MLB Today: Tony Gwynn, Jr. Taking Advantage of PT
Tony Gwynn, Jr. is getting plenty of action with Matt Kemp sidelined.
We’ve got to give some props to Tony Gwynn, Jr., who is significantly outperforming our expectations to the point where he’s a solid pickup in deep NL-only leagues.
Heading into the season, we ranked Gywnn at a top 130 outfielder, hardly a high enough slot to garner much attention.
However, Gwynn is performing at a top 75 level, and he played an integral role in the Dodgers’ 6-5 win over Philly Wednesday, tripling in the tying run and then scoring the go-ahead run, one of two runs he scored in the game.
Matt Kemp’s injury has helped clear PT for Gwynn and he took advantage in May, hitting .291 with 11 runs and four steals. He had been slumping in June, but has hit safely in both games he’s played against Philly and deserves a look in NL-only leagues as long as Kemp is out.
Overall, Gwynn’s extra-base power has declined this season, which isn’t surprising because, age-wise, he’s on the downward trajectory in that department. He’s made up for that by hitting for as high a BA as he ever has and doing a slightly better job of getting on base, although he’s never going to be confused with his Hall of Famer dad from that perspective.
Gwynn, Jr. did draw a walk Wednesday, but don’t get all hot and bothered – it was an intentional free pass.
Gwynn will continue to see nearly daily PT for the next few weeks as Kemp heals from his latest hammy setback. If you need some swipes and a decent BA for your squad, take advantage of Gwynn’s extra at-bats while you can.
- Ivan Nova, on the other hand, is a player we slightly overvalued this year. We ranked him as the 64th best starting pitcher in the preseason, but he hasn’t been among the top 85, and has been getting dumped in several leagues as a result. If Nova’s been dropped in your league, you may want to stash him and see how things play out. He looked like an ace Wednesday, taking a two-hitter into the ninth and winding up with just four hits and one run allowed in eight-plus innings to win his third straight start. The Yanks have dealt with their fair share of injuries so far, but if Nova and Phil Hughes are going to turn things around with consistent quality starts, this team will have enough pitching to go far.
- This season’s been a bit of a roller coaster ride for Madison Bumgarner. Like several aces, he got bitch-slapped in his season debut, but quickly turned things around and was in cruise control the rest of April and his first start of May. The rest of May, however, was a struggle for Bumgarner as he gave up at least three runs in all four starts, once giving up four and twice getting burned for five runs. Fortunately, several of the runs were unearned, so his ERA – 2.31 on May 5 – didn’t exactly explode (it was still just 3.14 at the end of May). Last week, Bumgarner looked strong against the Cubs (not that that’s a difficult thing), striking out 11 in eight innings, both season highs. But Wednesday he got touched up by the Padres (!) in San Diego (!) for seven hits and four runs (all earned) while walking four against just four strikeouts. Fortunately, the Giant offense bailed out the southpaw, allowing him to win his second straight start and helping to salvage the night for his Fantasy owners. We sure won’t be awarding any style points to Bumgarner for Wednesday’s outing, but a win’s a win, so take it and run. Given his efforts against two very weak teams, however, we aren’t ready to declare him out of the woods and back to his mid-April form by any stretch.
- Props to Michael Brantley. We had him as a Top 90 outfielder heading into the season, but he’s broken out in a big way, emerging as a top 35 flyhawk and proving to be one of the most popular waiver wire picks recently. Brantley finally busted his 2012 home run cherry Wednesday, spanking a three-run jack to help lead the Indians past the Tigers, 9-6. It was his only hit of the game, but his hit streak is up to 14 games as he seems to be getting better and better as the season progresses. After showing nice improvements last season, Brantley is taking that to the next level and in the process is becoming a nearly must-own player in all formats. The Indians have started to turn things around after a rough stretch, and you can thank the hottest member of the Tribe, Dr. Smooth.