Rounding The Bases on Thursday focuses on mainly young players, both hitting and pitching. While most will suffer from inconsistency there are a couple of players here noted for how well they are doing. There is also a major league catcher that you absolutely have to trade away now! All this and so much more in Thursday's Rounding The Bases.
Starlin Castro continues his hot hitting since coming to the majors for the Cubs as he had another two hits on Thursday. Castro is still hitting .375 and has driven in 10 runs in his first 13 games as a major leaguer. I thought he would run a little more than his one stolen base, but he is still acclimating himself to his new surroundings so I think that will come in time. Castro seems so far like he has a chance to be very special, especially being shortstop eligible. I am not 100% on his bandwagon just yet, but I am definitely watching him every day.
Tommy Hanson has had back to back shaky starts as he has now given up 13 earned runs in his last two times out. Thursday was one of the worst starts of his short major league career as he gave up eight runs in less than two innings against the Reds. I don't care if he has two or three more bad starts, Hanson is still one of the best young arms in baseball, and perhaps after two rough outings you might be able to throw a trade offer at a Hanson owner to see if he is a little frustrated.
Mike Leake wasn't around for the decision, but had another solid outing against the Braves. Leake allowed just one run over six innings and struck out six. I don't know how many more times I have to say this if you haven't jumped on board, but Leake is going to have a solid major league career and it is going to be good from the beginning.
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Luke Hochevar hurled a complete game and it was one of the best starts of the former number one overall pick's career. Hochevar remains incredibly tough to predict as he has been so up and down it is hard to get a read on him. He is still one of the better employees over the past week or so, and I hope that it turns are all good with him.
Sure, Jason Heyward gets all the press clippings, but David Freese is quietly having a great year and he isn't that far off of Heyward. He is still hitting over .300 and has 26 RBI on the season. I can't say that I can guarantee his production over the past couple of seasons, but Freese is absolutely looking like he is legitimate and could continue at this rate the entire season. The hot corner is pretty shallow so he might be worth a look.
Brandon Webb has gone to a doctor's office that is related to Dr. James Andrews in Alabama and the results came back that his arm angle is too far since his return and it is causing him to pitch without command. Webb will now need to change his mechanics and I am almost ready at this point to say that he won't pitch in 2010 and you should make a move to rid yourself of him if you haven't already. Webb is one of the best, but this looks like it could be another year lost to injury.
Rod Barajas hit his 10th homer of the season tonight, but please don't think that he is going to be a pleasant surprise the whole year. He is nearly a 35 year old catcher and I just can't see him catching lightning in a bottle and hitting this well all year when his career high in homers is 21 and he has only played in 100 or more games four times. A guy this old without a long track record of success means that he can't keep up what he has been doing and if you can get a consistent catcher in return for him I would absolutely jump on it.
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Francisco Liriano took it on the chin for his third straight loss, and while I don't like that I wouldn't lose faith in the young hurler. Liriano allowed five runs over 4.2 innings but he did strikeout six. Even though he is getting hit much more than he was earlier in the year, he is still keeping the damage under control and he is still collecting the strikeouts. Keep putting Liriano in your starting lineup every time he takes the mound.
Brian Matusz took his worst loss of the season and right now he is on a good start/bad start rotation over the last month. Matusz gave up seven earned runs in 2.1 innings and struck out just two. His ERA is now well over 5.00, but I still have a ton of confidence in his ability to come back. You might want to put him on your bench his next time out instead of starting him, but I still wouldn't consider dropping him.
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