Wednesday is always an odd day. Memories of last weekend are fading, and you’re still days away from heading out on the town with your homies to cause some trouble, so you’re basically just laying in wait for something to happen. What I’m saying is that it’s a no-man’s kinda day. As a result, it’s hardly a shock that there is no real theme with the players I’m going to discuss other than the fact that they have all been performing pretty well of late.
Josh Hamilton is a beast. How crazy good has he been? Since the start of June he has hit .434 with 14 homers and 47 RBI in 49 games. Those are numbers that wind up leading you to the MVP award. Sick.
Matt Garza, who has come a long way since he was a Twins’ rookie wearing a My Little Pony backpack (yeah, that’s him in the photo above), tossed the fifth no-hitter of the season on Monday night. Do you know what the record is for one season? In 1884, yeah it was a totally different game back then I know, there where eight no-hitters (the last time there were five no-hitters in a season was 1991). Moreover, since the Rays’ fell in no-hitters twice this season, they became only the third team in baseball history to be involved in three no-hitters in a single season. The other two teams were the White Sox and the St. Louis Browns — in 1917. As for Garza, he has offered a slight up tick in his performance compared to last season. He is 11-5 and that is great, though his ERA is up a smidge from 3.95 last year to 4.06 this season, while his WHIP is a virtual match (1.26 to 1.24). The only real negative in the fantasy game is that he has seen his K-rate dwindle substantially from 8.38 per nine last season down to 6.78 which is below his 7.19 career mark. If he were to pick up the whiffs we could be looking at a top-25 pitcher the rest of the way.
The single season triple record is 36 by Chief Wilson in 1912. No on in baseball even has nine triples this season.
Brandon Morrow – welcome to the world of fantasy relevance. On May 31st he had a 6.00 ERA and was having a devil of a time throwing strikes. Since that point he has made nine starts going just 3-2, but his ratios have improved dramatically. His WHIP has gone down to 1.29, a big step for a guy who had a 1.58 mark over his first 11 appearances, and his ERA has plummeted down to 3.21. Why the success? He’s maintained his K/9 mark mark with an impressive 9.48 mark but his walk rate has tanked – which in this case is obviously a great thing. After walking 34 batters in his first 57 innings – good for a 5.37 BB/9 mark – he has walked a mere 19 hitters in his last 56 innings leading to a 3.05 mark. Basically he has gone from being Oliver Perez to being a better than big league pitcher in terms of his control. The Blue Jays might limit his workload as the season wears on, and his final season numbers likely won’t look that great, but don’t forget about how good Morrow can be when he’s throwing strikes when you do participate in your draft in 2011.
Javier Vazquez has been a massive letdown this season with a 9-7 record, a 4.54 ERA and a 1.24 WHIP. However, should he be viewed that way? He was never going to repeat his performance from last season (15-10, 2.87 ERA, 1.03 WHIP), especially when he went to the AL. Also, his production has been a near match for his work with the Yankees back in 2004 (14-10, 4.91 ERA, 1.29 WHIP). At the same time if you were an astute wheeler and dealer, you may have come out way ahead here. Through six starts this season he was 1-4 with a 8.10 ERA in a truly dreadful start to the year. However, he has been nails since that point going 8-3 with a 3.16 ERA, 1.03 WHIP and a 6.90 K/9 mark. That’s difference making production from the righty. Don’t be afraid to look beyond a player’s season long numbers when you’re trying to figure out his value for the rest of the season.
By Ray Flowers