Oracle Report: The Second Half
I'm getting geared up to head to Las Vegas for the first weekend of the NFL season. I have somethings to say about the folks on the diamond before I go.
I've got a bone to pick with a player and some followers of mine. I also have good things to say about bullpen arms with the Angels and Giants. There's bad news in Cincinnati where a key cog of their rotation is done for the year. I'll also look at the second half efforts of many a hitter and hurler in an attempt to point out some recent events that could force you to reshape you opinions of certain players.
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Matt Adams stinks. Seems like I told you that but no one was listening. He's been so bad that the Cardinals have called up Xavier Scruggs who is actually starting at first for the club Thursday night. He hit .286-21-87 in 135 games in Triple-A, and it's at least possible that Xavier could become a decent weapon down the stretch for the Cards. As for Adams, he stinks. Wait, I already said that. The proof. Over his last 43 games Matt Adams is batting .222 with two homers, a .278 OBP and .327 SLG. Folks, he hit .329 in the first half. His average has tumbled all the way down to .292. So predictable it was. I tried to warn you that he was not close to being a .300 hitter. The real issue though has been the utter abatement of his power bat. After hitting 17 big flies in 296 at-bats last year he's hit 13 in 463 at-bats this season. He shouldn't be in any starting lineup right now. He stinks. Oh, and he's now nursing an oblique issue.
Homer Bailey is done for the year as it was determined that he would need surgery to repair a torn tendon in his right forearm. For the year he was underwhelming, though at least he started to pitch better as the year wore on. All told he made 23 starts going 9-5 with a 3.71 ERA and 1.23 WHIP over 145.2 innings. So much for the stability I thought he would offer this season. My bad on this one.
Jonathan Schoop, for some reason, has big time supports that are coming to his defense on Twitter account (@BaseballGuys) for my statement that he should be embarrassed by his .255 OBP this season. I honestly don't see how a person could argue with that. 'But Ray, haven't you noticed that he's hit eight homers in his last 36 games?' That's great. He's also batted .221 with a .248 OBP in that time with 35 strikeouts and four walks. Folks, I'm sorry, but that's horrible. Give him 145 games at that pace and he would hit .223-32-80-52 with a .248 OBP. Are you really going to sit here and tell me that's fine? Obviously he's never going to hit 32 homers in a season, and cause he never walks he doesn't score run. Heck, he doesn't steal bases either. He's young, but his approach is simply atrocious. Just the way it is. A season long line of .221/.255/.374 is embarrassing, or it least it should be given that the average AL batter's slash line this season is .254/.317/.393.
Sergio Romo is back in the mix for saves with the Giants. Santiago Casilla has hit a speed bump of late (though he has four saves in his last nine outings he also has a 5.19 ERA) and Romo is rolling. Over his last 16 outings Romo has an 11.48 K/9 mark, a 2.03 BB/9 mark, a 0.68 ERA and 0.90 WHIP. Pretty amazing how quickly he's fallen off the fantasy radar despite the fact that his season long numbers still impress: 9.17 K/9, 4.42 K/BB, 1.00 WHIP and 23 saves.
This is from Matt Birch of the Los Angeles Angels Media Relations Department. The three lowest WHIP marks for a month, in which a pitcher threw at least 15 innings in that month, since 1914 follow: Fernando Salas, LAA .267 (Aug 2014), Joe Smith, LAA .294 (July 2014) & Lon Warneke, STL .333 (April 1939). Warneke, probably one percent of you even know the name and that's fair (he retired in 1946 with 192 career wins). You might have known that Smith had killed it a few months back. But I bet not one of you reading this, unless you are an Angels fan or in an AL-only league, were aware about how well Salas has been pitching. For the month of August he allowed four hits and no walks over 15 innings. Moreover, over his last 23 innings he's had 24 punchouts, walked one batter, posted a 1.96 ERA an a 0.61 WHIP. Pretty tough to pitch any better than that. Tip of the cap to ya Mr. Salas.
Justin Turner is batting .408 with two homers, nine RBIs, seven runs scored and two steals in his past 15 games. He plays for the Dodgers by the way.
SECOND HALF NUMBERS
Dustin Ackley finally remembered how to hit. He's batted .304 with seven homers, 31 RBIs, 26 runs scored and five steals. He's been, brace for it, one of the best fantasy performers in baseball in the second half of the 2014 season.
Chris Carter has 16 homers and 42 RBIs in 43 games. He's even batting .274.
Matt Holliday has swatted 10 homers with 36 runs driven in.
Evan Longoria has finally started to come alive. He's only hit .247 the last 43 games but he does have seven bombs and 37 RBIs.
Buster Posey is batting .355 with nine homers and 32 RBIs.
Luis Valbuena has 11 homers. Eleven. Anthony Rizzo has 10 which so happens to be the same number as Chris Davis. Too bad the Orioles slugger is batting .184. Anthony Rizzo, by the way, was batting .284 in the second half before his back injury struck.
A.J. Burnett is 1-7 with a 5.85 ERA. Awful. Somehow he has struck out 9.80 batters per nine innings.
Miguel Gonzalez only has a 5.36 K/9 mark, but he's also gone 4-2 with a 2.30 ERA in seven starts.
Kyle Hendricks is second with a 1.60 ERA, microscopically ahead of Kershaw's mark (more on that in a moment). Kyle has a 4.31 K/9 mark though. Flirting with danger is he.
Clayton Kershaw is 6-1 with a 9.37 K/9 rate and a 1.60 ERA. The best in baseball he is. Still, how about this... Alex Cobb is 5-1 with a 1.42 ERA and 9.47 K/9 mark. That 1.42 ERA is the best among qualifiers.
Vidal Nuno how is that 0.93 WHIP, the 8th best in baseball, treating you?
Danny Salazar has finally found his groove. Of course, it's too late for anyone who drafted him this year to realize the benefits. In his last eight starts he's gone 4-2 with a 2.30 ERA and 8.62 strikeouts per nine innings. The most impressive number though has to be his 2.11 BB/9 ratio. He will dominate if he keeps the ratio that low.
Matt Shoemaker leads baseball with seven wins an a 0.74 WHIP. He also has a 1.67 ERA and 8.8 K/BB ratio.
Chris Tillman is undefeated at 4-0 thanks in no small part to his 1.85 ERA and 0.87 WHIP.
Listen to Ray Flowers' show Monday through Friday on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio (Sirius 210, XM 87). You can also hear me hosting my own show Sunday nights, 7-10 PM EDT.