SHORT HIGHLIGHTS: MATT CARPENTER’S GOT THE RUNS!
LONG HIGHLIGHTS: No longer used.
Every now and again I like to shake things up a bit, so I am going to stray off my usual format and hit you with observations in the form of numbers. Some are good, some are bad and some are downright astonishing. I like to call this “By The Numbers,” a little something the one and only David Gonos likes to do from time to time. If anything, it makes for some interesting conversation at the water cooler with the guys from your office league.
0 – The number of saves blown plus the number of homeruns given up by the Pirates Jason Grilli over his first 31 appearances this season. Heading into this season he had just five career saves and carried many questions as to how he would handle the job. I think it’s safe to say those questions have been answered.
0.82 – WHIP owned by the man who has been Seattle’s best starter on the season, Hisashi Iwakuma. Twelve of his 14 starts have been quality. Numbers-wise he has been the best pitcher in baseball and really hasn’t shown any sign of slowing down. He has given up more than three earned runs just once and his ERA has never risen above 2.57 on the year.
1 – Homeruns hit by Jacoby Ellsbury so far. In 2011 he hit 32 homers over 660 at-bats. For the rest of his career he has 25 over 1,938 at-bats. I think it’s safe to say he won’t come close to matching that type of power output ever again.
2.2 – Percentage of batters Adam Wainwright has walked this season. He has had a tremendous bounce-back campaign and is showing he is indeed fully recovered from Tommy John surgery. His name will be on a short list at the end of the season when discussing the NL Cy Young award.
2 – Number of complete game shutouts thrown by Oakland’s Bartolo Colon over his first 13 starts. It also happens to be the number of chins he is sporting. Coming into this season he had nine over 375 career starts. The party has to end soon folks; enjoy it while it lasts.
5 – Blown saves for the Rays Fernando Rodney, good for tops in the league. With Tampa Bay 5.5 games out in the AL East, I can’t envision manager Joe Maddon having much more patience with him. Joel Peralta has been outstanding all season setting him up and should be picked up by any owner looking for prospective saves.
7 – Times caught stealing for Norichika Aoki. He has only succeeded six times on the season. Last year he was 30-for-38 in stolen base attempts. Speed is such a big part of his value, if this continues much longer he just won’t be worth owning in shallow mixed leagues anymore.
.345 – Looking for an unlucky ace? Set your sights on none other than Justin Verlander. His BABIP is sixth highest among qualified starters and 58 points higher than his career average. Throw in the fact that he is generating strikeouts and ground balls at career high rates and you can just feel he is primed for a monster second half of the season.
11.31 – Tigers starting pitchers currently occupy the second, third and fourth spots in terms of K/9 percentage. Most Fantasy owners would automatically expect the man in second to either be Max Scherzer or the aforementioned Verlander, but Anibal Sanchez is the one holding it down. His changeup has been nasty, and he is using it more than any point in his career.
14.5 – MLB leading swinging strike percentage among starting pitchers. Yu Darvish is the man who owns it. The last pitcher to finish the season with a higher percentage was Johan Santana back in ’04 at 15.7 percent. I loved him heading into this season, and grabbed him on just about every squad I own. Man am I happy I did.
16 – Singles hit on the season by Adam Dunn. He has 17 homers! Ultimate boom or bust player. I can only suggest using him in daily leagues now against pitchers he has shown some serious past success against.
17 – The league leading homerun total currently owned by Dan Haren. If you are looking for a direction to point as to why he has struggled, this is a great place to start. The 32 year old is easily on pace for his worst season as a pro. His career high rates in terms of LOB% (67.7) and BABIP (.320) don’t help matters either.
21 – League leading home run total for Baltimore’s Chris Davis. In case you were curious, he has only hit two since the calendar switched over to June, so he is suffering from his first real cold streak of the season. They don’t call him “Smash” for nothing; his power is legit. The average will come down, but I think he finishes in the .280 range.
28 – Doubles hit by Manny Machado so far this year, which is seven more than any other player. He has only hit five homers to date, but a spike is coming. It may not be this season, but I guarantee it will be soon. The kid doesn’t turn 21 until July 6. Early prediction for next season: he will be my fourth-ranked third baseman and drafted no lower than the third round in just about every mixed league draft.
28.5 – Line drive percentage owned by Jay Bruce; third highest total in the league. He has hit the ball hard all season, and unfortunately it has hurt his homerun totals. I still suggest trying to buy on him while you can. Once he gets a little loft back into that swing, the ball his going to head out of the yard in bunches for him.
42.8 – League low percentage of fastballs currently seen by Josh Hamilton. Listen folks and listen closely. This guy swings at everything. Opposing pitchers know this. Unless the situation absolutely dictates it or they have a dominating fastball, is there really a reason to throw him one?
52 – Runs scored by St. Louis second basemen Matt Carpenter. He was a sexy sleeper pick heading into the season and things couldn’t have worked out better for his owners thus far. Being able to lead off for one of the best offenses in the league while posting an OBP of .410 makes him a strong candidate to finish the season with close to 120 runs.
55 – Runs driven in by Rays outfield prospect Wil Myers, which leads Triple-A. He teams that up with a .281 average with 13 homers over 242 at-bats. That also comes with 69 strikeouts. He should be up with the team before July and provide some solid Fantasy stats, but I would be floored if he can sustain an average over .240 until he cuts down on the swings and misses.
58.0 – Percentage of ground balls induced by Alex Cobb. Last season over 136.1 innings he posted 58.8, so you can definitely expect this success to continue. His breakout is for real, and he should be viewed as the Rays second best starter behind David Price. Sorry Matt Moore, you have been usurped.
225 – Current projected strikeout total for Houston’s Chris Carter. Mark Reynolds set the All-Time season record back in ’09 with 223. When he hits the ball, it goes places. He leads the team in both homers (13) and RBIs (35) despite having just a .214 average. They should give out a trophy for this: a bronzed bat with a ton of holes in it.
*All statistics include the games of Thursday June 13.