Someone had his white Vans on! Daniel Ponce de Leon had another strong start Friday night pitching 6.1 innings allowing just three base runners (1 hit, 2 BB) and one run while striking out six for his first win of 2020. He had a no-hitter going through the first six innings until an Orlando Garcia home run, the only hit he surrendered, ruined his bid. Damn Daniel, 2016 called–they want their meme back. I touched on PDL (can I call him PDL? sounds like a bad light beer) last week and concluded he was too risky to touch, but his 3.15 ERA, 0.95 WHIP and 28/6 K/BB in September tell me something has definitely clicked. Considering he was rocking a 7+ ERA at the start of the month that gives you a sense of the strides he’s made in just a few short weeks. Perhaps he discovered the dot, dot, dot…fountain of youth? I’m sorry! I had to. Regardless the win was his first as a starting pitcher in 20 tries–that’s right 20! And yes, that is the record, albeit a fairly depressing record to hold. Maybe its these Brewers’ hitters, who he’s struck out 15 times this month to pad his 12.6 k/9 in 20 IP in September, or maybe it was finally getting the run support he needed (Cards scored zero runs for him in half his starts this year). More likely he started consistently locating his elevating fastball which allowed him to mix in breaking balls and keep opposing hitters off balance. Whatever it has been, his 4.96 ERA and 1.32 WHIP don’t tell the full story here. I’m going to choose to believe his 31.5 K% and .221 BABIP are more indicators of the pitcher DPdL is and he’s a player I’ll be keeping a very close eye on this postseason even if he’s just pitching in a middle relief role. So grab your white Vans and make sure they’re cleaner than the “WAP” radio edit because I’m telling you Daniel Ponce de Leon could be a a 2021 sleeper to watch!
Here’s what else I saw Friday night in fantasy baseball:
Jack Flaherty – 5.0 IP, 4 hits, 3 ER, 4 BB, 5 K. I’m going to give Jack a pass on 2020 and hope the his subpar season will give us the chance to own him in 2021. He’s shown flashes of dominance and I think that’s the Jack Flaherty we’re going to see a lot more of next year when things aren’t so [expletive deleted] weird.
Josh Hader – 1.0 IP, 1 hit, 2 K. One of the biggest surprises of the 2020 season for me was that Hader did not pitch like every day. With only 60 games I figured managers would burn out their best bullpen arms with no real reason to conserve them. I was wrong I guess.
Tommy Edman – 2-for-4, HR (5). Did you know the Cardinals are likely gonna make the postseason! Wow! Despite their 20+ doubleheaders and taking two weeks off, they’re basically in, kind of inspiring. Or not? I can’t decide if all the double headers is an advantage or not. They end up playing considerably less innings than the other teams, just multiple games a day. Good or bad?
Charlie Morton – 5.0 IP, 7 hits, 3 ER, BB, 8 K. We’re Rays pitchers, we don’t do the “six inning thing lmao”. That’s me quoting, Charlie. Sorry, if you want QSs better off in Cleveland. *Cash flexes bullpen*
Alec Bohm – 2-for-4, run, RBI. You dropped a Bohm on me–baybee. I covered Alec last week, all he does is hit baseballs, however, not really into the stand…yet. The power will come next year when you all own him. Mahk my words!
Randy Arozarena – 2-for-5, run, SB (4). I owned Randy a few days earlier in the season, but trying to dart throw the right Rays that might actually start the final two games of the year sounds impossible.
John Curtiss – 1.0 IP, 3 K, SV (2). Everyone in the Rays bullpen gets a save and a win on the year, that way they can’t fight over them and no one ends up with a big pay day. Win-win. *Cash flexes bullpen*
Taijuan Walker – 3.0 IP, 0 hits, 0 BB, 4 K. If you asked me back in July how we could kill Walker’s fantasy value this year, I would have said trade him to the AL East.
Travis Shaw – 3-for-4, HR (6), 2 RBI. Seems to be finishing the season up strong *raises eyebrow*, could be draftable next year, or it could just be because he only plays twice a week.
Mike Yastrzemski – 2-for-3, HR (10), 2 RBI. Not gonna miss spellchecking this guys name every week. Baby Yaz homers in his return from the IL because of course he does! The kid (not-really-a-kid) has magic genes, just ask your dad.
Wilmer Flores – 2-for-3, HR (10). Back to back games with a home run for Wilmer, and I admit I want to scream his name loud like Fred Flintstone. Woah dated reference, bruh!
Zac Gallen – 6.0 IP, 5 hits, 0 ER, BB, 10 K, 3rd win. He’s not broken! He just tanked until my team was out of contention. Whew, I guess. Maybe Zac’s best start of the season, fantasy-wise, and it couldn’t have come at a better time. When no one is paying attention.
Daulton Varsho – 2-for-3, run. Snoop dogg’s favorite fantasy player Varsho fo sho. But he calls him Varshizzle.
Christian Walker – 2-for-4, HR (7), SB (1). The slam & legs! In Phoenix, the slam & legs is served New Mexican style with extra lettuce and cheddar cheese and other things that make it less Mexican.
Raimel Tapia – 4-for-6, run. Slashing .309/.361/.383 with a five game hitting streak. Seems like an ideal lead off hitter really growing into the role! ie no way this guy starts next year.
Stefan Crichton – 0.1 IP, SV (5). In case you were wondering, Stefan’s favorite dinosaur is the SAGNOFalofagus.
Kevin Pillar – 3-for-4, run, 3 RBI. Slashing .322/.359/.471 with the Rox and probably hit his way into another contract with Colorado. He’ll probably start every day, too!
Ryan McMahon – 2-for-3, HR (8). Another Rocky who shouldn’t be starting but does and so you get a .220, 8 homer hitter in Coors. Things will be different when I’m managing the Rockies. *immediately trades for Mookie, signs Jamal Murray, signs Rays relievers and Kevin Cash, Cash flexes bullpen*
Garrett Cooper – 1-for-4, HR (6), 3 RBI. Yes, I’m very happy the Florida Marlins are in the playoffs. In late July, we weren’t sure they would play at all. And we treated them like they were infected patient zeros. Now they’re World Series bound (maybe). Marlins baseball, baby! Get hooked!
J.A. Happ – 5.0 IP, 3 hits, 3 ER, 2 BB, 3 K. Even with Aaron Judge (2-for-4, run, RBI) and Stanton and Torres and Luke Voit carrying them all on his broad shoulders, I just don’t think the Yankees have the starting pitching to get past a team like the Rays or Twins. But what do I know–they do be hitting dingers.
Sam Huff – 3-for-4, 2 HR (3). Huff and puff and crush two bombs!? Yes please. Don’t look now but he has a five game hit streak. Just don’t look at his strikeout rate. Just like that other Huff that played baseball, Aubrey, only Sam’s not a complete [expletive deleted].
Jose Urquidy – 7.0 IP, 7 hits, 2 ER, 5 K. That’s four straight quality starts for Jose, and his 2.73 ERA, 1.01 WHIP are mighty fine indeed. He seems like a guy a lot of Razzball readers are going to own next year.
Alex Bregman – 1-for-4, HR (6), 2 RBI. Not a great year to be an Astro, boy. Unless you’re Travis Scott of course. People are paying him just to eat McDonalds.
Jesse Hahn – 1.0 IP, 2 K, SV (2). Leia, “You’re the closer now. But there’s only three games left.” Hahn, “I know.”
Adalberto Mondesi – 3-for-3, run, RBI, 2 SB (24). I mean, I don’t know what to say, how can I even thank you. It’s not like you saved my entire fantasy season in a single month. OH WAIT–that is 100% exactly what you did. The edible arrangement is in the mail.
Yu Darvish – 7.0 IP, 3 hits, BB, 5 K, 8th win. Fridays I’m in Love with Yu! So we missed out on Yu making a full season run at Cy Young, which would have been fun, but a 2.01 ERA, 0.96 WHIP with a 93/14 K/BB is still goals. Sweet sassy molassy! I really enjoyed owning you this year, and saddened that it will most likely never happen again. That’s the Darvish Twist if I’ve ever seen one.
Javier Baez – 2-for-5, HR (8). Kyle Schwarber and Victor Caratini also homered. Seems like the Cubbies are getting hot at the perfect time and they actually have the team to do some damage in the postseason. Can I change my pick from Marlins to Cubs? No? That’s OK I’m a Florida diehard. Gulp.
Jose Berrios – 5.0 IP, 5 hits, 4 ER, 2 BB, 7 K. So a 4.00 ERA, 1.32 WHIP and 68/26 K/BB was not what you expected when you drafted him as your ace but its not the end of the world either. That doesn’t happen until 2021.
Mike Moustakas – 2-for-4, 2 HR (8), 3 RBI. If Moose is gonna be hitting bombs, the Reds are gonna be dangerous in the postseason or nah? Do I trust that Bauer can not be too crazy, or throw a tantrum or injure himself with a robot for three weeks so they can win a World Series? Hard to say.
Shogo Akiyama – 2-for-5, run, RBI. Another team getting hot at just the right time, and this guy has done nothing all year. Who you got–Cubs or Reds? Oh right, Marlins. I picked the Marlins. Woo! Sigh.
Marcell Ozuna – 3-for-4, 2 RBI. OZUNA hit ball. OZUNA 55 RBI. OZUNA lead league. OZUNA do not care about Acuña. OZUNA do not care about Freeman. OZUNA want big contract. OZUNA break records. OZUNA do not care about “winning” in postseason. However, OZUNA do care Schitt’s Creek finally being recognized. OZUNA do care about Rose family.
Ronald Acuña Jr. – 1-for-4, 3 runs, HR (14), SB (8). Freddie Freeman also had a pinch hit HR. The Braves are the one team I wouldn’t want to face in the first round in the playoffs. Sure, they’re all over the place. But their offense can put up a 20 runs without breaking a sweat and they have at least one pitcher I kind of sort of not really but whatever trust. Just don’t ask me who.
Jackie Bradley Jr. – 1-for-4, 3 runs, HR (6). Five game hitting streak for JBJ, and you’d love to point at Jackie as one of the reasons the Sawx are so abysmal but you can’t. Dude’s hitting almost .280 and plays probably the best defense in the league. Some team will overpay for him this offseason!
Carlos Carrasco – 6.0 IP, 3 hits, 2 ER, 3 BB, 8 K. Mmhmm. Injians be QSing. Let’s give him the chop!
Mitch Keller – 5.0 IP, 0 hits, ER, 8 BB, 3 K. No hits but 8 BBs, folks, EIGHT spelled out, walks. Lmao. Darvish has 16 all season. This was one of Pittsburgh’s best outings from a starter all year, too. Pirates gonna pirate.
Chris Bassitt – 7.0 IP, 5 hits, 0 ER, 6 K. His fourth straight quality start. It will surprise no one if the A’s go far this postseason. They are built for seasons like this. Just ask Brad Pitt and he’ll ask fat Jonah Hill.
Yusei Kikuchi – 6.0 IP, 4 hits, 0 ER, 3 BB, 5 K. I wish Lisa Loeb didn’t pop into my head whenever I see Kikuchi’s name but she does. I will spare you a parody version of the song with swapped fantasy baseball lyrics, but I am leaving the reference right here.
Mark Canha – 2-for-4, HR (5), walk off 10th inning. He Canha and he Willha!
Dinelson Lamet – 3.2 IP, 1 hit, ER, BB, 4 K. Left the game with an elbow injury. Yes, just when you needed him most. With Clevinger and Lamet going down in the final week and Paddack looking shaky at best, the Dodgers are licking their lips right now. You better watch out for those Marlins though! Hahaha, welp, who am I kidding. I miss you, Mookie.
Trent Grisham – 2-for-4, HR (1), 4 RBI. Walk off dinger. Grisham decided after struggling all month it was “A Time to Kill.” It’s a novel! Google it!
Fernando Tatis Jr. – 1-for-3, 2-run HR (16). FTJ fell off from his hot start but is still a first round pick next year. Will he go before Machado?? And if so, what kind of tension in the locker room will that create. Ooh, can’t wait for this 2021 drama.
Mike Trout – 1-for-4, HR (17), 3 RBI. Not even leading the league in any major categories? Tsk tsk. Wow. OVERRATED! OVERPAID! Pathetic.
Andrew Heaney – 4.0 IP, 8 hits, 5 ER, 2 BB, 3 K, ERA at 4.46. Apparently had one of the easiest schedules of all starting pitchers, facing the Rangers and Mariners three times a piece. In other words, he just kind of stinks?
Jared Walsh – 2-for-5, HR (9). He lost his hitting streak Thursday night but still hit 9 homers in September and is rocking a .297/.323/.659 slash. Mmm. You go, J-Dubs. Best part is, no one is paying attention at this point except probably Walsh owners so we’ll all be able to draft him next year. Huzzah!
Tim Locastro – 3-for-3, 2 run, 2 RBI. Timmah! All this dude does is hit–when he plays. And he doesn’t seem to play, like, at all. Someone tell the Diamondbacks they don’t need to throw they’re already really bad.
Clayton Kershaw – 4.0 IP, 8 hits, 4 runs, 1 ER, 3 K, surrendered 2 HR. Well, it looks like Kersh is already in postseason form.
Thanks for reading! Questions? Problems? Complaints to management? Advice, small gifts or large bribes? Please leave it in the comments below. Good luck this weekend–I hope all our teams win equally!