FanDuel: SB Nation One Day Fantasy Leagues
Lucas Duda: More than a dude
One of the dumber calls I've made this year was to pass on keeping Mets first baseman Lucas Duda for dirt cheap in my home keeper league. I instead kept Gregory Polanco, who I've since dropped, and over paid for Brandon Moss and have since been rotating lesser options at first. Duda has proved 2014 was no fluke with a very hot start in 2015. On Wednesday, the 29-year-old had his second two home run day in six games, giving Duda eight home runs, 29 runs and 23 RBIS in 47 games while improving his slash line to .305/.400/.539.
While Duda isn't on pace to hit 30 home runs like he did in 2014, this Duda has been even better with a higher on-base and slugging percentage. Even more impressively, Duda has been able to mash lefties to the tune of .391/.472/.696 after being a non-factor against southpaws last year with a .180 BA.
Duda can finish as a top-10 first baseman, and he's even more valuable because he is eligible in the outfield. The only thing hurting his long-term value is his age, but it appears he's figured things out and is progressing as a big-league hitter with a better eye at the plate and significant improvement against left-handed pitchers.
Scott Kazmir leaves start
You might remember Scott Kazmir having a breakout 2014 before fading down the stretch. Kazmir, who entered Wednesday's start against Detroit, had gotten off to another hot start this year, posting a 3.09 ERA with 53 strikeouts in his first 55 1/3 innings. The 31-year-old left-hander has a long history of injuries, and the latest came Wednesday against Detroit. Kazmir exited after three innings, striking out four and walking three, with tightness in his left shoulder. An MRI performed Wednesday night did not make his status any clearer, Joe Stiglich of CSN Bay Area reported.
Kazmir won a career high 15 games last season, but it now appears he'll again miss an extended period of time. Make sure to check the status on Kazmir before making any quick lineup decisions.
What else is new? Max Scherzer dominated the Cubs in a 2-0 win Wednesday, striking out 13 in seven innings and allowing one walk and five hits. The performance dropped his ERA from 1.67 to 1.51, and he now owns an 85/10 K/BB ratio in 71 2/3 innings. You got the feeling that Scherzer could have set a new career high in strikeouts, which is 15 (May 10, 2012), but he was already at 108 pitches and there was no need to stretch his workload any further. Wednesday's 13-strikeout performance was his fourth game with 10 or more strikeouts. Scherzer could be in line for his best season ever with improved control.
Jon Lester was OK, too, tossing his seventh straight quality start with 10 strikeouts in seven innings. He has his ERA down to 3.30 with 61 strikeouts and 17 walks in 62 2/3 innings this year after a rough start on his new team. In the same game, Bryce Harper blasted his major-league leading 18th home run of the season. Ho-hum. Nelson Cruz also hit his 18th home run of the season earlier in the day against Tampa Bay's Brad Boxberger.
Chris Davis crushed two home runs in a 5-4 win against the Astros on Wednesday. Prior to Wednesday, the former home run champ had failed to go deep twice in the same game this year. Davis is now hitting .216/.293/.464 with 10 home runs and 26 RBI. While it's nice to see the power return, Davis' batting average has been floating around .200 for the last two seasons. He owns a 36.8 percent strikeout rate. Selling high on Davis, if he gets into a power stroke, might be the best option at this point.
Evan Gattis hit his 10th home run of the season, including his third in his last eight games. Gattis now has 10 home runs, 21 runs and 30 RBI for the surging Astros. The power was expected, but Gattis is currently hitting just .218/.251/.473 in 45 games. Unlike Davis, you can take a hit in batting average with Gattis because he plays in a light position at catcher. I also think we'll see his batting average come up to the .240-.250 range as he's been unlucky thus far with a .212 BABIP. I would make a play for Gattis and try to make up the batting average elsewhere if possible. He's currently on pace for 34 home runs and 101 RBI for Houston.
Dustin Pedroia, aka Laser Show, hit a pair of home runs Wednesday in a , his second multi-home run game of the season since hitting two on Opening Day. It was also Pedroia's first home runs since May 2, snapping a drought of 22 games without a long ball. The Red Sox second baseman now owns a .290/.361/.448 slash with seven home runs, 19 runs and 21 RBIs as Boston's leadoff hitter. He's on pace for 24 home runs, which set a new career high (21 home runs in 2011). I don't think we see Pedroia quite reach that level, but 15-18 is certainly in reach.
Matt Adams is expected to miss 3-4 months with a strained right quad, which could leas to season-ending surgery. Adams has struggled this year with a slash of .243/.281/.375 and only four home runs and a .132 ISO. Adams owns big-time power but hasn't been able to put it all together at the big-league level, struggling mightily against lefties in his career (.198 BA against LHP; .298 RHP). For now, Mark Reynolds will see most of the playing time at first, but don't rule the Cardinals out from making a move. Last night, Ray suggested Ryan Howard could be a fit for the Cardinals.
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Stats from FanGraphs.com