Daily Dose: Minor Improvement

D.J. Short
Atlanta's Mike Minor is one of several appealing two-start options in the NL for the coming week

Week Ahead: Minor Miracle

Atlanta's Mike Minor is one of several appealing two-start options in the NL for the coming week

Mike Minor's grip on a rotation spot appeared tenuous just one month ago, but he has quickly righted the ship just in time for the stretch run.

After taking a no-hitter into the eighth inning last Friday against the Reds, Minor had another impressive outing Thursday against the Mets, allowing just one run on four hits and no walks over seven-plus innings as part of a 6-1 victory. The 26-year-old southpaw also did his part at the plate by going 2-for-3 with a double, an RBI single, and a run scored.

Minor struck out five in Thursday's victory. He had a two-hit shutout over his first seven innings before Travis d'Arnaud doubled to lead off the eighth and Eric Campbell followed with a single to drive in the lone Mets' run. That was the final batter of the night for Minor, who ended up throwing 65 out of 98 pitches for strikes.

The Braves skipped Minor in the rotation earlier this month after a disastrous stretch where he posted a 7.33 ERA over 10 starts, but he now has a 2.22 ERA and 24/7 K/BB ratio in 28 1/3 innings over four starts since his return. He's still out there in one-third of Yahoo leagues and it's high time to give him another chance.

Carlos Cruising

The window to buy on Carlos Carrasco is closing quickly. The 27-year-old right-hander continued his recent stretch of excellence Thursday night by limiting the White Sox to just one run over 6 2/3 innings en route to a 3-2 win at U.S. Cellular Field in Chicago.

Carrasco gave up just four hits (all of them singles) and one walk while striking out seven batters. According to the game log from Brooks Baseball, he was sitting in the mid-to-high 90s with his fastball throughout the evening and induced 15 swinging strikes.   

Carrasco had a 2.30 ERA and 39/9 K/BB ratio in 43 innings after the Indians moved him to the bullpen at the end of April and that success has translated so far in his return to the rotation. Though four starts, he owns a microscopic 0.73 ERA and 24/3 K/BB ratio in 24 2/3 innings. He has allowed just two runs and 11 hits in that timespan.

Carrasco has always had the velocity and arsenal to have success as a starter in the majors, but he's currently throwing harder than we've ever seen before. That makes him pretty intriguing. He's only owned in 30 percent of Yahoo leagues at the moment, but I expect that number to continue to climb during the season's final month. At the very least, he's setting himself up to be a popular sleeper pick in drafts going in 2015.  

Murph Down, Dilson Up

The Mets announced late Thursday night that Daniel Murphy is headed to the disabled list with a right calf strain. The corresponding roster move came as a surprise to many, as 20-year-old Dilson Herrera will come up from Double-A Binghamton to make his major league debut Friday against the Phillies.

Herrera didn't have much fanfare when the Pirates traded him and reliever Vic Black to the Mets in the Marlon Byrd deal last August, but his stock has improved steadily over the past year. After putting up a .307/.355/.410 batting line with three home runs and 13 stolen bases over 67 games with High-A St. Lucie this season, he was promoted to Double-A in mid-June, where he has hit .340/.406/.560 with 10 home runs, 48 RBI, and nine stolen bases over 61 games. Listed at 5-foot-10 and 150 pounds, the diminutive Herrera has played some shortstop this year, but he's expected to stick at second base in the long-term.

Herrera was set to be Rule 5 eligible this offseason, so the Mets were going to have to add him to the 40-man roster eventually. The Murphy injury simply provided the impetus to move up the timetable. Given his age, I'm not sure he's ready to be successful at the major league level, so temper expectations in fantasy leagues in the short-term. He's mostly an option in NL-only and deeper mixed formats right now.

AL Quick Hits: Eric Hosmer (hand) could begin a minor league rehab assignment this weekend … Indians manager Terry Francona said Thursday that Yan Gomes (concussion) is on pace to be activated on Friday … Masahiro Tanaka (elbow) threw a successful 49-pitch simulated game Thursday … Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington said Thursday that he hasn't ruled out Rusney Castillo playing in a minor league game this weekend … Rays manager Joe Maddon said Thursday that Drew Smyly will be limited to 150-160 innings this season, setting him up to potentially make just two more starts this season … Astros manager Bo Porter said Thursday that the club will monitor Dallas Keuchel's workload in September … Sean Doolittle (intercostal) has yet to resume baseball activities … Collin McHugh allowed two runs over seven innings Thursday in a win over the Rangers … Steve Pearce homered Thursday against the Rays to extend his hitting streak to 11 games … Alex Avila hit a walk-off RBI single in Thursday's win over the Yankees … Jordan Schafer went 3-for-5 with four RBI and a stolen base in Thursday's extra-inning win over the Royals … Jason Castro hit a decisive grand slam in Thursday's win over the Rangers … The Red Sox will call up Anthony Ranaudo to start Friday against the Rays … Howie Kendrick walked off the Angels in the 10th, going 2-for-3 and knocking in the winning RBI with his sacrifice fly ... Josh Donaldson went 2-for-3 with a solo home run and a pair of walks in the A's extra-inning loss ...

NL Quick Hits: Jorge Soler went 2-for-4 with a double and an RBI single Thursday against the Reds … Yadier Molina (thumb) went 3-for-3 with two doubles and an RBI in his second rehab game with Double-A Springfield on Thursday and appears on track to be activated Friday … David Wright (neck) went 0-for-4 with a strikeout in his return to action Thursday … Anthony Rizzo (back) missed his second straight game Thursday … Billy Hamilton went 2-for-2 with two walks, two RBI, two runs scored, and his 51st stolen base of the season Thursday against the Cubs … Giants manager Bruce Bochy indicated after Thursday's game that he will go to a committee approach at closer, with Santiago Casilla, Sergio Romo, and Jeremy Affeldt in the mix for save chances … Mets manager Terry Collins said Thursday that the team has "talked about" eventually moving Travis d'Arnaud to left field to protect him from concussions … Emilio Bonifacio went 4-for-5 with a triple, two RBI, a run scored, and a stolen base Thursday against the Mets … Yusmeiro Petit set the MLB single-season record Thursday against the Rockies by retiring his 46th consecutive batter … Jonny Venters was diagnosed with a re-tear of the ulnar collateral ligament in his left elbow and could require a third Tommy John surgery …

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