Good News, Bad News. That is the story in the AL East for the coming week and for my backyard. Good News: I got the pool going, dosing it with enough Chlorine to blow up a city block and it ran for 2 of the required 24 hours before the water was too low to run the pump anymore. Bad News: It seems the pool intake has twisted over the years from torqueing on and off the seasonal caps for the outlet, so now the vinyl liner has shifted leaving about a half an inch of opening for the water in the pool to go wherever water under the pool goes. Back to the drawing board.
That is how we’ll look at the state of the East. Good News/Bad News. And this week’s pitching grabs will include both the AL East and Central division’s best pitching options.
New York Yankees: 33-28 1st Place
Masahiro Tanaka, SP has come back from a 30 day “period of rest” and picked up right where he left off, winning his first two starts while giving up 2 ER in 14 IP. He also had a strike out to walk ratio of 15-0. I realize I have to keep in the back of my mind he’s got a partially torn flexor tendon, but I’m going with my gut here. I have to as I own him in 4 of my 5 leagues. That 30 day rest may have cost him Cy Young consideration, but if you are in a Head to Head league, even if there is another “rest” wouldn’t it be nice to have a rested Tanaka in your fantasy playoffs?
Dellin Betances, RP is the closer. Yes, I like many others, not so boldly predicted that this would happen. But not this way. Those of us Betances owners who held on will now be rewarded, as long as Betances and the rest of the bullpen are ready for the challenge. Betances has only given up 1 ER so far in 2015.
Ivan Nova, SP is beginning a re-hab assignment. In very deep leagues he is already owned, though in shallow or very competitive leagues he may be a viable spot starter when he is activated. Before getting giddy though remember that he has never before achieved fantasy greatness for any extended periods even though there is talent there. Great news for the Yankees though.
Sergio Santos, RP was called up. He’s been successful before and is worth watching in any capacity. He and Wilson, Shreve and Martin will have to each step up now.
Jacoby Ellsbury, OF is taking batting practice and throwing. He still needs a date for a rehab assignment but should be back on the MLB field by late June/Early July.
Some projections at the 10 week point. Were these what you expected?
Brett Gardner, OF – 100 Runs, 35 SB, .271 BA
Mark Teixiera, 1B – 40 HR, 110 RBI, .255 BA
Brian McCaan, C – 20 HR, 90 RBI, .264 BA
Alex Rodriguez, 3B – 28 HR, 82 RBI, .273 BA
They Yanks are getting valuable real life contributions from Chris Young, Stephen Drew, Chase Headley and Garrett Jones, but none are useful in fantasy unless you play match-ups with hitters.
Andrew Miller, RP – A Flexor Mass strain. Meh, Tanaka has a tear and he is pitching. No, wait, not everyone is Tanaka. Miller has had elbow surgery before as well. Either way, it is bad news for the Yanks. It is good to have such a seemingly capable backup in Betances, but who will back up Betances? Strikouts per 9 IP through yesterday – Betances – 18.47, Miller – 16.20.
Michael PIneda, SP has hit as peed bump of sorts. Since his 16 K game the Yanks have been trying to give him extra rest, but it may instead be causing extra rust as PIneda has had a few rough games giving up four runs or more runs in three of his last five starts. Hopefully he’ll be fine.
Baltimore Orioles – 31-30 4th Place
The Orioles are now 31-30 and I think they are just starting to put it together. The Cream rises and I think that this will be a 3 horse race with the O’s, Blue Jays and Yanks. I think the Rays will fall off and the Sox are just not going to make a run this season.
Back from the DL – JJ Hardy, SS, 6/4, Matt Wieters, C, 6/5, both are hitting well over .300 in the last 7 days. Bud Norris, SP, 6/7 came off the DL and pitched well in a 5 inning effort.
This team is hitting. Here are some BA’s and OPS’ from the past 2 weeks: Adam Jones, OF, .313, 1.040, Manny Machado, 3b, .345, .987, Chris Davis, 1B .348, .906.
Jimmy Paredes, OF and Delmon Young, OF are still useful if one wants to take the time to learn when to deploy them.
Nolan Reimold, OF is back and hitting well. We’ve seen that before though, no?
This Starting Pitching staff has a chance to pull it together. Tillman, Jimenez, Gonzalez, Chen & Norris will be far more effective than any group the Red Sox can trot out. That will be a difference maker.
Miguel Gonzalez, SP hit the DL. He leads the team with 5 wins and a 1.12 WHIP in a season that has been far better than expectations so far. Luckily it is a strained groin and not his arm, so he may be back in two weeks.
Mike Wright, SP was tabbed to replace Gonzalez in the rotation, and not Kevin Gausman, SP thus further delaying Gausman’s relevance. No offense to Mr. Wright.
Toronto Blue Jays, 33-30 3rd Place.
Devon Travis, 2b has started a re-hab assignment. Remember him? He was my ROY candidate after the first month. Hopefully he picks up where he left off.
Edwin Encarnacion, 1b seems to be heating up while Russell Martin, C and Josh Donaldson, 3b have continued their season opening hitting. Donaldson has to be gathering MVP traction by now with the writers.
The Jays are also getting valuable contributions from Chris Colabello, 1B/OF, Justin Smoak, 1b and Kevin Pillar OF of late, and all three are useful in fantasy if you don’t need to play them every day.
This starting pitching staff could be a big time sleeper in 2015. Mark Buehrle, SP is pitching his best ball in what is his self proclaimed final season. Aaron Sanchez, SP is pitching well enough to use in fantasy though he was “rested” recently with general upper body soreness. Ok, I get that sometimes too. Marco Estrada, SP/RP has been adequate in the 5th spot, so we are waiting on RA Dickey, SP to pitch better (he’s shown flashes but has been far too inconsistent), and Drew Hutchinson, SP to to get his act together and then we may have a playoff caliber rotation.
Miguel Bautista, OF is still struggling. This will turn around, but when? That lineup is 10 times better with him slugging in the middle than without.
Drew Hutchinson, SP keeps taking 1 step forward then 2 steps back. The talent is there but I’m not taking a chance with him on my team any time soon. Especially now that I finally gave up on CC Sabathia.
Brett Cecil, RP is still the closer. There was talk of a Rafael Soriano, RP signing but he went to the Cubs instead.
Tampa Bay Rays, 34-29 Tied for 1st –
Chris Archer, SP is continuing his assault on AL hitting and continues garnering some support for a Cy Young vote or two. He is 7-4 with a 2.00 ERA and .940 WHIP and we are nearly half way through the season. In his past 5 starts he has struck out 8, 12, 15, 11 and 5 batters.
Matt Moore, SP is on a re-hab assignment and eyeing a late month return. Temper your expectations right away but we’ve seen before where many surgically repaired pitchers that have big time talent don’t need long to find it again. I have him stashed on a few teams and he is still out there.
Erasmo Ramirez, SP and Alex Colome, SP, who were not even in the original rotation, continue to contribute. Ramirez has been especially sharp pitching quality starts in 5 of his last 6 with 3 Wins over that time. Colome has been a bit inconsistent, though one thing I see that shows me he is going to put it together is the extremely low walk rate he has maintained all season.
Kevin Jepson, RP has proven quite the valuable fantasy reliever this season. Aside from his holds & IRS he has chipped in some W’s and four saves, including one tonight.
Joey Butler, OF has been fun to watch, but he’s 29 and history says it won’t last. That is more than can be said for the rest of the Rays offense. I hope Evan Longoria, 3b gets it going as I just traded Josh Reddick for him in one league.
Desmond Jennings, OF – He’s going to miss 8 more weeks. I’m cutting bait, in fact who can remember what it was he used to do for fantasy squads?
Jake Odorizzi,SP is battling a sore oblique and was DL’ed June 5th. Without him the Rays are done, if not already.
Drew Smyly, SP has a torn labrum but does not require surgery. August is the best case here.
Brad Boxberger, RP. Nice knowing you Brad.
Boston Red Sox, 27-36 Last Place –
David Ortiz, DH has 3 HR in his last 4 games. If you own him sell high. It may be a tease.
Dustin Pedroia, 2b is hitting like the Peds of old but some are still complaining that he is not hitting enough. What do they think he is? He is hitting .310 with a .372 OBP and 9 HR and we’re not at the half way point yet. The lack of runs and RBI is more a function of his lineup than Peds himself.
Hanley Ramirez, LF/SS is hitting pretty well for a LF’er. But if you have him as your SS you are doing even better. Hitting .275 he is on pace for 80 plus runs and RBI as well as close to 30 HR.
Xander Bogaerts, SS is hot lately hitting .400 in the last two weeks with 6 runs and 8 RBI pulling his season average up to .295.
Eduardo Rodriguez, SP has 2 wins and a 0.440 ERA after his first 3 MLB starts with 21 K’s in 20.2 IP. He does have 7 walks and a HR given up so he is not free and clear to be the next King Felix just yet.
Justin Masterson, SP is on a re-hab assignment. When he comes back we know he is not unseating the aforementioned Rodriguez. That leaves as demotion choices the inconsistent Joe Kelly and the now in the dog house Wade Miley who could not understand why he was pulled after giving up 5 runs on 9 hits in 4 innings the other night.
Tommy Lane, RP (lefty specialist) and Steven Wright, RP ( long reliever) have carved out useful niche’s in the Boston pen if you are in a league that values middle relievers.
This is a last place team. But some would say they won 2 years ago on smoke and mirrors. No such luck this season.
Cover photo courtesy of Led Zeppelin from their self titled1969 debut album often referred to as ZOSO.
Pitching Grabs for the week 6/15 to 6/21. Bolded pitchers are two start pitchers for this coming week.
Monday: M. Tanaka, NYY @ MIA, Erasmo Ramirez, TB vs WAS, T. Bauer, CLE @ CHC, M. Buehrle @ NYM, E. Volquez, KC @ MIL, Carlos Rodon, CHI @ Pit, Wei Yin Chen, BAL vs PHI.
Tuesday: Jose Quintana, CHW @ PIT, Alex Colome, TB vs WAS, Nathan Eovaldi, NYY @ MIA, Shawn Marcum, CLE @ CHC.
Wednesday: D. Price, DET @ CIN, M. Pineda, NYY @ MIA, Ubaldo Jimenez, BAL @ PHI, Danny Salazar, CLE vs CHC.
Thursday: C. Archer, TB @ WAS, R.A. Dickey TOR vs NYM, C. Carrasco, CLE vs CHC, Justin Verlander, DET @ KC, Bud Norris, BAL @ PHI.
Friday: C. Kluber, CLE vs TB, C. Sale, CHW vs TEX, Eduardo Rodriguez, BOS @ KC.
Saturday: M. Tanaka, NYY vs DET, Erasmo Ramirez, TB @ CLE, T. Bauer, CLE vs TB, E. Volquez, KC vs BOS, Carlos Rodon, CHI vs TEX.
Sunday: Jose Quintana, CHW vs TEX, Alex Colome, TB @ CLE, Shawn Marcum, CLE vs TB.
(Click the BLUE link below to listen to the show)
Major League Fantasy Sports Radio Show: Join Ej Garr and Corey D Roberts on Sunday June 21st from 7-9pm EST for this Fathers Day edition of Major League Fantasy Sports Radio sponsored by The Sports Palooza Radio Network. Call in at 646-915-8596. This week’s topics will be everything fantasy related in the A.L. East and A.L. West divisions.
Join us for week one of our Major League Fantasy Football Weekly Youtube Show on Saturday June 20th, 2015 from 2-3:30pm EST. This show will run every Saturday from 2-3:30pm EST throughout the season. Lou Landers, Ron McCleese, and Jeff Nelson will be your hosts every week. Our guest this week is Bryan Robinson who is a writer with our organization. We will have Devin Joseph Offensive Lineman from the St Louis Rams on the show in the coming weeks. I am also working on Jerrell Freeman the MLB from the Colts. Come by and ask some questions to the boys and have some fun!