Acuna Steals Another Milestone
Ronald Acuna's stolen base on Friday against the Mets punched his ticket into the 30-30 club. At just 21 years old he becomes the second-youngest player ever to accomplish the feat. The youngest? Mike Trout of course, who did it as a 20-year-old rookie in 2012. Acuna now has 36 home runs and 30 stolen bases and still has a shot to join the elite of the elite by registering a 40-40 season. Only four players in history occupy that club: Jose Canseco, Barry Bonds, Alex Rodriguez and Alfonso Soriano. Acuna seems like a lock to hit 40 or more homers but reaching 40 steals could be a challenge. He has been running much more often in the second half -- he stole 13 bases in 90 games prior to the All Star break and has swiped 17 in 39 games since then. Acuna is being compared to Mike Trout on a regular basis these days and could even steal Trout's place as the first overall pick in many fantasy drafts next spring. Trout is unchallenged as the best and most consistent hitter in the sport but his relative lack of stolen bases could knock him back behind Acuna and Christian Yelich in 5x5 fantasy leagues.
DeGrom Does It All
Jacob deGrom starred on both sides of the ball on Friday against the Braves. The reigning National League Cy Young Award winner struck out 13 batters and gave up just one run through seven innings. He also cracked a solo home run. He struck out eight consecutive batters in one stretch. As is par for the course with deGrom, he did not get a win despite his excellent performance. His dinger provided the only run the Mets would score in 14 innings of futility. Braves batters struck out a franchise record 26 times and still won the ballgame. DeGrom has a 1.22 ERA over his last nine starts and has only four wins to show for that stretch of dominance. For the season he is 8-7 with a 2.56 ERA, 1.04 WHIP and a superlative 207:39 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 162 innings. He is making a bid to repeat as the Cy Young winner -- he ranks first in the National League in strikeouts, second in War, fourth in ERA, second in FIP, second in xFIP and third in K/9. Just like last year he lags far behind the league leaders in wins.
Paddack Hits a Rut
Padres rookie starter Chris Paddack was annihilated for six runs over 2 1/3 innings in a loss to the Red Sox on Friday. He failed to record a strikeout for the first time in 22 starts this season. Paddack was phenomenal in the first half of the season but has fallen on hard times in recent weeks. He had a 2.84 ERA in 15 starts prior to the All Star break and has a 6.17 ERA in seven starts since then. He threw just 90 innings across two levels of the minors last year and didn't pitch at all in 2017. He has already thrown 117 1/3 innings this year and it is possible he's simply running out of gas. Fantasy owners should be careful how they use him down the stretch -- he's not the same guy who was blowing hitters away early in the year. It makes sense to leave him on your bench when he's facing the league's highest-scoring teams like the Red Sox.
Didi Gregorius went 2-for-5 with two home runs and five RBI to lead the Yankees to a 10-2 blowout win over the Dodgers. He cranked a grand slam against Dodgers ace lefty Hyun-Jin Ryu in the fifth inning. He added a solo shot in the ninth frame. The Yankees hit five home runs in the ballgame. Gregorius missed the first two months of the season because of an elbow injury. Since returning he has a .267 batting average with 13 home runs and 44 RBI in 57 games.
J.D. Martinez went 3-for-4 with two home runs and a career-high seven RBI to lead the Red Sox to an 11-0 victory over the Padres. He got started early, crushing a three-run bomb against Chris Paddack in the first inning. He added another RBI with a sacrifice fly in the fourth and then turned the game into a laugher by launching another three-run tater in the sixth frame. Martinez hasn't been quite as awesome as he was last year when he made a run at a Triple Crown, but he's still been mighty good. He is slashing .312/.386/.571 with 30 home runs, 82 RBI and 80 runs scored through 118 games played. Last year he hit .330 with 43 homers and 130 RBI.
Jake Cave crushed a pair of solo home runs as the Twins fell to the Tigers. The Twins had two players who each hit two homers yet they still lost the game to the team with the worst record in the majors. Cave belted solo dingers in the fifth and ninth innings. Power is not a big part of his game -- the big day doubled his power output for the season. He now has a .270 batting average with four home runs and 13 RBI in 49 games. The 26-year-old outfielder doesn't get enough playing time to justify a roster spot in most fantasy leagues.
Miguel Sano belted two home runs against the Tigers too. He struck a solo shot in the second inning and a two-run bomb in the eighth. Unlike Jake Cave, Sano does have prodigious power. He has 25 home runs in just 79 games, which would put him on a 50-homer pace if he could keep it up for a full, healthy season. He has never played more than 116 games in any of his five major league seasons. Some of that is due to injury and some of it is due to minor league demotions. His .326 isolated power this year is far higher than anything he's generated before. He had a puny .199 ISO last year and his previous career high was a .262 ISO in his rookie 2015 season. He strikes out a ton though, which has led to a sub-par .246 batting average this year.
Starlin Castro hit two home runs against the Phillies and he didn't even start the game. The Marlins trailed 7-0 in the early going before turning on the jets and winning the ballgame 19-11. Castro entered the game as a pinch-hitter in the third inning and ended up going 2-for-3 with five RBI and three runs scored in the barn-burner contest. He thumped a two-run bomb in the sixth inning and another two-run shot in the eighth. It was Castro's first multi-homer game since 2016. He has been hitting better of late and has his slash line up to .264/.287/.394 with 13 home runs and 65 RBI.
National League Quick Hits: Jordan Lyles was pulled after six hitless innings in Friday’s 6-1 win over the Diamondbacks. Lyles had already thrown 99 pitches, so there was no way he would have been able to finish out the potential no-hitter. Devin Williams took over from there and gave up a two-out single to Christian Walker in the seventh... Hyun-Jin Ryu was obliterated for seven runs over 4 1/3 innings in a loss to the Yankees. He is now 12-4 with a 2.00 ERA on the season... Mike Foltynewicz allowed just one run on two hits over seven innings in a no-decision against the Mets... Mark Melancon worked a scoreless 14th inning against the Mets for his fifth save of the season. He has settled in as the Braves regular closer... Amed Rosario went 0-for-6 with three strikeouts in Friday’s extra-inning loss to the Braves... After being hit by a pitch on Friday, Brian Anderson was diagnosed with a fractured bone in his left hand and is expected to miss the remainder of the 2019 season... Eric Thames went 1-for-3 with a solo homer, a walk, and two runs scored against the Diamondbacks... Merrill Kelly surrendered six runs over 4 1/3 innings in a loss to the Brewers... Vince Velasquez coughed up an early lead by giving up a season-high seven runs in just 2 1/3 innings against the Marlins... The Marlins' Hector Noesi was slammed for seven runs over three innings against the Phillies... Isan Diaz slugged a three-run homer, drew a walk, and scored two runs against the Phillies... Jon Berti went 3-for-6 with a solo homer, a stolen base, and two runs scored in a wild win over the Phillies... Scott Kingery went 1-for-3 with a bases-clearing triple, two walks, and a run scored in a loss to the Marlins... Jack Flaherty struck out nine batters over six scoreless innings in a win over the Rockies. He has been fantastic ever since the All Star break... Marcell Ozuna went 2-for-3 with a two-run homer and three RBI to power the Cardinals to an 8-3 victory over the Rockies... Mitch Keller struck out nine batters and allowed just one run through six innings in a no-decision against the Reds... Aristides Aquino went 3-for-4 and hit his 12th homer of the season on Friday against the Pirates, becoming the fastest player to reach 12 homers in a career. He did it in 22 games (21 this year)... Anthony DeSclafani logged a quality start in a no-decision against the Pirates, surrendering just one run on five hits over his six frames... Anibal Sanchez allowed just two runs -- one earned -- over 8 1/3 innings in the Nationals' 9-3 win over the Cubs... Jon Lester was touched up for six runs over 4 1/3 frames in a loss to the Nationals... Juan Soto belted his 29th home run of the season and scored four runs as the Nationals took down the Cubs... The Phillies placed OF Bryce Harper on the paternity leave list and he will likely miss the entire weekend series against the Marlins.
American League Quick Hits: Bo Bichette went 3-for-5 with a run scored in the Blue Jays' loss to the Mariners... Omar Narvaez went 2-for-4 with a solo homer and a walk to power the Mariners to a 7-4 victory over the Blue Jays... James Paxton recorded 11 strikeouts and gave up two runs over 6 2/3 innings in a win over the Dodgers... Gary Sanchez went 2-for-4 with a solo homer in the Yankees' win over the Dodgers... Aaron Judge went 3-for-5 with a solo homer and a pair of RBI in the Yankees' win over the Dodgers... Eduardo Rodriguez hurled seven scoreless innings and struck out seven in a win over the Padres... Xander Bogaerts went 2-for-3 with a pair of RBI, a walk and a run scored in the Red Sox blowout win over the Padres... Rafael Devers went 3-for-5 with an RBI and three runs scored against the Padres... Yuli Gurriel went 2-for-4 with a go-ahead two run home run against the Angels... Kole Calhoun went 4-for-4 with a solo homer and two runs scored against the Astros... Tigers placed INF Niko Goodrum on the 10-day injured list with a left groin strain... Ronny Rodriguez crushed a go-ahead grand slam, powering the Tigers to a 9-6 victory over the Twins... Dawel Lugo went 3-for-3 with a pair of doubles and two runs scored as the Tigers topped the Twins... Drew VerHagen struck out 11 batters and gave up three runs in six innings against the Twins... Jose Berrios struggled again in Friday's loss to the Tigers, allowing five runs on 10 hits across 5 1/3 innings... Lance Lynn was lit up for seven runs over 5 2/3 innings in a loss to the White Sox... Dylan Cease struck out nine batters over six innings and yielded three runs in a win over the Rangers... Willie Calhoun clobbered a three-run homer in the Rangers’ loss to the White Sox... Yoan Moncada went 2-for-4 with a two-run homer to lift the White Sox to an 8-3 victory over the Rangers. He's homered in both games since coming off the injured list... Zach Plesac held the Royals to just one run in 5 2/3 innings as part of a 4-1 victory... Brad Hand tossed a scoreless ninth inning against the Royals on Friday for his 30th save of the season. Hand has struggled badly of late but looked good in this one... Austin Meadows hit a grand slam against the Orioles... Jesus Aguilar went 2-for-3 with a pair of doubles and a run scored as the Rays topped the Orioles... Trevor Richard struck out five batters while firing six shutout innings in a win over the Orioles... Ty Blach allowed seven runs in four innings against the Rays.