June 6, 2012; Milwaukee, WI, USA; Milwaukee Brewers pitcher Zack Greinke (13) pitches against the Chicago Cubs at Miller Park. Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-US PRESSWIRE
Brewers ace Zack Greinke had probably his best start of the season last night, shutting out the Cubs for 7 innings. He gave up just 2 hits, 2 walks and struck out 12. He dominated the Cubs as 18 of his 21 outs were via the strikeout or the ground ball. Greinke moved his record to 7-2, with a 3.13 ERA, 1.89 FIP, 2.36 xFIP, 1.25 WHIP, 10.13 K/9 and 2.25 BB/9. He gives up a few too many base runners, mainly due to a very high BABIP pf .368, so once that regresses, we should see the WHIP drop and his ERA should follow. In his first 13 starts in 2011, his ERA was 5.45 and WHIP was 1.25. This year after 12 starts, his ERA is about 2 runs lower and his WHIP is in the same neighborhood. He had a terrific second half last season going 9-3 with a 2.59 ERA and 1.16 WHIP, so if he can duplicate that effort this season, you could be looking at the NL Cy Young award winner in his walk year.
Indians shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera had a break out year in 2011, hitting .273-.332-.460 with 25 HRs, 87 runs, 92 RBI and 17 stolen bases. Cabrera went 2-5 with a run scored and an RBI last night, and is now hitting .297-.385-.467 with 5 HRs, 25 runs, 23 RBI and 2 stolen bases in just over a third of the season. It's safe to say he won't duplicate his 2011 season in the power or speed categories, but that doesn't mean he hasn't been valuable this season. He has reduced his strikeout rate from 17.8% to 10.3% and improved his walk rate from 6.6% to 10.8%, and he is still on pace to equal his 60 extra base hits from 2011. Last year may have been a career year for him, but he is on pace for 15 HRs, 74 runs, 68 RBI and 6 stolen bases. Still valuable.
More Roto Roundup after the jump:
In his 2.5 seasons in the minors, Diamondbacks first baseman Paul Goldschmidt his 83 HRs in just about 320 games, and he hit 8 HRs in 156 at bats with the big league club last season. He struggled to start the 2012 season, hitting just .188-.288-.281 in April with 18 strikeouts in 57 at bats, but has been a different hitter since. He went 3-4 with a HR, 2 runs and 3 RBI last night, and is now hitting .288-.357-.515 with 7 HRs and 24 RBI. He hit .314-.379-.535 in May and has continued the hot hitting in June going 9-19 at the plate. He is prone to slumps, so ride him while he is hot.
Mets third baseman David Wright recently stated that he won't negotiate a new contract during the season, so he can keep his mind on the field. I don't blame him. He is having a terrific season at the plate hitting .359-.461-.578 with 7 HRs, 38 runs, 33 RBI and 5 stolen bases. The offseason brought us news that the Mets were moving their fences in for the 2012 season, so, naturally, everyone expected Wright to hit for more power. Wright has hit for power, but it's been more doubles power than home run power. He is on pace for just 20 HRs this season, so some may be disappointed in his power thus far. But Wright has made major strides with his eye at the plate, as he has cut his K rate from 21.7% to 13.0% and increased his BB rate from 11.6% to 16.1%, so he is walking more than he is striking out for the first time in his career. I guess he is over the beaning from Matt Cain a few years ago.
Blue Jays starter Brandon Morrow threw a complete game 2-hit shutout of the hot White Sox last night. He walked just 2 and struck out 5 to win 7th game of the season. He is now 7-3 with a 2.90 ERA, 0.99 WHIP and a 67-24 strikeout to walk rate in 77.2 innings pitched. His strikeout rate is down from over 10 K/9 to just under 8 K/9 this season, but he has become more efficient and is relying a bit more on the ground ball than in the past.
Astros starter Bud Norris had a rough time of it in the first inning last night, giving up 3 runs in the first inning, but he settled down to last 6 innings, giving up 4 runs on 7 hits, 2 of which were home runs, walking none and striking out a season hugh 12 batters. Norris' ERA (4.65) and WHIP (1.41) aren't really helping fantasy teams so far, but if you're in a 5 x 5 league, or a league that counts strikeouts, there aren't too many pitchers as valuable as Norris. He currently sits 5th in all of baseball in K/9, behind the likes of Zack Greinke, Stephen Strasburg, Gio Gonzalez and Max Scherzer with a 9.82 K/9. He has reduced his BB/9 from 4.51 in 2010 to 3.23 this season. His BABIP sits at .332, so that should regress some, which should help his ERA and WHIP as the season goes along.
The Mariners lineup isn't filled with too many very good hitters right now, but one guy who stands out a bit is third baseman Kyle Seager who went 2-4 with 4 RBI last night. Seager is hitting .274-.321-.477 with 7 HRs, 36 RBI, 28 runs scored and 5 stolen bases thus far in 2012. He is third baseman not know for his power, but he is on pace for 19 HRs, 99 RBI and 14 stolen bases this season, which isn't too shabby in a lineup that struggles to score runs. Among eligible third baseman, he currently sits 3rd in RBI with 36, behind only Miguel Cabrera and Hanley Ramirez, an is 9th among third baseman with a ,274 BA. He is owned in just 71% of ESPN leagues, so if you are looking for a third baseman or a utility guy who plays everyday, Seager could help fantasy teams this season.
I ranked Red Sox first baseman Adrian Gonzalez among my top 2-3 fantasy first baseman coming into the season, but thus far, he has been nothing short of a disappointment. Hitting in one of the better lineups in baseball, Gonzalez is hitting just .263-.316-.406 with 4 HRs, 28 runs and 29 RBI, and is on pace to hit a measly 12 HRs, score 81 runs and drive in 84. Those numbers aren't even top 10 amongst first baseman, and I am curious what happened to his power. His ISO is down to .143 this season, by far the lowest of his career. It doesn't help that he is striking out a bit more this season, and is walking less. Looking at his batted ball data over at FanGraphs, he is hitting more line drives and fly balls this season, but is hitting for less power. I keep thinking he will turn things around and get hot, but that has not materialized just yet.