Justin Upton catching fire in April - Again
You all remember the huge April Justin Upton had in 2013, right? To jog your memory, Upton hit .298 with 12 home runs, 22 runs and 19 RBI, and many felt he was going to finally have that big monster season at the plate. Well, we all know how that turned out as Upton hit just four home runs over the next three months, but still ended up with 27 on the season.
This April, he is off to another fine start. Yesterday, he went 2-3 with a home run, two runs, two walks and two RBI in the Braves 10-2 win over the Nationals. Upton is now hitting .386-.471 -.705 with 4 HRs, 10 runs and 8 RBI in 44 at bats. Upton is still young, so he could put up a monster season, but he will have to avoid the two month home run drought that he experienced last season.
Adrian Gonzalez: Power outage ending?
Fantasy owners used to be able to count on Adrian Gonzalez putting up 30-35 home runs per season, but then he had shoulder surgery which sapped his power. After hitting 30 more home runs every year from 2007 - 2010, AGonz has failed to hit more than 30 home runs in each of the last three seasons.
That power outage may be coming to an end though, as Gonzalez has hit a home run in each of his last four games, including one on Sunday. Yesterday, he went 2-5 with a home run, two runs and three RBI in the Dodgers 8-6 win over the Diamondbacks. Gonzalez is now hitting .280-.339-.680 with five home runs, 11 runs, 14 RBI and one stolen base. And it appears his shoulder is back to where it was several years ago when he was hitting for more power. Here is Dylan Hernandez from the Los Angeles Times on Gonzalez's power surge:
Gonzalez's home run totals have declined in recent years, something the left-handed-hitting first baseman attributed to an operation on his right shoulder leading up to the 2011 season. Gonzalez experienced something similar to what Matt Kemp described last season in the wake of a similar procedure: His shoulder felt tight and his range of motion limited.
Now, more than three years removed from the surgery, Gonzalez said of his shoulder, "It's looser."
His expanded mobility has allowed him to follow through on his swing the way he did when he was considered a home run threat.
"My finish is coming back," Gonzalez said. "It's something that's more mechanical than physical. If I can have a high finish and long finish like that, the ball will have more carry.
Dee Gordon goes wild on the bases
I was at my daughter's soccer game late yesterday afternoon, checking the Dodgers score on my phone, and was shocked to see that Dodgers second baseman Dee Gordon had three stolen bases in the first three innings of the Dodgers win yesterday. Gordon finished the game going 1-3 with two walks, a run scored and four stolen bases.
Gordon leads major league baseball in stolen bases right now with nine, and is hitting .400-.457-.525 with a home run, five runs, five RBI, nine stolen bases, and a 6-4 strikeout to walk rate in 40 at bats thus far. He is showing a much better eye at the plate thus far. If he can continue to walk like this, he could keep the second base job for the majority of the season. He obviously won't hit like this all season, but even if he hits .250-.260, he can steal 40+ bases.
The top of the Blue Jays order (1-5) had 14 of their 17 hits yesterday, led by outfielder Jose Bautista who went 2-5 with a home run and three RBI in the Blue Jays 11-3 win over the Orioles. Bautista isn't hitting for a high batting average, but you didn't draft him for that that. You drafted him for the power, and he is providing that thus far, as he now has hit five home runs and driven in nine runs, but is hitting just .225 at the moment. He has much more value in leagues where on base percentage is a category, as he is getting on base at a 45% clip.
The Reds moved Joey Votto to the two hole in their lineup this weekend, which makes sense, since he gets on base more than most any other player in baseball. On the other hand, he is a first baseman, and fantasy owners expect him to drive in runs and hit for power. Unless Billy Hamilton starts getting on base at more than a .195 rate, Votto won't be driving in many runs this season, assuming he stays in the two spot in the lineup.
Phillies second baseman Chase Utley is having a crazy first two weeks of the season, yet is going unnoticed due to the team he is playing on. Utley went 3-4 with a game winning home run in the Phillies 4-3 win over the Marlins. Utley raised his triple slash line to .500-.565-.875 with 3 HRs, 8 runs and 10 RBI in 40 at bats thus far. He has hit in all ten games thus far, and has driven in a run in seven of his ten games. He just might be the Phillies best hitter. Still.
Indians starter Corey Kluber was one of the more hyped sleepers this offseason, and I bought into the hype, as I traded for him in my AL only keeper league. After a terrible first start of the season, which saw him give up five runs on eight hits in 3.1 innings, Kluber has pitched better in his last two starts, including his outing vs the White Sox on Sunday. Kluber limited the White Sox to two runs on eight hits, no walks and six strikeouts in 7.1 innings, but did not figure in the decision. He has struck out 14 and walked none over his last two starts, covering 13.1 innings.
Rangers starter Martin Perez had one of his best outings of his career on Sunday, shutting out the Astros on five hits, three walks and two strikeouts in eight innings of work in the Rangers 1-0 win. Perez moved his record to 2-0 with a 2.70 ERA and 1.30 WHIP in 20 innings thus far. Perez struck out just two batters, but did induce a whopping 13 ground ball outs in eight innings.
Sunday gave up some bad news on the injury front, as two top three hitters at their position are injured, with one of them landing on the disabled list.
Rangers third baseman is dealing with a strained left quad, and was placed on the DL on Sunday. The move is retroactive to April 9th, so he should be fine to return on April 24th.
Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia could be heading to the disabled list as well, as he was scratched from the Sunday Night Baseball game last night and was headed to Boston to get his left wrist looked at by team doctors, as the wrist has been getting worse since he injured it last weekend.
I wrote yesterday that Rays starter Alex Cobb landed on the 15 day disabled list with a left oblique strain. Later in the day we learned that he will be out of action for 4-6 weeks, which is a big blow to the already decimated Rays starting rotation, and my Tout Wars roster. Just this week I traded my Brandon Belt and Luke Gregerson for Cobb and Jhonny Peralta.
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