This wasn't the most timely article in the world, but here is the first try at the new format of Rounding The Bases. I am sure that it will improve over time as I get a better grasp of what is helpful going forward. Again, feedback and suggestions are always welcomed. But in this article we chronicle ANOTHER no hitter, the latest prospect to hit the majors, the craziest man in the MLB (and it isn't Milton Bradley), as well as a pitcher returning from injury. There's a pitch and ditch option, some other pitchers to watch, and hitters getting some attention. Please feel free to leave your comments below about the new Rounding The Bases.
Edwin Jackson pitched a no hitter tonight on 149 pitches against the Tampa Bay Rays. After getting off to a terrible start in which he was walking people left and right, Jackson battled through everything to retire the Rays without giving up a hit. It was one of the least impressive no hitters in history, but a no hitter nonetheless. Jackson has had quite the roller coaster of a season as he was dropped in many fantasy leagues in the early part of the season and now he has been back on track lately and it culminated with this effort. He is worthy of being on a fantasy roster in most every league, but don't go crazy after him because of this historic moment.
The San Francisco Giants have announced that top pitching prospect Madison Bumgarner will be starting Saturday against the Red Sox. It isn't the best matchup to make your debut against, but Bumgarner is a must pickup in any league. He has long been one of the Giants best pitching prospects and has a chance to have an impact right away. Feel free to email me if you have a question about whether you would make a roster move on him or not.
And this is why I don't like Carlos Zambrano. After his latest disastrous outing in which he gave up four runs in the first inning to the Chicago White Sox, Zambrano went through the dugout shouting at his teammates. Derrek Lee took exception and the two went face to face. Zambrano also did his usual water cooler destruction act and he has now been suspended by the team indefinitely. After his poor performance, being sent to the bullpen, and now this, I wouldn't be the least bit surprised if this finally signaled the end of his Chicago Cubs career. I have no idea how long this suspension will last but Zambrano should be dropped in fantasy leagues at this point.
Jair Jurrjens looks like he will be back pitching for the Braves on Wednesday after his latest rehab outing. It wasn't successful as he allowed four runs in six innings, but he looks like he is back to where the team wants him to be, and if he has no setback from his side session on Sunday he will be on the mound Wednesday against the Nationals. Jurrjens isn't a dominating pitcher but he always has a solid ERA and enough strikeouts to make him a good fantasy pitcher. If he was dropped during his injury you should certainly pick him up.
Pitch and Ditch
Trevor Cahill vs. Pittsburgh Pirates. Cahill was just as highly ranked in the prospect ranks as Brett Anderson but struggled badly in his rookie year. However, while Anderson sits on the DL, Cahill is making things happen as he has been wicked hot over the past six weeks. This seems like a no brainer as he pitches against one of the worst teams in baseball. The only thing that could possibly hold him back from collecting a win could be poor run support from his Oakland teammates, but even the A's should be able to hit Daniel McCutchen.
Interesting Starting Pitchers
Max Scherzer vs. Atlanta Braves. It has been all or nothing over the past month for Scherzer as he has either given up three runs or less, or else he has given up five runs or more including a ten run disaster in early May. The Braves have been a pretty solid offensive team this year, but I think this will be a win for Scherzer against a weaker National League lineup.
Justin Masterson vs. Cincinnati Reds. Outside of one bad outing against the New York Mets, the month of June has been very good to Justin Masterson and his immense talent is finally starting to show through. He has been pretty hit or miss with the strikeouts as well, making him a bit of a risky play. He hasn't been bad giving up too many home runs, but any time you pitch in Cincinnati the risk is always there.
Doug Fister vs. Milwaukee Brewers. One of the bigger surprises in fantasy baseball in April and May will return to the mound for Seattle against Randy Wolf and the Brew Crew. It will be interesting to see how Fister performs after taking some time off due to arm fatigue against a pretty potent Milwaukee lineup. I always was hesitant to jump on the Fister bandwagon, and Randy Wolf is pretty much all or nothing as well so he could get a lot of run support or almost none. Fister isn't a bad play, but I am not jumping for joy over his return.
Hitters to Watch
Adam Lind has been completely awful this season, as after another 0-4 (it was against Halladay so I cut him some slack) his batting average is down to .208. I still think that at some point he is going to turn it around, and maybe today is that day. It isn't a large sample to go from, but Lind is 3-6 in his career against Cole Hamels who will toe the rubber for the Phillies on Saturday. Perhaps this is a good day to give him a spot start and maybe it will get his bat going.
Carlos Zambrano wasn't the only fireworks in Chicago on Friday as Carlos Quentin continued his hot hitting as he walloped his 12th homer of the year and fourth in the last four games. Quentin has also raised his batting average 21 points in the last week and is a must start in your lineups right now. Saturday he will face Carlos Silva who he is just 1-7 against in his career, but I think Silva's hot start is going to start to unravel.
Can this be the start of something good FINALLY for Gordon Beckham? He will also face Silva today who he is 1-3 against with a double, but the hope comes from Beckham's second home run on Friday night. He has been my biggest disappointment of the season but I am hopeful that he will turn it around still in 2010. I wouldn't put him into your lineup just yet, but if he has a good weekend it could be a sign of things to come.
Drew Stubbs still isn't hitting for a very good average, but the Reds rookie outfielder has eight home runs and 36 RBI after his game on Friday and has hit seven of his eight home runs and drive in 30 of his 36 RBI at home this year. Although he faces a pretty decent pitcher in Justin Masterson, the numbers don't lie about how good this kid is at home. He should be in your lineups all weekend.
We profiled Chris Johnson on Fighting Chance Radio a week ago, and he showed why on Friday with four hits and three RBI. Johnson obviously doesn't have a track record against any pitcher yet, but if you have a rough situation at third base or just have an open spot on your roster, perhaps give this kid a chance to show what he has. I'm not saying give him a mile long leash, but it is always good to take a chance on a kid with some upside.
Rounding The Bases - Todd Zola Looks At The First 10 Rounds of a Likely 2014 Fantasy Baseball Draft
Master Fantasy Baseball Notes From Todd Zola - Looking Ahead To The 2014 Fantasy Baseball Season
Rounding The Bases - Master Fantasy Baseball Notes From Todd Zola
The Farm Report: Minor League Baseball Coverage From A Fantasy Perspective (20 Prospects for '14)
2013 Fantasy Baseball Waiver Pickups: Week 24
The Farm Report: Minor League Baseball Coverage From A Fantasy Perspective (September Call-Ups)
2013 Fantasy Baseball Waiver Pickups: Week 23
Rounding the Bases: A Day For the Little Man
Rounding The Bases: Morse, Willingham On the Move?
The Farm Report: Minor League Baseball Coverage From A Fantasy Perspective (Roster Expansion)
2013 Fantasy Baseball Waiver Pickups: Week 22
Rounding the Bases: Five Surging Pitchers & Hitters
Rounding the Bases: Rookies, Veterans & Roster Movement
The Farm Report: Minor League Baseball Coverage From A Fantasy Perspective (Pitching Help On The Way!)
2013 Fantasy Baseball Waiver Pickups: Week 21
Master Notes From Todd Zola - Taking A Look at Starting Pitching In Keeper Leagues
Rounding the Bases: Small Names, Big Production?
Rounding the Bases: A First for Stephen Strasburg and the (Near) Final Round-Up
The Farm Report: Minor League Baseball Coverage From A Fantasy Perspective (Hitting Help On The Way!)
2013 Fantasy Baseball Waiver Pickups: Week Twenty