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Roto Roundup: Yu Darvish Almost Perfect

Ray Guilfoyle offers his thoughts on the top fantasy performers from Tuesday's MLB action.


The big news from Tuesday was the performance of Rangers starter Yu Darvish, as he came within one of out pitching a perfect game vs the Astros. Let's take a closer look:

Yu Darvish: Nearly Perfect

Darvish showed us how dominant he could be in his last 7 starts of the 2012 season, where he seemed to harness his control problems, striking out 57 and walking just 10 batters over his last 50.2 innings of work. Last night, he was even more dominant. He threw 111 pitches over 8.2 innings, giving up just one hit, no runs, striking out 14 and walking none vs an Astros team that will strikeout quite a bit this season. Here are some other amazing stats from his performance last night:

  • Five of the ten batters he faced struck out at least two times last night.
  • Of his 111 pitches thrown, 78 went for strikes.
  • Of those 78 strikes, a whopping 27 were swinging strikes, and 14 were called strikes.
  • He threw first pitch strikes to 19 of the 27 batters he faced.
  • Of the 26 outs he got, 14 were via the strikeout, 8 were ground ball outs, and just 4 were fly ball outs.

Lucas Harrell: Fantasy-worthy in 2013?

Darvish's counterpart, Astros starter Lucas Harrell, pitched well enough to win last night, as he gave up just just one run on 6 hits, 2 walks and 4 strikeouts over 6 quality innings. If there is an Astros pitcher to grab in fantasy leagues this season, it is Harrell. Harrell made 32 starts last season, going 11-11 with a 3.76 ERA, 3.75 FIP, and a 3.89 xFIP. He doesn't strike out too many batters (6.51 K/9), walks a few more batters than you would like (3.62 BB/9), but does two things very well: he keeps the ball in the ball park (0.60 HR/9) and owns an elite ground ball rate of 57.2% last season. Of his 18 outs last night, he got 4 via the strikeout, 3 via the fly ball and 11 ground ball outs. If he can limit the free pass like he did last night, while pitching in the weak-hitting AL West, he could be a pretty productive fantasy starter that you can grab off the waiver wire this season.

Gerrit Cole: Call up could be sooner than you think

I was checking out Twitter before dinner last night and saw this very interesting tweet from Will Carroll (@injuryexpert):

As I wrote in a recent Roto Roundup, with Jonathan Sanchez set to be the Pirates 5th starter, Gerrit Cole could be called up by June at the latest, and this confirms my thinking. With the way Sanchez has pitched in the past, I could see Cole called up by the early May.

Here is what else happened in Tuesday's MLB action:

Giants starter Madison Bumgarner wasn't as dominant as Yu Darvish was last night, but came pretty close. He shutout the Dodgers for 8 innings, giving up just two hits, walking none and striking out 6 to win his first game of the season. He went to a 3 ball count just once, and went 0-2 on 12 of the 26 hitters he faced.

Orioles catcher Matt Wieters has been a breakout candidate of mine for the last few seasons, and I still think he has a monster 30 home run, 100 RBI season in his bat, and maybe this year could be the year. Yesterday, he got the season off on the right foot by going 2-3 at the plate with 2 walks, 2 runs, and 2 RBI, including his first home run of the season. One of his at bats last awhile, as he battled Rays ace on a 13 pitch at bat early in the game.

Rays outfielder Desmond Jennings has loads of talent, and it wouldn't surprise me if he put up a 20 HR, 50 stolen base season one of these years. He went 2-4 with a double, two runs scored, an RBI and a stolen base in the loss to the Orioles yesterday.

Coming into the game yesterday, Orioles outfielder Adam Jones struggled in a big way when facing David Price in his career, so he was due. Boy was he. He went 3-5 with two doubles, 2 runs, and 2 RBI yesterday, and appears ready to build on his breakout 2012 season.

Blue Jays starter R.A. Dickey struggled in his first start with his new team last night, giving up 4 runs, 3 earned runs, on 5 hits, 4 walks and 4 strikeouts vs the Indians. His catcher J.P. Arencibia certainly didn't help matters, as he had 3 passed balls. How soon before the Blue Jays call up Josh Thole to catch Dickey going forward? As I indicated on Twitter last night, I see Dickey disappointing fantasy owners this season, as his strikeout rate jumped from 5.78 K/9 in 2011 to 8.86 K/9, and his K% jumped from 15.3% to 24.8% last season.