Fantasy Baseball Final: July 30, 2015
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Max Scherzer won an American League Cy Young Award in 2013, topped previous career-high numbers in innings pitched and strikeouts while playing for a new contract the following year, and then switched leagues, going from the Tigers to the Nationals; however, even after all of that, Max Scherzer continues to improve as a pitcher. After making the move to Washington in the offseason, and signing a seven-year, $201M, Max Scherzer is having arguably his best season yet. Despite struggling last start, and posting a 4.81 ERA in his previous four outings, Scherzer’s FIP was still an impressive 2.35, and he was ranked in the top-five in baseball for that, IP, K/9, BB/9, and WAR entering Thursday. Scherzer added another strong start for his NL Cy Young case today against the Miami Marlins by tossing seven scoreless innings, and scattering three hits and three walks while striking out six. The Nationals’ rotation hasn’t been quite what it was billed as this season, but Scherzer continues to be the shining star on that staff. He had just one complete game in his entire career prior to this season, but has thrown three since April including last month’s no hitter, so it appears any recent struggles can be attributed to a bit of arm fatigue. The support of a second inning solo homer from Ryan Zimmerman was all Scherzer would need to put his team in the position to win today as the Nats will look to pull away from the New York Mets when they begin their series at Citi Field tomorrow.
IF YOU ONLY READ ONE THING…
The last month or so has been an absolute mess for the New York Mets. The team has been awful at the plate, posting offensive numbers comparable to the 1962 club that finished at an MLB worst 40-120. In addition to their hitting woes, the Mets have been incredibly stingy with their spending, and lost out on 2-time All Star outfielder Carlos Gomez because of it. The team originally stated that they backed out of the Gomez deal due to injury concerns; however, recent reports have surfaced saying that the Brewers were unwilling to meet the Mets’ requests for cash considerations, and also refused to take on Juan Lagares’ contract instead of Wilmer Flores. The players involved in the deal were agreed upon initially Wednesday night, bringing an emotional Flores to tears out at shortstop during New York’s game against the Padres (understandable considering Flores signed with the Mets back when he was just 16 years old). Despite all the drama at Citi Field recently, New York finds themselves still in the thick of the playoff hunt, just three games back of the Nationals in the division, and 4 ½ games out of the wild card. The club squandered a strong six innings out of left hander Jon Niese today in the rubber game of their three-game series against San Diego due in large part to a seventh inning grand slam from Padres catcher Bud Norris. The Mets weren’t able to survive additional late-inning offense from San Diego, and ended up blowing the lead in between two ninth inning rain delays to lose the game 8-7. The Mets got home runs from Curtis Granderson and newcomer Juan Uribe so they will hope that offense continues to show up as the Washington Nationals come into town next for another three-game set for the top of the NL East.
JUST AS WE EXPECTED…
The Toronto Blue Jays led all of baseball in runs scored before adding the best offensive shortstop in the game so it’s no surprise that they were able to put on the power display they did tonight at the Rogers Centre. The Jays got no-doubt shots from Dioner Navarro, Russell Martin, and Josh Donaldson, scoring at least one run every inning for the first four innings of the game. Toronto was able to kill any momentum the Royals were hoping to ride from their two-run first inning, and Kansas City was only able to scratch out two hits against right hander Marco Estrada, who retired 15 straight Royals after that tough first inning. The Jays continue to mash despite the absence of Devon Travis and Edwin Encarnacion; two players that were slugging over .450. If the Blue Jays can get healthy, and get starts like this out of Estrada down the stretch, then they could be poised to make a move at that second wild card, and possibly leap over a few teams to contend with the New York Yankees in the AL East.
WHAT WE DIDN’T EXPECT…
Despite being obvious sellers at the Trade Deadline, the Detroit Tigers brought the lumber and exploded for nine runs on 16 hits, including a five run fifth inning in their 9-8 win against the Orioles this Thursday. Each Detroit starter that played reached base tonight, and more than half of those players runs. The Tigers got a big game out of Yoenis Cespedes as well, and after dealing both David Price and Joakim Soria earlier today, it seems like Cespedes could be the next 2015 free agent to be traded. He went 3-4 tonight with a home run, three RBI, and two runs scored hitting out of the three-hole in Miguel Cabrera’s absence. Cespedes value could be increasing for the Tigers, as he is in the middle of the best offensive season he’s had since his rookie year. Cespedes slashline is .289/.320/.498 and has been very consistent in the middle of the Tiger lineup on a month-to-month basis. His 18 homers and 61 RBI would be a welcomed addition to many-a-team’s playoff hopes.
– Jonathan Papelbon (18)
– Roberto Osuna (6)
– Alex Wilson (1)
– Craig Kimbrel (30)
– Ken Giles (2)
Matt Holliday left the Cardinals’ game Wednesday night against the Reds with an apparent injury to his right quadriceps. The veteran outfielder had already missed a solid chunk of time before the All-Star Break with the same injury, and he joins fellow everyday players Matt Adams and Jon Jay on the Cards’ shelf. Despite these injuries, and losing staff ace Adam Wainwright for the season early on in the year, St. Louis still maintains a 4 ½ game lead in their division along with the best record in all of baseball. Health concerns going forward have prompted the Cardinals to become active in the trade market, and the team was able to finalize a deal for Brandon Moss with Cleveland Indians before games got underway on Thursday. Holliday was hitting .290, but was having a down year in terms of his power numbers, slugging just .420. The acquisition of Moss makes him the Cardinals team leader in home runs with 15; however, the move comes at a price. St. Louis had to part ways with left handed pitching prospect Rob Kaminsky to add Moss while the team awaits more news regarding the Holliday injury. The 20-year-old Kaminsky was the Cards’ top pick in the 2013 Draft and was the 28th overall player selected. Moss could play a little bit of outfield, but figures to slide into the slot at first base left vacant by Matt Adams.
RUMORS & TRANSACTIONS
The Blue Jays are going for it. After winning back-to-back World Series titles in 1992 and ‘93, Toronto has yet to see a playoff berth since and have been making the necessary roster moves to end that drought. The Jays had already acquired the frontrunner for the AL MVP Josh Donaldson in the offseason, and also got All-Star shortstop Troy Tulowitzki earlier this week; however, MLB’s top rated offense still lacked the proper arms needed for a deep playoff run. Early Thursday afternoon, the Blue Jays parted ways with three more prospects in order to obtain Detroit Tigers’ ace David Price. Price has been a top-five pitcher in baseball since about 2010, and is currently having another great year with 8.5 K/9 and just 1.88 BB/9 while posting the lowest ERA of his career at 2.53. The Tigers will receive a trio of left handed pitching prospects in return: Daniel Norris, Matt Boyd, and Jairo Labourt. Toronto has given up some notable young talent in recent years to obtain players such as R.A Dickey, Jose Reyes, and several others, so it appears that their window is open and the time to win is right now.