back in a couple of days.
Jose Reyes' MRI came back and showed tendinitis in his calf. He is day-to-day, but at this point a trip to the DL is possible. I know they said he will avoid it, but I have heard that about three or four other players who then did go on the Disabled List, so I will believe it when he is back in the lineup.
If you own Reyes, hold your breath, because I doubt you have a viable backup on your team. Hopefully it will just be another couple of days.
Josh Hamilton is still out of the lineup and no one is sure when he will return. He said that he would rather come back later at full strength than push it and make himself unavailable for longer. He did take batting practice, so he shouldn't be out much longer, but I doubt he plays tomorrow very strongly.
Well, we had game three of my softball season, and it did not go to plan. It was my second appearance at third base after five years in the outfield. My defense was far from spotless, but I think I made every play that a person just moving to third might make.
I had one take a ridiculous bad hop over my shoulder, and then the very next one I was ready for the hop but it didn't come, as it ran under my glove. At the plate I was 3-for-3 with three singles, including my second career bunt single. That all doesn't sound too bad until I tell you we lost 14-4, dropping our record to 1-2.
Also, the family and I will be taking a long weekend to Mystic, Conn., to visit the aquarium and probably the children's museum. Now, I plan on bringing the laptop with me, but I can't guarantee how much I will use it. So if I am not as quick on the emails or posts, that is the reason. I will have access, but it will be more limited from Saturday morning until Monday night. Please feel free to continue to send your emails though, I will get to every one.
For those of you who are regular readers, I would like to offer a new service. I am starting a mailing list. Sometimes I see news during the day, but I wait until this nightly article to pass it along to you guys. Prospects coming up, injury news, closer movement, etc. Just send me an email to email@example.com with “Mailing List” in the subject line and I will add you to the list. Then, whenever I find news that I feel is breaking and important, I will send it to you as soon as I find out about it. Hopefully this is something that you all will find valuable to make a possible move before your competition.
Also, you can now follow me on Twitter for more updates. Go to www.twitter.com/fightingchance.
Attention League Commissioners! If you are looking to spice up your league some, go and visit Fantasy Sports Trophies. Tom Harkins has put together a great site with all kinds of different trophies to give the winner of your league something besides just bragging rights. There are trophies for fantasy baseball, football (check out the Beer League Fantasy Football Trophy), basketball, hockey, and auto racing. I invite you to take a look at the site and try them out.
I’m also going to start mentioning the Fantasy Windup with Steve Gardner over at the USA Today again. His blog is updated many times each day and is always covering the stories you are talking about when it comes to fantasy baseball. Yesterday he had a great post about the five most frustrating players to own in fantasy baseball. Go vent your frustrations on the message board.
As always, your comments and questions are welcome at firstname.lastname@example.org. I guarantee a response within 18 hours. Also, don’t miss the “Fantasy Baseball Tonight” podcast four nights a week from Monday-Thursday. The Big Show on Wednesday is co-hosted by Todd Farino of fantasybaseballsearch.com, RC Rizza of junkyardjake.com and myself, Ryan Hallam at fightingchancefantasy.com. To hear the show go to www.blogtalkradio.com/the_true_guru.
You can also hear me weekly on the Tuesday Night show. Join me with Jeff Mans every Tuesday night at 10 p.m. EST for all the news, free agent pickups, minor leaguers, and injuries. A can’t-miss if you plan on winning your league.