My apologies for no Roundup on Friday morning. I went out on Thursday night to celebrate a friend's birthday and I was pretty beat when I got home.
Minor League Ball: Organization Top 20 Prospects in Review
Minor League Ball's John Sickels is in the middle of reviewing all of his preseason Top 20 Prospects and you can find all of them in the link below:
John also hosted an All Questions Answered thread on Monday morning, so go check out the Q & A.
Fake Teams Podcast, Episode 26: Angels on the podcast
Zack and Andrew hosted episode 26 of the Fake Teams podcast on Thursday night, discussing Kris Medlen, Alfonso Soriano, Oscar Taveras and others, including drafting their fictional fantasy baseball rosters.
You can listen to their podcast in two ways:
That title is not to belittle what Gray accomplished on the mound on Thursday afternoon at all. In his second major league start, Gray shut out the Astros on 4 hits and a walk while striking out 9 over 8 innings. Gray was allowed to throw 118 pitches on Thursday, which seems a but too high for a young starter making just his second big league start. He has now given up just two runs in his two starts so far and owns a solid 20-5 strikeout to walk rate in 18 innings of work.
Gray is probably unowned in many leagues, so if he is available, he is worth the pickup, as he pitches in a pitchers park and provides a solid strikeout rate for his owners. He holds even more value in keeper and dynasty leagues.
For more on Gray and the A's, check out Athletics Nation, SB Nation's A's fan site.
Eric Hosmer: Looking like he's over the slump
Eric Hosmer owners have been waiting for a year and a half for THIS Eric Hosmer to show up. On Friday, the Royals swept a double header in Detroit, and are starting to make some noise in the AL Central. One of the reasons for the Royals resurgence is the hitting of first baseman Eric Hosmer. In Friday's double header, Hosmer went 1-4 with a HR in the first game, and went 2-4 with a HR and a stolen base. Hosmer is now hitting .296-.340-.448 with 14 HRs, 63 runs, 59 RBI and 10 stolen bases on the season and is on pace to out up 19 HRs, 84 runs, 79 RBI and steal 13 bases.
Since the beginning of June, here are Hosmer's monthly triple slash lines:
June: .303-.347-.541, 6 HRs, 17 RBI
July: .324-.351-.495, 4 HRs, 13 RBI
August: ,328-.353-.453, 3 HRs, 13 RBI
Hosmer appears to have figured things out at the plate, and should regain some love in our offseason rankings. More on Hosmer in this tweet from ESPN's David Shoenfeld:
Go figure: Eric Hosmer has the longest average home run distance at 422 feet (Justin Upton 420). #Royals— David Schoenfield (@dschoenfield) August 17, 2013
This stat could be a precursor to a power breakout in 2014. Or maybe the power breakout has begun already, as he has hit 14 home runs since the end of May.
For more on Hosmer and the Royals, please check out Royals Review, SB Nation's Royals fan site.
Alfonso Soriano: One HOT hitter
The Yankees recently traded for Cubs outfielder Alfonso Soriano and he is having one of the best week's in recent memory. I cannot remember a hitter driving in so many runs as Soriano has over the last 4-5 days. Last night, Soriano went 3-4 with a HR, 2 runs and 4 RBI, raising his season triple slash line to .265-.299-.501 with 25 HRs, 66 runs, 77 RBI and 12 stolen bases. I have to say I had no idea he had double digit stolen bases this season.
Over his last four games, Soriano is 13-18 with 5 HRs, 9 runs and 18 RBI. Four games!!! Over his last ten games, Soriano has hit 7 HRs, scored 13 runs and driven in 22 runs.
For more on Soriano and his absurd hot streak, check out Pinstriped Bible, SB Nation's Yankees fan site.
On Thursday afternoon, Mets hurler Zack Wheeler had perhaps his most dominating outing of the season in the Mets 4-1 win over the Padres. Wheeler limited the Padres to just one run on 7 hits, a walk and struck out 12. He did not get a decision, but was impressive nonetheless. Like other young starters in their first year in the big leagues, Wheeler has had trouble with his control, but over his last two starts, he owns a 16-1 strikeout to walk rate over 12.1 innings. On the season, he is 5-2 with a 3.43 ERA, 1.38 WHIP and a 57-29 strikeout to walk rate over 63 innings. There has been some talk that with the abundance of pitching on their roster, that the Mets could float Wheeler's name in trade talks this offseason in an effort to get a big bat. I think that would be a mistake, as Wheeler as #1 upside.
Reds third baseman Todd Frazier has been a disappointment to his owners this season, as he has not been able to build on his strong 2012 debut season. Frazier went 3-3 with a HR and 4 RBI in the Reds loss to the Brewers last night. He is now hitting just .237-.330-.397 with 12 HRs, 47 runs, 55 RBI and 5 stolen bases on the season.
I am beginning to wonder if Brandon Belt might be on the verge of a big breakout season next year, as he has started to hit and hit for power recently. Belt went 4-6 with a double and 4 runs scored in the Giants 14-10 win over the Marlins, raising his triple slash line to .279-.354-.488 with 15 HRs, 59 runs, 50 runs scored and 5 stolen bases. Since the All Star break, Belt is hitting .346-.418-.630 with 5 HRs, 17 runs and 12 RBI in 81 at bats, and is on pace for 20 HRs this season. I could see a 20-25 HR season from him in 2014.
Brewers catcher Jonathan Lucroy is having a very solid season at the plate in 2013 and I could see ranking him pretty highly in our offseason catcher rankings in a few months. Last night, Lucroy went 3-5 with a HR, 2 runs and 3 RBI with the home run being a game winning home run off of Reds closer Aroldis Chapman. Lucroy raising his triple slash line to .286-.337-.488 with 17 HRs, 38 runs and 64 RBI. Among fantasy catchers with 200 or more at bats, Lucroy is tied with several others at the top spot in home runs, and leads all catcher in RBI with 64. He deserves more of your love in 2014.
I was reading Buster Olney's column a few days ago and saw that Rockies manager Walt Weiss may consider keeping Rex Brothers in the closer role even when Rafael Betancourt comes off the DL. The Rockies are out of the wild card race and taking a very close look at their entire roster right now, so you may see some young players getting more playing time than usual in Colorado for the rest of the season. And we could see them make some big moves this offseason as well.