Michael Fiers dominates the Cubs
I wrote about Michael Fiers after he limited the Dodgers to just one run in 8 innings of work in his last start, but even though he lasted just six innings on Thursday afternoon, he was much more dominating. Fiers shut out the Cubs on 3 hits, a walk and 14 strikeouts in the Brewers 6-2 win over the Cubs. That's right 14 strikeouts. If that doesn't tell you that run scoring and power are down and strikeouts are up once again, I don't know what does.
Fiers moved his record to 2-1 with a 1.29 ERA, 0.81 WHIP and a 24-5 strikeout to walk rate in 21 innings thus far. If he is still available in your league, I would grab him if you are looking for strikeouts and need some wins. He is currently avalilable in 90% right now.
For more on Fiers dominating start, check out Brew Crew Ball, SB Nation's Brewers fan site.
Devin Mesoraco: #1 fantasy catcher in 2015?
On Wednesday night, I was a guest on the AskRotoBaseball livecast with host David Kerr from Fantasy Squads, and one of the many players we discussed was Reds catcher Devin Mesoraco. David stated that Mesoraco will probably be a top 5 fantasy catcher in 2015. I opined that you can make the case that he could be the #1 fantasy catcher next season.
Heading into Thursday's game in Colorado, Mesoraco was hitting .297-.386-.580 with 20 home runs, 40 runs scored and 63 RBI this season, a huge breakout season for him. He is currently leading all fantasy catchers in home runs, slugging percentage, and RBI, ranks fourth in batting average and on base percentage and ranks seventh in run scored. He is on pace for 27 home runs and 84 RBI, and I think if I was ranking right now, he would be my #1 fantasy catcher heading into the 2015 drafts.
For more on Mesoraco and the Reds, make sure you check out Red Reporter, SB Nation's Reds fan site.
Fiers wasn't the only starter to strike out 14 batters on Thursday afternoon, as Tigers ace Max Scherzer followed Fiers lead vs the Pirates. The soon-to-be free agent shut out the Pirates on 3 hits, 2 walks and 14 strikeouts in the Tigers 5-2 win. Scherzer induced 25 swinging strikes on his way to his 14th win of the season. Scherzer is now 14-4 with a 2.98 ERA, 1.14 WHIP and a 196-46 strikeout to walk rate in 169 innings this season. He has given up two runs or less in four straight and in nine of his last ten starts. After ERAs over 4.00 in May and June, Scherzer put up a 2.08 ERA in July and a 1.80 ERA in his two August starts.
There are a few hitters having break out seasons in 2014, but none much bigger than the Dodgers All Star second baseman Dee Gordon. After winning the second base job in spring training. Gordon has been excellent at the plate, base paths and in the field. He has shown tremendous range at second base, and I think he could actually win the NL Gold Glove award at second base this season. Yesterday, Gordon had a big day at the plate, going 3-4 with a walk, 4 runs scored and 2 stolen bases in the Dodgers 6-4 win over the Braves. On the season, Gordon is now hitting .291-.338-.386 with 2 home runs, 67 runs scored, 26 RBI and 54 stolen bases, good for the major league lead.
I might upset the Braves fans out there, but can we all agree that Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman is basically the next Joey Votto? Freeman had a nice day at the plate on Thursday, going 3-4 with a walk and 2 runs scored, raising his slash line to .294-.381-.487 with 16 home runs, 75 runs scored and 64 RBI. He is on pace for 21 home runs, 100 runs scored and 86 RBI, all very good stats in the low run scoring environment we are in right now, but I don't see him ever being a 25-30 home run hitter. He is young enough to make a change in approach to hit for more power, but he currently doesn't hit enough balls in the air to get to that level. Still a top 5 fantasy first baseman, but you will have to look elsewhere for that big bopper.
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If you are looking for more fantasy advice, make sure you check out Fantasy Rundown for all your fantasy baseball and football needs.