MLB Trends, Rumors, And Who To Add/Drop Right Now

Aroldis Chapman is apparently feeling just fine.Photo Credit: Dylan Moody

Craig Gentry had a MRI that revealed a fracture in his hand and was placed on the DL. The A’s called up OF Billy Burns to replace Gentry and start against left-handed pitching. Burns has shown terrific speed in the minors so far. At Double-A this season he has 51 steals and was caught just five times. He stole 74 bases over two levels of the minors in 2013 and was only caught seven times altogether. Hitting has been a bit of a challenge for Burns this year. He is batting just .250, supported by a .298 BABIP after hitting .325 in 2013. Burns could be a cheap source of steals, much like Gentry.

Jayson Werth left last night’s game with a sprained ankle after his foot came down awkwardly at second base as he tried unsuccessfully to stretch a single into a double. He will be reevaluated this morning but commented last night that he doesn’t expect to miss any time.

Jason Heyward left yesterday’s game with lower back soreness and is considered day-to-day. There is no word from the Braves about the severity of the injury or whether Heyward will require a trip to the DL. Heyward was enjoying a solid month in July with 25 hits in his last 22 games and a triple slash of .309/.371/.383 with a homer and three steals.

Ryan Hanigan, who was placed on the disabled list July 17 with a left oblique strain, said he hopes to return to the Rays in time for Friday’s game against the Angels. He will take batting practice today, then likely begin a rehab stint of two games.

Trends and Rumors

The Yankees are thought to be in the market for an outfielder at the trade deadline, mainly because Ichiro Suzuki’s performance has been dropping off a cliff lately. Overall, he’s batting .269, but most of that production came in April, when he batted .357 for the month. In the months since, he’s batted .286 in May, .257 in June and just .224 in July. Since the All-Star break he has just three hits in 32 plate appearances (.097).

It appears that the Royals are now committed to Mike Moustakas for the rest of the season as their third baseman. In the past week, they’ve traded both Jimmy Parades and Danny Valencia, the only other true third basemen they had on the roster. Since returning from a brief minor league stint on June 1, Moustakas has slashed .231/.292/.449 with nine home runs and 23 RBIs in 44 games (40 starts). He’s raised his season numbers to .195/.260/.390, which still looks awful, but is a damn sight better than .152/.2223/.320, which is where he was on May 20, when he was shipped to Triple-A for 10 days. By the way, Valencia was traded to the Blue Jays for catcher Erik Kratz and pitcher Liam Hendriks. Valencia will see some playing time until Brett Lawrie returns but not enough to warrant a pickup in AL-only leagues.

Jake Odorizzi is quickly becoming an ace pitcher for the Rays, who are much less likely to trade David Price now that they are back in the race for at least a wild card berth. Odorizzi tossed seven innings of three hit ball last night, allowing just one run, zero walks and striking out five to bring his season ERA down to just 3.80. He hasn’t allowed more than three earned runs in his last nine starts dating back to June 10. Over that time, his ERA is 2.25 with 58 strikeouts in 56 IP and opponents hitting just .198. His ERA on June 5 was 5.31. Even better, his 3.40 FIP indicates that his ERA may continue to plummet.

Back on June 14, things were looking bleak for Jose Quintana. He was coming off his second straight poor outing, having given up 10 earned runs in his last 10 innings to raise his ERA to 3.98. In the seven outings since then, Quintana has been solid though, allowing more than two earned runs just once with two shutouts. His ERA over that period is just 1.70 with a WHIP of 0.91 and 49 strikeouts in 47.2 innings and opponents hitting just .188 against him. Overall, his ERA is 3.15 with a 1.20 WHIP and a strikeout rate of 8.09 K/9 IP.

Jon Singleton has been everything we thought he’d be…and worse. For the month of July, Singleton is batting just .147. He has just five hits in his last 49 plate appearances and he’s struck out 68 times in 188 plate appearances (35 percent). The power has been there as expected; he has seven home runs. However, the batting average is just too low for Fantasy owners to swallow. The Astros aren’t likely to demote him but Fantasy owners should do so right now if they haven’t already.

Marcell Ozuna put together a solid month of July with a .298/.352/.464 triple slash and two home runs, 10 RBIs and 10 runs scored in 23 games (22 starts). The trick to owning Ozuna is to play him when the Marlins are at home (like this week) and sit him on the road. Ozuna is slashing .310/.358/.545 in the friendly confines of Marlins Park versus .234/.293/.367 everywhere else.

Madison Bumgarner was roughed up again at home last night for five earned runs on six hits, including a HR to Josh Harrison, with two walks and two strikeouts over just four innings. At AT&T Park this season, Bumgarner has a record of 4-6 with a 5.60 ERA, a 1.57 WHIP and opponents are batting .309 against him. On the road, he is 8-2 with a 1.75 ERA, a 0.97 WHIP and opponents are batting just .216. That doesn’t bode well for the Giants chances in the postseason at all and Fantasy owners have to bench Bumgarner at home going forward.

It looks like Rafael Soriano’s magic has run out this season. Prior to July, Soriano had allowed just four earned runs all season. Last night, he allowed four earned runs on three hits and a walk; he faced six batters and retired just one, taking his fourth blown save of the season and first loss. That blowup raised his stats for the month of July to a 5.40 ERA with opponents hitting .303 against him and getting on base at a .385 clip. His overall ERA jumped to 1.98. Soriano’s job is secure, but remember the name Tyler Clippard…just in case this is the beginning of a meltdown.

Dmitri Young is Da Meat Hook No More

There were some amazing photos of former major league hitter Dmitri Young in the pages of the Washington Post yesterday. Young is depicted in 2008, his final major league season, running the bases at a whopping 291 pounds. Next to that, is a photo of Young today weighing 205 pounds. Young has battled diabetes for many years, and the weight loss was prompted by Young’s doctor, who urged him to lose the weight so he could reduce his use of medication to control the condition. The fact that he was able to lose 85 pounds is amazing, but what I want to know is: why didn’t he do this when he was playing ball?

Aroldis Chapman Throwing Supersonic Gas

Aroldis Chapman struck out the side in the ninth inning of yesterday’s 15 inning loss to the Diamondbacks. While that isn’t unusual, it did feature some remarkable moments. Chapman threw a total of 20 pitches during the inning, including 15 fastballs. None of the fastballs traveled less than 101 mph; five were recorded at 103 mph and one at an amazing 104 mph. Chapman’s other five pitches were changeups and sliders that all registered in the low 90’s. In the month of July, Chapman has recorded 20 strikeouts in 8.2 IP. His strikeout rate for the season is an incredible 18.37 K/9 IP or 54.6 percent of the batters he’s faced.