It’s almost last call on the Cubs’ Jake Arrieta, as even the cover of Clayton Kershaw’s near-perfect game Wednesday night could not keep the masses from noticing the stellar work Arrieta has been doing lately (7 IP, 1 ER, 5 H, 1 BB, 11 K Wednesday). Though his ownership has risen 25% in the last 24 hours, he’s still only at 37% overall so many of you still have a chance to get on board. Arrieta has allowed only 1 ER over his last three starts spanning 20 IP, to go along with a ridiculous 27:2 K:BB ratio. On the season, he’s a 1.98/1.20 arm with 55 K in 50 IP. He’s given up more than one ER in only 2 out of his 9 starts this year. Sure, wins may be hard to come by on the floundering Cubs, but when a pitcher is doing this much other stuff right sometimes you have to overlook the team factor. The ERA estimators pretty much believe he is for real (2.32 FIP, 2.68 xFIP, 2.89 Siera), and so should you. Don’t forget, this was a highly touted prospect not so many years ago, and now he’s delivering on some of that promise. Grab him now before he throws another gem and you miss your chance.
Casey McGehee has been tearing the cover off the ball for the last couple weeks, going 21/49 over that span with 9 R, 7 RBI, and a .990 OPS. On the season he’s up to .310/.373/.387, with 26 R and 44 RBI. The power is pretty much nonexistent with McGehee (only one HR), but a .300 BA and 100-RBI pace are ownable in almost any format. And while he’s never been a big power guy throughout his career, his current 1.4% HR/FB is way below his career level and likely unsustainably low. McGehee is another guy with multiple positions of eligibility (including 3B), and hits towards the middle of the surprisingly potent Marlins offense. He’s a solid if unspectacular piece that can help you fill up some categories, and he’s only owned in 41% of Y! leagues.
Kole Calhoun was mass-dropped following his injury and subsequent demotion to the bottom of the Angels order, but he has heated back up over the last couple weeks and once again deserves ownership consideration. He’s gone 8-2-6-0-.395-1.030 the last 14 days to get his seasonal slash up to .276/.336/.470, and is back hitting leadoff for the Angels most nights. His occasional power out of that leadoff spot is nice (5 HR) and, while the SB haven’t exactly been plentiful thus far (only 2), this was a guy most pegged as a 15-20-steal threat pre-season. With 25 R over only 134 AB this year, the 100-R pace hitting in front of Trout, Pujols, and Hamilton is still there, and he’s getting it done in other areas at the moment as well. Calhoun can still be had in 60% of Y! leagues.
Kyle Gibson is really starting to put things together, as Wednesday night was his third consecutive scoreless start of 7 IP, this one the most dominant of them all (1 H, 8 K). During that stretch (21 IP) he’s notched 16 Ks against only 14 baserunners (9 H, 5 BB). While his seasonal numbers look strong on the surface (6 W, 3.25/1.17), his K:BB leaves a little something to be desired (46:25). However, this is still a young pitcher continuing to mature, and he’s been much better in that area over his current hot streak (16:5). Most young pitchers are better at home, but Gibson has been delivering dead-ball era numbers in Minnesota (1.54/1.12). His road numbers tell a different story (4.93/1.21), but at the very least his work at home and of late should give us a glimpse of his upside (and in fact, 2 of the 3 starts of his current hot streak have come on the road). At 9% owned, Gibson is widely available, and as back-end filler for you rotation anyway, there is no shame in using him only when he starts in the friendly confines of Target Field.
Kevin Gausman is another under-owned pitcher looking very impressive of late. Like Gibson, he was a first round pick and highly touted prospect, though he may be ready to tap into his lofty potential a bit sooner than Gibson was. He’s been a regular in Baltimore’s rotation since June 7, and in three starts since then he’s given up a total of 2 ER over 19 IP with a 14:5 K:BB ratio, and earned a W all three times he’s taken the hill. The jagged AL East can be rough on all pitchers, especially young ones, so Gausman is likely to take some lumps along the way. But when a guy with his pedigree starts producing at this level, the fantasy community needs to take notice. He’s only owned in 17% of leagues at the moment, but his upside makes him worth gambling on.
Many of us have been burned by Josh Rutledge in the past, but it’s hard to overlook the production he provides at both middle infield spots. He’s got 16 HR and 19 SB over 625 career AB (just about the equivalent of a full season), and he’s hitting .333/.400/.508 at the moment. There’s definitely plausible upside here…Michael Brantley’s breakout season hit a bit of a roadblock this week as he was diagnosed with a mild concussion after sliding into a player’s knee while trying to break up a double play. Luckily, he avoided major injury and is expected back in the lineup Saturday. Let’s hope he can pick up where he left off (49-11-46-9-.323-.910) when he returns…Oswaldo Arcia is 2 for his last 32. While he was fun when he first got called up, and the power remains real with him, he’s probably safe to drop at this point…Jonathan Lucroy is on an absolute tear right now, going 22/54 12-5-13-1 over the last 2 weeks. He’s up to .341 on the year and is currently the #35 ranked player in the Roto game. Catchers almost never finish in the top-50 overall…After his benching adventure at the end of May, Matt Kemp has really turned it on. He’s gone 9-2-12-.432-1.259 over the last 14 days, and looks primed for a big second half…Khris Davis had an anemic start to the season that saw him dropped in many leagues, but he’s really turned it on over the last month to the tune 22-7-20-2-.323-1.051. If he was dropped in your league, make sure he’s not still out there as he’s only owned in 69% of Y! leagues right now…The streaky J.D. Martinez is hot again, and now doing his hitting in the fantasy-friendly Detroit Tigers lineup. He’s homered in 3 of 4 games and boasts an impressive slash line of .300/.330/.570. At 4% owned, he is well worth a look if you need power, at least while he stays on this hot streak.
Dana Eveland got a save for the Mets Wednesday, and while there’s no reason to believe he’s in line for many more chances, his SP eligibility means we need to at least keep an eye on him. In leagues with limited RP/P spots, SP/RP closers give you a distinct advantage over your competition…With another gem on Thursday, Justin Masterson may just be getting on a roll. He’s given up 2 ER or less in 4 of his last 5 starts with 24 K in 24.2 IP. This may not be the year I was expecting from him, but I’m holding out hope until the bitter end…Bartolo Colon is getting it done lately, with 4 wins, a 1.83 ERA, and 0.97 WHIP over his last month. Plus he hit his first career double on Wednesday (his first hit of the year), and coasted into second like he’d been doing it all his life. He’s never been a huge K guy (ok, maybe in 2000-2001), but he can help you elsewhere and is available in 65% of leagues…Jake Odorizzi continues to be under appreciated after pitching well against STL and BAL his last two turns. His 4.73 ERA must be a turn-off for many, as he’s still just 8% owned, but the ERA estimators say he’s been quite unlucky so far (3.37 FIP, 3.59 xFIP, 3.42 Siera). 10.36 K/9s don’t grow on trees folks…Dellin Betances has 70 Ks (!) already this year in a set-up role. Unfortunately for him, David Robertson has been just fine in the closer’s role, delivering solid ratios (3.28/1.09) and striking out 44 in 24.2 IP while converting 17 of 19 save chances. Still, if he should falter for any reason, Betances would immediately jump into a tier with Kimbrel, Chapman, Jansen, and Uehara…I’d be remiss if I finished this piece without a shout-out to my boy Clayton Kershaw for his masterpiece no-hitter Wednesday night. According to Bill James, that was the 2nd greatest game ever pitched, behind only Kerry Wood’s 20-K one-hitter back in 1998. When Kershaw is at his best and we have Vin Scully telling us what it looks like, this game we love can evolve from a sport to a true work of art. Congratulations Clayton.
Thanks for reading. Follow me on twitter @RotoClayton and send me all your fantasy baseball-related questions and/or comments. I’m still waiting for the hate storm for trading Billy Hamilton for Tyson Ross! Until next time…