Some middle infielders returning from injury and hitting highlight this week’s Week That Was.
Starlin Castro: Castro has returned from the DL to spark the Yankees. Sunday, Castro went 4-4 with 2 runs and an RBI. On the year, Castro is hitting a gaudy .351. This is a talented hitter on a good team hitting in a good park. If he was cut in your league because there are very limited DL spots or if his owner is worried about a hammy recurrence, go get yourself a difference maker. [Note – box score numbers aside, just seeing Castro take an outside pitch and drive it into right center field Friday night and then hustle out a double tells me two things: the hammy is ok; and he remains locked in on driving the ball all over the park.]
Marcus Semien: Semien went 1-3 with a run, 3 RBI and 2 SB filling the stat sheets on Sunday. Semien, like Castro, missed a ton of time this season and may still be flying below the radar. Owners may take a quick look and see .258 with 5 dingers on the year and miss what is really there – a player showing he is finally healed from his hand/wrist injury. Over his last 14 games, Semien is hitting over .325 with a dinger, 10 RBI, 8 Runs and 2 SB. I will take that level of production in September from a shortstop any time. You should too.
Jose Reyes: Sticking with the productive returning infielder theme, Jose Reyes went 3-5 Sunday in the second half of the twin bill scoring a run and knocking in another. In three games since returning, Reyes is hitting .500 with 3 runs, a RBI and an SB. Reyes is no longer the dominant fantasy player of a decade ago. However, the Mets have cleaned house and Reyes is still there hitting lead off and producing. You can probably pick him up off your waiver wire and probably should.
Patrick Corbin: Last week we wrote: “Patrick Corbin was lights out Thursday going 8 and 2/3 innings of shutout ball allowing just 4 hits and one walk while mowing down 7. Corbin’s 4.56 ERA on the year does not turn anyone on (or at least it should not) but over his last 13 starts, he has a very appetizing 3.24 ERA. So, can we count on Corbin down the stretch? I say yes. Why? Well, first, he has increased his velocity by almost a full mile per hour. Second, his year-long ERA reflects some bad luck in the BABIP department (almost .360). Third, the advanced metrics back up my faith – 49% ground ball rate, a swinging strike rate of almost 12% and a first pitch strike rate of over 64%. Convinced? You should be but if you are not fully convinced, at least go out and buy him for his upcoming start against a Met team that recently got swept by the Yankees.” Well, what did Corbin do in the week that was? Well, he tossed 15 innings of one run ball while striking out 14 against just three walks. Buying now?
Blake Snell: Last week, we wrote: “Blake Snell was lights out Sunday tossing 7 innings of shutout ball while allowing just 4 baserunners and mowing down 8. It appears Blake has turned the corner. The one-time king of walks (1 every other inning this year) has become far more stingy. In this last six starts, Snell has issued just 9 BB while striking out 30. With his 94 MPH fastball from the left side and a new-found control, Snell could well be the difference down the stretch. Worth the risk.” I fear you did not have faith so let’s have a gander at what Snell did this week: 7 innings of 2 run ball while striking out 7. I will take that any day. With a date against the Chisox this week, Snell should be very much on your radar.
And now, the moment you likely have not been waiting for -- Schultz says: “In an effort to add some excitement to the end of the 2017 season, Major League Baseball has put Player's Weekend into effect. In theory, every team would wear cool alternate uniforms with fun nicknames on the backs of their jerseys. In practice, we have all spent the weekend watching games played by teams in ugly uniforms while realizing that we were better off being in the dark when it comes to what baseball players call each other or themselves. Schultz feels like we've gone through the looking glass, seen behind the curtain and butchered a bunch of trite cliches while learning baseball players may just have too much time on their hands.
As the season nears its close, roto-owners have to be concerned with the Stephen Strasburg conundrum presented to many teams leaning heavily on young arms. With over-usage being at the forefront of the collective unconscious, young hurlers may have their innings drastically reduced, especially if pitching for teams playing for 2018. However, September expansion of the rosters may present an opportunity for roto-teams to perform a little roster salvaging.
Tyler Glasnow's 7.45 ERA and 1.91 WHIP aren't going to cause roto-owners to raise a ruckus when the Pirates bring him back to the majors next week. However, his 1.99 ERA, .96 WHIP and 122 strikeouts in 81 1/3 innings since being sent to AAA should translate into big league success should the Bucs make a final drive towards the wild card. With Mike Leake taking on water, the Cardinals seem poised to give Jack Flaherty a chance to bolster their rotation down the stretch. His minor league 2.13 ERA, 1.02 WHIP and strikeout per inning stuff would be enough to whet appetites, even more so when the ridiculous reliability of homegrown Cardinals starters is taken into consideration. Finally, by the time this is published, you will have a better idea as to whether Tyler Mahle will be a factor in 2017. If he pitches well against the Pirates Sunday afternoon, figure the Reds will give him a chance. If he falters, look for him to return in 2018.”
Response: I agree all around (as much as I hate to do so). The jerseys were not to my taste but hey, people will buy them so why not right? More importantly, for those playing for a yoo-hoo shower this year or to bolster their keeper rosters, Schultz has some very valuable nuggets in what Schultz says this week.