WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 16: Gio Gonzalez #47 of the Washington Nationals throws a pitch against the Pittsburgh Pirates at Nationals Park on May 16, 2012 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)
Reds setup man Aroldis Chapman has been dominating major league batters since the start of spring training, but is still setting up for Sean Marshall. To me, he should either be closing or in the starting rotation. In 19.1 innings this season, he has given up just 6 hits, walked 5, struck out 34 , and has yet to give up a run. Teammate Mike Leake has struggled to start the season, and he had a solid start last night to remain in the starting rotation for at least one more start. But, there are hints that Chapman will eventually end up in the Reds rotation this season. The longer the season goes with Chapman throwing one inning here, two innings there, the longer it will take to get him stretched out to start.
Indians outfielder Shin-Soo Choo was recently moved to the leadoff spot in the lineup, and leading off appears to agree with him. He went 3-5 with 2 runs scored last night. He is now hitting .261-.380-.391 with 2 HRs, 14 RBI, 17 runs, 5 stolen bases and a solid 28-17 strikeout to walk ratio in 115 at bats thus far. He had a disappointing 2011 season and is a year removed from two straight 20-20 seasons, so there is more power in the bat. The fact that he is leading off now could result in a few more stolen base opportunities this season.
Tigers outfielder Austin Jackson went 2-3 with an RBI and 2 runs scored last night, but was removed from the game in 5th inning with a mild abdominal strain. Jackson is enjoying a solid bounce back season so far, and it would be ashame to see his hot start interrupted by an injury.
More Roto Roundup after the jump:
Tigers catcher Alex Avila enjoyed a breakout season in 2011, where he hit .295-.389-.506 with 19 HRs and 82 RBI, but he did it with a ton of luck, as his BABIP of .366 would indicate. Coming into the season, many questioned whether he could duplicate his 2011 season, and with good reason. This season, he has struggled out of the gate, hitting .232-.313-.414 with 4 HRs and 12 RBI. Looking at his batted ball data, we see his 27.1% line drive rate is not sustainable, and he is hitting a ton more ground balls this season than last, which is not good for a catcher. Given he is hitting .232 right now, one wonders what impact some regression in his line drive rate will have on his BA going forward.
Nationals starter Gio Gonzalez appears to like pitching in the National League, I see. Gonzalez held the Pirates to 3 runs, on 4 hits, 2 walks and 10 strikeouts to improve his record to 5-1. He has given up 3 runs or less in each of his last 7 starts, and owns an excellent 60-19 strikeout to walk ratio in 48.2 innings. Many thought he would pitch well with the move to the NL, but I certainly didn't expect him to pitch this well.
Blue Jays DH/1B Edwin Encarnacion had a big night at the plate last night, going 3-4 with a HR and 3 RBI, and is now hitting .283-.340-.640 with 13 HRs, 34 RBI, 23 runs and 6 stolen bases. He is on pace for 55 HRs and 26 stolen bases, but we all know how likely that is. But, it is entirely possible he puts up a 30 home run and 15 stolen bases season this year. If he keeps this up, he will certainly move up rankings in 2013.
Blue Jays starter Kyle Drabek had one of his better outings of the season last night, holding the aging Yankees lineup to one run on 3 hits, 4 walks and striking out 5. Drabek benefitted from 13 ground ball outs to limit the damage of the 4 walks. His 59.7% ground ball rate for the season is elite level, and if he can bump his strikeout rate a bit, he is an ace in waiting. Keeper league owners may want to target him in deals should you decide to bail in the coming months.
Angels first baseman Albert Pujols may have had a hand in getting batting coach Mickey Hatcher fired on Tuesday, and maybe he didn't. Either way, he is starting to hit, as he had 3 hits in Tuesday night's game and homered in last night's game. I asked Fake Teams' readers if Pujols would reach 30 HRs this season, and the response was overwhelmingly no.
Rangers starter Yu Darvish is continuing to have success at the major league level as he held the A's to just one run in 7.2 innings, giving up just 4 hits, walking 2 and striking out 7. He is now 6-1 with a 2.60 ERA, 3.46 FIP and 3.56 xFIP, with a 58-26 strikeout to walk ratio in 52 innings. After walking 13 batters in his first 3 starts, covering 17.2 innings, he has walked 13 over his last 5 starts, covering 34.1 innings, and has struck out 44 in those 34.1 innings as well.
Mariners starter Felix Hernandez was knocked around for 8 runs, 6 earned in 3.2 innings last night. He gave up 10 hits, 3 walks and 3 strikeouts in his shortest outing of the season. He is now 3-3 with a 3.02 ERA and 1.20 WHIP. He has given up 10 earned runs and 26 base runners in his last 10.1 innings, raising his ERA from 1.89 to 3.02. Is there cause for concern with Felix? Check out this tweet from ESPN's Buster Olney, which shows a negative trend in his fastball readings:
Fangraphs has these average year-by-year fastball readings for Felix Hernandez 2007-12: 96.3 mph, 94.5, 93.8, 94.4, 93.4, 91.5.