Summary: Saves Sunday came from Kenley Jansen (2), Sean Marshall (5), Craig Kimbrel (8), John Axford (5), Santiago Casilla (4), and Ramon Ramirez (1). Don't get excited about Ramirez. It was an extra-inning game and Frank Francisco had already pitched two innings. ... Bryce Harper is 2-for-6 with a walk in two games and looks like a guy who wants to stick around. ... Josh Johnson struggled on Sunday and now has as 5.34 ERA. Usually he's good when healthy, no? ... Jed Lowrie had two hits on Sunday and is batting a respectable .283 with two homers in 60 at-bats. ... Bryan Peterson got the call to replace the demoted Chris Coghlan, but Peterson has very questionable fantasy value outside of very, very deep leagues. ... Kenley Jansen now has the Dodgers' last two saves, but don't toss Javy Guerra to the curb just yet. No official change has been made. ... Tyler Moore is the other Nationals outfielder who made his debut this weekend and is an intriguing power guy if he can get at-bats. ... Joaquin Arias and Brett Pill have performed well for the Giants while they've been in there. Arias is 4-for-11 and could continue to steal time from the .203-hitting Brandon Crawford. Pill looks like nothing more than a platoon guy (the wrong side of the platoon) right now. ... Ruben Tejada is now batting .310 after banging out 10 hits in his three games this weekend. Too bad for the Marlins that they don't have a guy at short performing at that level. ... Carlos Gomez is batting .310 while playing mostly against southpaws, but his platoon mate Nyjer Morgan isn't hitting a look, leading to Gomez getting a rare start against a right-hander over the weekend. ... Cody Ransom is 6-for-18 on the year and could continue to steal 3B time from Ryan Roberts. ... Tyler Pastornicky is 8-for-16 in his last five games and looks to be putting a slow start in the rearview mirror. ... Sean Marshall overcame an ugly blown save Thursday to notch a perfect inning / save on Sunday and is very secure in the closer role despite Aroldis Chapman's 0.00 ERA and 15.3 K/9. ... Hey look, there's a Mike Stanton home run (first of the year Sunday). ... Chris Denorfia is batting .302 for the Padres and could continue to see playing time in LF given the struggles of Jesus Guzman.
Bryce Harper (OF-WAS) - Now I know we've already talked plenty about Bryce Harper, but I wanted to give my two cents, as it's a bit of a contrarian view it seems. I think he's here to stay. Yes, I am aware that a .708 Triple-A OPS is nothing special and that neither is a .724 mark in Double-A. Yes, I know he's more than two years younger than the next major leaguer, Jose Altuve. That said, you have to keep in mind that this is the most-hyped prospect since Alex Rodriguez, who himself debuted as an 18 year-old. A-Rod struggled mightily in his first big league stint, but we know the rest of the story. Harper may very well struggle as well, but he did post a 1.034 OPS in the Arizona Fall League, though to be the equivalent of Triple-A in terms of talent. Harper also possesses a unique skillset - light-tower type power, great athleticism, and incredible bat speed. Friday against the Dodgers, Harper doubled over Matt Kemp's head and hit a go-ahead sacrifice fly while also nearly throwing a guy out at the plate (catcher dropped the ball) with a rocket arm. Harper was promoted once the Nats decided to DL Ryan Zimmerman, but even when Zimmerman returns, are the Nats really going to send Harper down because they need to find at-bats for Roger Bernadina? I don't see it. The interesting test will be once Mike Morse (lat) returns, but that's not going to happen until sometime in June. Perhaps Harper will prove me wrong and fail to hit lefties while throwing a couple temper tantrums, but this is a once-in-a-generation type talent.
Josh Johnson (SP-FLA) - The prevailing thoughts around Johnson is that if healthy, he's a top-10 type pitcher. Well, in his fifth start of the year, Johnson laid his second egg, allowing five runs on 10 hits over 5.1 innings. It's the third start in which Johnson hit double digits in hits allowed and batters are now hitting a whopping .347 on the year. His solid 25:9 K:BB in 28.2 innings has kept his ERA to 5.34. his velocity is down a full mph over last year and 2+ mph over his peak. I didn't watch this start, but I did catch him throwing 95 mph in the seventh inning of his last start, so unless that radar gun was really off, there doesn't appear to be any injuries being hidden here. I'd look for him to rebound next time out.
Jed Lowrie (SS-HOU) - When your lineup has Jed Lowrie as the #3 hitter, you know you're playing for the #1 pick in next year's draft. That's more a knock on Houston of course than Lowrie, who was 2-for-4 with his second homer and three RBI. The big day left Lowrie .283/.377/.417 on the season with a 13:9 K:BB in 60 at-bats. Only four of his 17 hits have gone for extra bases (23.5% XBH%), but in reality, Lowrie is ideally suited to batting second in the order. There's not much to like about the Astros, but Jose Altuve and Lowrie at the top of the lineup is one of the better top of the order possibilities in the game. Jordan Schafer is doing a fine job (.344 OBP) in the leadoff spot for now, but we'll see if that lasts. Now, if the Astros could only find guys to hit in the 4-5-6 slots.
Tyler Moore (OF-WAS) - First off, were Moore's parents fans of the "Mary Tyler Moore Show"? Thanks, I'm here all night. All bad jokes aside, a certain other Nationals outfield prospect getting the call this week has made more news, but don't forget about this guy. The 25 year-old Moore was 1-for-3 in his MLB debut, and unlike Harper, he was actually hitting in Triple-A this year - .286/.364/.597 with seven homers in 77 at-bats. Moore also had a 0.50 EYE this year after 0.32 and 0.22 marks the previous two years. In those two years, he belted 31 homers each season, so if the jump in his plate discipline is for real, he could be a big league starter. Moore is a natural first baseman, but with Adam LaRoche there now and Mike Morse as an option come June, Moore's path to playing time is a bit bumpy. But...he can hit.
Kenley Jansen (RP-LAD) - After allowing runs in his previous three appearances, Javy Guerra wasn't the guy who got the call for a save on Sunday. It was Jansen for the second time. Jansen walked a couple guys, but he also fanned three while lowering his ERA to 2.45. In his last nine appearances (8.2 innings), Jansen hasn't given up a run while surrendering just one hit with a 13:5 K:BB. After last year's all-time record 16.1 K/9, Jansen isn't doing too bad this year with a 14.7 mark. Guerra's ERA currently sits north of 6 right now, but he's still likely to get at least one more chance to hold off Jansen.