Orioles starter Brian Matusz made it to the big leagues as a highly touted prospect, ranked #5 in all of baseball by Baseball America back in 2010. He had a decent rookie season, winning 10 games with a 4.30 ERA and 1.343 WHIP. But, in 2011, the wheels came off, as he went 1-9 in 12 starts with a 10.69 ERA and a WHIP of 2.114. There was talk of reduced velocity as the cause for his blowup. The velocity came back this spring, but he struggled in April, going 0-3 with a 5.66 ERA, 1.887 WHIP and a 14-13 strikeout to walk ratio. May has been a bit kinder to him, his May 7th start notwithstanding, he has given up 3 runs or less in 5 of his last 6 starts. He held the Red Sox to one run on 2 hits,a walk and 9 strikeouts, his best start of the season. In his last 3 starts, he has given up just 6 earned runs in 18 innings of work, striking out 16 and walking 3. He is now 4-4 with a 4.84 ERA and 1.54 WHIP for the season. Certainly not pretty, but things might be clicking for him now.
Braves outfielder Michael Bourn is known for his speed, not his power right? RIGHT. Well, last night, he decided that he wanted flash some power, and boy did he ever. He went 3-4 with 2 HRs, a double, 2 runs and 2 RBI. Bourn is having a terrific start to the 2012 season, hitting .323-.376-.439 with 3 HRs, 13 RBI, 30 runs scored and 13 stolen bases. I didn't check, but I have to think think that this is his first two homer game of his career..
Yankees starter Phil Hughes has quietly strung together several solid starts in a row, and like Matusz, he may have figured things out on the mound of late. He limited the Royals to 2 runs on 5 hits, 2 walks and 7 strikeouts in 6 innings last night. He has given up 3 runs or less in each of his last 4 starts, with a 23-6 strikeout to walk ratio in 25.2 innings. For the season, he is 4-5 with a 4.94 ERA, 1.37 WHIP and a solid 46-13 strikeout to walk ratio in 47.1 innings.
More Roto Roundup after the jump:
Cardinals starter Adam Wainwright looked in midseason form last night, tossing a complete game, 4-hit shutout vs the Padres. It was his best start since returning from Tommy John surgery last season, as he gave up just 5 base runners in all and striking out 9. He is now 3-5 on the season with a 4.78 ERA, a 3.85 FIP and 3.09 xFIP. He is striking out 8.37 batters per nine, walking just under 3 batters per nine, and inducing ground balls at a 55% rate. He might be a nice trade candidate for an unsuspecting owner.
Philies starter Roy Halladay got hit around by the Nationals last night, giving up 5 runs on 9 hits, a walk, 2 home runs and 6 strikeouts. He is now just 4-4 on the season with a 3.58 ERA, 2.93 FIP and 3.30 xFIP in his 70+ innings pitched this season. Dave Cameron wrote this followup piece on Monday, discussing starters who experienced reduced velocities early this season. He opined that Halladay will be fine going forward, but his strikeout rate has dropped a bit this season, dropping from 8.47/9 in 2011 to 7.17 this season. i am sure he will be fine going forward, but he certainly hasn't been as consistently dominant like he has been in the past.
Nationals manager Davey Johnson announced yesterday that he will be using a closer by committee going forward, and Henry Rodriguez has lost his job as the team's closer. Tyler Clippard got the first shot at closing last night, and tossed a 1-2-3 9th inning for his first save of the season. Johnson also mentioned that Craig Stammen and Sean Burnett will get save opportunities as well. I would stay away from grabbing any of these guys until one establishes himself, as Drew Storen is due back around the All Star break.
Rays rookie starter Matt Moore was cruising through the first four innings last night, but he couldn't get out of the 5th inning, and ended up putting up some crooked numbers in his pitching line. In 4.2 innings, he gave up 4 runs, 2 of which were earned, on 3 hits, 4 walks and 6 strikeouts. He is 1-4 with a 5.07 ERA, 4.87 FIP, 4.61 xFIP with a 48-27 strikeout to walk ratio in 49.2 innings thus far in 2012. Not what I expected from him this season, but most young pitchers have to work through control issues early in their career, so there is no reason to panic for those of you in keeper leagues. Dodgers starter Clayton Kershaw had control issues when he first came up and look at him now.
Marlins third baseman Hanley Ramirez is starting to simmer at the plate. He went 3-5 with a run, 2 RBI and 2 stolen bases last night, and has now hit in 9 of his last 10 games. In those 10 games, he is 15-40 with a HR, 7 RBI, 8 runs and 3 stolen bases. For the season, he is hitting .250-.323-.442 with 7 HRs, 29 RBI, 25 runs and 9 stolen bases, and is on pace for a 26 HR, 109 RBI and 34 steals. OK, I may have been wrong on him.
I will close today's Roto Roundup with a trade that a friend of mine made in an NL-only, non keeper league last week. He traded Matt Kemp and A.J. Burnett for Jay Bruce and Brandon Beachy. He asked me if he should make the deal, I said no as Kemp is the best player in the deal, and Burnett has pitched very well this season, with the exception of his one 12 run, 2.2 inning start earlier in May. Bruce is one of my favorite players and I think he can put up a 35 HR, 100 RBI season this season, and Beachy has been excellent this season, but is due for a bit of regression.
He made the deal because he is worried that Kemp won't steal 30-40 bags this year, which is a legitimate concern right now. He has stolen only two bases so far in 2012, and is on the DL with a hamstring injury.
Would you have made this deal?