James Paxton continued to pitch well last night versus the ferocious Tigers tossing six innings, allowing five hits, one run, walking one and striking out a pair to move to 3-0 on the year. We shall call you, Pax the Destroyer! Pax is also one of Guardians of the Galaxy, believe it or not. No, not the tree or the raccoon. No, he’s not Scott Hatteberg from Moneyball or the smoking hot green alien either, but the other guy. The big guy. Yeah, him, apparently, he can pitch too. Since returning from the DL at the beginning of the month, he’s got a 2.16 ERA in three starts, giving up 4 ER, 15 hits and 4 walks while striking out 11 in 16.2 innings against some of the leagues top offenses (Baltimore, White Sox and Detroit). Sure, the stats aren’t overwhelming, but he’s still adjusting after returning from four months on the DL with a strained lat, and if you take his early season stats into account, the Destroyer holds a 0.94 WHIP and a 24/6 K/BB ratio. Also, the sample size is tiny, but the .236 BABIP and the 2.61 xFIP sure are pretty to look at. The M’s need Paxton to step up big time down the stretch, and I think he could do the same for your fantasy team. Pax the Destroyer gets the Phillies next week, and he’s undefeated, getting better by the start. He’s available in little over 70% of leagues and you don’t have to be a space pirate, a weird alien tree man, or a even Xandarian collector to see he could be worthy of a pick up in most leagues.
Here’s what else happened in fantasy baseball Friday night:
Marcus Stroman – 0.2 IP, 5 hits, 5 ER, K. The Stromassacre. Marcus needed 37 pitches to record just two outs as the rookie was Stro-manhandled by Chicago and the Sox scored 10 runs on 17 hits, including two hit games from Alejandro de Aza, Aramis Ramirez, Dayan Viciedo, Conor Gillaspie and Jordan Danks. These kinds of outings come with the “owning a rookie pitcher” territory. Last week he pitched a complete game versus Detroit, then he goes and throws up all over your ratios last night. He should rebound next week versus the Rays. Or not. Stream-o-Nator likes it. Who’s to say, really?
Jose Abreu – 3-for-5, 2 runs, 3 RBI. His 89 RBI leads the league. Have you gotten my love letters, Jose? I masked the paperwith my scent, so it may smell like marijuana, doritos and nag champa.
Kristopher Negron – 4-for-4, RBI. The Negronomicon or Book of the Reds, predicted Kris would have four hits tonight, on the “ides of Augustine.” Creepy. It also claimed that everyone in attendances skin would melt off their faces, but hey, one out of two predictions ain’t bad.
Johnny Cueto – 8.0 IP, 6 hits, 2 ER, 6 K and his 15th win. The 15 wins leads the league. I don’t need to tell you how good this guy is. Cueto and his 2.06 ERA is of the pitcher caliber that warrants a start even in Coors. Either that or the Rockies are just really terrible these days. Probably a little of both.
Avisail Garcia – Set to return this weekend. He’s been tearing up his rehab assignment batiing .340 with a HR, and should be ready to help out a hobbled White Sox outfield. I’d absolutely take a flier on him in most leagues if he’s out there.
Nolan Arenado – 2-for-4, HR (12). Look Nolan, you have one shot. One opportunity to seize everything you ever wanted. Tulo out, CarGo out. You’re the man. This is your moment. Will you capture it or let it slip? Yo. Yo. Palms is sweaty, knees week, mom’s spaghetti…err, sorry.
Charlie Blackmon – 2-for-4, SB (22). Was slightly surprised to see the Chuck Nazty is still starting on the daily, let alone leading off for the Rox, I feel like I haven’t mentioned him in a while. Regardless, you have to be happy with what you’ve got out of him thus far, and I’d be interested to see how early someone else picks him in the draft next year.
Cliff Pennington – 2-or-4, HR (1). Cliff has been swinging a hot bat since being activated from the DL, he’s 9-for-25 with a HR, SB and 8 runs in six games and could be worth an add if your middle infield slot is looking as desperate as mine has been lately. Add him if you hate yourself.
Aaron Hill – 1-for-4, 2-run HR (10). I’m sorry, have we met? You look familiar but I can’t seem to remember you. Something keeps telling me to remember to forget about you though. On second thought, that’s probably my Shakira album on repeat. Unfortunately, the audio album has much less Rihanna/Shakira petting than I had hoped when I bought it. Whatever. Wherever.
Zack Wheeler – 6.2 IP, 4 hits, 2 ER, 4 BB, 10 K and his 8th win. Wheeler threw 120 pitches but still couldn’t get through seven innings. That’s the fantasy equivalent of a white person problem though, I’ll take that start any day of the week. Dude’s still got some issues with his command that might blow up in your face at some point, but he’s managed fine thus far. Keep riding that mystery ship to fantasy glory.
Jenrry Mejia – 1.0 IP, K, SV (18). Pitching through his hernia to get your fantasy team a save. After the game he bathed himself in ice water, downed a bottle of whiskey and drove his souped up GTO through an exploding bear-shark. What you think you’re some kind of tough guy?
Robinson Cano – 2-for-4, HR (11). H-to-the-Izz-R. About as solid a first rounder as they come. But temper yourself, Cano. For every home run Robbie hits, his agent Jay-Z gains the copyrights to sample a cherished oldie you once loved.
Chris Taylor – 2-for-3, RBI. The rookie is batting .385 through his first 18 games and is he everything we wanted Brad Miller and Nick Franklin to be? Well, he hasn’t flashed any speed or power yet, so perhaps we should hold off before crowning him the new Brad Miller just yet.
Rick Porcello – 6.0 IP, 10 hits, 5 ER, 3 K. If you own Rick, you just have to accept that he’s going to #$%& you in the @#$ every four or fives starts, but when he is on he sure is easy on the ratios and the 13 wins certainly don’t hurt.
Denard Span – 3-for-4, 2 SB (25). You literally had like three months to pick this guy up so I don’t want to here anyone complaining! <–That’s my impression of your dad giving you fantasy advice. Tough but fair.
Bryce Harper – 2-for-4, 2 RBI. I think something is arising. I can feel you getting warming. Umm, sorry, I didn’t mean to put my hand there. Bryce, if you can hit 15 more homers and drive in 40 more runs we can be best friends again.
Corey Kluber – 7.2 IP, 5 hits, 1 ER, 2 BB, 10 K. Since they’re recasting the Fantastic Four and all, why not give Corey some consideration to be the new Thing. If the new Human Torch can be a black dude, why can’t the Thing be an MLB pitcher. He gives a whole new meaning to the term it’s Klubering time! For seriously though, he is fantastic. Klubes is top 10 overall on the Razzball player rater for good reason. Only David Price has had more double digit strikeout games, he’s top 10 in ERA and WHIP, second in strikeouts, and his 9.89 K/9 and 27.4 K% are the stuff fantasy dreams are made of. Yes, you should probably draft this guy next year over a Kershaw, F-Her or Strasburg.
Wei-Yin Chen – 7.0 IP, 4 hits, 1 ER, 6 K. He’s been one of ESPN’s “recommended streamers” for the past few weeks now. I wonder when he crosses over from streamer to being ownable in most leagues. Perhaps, ESPN is just scare to give old Wei-Yin the full vote of confidence. Well, me and the Stream-O-Nator like him a lot next week, and I rarely agree with robots, so do with that what you will.
J.J. Hardy – 2-for-4, RBI. Returned after sitting out a few days and picked up right where he left off. J.J. is batting .417 with 2 HR and 9 RBI over the past week and should be owned in most leagues by now, so make sure he’s owned in yours.
Robbie Grossman – 3-for-5, HR (6), 2 RBI. The seventh straight game where he’s led off, which I guess is bad news for Jose Altuve and Dexter Fowler owners? Robbie’s 7-for-29 in that time with 6 runs a HR and 3 RBI. He could be worth the add in deep leagues if you need more stress in your life.
Jake Marisnick – 2-for-5, run, 2 RBI. Hit the game winning 10th inning double to seal this one for the Stros. You didn’t think Houston would let their prized Jarred Cosart go without something in return, did you? Jake is batting .462 with a homer in the past week, he’s also got some good speed. He may never get this hot again, so if you were ever going to pick up this schmohawk now’s probably the time. How’s that for an endorsement?
Dallas Keuchel – 7.0 IP, 6 hits, 3 ER, 3 BB, 8 K. And that…is Dallas!
Clay Buchholz – 7.0 IP, 7 hits, 2 ER, 2 BB, 9 K. The Sawx ace finally put up back-to-back non-cringe-worthy starts. However, if you’re a Sawx fan you probably cringed anyway when you read “Red Sox ace Clay Buchholz.”
Brock Holt – 2-for-5, RBI. BROCK-HOLT! After falling back to Earth some, B-Rock seems to have reclaimed some of that magic that made us all love him so much in the first place. He’s hit safely in his past nine games, with multi-hit performances in his past two. BROCK-HOLT!
Yoenis Cespedes – 1-for-4, 2-run HR (20). Has homered in three of his past five games. After the game, Big Papi took Yoenis back to his penthouse where he told him to put on a Manny Ramirez jersey and just “hang out for a bit.” It was weird.
Alex Cobb – 7.1 IP, 6 hits, 0 ER, 8 K. Remember when you wanted to drop him in April because he’d be out for little over a month? Yeah, me neither. Corny has been on another planet his past five starts (3-0, 34.o IP, 4 ER, 40/7 K/BB ratio), and he hasn’t given up more than two earned runs in a start since July 4. More please!
Brandon McCarthy – 6.1 IP, 7 hits, 2 ER, 1 BB, 7 K. B-Mac has a 2.30 ERA and a 43/7 K/BB ratio in seven starts since arriving in the Big Apple. Sure, the 2.80 xFIP suggested all along that he could be pitching much better than his 5.01 ERA in Arizona, but who would’ve thought it’d be this much better? Especially since he moved to such a hostile division like the AL East. Some things aren’t worth explaining, they’re just worth riding into the ground until they crash and burn. He gets the Astros next week, and is showing no signs of letting up. He should be owned in most mixed leagues at this point.
James Loney – 2-for-4, HR (6), 2 RBI. Yawn. Loney is the perfect Rays first baseman. He’s going to bat .300 and hit maybe 10 homers. He won’t hurt you, but he’s not putting up big numbers either. He is perfectly adequate, he might as well not even be there. No reason to be flashy. Regardless, JL has been swinging a hot bat since the calender turned hitting .350 this month, with multi-hit performances in his last three games. If you are struggling at corner you might want to give him a look.
Jason Hammel – 3.0 IP, 6 hits, 5 ER, 1 BB, 2 K. Gave up 3 HR. After two somewhat promising outings against the Rays and the Twins, Hammel is back at it again, and his ERA with the A’s sits at 6.75. Meanwhile, Jesse Chavez lurks in the shadows for the 5th rotation spot as he pitched two innings in relief and struck out four. Jason’s likely got a little more leash, but I’d probably steer clear from his start versus the Angels next week.
Alex Gordon – 2-for-3, 2 runs. Dayum son! What have you been taking because I want some. Steroids, you say? Whoa, that’s not cool man. I keed! Alex is batting .289 and slugging .511 in August with an .844 OBP. Dare I say he’s a big reason the Royals are in first place, or do they owe it all to Lorde?
Josh Willingham – 1-for-4, 3 RBI. I’d say that J-Willy Stylez got the best of his old team, but in reality, he knows exactly how good he’s got it right now. From worst to first in a matter of days, that is how you get traded, kids. If you need power, Willingham is worth a look.
Jarrod Dyson – 2-for-4, SB (27). SAGNOF! You think he’s fast, you should see his line of vacuums. Those things really suck!
Cody Asche – 2-for-4. HR (8). Nice game for the pre-season favorite, but I can’t recommend him. Overall, he’s played like Asche.
Jimmy Nelson – 6 IP, 6 hits, 2 ER, 1 BB, 4 K. The rookie has now thrown five quality starts in a row, and has been perfectly capable, albeit a bit underwhelming from a fantasy perspective. Not bad, but he’s no Mike Fiers. As the Grey Worm would say, he couldn’t be Mike Fiers if he was #$@%-ing Mike Fiers! And that’s me quoting Grey!
Kole Calhoun – 3-for-4, 3-run HR (13). GINGER POWER! One home run for every freckle on his back. Kole hit this one like your momma hit her red-headed step-child. What you didn’t have a red-headed step-sibling? Next thing you’re gonna tell me you didn’t live in a trailer park either.
Adrian Beltre – 4-for-4, 2 RBI. “Yo Adrian, I always says life is not about how good you hit, but how much you can get hit and keep moving.” Thanks, Rocky. Words to live by, really. This Rangers team has hit Beltre pretty hard this year and he’s risen above it to continue producing. That’s how you do it, champ! You did it!
Garrett Richards – 7.1 IP, 7 hits, 2 ER, 7 K and his 13th win. Pfft! Richards throws like a girl! And of course by that I mean, little league legend and female phenom Mo’Ne Davis (LLWS shut out, 6 IP, 2 hits, 0 ER, 8 K). If she was on the bump she probably would have thrown another complete game, 15 K shut out if she was taking on the lowly Rangers. She’s so Mo’Ne and she doesn’t even know it. The first little lady to pitch in the Little League World Series gives new meaning to throwing like a girl. This young lady’s gonna be a star! Ha-cha-cha! If Mike Trout says so it must be true. Anyway, he may be no she, but remind me to draft Richards everywhere next year. Also, remind me to draft Mo’Ne Davis everywhere in 10 years.
Questions? Problems? Complaints to management? Advice, small gifts or large bribes? Please leave it in the comments below, or you can get at me on twitter @dandemanco. Join us next Saturday for another Friday recap as fantasy baseball continues next week, all week long!