Padres right-hander Tyson Ross was one of Rotoworld’s favorite sleepers heading into the 2014 fantasy baseball season, and he’s making us look pretty smart so far.
Ross twirled the first shutout of his major league career on Wednesday afternoon against a dangerous Reds offense, yielding only three hits and striking out nine batters over his nine scoreless frames. He did not issue a walk and 87 of his 120 pitches were strikes.
“I think the difference was the confidence I had on my fastball today,” the 27-year-old told Jeff Sanders of the San Diego Union-Tribune after Wednesday’s outing. “In other games I was really slider-heavy. Just knowing I could throw my fastball for strikes when I needed to and finish off with a slider, the hitters can’t just sit there looking for one pitch.”
That simple but rapidly-developing arsenal has netted him a 2.93 ERA, 1.20 WHIP, and 111 strikeouts through 116 2/3 innings this season for San Diego. Next up are the Rockies and Mets in a two-start week.
Boxberger Is The Word
Tampa Bay’s carousel of closers kept right on turning in Wednesday’s 6-3 victory over the Yankees. This time it was Brad Boxberger who got the ninth-inning nod and he converted the save opportunity with ease, striking out two of the three batters he faced in a perfect frame as the Rays completed a three-game sweep at Yankee Stadium.
Boxberger now owns a 2.87 ERA, 0.93 WHIP, and 48/12 K/BB ratio in 31 1/3 innings this season -- the kind of dominant numbers you want from a stopper. But Rays manager Joe Maddon has given save chances to Grant Balfour, Jake McGee, and Joel Peralta over the past couple of weeks and it doesn’t seem like there are any intentions to settle on one guy in the near future.
Boxberger is worth grabbing in AL-only fantasy leagues and some mixed formats that allow for a ton of roster spaces. McGee -- with his 1.21 ERA, 0.80 WHIP, and 44/9 K/BB ratio in 37 1/3 innings -- still seems like the best bet in standard leagues.
Belt Ready, Able To Boost Giants
Giants manager Bruce Bochy told Andrew Baggarly of CSNBayArea.com on Wednesday that first baseman Brandon Belt is on track to be activated from the disabled list before Friday night’s series opener against the Padres at San Diego’s Petco Park.
Belt has been on the shelf since May 10 because of a fracture in his left thumb and the Giants have watched their big, early lead in the National League West standings disappear in his absence. The 26-year-old went 11-for-21 (.524) with three home runs, three doubles, and six RBI in six minor league rehab games and was rocking an .820 OPS (133 OPS+) in 35 games for San Francisco before suffering the thumb injury. He can be added back to fantasy lineups immediately.
National League Quick Hits: The Padres signed outfielder Seth Smith to a two-year, $13 million contract extension … Gregory Polanco went 2-for-4 with a walk, a double, and a two-run home run in Wednesday's win over the Diamondbacks … Cardinals second baseman Kolten Wong (shoulder) is on track to return from the disabled list Sunday … Carlos Gonzalez (finger) has been cleared for live batting practice … Jayson Werth went 2-for-4 with a two-run home run Wednesday in the Nationals’ defeat of the Rockies … Marlins catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia slugged a two-run homer in Wednesday’s 5-0 blanking of the Phillies … Hanley Ramirez (calf, shoulder) could be placed on the 15-day disabled list Thursday … Braves third baseman Chris Johnson finished 2-for-4 with a three-run double in Wednesday's victory over the Mets … Padres shortstop Everth Cabrera landed on the 15-day disabled list Wednesday with a left hamstring strain … Khris Davis (shoulder) is expected to return to the Brewers’ starting lineup on Friday … Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenado (finger) will be activated from the disabled list on Thursday … Julio Teheran improved to 8-5, allowing just one run over seven innings Wednesday versus the Mets … Joe Kelly (hamstring) is likely to need two more minor league rehab starts … Marlins shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria (triceps) could be activated from the disabled list when first eligible on Sunday … Domonic Brown was placed on the paternity leave list Wednesday … Rockies starter Jhoulys Chacin has been diagnosed with a strained right rotator cuff and fraying in the front of his right shoulder labrum … Cliff Lee (elbow) has been cleared to begin a minor league rehab assignment on Sunday at High-A Clearwater.
American League Quick Hits: Twins catcher Joe Mauer has been placed on the 15-day disabled list with a strained left oblique … Edwin Encarnacion launched a three-run, walk-off homer in the ninth inning of Wednesday's win over the Brewers … John Danks matched his career high with 10 strikeouts while allowing two runs over 7 2/3 innings Wednesday in a no-decision against the Angels … Red Sox closer Koji Uehara admitted late Tuesday night to feeling “a little bit of fatigue” … Zach Britton tallied his 11th save of the year Wednesday as the Orioles topped the Rangers ... Brandon Moss finished 4-for-4 with a homer and two RBI in the A's loss to the Tigers on Wednesday … Victor Martinez (ribs) was out of the Tigers’ lineup for a third straight game on Wednesday … Mookie Betts slugged the first home run of his major league career Wednesday in Boston’s blowout loss to the Cubs … Mark Teixeira (knee) is expected to return to the Yankees’ starting lineup on Thursday … Indians closer Cody Allen earned his eighth save of the season Wednesday against the Dodgers … Dexter Fowler (intercostal) is planning to resume baseball activities early next week … Jason Vargas struck out five while tossing seven shutout innings in Wednesday's win over the Twins … Angels left-hander Tyler Skaggs limited the White Sox to two runs in 7 2/3 innings Wednesday in his return from the disabled list … Mariners starter Chris Young struck out eight batters over seven innings Wednesday against the Astros to earn his eighth victory.