Garrett Richards (LAA) - Garrett Richards took on the Boston Red Sox on Thursday night but left the game in the second inning on a stretcher. He was covering first base when his left knee gave out and was unable to make it off the field on his own power. He looked to be in a lot of pain and the team was vague on the details afterwards, simply saying it was a left patellar injury. It's too soon to say the severity but based on initial observation, I would be surprised if he played again this year. On the season, Richards had continued to build on his impressive first half and had an ERA of 2.61 along with 13 wins. Batters were only making contact 75% of the time when they swung at his pitches and he continued to get batters to chase pitches out of the strikezone 32% of the time. His fastball velocity remained nearly 2 MPH above his career levels, which is probably the biggest driver of his 9% jump in strikeout rate rather than his 1.8% jump in swinging strike rate. While his .258 BABIP and 20% line drive rate suggest he had enjoyed some batted ball luck, the rest of his underlying statistics all supported his breakout. He appears to be legit and is a safe bet to be among the top-20 starting pitchers off the board next season.
Victor Martinez (DET) - V-Mart had a nice night at the dish on Wednesday going 2-for-3 with a homerun, a double and 5 RBI. The 35-year old is enjoying one of the best years of his career this season and is on pace for career bests in homeruns, ISO, and strikeout rate. His .389 OBP is also 3rd in the AL. The only area of concern for Martinez would be his 35.8% chase rate on pitches out of the strikezone but he counters with a career high contact rate on pitches out of the zone at 87.2%. He's simply a professional hitter and has been a very pleasant surprise for fantasy owners who took him in the middle rounds of their drafts this spring.
Jason Hammel (OAK)- The San Francisco Chronicle reported that the A's considered removing Jason Hammel from the rotation before making the decision to simply skip him in the rotation. Hammel has been brutal since being acquired by Oakland in the Jeff Samardzija/Addison Russell deal, putting up an ERA of 6.75 with a 1-5 record over 7 starts. That trade, as well as the Jon Lester deal, forced Jesse Chavez and Drew Pomeranz from the rotation. Both pitchers would be candidates to replace Hammel should the struggles continue. At this point, Hammel is too risky to continue using in most mixed leagues and his 21% strikeout rate is barely worth hanging onto.
RA Dickey (TOR) - RA Dickey had another brutal outing on Wednesday against the Brewers. Dickey has struggled to find consistency for most of the year and remains prone to blowups when his knuckleball isn't working. On the season, his stat line isn't too far off where he performed in his disappointing 2013 campaign. Even though knuckleballers typically age well, at 39, Dickey is definitely beginning to show signs of age. He has now posted 3 straight years of declining chase rates while his velocity remains lower than during his outstanding 2012 Cy Young winning season. We have seen Dickey can be effective when he keep his velocity up but that hasn't been the case this season. Keep him off your fantasy rosters.
Jeff Samardzija (CHC) - Samardzija burned fantasy owners on Wednesday by yielding 7 earned runs over 3.2 innings pitched. Most of the damage came on two 3rd inning home runs by Eric Campbell and Lucas Duda. The Shark has been good but he certainly hasn't pitched like an ace since being acquired from the Cubs with Jason Hammel for 2 top prospects. Meanwhile, Addison Russell has been on fire for the Cubs Double-A affiliate. If Oakland doesn't win this year, it's going to be hard for the team to overcome mortgaging their future. Samardzija should be able to provide SP2 or SP3 numbers for the rest of the year, providing solid strikeout totals and decent ratios thanks to his low walk rate and great 50% groundball rate.
Follow me on Twitter @MichaelWaldo to get player tidbits this season. I'll happily answer any keeper or trade questions for your team. You can follow Fantistics on Twitter @Fantistics. Rating: 2.9/5 (1701 votes cast)
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Rating: 2.9/5 (1701 votes cast)