Elvis Andrus- TEX- Hot- Andrus was supposed to have the day off yesterday but instead ended up smacking a walk off single to win the game for the Rangers in the 9th. He had gone 2 for 15 in his prior 3 games, so this was a pleasant outcome. Andrus has struggled with plate control this month, with his Batting EYE at only .22 in May as his BB% is only 3.7% and his K% is up at 17.8% in May. His overall average for the month is at .267, actually 17 points higher than he ended April. Much of that, though, is a result of Andrus using his speed to a very high efficiency, with 10.9% of the ground balls he hits turning into infield hits. That is unlikely to be sustainable, so if Andrus doesn't figure out where the strike zone is (he is only seeing 48.6% of pitches in the zone, only swinging at 43.3% of the pitches he sees, but is swinging at 27.3% of the pitches outside the zone) he is going to have a hard time maintaining his average.
Andrew Oliver- DET- Rookie- Oliver acquitted himself well in his first 2011 major league start. He has made strides at the AAA level this season, increasing his K/9 ratio from 8.32 to 8.54 and lowering his BB/9 from 4.25 to 3.48. Oliver is taking the rotation spot of the injured Phil Coke and will likely get another opportunity later in the season, even if he goes back to AAA when Coke is healthy. Oliver's next start should be against the Rangers in Texas, so there is risk in depending on him short term, but Baseball America ranked him as the #3 Tigers prospect for a reason and in keeper leagues, especially, he would be a good pickup.
Grady Sizemore- CLE- Cold- Sizemore's 0-for-4 with 4 strikeouts yesterday is an extreme example of a disturbing trend he has shown over the past two seasons. He has started hacking, with a rise in his Swing% from 42.9% in 20009 to 44.9% in his injury shortened 2010 to 49.4% this season between stays on the DL. His swinging strike percentage has risen from 7.2% to 11.4% to 12.4%. Not surprisingly, Sizemore has seen his Batting EYE drop from .65 to .26 to .15. The one saving grace for him this season has been his 50.0% FB%, which is far above his career 43.1% mark. However, the HR/FB ratio of 18.8% he currently has is likely unsustainable. The keys for Sizemore will be to stay healthy and regain control of the strike zone.
Jeremy Hellickson- TB- Hot- Hellickson needed just 95 pitches to toss 7 shutout innings against the Indians yesterday. Put him at the top of the "sell high" list. He hasn't had more ground ball than fly ball outs in any of his last 4 starts. Hellickson is being helped mightily by luck, with a .238 BABIP. His xFIP is 4.31, far higher than his actual 2.80 ERA. His K/9 has dropped from 8.17 in 2010 to 6.44 this season while his BB/9 has risen from 1.98 to 3.78. Those are not numbers that bode well for continued success.
Dan Haren- LAA- Cold- Although Haren threw a quality start, by his standards it was a poor effort. He allowed 3 runs on 10 hits and a walk in 6 IP while only striking out 2. Haren also needed 113 pitches to get to 6 IP. Is pitch counts for the past couple of seasons are a concern. Prior to 2010 he had at most 11 high-pitch count games (110 or more) in a season. Last year that number jumped to 20. So far this season Haren already has 8. He is 30 years old, so perhaps the maturity of his arm can handle the sudden increase in usage, but there could be negative effects. If he starts having more starts like yesterday that will be a red flag.
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