Stephen Strasburg- WAS- Hot- Strasburg got a season-high 13 strikeouts in yesterday's start against the Pirates. He now has a 3-0 record and 1.64 ERA on the year. Strasburg has gotten a little lucky, with a .269 BABIP, but his FIP of 2.11 shows his success isn't dependent on good luck. He recorded all those Ks in only 6 IP and the Nationals seem to be taking care not to overwork the 23-year-old. He only threw 103 pitches and hasn't hit the 110-pitch mark this season.
James McDonald- PIT- Hot- McDonald's .260 BABIP and 78.5% LOB% are undoubtedly contributing greatly to his 2.70 ERA, but the 27-year-old has been helping himself. He has slightly increased his K/9 from 7.47 in 2011 to 7.61 this season and has cut his BB/9 from 4.11 to 3.19. Last season's 1.26 HR/9 rate is starting to look like an outlier, as his .49 mark this season is right near his 2010 number of .50. McDonald may not be able to sustain his current production, but the 27-year-old has the potential for a career year.
Jake Diekman- PHI- Rookie- At least in the early going this season, Diekman has conquered his control demons. In 65 IP at AA last year he had a BB/9 rate of 6.09. In his 15.1 IP at AAA this season he is at 1.76 while increasing his K/9 ratio from 11.49 to 12.91. If those numbers translate to the major league level, Diekman will be more than a LOOGY.
Adam LaRoche- WAS- Hot- LaRoche's 6 homers so far this season is already twice his 2011 total. Any lingering doubts about residual effects from last year's shoulder injury should be gone. What does need to be taken into consideration, though, are LaRoche's splits. He is a road warrior this year. Nationals Park has had a great impact on LaRoche's performance so far. All of the homers have come away from home and he is hitting .400 on the road and only .233 at home.
Garrett Jones- PIT- Stats- Jones gets matchups as favorable as possible in his platoon situation. He only has 3 ABs against lefties this season and still has only a .264 average. The main problem is his plate discipline. Jones has only drawn 3 walks this season in 76 PAs. He is swinging at 41.9% of the pitches outside the strike zone. The number of walks equals the number of strikeouts he had just last night. A Batting EYE of .17 doesn't bode well for living up to the promise he showed in 2009. Matching his total of 16 homers from last year, let alone the 21 he hit in each of 2009 and 2010 seems to be an unlikely event.
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