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Nolan Arenado called up
In case you missed it, the Rockies finally called up third base prospect Nolan Arenado. He will play everyday and bat in the lower third of the Rockies lineup so he has no pressure to perform right away, which is very smart. The Dodgers, under Joe Torre, frequently batted Matt Kemp in the 7th and 8th spot in the batting order, where he learned plate discipline. Hitting in the eight hole, hitters do not see very many pitches in the strike zone with the pitcher on deck. So hitters can learn to take more walks hitting in the 8th spot in the batting order.
Our own Daniel Kelley suggested picking up Arenado in his Friday article, and had you listened, you could have the Rockies everyday third baseman in your 3B or CI slot on your roster right now.
The folks at Purple Row, specifically Charlie Drysdale, wrote this piece on what we can expect Arenado to do this season.
I see Arenado hitting around .260 with 15 HRs, 55-60 RBI, with some roller coaster rides along the way. He will struggle, but has more value in NL-only leagues than in mixed leagues right now.
Giancarlo Stanton is getting locked in
Marlins outfielder Giancarlo Stanton has struggled for the majority of April, but appears to be getting locked in at the plate over the last two games. He hit a monster home run on Saturday night that traveled 472 feet, over the score board in left field at Marlins Park. Then yesterday, he went 3-3 with a walk, 2 home runs, 3 runs and 4 RBI, and is now hitting .243-.361-.414 with 3 HRs and 9 RBI.
Hanley Ramirez to be activated today?
Dodgers shortstop (why?) Hanley Ramirez made his second rehab start yesterday for High A affiliate Rancho Cucamonga. Rancho is off on Monday, so there have been hints that he might be activated from the DL as soon as today. Otherwise, he would have to travel to Albuquerque to play for the AAA Isotopes. Here is what manager Don Mattingly said about Ramirez's first rehab game:
"The throwing was good, the footwork was good. His at-bats were good," Mattingly said. "Some guys, it seems like they don't need to ever go down. They start hitting right away. The main thing with rehab assignments is to make sure the guy is healthy."
Sounds to me like Mattingly wants to activate him.
Here is what else happened around the league on Sunday:
Red rookie starter Tony Cingrani has pitched well in his first three starts this season, and yesterday was no different, as he completely dominated the Nationals in the Reds 4-1 win. Cingrani tossed 6 innings of shutout ball, giving up just two hits, walking one and striking out 11. He is now 2-0 with a 1.50 ERA, 0.89 WHIP, and a 28-4 strikeout to walk ratio in just 18 innings of work. The Reds must have known what they had in Cingrani when they made the decision to move Aroldis Chapman back into the closer role in spring training.
Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw was Clayton Kershaw on Sunday. He dominated the Brewers as he shut them out for 8 innings on 4 hits, no walks and 12 strikeouts. He needed 117 pitches to get through 8 innings, but improved his record to 3-2 with a 1.73 ERA, 0.93 WHIP and a 47-12 strikeout to walk ratio in 41.2 innings. For me, he is the best pitcher in the game, and Dodgers fans can thank Logan White.
The Dodgers were ridiculed for taking on the Carl Crawford's contract last August, but he looks like he is back to his old Rays form this season. He went 2-4 with 2 HRs yesterday and is now hitting .307-.390-.523 with 4 HRs, 20 runs, 6 RBI, 4 stolen bases and a 16-9 K/BB ratio.
Is is 2008 all over again. Well, if you are a Nate McLouth owner, you hope it is. McLouth is hitting like it is 2008, where he put up a 20-20 season with 100+ runs scored and 90+ RBI. He went 4-5 with 4 runs scored in yesterday's 9-8 loss to the A's. He raised his triple slash line to .351-.455-.486 with a HR, 21 runs, 7 RBI and 8 stolen bases this season. He has multi hit games in 5 of his last 8 games, scoring 13 runs over his last 8 games.
Fantasy owners, take notice. Manny Machado is going to be a difference maker within the next few years. Machado struggled in his first look at major league pitching last season. It seems he has grown as a hitter since the end of the 2012 season, as he is now hitting over .300 after his 4-5 performance on Sunday. He raised his triple slash line to .302-.345-.462 with 2 HRs, 16 runs and 16 RBI. He won't hit .300 all season, but there is more power in the bat, which we will see as he season gets longer and the weather gets warmer. Keeper and dynasty league owners should hold onto him as long as they can, as the power will come.
Stats, stats and more stats:
Dodgers outfielder Andre Ethier is hitting better vs lefties this season than righties. He is hitting .257 vs lefties and .222 vs righties, heading into Sunday's game vs the Brewers. Does that bode well for an above average season for him? He is a career .309 hitter vs righties and .238 vs lefties, but has seen his BA vs lefties drop over the past few seasons.
Coming into this season, Giants shortstop Brandon Crawford had hit just 7 home runs in just under 700 plate appearances in the big leagues. So how does one explain him hitting 5 home runs in under 100 plate appearances. Or his ISO of .262? Or his .560 SLG? He was probably undrafted in most leagues on draft day, but is now owned in over 96% of ESPN leagues. Is this a fluke? I think it is as his HR/FB% is over 29% right now. Not sustainable.
Last season, the starting pitcher with the highest swinging strike rate was Cole Hamels with 12.9%. This season, Rangers starter Yu Darvish is making that look like a AAA starter's SwSt%. Darvish SwSt% currently sits at 17.3%, and he is striking out almost 40% of the batters he faces. That is closer-like numbers. Only two pitchers had a higher K% last year: Aroldis Chapman and Craig Kimbrel.. The two most dominant closers in the game.