It’s been a few days since my last post, but I’m back, and expect updates every weekday from here on out. As always, I’ll give some fantasy advice in addition to a craft beer review and recommendation. Today I’m going to examine two bats and two arms from the under 30% ownership group that you can add immediately to finish your week strong.
Here we go!
Justin Smoak – 1B (TOR) – Owned in 21% of leagues
Season stats: .280 AVG, 20 R, 9 HR, 27 RBI, 0 SB
I love this pickup. Smoak is batting cleanup in the Blue Jays lineup, and he is starting to turn it on. Smoak said he made some adjustments at the plate this year, and it’s showing in his plate discipline as his strikeout rate has fallen from 32% last season to just 20% this year. His walks and OBP are up, and he’s being more selective with his pitches, which is leading to an increase in all counting stats. He already has 9 HR in Mid-May after launching just 14 bombs last year. It’s not unreasonable to expect a 20+ HR season from him at this point.
The switch-hitting first baseman has been as hot as anyone this past week: going 9 for his last 22, good for a .409 AVG, while scoring 8 R, swatting 4 HR, and collecting 10 RBI to the tune of a .552 OBP. He’s hit safely in 7 of his last 10 games, with three multi-hit performances and 4 long balls over that span. He did this against good teams in Atlanta, Cleveland and Seattle, both at home and on the road. Grab him while you can if you need help in the HR/RBI department. He won’t steal many bases for you, but he’s a good option if you need some power in your lineup or help with OBP.
Jayson Werth – OF (WSH) – Owned in 28% of leagues
Season stats: .308 AVG, 22 R, 6 HR, 12 RBI, 3 SB
The RBI numbers aren’t where we want them, but half of his season RBI have come in his past 7 starts, including 3 HR. Werth is scoring runs batting in the absurd Nats offense, and he is showing some resurgence as the All-Star he once was with a disciplined plate approach leading to an outstanding .409 OBP on the season to compliment a .308 batting average.
He’ll get power numbers in spurts, but his real value is in OBP and R scored. He’ll even swipe a bag for you every once in a while. Don’t miss out on Werth as he hides in plain sight in the heart of the Nationals potent offense.
Kyle Freeland – SP/RP (COL) – Owned in 21% of leagues
Season stats: 46 IP, 4-2 W-L, 6 QS, 3.13 ERA, 1.35 WHIP, 29 K’s, 22 BB
Next start: Sunday, 5/21 @ Cincinnati
Oh boy, a Rockies pitcher. I know. Hear me out though; Freeland has spun 5 consecutive quality starts at home and on the road, including against the nasty lineups of Chicago and Arizona. While he’s walking more than you’d like, he’s taking care of business against lesser offenses (SF and SD) while staying strong and keeping the team in the game against the heavy hitters. The rookie is composed and has proved that his stats are not a fluke, despite the reservations against anyone pitching in Coors.
He’s not a strikeout pitcher, but he’ll keep the ball in the park and on the ground to the tun of a sweet 3.13 ERA. Against a struggling Reds lineup (away from Coors, I might add) he figures to get another QS this Sunday.
Martin Perez – SP (TEX) – Owned in 7% of leagues
Season stats: 44 IP, 1-5 W-L, 4 QS, 3.89 ERA, 1.70 WHIP, 28 K’s, 21 BB
Next start: Today, 5/18 vs. Phillies
Perez is a typical streamer; decent numbers, and always the promise of a good spot start, but ultimately unrosterable. With Perez, the most important thing is control. He has walked 21 batters in 44 innings this season, but has only issued two free passes in his last two starts, both of which were QS (against SEA and SD). A favorable matchup against a poor Philly offense is just what the doctor ordered for Perez to make it to 3 QS in a row.
Perez has not given up more than 4 ER in an outing yet this year, so he’s a safe bet to not blow up your ERA even if he has a poor performance, but he tends to do well against bad teams (don’t they all?). Additionally, Perez does better at home, posting a 3.68 ERA in Texas this year compared to a 4.30 ERA away from Arlington. Pick him up if you need a good spot start today, but do it quickly; lineups lock at 12:35 EST!
Bonus player recommendation: Nate Karns – SP – (KC) – Owned in 28% of leagues
Next start: Tomorrow, 5/19 @ Minnesota
Many other writers have covered the recently hot Karns, but he’s still worth mentioning as he’s currently available in over 70% of leagues.
Karns is a hard throwing strikeout pitcher, who’s recorded 29 K’s in his 3 starts in May. After getting shelled in April, Karns appears to have turned a corner, pitching to the tune of a lean 2.07 ERA in May. A lethargic Twins offense should have plenty of trouble getting on base against Karns, who has a paltry .92 WHIP this month to go along with his sparkling May ERA.
The Beer – Sour mood, sour brew
Oh, the injuries. Freddie Freeman is the latest victim of The Year of the Injury, but the way things are going, there’ll be more names on the DL by week’s end. Sour news calls for a sour beer, and today I’m recommending one of my new favorite gose’s: Westbrook Brewing Co.’s Key Lime Pie Gose.
This delicious and refreshing gose (pronounced go-zuh) clocks in at 4% ABV but 100% tartness. Gose’s are a sour style of beer that originated in Germany, using a top-fermenting brewing process that typically includes overtones of lemon, salt, and coriander. Westbrook’s KLP Gose does all of these things and does them damn well; the beer pours as a nice hazy gold with not much head. I get scents of citrus and lime, but it doesn’t have a strong smell. The flavors, however, are very strong. I get intense tartness with a bit of salt, cranberry, and coriander with lime being the main flavor that shines through it all.
Pucker up! It’s a sour one, but it’s also light, fizzy, refreshing, and above all: limey!