Rookie pitching sensation Yovanni Gallardo made his first appearance as a reliever, and it did not go well. He allowed three earned runs, four overall, in 2 2/3s innings. Seven runners allowed completed the poor stat line. The question is whether this means Yo can't pitch in relief or whether this appearance was going to occur, regardless of starting or relieving, as the league caught up with him.
The Red Sox's Julio Lugo had his first multi-hit game since May 28th. He also broke a 33 at-bat string of futility. Does this mark the beginning of a stretch of hitting where Lugo becomes the player the Red Sox concluded was worth $36MM over four years?
The Devil Rays are now three games behind the 4th place team in the AL East. Normally, one would excuse the club because of its tough division, but only the 1st place Red Sox are over .500 mark. At what point does the team need to actually win games versus being lauded (coasting?) for its deep stable of prospects. There is something missing.
Indians rookie Ben Francisco hit his third HR of the season in just 14 ABs. He will be 26 in October so he is off the prospect radar. (He was not ranked amongst the top 30 by Baseball America. However, John Sickels included him in his book.) However, a 17HR/25 SB 2006 season and a 15 SB one with a slash line of 329/390/479 in 2007 makes him a player to watch. Unfortunately, I suspect he closer to becoming a 4A than a regular. Working against him is the OF depth in the Cleveland organization and the fact Ben Fran bats right-handed. See you in Oakland in 2009.
Hunter Pence went 3-6 with a HR yesterday. He is the leading candidate for the NL ROY award and is universally lauded in the fantasy advice community. I am concerned, though. He has walked a mere ten times in 246 ABs while striking out 46 times. Over a full season, that equates to 25 bases-on-balls against 115 strikeouts. Is there a player with those peripherals who is as highly touted?
Another rookie who was the talk of the town a month ago is Diamondback's rookie utility man Mark Reynolds. He had a scorching May where he hit .426. After getting everyone's attention, he proceded to hit a feeble .162. Last night he began his July by going 1-4 with a HR. His current AVG is .273, and that is what he should be valued on.
Dodgers' 3B Wilson Betemit hit his 9th HR. With just a .208 AVG, no one is going to see the relatively excellent OBP of .338. He has done this by drawing 26 walks in 130 ABs. What is more important a .338 OBP with 9 HRs or 32 SBs and a .308 OBP?