J.J. Hardy No Longer a Limp-Wristed Freak

J.J. spent a lot of time doing this in ’09 and ’10.
Photo Credit: Keith Allison

Hey look at J.J. Hardy leading off for the Baltimore Orioles. The former Brewer/Twin has hit two Home Runs in his two games atop the batting order. Tonight he went 2 for 2 at the plate with two walks. He hit a double, a solo shot and crossed the plate three times. Hardy has his HR/FB% above 12% again after a couple injury shortened seasons. The power is back and he’s streaking. His last two weeks of stats (coming into tonight) include a .342 AVG with 3 HR (good for a rank of 85). I don’t know how long he’ll be atop the batting order, but he’s worth the add for now. “Va-J.J.” is hanging around free agent pools in 79% of Y! leagues.

More MLB action from Friday after the break.

 Phillies prospect Domonic Brown (28% owned) has fallen into a bit of a slump lately. His batting average has cascaded from .333 down to .250 in his past ten games (7 for 35), but he did hit his second Home Run of the season on Friday (off Carlos Zambrano). In his small sample size of At Bats (64) he’s struggled to hit Line Drives (13.7% LD%). In the minors his Line Drive percentages were all over the place, but his BABIP never suffered from his erratic nature. In the majors it’s been a different story, his .280 BABIP is a far cry from his MiLB numbers (.325-.395). While I expect his BABIP to rise, I also expect him to strike out more often. He’s carrying a 16% K%, but he was posting 21%-22% type number in the high minors. I think Brown ends up with a .270 AVG when all is said and done. We’re chasing him for the power/speed combo though. He has 2 HR and 2 SB through 64 At Bats puts him on pace for a 17/17 season over 162 games. He’s a rookie so we shouldn’t expect the world, but the potential for something special is there.

Erik Bedard pitched well at Detroit [5 IP, 3 H, 3 BB, 2 ER, 6 K]. He’s still available in 45% of Y! for some weird reason. The guy was an ace in the past, has looked good in eight straight starts and calls his home stadium “Safeco”. What more do you need? Click add and play him until his arm falls off.

Dillon Gee (35%) was the latest Pitcher to sink the Pirates offense [8 IP, 8 H, ER, 5 K]. Shutting down Pittsburgh is a simple task when nearly all of the Pirate batsmiths hit like they’re wearing eye patches. Gee improved his record to 7-0 after taking down the puffy shirts. Don’t buy the 1.10 WHIP or 3.05 ERA though. Dillon has benefited from a good luck BABIP (.232). His below average strikeout rate and league average walk rate are bland. He doesn’t throw with much velocity (89.5 mph fastball). The best thing about Dillon Gee is who he’s faced recently: HOU, WAS, PIT, ATL and PIT.

We had a Chris Nelson sighting in Colorado. I once had a roommate named Chris Nelson, but he wasn’t the ninth overall selection in the 2004 MLB draft. He was a computer nerd who ate a lot of Ramen noodles. The Rockies Chris Nelson batted second on Friday going 3 for 5 with a Run scored. If Nelson can keep the strikeout rate down he has a shot at being useful in deeper leagues. He has double digit HR power and once stole 27 bases in high-A ball. The thievery did calm down as he matured and reached the higher levels of the minors though. He might reach double digit steals in a full season of major league play. Nelson isn’t standard league material, but he does bring back fond memories of my four-eyed friend.

Cord Phelps was called up by the Indians recently, he clears waivers early this morning or tomorrow depending on your settings. News of this was phased out by the hype Anthony Rizzo, Mike Moustakas and Dee Gordon, as it should have been. The Indians newest Second Baseman was striking out at an unacceptable rate in AAA (26%) for a player who packs little punch. Other than one season at high-A ball he hasn’t stolen many bases either. You can safely ignore Phelps. We would rather see the promotions of Jason Kipnis and Lonnie Chisenhall.

Quickly: Justin Smoak (43%) hit HR No. 11. Fab 5 Freddie Freeman (25%) hit HR No. 6. Allen Craig (20%) didn’t play (knee bruise/laceration) and the Cardinals scored zero runs. Jermile Weeks (0%) went 2 for 4 with a BB, a triple and a Run scored. Adam Dunn only struck out once (baby steps). Seth Smith (25%) hit a two-run single, he’s hitting .306 on the year. Dee Gordon (15%) went 2 for 4, he’s hitting .412 through 17 At Bats. Mike Morse (64%) homered (No. 10) off Mat Latos, I won’t forgive him for that. Mikey is hitting .306 and should be universally owned. Ryan Ludwick (42%) went 1 for 3 with a RBI single. He’s tearing it up over the past 30 days (.365 AVG, 3 HR, 20 RBI), he’s ranked 39 over that stretch. Anthony Rizzo (21%) went 0 for 1 with two walks. Andrew Bailey recorded his first Save in an uneventful inning. Huston Street came in for the one-out Save and gave up two hits and an Earned Run. He recorded Save No. 19 anyway. Antonio Bastardo got the one-out Save while Ryan Madson rested.

Steve Cishek recorded the Save for Florida while Leo Nunez rubbed icy hot on his back. Leo isn’t expected to miss much more time. If you want to ignore the coach speak and grab Cishek, Mike Dunn or Randy Choate in the ever lasting chase for Saves, be my guest.

Apparently Brandon Lyon is going to be eased into the Closer’s role in Houston. I think everyone knows that job belongs to Mark Melancon. I’m not walking into the Lyon’s den. He gave up a HR in the 8th inning (Chipper Jones) while Melancon worked a scoreless ninth against the Braves in a meaningless game. Lyon sucks and there is no reason for the Astros to promote him. Houston can’t trade him. What team is going to say, “we need Brandon Lyon to put us over the hump“? Brandon Lyon is melanoma, Houston’s Closer is Melancon.

Sergio Santos didn’t look too good tonight [0.2 IP, 2 H, 3 BB, 4 ER, K]. He was credited with a Blown Save (his 2nd) and the Loss (his 3rd). That’s 7 ER in his past two appearances. On June 7th his ERA was 1.24, now it’s 3.23. Let me tell you a story. The year was 2010 and Sergio Santos was cruising through the months of April and May. He allowed only 1 ER through 18.2 IP. And then June happened (7.94 ERA, 3.00 WHIP). What’s the moral of the story? Sergio Santos is allergic to the month of June. A few F-Bombs from Ozzie cannot work medical miracles. The one thing Santos does have going for him is that Matt Thornton, Chris Sale and Jesse Crain have nothing going for them. Crain has the best numbers of the three, but he was recently sidelined with an injury and has struggled since his return. I guess Thornton would be the best speculation grab.

That’s all for tonight peoples. Peace out – @andrewakamds