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Is Tigers ace Justin Verlander a first round pick in 2013? I know a lot of us don't like to take a pitcher in round 1, but Verlander might be one of the safest starters in baseball. Then again, we thought the same of Roy Halladay coming into the 2012 season.
Verlander dominated the Blue Jays yesterday, giving up just 2 runs on 4 hits, 2 walks, and 12 strikeouts in 9 innings pitched. Verlander induced a crazy 24 swinging strikes yesterday. That is the most I have seen in awhile....although, I don't always look at that stat when reviewing box scores. Verlander is now 12-7 ( a far cry from the 25 he won last season) with a 2.50 ERA, 1.00 WHIP and a 192-47 strikeout to walk rate in 190.2 innings this season. He leads the AL in strikeouts, innings pitched and complete games, and is 2nd in ERA and WHIP. He will get some Cy Young award votes again this season, despite the low win total.
Blue Jays outfielder Anthony Gose was a Verlander strikeout victim twice yesterday, going 0-4 on the day. To say he is struggling is an understatement. He is now hitting .183-.256-.,244 with 9 runs scored and 10 stolen bases in 12 attempts. What is shocking is the fact that he has struck out 36 times in 82 at bats since his call up. Gose will probably win a Gold Glove someday if he could play everyday, as he has tremendous range and a solid arm, but his batting eye needs some work.
More Roto Roundup after the jump, including my thoughts on David Wright and a few others:
Mets third baseman David Wright is having a solid season at the plate in 2012, but the drop in power is concerning. He had a huge drop in power back in 2009, when he hit just 10 HRs in 535 at bats, the drop attributed to him being hit in the head by a Matt Cain fastball. You can't blame him, really. Getting hit in the head by a 95 mph fastball is certainly scary. But, he bounced back in 2010 to hit 29 HRs in 587 at bats. Here is his HR totals for the past 4 seasons:
2009: 10 in 535 at bats
2010: 29 in 587 at bats
2011: 14 in 389 at bats
2012: 16 in 443 at bats
Ok, so the 2012 season is not over, but I am starting to see a trend here, and it is not good. Here are his 2012 home runs by month:
April: 3 HRs
May: 2 HRs
June: 4 HRs
July: 7 HRs
August: 0 HRs
Was July an aberration? He is currently on pace for 21 home runs in almost 600 at bats. I may have to reconsider where I rank him amongst fantasy third baseman in 2013.
I had an email conversation about Phillies outfielder Domonic Brown with a Red Sox fan, a Yankees fan and a Phillies fan yesterday and two of them think that Brown will have to earn a starting outfield spot in the Phillies lineup in 2013. One of the two is the Phillies fan, which surprised me. I think Brown will have a starting outfield spot handed to him out of spring training next season. Brown continues to hit, as he went 2-4 with a double and two runs scored last night, and is not hitting .293-.370-.415 with a HR, 12 runs and 11 RBI thus far in 82 at bats. What is far more impressive is his 10-9 strikeout to walk ratio. Jason Parks from Baseball Prospectus opined in his chat yesterday afternoon that Brown may never be a big power hitter, but will hit for a solid BA with gap to gap power.
One guy who could be a bit of a sleeper heading into 2013 drafts that I like a lot is Cardinals first baseman Allen Craig. With Lance Berkman probably retiring after this season, Craig is the leading candidate to play first base every day for St. Louis. Craig went 3-5 with 2 runs and 3 RBI yesterday, raising his slash line to .313-.376-.572 with 18 HRs, 27 doubles, 63 runs, and 65 RBI in just 313 at bats. You can do the math to see what he could do if given 600 at bats, and it;s pretty darn good. Draft accordingly in 2013.
I was watching the MLB channel after a 35 minute run with my brother last night, when they flashed the stat that Cardinals outfielder Matt Holliday is the NL leader in RBI this season. Wow. Holliday went 2-5 with 4 RBI yesterday and is now hitting .303-.381-.519 with 23 HRs, 79 runs and 85 RBI this season. Along with leading the NL in RBI, he is 5th in runs scored, and 6th in HRs and walks. Holliday should get more love on draft day just due to his consistency, and the fact that he plays for the Cardinals, one of the highest scoring teams in baseball.
Lost in the horrific season that the Astros are having is the resurgence of first baseman Brett Wallace. Wallace is hitting the ball now like many projected him to do a few years ago. In just over 100 at bats, Wallace is hitting .288-.370-.510 with 6 HRs, 14 runs and 12 RBI. This hot streak may not last long though, as he BABIP is an unsustainable .393, and he has struck out a whopping 38 times in 104 at bats this season. Then again, his lowest minor league BABIP was .335 back in 2009, so he could just be one of those high strikeout, high batting average hitters in MLB.