Ramon Laureano (OF-OAK) - Laureano did his part in the A's scoring 16 runs Tuesday, going 4-for-5 with three runs and a three-run homer. He's still hitting a so-so .265/.308/.444, but in his last 28 games, Laureano is hitting .321 with six homers and five steals. That gives him 11 homers and 8 stolen bases, putting him on pace for 20-25 homers and somewhere in the range of 15-20 steals. Decent counting stats, and if he can get the BA up to .275+, so much the better. Laureano is still striking out nearly 25% of the time, while drawing walks at a 4.5% clip, so his plate discipline remains a work in progress, but he's athletic, and the couting stats are appealing.
Jesus Luzardo (SP-OAK) - If you have been stashing or are considering stashing Luzardo, you may be rewarded soon. He's progressed his rehab to the Triple-A level and has looked impressive so far, allowing one run in seven innings with an 11:0 K:BB while hitting the upper-90s with the fastball at times. Luzardo seems likely to need 2-3 more appearances before being activated. Prior to the shoulder injury, he appeared on track to crack the Opening Day rotation, so once they deem him ready, he could join the big league rotation for a team chasing a wild card spot. Luzardo has made 34 career minor league starts, posting a 2.48 ERA, 10.6 K/9, and 2.0 BB/9. You can make a case for him being the minors' #1 pitching prospect, but even if he's not, Luzardo is certainly top five.
Cameron Maybin (OF-NYY) - Maybin went 3-for-5 with a home run from the nine-hole on Tuesday, leaving him a surprising .315/.387/.505. Seems like the Giants, who released him after a DUI this spring, could sure use OF help while the Yankees are bursting at the seams with it. With Giancarlo Stanton off the IL and Aaron Judge coming off soon, AND with Edwin Encarnacion now a Yankee, it's tough to see how Maybin fits in on a healthy Yankees squad, though perhaps they'd DFA Austin Romine should Maybin keep hitting. Either way, if the Yankees choose to let him go, another team will see these numbers and give him a shot. In his 111 at-bats, he's hit five homers while even swiping five bags. A 25% K% isn't great, but these days, it's not awful either.
Travis d'Arnaud (C-TB) - It was odd seeing d'Arnaud leading off and playing first base against the Yankees on Tuesday, particularly considering he was hitting just .200/.260/.344. It's also odd with a guy with those numbers to be seemingly worth giving at-bats at other positions, but what do we know? Of course d'Arnaud went 2-for-4 with an RBI double to improve to .213/.280/.362, but he'll need a lot more nights like this one to give us hope for his future. At the same time, d'Arnaud did have an .804 OPS in his last 145 PA versus southpaws coming into the game, so starting him against J.A. Happ did make some sense. D'Arnaud has shown some power in the past, though up to this point, he's best known as being a key piece in the deal that brought Noah Syndergaard to the Mets. Whether he can have much of a career going forward seems unlikely, but then again, he was once a very highly-regarded prospect, so who knows?
Tyler Skaggs (SP-LAA) - Sure he faced a team whose cleanup hitter is hitting .222 and whose 5-9 hitters all had OBP's under .300, but it was still a nice night for Skaggs. He held the Blue Jays to a run over seven innings with a 6:0 K:BB in lowering his ERA to 4.61. Skaggs had a 6.76 ERA in his previous three starts, so this was good to see, especially the zero walks, as he had a subpar 3.4 BB/9 entering the game aft3er posting sub-3.0 marks the two seasons prior. Skaggs' 91.2 mph average fastball is right about where we would expect hit, though it was disconcerting to see his GB% at 32.8% entering the game Tuesday after posting a 44.2% mark a year ago. With his swinging strike rate well below average at 9.5%, some red flags remain, but at least for one night, Skaggs was excellent.
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