Fausto Carmona was on the tough end of a 1-0 loss on Sunday. Despite pitching 7.0 innings of 1 ER, 5 K, 5 H ball, Carmona was handed the loss, bringing his record to 13-6. Unfortunately for Carmona, his nemesis Scott Baker pitched just a little better for the Twins. Carmona continues to impress and has become one of the big fantasy breakouts of 2007. He now has 6 quality starts in his last 7 outings and is posting a solid 3.17 ERA and 1.26 WHIP in a tough division. His bread-and-butter continues to be the groundball out. In the last 7 outings for Carmona, he has induced 92 ground ball outs and just 20 flyball outs for a GB/FB of 4.6. His season total isn't quite as prominent, but it is still effective at 2.9. His strikeout numbers have been modest at about 5.4 K/9 per game, but I expect those figures to go up in 2008 to over 6.0.
Has Andy Sonnanstine been picked up for spot-starts in your league? I have definitely seen his name pass by the transaction wire more than once over the last few weeks. He's had a couple of high strikeout outings that inflate his K/9 numbers and make him look like a decent pick-up. The youngster has had some good outings (a 6K quality start against the Angels, another one against the ChiSox, and a 10K performance against the strikeout juggernaut Florida Marlins). But yesterday's 3.2 IP, 7 ER, 1 K performance should indicate the riskiness of a guy like Sonnanstine for the rest of the 2007 season. He has a QS % of 42% and has recorded 3 K's or less in 5 of his 12 outings.
Scott Baker the Shutout Maker pitched another gem for the Twinkies on Sunday. He lasted 8.0 IP against the Indians without giving up a run. It was his second consecutive start of 8-innings and his 4th quality start in the last 5 games. His WHIP of 1.18 shows he has the ability to log some innings while keeping his BB total down (a BB/9 of just 1.75). His next two starts will come against the Angels and the Mariners. I don't think those are good match-ups for him, but he's worth the claim down the fantasy playoff stretch.
Robbie Cano is smokin' at the plate. The boxscore from yesterday doesn't tell the full story, but he hit the ball hard at least twice in his 0-for-3 day. He has done a great job turning this season around. He started the season hitting .270, .260, and .279 in the first three months. In July, he hit .385 with a 1.053 OPS and he has decided to stay hot in August, hitting .500 with a 1.646 OPS and a .591 OBP. His 2007 FPI of 0.67 is down from the previous season's mark of 0.75, but I expect Cano to make a solid push in the last couple of months of the season and get his FPI back to the 0.70+ level.
Casey Kotchman is finally playing to his potential. He has been knocking the cover off the ball lately, going 19-for-43 over the last 13 games. The downside to Kotchman's performance is the lack of power. He only has 9 HR in 315 AB (HR/AB of 35.0) and he hasn't hit a dinger since July 1st (over 125 AB ago). Needless to say, I think he's due for a decent power surge. He's probably already picked-up in AL-only leagues, but he should still be bouncing around some mixed leagues. If you're looking for a 1B fill-in, he may be a decent flier to take a chance on over the next couple of weeks.