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Fake Teams Podcast; Episode 8: Tall, Dark and Handsome
Make sure you check out Episode 8 of the Fake Teams podcast hosted by Andrew Ball and Zack Smith. This week their guess was Daniel Schwartz from Fake Teams and Roto Banter, and they discuss Will Myers, Kyle Blanks and others.
Yovani Gallardo: Is this a turning point or no?
Brewers starter Yovani Gallardo has not been the pitcher we drafted back in March thus far in 2013. Heading into his start last night, Gallardo was 4-6 with a 5.25 ERA, 4.21 FIP, 1.47 WHIP, but a falling strikeout rate. HIs strikeout rate is down almost two strikeouts per nine innings (from 9.00 K/9 to 7.33 K/9), which is a huge drop for any starting pitcher.
Last night, he shut out the Marlins lineup, which included recently activated Giancarlo Stanton and Logan Morrison, on 4 hits, a walk and 4 strikeout in 8 innings. He is now 5-6, and lowered his ERA to 4.74, his FIP to 4.03, but one has to be concerned with the strikeout rate that is pushing sub-7.00 K/9 now.
Why is the strikeout rate dropping? Well, he is throwing less first ball strikes this season (54.5%) vs 2012 (56.6%), his 6.7% swinging strike rate is his lowest since 2008, and he has changed his pitch mix this season. He is throwing less fastballs (28.8% vs 41.7%), and is throwing more two seam fastballs (23.5% vs 14.5%) than last season.
What fantasy owners want to know is whether this start could be the turning point for Gallardo going forward. I have never been a big fan of his, and the combination of a falling K rate and a high WHIP is something to watch going forward.
For more on Gallardo and the Brewers, please check out Brew Crew Ball, SB Nation's Brewers fan site.
Brandon Phillips: Run producer
Reds second baseman Brandon Phillips seems to get better with age. Every year, I expect his production to drop off a bit, but he just keeps putting up all star numbers year in and year out. Last night, he went 2-4 with a grand slam and 6 RBI in the Reds 6-2 win over the Cubs. Phillips is now hitting .293-.344-.478 with 10 HRs, 38 runs and 52 RBI this season. He is on pace for 25 HRs and 132 RBI, both would be career highs. I don't see him reaching either, but it will be fun to watch.
To read more about Phillips impressive night, check out Red Reporter, SB Nation's Reds fan site.
The Mets finally followed through with what has been rumored for weeks, they sent first baseman Ike Davis down to AAA Las Vegas to work on his swing. Davis has struggled out of the gate for the past two seasons, but the Mets had seen enough. Davis was hitting just .161-.242-.258 with 5 HRs, 16 runs, 16 RBI and a 66-19 strikeout to walk rate in 186 at bats, for a 32% K rate.
Like Andrew and Zack said on Episode 8 of the Fake Teams podcast, I don't see Davis staying in AAA for too long. Maybe 2-3 weeks to sort things out and gain some confidence. What will he be when he returns? Well, he hit 27 hone runs in the last four months of the 2012 season, so that is what he is capable of. Herui won't repeat that performance, but he could hit 15-18 home runs in the last three months of the season.
For more about the Davis demotion, and the Mets in general, make sure you check out Amazin Avenue, SB Nation's Mets fan site.
Blue Jays outfielder Jose Bautista had been in a home run drought until last night. He decided one home run was not enough, so he hit two. Bautista went 2-4 with 2 HRs and 5 RBI in the Blue Jays loss to the White Sox. He is now hitting .267-.370-.516 with 14 HRs, 40 runs and 35 RBI, and is on pace for 36 HRs and 90 RBI. He has a good shot at reaching both.
White Sox DH Adam Dunn didn't want to be outdone by Bautista, so he went 4-4 with 2 HRs, 3 runs and 5 RBI in the White Sox 10-6 win over the Blue Jays. Dunn has struggled again at the plate this season, but now has 16 HRs and 37 RBI on the season. The White Sox probably can't wait for this contract to be over with.
Brewers outfielder Carlos Gomez is showing that his 2012 breakout was for real this season. Gomez went 3-5 with a triple, 2 runs, RBI, and a stolen base, raising his triple slash line to .322-.363-.583 with 11 HRs, 38 runs, 33 RBI and 13 stolen bases this season. He is on pace for a 28 HR, 33 stolen base season which would put him in the top 20 overall conversation heading into 2014 drafts.
Indians catcher Carlos Santana is a hard hitter to figure out. Last season, I ranked him as my top fantasy catcher and he disappointed. This season, I dropped him in my rankings a bit, and he is having a great season at the plate. Last night, he went 1-4 with 3 RBI, and is now hitting .283-.386-.483 with 8 HRs, 33 runs, 27 RBI and an excellent 46-34 K-BB rate in just over 200 at bats.
Rays second baseman Ben Zobrist had a big night at the plate, going 5-6 with a double, a run scored and an RBI. Zobrist is one of the better fantasy second baseman in the game, is now hitting .275-.366-.406 with 4 HRs, 37 runs, 36 RBI and 4 stolen bases this season. He is disappointing his owners in the power and stolen base categories thus far, as he is on pace for just 10 HRs and 10 stolen bases, after averaging 19 HRs and 18 stolen bases over the last four seasons.
They played a wild game in Tampa last night, and Red Sox closer Andrew Bailey was both good and very bad in the 10th inning. He gave up 2 runs on 2 hits and 3 walks, to blow his second save of the season. He somehow escaped a base-loaded, no out jam after blowing the save to preserve the tie game for the Red Sox. Set up man Junichi Tazawa gave up the tying run in the 8th inning, so Bailey's job should be safe, assuming he is healthy.
Dodgers closer Brandon League may have seen his last save chance this season. He entered the ninth inning to preserve a 3-1 lead, and gave up four runs on four hits in 0.2 innings to blow his fourth save of the season. It was an ugly outing and a two game swing in the standings.
Here is Bill Shaikin from the LA Times on Mattingly's decision to use League in the ninth inning last night and going forward:
Mattingly used Kenley Jansen in the eighth inning, against the heart of the Arizona lineup. If the Diamondbacks' best hitters had been due up in the ninth inning, Mattingly said he would have used League in the eighth and Jansen in the ninth.
The Dodgers' bullpen has 15 losses, tied with the Houston Astros for most in the major leagues. League has converted 13 of 17 save opportunities, but his earned-run average is 6.00. No other active Dodgers pitcher has an ERA above 4.00.
Mattingly said he had not decided whether he would continue to use League as a closer.
"It's a tough time to make a decision 12 minutes after the game," Mattingly said.
It's an easy decision going forward. Kenley Jansen is your closer. If Jansen is available in your leagues, go and grab him if you are looking for a closer.
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