I hope everyone had a happy Memorial Day. As a former Marine, this day means a lot to me and my brothers and sisters in the armed forces. Thank you for all you have done and continue to do. Let’s not allow the true meaning of this day be overshadowed. Thank a service member today, tomorrow, whenever-- whether you know them or not. "Thank you" feels good.
The Stars and Stripes were saluted across Major League Baseball stadiums Monday as America's game paid homage to America's heroes. The players donned Marine Corps digital desert camouflage caps and custom uniforms with digital camo in the numbers and logos. Baseball always shows respect in the classiest of ways, and once again their effort was top notch. Thank you MLB for being so aware.
The stars were out and some early season call-ups earned their stripes.
Nick Franklin was called up from Triple-A Tacoma to make his first major league appearance on Monday. Franklin took the place of Dustin Ackley on the roster, as the struggling second baseman was demoted. Franklin was in uniform for his first taste of the bright lights earning a walk in his first at-bat, and fittingly so, as his OBP in the minors was a huge reason behind his success. Franklin has a strong grasp of the strike zone and had been getting on base at a .440 clip with 46 hits and 30 BB in 142 at-bats. Days ago, the Mariners middle infield looked like an offensive black hole, but all of a sudden they have a talented group of good young hitters in Carlos Triunfal and Nick Franklin. They seem to be a team poised to make the necessary moves to try to win. I like that and respect it-- no one wants to buy tickets to watch a team without the "want to win."
Tyler Skaggs was called up for the first game of the DBacks doubleheader with the Rangers. Skaggs is the Diamondbacks #1 prospect as ranked by MLB.com. Skaggs showed a devastating 12-to-6 curve and precise fastball command most of the afternoon racking up a career high 9 Ks over 6 scoreless innings. Even with the strong outing Skaggs is slated to be sent back to the minors to continue honing his craft. He showed the team that he is ready and I think the decision to send Skaggs down may ultimately be up for debate when its all said and done.
Hot Shots (Interleague Play):
- Jeff Samardzija hurled his first career shutout as he defeated the White Sox. The former Notre Dame wideout needed only 108 pitches to record the win. He struck out eight and only walked two. Samardzija earned his third victory with the gem and sports a 2.85 ERA.
- Kelly Johnson hit a pair of 3-run home runs Monday in a 4-for-5 effort; he tallied 6 RBI and added a SB for good measure. Johnson's newfound offensive prowess has sparked the Rays offense and he has shown little sign of slowing down. Run him out there with confidence, he's a Top-5 second base threat.
- Aaron "the Harangutan" Harang tossed an outstanding four-hit shutout versus the Padres; it was his first SHO since 2009. He has a 35/7 K/BB ratio but his peripherals are disgusting however.
- Mike Leake was impressive again for the Reds as he allowed only two earned runs in a no-decision against the Indians. Leake has been solid since being chosen to stick in the rotation over
Tony Cingrani and it seems as though he will reward the team with stellar pitching. He struck out 7 on the day, only walking two, and will take a strong 3.02 ERA into his next start on Sunday against the Pirates. Leake had won his previous two starts and is definitely worth an add and should be owned in more than the 51% of CBS Leagues he currently is owned in.
- Jose Valverde earned his sixth save in the Tigers' win over the Pirates. It was painful to watch-- I actually had to change the channel due to the painfully slow pace at which Papa Grande performs, so I missed the K of McCutchen. Darn. Its a tired act, but its the most secure act Leyland has right now.
- Manny Machado continued to be a force for the O's as he reached base four times with a double and a steal in a 3-for-4 day. He's on pace for over 230 hits and is rocking a .336/.368/.525 batting line in 51 games. Bryce Harper and Mike Trout have company among Mount Olympus of Young Talent. That's a real place I made up.
- Speaking of Bryce Harper, he indeed was rested Monday and will likely miss the entire series with the Orioles due to what is being called bursitis of the knee. Harper is probably boiling inside as the young throwback player does not like coming off the field. He's expected to avoid the DL.
- Alfredo Aceves was called upon by the Red Sox and delivered a solid start in a drubbing of the Phillies in Boston. The Sox hooked Aceves up with run support early with homers form Pedroia and Napoli. He struck out four, however the Phillies have struggled mightily to produce offense this season so I wouldn't read too far into the performance.
- Domonic Brown was the lone bright spot for the Phillies with a 2-run homer. He needs to be in the 3-hole but Charlie Manuel is too stubborn to make the necessary moves with his lineup, as exhibited by Ryan Howard's cemented spot at clean-up and Michael Young still in the top third most nights.
- Yoenis Cespedes and Josh Donaldson provided all of the A's offense Monday. Donaldson drove in two on an homer and Cespedes delivered an opposite field 2-run double in the 7th inning. His average leaves much to be desired at .221 but he has 9 homers with 26 RBI and is 2-for-5 in stolen base attempts.
- Phil Hughes pitched seven innings with 6 K, no walks and surrendered just a solo homer Monday in a no-decision against the Mets.
- Edwin Encarnacion delivered a three-run homer and a two-run single in the Blue Jays' 9-3 victory over the Braves on Monday. J.P. Arencibia and Colby Rasmus both homered as well for the Jays.
- Evan Gattis, getting a chance to DH in an AL stadium, went 3-for-4 with a two-run homer and a double in Monday's loss. Ummm, trade McCann?
- Jhoulys Chacin was yet again dealt a no-decision as he wasn't given any run support in a 9 strikeout performance. He has a nice matchup with the offensively challenged Dodgers next.
If you want this article and other high-end fantasy baseball analysis delivered to you on a daily basis, sign up for our daily newsletter. And be sure to check out the Rotoballer.com Ultimate Waiver Wire Watch List for in-depth analysis on gems that you may be able to find sitting on your waiver wire. It’s one of the best fantasy baseball features currently on web!
Follow Shawn Caswell on Twitter: @CasKnowsRoto