The fine fantasy action was as abundant on Friday as the night was long and arduous. The Giants and Cardinals were postponed due to tornado warnings in the St. Louis area, the Rays and Indians were delayed by rain for nearly five hours and the Blue Jays and Padres played til the wee hours of the night/morning to finish off a 17-inning extravaganza. We saw old-timers shine, young bucks play like seasoned veterans and we saw some early season strugglers finally emerge from their statistical cocoon. While it wasn’t the offensive fiesta we saw just a couple of nights ago, this one was still jam-packed with plenty of excitement that had fantasy owners on the edge of their seats.
Let’s take a look at who the stand-outs were from Friday…
Fantasy Beast of the Day
|Jonathan Lucroy, C MIL||5-5, 3 R, 2B, 2 HR, 4 RBI|
After batting a painfully unproductive .229 for almost all of the first two months, Jonathan Lucroy finally broke out. Expectations ran high coming into the season as Lucroy posted a .320 average with a dozen home runs and a greatly reduced strikeout rate in 2012, but he failed to deliver, frustrating hordes of fantasy owners. Disgusted and impatient, Lucroy’s owners dropped him like a hot rock in most leagues with very few willing to endure any more 0-for’s. Well, the worm finally turned and Lucroy posted his best batting line of the season. Now the question is, will it continue? I’ve been a big fan of his potential these past two seasons and feel like he is capable of using this game as a simple springboard towards bigger and better things. Comparing his current .254 BABIP with his career mark of .306 tells me there’s more coming. How much more, we’ll see, but powering up for a two-homer night is a fantastic way to start.
|Domonic Brown, OF PHI||2-4, 2 R, 2 HR, 4 RBI|
|Adrian Beltre, 3B TEX||4-4, 2 R, HR, 2 RBI|
|James Loney, 1B TB||2-5, 2 R, 2 HR, 3 RBI|
|Bartolo Colon, SP OAK||W, CG, 0.00 ERA, 0.56 WHIP, 3 K|
|Johnny Cueto, SP CIN||W, 0.00 ERA, 0.25 WHIP, 6 K|
Domonic Brown is another 2013 late-bloomer as he too was looked at this spring as a quality outfielder who had more than just a little bit of sleeper potential. But after finishing April with a .233 average and just three home runs, he too found himself sitting on the waiver wire wondering where all the fantasy love was. But fast forward to Friday night and you suddenly you’re witnessing his second two-homer game in his last three starts, seven home runs in his last seven, and 12 home runs just in the month of May. To say that he has finally arrived would be a dramatic understatement.
The month of May was also incredibly kind to Adrian Beltre whose 4-for-4 night gave him 44 hits for the month which ties a club record set by Ruben Sierra back in 1991. He’s also in the midst of an eight-game hit streak, has five multi-hit performances in his last seven starts and has his batting average above .300 (.306) for the first time all season long. He is also currently on pace to record his third straight 30-home run season.
What’s gotten into James Loney this year? The usually light-hitting first baseman is currently on pace for his first career 20-home run season. Now personally, I don’t think he can reach it. He’s got to slow down at some point, right? But for now, what’s not to love about his current rate of production? Should you be in need of some corner infield help, he is likely to remain productive for the near future and be a worthwhile addition.
Another one who must be doing it with smoke and mirrors is A’s hurler Bartolo Colon. Using mostly his fastball, Colon was able to hurl a complete-game shutout on Friday and become the first 40-year old to do it since Curt Schilling. He now has two complete-game shutouts this season (one was a rain-shortened 7-inning win) and is sitting on a 3.32 ERA with a 42:4 K:BB this year. Even crazier is that when you look at his peripheral, there’s nothing in his data that says this is a fluke. Mind blown.
And finally, there’s Johnny Cueto, probably the only guy besides Beltre that isn’t a surprise to see here. An injury derailed the start of his season, but he’s back to his old self and has allowed just one run over his last 15 innings and is finally starting to increase his strikeout rate. If you were patient with him through his time spent on the DL, you should be reaping some serious benefits through the rest of the first half and beyond.
|Alex Gordon, OF KC||0-4, 3 K|
|Daniel Nava, OF BOS||0-4, 3 K|
|Chris Johnson, 3B ATL||0-3, 2 K|
|Jose Valverde, RP DET||L, BS, 54.00 ERA, 6.00 WHIP|
|Cole Hamels, SP PHI||L, 10.80 ERA, 2.40 WHIP, 3 K|
Anyone can have a bad day and considering the way Alex Gordon, Daniel Nava, Chris Johnson and even ‘Papa Grande’ Jose Valverde have performed at the onset of their respective seasons, you know you can simply let this day roll off your back. They should all make up for it in the coming days.
The one who has everyone concerned is still Cole Hamels. But in reality, Hamels hasn’t pitched all that poorly lately, throwing five quality starts over his last seven outings. With peripherals that seem to jibe with his career numbers , the decrease in strikeouts and subsequent drop in strand rate have me wondering if we’re just looking at a bad year for a normally dynamic pitcher, but my gut is telling me a full-blown turnaround is coming. Let’s hope I’m right.
Eric Chavez, 3B ARI – oblique (15-day DL)
Jacoby Ellsbury, OF BOS – groin (day to day)
Torii Hunter, OF DET – elbow (day to day)
A.J. Ellis, C LAD – oblique (day to day)
Matt Kemp, OF LAD – hamstring (15-day DL)
Trevor Plouffe, 3B MIN – calf (15-day DL)
Jonathon Niese, SP NYM – shoulder (questionable for next start)
Pedro Alvarez, 3B PIT – teeth (day to day)
Angel Pagan, OF SF – hamstring (day to day)
Pablo Sandoval, 3B SF – foot (day to day)
Marco Scutaro, 2B SF – illness (day to day)
Michael Morse, OF SEA – quadriceps (day to day)
Justin Smoak, 1B SEA – oblique (day to day)
Brett Lawrie, 3B TOR – ankle (15-day DL)
Bryce Harper, OF WAS – knee (day to day)
Stephen Strasburg, SP – oblique (day to day)
Howard Bender has been covering fantasy sports for over a decade on a variety of web sites. You can find his personal musings on RotobuzzGuy.com and for questions, thoughts or comments, you can follow him on Twitter at @rotobuzzguy or email him at email@example.com.
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