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:
Jason Heyward: Looking comfortable in the leadoff role
Braves outfielder Jason Heyward had a big night at the plate on Saturday night, going 2-7 with 2 HRs and 3 RBI vs the Nationals. HIs second home run came with two out in the bottom of the ninth off of Nationals closer Rafael Soriano. Heyward recently moved to the leadoff spot in the Braves lineup, and has caught fire at the plate ever since. Since moving to the top of the order, Heyward is 30-78, raising his average from .223 to .258. He isn't your normal leadoff hitter, but he can work the strike zone and take a walk, hit for average and power as well.
He is hitting over .400 with a .700+ slugging percentage in August, so I don't see the Braves moving him out of the top spot anytime soon. Saturday's performance at the plate was his eighth multiple hit game in his last ten games, and he appears to be over his early season hitting woes.
For more on Heyward and the Braves, make sure you check out Talking Chop, SB Nation's Braves fan site.
Paul Goldschmidt: # 2 Fantasy first baseman in 2014?
Diamondbacks first baseman Paul Goldschmidt is exceeding my expectations for him back in spring training. I wasn't as high on him as others were, but I am a believer now. Goldschmidt went 3-6 with a HR, 2 runs and 3 RBI in the Diamondbacks 15-5 win over the Pirates on Saturday. Goldschmidt raised his triple slash line to .296-.391-.551 with 30 HRs, 80 runs, 96 RBI and 13 stolen bases in 17 attempts.
Right now, I would only rank Orioles first baseman Chris Davis ahead of him in my early 2014 first base rankings. Davis' huge year at the plate is overshadowing the season Goldschmidt is having. Besides August, Goldschmidt's worst month at the plate was June where he hit .262, but still hit 7 home runs and drove in 26 runs. He has hit at least 5 home runs in each month thus far, so he should easily hit 35 home runs this season, and could approach 40.
For more on Goldschmidt and the Diamondbacks, make sure you check out Arizona Snake Pit, SB Nation's Diamondbacks fan site.
Last night, the Dodgers ace shut down a struggling Phillies lineup, giving up just 3 hits, a walk and striking out 8 in the Dodgers 5-0 win. Kershaw is now 12-7 with a 1.80 ERA, 0.85 WHIP and a 182-40 strikeout to walk rate in 190.1 innings. He has given up two runs or less in 20 of his 26 starts this season, and has given up one run or less in 15 of his 26 starts. Even more impressive is the fact that he has gone 7 or more innings in 21 of his 26 starts, and currently leads the NL in innings, strikeouts, ERA and WHIP. A second Cy Young award is in his future.
Drafting players who you know what you are going to get out of them every year helps to offset the players who are inconsistent year to year, guys like B.J. Upton in 2013, or Alex Rios in his off year. And a player like Miguel Cabrera, who I have written about repeatedly in this space over the past few weeks, because he does just about everything very well. Like his walk-off home run to beat the Royals yesterday. He is already the best hitter in the game, and I think he is doing his best to become the best hitter ever. Enjoy him while you can.
One player who was very underrated coming into the season is Nationals outfielder Jayson Werth. Werth went 2-3 with 2 runs, 2 walks, 2 RBI and a stolen base in the Nationals 8-7 win over the Braves last night. Werth is quietly hitting .335-.409-.534 with 17 HRs, 61 runs, 52 RBI and 7 stolen base in 7 attempts in his 322 at bats this season. He has multiple hits in seven of his last ten games, and I think he could move into my top 20-25 outfielders this offseason.
One Twitter follower asked me whether he should drop Starlin Castro recently, and I responded saying he should not. Well, after getting pulled from yesterday's game in the fifth inning for a defensive lapse, the Cubs could consider sending Castro down to AAA. I doubt they will, but it is an alternative they could consider to light a fire under the talented, yet disappointing, shortstop. With players like Javier Baez and Kris Bryant about a year away from the big leagues, the Cubs want to see if Castro can turn things around and be their shortstop of the future, or whether he would be better served turning things around in another organization.
Castro is hitting just .244-.278-.345 with 7 HRs, 48 runs, 32 RBI and 8 stolen bases in 11 attempts this season. Like so many other Cubs hitters, he rarely takes a free pass, walking in just 19 of his 501 at bats this season. Sending Castro down to AAA could be just what gets him more focused day in and day out.
One player who appears to have benefitted from a demotion last season is Blue Jays first baseman/DH Adam Lind. Yesterday, Lind went 2-3 with 2 HRs, 2 runs and 2 RBI in the Blue Jays 6-2 win over the Rays yesterday. Lind was demoted last May, and he hit .304 in the second half last season, and has continued to hit well this season. After Saturday's big game, Lind is now hitting .280-.351-.482 with 16 HRs, 52 runs and 44 RBI in 361 at bats this season. It appears last year's demotion turned his career around, and maybe a demotion could do the same for Castro.