Braves lefty Mike Minor started 30 games for the Braves last season but carried a 4.12 ERA and 1.29 WHIP at year’s end with 162 K over 195 IP. Minor has taken the next step in 2013 and is enjoying a true breakout campaign. Through 22 starts and 144 innings pitched, Minor now carries an 11 – 5 record with a 2.75 ERA and an even 1.00 WHIP with a 134:28 K:BB ratio. Minor was drafted well below names like Hamels, Strasburg and Sale, but he's outperformed them all. He’s been a crucial part of a Braves rotation which is now without Tim Hudson and has a revolving door at the back end. For fantasy purposes, Minor is looking like a surefire keeper in any format at the wee-young age of 25. He’s on pace for his first 200+ strikeout season and may get to 20 wins if the Braves get hot. His performance on Wednesday night was dominant, as he limited the Rockies to just two hits over seven innings while walking none and striking out six. His command and control have made Minor a major threat going forward.
Matt Moore had been on a roll in July as he started the month 5-0 allowing only 3 ER over 29.2 innings. Then he gave up five ER on July 28 in an outing against the Yankees, and yesterday the club announced Moore will be placed on the 15-day disabled list with elbow soreness. Moore had an MRI done which reportedly revealed no structural damage to his left elbow. While that may sound encouraging, I can never help but worry when I hear the words "elbow soreness" in conjunction with a young pitcher. Moore has enjoyed a fantastic season thus far, boasting a 14 – 3 record with a 3.41 ERA and 115 strikeouts over 121.1 innings, but the Rays may be forced to take it easy on the 24-year-old through the final months of the season. With luck, Moore will return when eligible and this will be the last we hear of it.
Handle With Care: Other notable injury updates
Matt Kemp is not expected to make it back when eligible, in a report that's totally contradictory to what we’ve been told by most commercial fantasy sites. Kemp now is reportedly not going to be back until September after initial reports were that “Matty Glass” would be back when eligible on August 6. To Kemp’s credit, he was one of the healthiest players over his first few seasons, but that doesn't help us now, and now is all we care about in fantasy. In redraft leagues what else can you do but stash him on the bench and hope for a huge September.
Cliff Lee was scratched from his last start on Friday but is expected to make his next start this weekend after taking BP on Wednesday. Umm, how exactly is BP an indication of a pitcher’s health? His stiff neck may be from watching all the hits and runs every other pitcher on the staff has allowed this year. Lee has remained with the Phillies through the non-waiver trade deadline, but he could still be moved to a contender at some point through a waiver trade. With Ruben Amaro planning on re-signing Chase Utley though, who the hell knows? The Phillies are now the retirement home for players who wanted to win but missed the window. They might as well sign Eric Chavez and Jason Giambi in the offseason.
Domonic Brown passed his ImPACT concussion tests and is scheduled to undergo further testing on Thursday. Imagine if they only took their stance for testing for PEDs as seriously as they do concussions? They’d weed out the cheaters in about a week’s time. Brown will most likely be back next week.
AL Hot Shots:
- Mariano Rivera continues to dominate major league hitters, and he cut down the Dodgers with two strikeouts over a perfect ninth for his 34th save of the season. The Best-of-All-Time looks like he still has more tread on the tires and surely is going out in grand fashion.
- Hiroki Kuroda battled a dazzling performance by Clayton Kershaw with seven shutout innings of his own to earn a tough fought no-decision on Wednesday. Kuroda has been fantastic for the Yankees and is second in the AL behind only King Felix with a 2.38 ERA. He allowed just two runs in all of July over 33 IP.
- Adrian Beltre played the hero for the Rangers as he smacked a walk-off solo homer to edge the Angels. The future Hall of Famer now is batting .314 with 23 HR and 61 RBI on the season and is continuing to be one of the game’s best sluggers at the age of 34.
- Greg Holland earned his 28th save of the season as he continued to dominate the end of games. His 65:12 K:BB ratio is just what you want to see in a closer.
- Jason Castro propelled the Astros to victory over the Orioles on Wednesday with a 3-for-4 performance including a grand slam and two doubles. Matt Dominguez also had an offensive eruption going 4-for-5 with a homer and three runs scored. Maybe they were mad that Bud Norris was traded to the O’s?
- Carlos Santana hit a walk-off solo homer as the Tribe topped the White Sox. Addison Reed blew the save (his fifth BS) for the White Sox which led to Santana’s blast off Dylan Axelrod in the tenth inning.
- Brock Holt and Brandon Snyder will man third base for the Red Sox, for now, but either Will Middlebrooks or Xander Bogaerts will likely be summoned soon. If you haven't done so, go get Middlebrooks and Bogaerts if you're in a keeper league. Yes BOTH of them.
- George Springer still remains imprisoned in Triple-A, even after the trade of Justin Maxwell. Jimmy Paredes was recalled on Thursday. I don’t know what to do with my hands. Springer is the most exciting player in the Minor Leagues right now but he does strike out…a lot. So there’s that. I really don’t know what the Astros have to lose?
NL Hot Shots:
- Clayton Kershaw showed why he should still be viewed as the best pitcher in the National League as he pitched eight shutout innings, allowing just five base runners (all singles). He struck out only five but walked none. He settled for a no-decision, as he was in a classic duel with an equally impressive Huroki Kuroda who held the Dodgers offense in check.
- Yadier Molina was placed on the 15-day DL with knee soreness. He had an MRI taken on Wednesday which revealed no structural damage and the Red Birds remain optimistic that the best catcher in the game will return when eligible.
- Brandon Phillips capped off July with his 13th homer after going three games without a hit to end the month hitting .220 with two homers and 21 RBI.
- Bryce Harper left Wednesday’s game with what the team is calling a "hip spasm." He will be back in there on Friday.
- Gio Gonzalez was absolutely pummeled by the Tigers to the tune of 10 ER over 3.1 innings. Gio will look to put this one in the rear view as he allowed 11 hits and two homers. Ouch.
- Jake Marisnick hit his first major league homer on Wednesday off of Mets starter Jenrry Mejia, hopefully the first of many for the toolsy outfielder.
- Jenrry Mejia allowed three ER early but got better as the game wore on. He’ll continue to pitch in a six-man rotation with his elbow discomfort (bone spur).
- Brett Pill put on an offensive display for the Giants going 3-for-5 with a homer and four RBI on Wednesday. Pill is 6-for-9 since his promotion back to the big leagues.
- John Buck will be leaving to join his wife for the birth of their child and Travis d’Arnaud could be getting d’Call to replace him on d’Roster. LOL, I’m like, totally d’Umb.
- Mark Melancon devoured the Cardinals for his third save since being given the closer duties. Melancon struck out one and only needed 11 pitches to nail down the save. He’s got a 0.88 ERA and should be viewed as an elite option while Jason Grilli is sidelined.
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