Fantasy Baseball Final: July 9, 2015
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Today’s first game was an afternoon contest between the New York Yankees and Oakland A’s. New York outfielder Brett Gardner had been up for the fan-vote to determine who gets that final position on the American League All-Star Team, and he made his claim for that spot in a big way today. Gardner put the Yankees out in front early today by launching a first inning home run off of Oakland starter Jesse Chavez on the first pitch he saw.
It was announced at some point during the game that Gardner would be taking Alex Gordon’s place in the American League outfield, but that didn’t stop Gardner from having a monster day at the plate. Gardner added two more hits to accompany his first inning blast, bringing his average up to .302 on the year.
Gardner is a player typically known for his speed on the bases, but has shown some really impressive pop at the plate as well. He entered the day with a slash line of .298/.378/.478 putting his OPS at .856, which is well above league average. Gardner set a career high of 17 home runs last season, and today’s long ball was already his 10th of the year; a well deserved All Star selection for the AL.
IF YOU ONLY READ ONE THING…
After an abysmal start to the 2015 MLB season, no pitcher is carrying more momentum into the All-Star break than newly acquired White Sox starter Jeff Samardzija. The Shark has been improving over the course of the last month or so, sporting a 3.00 ERA and 8.5 K/9 in his previous five starts entering today. Samardzija continued to improve on those numbers against the Blue Jays today by going the complete game and striking out five along the way. Samardzija also took a no-hitter into the sixth, scattered four hits, and gave up no earned runs over the course of his nine innings of work while walking just one batter. Despite just joining the team this past offseason, Samardzija could be a potential trade chip for the Sox as the July 31st deadline approaches. Chicago is still just 39-44 on the year after going 7-3 in their last 10 games and are at the bottom of the standings in the American League Central.
JUST AS WE EXPECTED…
In just his second start back from Tommy John Surgery, Jose Fernandez looked like he’s been pitching since March in tonight’s game against the Cincinnati Reds. Fernandez won his second straight start since returning from the disabled list by blanking the Reds for seven innings while striking out nine. Fernandez also dropped his ERA to 2.19 with today’s start. First baseman Justin Bour provided the first run for Fernandez by hitting a long double to the deepest part of the park in Miami in the home half of the first to drive in Dee Gordon. Bour has been picking up a bit of the slack in terms of pop since the Marlins lost Giancarlo Stanton last week. Bour has 10 home runs in 50 games this season while slugging an impressive .484. He also has a solid strikeout to walk ratio for a young power bat at 36/17. Bour is in his age 27 season and still holds rookie status.
WHAT WE DIDN’T EXPECT…
Carlos Martinez had every intention of matching Johnny Cueto‘s performance from last night when he took the mound at PNC Park tonight against the Pittsburgh Pirates. Both right handers are up for the final spot on the NL All-Star roster, and after Cueto tossed a nine inning, two hit gem, it was up to Martinez to answer. Carlos Martinez has enjoyed his first full season in the St. Louis rotation thus far after being a stable in the Cardinals bullpen for the last two seasons. He was 9-3 entering today with a 2.70 ERA and a 9.45 K/9. Though he didn’t quite math Cueto’s complete game, Martinez struck out eight Pirates tonight while shutting them out for 8 ⅔ innings.
– A.J. Ramos (14)
– Trevor Rosenthal (26)
– Cody Allen (18)
Alex Gordon will likely be out of the Royals lineup for the next eight weeks after injuring his left groin just before colliding with the left field wall in Kansas City Wednesday night. The injury is a two-plus strain, and was painful enough for the Royals to place their All Star outfielder on the 15-day disabled list the morning following the incident. Gordon has been regarded as one of the best defensive outfielders in the game, having won four-straight gold gloves, and was enjoying a great first half of the season (as has the majority of the KC lineup). Gordon’s OPS of .852 this season has been a full 67 points higher than his career mark and he had been getting on base at a nearly .400 clip. Though the injury is a blow to the Royals first place spot in the AL Central, they probably get an extra year of Alex Gordon as a result, and will move forward this season by using the speedy Jarrod Dyson is some sort of outfield platoon. The 31-year-old Gordon will likely take his player option and remain with the team next season before testing free agency because of the injury.
RUMORS & TRANSACTIONS
Texas Rangers righty Neftali Feliz has officially cleared waivers according to SB Nation’s Chris Cotillo. Feliz, who was designated for assignment by the Rangers last Friday, had once been a highly touted prospect in the Texas farm system. He appeared in 70 games and won AL Rookie of the Year honors back in 2010 in route to a 40 save season, and trips to the All Star Game and World Series. The Rangers made it back to the fall classic the following year with help from another 34 saves from Feliz before deciding to move him back into the starting rotation. Injuries caused Neftali’s career to derail a bit from there as appeared in a total of 62 games from 2012 to 2015. Feliz is still just 27 years-old, but is averaging about 4.6 BB/9 and would have been owed $4.13MM with another year of control had the Rangers found the proper trade suitor for him. He is still undecided as to whether he will take his assignment in Texas or become a free agent.