Around the Majors: May 4: Greinke, Young, LaPorta and More

Eric StashinSenior Writer IMay 5, 2009

SURPRISE, AZ - FEBRUARY 22:  Zack Greinke #23 of the Kansas City Royals poses during photo day at Surprise Stadium on February 22, 2009 in Surprise, Arizona.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

How good is Zack Greinke?  Has Michael Young returned to his 2005 form?  Will Jhonny Peralta ever hit?  Let’s look at these questions and all the rest from yesterday’s games, including Matt LaPorta’s first major league home run.

Boston vs. New York (AL)

  • Jason Bay returned to the Red Sox line-up, going 3-for-5 with 1 HR, 2 RBI and 1 R.  Hitting .321 with 6 HR and 22 RBI, does anyone else think that he should not be hitting sixth?  Behind J.D. Drew?
  • Phil Hughes went four innings, giving up four runs (three earned) on seven hits and four walks, striking out two.  It’s against the Red Sox, so I wouldn’t let it discourage fantasy owners.  The bigger issue for him will be that he’s No. 6 when there are only five rotation spots available.  He’s a good short-term option, but if he continues to pitch like this his time in the rotation in 2009 will be short lived.  Keep that in mind.
  • Ryan Lester gave up three runs on six hits and two walks, striking out 10, over seven innings of work.  He’s proven he can pitch well against the Yankees this season (as well as the Orioles), but hopefully he can translate that to the rest of the league as well.

Minnesota vs. Detroit

  • It’s about time Francisco Liriano posted a strikeout game like this.  He whiffed nine over 7.2 innings after not striking out more than six in a game previously.  It was also his second consecutive quality start, allowing two runs on hits and three walks, earning his first victory.  He’s much better then the 5.30 ERA he’s posted thus far, so don’t hesitate to use him or consider trading him.  He’s one of those players that you’ve endured the bad, and now you’re finally starting to see some of the good.
  • Magglio Ordonez went 0-for-4 with 1 RBI, ending his moderate three-game hitting streak.  That marks six consecutive games that he has failed to score a run.  In fact, he’s only scored 10 runs thus far this season, far from what we’d expect from someone considered a number two outfielder.
  • Edwin Jackson had his first truly awful start of the season, giving up 5 runs on 7 hits and 2 walks, striking out 7, over 6 innings of work. It’s easy to overlook.

Cleveland vs. Toronto

  • Matt LaPorta started the game as the LFer, going 1-for-3 with 1 HR, 2 RBI and 1 R.  He flat out just has to be in the line-up on a daily basis.  I’d stash him in all formats if you haven’t already, that’s how quick of an impact he could make.  Don’t do anything drastic, but if the spot is available, scoop him up.
  • Jhonny Peralta went 0-for-5, dropping his average to .198.  Will he ever get going?  All we can do at this point is keep on waiting.
  • Fausto Carmona gave up four runs on eight hits and one walk, striking out three, over 6.2 innings.  He didn’t have control issues, for a change, but the numbers were still just unimpressive.  He is far from a top option, and is not a must use under any circumstances.  With the Tigers next on the schedule, he’s a tough play for daily leagues.
  • How much longer will Travis Snider be in the lin-up?  He went 0-for-3, dropping his average to .219.  He’s had just 2 hits in his past seven games and just two RBI since Apr. 19.  The Blue Jays want to win and need a viable bat in there.

Baltimore vs. Tampa Bay

  • Nick Markakis went 3-for-5 with 1 HR, 3 RBI, 2 R and 1 SB putting him at .370 with 4 HR and 27 RBI on the season. He clearly has emerged as one of the top outfielders in the league and should be valued as such in all formats.
  • It was not a pretty start for Scott Kazmir, who gave up six runs on seven hits and two walks, striking out seven, over 6.1 innings.  He’s now given up six earned runs in three of his last four starts, certainly not what fantasy owners want to see. His next start comes in Boston, a team he had a 9.00 ERA in four starts against last season.  If you are in a daily league, I’d certainly have concern about using him in his next time out.

Chicago (AL) vs. Kansas City

  • Zack Greinke is amazing.  Is there really anything else that needs to be said?  He went the distance for the third time already this season, throwing a shutout.  He gave up six hits and zero walks, striking out 10.  Let’s see, he’s 6-0 with a 0.40 ERA...If that’s not enough, in his 45 innings he has struck out 54 batters.  Simply unbelievable.  I just don’t know what else there is to say.

Los Angeles (AL) vs. Oakland

  • Mike Napoli went 4-for-4 with 2 RBI, putting him at .364 on the season.  He’s on a 5-game hitting streak, going 11-17 with 1 HR, 4 RBI and 4 R over the stretch.  The Angels are using him as a DH at times, increasing his value as he is in the line-up regularly.  His average has improved every season, but he is a career .249 hitter.  The average is likely to come down, but enjoy this while you can.
  • The A’s may have rushed Brett Anderson to the majors. He fell to 0-3 with a 5.79 ERA after giving up five runs on nine hits and one walk, striking out 0, over 4.2 innings.  It really would not surprise me to see him demoted to Triple-A soon, assuming the team has another option available to it.  Unless you’re in a keeper league there is no reason to be using him right now.

Texas vs. Seattle

  • Frank Francisco continues to maintain a 0.00 ERA after tossing 1.1 shutout innings. He gave up one hit and one walk en route to his eighth save of the season.  Right now he’s a viable No. 2 closer in all formats.
  • Is it 2005?  Michael Young went 2-for-4 with 1 HR, 2 RBI and 2 R.  That gives him 7 HR on the season.  Wait, isn’t this the same guy who had 12 HR last season and 9 HR in ‘07?  Who said he didn’t have the bat to be a 3B?  I don’t fully buy this, but while he’s slugging he certainly is usable, especially since he still has shortstop eligibility.
  • It was only a matter of time before Felix Hernandez had another bad start.  After not giving up an earned run in his two previous starts, Hernandez got lit up for 6 runs on 10 hits and zero walks, striking out 9, over 6 innings of work.  It happens.  No big deal.  The impressive number is his 45 strikeouts vs. 10 walks over 40 innings of work.  He finally looks to have emerged as a fantasy ace.

Houston vs. Washington

  • Brian Moehler returned to the Houston rotation, giving up two runs on eight hits and two walks, striking out five, over five innings. Yeah, he only allowed two runs, but it came with a WHIP of 2.00.  I know Felipe Paulino struggled in this one coming out of the bullpen, but I just don’t understand why the team has shifted him to the bullpen when he has significantly more upside then some of the other pitchers they are using.
  • Ryan Zimmerman went 4-for-4 with 2 RBI and 3 R.  He just continues to hit, huh?
  • Elijah Dukes went 3-for-5 with 3 RBI, raising his average to .299 with 3 HR and 16 RBI. While he hasn’t been spectacular, he certainly has made the most since Lastings Milledge has been demoted.

Milwaukee vs. Pittsburgh

  • I know he was a subject of one of my Wild Predictions (click here to view), but did anyone really see Rickie Weeks performing like this?  He hit third, going 2-5 with 1 HR, 3 RBI and 1 R.  He’s now hitting .276 with 6 HR, 18 RBI and 18 R.  How many think the prediction of a .290 average could actually happen?  Anyone?
  • Both Yovani Gallardo (7 IP, 3 ER, 7 H, 3 BB, 5 K) and Paul Maholm (7.1 IP, 2 ER, 6 H, 1 BB, 7 K) pitched well, though neither figured in the decision.  We all know Gallardo is a fantasy stud, but Maholm has also emerged as a very solid option.  Will he maintain a 2.97 ERA?  Probably not, but considering he posted a 3.71 ERA, he certainly has proven usable.

New York (NL) vs. Atlanta

  • While Carlos Delgado’s (1-for-4, 1 R) return to the line-up is worth mentioning, the power surge by Carlos Beltran deserves all the attention.  Beltran went 2-for-3 with 2 HR, 4 RBI and 2 R, doubling his HR total for the year to four.  He did raise his average to .400, so it’s not like he has not been contributing.  He’s been a fantasy stud this season to say the least.
  • John Maine suffered with his control, though he did even his record at 2-2.  He went six innings giving up three runs on three hits and six walks, striking out seven. That walk total is unacceptable and he was lucky to have limited the damage.  If it continues, bad things are in his future so tread carefully.  He’s got a ton of upside, however, and with Pittsburgh next on the schedule he is a must use option.

Cincinnati vs. Florida

  • I’d say it is safe to consider Aaron Harang’s horrific 2008 behind him.  He went two innings giving up two runs on seven hits and three walks, striking out nine, to put his ERA at 3.00 and 1.26 WHIP on the season.  Yes, he’s faced a little bit of tough luck, as he’s only 2-3 on the season, but that’s why we don’t draft for wins.  The strikeouts are not quite what they once were, with three starts of just 2 Ks, but he always has the potential to put up a game like he did last night.  I’d consider him a middle of the rotation guy, not a fantasy ace, but someone I still want to have.
  • Josh Johnson continues to prove that he is among the leagues top pitcher, giving up 2 runs on 8 hits and 0 walks, striking out 6, over 7.1 innings.  He is now sporting a nice and tidy 2.57 ERA and 1.05 WHIP.  His control has been tremendous, with just 6 walks all season.

San Francisco vs. Chicago (NL)

  • Pablo Sandoval went 2-for-4 with 1 RBI and is now on a 7-game hitting streak.  With his average at .322, is there anyone still worried about him being able to hit at this level?  Yes, the power is concerning, but the guy can flat out hit.
  • Jonathan Sanchez struggled with his control, giving up 5 hits and 6 walks over 4 innings.  Does this really surprise anyone?  He’s got upside, but isn’t worth the instability.
  • Ryan Theriot went 1-for-3 with 1 HR, 2 RBI, 1 R and 1 SB.  That’s three home runs in his last four games after having one last season and a total of seven for his career.  What the heck is going on?  If you’re going to use him I urge you not to do so for his power potential.  He really doesn’t have any.  Do it for the SB, as he picked up his sixth of the season yesterday.

Philadelphia vs. St. Louis

  • Scary moment for Rick Ankiel, for those who saw him crashing head first into the wall.  He’ll be out for a few days, but it certainly could have been a lot worse.  Those in daily leagues, if you were using him slide him to the bench. 
  • It was a bad start for Kyle Lohse, giving up six runs on seven hits and two walks, striking out four, over 4.1 innings.  It’s going to happen.  I know there is talk of a line drive he took of his arm causing the decline, but who knows.  As long as he’s healthy, he’s still a good play in Cincinnati later in the week.
  • Ryan Howard went 2-for-3 with 1 HR, 4 RBI and 2 R.  He’s now hitting .293 on the season.  If he can keep that up to go along with the likely power surge that is coming, this could be a really special season for him.  Time will tell on the average, but there is no doubting the power (obviously).  He does have a BABIP of .355, so a decline could come soon.

Colorado vs. San Diego

  • Chris Iannetta went 2-for-4 with 1 HR, 4 RBI and 1 R.  He has hits in four of his last five games, and home runs in three of his last four.  I know he’s hitting just .196 on the season, but things finally seem to be coming together for him.  Maybe it was the rumors of Yorvit Torrealba cutting into his playing time, but he has shown signs of life.  Despite his early struggles he’s a good play in all formats.
  • Kevin Kouzmanoff went 0-for-4 and is 1-19 over his past five games.  He has had 97 AB, hitting .227 with 1 HR, 8 RBI and 6 R to start the season.  Considering he was a fringe option to begin with, does this start leave doubt?  I wouldn’t completely cut him, as he does have promise, but I have to believe that you have a better starting option available to you.  Slide  him to your bench and hope he can show signs of life soon.

Arizona vs. Los Angeles (NL)

  • Doug Davis had been pitching well, but he certainly struggled in this one, giving up four runs on five hits and four walks, striking out two, over 4.1 innings.  Makes you think twice before just picking up a hot pitcher because he has two starts, huh?
  • The Dodgers keep winning, so I guess I should just drop my complaints regarding their roster construction, huh?  I still don’t understand it, but that’s just me.  A winning formula is a winning formula, so until things start to turn I’m going to keep my mouth shut.
  • Jonathan Broxton did not pick up a save last night, but he certainly has been dominant, huh?  He pitched a perfect ninth, striking out 2, to lower his ERA to 0.69.  He has 3 wins, 7 saves and 23 strikeouts over 13 innings of work.  I think that certainly should put him among the elite, no?

Anyone have any thoughts?  Anything to add?


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