Two pitchers on the trade market are going in different directions. Which hitters have done something noteworthy the past few weeks?
Zack Greinke will not make his scheduled start on Wednesday. When this was announced the assumption was that perhaps Greinke had been traded and the team was just wrapping things up before an announcement was made. Not so. It turns out that the Brewers are just giving Greinke a chance to ‚Äúrecharge his batteries.‚ÄĚ Huh? Didn’t we just come off the All-Star break? There are whispers that he needed a break after starting three straight games for the Brew Crew (he threw a handful of pitches on July 7th before being ejected. He then pitched the next day, the last game of the first half, before starting the first game of the second half against the Pirates). Newsflash people, it’s not like he tossed 22 innings in three days or anything. Yes he technically made three straight starts, but in reality he tossed a total of eight innings in seven days. Why on earth would he need to ‚Äúrecharge‚ÄĚ from that? According to John Paul Morosi of FoxSports, the Brewers were a bit concerned after Greinke showed diminished velocity in his last start, and over his last two starts he’s allowed eight runs (going back a wee bit further the numbers get even worse as he’s allowed 14 earned runs in his last 14 innings). Fearing that any more hiccups might lead to a lowering of his value on the trade market, the Brewers have decided to give Zack a little breather to see if he can straighten things out. I gotta tell ya though, if I’m a team looking at adding Greinke at the deadline, I can’t see I feel too good about trading for a guy I may not be able to sign long term who needs to ‚Äúrecharge.‚ÄĚ Still, if taken as a whole, Greinke is 9-3 with a 3.57 ERA, 1.25 WHIP and 117 Ks in 116 innings so I’m certainly not going to panic if I own the righty.
Ryan Dempster is another starting pitcher who is on the block and likely to be dealt at some point in the next two weeks. Due just about $6 million the rest of the way, Dempster will look to sign one more big money deal this offseason. He’s likely to get it to given that he’s currently working on a 1.86 ERA and 1.02 WHIP. Can Dempster keep up this level of pitching the rest of the year? What, you think he’s Greg Maddux now? Dempster has a a 7.34 K/9 mark which would be an nine year low. To balance that out he’s walking just 2.45 batters per nine. Not only is that walk mark a batter an a half below his career rate, it would only be the second time in his career that he had a season under 3.30 (it was 2.93 in 2009). Can he sustain this pace, one that has led to a 50 percent increase on his career K/BB ratio? I find that unlikely. For his career Dempster has also allowed 0.96 homers per nine innings, and that mark has been at least 0.99 the past three years. Can he hold on to his 0.59 mark this season? I find that unlikely. Dempster has a .242 BABIP right now. His career mark is .301 and the last time he was under .280 was 2007. Can he hold on to those gains? I find that unlikely. Dempster has a 1.02 WHIP. In his career that mark is 1.43 and only once in 14 seasons, fourteen, has he had a mark under 1.30 (it was 1.21 in 2008). Can he hold on to those gains? I find that unlikely. Finally, his current GB/FB ratio of 1.22 would be his worst number since 2002. So what should you expect in the second half? It’s certainly possible that Dempster will set career bests in ERA and WHIP, he’s well on his way there, but some perspective. If we go back to the start of last season Dempster has a 3.88 ERA and a WHIP of 1.31. Be careful not to make a big push to add Dempster as there are clearly more reasons to think a regression is coming than there are reasons to think he can maintain this pace.
Yonder Alonso is back to hitting. Over his last 36 at-bats he has 11 hits, a .306 batting average. He’s also walked seven times while striking out six times helping him to a healthy .419 OBP.
Is anyone paying attention to Logan Forsythe? I kinda doubt it, but you should. Over the past two weeks he’s hitting .407 in 27 at-bats and in his last five starts he’s racked up eight hits to raise his average up to .303 in 99 at-bats on the season for the Padres.
Casey Kotchman is no good. He has no power and usually is also a batting average drain. So why am I mentioning him today? He has 10 hits in his last 28 at-bats leading to a .357 average. He’s also somehow gone deep three times with eight RBIs in those at-bats.
Quick, what team does Jordan Pacheco play for? If you said the Pirates ‚Äď you’re wrong. Pacheco plays for the Rockies and he’s someone you should be well aware of by now even in mixed leagues. Pacheco is hitting .306 on the season in 206 at-bats and he has 14 hits in his last 45 at-bats (.333). He’s only gone deep a single time this season, but if you need a boost in average from the corner infield spot he’s not an awful option by any means.
The last three weeks Mark Teixeira has gone deep six times leading to 19 RBIs and 15 runs scored. If you were worried about him seven weeks ago you just weren’t paying attention. For some reason he seems to heat up with the weather each year and he’s now on pace for his tradition season of 33 homers, 110 RBIs and 95 runs scored. The guy is a rock in those three categories, even if he’s a .250 hitter now.
Joey Votto is hitting .264 with no homer and two RBIs over the last three weeks causing one of my followers to send me a question asking me if Votto was going to turn it around? Here’s what I wrote to him. ‚ÄúHe’s on pace to go .340-25-90-95-10 with a 1.069 OPS. Seasons like this one get you to the Hall of Fame.‚ÄĚ It’s a long season everyone, so make sure you keep your perspective.
Casper Wells is hitting .294 with two homers and five RBIs and six runs scored the past two weeks for the Mariners. He’s also walked a single time while striking out 10 times, so be careful.
Ray Flowers can be heard daily on Sirius/XM Radio on The Fantasy Drive on Sirius 210 and XM 87 from 5-8 PM EDT, Monday through Friday. Ray’s baseball analysis can be found at BaseballGuys.com and his minute to minute musings can be located at the BaseballGuys’ Twitter account.