As usual this season, Tuesday was dominated by a slew of awesome pitching performances with two of the most impressive arguably coming from Shohei Ohtani and Madison Bumgarner. Ohtani finally showed us some control, while Bumgarner's velocity was the highest it's been in a while. You can read more about both below.
It wasn't all about the pitchers, though. Jesse Winker continues to mash, adding three more hits with his seventh home run of the season on Tuesday. He's now batting .374 with an 1.114 OPS. Just. Stay. Healthy. Although they're very different players in terms of skillset, Winker and Byron Buxton have both shown flashes in the past. Injuries have always found a way to derail each of them. Hopefully this time it's for real with Winker. Given the way he's hitting and basically everybody else, Winker finds himself inside the top 25 outfielders at this point and rightfully so.
Ohtani continues to build MVP case
Angels DH/SP Shohei Ohtani entered yesterday with a .903 OPS, but it was his dominance on the mound that stood out on Tuesday. Ohtani held the Astros to one earned run through seven innings. He had one blemish on the night, allowing a solo home run to Kyle Tucker. He allowed just four hits and struck out 10 batters. This comes after throwing five shutout innings in his previous start. He induced 15 swinging strikes on 88 pitches against an Astros lineup that has one of the lowest swinging strike rates in the MLB.
Ohtani now has a 2.10 ERA and 40 strikeouts through 25 innings this season. The Angels are currently scheduled for eight games next week, and it's likely to be a two-start week for Ohtani.
In addition to his dominant start, Ohtani stayed in the game and played right field once he left as a pitcher. This is now his second appearance in the outfield.
Steady drumbeat continues for Bumgarner
We spent a lot of time discussing Diamondbacks SP Madison Bumgarner on last week's podcast, and the consensus was that he's back and it's for real. Scott specifically made a point of making sure he was not left off rosters in any leagues. Hopefully, you scooped him up or traded for him before Tuesday's start because the veteran lefty was brilliant again.
Bumgarner finished with a season-high nine strikeouts through seven shutout innings. He threw 62 of his 84 total pitches for strikes, and despite relentlessly throwing pitches into the strike zone, he only allowed four hits. He also induced 13 stringing strikes. HIs 42% called strikes plus whiffs rate was in the elite range.
He has now allowed just 12 total hits in his last five starts. You read that right, twelve. And the velocity is once again way up, as he averaged 92.6 mph in this start. That's borderline prime Bumgarner numbers before the dirt bike accident. Scott sees no reason to believe he won't keep this up and is once again advising to scoop him if still available and/or hold the line if he's on your roster. In the process, Scott has moved him inside his top 60 SPs.
More news and notes
- Padres SS Fernando Tatis has tested positive for COVID-19, which means he'll miss at least the next 10 days and maybe a tad longer. Jurickson Profar and Jorge Mateo were also placed on the IL for contact tracing.
- Brewers SP Corbin Burnes will likely return Thursday and start against the Cardinals, according to manager Craig Counsell.
- Brewers OF Christian Yelich is participating in all baseball activities. Both Scott and I are a bit concerned this that this seems soon for him to jump back into baseball activities.
- Diamondbacks 2B/OF Ketel Marte ran, hit, and caught fly balls on Tuesday at Chase Field. He said he's hoping to start a rehab assignment Thursday or Friday this week.
- Blue Jays SP Nate Pearson was optioned back to Triple-A. That was fast. He walked five and allowed three runs in 2.1 innings pitched Sunday against the Astros.
- Blue Jays OF George Springer has been able to swing a bat but isn't expected to start running until Thursday.
- Mets 2B Jeff McNeil left Tuesday's game with body cramps.
- Cubs 3B Kris Bryant left Tuesday's game with "sinus stuff."
- Cardinals SP Carlos Martinez was placed on the IL with a right ankle injury.
- Reds RP Amir Garrett had his suspension, which started Tuesday, reduced to five games.
- Cubs SS Javier Baez was scratched with lower back tightness.
- Tigers C Wilson Ramos could return from the IL when first eligible on Monday.
- Dodgers RP David Price threw a simulated game Tuesday at Dodger Stadium. Tony Gonsolin is scheduled to throw two innings against live hitters later this week in Arizona.
- Giants 1B Brandon Belt left Tuesday's game with mild left side tightness.
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The OF to target in trades
It occurs to me that managers in my leagues are still very skeptical about Blue Jays OF Teoscar Hernandez and I couldn't disagree with them more. Hernandez is now batting .326 with two home runs and one steal on the season, but he's looked like a different player since returning from the IL. In the 11 games since he came off the IL, Hernandez has just a 15% strikeout rate.
Now let's be clear -- we didn't like Hernandez across the board at his ADP before the season, but it's important to adjust based on what we're seeing. Hernandez has made in-season adjustments that have improved his biggest weakness: his strikeout rate.
Scott remains a bit skeptical that Hernandez will keep his strikeout rate down. He can understand buying low on him, but overall, he threw cold water on my fire. Regardless, I remain confident in the buy-low here!
Buy, sell or hold?
- Astros SP Lance McCullers. Last start vs. LAA: 8 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 9 K, 13 swinging strikes on 96 pitches. McCullers is a SELL.
- Blue Jays SP Robbie Ray. Last start vs. ATL: 6 IP, 5 H, 3 ER, 1 BB, 10 K, 18 swinging strikes on 99 pitches. He now has 33 Ks to one walk over his last four starts. Ray is a HOLD. I would also make the case he's a BUY if someone in your league is not valuing him highly enough.
- Yankees SP Jordan Montgomery. Last start vs. TB: 6 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 9 K, 17 swinging strikes on 85 pitches. His ERA is now down to 3.96. Montgomery is a SELL.
- Tigers SP Matthew Boyd. Last start vs. KC: 6 IP, 4 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 5 K, 12 swinging strikes on 92 pitches. Boyd is a big-time SELL here.
- Mets SP Marcus Stroman. Last start vs. BAL: 6.1 IP, 1 ER, 2 BB, 5 K, 14 swinging strikes on 90 pitches. His ERA is now down to 2.01, while his 2.0 BB/9 rate is by far a career-best for Stroman. He's a strong HOLD here.
- A's SP Chris Bassitt. Last start at BOS: 7 IP, 2 ER, 0 BB, 10 K, 12 swinging strikes on 86 pitches. He's a HOLD.
Waiver wire options
- Pirates SP J.T. Brubaker (70% rostered) in his last start vs. CIN: 6 IP, 1 ER, 1 BB, 4 K, 6 swinging strikes on 80 pitches. He has a 2.58 ERA (3.34 xFIP), 1.12 WHIP, and has allowed three earned runs or less in seven straight starts. He also has a 54% groundball rate with over a strikeout per inning.
- Mariners SP Yusei Kikuchi (58%) finished with 11 strikeouts while allowed three runs over 6.1 innings against the Dodgers on Tuesday.
- Giants SP Logan Webb (17%) in his last start vs. TEX: 6 IP, 2 R (1 ER), 2 BB, 10 K, 14 swinging strikes on 92 pitches. Nine of the whiffs he induced came on his improved changeup and he has quality starts in three of his last four outings.
- Cubs SP Adbert Alzolay (59%) in his last start at CLE: 6 IP, 3 ER, 0 BB, 6 K, 18 swinging strikes on 94 pitches. 15 of his 18 swinging strikes came on the slider. He has now allowed three earned runs or less in five straight and has 36 Ks in 32 innings this season.
Reds 2B/OF Nick Senzel (64% rostered) collected three more hits on Tuesday and now has 14 hits over his last nine games. He has also added two steals and has 96th percentile sprint speed on the season.
Pirates 2B/OF Adam Frazer (59%) grabbed two more hits on Tuesday, including his first home run of the season. He's now batting .312 with an .827 OPS.
- Orioles SP Matt Harvey (revenge game?!) at NYM
- Cubs SP Zach Davies at CLE
- Tigers SP Casey Mize vs. KC
- Cardinals SP John Gant at MIL
- Angels SP Andrew Heaney at HOU
- Twins SP J.A. Happ at CWS