By Dalton Del Don
Quietly, Jose Lopez has been a very valuable middle infielder this year. He doesn’t offer great speed or power, but he’s batting .298 and is on pace to finish with 80 runs scored and 88 RBI. That’s sneaky production.
Speaking of middle infield run producers, Jed Lowrie has been an excellent source of RBI since he took over shortstop duties for the injured Julio Lugo. Since the All-Star break, Lowrie has posted a .326/.404/.506 line with solid plate discipline. If you prorate his stats over a full season, you’d be looking at 108 runs batted in.
What has gotten into Paul Maholm? He’s allowed two runs or fewer in five of his last six starts, including a 52:14 KBB ratio since June ended. With a 2.94 ERA and 1.10 WHIP since the second half of the season started, the former first round pick looks to be putting it all together.
Could Dan Uggla’s nightmare of an All-Star game be having such a carryover effect? Since that game, he’s batting .189, and his power has all but evaporated. The weirdest part of his season has to be his .190/.289/.333 line against left-handers.
Max Scherzer has to be owned in all leagues right now. His arm feels fresh after returning from the DL, as his fastball has reached 97 mph. His slider and changeup are still coming along, but he has the stuff to make a major impact as soon as Arizona recalls him, something that figures to happen within a week or two. Rightfully, he’ll go back into the starting rotation.
As a Giants fan, it’s positively horrifying to hear that Matt Cain has thrown more pitches than anyone in the league. Tim Lincecum is No. 2.
Amazing what happens when Toronto quit messing with Adam Lind and just left him in the lineup. He’s batting .324 with six homers since the All-Star break, including four long balls over the past six games. Impressively, Lind has also hit southpaws even better than he has righties.
Ian Stewart is going to be the type of difference maker who wins fantasy leagues for those who added him when he was called up last month. He has 27 RBI during the 28 games since getting recalled. Production like that is pretty hard to find for someone available at second base. Remarkably, the left-hander has posted a 1.330 OPS against southpaws this season and has actually hit better on the road than at Coors Field so far.
All right fine, I give up. I believe in Ryan Dempster. He still walks too many batters, but with an 8.2 K/9 IP mark, this breakout is legit. How about a 1.86 ERA and 1.11 WHIP with 45 Ks over 38.2 innings since the All-Star break? He’s been a little lucky still with his hit rate (.270 BABIP), so a sub-3.00 ERA shouldn’t be expected, but all those strikeouts and groundballs induced will lead to future success regardless. I must admit, I didn’t see this one coming.
A.J. Burnett, Rich Harden and Kevin Slowey combined for a 35:1 K:BB ratio Tuesday. That’s pretty good.