Before I get into the Roundup, make sure you post any fantasy baseball questions you may have in the Fantasy Baseball Questions Thread. There are some good questions there already, so check it out.
Fake Teams Podcast - Episode 5: Already down one host
Make sure you check out Episode 5 of the Fake Teams podcast, where I filled in for Andrew Ball. Zack and I discussed several players including our thoughts on Chris Davis, Domonic Brown, Michael Wacha and more.
Stephen Strasburg Injured again; Bryce Harper likely headed to the DL
Strasburg left his start last night after 2 innings with what some thought was a shoulder injury, as it was reported he was shaking his right arm during the start. It was later reported that he has a strained oblique and more than likely will be placed on the DL. This injury will probably keep him out of action for more than the required 15 days, as he will probably need several rehab appearances.
Strasburg was quoted as saying he will make his next start, but he also stated he's been feeling this over his last few starts, so I see the Nationals being cautious with their ace.
To read more about Strasburg's injury, and the Nationals, make sure you check out Federal Baseball, SB Nation's Nationals fan site.
Patrick Reddington, the managing editor at Federal Baseball, stated that Bryce Harper is also likely headed to the DL, so prepare accordingly.
Domonic Brown: Breaking out in a big way
Zack Smith and I discussed Brown at length in Episode 5 of the Fake Teams podcast, as Brown has been hot of late. After last night's performance, Brown is officially having a huge break out season, as he went 2-4 with 2 HRs and 4 RBI in the Phillies 8-5 loss to the Brewers last night.
Brown is now hitting .272-.306-.549 with 15 HRs, 25 runs, 36 RBI and 3 stolen bases on the season. Brown is now the National League leader in home runs with 15, and over his last 10 games, he is 14-39 with 7 HRs, 9 runs, and 15 RBI. He is on pace for 44 home runs, but I see him in the 30-33 range at the end of the season.
For more on Brown's breakout season, and the Phillies, make sure you check out The Good Phight, SB Nation's Phillies fan site.
Brown's teammate Cole Hamels doesn't appear to be the same pitcher this season. Hamels got knocked around for 7 runs, 6 earned runs, on a season high 12 hits, no walks and 3 strikeouts in 5 innings vs the Brewers last night. He is now 1-9 with a 4.96 ERA, 1.34 WHIP and a 66-25 strikeout to walk rate in 74 innings.
Over the offseason, Hamels had to cut short a throwing program due to some shoulder tightness, if I remember correctly, and I wonder if he is hiding an injury. It happens all the time with pitchers. They don't pitch like they did in the past, there is no injury, they continue to pitch poorly, they go on the DL with an injury.
Brewers catcher Jonathan Lucroy has struggled to duplicate his solid 2012 season at the plate thus far in 2013. Last night, he had one of his best games of his career, going 5-5 with 2 HRs, 3 runs and 4 RBI in the Brewers 8-5 win over the Phillies. He is now hitting .253-.306-.359 with 5 HRs, 14 runs and 24 RBI in 158 at bats, and has raised his batting average from .208 to .253 over his last 10 games. He can be a top 10 catcher going forward hitting in Miller Park.
Yankees starter CC Sabathia has not been the CC of old this season, as he has got knocked around over his last two starts, and has given up 11 home runs in his 11 starts this season. Last night, he came up big in a big spot vs the Red Sox last night. Sabathia limited the Red Sox to one run on six hits, no walks and 10 strikeouts in 6.1 innings in the Yankees 4-1 win. He is now 5-4 with a 3.71 ERA, 1.28 WHIP and a 71-16 K-BB rate in 80 innings this season. I see him returning to the CC of old going forward.
Who is this guy playing first base for the Rays this season? It can't be the same guy who played first base for the Dodgers last season. What is it with players signing with the Rays and having career years? James Loney went 2-5 with 2 HRs, 2 runs and 3 RBI last night in the Rays 9-2 win over the Indians. Loney is now hitting .331-.392-.531 with 7 HRs and 28 RBI this season. I am actually thinking about adding him in my Tout Wars league, assuming he is still available.
Reds starter Johnny Cueto was brilliant last night, shutting down the Pirates on one hit over eight innings in the Reds 6-0 win. Cueto walked just one and struck out six, and is now 3-0 with a 2.17 ERA, 0.88 WHIP and a 34-13 K-BB rate in 37.1 innings. Over his last two starts, Cueto has induces 26 ground ball outs over 15 innings, almost two per inning, and has induced 54 ground ball outs over his 37.1 innings thus far.
It appears the Nationals are on the verge of promoting third base prospect Anthony Rendon to AAA Syracuse, as he has not been challenged in AA. Jason Hunt detailed how well he has performed in his AA Level Review a few days ago, but I am wondering what the Nationals plans are for him. I wonder if the Nationals will use him as trade bait to fill the holes in their starting rotation. Time will tell. There has been talk of him playing second base to replace struggling Danny Espinosa, but he has played just 5 games there this season and the history of ankle injuries says he may not be long for the keystone.
Dodgers outfield prospect Yasiel Puig played center field again last night for AA Chatanooga, and I think he will be called up if he can show he is remotely able to play the position. I wouldn't be surprised if he gets the call on Monday.
Padres closer Huston Street was not available last night due to a calf injury, and there is speculation that he could need a DL stint. Padres beat writer Corey Brock tweeted the following about his injury:
Again, #Padres closer Huston Street was unavailable due to a sore left calf. It's the same calf that landed him on the DL last season.— Corey Brock (@FollowThePadres) June 1, 2013
Should Street need a DL stint, I imagine Luke Gregerson would see some save opportunities in his absence, as he has been pretty much unhittable this season.
Dodgers "closer" Brandon League entered the ninth inning to preserve a 5-3 Dodgers lead last night, but gave up a two run home run to Todd Helton, after Helton fouled off several pitches, to blow his third save of the season. It was a great at bat for Helton. I don't see how League can be called upon to close out games going forward, as the pressure to win games is huge right now for the Dodgers, and manager Don Mattingly is on the hot seat.