Brett Gardner: 20-20 hitter in 2014?
On Sunday Night Baseball, ESPN once again broadcast another Yankees-Red Sox game as if we haven't seen them play at all this season. In that game we saw Yankees outfielder Brett Gardner hit a game winning home run, his 15th of the season. That's right. Gardner has hit 15 home runs this season, a shocking amount since he had hit 23 home runs in his career coming into the season.
Gardner is having a break out season at the plate, hitting for more power and still contributing in the stolen base category. For the season, Gardner is hitting .284-.363-.467 with 15 home runs, 16 doubles, 70 runs scored, 50 RBI and 18 stolen bases in 22 attempts. According to ESPN, he is on pace to hit 22 home runs and steal 27 bases this season.
After stealing 49 bases in 62 attempts in 2011, and missing most of the 2012 season, Gardner stole "just" 24 bases in 32 attempts last season. It remains to be seen whether he will exceed the 24 bases he stole last season, but over the last two seasons, he is running less, and hitting for more power. I am not sure if he can maintain his current 15.6 home run per fly ball percentage, but if he can be an annual 20-20 hitter, fantasy owners can live with the reduced stolen bases totals in years ahead.
For more on Gardner and the Yankees, make sure you check out Pinstripe Alley, SB Nation's Yankees fan site.
Cubs promote Javier Baez
The Cubs are starting the see the fruits of their impressive rebuild as yesterday they announced that they will promote top prospect Javier Baez before today's game in Colorado. Click the link below to see what Alex Kantecki has to say about the fantasy impact of the call up:
The Pirates received some really bad news on Monday as outfielder Andrew McCutchen was placed on the disabled list with serious oblique injury. It was reported that McCutchen could miss up to a month, so he won't be back until late August/early September at the earliest. McCutchen was on his way to his second consecutive MVP award, as he is hitting .311-.411-.536 with 17 home runs, 64 runs scored, 67 RBI and 17 stolen bases, and on his way to a 25 home run, 25 stolen base season. It will be very difficult to replace McCutchen on your roster, but if you are in a keeper league, you should explore making a trade with an owner looking to rebuild.
The Pirates weren't the only team that received bad news on Monday, as the Giants learned that starter Matt Cain will have season ending surgery to replace bond chips in his right elbow. He should be healthy come spring training, but don't be surprised to see the Giants take it slow with Cain next spring, and he could start the season on the disabled list.
The Yankees received some good news over the last two days, as Masahiro Tanaka was able to play catch yesterday, making 50 throws with no pain or discomfort. The big tell will be how Tanaka feels today. If there is no pain or discomfort, he should be ready to start a throwing program. There is no guarantee that he will return this season, but this is definitely good news for the Yankees.
The Yankees also got good news from Michael Pineda who threw 3.1 scoreless innings in his most recent rehab outing in AAA. He is ready to increase his pitch count in his next start, and could be back in the Yankees rotation in the next few weeks.
Yankees starter Brandon McCarthy continues to pitch well after his trade to the American League, as he limited the Tigers to one unearned run last night, giving up 5 hits, 2 walks and striking out 8 in 5.2 innings. Since the trade, McCarthy has given up just 7 runs in his five starts, covering 30.1 innings with a 28-6 strikeout to walk rate. If ever there was a ream that needed
Indians starter Corey Kluber continues to pitch like an ace, and you have to start considering him as a top 10 starter in 2015 if he can keep this up. Last night, Kluber limited the struggling Reds lineup to one run on 6 hits, 2 walks and 7 strikeouts in 7.1 innings in the Indians 7-1 win. Kluber moved his record to 12-6 with a 2.55 ERA, 1.08 WHIP and a 177-35 strikeout to walk rate in 165.2 innings. After a round April, he has given up two runs or less in 14 of his 18 starts since May 1st.
Indians catcher Yan Gomes is quietly having himself a very nice season. On Monday night, Gomes went 1-4 with a home runs and 2 RBI in the Indians win over the Reds. Gomes is now hitting .283-.325-.475 with 15 home runs, 48 runs scored and 48 RBI in 343 at bats, and is on pace for 22 home runs and 69 RBI. He should sneak into the top 10 catcher rankings in 2015 if he can finish the season strong.
Bryce Harper has the talent to go on a two month tear and turn his season around, but right now he is struggling big time. I can't help but recall reading a a quote from a scout, maybe it wasn't a scout, that Harper was playing like he was still hurt. Since his return from the disabled list, he hit just .228-.330-.342 with just 2 home runs and 3 RBI in July. But there is some good news here as well. Since the All Star break, Harper is hitting .294-.400-.392 in 51 at bats. I am worried that he really isn't 100% and his recovery from the thumb injury is sapping his power.
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