Justin Masterson (SP-CLE): Justin Masterson was masterful in a no-decision against the Nationals, striking out 10 and allowing only 1 earned run on 2 hits and 4 walks. The effort moved Masterson into a top-20 starting pitcher on ESPN's player rater, as he has posted a 3.52 ERA, a 1.18 WHIP, and 102 K's in 102 and 1/3 innings. Is this legit? On the one hand, Masterson has been much more effective against lefties, which was his Achilles heel in previous seasons. They have managed to post a meager .679 OPS against him this season after an .825 last season. He has really tweaked his approach in general, throwing 8% more sliders...opponents are hitting .077 against it with 60 K's in 104 AB's! And he has even gained ½ MPH on his fastball. On the other hand, he has demonstrated an extreme home/road split, with an ERA 3 runs lower at Progressive field than elsewhere. Put it all together and it's mostly legit, but keep an eye on the matchups and how the split progresses in moving forward.
Matt Moore (SP-TB): Matt Moore continued to frustrate fantasy owners, allowing 5 earned runs on 7 hits and 4 walks in 5 and 1/3 innings against the Royals. After a stellar April and a solid May, Moore has come unhinged in June by allowing 19 earned runs on 26 hits and 11 walks in 12 and 1/3 innings. While the walks have been a problem, what's even more concerning is the lack of whiffs: his swinging strike rate is down 3.6% from last season, in large part due to the nearly 2 MPH decrease in his velocity. He has shown inconsistencies in the past and an ability to adjust, but perhaps some rest could help him right the ship in the 2nd half (much like it helped David Price last season). I wouldn't drop him, but also wouldn't start him until we see some adjustments.
Mike Zunino (C-SEA): Mike Zunino hit his first career homer, a solo shot, to help lead the Marines to victory over the A's. The highly touted prospect is now 2 for 7 with a walk and 2 strikeouts through his first 2 games. Zunino breezed through three levels last season, including a very successful stint at AA where he posted a .333/.386/.588 line with a 5:7 BB:K ratio in 15 games. However, he hit a rough stretch in AAA this season, and before being called up had posted a .238/.303/.503 line with 14:59 BB:K ratio in 47 games in the hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League. The lack of competition in Seattle and his strong defensive/game-calling skills should buy him a long leash, and he could definitely hit double-digit homers the rest of the way. However, I'd temper expectations in seasonable formats and see him as a decent play in all AL-only/2-catcher leagues and deep 1 catcher mixed-leagues. For those in keeper formats, it may take Zunino a few years to put it all together, but he could be a top-5 fantasy catcher down the road.
Tom Wilhelmsen (RP-SEA): Eric Wedge told reporters yesterday afternoon he is giving Tom Wilhelmsen a temporary break from closing and would use Oliver Perez and Carter Capps depending on the matchups. True to his word, Wedge turned to Perez, who picked up the save last night. Wilhelmsen had allowed only 1 earned run and had blown only 1 save until May 29th; since then he's allowed 10 earned runs and blown 3. From last season his K-rate is down 8.7% and his BB-rate is up 3.9%, while his line drive rate has spiked 6.1%. The Mariners want him to work on his control/command in lower-leverage situations and it's in their interest for him to close as soon as possible to up his trade value. Wilhelmsen owners are advised to stand pat, as he could easily be back to closing games by the middle of next week. I see Carter Capps as the best short-term handcuff. The mending Stephen Pryor is also a name to keep in mind for the second half.
Michael Pineda (SP-NYY): Michael Pineda (shoulder) threw 75 pitches in a simulated inter-squad game in Tampa as he continues to rehab. He allowed 0 earned runs on 3 hits and 1 walk while striking out 5. Pineda was fantastic in his first rehab outing at high-A, going 4 and 1/3 innings (68 pitches) and allowing 0 earned runs on 2 hits and 1 walk while striking out 4. The Yankees are reporting the simulated game was used this time because of the FSL All-Star Game schedule and their desire to keep him on a routine, not because of any setback. Pineda has been hitting in the mid-90s with his fastball and mixing in his secondary offerings while featuring the control/command that made him a desirable commodity to the Yankees and fantasy owners. He could be back in early July and if you have the DL/bench spot, grab him as a high-upside stash. If all the chips fall in the right place, he could be a huge difference maker in the 2nd half as a 4-category contributor.
Follow our great team of @fantistics analysts on Twitter and you'll be trending before you know it.
There are over 100 players covered each day in the members' area. If you're not already a subscriber, please join us today!