Joey Votto is one of the best hitters in baseball, and he proved it last night as he went 4-4 with a HR, a walk, 3 runs and 2 RBI and is now hitting .345-.475-.621 with 9 HRs, 34 runs and 32 RBI. He has been on a tear of late, going 18-35 over his last 10 games, with 2 HRs, 4 RBI and 10 runs scored. He won't be winning any home run titles, but he still hits for solid power, as his .621 slugging percentage ranks 5th in the majors thanks to his 22 doubles. His batted ball data over at FanGraphs indicates that he is hitting more line drives - 35% - than ground balls and fly balls thus far in 2012. Ridiculous.
Nationals rookie outfielder Bryce Harper is not seeing many pitches to hit of late, and it stands to reason that teams would rather pitch to Nationals third baseman Ryan Zimmerman who may not be totally healthy right now. Harper went 1-2 with 2 walks yesterday and is hitting .278-.368-.504 with 4 HRs, 11 RBI, 21 runs and a solid 21-16 strikeout to walk ratio in 115 at bats thus far. Of his 32 hits this season, 14 have gone for extra bases, as he has 6 doubles, 4 triples and 4 home runs.
Orioles starter Brian Matusz had his best start of the season yesterday, limiting the Rays to just one run in 7.1 innings, giving up just 2 hits, walking 3 and striking out 7 to win his 5th game of the season. He is now 5-5 with a 4.41 ERA, 4.28 FIP and a 4.47 xFIP, with a 1.45 WHIP and a 50-25 strikeout to walk rate in 63.1 innings. He has give up 3 runs or less in 7 of his 10 starts and is starting to go deeper into his starts over his last 3 starts. Since April ended, he has struck out 36 and walked 12 in 42.1 innings pitched.
More Roto Roundup after the jump:
White Sox second baseman Gordon Beckham was a top prospect back in 2009, ranked as the #20 prospect in baseball by Baseball America. He had a solid major league debut in 2009, hitting .270 with 14 HRs, 58 runs, 63 RBI and 7 stolen bases, but since then he has done nothing but disappoint White Sox fans and fantasy owners. I wonder if he is starting to turn the corner, as he went 3-6 with a HR and 4 RBI on Saturday and is now hitting .238-.292-.411 with 8 HRs, 28 runs and 21 RBI. In his last 10 games, he is 15-47 with with 3 HRs and 7 RBI, raising his BA from .204 to .238.
In my offseason chats, one particular reader asked me the same question every week : "Hanley or Reyes?" Every week, my response was the same: "Reyes". My reasoning was due to Hanley's falling power and him coming off his shoulder injury. Well. so far Hanley has proved me wrong. He went 2-4 with 2 HRs and 3 RBI off of Phillies ace Cole Hamels yesterday and is now hitting .278-.343-.498 with 10 HRs, 32 RBI, 36 RBI and 10 stolen bases in 2012. He is on pace to hit 31 HRs, drive in 110 runs and steal 31 bases. Fake Teams writer Robert Bishop tweeted yesterday that the new Marlins Park is the second best ball park for runs scoring in baseball thus far, and Hanley is a big part of that.
Last season was a down year for the Dodgers and outfielder Andre Ethier. I was down on Ethier so much last year that I wanted them them to trade him. Looking back, that was foolish as he is putting up an All Star season at the plate in 2012. He went 2-4 with a walk, a run and 2 RBI yesterday, and is now hitting .327-.384-.566 with 9 HRs, 28 runs and an NL leading 46 RBI. Part of the reason for his performance at the plate this season is his improvement vs left handed pitching. A career .250-.310-.371 hitter vs lefties, Ethier is hitting ..324-.386-.486 vs lefties this season.
The Angels might have the best leadoff hitter in baseball and he has only 127 at bats under his belt this season. Mike Trout went 2-4 with a double, a run and a stolen base last night to help the Angels move within 3.5 games of the Rangers. Remember when the Angels were in last place and 9-10 games behind the Rangers? That was all before the Angels called up Trout. Since his call up he is hitting .315-.373-.543 with 5 HRs, 16 extra base hits, 23 runs, 19 RBI, and 9 stolen bases. All that in 32 games this season.
The Mets are 30-23 this season, a game behind the first place Nationals in a season where many thought they would be a last place team. Part of the reason for the Mets success has been the play of David Wright and the pitching of Johan Santana. But, the Mets have another starter who is dominating hitters this season, and his name is R.A. Dickey. Dickey threw a complete game shutout vs the Cardinals yesterday, giving up just 7 hits and striking out 9. He is now 8-1 with a 2.69 ERA, a 3.31 FIP, 3.12 xFIP, a 1.06 WHIP and a 70-17 strikeout to walk ratio in 73.2 innings pitched. Over his last 4 starts, covering 30.1 innings, he has struck out 38, walked just 2 batters and given up 4 earned runs. He has given up 2 runs or less in 8 of his 11 starts this season.