I was trading emails with an owner in one of my leagues last night and he asked me who is the best player in baseball right now. My Dodgers bias said Matt Kemp, but Red first baseman Joey Votto and Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton are in that conversation. Have to throw Ryan Braun in there as well. Am I missing anyone?
After last night's performance, is R.A. Dickey the best pitcher in the National League? Dickey threw he second consecutive one hitter vs the Orioles last night, striking out 13 in the process, to win his 11th game of the season. He is now 11-1 with a 2.00 ERA, 2.71 FIP, 2.68 xFIP, a 0.89 WHIP, and a 103-21 strikeout to walk ratio in 99 innings pitched. Dickey has been absolutely amazing this season, but over his last 6 starts, covering 48.2 innings, he has given up just one run on 21 hits, 5 walks and 63 strikeouts. He has not given up a run in 42.2 innings going back to May 22nd, and is two more complete game shutouts from breaking Orel Hershiser for the MLB record for consecutive shutout innings.
And then there is this from Danny Knobler at CBS Sports:
Elias says Dickey is first pitcher ever with five straight starts of 0 ER, 8 or more strikeouts. Gaylord Perry, Ray Culp and Pedro had 4 st.
Yankees starter CC Sabathia had a dominating start of his own vs the Braves, but not as impressive as Dickey's gem. Sabathia threw a complete game, giving up 2 runs on 7 hits, a walk and 10 strikeouts. Sabathia is now 9-3 with a 3.55 ERA, 3.20 FIP and 3.16 xFIP. He has struck out 102 batters while walking 27 in 101.1 innings, and his 9.06 K/9 is currently the highest of his career.
Some bad news for fantasy owners who own Evan Longoria and Brandon Beachy. Longoria left his rehab assignment after aggravating his hamstring and will be shut down indefinitely.
And Braves fans and fantasy owners could be without the NL leader in ERA for the rest of the year, as Brandon Beachy was diagnosed with a partial tear of his ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow, and will be paying Dr. James Andrews a visit later today. Tommy John surgery is certainly a possibility, so he could be droppable as soon as this afternoon in redraft leagues, and keeper leagues where contracts are involved.
I guess I was very wrong on Mat Latos this season. Wow. Latos got shelled in Cleveland, giving up 7 runs on 8 hits, 3 of them home runs, no walks and 4 strikeouts in 4 innings last night. He is now 5-2 with a 5.20 ERA, 4.95 FIP, 4.10 xFIP, 1.41 WHIP and a 70-26 strikeout to walk ratio in 79.2 innings. He has given up 16 HRs already this season, equalling his career high pitching in Petco Park the last few years. Back on May 22nd, he threw 116 pitches in 7 innings to win his 4th game of the season. In his 5 starts since then, he has given up 21 runs on 34 hits, 10 of them of the long ball variety. TEN!
Reds first baseman Joey Votto went 2-4 with a walk and a HR last night, and is now hitting .368-.491-.667 with 13 HRs, 45 runs, 45 RBI and 4 stolen bases. Buster Olney tweeted last night that Votto is on pace to reach base 339 times this season. I don't see that happening, nor will he continue to reach base once every two at bats, but right now he is the best first baseman in fantasy, and a lock to be a top 5 pick in 2013 drafts. Maybe the top pick.
After hitting just .214 in April, Brewers third baseman Aramis Ramirez is catching fire. He followed up the poor start, by hitting .274 in May and is hitting .320 in June. This after going 3-3 with a HR, a double and 3 RBI last night, with the home run being the game winner. For the season, he is hitting .262-.335-.467 with 8 HRs, 38 RBI, 40 runs scored and a solid 37-22 strikeout to walk ratio. He is on pace to hit 19 HRs and drive in 92, but I see him hitting closer to 25 HRs this season, as he can hit home runs in bunches when he gets hot.
Cubs first baseman Bryan LaHair went 2-5 with a HR and 2 RBI last night. That is news, but it isn't the real news about his performance last night. The real news is he started in right field last night, leading to speculation that the Cubs are moving closer to calling up first base prospect Anthony Rizzo. Lahair has been one of the better stories of the 2012 season, as he has performed well above expectations to date. He is hitting .299-.380-.572 with 13 HRs and 28 RBI in 187 at bats.