Braves to skip Mike Minor in rotation
About a week ago, I had had enough of rostering Braves starter Mike Minor in two of my NL only keeper leagues and decided to drop him for Marlins set up man Bryan Morris in both leagues. In his first start after dropping him, Minor gave up 3 runs on 8 hits, a walk and 6 strikeouts in 6.2 innings in a win over the Padres at home. The thought crossed my mind that I dropped him when he was about to turn things around. Well. Minor got knocked around for 5 runs on 9 hits in 5 innings on Friday night, and I commented on Twitter that Minor could be "broken". Broken is a slang term for saying he is either injured or needs to work on his mechanics because he isn't fooling many hitters this season. He started the season on the disabled list with a shoulder injury, and he hasn't been the same since.
On Saturday, the Braves decided to move Minor to the bullpen to work on a few things, and his next start will be skipped. His next scheduled start will be vs the Dodgers on August 12th in Atlanta.
If you haven't dropped Minor by now, you may want to consider it, as he won't help you for the next week and a half. Even still, he has shown he isn't the same pitcher he was last season, and he is back to giving up the long ball as well.
For more on Minor and the Braves, make sure you check out Talking Chop, SB Nation's Braves fan site.
Jacob deGrom: Undervalued starter
Coming into the season, Mets hurler Jacob deGrom probably wasn't drafted in most leagues. But what he has done over the last month has resulted in his ownership percentage to sky rocket.
Last night, he had a no hitter going through six innings vs the Giants, but for a time, he was being out-dueled by Giants starter Jake Peavy, who was perfect through six innings. deGrom's no-hit pursuit ended in the seventh inning, but he got out of the inning without any damage. Peavy, on the other hand, lost the perfect game in the seventh, and things got real bad for him, as he gave up four runs on four hits before getting out of the inning.
deGrom pitched into the eighth, giving up 2 runs on 4 hits, a walk and 7 strikeouts in 7.1 innings to earn his seventh win of the season. He is now 7-6 with a solid 2.77 ERA, 2.96 FIP, 3.37 xFIP, a 1.22 WHIP, and a solid 90-32 strikeout to walk rate in 94.1 innings this season. He has given up two runs or less in 7 of his last 10 starts this season, and owns a 45-8 strikeout to walk rate in his last seven starts.
Matt Harvey is scheduled to return to the Mets rotation next season, and top pitching prospect Noah Syndergaard is expected to make his big league debut this season, so the Mets have the makings of a very good starting rotation entering the 2015 season. Add in Zack Wheeler and Jonathan Niese/Bartolo Colon/Dillon Gee and the Mets have one of the better rotations in the National League right now, top to bottom.
I see the Mets dealing one of them for a shortstop this offseason, whether it be Cubs shortstop Starlin Castro or Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki. The Mets could be a sleeper entering the 2015 season, and I wouldn't count them out of a wild card spot next season.
For more on deGrom, make sure you check out Amazin Avenue, SB Nation's Mets fan site.
Cardinals second baseman Kolten Wong struggled to begin the 2014 season, and as a result, he was demoted to AAA to work on his swing and confidence. Since coming back from AAA, he looks like a different hitter, as he is taking advantage of his opportunity to start. Last night, Wong went 3-5 with a home run, a double, stolen base, 2 runs scored and 3 RBI. Since returning from AAA, he is hitting around .300 with 6 home runs, 15 runs scored, 12 RBI and 7 stolen bases. For the season, he is hitting just .247 with 7 home runs, 29 runs scored, 28 RBI and 16 stolen bases in just 66 games, and is on pace for a 10 home run, 20+ stolen base season. Not bad for under 100 games.
Reds starter Homer Bailey has been the subject of some of my frustration this season, along with Mike Minor, but he has turned things around over the last two months and is now the pitcher we drafted back in March. Bailey began the season with an ERA over 6.00 in April, a 4.26 ERA in May, but since has seen his ERA drop each month. His June ERA was 3.35 and his July ERA was just 2.67, so he is definitely looking like the near-ace the Reds signed to a long term deal last offseason. Last night, he limited the Marlins to one run on 3 hits, 3 walks and 5 strikeouts in 7 innings in the Reds 2-1 win. Bailey did not figured in the decision, as he left the game on the losing end of a 1-0 game, is now 8-5 with a 3.89 ERA, 1.25 WHIP and a 116-44 strikeout to walk rate in 138.2 innings.
Nationals third baseman Anthony Rendon is having a breakout season in 2014, and he just might be my #1 fantasy second baseman heading into the 2015 season. Last night, Rendon went 3-5 with a home run, double, 2 runs scored, 3 RBI and a stolen base in the Nationals 11-0 win over the Phillies. On the season, Rendon is hitting .281-.338-.469 with 14 home runs, 77 runs scored, 61 RBI and 11 stolen bases, and is on pace for 21 home runs, 116 runs, 92 RBI and 17 stolen bases. A few more stolen bases thrown in and a 20-20 season is in his grasp.
Power is down across the game, so it is becoming more and more common to see power hitters underperforming expectations. One of those power hitters underperforming this season is Rays third baseman Evan Longoria. Last night, Longo went 1-4 with a home run, 2 runs and 2 RBI in the Rays 10-3 win over the Angels. On the season, Longoria is hitting just .257-.334-.397 with 13 home runs, 57 runs scored and 56 RBI, so his power thus far has been a disappointment. He is on pace for just 19 home runs and 82 RBI, both of which would be career lows for him.
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