With several irons in the fire here at Chinstrap Ninjas and the onset of our fantasy football crush, I was fully prepared to skip a baseball update today, but then Brandon Morrow goes and pulls some shenanigans.
As fantastic as Morrow’s 17 strikeout, one-hit (he lost the no-hitter on the final out of the game) shutout was on Sunday, it is merely a continuation of a streak of performance that should have fantasy owners taking note.
He’s won his last four starts and only one of them — when he allowed five earned runs to the Yankees on Aug. 2 — would not have been good for your fantasy team. In the last 30 days, he has four wins and 44 Ks in 31.1 innings pitched with a 3.73 ERA and a 1.21 WHIP.
As you may remember, “… He’d have to impress for several starts in a row before I’d think about adding him.” That was me BABIPing on April 20. Those Ks have always been enticing to fantasy owners and it seems as though Morrow’s starting to use it to his advantage.
Other notes? The Morrow news is the biggest, but here are some other things dug up this morning:
Chris Carter — Updating our rookie report, the first baseman was pulled out of a minor league game early, a likely indication he’ll be called up to Oakland very soon. Carter is the organization’s top prospect and is available in 98% of Yahoo leagues.
Jacoby Ellsbury — Is 0-for-16 since returning from the DL. Ellsbury was moved to ninth in the order. When I was a sportswriter a high school softball coach used to tell me that batting ninth was like the second leadoff hitter. In this case it means the Red Sox don’t want him anywhere near the team’s run producers. Injury or not, aren’t you glad we told you to avoid him in the preseason?
Dustin Pedroia — We’ll stick with the Red Stocking for a moment. Pedroia is still targeting a return from his foot injury Aug. 17. However, after a day off today, the next three days will be crucial, according to a report from KFFL.com
John Axford — Will lose some save opportunities to Trevor Hoffman. It wasn’t that Axford has played his way out of the role, it’s that Hoffman has returned to form. Looks like the plan is to get Hoffman in for the multiple-run, no-doubt save opps and Axford if the games close if it is a multiple-inning opportunity. There is talk that Axford could come in during the seventh and eighth innings to set up Hoffman, who recorded his 597th career save Saturday.
A.J. Burnett — Despite the back concerns, Burnett will pitch Tuesday according to manager Joe Girardi in a note from Rotoworld. Get him in your starting lineup.
Josh Beckett — Not usually so many big names on the update, but these are big names with injury issues. Beckett had been good (2.18 ERA) since returning from the DL, but he gave up seven runs and 11 hits in just 4.2 innings against the Yankees on Sunday. He has an 11+ ERA against the Yankees in 2010, according to Yahoo’s player notes. It’ll be interesting to see how he bounces back in his next start.
Leo Nunez — Has struggled lately (7.94 ERA and 2.65 WHIP in the last 14 days) prompting the Marlins to suggest that a committee might be incoming. Clay Hensley, one of our holds update regulars, is probably the top option beyond Nunez, so if I were speculatin’, that’s where I’d go.
Josh Tomlin — Got some big play on Yahoo’s fantasy front page today, so we should probably unleash some Chinstrap Ninjas spin. Tomlin, who made his major league debut for Cleveland July 27, has pitched well. He allowed four earned runs in his last start, but in three outings he has one win and 12 strikeouts in 19.1 innings with a 2.79 ERA and a 0.78 WHIP. The ERA and WHIP won’t stay that low, but they should be good. In five minor-league seasons Tomlin has a career 3.20 ERA and a 1.09 WHIP. The Ks seem to have translated to his minor league pace. He was a little less than a K per inning pitcher in five seasons in the minors. Let’s not pass judgment until we see some more work, but Tomlin is available in 96% of Yahoo leagues and a must-own in at least deep AL-only dynasty leagues.