There were two games postponed due to snow on Monday; one in Minnesota and one in Colorado. It was cold here in New Jersey today. I can't imagine snow this late in April though.
Jesse Biddle: next big strikeout starter?
Phillies pitching prospect Jesse Biddle had perhaps his best start in the minors ever last night. Here is a tweet from Matt Gelb from the Philadelphia inquirer:
Big night for Phillies top prospect. RT @mldrago: Jesse Biddle: 7 IP, 1 H, 2 BB, 0 R, 16 Ks; 104 pitches, 74 strikes.— Matt Gelb (@magelb) April 23, 2013
Coming into his start last night, Biddle had made three starts in AA, striking out 14 and walking 7 in 18 innings of work, or a K/9 rate of just 7.0. Last night, he struck out 16 in 7 innings, so he now owns a 30-9 strikeout to walk rate in his 25 inning thrown. Here is what John Sickels from Minor League Ball wrote about him back in mid-January:
1) Jesse Biddle, LHP, Grade B+: Class of the system. Local kid, good fastball, very good secondary pitches, no serious command problems, no durability issues yet. Good bet to be a mid-rotation starter, if not more.
Biddle is just 21 years of age, so he has at least a year and a half before he sees the big leagues.
Matt Moore has had some issues throwing strikes this season, as he has walked 11, while striking out 20, in his 18 innings of work, covering three starts thus far in 2013. He had similar issues in the minors before figuring things out and becoming one of the best pitching prospects in the game. Well, he might be repeating the same learning curve in the big leagues. His walk rate was over 4.00 per nine innings last season, and currently sits at just under 5.00 walks per nine after last night's outing. Last night, he held the Yankees to one run, on 2 hits, 3 walks and 9 strikeouts in 8 innings of work. With the win last night, Moore is now 4-0 with a 1.04 ERA and 0.92 WHIP. Once the Rays trade ace starter David Price, Moore will be ready to take over the "ace" helm in Tampa.
Mike Napoli: the RBI machine
Red Sox first baseman Mike Napoli is having himself one heck of an April, treating his fantasy owners to a 25 RBI month, and we still have 8 days left to go. Napoli went 2-4 with a grand slam and 5 RBI last night in the Red Sox 9-6 win over the A's. Napoli raised his triple slash line to .278-.321-.570 with 4 HRs, 9 doubles, 12 runs and 25 RBI, albeit with a 26-4 strikeout to walk ratio in 79 at bats. After the Red Sox signed him, many baseball writers opined that Napoli was a perfect fit in Fenway Park. I guess they were right.
Petco Park is now a hitters park?
It is well know amongst fantasy circles that Petco Park is one of the best pitchers parks in baseball, so when streaming a starting pitcher, you made sure you streamed a pitcher slate to start at Petco in the hope that you would get a quality start. Over the last few seasons, it has been very difficult to hit a home run in Petco. Here is how Petco ranked amongst the 29 other stadiums over the last 5 years in home runs allowed, courtesy of the Ballpark Factors at ESPN:
Do you see what I see? Yeah. Pretty glaring. That stat jumps off the page and smacks you in your forehead. I know there is that small sample size issue that should be considered here. But consider this: more fly balls hit in the warmer weather end up as home runs than when hit in the cooler weather. Something to consider if you see a Padre on your league waiver wire.
Here is what else happened on Monday night:
Cardinals young starter Shelby Miller held the Nationals to just two runs on 4 hits, 2 walks and 8 strikeouts in 6.2 innings in the Cardinals 3-2 win. He is now 3-1 with a 2.16 ERA, 0.88 WHIP and a 26-7 strikeout to walk ratio in 25 innings thus far in 2013. He has a bright future ahead of him, and his performance last year in AAA will appear to be just a blip in a few years.
Mariners starter Felix Hernandez has his way with the Astros last night, shutting them out for 6 innings to earn his second win of the season. He gave up just 5 hits, a walk, and 9 strikeouts, and is now 2-2 with a 2.08 ERA, 0.98 WHIP and a 37-6 strikeout to walk ratio in 34.2 innings.
Coming into this season, one guy who I attempted to trade for in my AL-only keeper league was Mariners third baseman Kyle Seager. His salary was just $1, so to get him would have been expensive. I didn't end up trading for him, as I had questions whether his 2012 season would be looked upon as his career year. Seager went 2-5 with a HR, 2 runs and 2 RBI last night, raising his triple slash line .276-.337-.487 with 2 HRs, 8 runs, 9 RBI and zero stolen bases. It is early, I know, but maybe his power is legit.
Braves outfielder had an emergency appendectomy yesterday in Colorado and will be out indefinitely. The Braves will use a combination of Jordan Schafer, Reed Johnson and Evan Gattis while he is out, with Justin Upton moving over to right field.
I wrote about Albert Pujols recently and wonder if there will come a time when the Angels decide to put him on the DL. Pujols is dealing with plantar fascists, and plays in a lot of pain, so the Angels have decided to keep him in the lineup as their DH of late. Pujols went 0-5 with 3 strikeouts last night, and I will be interested to see how the injury affects his power at the plate going forward.
Someone asked me on Twitter yesterday whether he should drop Joel Hanrahan now that Andrew Bailey seems to have settled into the closer role in Boston. I responded saying that I would hold onto Hanrahan to see what happens when he finally returns from the DL. Andrew Bailey might reduce Hanrahan to a set up role just yet, as he earned his 4th save of the season last night. He walked one and struck out two, and now owns a 1.74 ERA and a 14.81 strikeout per nine rate, to go with the 4 saves.
Cubs reliever Carlos Marmol pitched the 9th inning of a 2-2 game last night, so one would think that he could have earned the Cubs closer job once again. In two innings of work, he walked two and struck out two, including striking out Joey Votto with the winning run in scoring position in the 9th.
Angels closer Ernesto Frieri came into a 6-6 tie game in the 9th, and took the loss after giving up a home run to Rangers catcher A.J. Pierzynski. With Ryan Madsen getting closer to returning from the DL, Frieri will have to limit performances like this.