Happy Father's Day to all the dads and dads-to-be. Keep doing what has to be done in a culture that no longer appreciates it.
RP Phil Hughes, New York Yankees: A shut out 8th inning with 2 Ks in a 2-1 game looks like the Yanks have found their bullpen help in the soon-to-be 23-year-old Hughes. Since moving to the 'pen, he has thrown 8.2 innings and struck out 12. In those five appearances, he has walked two and allowed just two runs, and those came in a 3.2 inning mop-up appearance.
While I hope the media sees Hughes as the solution, I expect it to clamor for Hughes to replace Joba Chamberlain in the rotation. The reactionary press just doesn't grasp the improvement in fastball speed that occurs in a switch from starting to relieving.
3B Gordon Beckham, Chicago White Sox: In a season where hyped prospect disappoint upon recall, Beckham has been an active member of that class. He hit his 1st major league homerun. At 8-48, he hasn't been impressive. However, that hides the uptick of six hits in his last 20 ABs with two doubles and the home run along with four BBs against just two ks.
OF Willie Harris, Washington Nationals: After hitting 13 HRs and stealing 13 bases in 2008, Harris was a sleeper in NL-only leagues. Even with the nightmare that has been the Nationals 2009 season, he was doing his share. However, he hit a HR and stole a base yesterday. With 2B eligibility in many formats, he is a player to keep an eye on going forward. He has stolen double digit bases in five of the past six seasons.
1B Kyle Blanks, San Diego Padres: The team's top prospect made his first major league start - in LF, The 6'6, 285 lbs first baseman went 1-3. The Padres have little choice but to try and see if Blanks can play int he outfield. I'm hoping so because phycial-ism will forever keep Blanks in the baseball conversation i.e. he's a statue in the outfield, he's too big, blah, blah, blah.
2B Ian Kinsler, Texas Rangers: A another HR and SB bring his season totals to 18 and 14 respectively. Despite leading-off, he also has 48 RBIs. He is a lock to be taken in the 1st round in 2010, The only question is how high. I'm setting the O/U at 6.5.
2B Luis Valbuena, Cleveland Indians: The rookie middle infielder homered twice and now has four. Surprisingly, that is one more than Jhonny Perlata who hit his third. With Asdrubal Cabrera nearing his return and the trading deadline looming, expect a lull in Valbuena's ABs but a resurgence post-deadline as playing time is freed-up.
8th Inning Holds: Brad Ziegler OAK (3), Leo Nunez (12) and Dan Meyer FLA (10), Sean White SEA (8), LaTroy Hawkins HOU (5), Scott Linebrink CSX (4), Chan Ho Park PHI (3), Dan Wheeler TB (8)
Saves: Ryan Franklin STL (17), J.P. Howell TB (4), George Sherrill BAL (14), Jose Valverde HOU (4), Bobby Jenks CSX (16), David Aardsma SEA (14), Matt Lindstrom FLA (13), Andrew Bailey OAK (8)
Blown Saves: Ryan Madson PHI (3), Kerry Wood CLE (4)