Max Scherzer was absolutely filthy in his first appearance for the Diamondbacks. Edgar Gonzalez was pathetic in his 2.2 IP as he allowed 6 R and 8 H but Scherzer filled in an was phenomenal. Mad Max tossed 4.1 innings of no-hit ball, allowed zero base runners, and struck out 7. He became the first pitcher to throw 4+ innings of perfect baseball in a debut since 1900. I was able to watch the highlights on Baseball Tonight and he was the real deal Tuesday night. Scherzer was painting the corners with his 96-mph fastball, changed location beautifully and used his breaking pitch when he needed it. I have a staff in one of my leagues that includes Jake Peavy, Brandon Webb, Justin Verlander, Brian Bannister and Tim Hudson and yet I have still put a waiver in for this kid. If he’s not No. 1 on your waiver priority, put him there immediately.
Jorge Cantu bounced back from his 1-16 slump in his last four games with a 3-4 performance Tuesday against the Dodgers. Hitting in the cleanup spot, Cantu ripped 2 doubles, scored twice and drove in a run as he raised his BA to .309. Don’t forget that Cantu is a guy who collected 117 RBI and 28 HR with a .286 BA in 2005. He’s played through injuries since then, both on the major and minor league levels, but appears to be very healthy right now. Cantu is a great candidate for a sleeper who is still available on the waiver wire in many leagues. If you need UTIL help or even came up empty at 3B in your draft, Cantu is a great option. Like many hitters (or maybe all the hitters) in Florida’s lineup Cantu will strikeout FAR more than he walks, but he can hit for a good average and has plenty of power. If Hanley Ramirez continues his spectacular year while Dan Uggla and Jeremy Hermida have decent seasons, Cantu will be the main RBI producer in a streaky but talented Marlins’ offense.
Johan Santana has had a rough start to the year…relative to Johan Santana. He gave up just two hits at Shea Tuesday night but both were homeruns. However, he struck out 7 and gave up just 2 ER but didn’t factor in the decision as the game went to extras. Santana is 3-2 so far this season with a 3.12 ERA, 0.92 WHIP and 7.65 K/9. Most pitchers would kill for numbers like those and yet we call this a “rough start” for New York’s ace. The main problem for Santana so far this season is the amount of homeruns he’s been allowing. He’s surrendered just 8 hits at Shea stadium but 5 of those hits have been deep balls. Santana allowed more homers last year (33) than in any single season in his career. With his opening month riddled with homers allowed, he might be headed toward surrendering 30+ homers again. However, this really isn’t too worrisome overall when you consider how good Santana is at damage control when he does have a “shaky” outing. If we’re realistic and suppose he only gives up 2 of those 5 homers at home, he would have a 2.25 ERA right now. In other words, three mistake pitches have made for almost 100 points difference in ERA and yet he is still below 3.15. I think that alone is evidence that Santana is easily the best pitcher in all of baseball.
Jeff Kent can still do it. Kent extended his hitting streak to four games with a 2-5 performance Tuesday as collected 3 RBI on 2 singles. The Dodgers’ veteran second baseman is hitting .293 this year with 3 HR and 15 RBI. Kent’s eye has been significantly worse than usual this April (.33 BB/K), which is an indication of an again ballplayer, but he should still be able to produce a quality year. He’s available in many leagues I’ve seen so far, so if you need 2B help scoop him up.
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