Fake Teams is looking for fantasy football and baseball writers
In case you missed my post from Tuesday afternoon, I am looking for some fantasy football and baseball writers over the next week or so. The details of the position can be found here. If interested, please register and join Fake Teams, and write a fan post on the topic of your choice. I will be reviewing the fanposts over the next week and get back to you when I have made my decision.
Masahiro Tanaka looks like an ace
Coming into the season, I ranked Yankees "ace" Masahiro Tanaka as a top 25 starting pitcher for 2014, and he hasn't let me down thus far. On Wednesday afternnoon, he thoroughly dominated the Cubs, shutting them out on two hits, a walk and ten strikeouts in eight innings in the Yankees 3-0 win. Tanaka is now 2-0 with a 2.05 ERA and 0.77 WHIP. I am not going to say I predicted him to pitch this well, but I was very high on him, and predicted that he would pitch better than Yu Darvish this season.
His ten strikeouts give him 28 in his first three starts of the season, the highest total for a pitcher's first three starts since 1900. Yes, 1900. He owns a 28-2 strikeout to walk rate in 22 innings so far. Of the 66 outs he has induced, 28 have come via the strikeout and 27 out have come via the ground ball, so he is everything you want in a starting pitcher, as he strikes out a lot of batters, doesn't walk many and keeps the ball on the ground. I know it is early, but, in my eyes, he is an ace already.
For more on Tanaka and the Yankees, make sure you check out Pinstripe Alley, SB Nation's Yankees fan site.
Is Johnny Cueto for real?
Wow. I have to say I did not see this from Reds starter Johnny Cueto. Cueto shut out the Pirates in a complete game three hitter on Wednesday. He needed 107 pitches to go the distance, as he struck out twelve and induced eight ground ball outs.
Cueto is now 1-2 in his four starts, with a fantastic 1.50 ERA, 0.80 WHIP and a 35-8 strikeout to walk rate. He has given up one run or less in each of his four starts thus far, and is certainly making fantasy owners who drafted him very happy. Cueto is quickly making Reds fans and his owners forget about his injury-prone 2013 season, where he made just 11 starts and landed on the DL three times.
For more on Cueto's gem, make sure you check out Red Reporter, SB Nation's Reds fan site.
Wednesday was a day full of excellent pitching performances, including the two discussed above.
Much has been written on the struggles Reds center fielder Billy Hamilton has endured to start the 2014, season, but he had a decent day at the plate on Wednesday afternoon. Hamilton went 1-3 with a walk, two runs scored, and two stolen bases in the Reds 4-0 win over the Pirates. Hamilton is not out of the woods yet, but a few more games like this and he should be safe for another month or so, at the very least. Should he continue to struggle at the plate, he could be in danger of a demotion to AAA.
Johnny Cueto was not the only starter to throw a complete game on Wednesday, as both Julio Teheran and Cliff Lee locked up in a pitcher's duel in Philadelphia. Teheran tossed a complete game three hit shut out, walking none and striking out four in the Braves 1-0 win. Teheran moved his record to 2-1 with a 1.93, 1.04 WHIP and a "disappointing" 13-6 strikeout to walk rate in 28 innings.
Lee, on the other hand, was more hittable in his complete game last night. He gave up one run on 11 hits, a walk, and 13 strikeouts to take the loss. After his terrible first start of the season, where he gave up eight runs in five innings, Lee has given up just four runs over his last 22 innings of work. Thus far this season, Lee is 2-2 with a 4.00 ERA, 1.56 WHIP (WOW) and a 28-2 strikeout to walk rate in 27 innings.
The pitching matchup of the night was in Texas where Felix Hernandez squared off against Yu Darvish. Hernandez had his way with Rangers hitters, giving up just one run on four hits, a walk and striking out nine in a no decision. He was in line for the win, but Fernando Rodney did what Fernando Rodney does. Hernandez is now 3-0 with a 1.91 ERA, 0.74 WHIP and a 39-3 strikeout to walk rate in just 28.1 innings. He appears poised for a career best season at this point.
Darvish was dominant on the mound as well, just not as dominant as King Felix. Darvish lasted seven innings, giving up two runs on seven hits, two walks and eight strikeouts, finishing with a no decision as well. Darvish is now 1-0 with a 0.82 ERA and 0.86 WHIP and a 23-4 strikeout to walk rate in 22 innings thus far. The two runs he gave up tonight were the first two runs he has given up this season in his three starts.
In his first major league game, Astros outfield prospect George Springer went 1-5 with a walk, a run scored, two strikeouts and a caught stealing in the Astros 6-4 loss to the Royals. His only hit was an infield single that stopped between home plate and third base near the third base line in the third inning, with Jason Castro following that up with a two run homer to give the Astros an early lead. I think Springer can have an impact on fantasy leagues this season.
Dodgers second baseman Dee Gordon may not have been drafted in some leagues this season, but he is owned in virtually every league at the moment. Last night, Gordon provided the only offense for the struggling Dodgers lineup as he went 3-4 with an RBI triple and a stolen base. Gordon is now hitting .404-.453-.553 with a home run, 5 runs, 6 RBI and a major league leading 10 stolen bases. Part of the reason for his hot start is the fact that he is being more selective at the plate, as evidenced by his 7-4 strikeout to walk rate in 47 at bats thus far. Andrew Grant from True Blue LA broke down his improved plate discipline in this piece, showing that Gordon started showing better plate discipline in AAA last season.
While many fantasy owners were reaching for Billy Hamilton to solidify their stolen base category in drafts this season, others waited on the above mentioned Dee Gordon and Mets outfielder Eric Young Jr. Yesterday, EYJr went 1-4 with a walk, run scored and two stolen bases in the Mets 5-2 win over the struggling Diamondbacks. Young now has nine stolen bases on the season, one behind league leader Gordon. Like Gordon, he may not have been drafted in some leagues this season, and is still unowned in 65% of leagues, so grab him if you need stolen bases.
For all things fantasy baseball (and football), make sure you check out Fantasy Rundown, for links to some of the best fantasy coverage on the interwebs.