Minor leaguers are barely adults. What are teams doing about that?
Let’s play Family Feud. Name something that you need to be able to do on your own in order to be a functioning adult. I’ll wait while you write a few things down. Here, I’ll even give you a little room
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The Perfect Game All-American Classic was fertile ground for watching the next generation of batsmen.
Going to San Diego for the Perfect Game All-American Classic was an experience I will never forget. I got to see the best amateur hitters in the country show off their craft. I saw lots of good things and lots of things I would change if I could. For all the attention these kids are getting, they are just that: kids. I work with athletes like this every day and I know all of these players have swings that are constantly evolving. Keeping that in mind, I won’t nitpick my way through their swings and flaws. Rather, I want to celebrate particular hitters that caught my eye.
The most talked-about hitters in the draft are Daz Cameron and Brendan Rodgers. They put on shows as expected. I knew they would be elite and they did nothing to diminish this standing. Therefore, I want to explore some of the less hyped hitters:
Yesterday's extra-innings fun and today's top-notch pitching matchups.
The Monday Takeaway
Late-inning drama was the theme of Washington’s sweep of Pittsburgh over the weekend, as the National League East leaders took a trio of one-run games, with the final two coming in walk-off fashion. The Nationals made it three in a row Monday night as Adam LaRoche delivered the decisive blow to the Diamondbacks in a contest that saw several late rallies.
Arizona took advantage of an uncharacteristic leadoff walk issued by Jordan Zimmermann in the fifth inning to get on the board first. Mark Trumbo worked a seven-pitch free pass and moved up to second base after a Miguel Montero single. Trumbo would come around to score later in the inning on a sacrifice fly by Jake Lamb.
I would never presume that I could convince Rob Neyer that those things I find appealing should be appealing to him, too. Matters of taste are matters of taste. It won’t matter to him that I love to watch a 14-strikeout game the way others love to watch heavy waves crashing near a shoreline; or that the pitching lines of Craig Kimbrel, Koji Uehara and Dellin Betances seem divinely inspired to me, as awesome as the Velvet Underground’s discography or Benjamin Franklin’s curriculum vitae; or that I love the final moments of a strikeout—the terrible swings and the baffled takes, the pitcher’s circling of the mound or his strut back to the dugout—more than any of baseball’s alternative denouements; or that I find the three-step progression toward resolution to be far more satisfying than the sudden resolution of a ball in play. These features of the strikeout please me, and if they don’t please Rob (or you) I accept that no volume of effusion will change that. Taste is just chemicals telling us what to like, after all, and rhetoric’s power over those chemicals is limited.
The A's continue their free-fall, Michael Cuddyer and David Ortiz blast off, and other action from the weekend, plus what to watch on Monday.
The Weekend Takeaway
At the end of play last weekend, the Athletics held a four-game lead over the Angels in the American League West. That was the third-largest gap between first- and second-place teams in any division. If you’d had to pick one of the six to be tied one week later, you probably would’ve looked elsewhere.
But the A’s went on a tough road trip, first to Kansas City, where they couldn’t solve the Royals’ arms, then to Atlanta, where they continued to scuffle at the plate. With the exception of an 11-3 blowout win on Tuesday, Bob Melvin’s offense didn’t exceed three runs in any game on the trek.
Helping you set your fantasy rotation for next week with a look at the two-start pitchers.
Welcome to the Weekly Pitching Planner! It’s a thin week for two-start options, particularly in the American League, where the A’s, Rangers, and Blue Jays only play five games apiece and offer no two-time starters. Additionally, the Orioles are set to activate Ubaldo Jimenez from the disabled list this weekend and currently list a six-man rotation for next week. Keep an eye on the situation, particularly if you’re a Bud Norris owner, as he’s slated for the Monday start and would presumably be in line for their Sunday start as well if they thin the heard to a standard five-man crew. Beyond the limited slate it is additionally just a tough week for mid-tier starter match-ups. Meanwhile the National League also features three teams (Rockies, Marlins, and Brewers) who will only suit up five times as well. Basically, if you’ve got yourself one of the handful of reliable options this week, consider yourself lucky.
On to the nuts and bolts: Outside of the elites, two-start pitchers are often as much or more trouble than they’re worth. Rare is the week in which the stars align to offer your starters not just one but two consecutive tasty matchups. As a result you’ll notice that sometimes the better starters will find themselves in the “consider” category, because they might have one good matchup but a second tough one. And similarly, less-talented hurlers might just meander their way into “start” territory on account of a plum schedule. The pitchers will be split by league, and then by categories:
Paul turns to breakout stud Tyson Ross and returns to old favorite Kole Calhoun.
My DraftKings plays of the day for Friday, August 15th.
PITCHING Tyson Ross ($9,400 SD at STL) – Ross has emerged as a fantasy stud this year. After battling home/road split issues earlier this season, he’s worked his road ERA down to 3.48 by allowing two or fewer earned runs in each of his past four roadies, including one in Coors. He has been a bona fide ace at home, taking full advantage of Petco Park to the tune of a 1.94 ERA with a 1.00 WHIP and 9.4 K/9 in 88 1/3 innings. The Cardinals offense can’t get on track this year with a .677 OPS against righties, good for 21st in the league. It’s down to .657 in the second half, also slotting 21st in the league.