It seemed like an odd move to some when the Phillies moved Ranger Suárez from the bullpen to the starting rotation, Suarez was having the most success in a struggling bullpen and it would take some time for Suarez to elevate his pitch count.
So far, so good. Suarez had his longest outing on Tuesday night. Suarez threw a season-high 99 pitches and went 6.2 innings and allowed six hits, one run, one walk and struck out seven in a no-decision against the Rays. Suarez has made five starts and has thrown 33, 61, 82, 86 and 99 pitches. The last start was the first time he has pitched at least five innings. Some might not have added him due to the lack of potential wins, but with him being stretched out now, it's safe to add him if he's available.
As a starter, Suarez has pitched 21.1 innings and allowed 17 hits, five runs, walked 11 and struck out 18. In 27 games as a reliever, Suarez had a 1.12 ERA in 40.1 innings. Suarez has a 65.6 percent ground ball rate.
It seems like so long ago, but Leody Taveras was getting some buzz in draft seasons. The Rangers outfielder had eight stolen bases in 33 games in 2020 at age 21 and the expectation was he would play every day and be an asset in stolen bases. Taveras was awful in the first month of the season and was sent to Triple-A after only 15 games. Taveras went 4-for-46 (.087) with two stolen bases, walked three times and struck out 23.
Taveras said it was the best thing to happen and allowed him to work on his swing mechanics. Taveras, 22, slashed .245/.343/.475 with 57 runs, 17 home runs, 55 RBIs and stole 13 bases in 322 at-bats at Triple-A. He struck out 24.9 percent of the time with a 12.9 percent walk rate. The Rangers made several moves on Tuesday to COVID-19 and calling up Taveras was one.
Taveras led off Tuesday night, playing center field, and went 0-for-5 with two strikeouts. Taveras will get an opportunity to show what he can do. How long it lasts depends on his performance. If Taveras gets on base, he will run and can help those in deeper formats in the stolen base category.
While Taveras is more of a risk, Nicky Lopez is running wild and more of a safe bet to help on steals. The Royals infielder has been hitting second in the order for seven consecutive games and piling up the steals. He has 10 stolen bases over the last three weeks. He has eight stolen bases over the last nine games. Lopez batted .333 in June and .338 in July, but only had three stolen bases and without power, didn't help. For the season, Lopez is batting .281 with 51 runs, one home run, 32 RBIs and has 18 stolen bases in 18 attempts.
Meyers Mashing For Astros
Jake Meyers wasn't a big prospect and has come out of nowhere to produce this season. The 25-year old outfielder slashed .343/.408/.598 with 52 runs, 16 home runs, 51 RBIs and 10 stolen bases in 271 at-bats at Triple-A. He has been playing almost every day the last two weeks for the Astros. Since being called up, he's slashing .308/.339/.538 with eight runs, three home runs, 11 RBIs and one stolen base. He has a 14.3 barrel percentage, a 57.1 percent hard hit rate and is in the 97th percentile for sprint speed. As long as he's starting, he's worth playing 15-team formats.