So you missed out on the rookie pitcher sweepstakes, or you just grabbed one of the wrong ones? Pfaadt? Gavin Stone? Eury Perez long gone? Enter J.P. France, whose initials I can only assume stand for Jacques Philippe, who pitched six and two-thirds innings of one-run baseball Friday night with three strikeouts and his first career win. He gave up a home run to Luis Robert then retired the next nine in a row. JP has now put together back to back decent starts on the road and has only given up one run in 11.2 IP. Sacre bleu! So what’s different about France versus the others guys? For starters France is a little older and the stuff is not quite as flashy as your Eury’s (your your!) and your Pfaddt’s. He had a 2.33 ERA, 1.03 WHIP and 26/11 K/BB through three starts at AAA, and utilizes a mid-90s fastball, curve and somewhat deceptive deliveries to get Ks. Hmm, he kind of reminds me a of Nestor Cortes-type, right down to the mustache! Oh, the mustache! Now if you really want to know what sets France apart from the rest of the rookie pitcher crop, it’s that stache. It’s pretty magnificent, iconic, adjective and here’s his baby boy rocking it. Do you need more convincing? Jacques Philippe also has the ideal scenario with Houston having a great line up, defense, bullpen, etc. setting him up for success. With Luis Garcia done for the year, JP France can be your Ally, fantasy-wise at least. He gets the Cubs next week and he’s definitely a name to watch in the right match ups. Trust the ‘stache, it worked for Spencer Strider.
Here’s what else I saw in fantasy baseball Friday night:
Jake Fraley – 2-for-4, 3 runs, 2 HR (4), 4 RBI. Rake Fraley! Doubled his homer total with the big Friday night! Reds fans will tell you all about how clutch Rake has been (.424/.487/.788 with RSIP, 22 RBI), and I’ll shoot back with but the hard hit rate is meh. That’s me, crushing Reds fans spirits since 2001. But hey, the Reds are two games out of the wild card so what do I know, maybe it doesn’t matter when you call Great American Ballpark your home, and I must say dude looks totally natural in that Viking hat and helm.
Graham Ashcraft – 5.2 IP, 5 hits, 3 ER, 2 BB, 3 K. Is there something I’m missing about Graham? I mean, I go gaga for Greene and Lodolo, drafting them several rounds earlier than anyone else but I don’t have the same love for Ashcraft. Too be fair to Graham though, he’s able to get through six innings regularly and the other two cannot. So maybes I got it all wrong.
Tyler Stephenson – 2-for-5, HR (2). Both tanks have come in the past week! Time to swap your catcher, TS might be worth a look and he’s got a three game set at Coors coming up!
Eury Perez – 4.2 IP, 4 hits, 2 ER, 2 BB, 7 K, 2 HR. BUY. So as far as results from the rookie pitcher carousel, this is on the more positive end of the spectrum. Sure, the line looks bleh and he allowed two homers and couldn’t get through five, BUT, and this butt would put Ice Spice In Ha Mood, 7/2 K/BB, 16 called swinging strikes (34% Whiff, 31% CSW), and fastball topped out at 99.1. Check out that first MLB strikeout! Eury was born in 2003, which is the last time the Fish won the World Series. Way to make me feel old, Brent Rooker!
Jazz Chisholm – 2-for-5, HR (6). Maybe just keep him in the lead off spot and stop messing with it!
Julio Rodriguez – 3-for-5, HR (7). Whenever anyone tells me how hard Juul-Rod is struggling I tell them to trade him to me.
Tylor Megill – 5.0 IP, 4 hits, ER, 4 BB, 4 K, 4th win. These are the kinds of starts I expect for Tylor the base runner Creator. Underwhelming, but good enough for the win. The question is, has he pitched better than one of my personal favorites Joey Lucchesi in order to maintain his rotation spot? He gets the Rays next week and not sure I’d want to hold onto him long enough to find the answer to that question.
David Robertson – 1.2 IP, 0 hits, 2 BB, 4 K, 4th hold. Drew Smith got the save, getting the the final out, but DRob did all the work, and might have finished this one were had he not thrown 40 pitches already. Robertson is the top option for saves in this pen, but being used in sort of a multi-inning fireman role should allow for save opportunities for Smith and Ottavino as well.
Kyle Bradish – 6.0 IP, 3 hits, 0 ER, BB, 6 K. He’s hadn’t been himself lately, 13 runs allowed in his previous three starts. When you need a Brad, but he’s just Brad-ish. Still Friday night, Kyle debuted his 8Mile alter ego B-Radish and really lost himself. Move over bananas, B-Radish found a new source of potassium! He gets the Angels next week, and yeah, okay, fine…maybe.
Johan Oviedo – 5.0 IP, 4 hits, 5 BB, 3 K. Five walks is something my dog is really into but I’m more like, I don’t know boy, it’s really hot today, can I take you when the sun sets in seven hours?
Felix Bautista – 1.0 IP, 3 K, SV (9). We’d call that the Kimbrel, before Kimbrel decided to betray me by getting Jose Alvarado hurt somehow and stealing his job. FB got 33/13 K/BB in 18 innings pitched. That’s almost two strikeouts an inning! He’s struck out 33 of the 77 hitters he has faced, that’s…calculating….calculating…calculating…over 40%! Sweet sassy molassy!
Cedric Mullins – 4-for-5, HR (5), 3 RBI. Cedric the Entertainer entertained us with his first cycle, and he saved the homer for last which made it all the more dramatic. Or would the triple be more dramatic? I’d say homer cause it’s more likely to happen. How about those Bucs though! That was quite the meatball, anonymous Pirates pitcher. I feel bad for those fans, why even get their hopes up with a nice April, and now they’re actually invested.
Anthony Rizzo – 2-for-4, 2 HR (8), 3 RBI. H-R-to the Rizzo! Twin bombs on his own bobblehead night! The first one was an absolute gimme, but this second was a shot to give NYC City the lead. I love how he watches it sail. Bobblehead Rizzo leads the Yanks in just about every offensive category that matters. Let’s watch them both again here and here and nod ours heads in approval.
Anthony Volpe – 2-for-3, HR (5), 2 RBI. Not to be outdone by his Italian Uncle Rizzo, Volpe hit his own Yankee stadium home run, and it was another big one. Mama mia! Manager Boone led off Gleyber Torres Friday night so of course Antman went all Quantumania from the 7-hole. It’s funny (incoming not funny thing) I thought of Volpe as a ROY candidate but he’s batting just .210 and getting dropped in the order. Just goes to show you how a player can be fantasy valuable without actually being all that good.
Wander Franco – 0-for-5. This after leaving Wednesday’s game with neck pain!? What are you doing to me Wander!? Don’t you know I already take Adderall, marijuana and kratom to manage my anxiety! You’re not helping! Isaac Paredes was 3-for-5 with a run and would probably see more playing time if Franco misses any.
Josh Lowe – 2-for-4, HR (9). My man JLo hit the go-ahead homer in the eighth and still got benched. You could be having the game of your life and Kevin Cash would still pinch hit you if he didn’t like the match up.
Randy Arozarena – 2-for-4, HR (10). 422 footer. Also this catch! People credit the Rays great start to the depth of their line up but I feel like they’ve always had deep line ups of super utility guys and the real reason I think they’re so good is the emergence of superstars Wander Franco and Randy Arozarena. Randy showed glimpses of greatness in the postseason but now he’s got his own section! Cheers!
Gerrit Cole – 5.0 IP, 5 hits, 2 ER, 2 BB, 4 K. Now allowed four homers in the last two games after allowing none for his first seven starts. Could be because both starts were versus the Rays? Could be…? He gets the Blue Jays next week, I guess we’ll test that theory.
Michael King – 1.1 IP, 4 hits, 3 ER, BB. My King! How could you do this to our kingdom! The serfs! What will I say to the serfs? Well, as far as King’s place in the bullpen hierarchy, this isn’t going to help his chances at saves and if you, like me, were stashing him for this very reason he’s probably okay to drop now.
Clay Holmes – 0.2 IP, 1 hit, K, W. Came after King gave up the three run homer and got the win, but Boone went to Wandy Peralta (1.0 IP, 1 hit, 2 K, SV (1)) for the save. Wandy might be worth the add for the occasional save but after four straight scoreless appearances I think this is Holmes job to win back right now.
Chris Bassitt – 9.0 IP, 2 hits, 0 ER, 2 BB, 8 K, 5th win. The shut out was Bassitt’s second of his career and the first for the Jays since Mark Buehrle (!) back in 2015 as he hounded the Braves hitters all night. If you take out his 9 ER shellacking at the hands of the Cards way back at the beginning of April, Chris has actually been way better than his 3.49 ERA suggests.
Spencer Strider – 6.2 IP, 5 hits, ER, BB, 12 K. If you could ever get me to draft a starter in the first two rounds (nay, three rounds even!). Maybe, and this is a hard, hard maybe, maybe Spencer Strider could convince me. The 79/15 K/BB honestly gets me all emotional like one of those insurance commercials about dads that hits you unexpectantly hard. I’ll always be there for you, Spence, even when you got off to college and make new friends, and get 300 Ks and in a season and win multiple Cy Youngs. Dad’ll be here–cheering you on.
Amed Rosario – 3-for-5, run. Andres Gimenez also had three hits. It seems like the Guardians (dumbest team name ever) hitters are finally starting to show some life. Now if we could only get Jose Ramirez going.
Emmanuel Clase – 1.0 IP, 2 hits, ER, K, BS (4). It’s a good thing you drafted him in the fifth round!
Carlos Estevez – 1.0 IP, 2 hits, BB, K, SV (9) ERA at 0.96 ERA. He’s got an ERA about half of Clase’s and four less saves. Where did you draft Estevez again?
James Paxton – 5.0 IP, 4 hits, 2 ER, BB, 9 K. James sending Cards hitters Paxton. Like Packing get it? Last time I wrote about Pax the Destroyer, Guardians of the Galaxy vol. 2 had just been released, so yeah, it’s been a long time! Pre-Thanos. Pre the Blink! Pre-everything! His first start in the bigs since April 2021 after Tommy John surgery! That’s 766 days since his last start and 527 days since Boston signed him! Expectations were low but dare I say it was worth the wait? Velocity was at 98 mph consistently and he maintained that throughout, with his control only improving as he went deeper. And the nine Ks *gushes* see for yourself! Mmhm, yes more please. He even struck out the side in the fourth! He would have been your lede but the Sawx lost and I don’t want to jinx anything, but I remain cautiously optimist! Which is the best kind of optimism. He gets a tough start in San Diego next week but he’s available everywhere and could be a game-changer–at least until he gets hurt again.
Kenley Jansen – 0.0 IP, 3 hits, 3 ER, BB, HR. As he remains stuck at 400 saves. Will he ever get 401? I don’t know!
Nolan Gorman – 1-for-1, pinch hit HR (9). Sonuvabench!
Nolan Arenado – 4-for-5, HR (4), 2 RBI. Probably Nolan’s best game of the season, featuring some of his hardest hit balls of the year. I had a note about Nolan for you all, it was a very important note for hold on let me just go get it really quick. I left it at the top of that lighthouse balcony where I do some of my writing. It’s actually really windy and rainy today but don’t worry I put a pencil on it so it wouldn’t blow away but, wait, it’s gone–NOOO Torenado!
Adam Wainwright – 5.0 IP, 7 hits, 4 ER, 2 BB, 2 K. I blame the catcher!
Corbin Burnes – 6.0 IP, 2 hits, 4 BB, 7 K, 4th win, ERA at 3.35. Burnes baby Burnes. If this is what mediocre Burnes looks like just wait till you see first degree Burnes. Dude is fire!
Owen Miller – 3-for-4, HR (1) slashing .323/.348/.435. He’s leading off as Brice Turang has struggled and Christian Yelich probably shouldn’t be hitting lead off. Owen’s got some speed and may continue to lead off against lefties but still in a pretty strict platoon makes him unownable outside NL Central only leagues.
Miguel Castro – 0.2 IP, 1 hit, K, SV (2). Andrew Chafin pitched most of the eighth and got the hold (1.0 IP 2 hits, K, HOLD (2)), but it was Miguel Castro who got the final two outs for his second save. What does this tell us about the Dbags pen? You don’t want no part of this, Dewey.
Dominic Fletcher – 3-for-4, HR (1), 4 RBI slashing .457.486/.629. Dom is hotter than a Janelle Monae music video! Wow that was something! Fletch is hitting .524 in the past seven days! Not sure there’s much here in terms of power and speed but I don’t see how Mr. Manager can bench a guy who’s this scalding. Speaking of Janelle Monae, I’ve seen Glass Onion and Hidden Figures and I’ve heard “Make Me Feel,” but I had no idea they were so multi-talented! Whata star!
Lourdes Gurriel Jr. – 2-for-4, run, RBI. He was a BUY, and his double would have been a homer in the majority of ballparks. He’s hitting .458 with three homers in the past week, and all of a sudden Arizona has too many outfielders.
Dustin May – 6.2 IP, 5 hits, 2 ER, BB, 3 K. It must be nerve-racking for Grey to pick a sell every week. We can’t be right all the time and most of the time I’m not right. Remember when I told you to pick up Joey Lucchesi? Good! Me neither! As for May, he was hit pretty hard despite the line, and while the ratios, especially that 0.94 WHIP remain elite, if you can get something real juicy for him I wouldn’t hesitate!
Evan Phillips – 1.2 IP, 1 hit, 2 K, SV (7). Thirteen pitches. Five outs! I call that efficiency, or Evan-fficiency if you will! Daniel Hudson better get back quick cause I think someone is fully taking his job.
Blake Snell – 6.0 IP, 4 hits, 2 ER, 4 BB, 4 K. Blake looks like he’s in trouble. Velocity is down, strikeouts are down, walk rate is up. Giving up harder contact and more fly balls. The 4.61 ERA could be worse than it is I’m saying. He gets the Royals next week, hopefully he excels so you can Blake Sell instead of Blake Drop.
Freddie Freeman – 2-for-3, HR (7), 3 RBI. Ol’ reliable! You think he’s boring, then you look up in July and he’s batting .300 with 20 homers. And hey, you’re not in last!
Michael Kopech – 4.2 IP, 1 hit, 2 ER, 6 BB, 5 K, ERA at 5.74 ERA. His 41/28 K/BB should tell you all you need to know. Nope. No thank you. No.
Luis Robert – 2-for-3, HR (9). Of course, LouBob seems all in the first season I’m all out on him. He’s hitting .400 in the past week, maybe you can pry him from a manager who hates him as much as I do right now.
Yordan Alvarez – 1-for-4, HR (9). How many ninth inning home runs does Yordan have this year? It’s gotta be at least three, right?
Robbie Grossman – 2-for-6, HR (4). He’s got 20 runs scored and 18 RBI. Ezequiel Duran was a BUY and he was 2-for-5, with a run and a RBI. Can you imagine how dangerous this Tejas line up is gonna be when Corey Seager is back?
Kevin Smith – 1-for-1, HR (3). That was for Clerks II! Please don’t touch Mallrats!
Esteury Ruiz – 3-for-4, 2 runs, HR (1), 4 RBI slashing .282/.341/.378. My expectations for Ruiz on a nightly basis are extremely low, 1-for-5 with a steal and I’m happy. He’s got 17 of them, and yeah, I’m happy, mostly. At least that’s what I tell my therapist. Anyway, it’s games like this that make me think I might have a real gem on my hands and not just a category winner. The steals, yes, great, sure, wonderful! Everything else though is all just cherries! Those expensive cherries soaking in the bottom of my Old Fashioned. Mmhm!
Brent Rooker – 2-for-5, HR (11), 3 RBI. My dime store rooker, has been my cheapest and best add of the year mebbe? He’s not just getting hits and hitting dongs, but they’re clutch hits, and clutch dongs! I feel like Oakland offense is not as bad as we make it out to be, then I checked the stats and, yeah, I’m wrong they’re bottom five in most categories that matter. There has been fantasy value to be had here though, no matter how bad!
Kyle Schwarber – 1-for-4, HR (9) batting .188. I see your .188 batting average and raise you nine Schwarbombs! If you told me he’d bat under .200 I’d still draft him, just for his June.
Bryce Harper – 2-for-4, run, 2 RBI, SB (1) and slashing .344/.417/.500. A steal! Heart eyes emoji! He returned from Tommy John after 160 days, that’s almost five times less time than it took James Paxton to come back. I know it’s totally different for a pitcher but Harper has continued to show supernatural recovery time through his career. Remember when he took a Genesis Cabrera 97 mph fastball to the face and was back like two days later? I bet Phillies fans remember. I got no fantasy advice here, I just want to put some respect on B-Ryce’s name. I’m not even mad I don’t own him anywhere I’m so impressed. Earning every bit of that $330 million!
Craig Kimbrel – 1.0 IP, 1 hit, 3 K, SV (4). BUY. I, of course, dropped him for Jose Alvarado after CK destroyed my ratios and my blood pressure with his first few chances, so, of course, he’s going to take this closing gig and run away with it. Just to spite me! Damn you, Craig! I’ll pay for this! I mean you’ll! You’ll pay for this!
Drew Smyly – 6.0 IP, 4 hits, 2 ER, BB, 4 K, ERA at 3.05 ERA. The Emoticon has been underwhelming since his almost perfect, not-so-perfect game. He still hasn’t spoken to Yan Gomes but no one really speaks to Yan anyway, they all miss Willson. Still that 0.97 WHIP makes me think he’s a servieable streamer and he gets a tough assignment at Houston next week.
Sonny Gray – 5.1 IP, 4 hits, ER, BB, 9 K, ERA at 1.39. That 1-3-9 (s/o Harlem) is good for best in the league, and I’d rather not say anything more about it for fear of jinxing this.
Christopher Morel – 2-for-5, HR (2), 2 RBI as he led off. The power of Chris compels me! Grey told you to BUY and check out his Christopher Morel fantasy! There wasn’t nearly as much nudity as I was hoping for! Regardless, after absolutely mashing at Triple A (.330/.425/.730 with 11 home runs, four steals in 29 games) Morel’s hitting .462 since his call up with two homers and a steal. That’s in three games! OGs remember Morel was a hot little potato about the same time last year, when he hit .283/.342/.494 with a .836 OPS with seven home runs and seven steals in May and June. He fell off pretty hard in July and ended the year batting .235 but the promise was there! Now with Nico Hoerner injured, there is a window of playing time and that lead off spot is calling Christopher’s name! He may not lead off forever but you’re trying to win right now, right? Two rights! Grey said “…if you were to prorate Morel’s stats from last year, he was a 20/15/.235 hitter,” which is already ownable, but with another year comes more experience, more skillz with a Z and a better Cubs line up and overall team. Chris is ready to rake and not just because it’s May and the lawn and leaf pick up is every Wednesday! He’s rostered in about 60% of Yahoo! leagues and just 12% of ESPN leagues so do with that information what you will, but it sounds like it’s your last chance to grab him. If you are in need of Morel support or a Morel victory, the Morel of this story is you should add Christopher everywhere.
Thanks for reading! Questions? Problems? Complaints to management? Advice, small gifts, or large bribes? Please leave it in the comments below. Join us next Saturday for another Friday recap as fantasy baseball continues next week, all week long!