Yesterday, June 19, was the 13th anniversary of Mandy Moore’s self titled album. While this album was released my freshman year of high school, Mandy Moore was one of my earliest celebrity crushes, going back to her debut. I am not embarrassed (you should all know by now I have no shame) to say her track Crush resonated with 14-year-old and (very) awkward me.
Zack Wheeler’s dominant start
Yesterday Wheeler fired a three-hit shutout against the Miami Marlins. Wheeler allowed a lone walk while sitting down eight Marlins on strikes. It took him 111 pitches to get through the game and he gathered 12 swinging strikes against a Miami team that holds the worst strikeout rate against righties in the league. Despite their 24% K%, the Marlins are middle-of-the-pack with a 98 wRC+ against right-handed pitchers. The outstanding start lowered Wheeler’s pitching slash to 3.93 ERA/3.15 xFIP/3.35 FIP for the season. With a 54% ground ball rate as well as a strikeout rate above 23% (9.00 K/9), Wheeler should be making waves in your fantasy league. He is available in just 23% of CBS formats but is free to grab over 40% of both ESPN and Yahoo! leagues.
A setback for Jedd Gyorko
Mere hours after getting good news on Wednesday and taking off his walking boot, Gyorko found himself once again in the protective gear yesterday. His plantar fasciitis hasn’t healed as well as the San Diego Padres had hoped and he’ll be re-evaluated again in a week. There still isn’t an official timeline for his return but factor in his slow start and this year is beginning to look like a lost year for Gyorko’s fantasy owners.
Thoughts on Danny Duffy
For the second start in a row Duffy pitched seven innings en route to a quality start. Two games does not a season make and though the recent results are good, what of the process? Of yesterday’s 101 pitches, Duffy managed just seven whiffs against the Detroit Tigers. The Tigers have hit southpaws quite well this season as their 110 wRC+ against them rates sixth best in baseball, so no shame in Duffy’s seven innings of two-run ball. He gave up three hits — one being a home run — and a walk while striking out five.
Duffy has been on the BABIP luck dragons good side as his .213 BABIP on the season has been powering his 2.80 ERA. His 3.90 xFIP and 4.58 FIP tell different tales than his shiny ERA and his 33.3% ground ball rate also concerns me. Duffy has also struggled with the walks as his 58% F-strike%, while better than this career average, is still below the 60.7% league average. Getting behind hitters is always a recipe for bad times and Duffy’s 3.39 BB/9 is bit high for my taste. He’s a decent stream option in standard mixed leagues but I wouldn’t give him a roster spot as he’s been more fortunate than good thus far. Too bad. I’d love to see a stadium packed with Duffman Photoshop’d posters.
Mookie Betts watch
I know Betts has just 15 games of Triple-A experience under his belt, but at least at the plate, I love what I’m seeing from him. He is hitting a cool .310/.403/.483 with two dingers and a triple. Toss in his four steals there — plus his 20 in Double-A this year — and his offensive game is very impressive. I’m less enthused with his defensive matters though. The Boston Red Sox have some guy named Dustin Pedroia manning second base for the foreseeable future and thus have begun teaching Betts all three outfield positions. The linked article is dated nearly a month ago and (other than second base) Betts has only seen time in center field in both Double and Triple-A. Of course his bat can play in the outfield but it could be very special in the middle infield. We probably won’t see Betts until rosters expand or if a series of injuries hits Boston, but I like Betts a lot for next season.
The daily five
Starting pitcher: James Shields — $8,900
Shields faces off against the Seattle Mariners and their inability to hit right-handed pitchers.
Starting pitcher: Corey Kluber — $8,800
Yes, Kluber has a tough match-up today in the Detroit Tigers but I’m trusting the right-hander to continue his strong season.
Other hitter: Troy Tulowitzki — $5,600
Tulo doesn’t come cheap but like Blackmon, I expect him to have a big day today.
Remaining budget: $17,900
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