Ender Inciarte: Underowned in most leagues
When the Diamondbacks signed Yasmany Tomas in the offseason, they thought they had their third baseman of the future. Well, we all know how that turned out, and it appears is nothing more than a corner outfielder/DH type. When he gets the call up no one knows, and that is partly due to the excellent play of under-owned outfielder Ender Inciarte. Inciarte has started six of the seven Diamondbacks games thus far, and has hit so well, he led off in Monday nights game vs the Padres.
On Monday night, he went 3-5 with 2 doubles., a triple, 2 runs scored and 4 RBI in the Diamondbacks 8-4 win over the Padres. He is now hitting .393-.414-.571 with 6 runs scored and 6 RBI. He might take playing time away from outfielders A.J. Pollock and David Peralta for the time being. If he is sitting on your league waiver wire, make sure you grab him while he is playing every day, as he is owned in under 1% of leagues at the moment. The Diamondbacks lineup is full of right-handed hitters and Inciarte is one of the few left-handed hitters on the 25 man roster, so he should play every day for the time being.
For more on Inciarte and the Diamondbacks, make sure you check out AZ Snake Pit, SB Nation's Diamondbacks fan site.
Nelson Cruz: 35 home run hitter in 2015?
I was watching the Dodgers-Mariners game on Monday night, and Brandon McCarthy had himself a strange night, as he struck out 10 Mariners, but also served up four home runs in the Dodgers 6-5 win. Two of those home runs came off the bat of outfielder/DH Nelson Cruz. Cruz led MLB in home runs last season with 40, and most of those came on the road even though he hit in hitter-friendly Camden Yards 81 times last season. That is why I was surprised when some in the industry were down on Cruz after he signed with the Mariners.
Both of Cruz's home runs went to right field off of McCarthy. One barely made inside the right field foul pole, and the other was a bomb to right center. Watching him hit both home runs to right field shows how much power Cruz still possesses as he approaches his age 35 season.
On Tuesday night, Cruz hit another home run, his fifth of the season, and his fourth in his last three games. Last season 25 of his 40 home runs came on the road, and thus far in 2015 all five of his home runs have come on the road. He will hit some at Safeco Field, maybe 10-12, and I see him approaching the 35 home run range in 2015.
For more on Cruz and the Mariners, make sure you check out Lookout Landing, SB Nation's Mariners fan site.
Pirates new first baseman Pedro Alvarez struggled mightily at the plate and in the field last season. His play at third was so bad, the Pirates installed breakout player Josh Harrison as their every day third baseman in the second half of last year, prompting a position switch for Alvarez heading into spring training. It appears has warmed to the position switch as he is hitting well in the first week of the season. On Monday afternoon, Alvarez went 1-3 with a solo home run in the Pirates 5-4 win over the Tigers. Alvarez has started the season hitting .304-.333-.739 with 3 home runs, a double, 5 runs scored and 5 RBI. But with the power comes the strikeouts, and he has struck out 9 times in his 24 plate appearances, so the batting average may suffer as we move along into late April and into May. Alvarez has always been a streaky hitter who strikes out alot, but last year, he cut down his strikeouts and improved his walk rate. If he can continue to improve his plate discipline, he could lead the National League in home runs this season.
Indians young starter Carlos Carrasco's start on Tuesday night ended early after he was struck in the face by a line drive off the bat of White Sox outfielder Melky Cabrera. He was carted off the field and we all hope he will be fine. I imagine he could land on the disabled list, but we should learn more on Wednesday after he is evaluated by team doctors.
I was high on Tigers starter Shane Greene heading into the season, and he hasn't disappointed through his first two starts of the season. Last night, he shut out the Pirates on 3 hits, no walks, 2 strikeouts and 12 ground ball outs in 8 innings of work. Greene has yet to give up a run, and has given up just seven hits in his 15 innings of work thus far, and is now 2-0 (assuming the Tigers hold onto their 1-0 lead) with a 0.00 ERA and a 0.53 WHIP. The Tigers dealt pitcher Rick Porcello to the Red Sox this offseason for Yoenis Cespedes and replaced him with Shane Greene, who came to Detroit in another deal. I bet Greene has a better season than Porcello.
Mets ace Matt Harvey made his first start at Citi Field last night against a bad Phillies lineup, but he wasn't as dominant as one would expect, especially after how he dominated in his first start of the season. Harvey gave up 3 runs on 5 hits, including 2 home runs, walking none and striking out 8 in 6 innings of work. leaving with a 5-3 lead. He should end the night with his second win of the season, with a 2.25 ERA, 0.83 WHIP and a 17-1 strikeout to walk rate in just 12 innings of work. It will be interesting to see how the Mets will handles his innings as the season progresses.
A few nights ago, Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw got knocked around in Arizona, Cubs ace Jon Lester hasn't looked good in his first two starts of the season, Nationals ace Jordan Zimmermann blew up in Boston on Monday, and Tuesday night it was Stephen Strasburg's turn. After giving up 3 runs on 9 hits and 3 walks in 5.1 innings in his first start, Strasburg was roughed up by the Red Sox last night, giving up 5 runs on 10 hits in 5.1 innings and now owns a 6.75 ERA and a 2.06 WHIP. Not a good start for Strasburg, but no reason to panic either. He will make at least 30 more starts this season, and gets to pitch against some bad lineups in the NL East.
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