This is a public service announcement to those Aaron Cook owners out there, please proceed to your league site and post a note that Cook is available at the right price. In other words: SELL HIGH. I warned you about this at the beginning of the month and we started to see signs of Cook’s peripherals regressing in his first 4 May starts, but Sunday’s complete game gem brings another potential sell opportunity if you hadn’t unloaded him already. Cook allowed just 4 hits, 1 BB, and 1 ER in his complete game effort against the Mets improving his record to 7-3. When we checked in at the beginning of the month, Cook’s BHIP% was at an unsustainable .250 and his Strand Rate was in the .80’s, an area that’s usually reserved for elite relief men. Since then the BHIP% has started to correct itself as Cook entered Sunday’s game with a .272 BHIP%, but the Strand Rate remained high at .79. Sunday’s start is only going to further those numbers in a direction in which they need to be corrected, and oh… they WILL be corrected if Mr. Regression has anything to say about it. Now’s the perfect opportunity to try to get rid of Cook for a struggling starter maybe someone like Matt Cain or Derek Lowe would make for appropriate trade targets.
It’s been nice to see Carlos Lee finally get going a bit since almost everyone else in the middle of the Astros lineup has been raking. Lee’s racked up 11 RBI’s in his last 5 games, 4 of them in yesterday’s 1-4 effort. Unfortunately for Lee owners there are some things to be concerned about. While Lee’s power rates are in line and his BHIP% is a bit low, a sign that the batting average should rebound into the .290-.300 range, his EYE has evaporated. Lee’s K Rate has risen nearly 3% this season and it’s actually gotten worse in May as he’s struck out in 13.4% of his May AB’s. Lee’s always been a guy who posted a strong EYE mostly due to his great contact skills so any erosion in his K Rate is going to lead to big changes in his EYE. The results are apparent in the numbers as he’s gone from averaging an EYE of .73 the last 3 years to an unsightly .48 so far this season. Because Lee doesn’t usually strike out much these numbers can be corrected pretty quickly, but at 31 it’s not unreasonable to see some signs of decline starting to show in El Caballo. While the decreases in his EYE won’t have too much impact in his power numbers it could result in a 15-20 point drop in his average as he settles in closer to the .280-.290 area instead of the .300+ average we’ve become accustomed to over the last couple years.
I gushed over Kershaw’s promotion earlier in the week, but let me gush a little bit more about the 20 year old. Kershaw’s major league debut was sparkling on Sunday as he limited the Dodgers to just 2 ER’s over 6 innings, yielding 5 hits and 1 BB. Most impressively, Kershaw struck out 7 and threw 69 of his 103 pitches for strikes. For a guy that was supposed to have command issues, he pounded the strike zone against a Cardinals team that is 2nd in the majors in OBP. Kershaw flashed the incredible 70-74 MPH curveball we’ve heard about along with a fastball that touched 97 MPH and even threw his changeup for strikes. It was as impressive of a performance as you could expect out of a 20 year old and it should’ve been better if not for James Loney taking a soft liner off the face, which was ruled a hit and eventually led to the 2nd ER in the 6th inning. There will likely be ups and downs for the youngster this year but there hasn’t been a pitching prospect that I’ve been this excited about since Myvanni Gallardo (I miss you dearly Yovanni, take good care of your knee).
Chris B. Young:
I had touched on this back at the end of April, but it deserves noting again. Chris Young’s improvements this season have been pretty exciting. Young’s finally shown the increased BB Rate we were waiting for all of last season as he’s eclipsing 14% currently, up from just 7.5% last season, and his power is also showing improvements as his extra base hit rate has improved 1% from 11.2% to 12.2%. The increased EYE and power will make Young’s .250-.260 batting average a bit easier to swallow for fantasy owners. The increased BB Rate has already led to vast improvements in the Runs category as well and will eventually translate into more SB attempts as well. Young’s going to be a STUD contributor in 3 of the 5 traditional rotisserie categories (SB, HR, R) and for those in points-based leagues, Young’s ability to rack up AB’s atop the potent DBacks lineup makes him especially valuable.
NL Only players might want to acquaint themselves with Seth Smith as he’ll get plenty of playing time in Colorado with both Matt Holliday and Brad Hawpe on the DL. Smith’s hit at pretty much every minor league level playing in favorable hitters’ leagues and hitters’ parks posting a career minor league line of .312/.378/.504 in just over 1900 AB’s. With the depleted Rockies lineup, Smith was inserted into the 5th slot which suggests the Rockies have plenty of confidence in the youngster. Smith rewarded the confidence by going 1-2 with what turned out to be the game-winning 3 run HR for the Rockies. Smith’s an intriguing bat that should be scooped up in deep formats as he’s posted a .900+ OPS in each of the last two seasons at AAA and looks MLB-ready.