Wily Peralta: 20 game winner?
Brewers starter Wily Peralta probably wasn't drafted till the later rounds of deep mixed leagues this season, and probably was waiver wire material in shallower leagues, but he is experiencing a breakout season in 2014. He's not a big strikeout pitcher, and has had control problems in the past. This season, he has cut his walks per nine from 3.58 BB/9 to 2.61 BB/9, and he has seen his ground ball rate rise to 55%.
On Thursday afternoon, Peralta limited the Giants to one ru on 7 hits, a walk and a season high 9 strikeouts in 6.2 innings of work in the Brewers 3-1 win. The win moved his record to 14-6 with a 3.42 ERA and 1.27 WHIP in 144.2 innings thus far. He currently leads MLB in wins and is on pace to win 20 games this season.
If you asked me before the season started who would win 20 games this season, I would have responded Clayton Kershaw or Adam Wainwright, but certainly not Peralta.
For more on Peralta, check out Brew Crew Ball, SB Nation's Brewers fan site.
Javier Baez: Already making an impact
I owned Cubs shortstop prospect in the UBA NL only keeper league I have written about so many times here, but I dealt him, and all of my prospects in several deals in an effort to win it all. Well...things haven't worked out as planned, as I have dropped to sixth place since dealing all of my prospects, but am about a point out of 5th, and in this league, the top 5 teams are in the money. The upside to not finishing in the money is that the 6th place team gets the first pick in next year's minor league draft. The current favorite to be picked first is the Cubs "other" shortstop prospect, Addison Russell.e
Yesterday afternoon, Baez had a big day at the plate, going 3-4 with 2 home runs and 4 RBI in the Cubs 6-2 win over the Rockies. Baez now has 3 home runs and 5 RBI in his first three games in the big leagues.
After seeing Baez had hit two home runs yesterday, I began to feel sick pondering what could have been had I stuck with my offseason plan to build my farm system up and hold onto the young talented hitters like Oscar Taveras, Corey Seager, Baez, among others. Sigh.
A few days ago, I asked my Twitter followers how many home runs Baez would hit after hitting the game winner in his first major league game. I guessed he would hit 8 more home runs the rest of the season. I think that will prove too conservative.
For more on Baez and the Cubs bright future, make sure you check out Bleed Cubbie Blue, SB Nation's Cubs fan site.
Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard has been the subject of a lot of negative talk in the media over the last few weeks, especially after manager Ryne Sandberg benched him for a few games. Admittedly, he has struggled in a big way this season, with his power at career lows. Well, he made the Phillies fans cheer last night as he hit a game-winning grand slam in the Phillies come from behind 6-5 win over the Astros. Howard is now hitting .220-.301-.363 with 18 home runs 51 runs scored and 71 RBI, and is still on pace for 25 home runs and 100 RBI. Not bad, but it comes with the low batting average.
Did you know that Mike Trout is the only player in baseball history with 80 home runs and 80 stolen bases before the age of 23? I know this thanks to Vin Scully. We are watching history folks, Enjoy it.
One second baseman who isn't getting much love, but probably should, is Cardinals second baseman Kolten Wong. Last night, he filled up the boxscore, going 3-4 with 2 home runs, 3 runs scored, 2 RBI and a stolen base in the Cardinals win over the Red Sox. He is now hitting .247-.291-.410 with 9 home runs, 32 runs scored, 31 RBI and 17 stolen bases in 19 attempts in just 70 games thus far. He was the Cardinals starting second baseman out of spring training, but struggled at the plate and was sent to AAA. Since his return, he is hitting .280 with 8 home runs and 8 stolen bases in less than 100 at bats. I have to say I am shocked with the power he has shown thus far. He could be a 30+ stolen base guy in 2015.
I have to say I am very surprised with the way the Yankees are playing, and how they are pitching, after losing 4/5ths of their rotation due to injury. Yesterday, young starter Shane Greene shut down the Tigers on 5 hits, 3 walks and 5 strikeouts over 8 shutout innings in the Yankees 1-0 win. The Yankees had to face 3 former Cy Young award winners in the four game series, Justin Verlander, Max Scherzer, and David Price. Yesterday, they had to face the up and coming RIck Porcello, who is having a breakout year of his own. Greene moved his record to 3-1 with a 2.89 ERA, 1.21 WHIP and a 29-13 strikeout to walk rate in 37.1 innings. He is owned in just over 3% of leagues right now, so grab him for a spot start and ride his hot streak while it lasts.
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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.