Brewers starter Yovani Gallardo won 17 games last season, thanks to a reduced walk rate and an improved ground ball rate, but this season the walk rate is his highest since 2009. Yesterday, he dominated the hot hitting Pirates, holding them to one run on 4 hits and striking out 14. The 14 strikeouts were a career high, and he is now 8-6 on the season with a 3.59 ERA, 3.85 FIP, 3.65 xFIP, and a 1.33 WHIP. Gallardo will always be a good strikeout pitcher, but he gives up more base runners than fantasy owners would like, mainly due to his walk rate. He is striking out more than a batter per inning, but the walk rate needs to improve.
Angels outfielder Mark Trumbo didn't have a position at the beginning of the season as a result of the Albert Pujols signing and the return of Kendrys Morales, so the team tried him at third base. That lasted about 8 games if my memory serves me correctly, so the team tried him in the outfield, even though they had 4-5 other outfielders at the time. The team waived Bobby Abreu and Vernon Wells landed on the DL, resulting in a starting outfield spot for Trumbo. These moves have worked out in spades for the team as Trumbo is having a breakout season at the plate. Trumbo went 3-5 with a HR and 2 runs scored yesterday, raising his triple slash line to .310-.362-.620 with 24 HR and 61 RBI thus far. He is on pace to hit 44 HRs and drive in 111 this season, and should be a third or fourth round pick in 2013.
I admit I did not expect Braves starter Ben Sheets to pitch this well in his first start in almost 2 years. He shut out the Mets for 6 innings, limited them to just 2 hits, a walk and striking out 6. He needed 88 pitches to complete 6 innings, inducing just 3 ground ball outs, 10 fly ball outs and 10 swinging strikes. It is just one start, but he will be in high demand off the waiver wire in deeper leagues this week.
Mets starter Johan Santana pitched a no-hitter back on June 1st, where he was allowed to throw 134 pitches to complete the game. Since then he has allowed 4 runs or more in 4 of his 7 starts, including yesterday's start vs the Braves. He gave up 6 runs on 8 hits, 2 walks and 3 strikeouts in just 5 innings pitched. Since shutting out the Dodgers on 3 hits in 8 innings on June 30th, Santana has given up 13 runs on 21 hits in just 9.2 innings of work, and I am beginning to wonder if the 134 pitch outing was a bit too much for a pitcher coming off shoulder surgery. He has given up 9 of his 13 home runs since the no-hitter, and has given up more than a hit per inning as well.
More Roundup after the jump:
After missing 3 months of the season, Red Sox outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury returned to the lineup on Friday night, and has hit in each game since. He went 3-5 with a double and a run scored yesterday and is 6-14 in his first 3 games back from the DL. He has yet to steal a base since returning, but he should be able to provide owners with solid production across all 5 categories.
If it wasn't for some guy named Mike Trout, we might be hearing more about Red Sox rookie third baseman Will Middlebrooks. Middlebrooks went 3-4 with a double, run scored and 2 RBI yesterday batting in the 7th spot in the lineup. For the season, he is hitting .301-.335-.546 with 11 HRs, 27 runs and 41 RBI in just 183 at bats. Pro rate that productions over 600 at bats, and he could be a 30 HR-100 RBI hitting third baseman in 2013. I have a feeling he will be getting his fair share of hype leading into 2013 drafts.
Tigers starter Justin Verlander bounced back after a rough appearance in the All Star game by shutting out the Orioles for 8 innings yesterday, giving up just 3 hits, walking 2 and striking out 8. He is now 10-5 with a 2.43 ERA and 0.93 WHIP this season. He won't win 24 games like he did in his Cy Young and MVP award winning 2011 season, but he is still on pace to win 18 games, which is not too shabby.
One starter who could get some votes for AL Cy Young this season is White Sox starter Chris Sale. Sale allowed just one run in 8 innings of work yesterday, scattering 10 hits, walking none and striking out 4 Royals. He is now 11-2 with a 2.11 ERA, 2.55 FIP, 3.20 xFIP a 0.98 WHIP and a 102-25 strikeout to walk ratio in 110.2 innings pitched. This is the same guy that manager Robin Ventura wanted to close back in April.
A's outfielder Yoenis Cespedes has started the second half of the season on fire. He went 4-5 with a HR and 3 RBI yesterday, raising his season triple slash line to .283-.341-.505 with 11 HRs, 12 doubles, 24 runs, 42 RBI and 6 stolen bases this season. For a guy who some evaluators thought needed some minor league seasoning, Cespedes is having a solid rookie season. He is on pace for just 20 home runs, but he plays 81 games in a heck of a pitchers park.
Dodgers outfielder Andre Ethier recently signed a 5 year extension for $85 million, which for me, was a bit too much for a 30 year old outfielder, but recent headlines suggest that the next MLB television contracts will bring even more money into the accounts of owners, with player salaries to increase as a result. Ethier went 2-4 with an RBI yesterday, after going 3-5 with a HR and 4 RBI on Saturday night. For the season, Ethier is hitting .297-.363-.500 with 11 HRs, 37 runs and 60 RBI, good for 4th in the National League.