It was an exciting day on the Major League Baseball diamond, as there were several strong pitching performances, especially from a few unlikely sources. In addition, there were multiple grand slams, a few golden sombreros and a bevy of extra-base hits. It was a great day for those in seasonal fantasy leagues and DFS alike. We also saw the return of a big star from the 10-day disabled list, while another pitching star continues to see his offense let him down. There was just one team, an unlikely contributor, to post double-digit runs on Saturday, but that doesn’t mean there wasn’t a lot of offense. Let’s get started!
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Saturday's Fantasy Five
The Cincinnati Reds have rattled off six consecutive victories, the longest active streak in the National League. They were the only team in double digits, rolling up 11 runs against the Chicago Cubs. Eugenio Suarez was a huge part of the offensive onslaught, going 3-for-4 with a triple, a run scored and an RBI to extend the longest active hitting streak in the majors to 13 games. He is 18-for-48 (.375) with nine runs scored, five homers and 13 RBI during the impressive run. Suarez is on pace for 34 home runs and 124 RBI, both of which would be career highs. In fact, he has set new career highs in each of his past four seasons.
The Cleveland Indians continue to get tremendous pitching from their outstanding stable of starters. Many times the big performances have been against American League Central foes, one of the weakest divisions in the league. Fantasy owners don’t care who the games are and won’t apologize for their good fortune. He allowed just one earned run, five hits and a walk over 6 1/3 innings with 11 strikeouts to improve to 4-0 with a 1.23 ERA in four starts against the Tigers. He has posted 10 or more strikeouts seven times this season, including five of his past six outings. As such, he pulled into a tie for the American League lead with Boston Red Sox SP Chris Sale for the league lead in strikeouts with 140.
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There were solid fantasy performances outside the great Buckeye state, too. A former Reds hurler, Mike Leake, was doing that thing with the Seattle Mariners on Saturday in Beantown. He was nearly untouchable, allowing just three hits with two walks and five strikeouts over eight scoreless innings to push his record to 8-4 while lowering his ERA to 4.11. He and his teammates cooled off the previously red-hot Eduardo Rodriguez, who coughed up five runs – four earned – and seven hits over four innings to slip to 9-2. Leake is now 3-1 with a 2.57 ERA across five starts in the month of June, posting four quality starts and lasting at least six innings in each of the past seven outings.
J.T. Realmuto, the productive backstop for the lowly Miami Marlins, is likely headed to the All-Star game. On a nightly basis he continues to post eye-popping numbers, best among his peers at a difficult position, although it has barely moved the needle with the voting public. He wasn’t even in the Top 5 in the National League in All-Star voting, which is a crying shame. On Saturday, he belted his 10th home run, finishing 2-for-4 with a walk and four RBI. The catcher from suburban Oklahoma City has posted four homers and 13 RBI in June, a best for any month this season. He has really turned up the intensity lately, too, posting four doubles with three homers and nine RBI over the past seven outings.
Brandon Crawford is picking up extra-base hits at a tremendous pace, and he was busy adding to his totals on Saturday in a 5-3 victory against the Padres. He was a perfect 3-for-3 with two doubles, a triple, a walk, a run scored and three RBI in the two-run home win. Crawford logged his eighth multi-hit game in 19 outings in the month of June, snapping an 0-for-18 skid in the process. The hits were his first in three contests since coming back from the paternity list. After a couple of days of joy, and a couple of sleepless nights, Crawford was back to himself. The new dad leads all National League shortstops with a .313 average.
Fantasy Game of the Night
Like the Reds, the Texas Rangers are having a resurgence despite their last-place status. They have the longest active winning streak in the majors with seven wins in a row. Future Hall of Famer Adrian Beltre continues to post big numbers, going 3-for-5 with a solo home run and two runs scored, pushing his average to .314. Robinson Chirinos hasn’t had things going his way this season, but he was hot on Saturday with a two-run homer, a walk, two runs scored and three RBI. While he is still hitting just .197, he is being given a chance to iron out his woes with regular playing time. Shin-Soo Choo continued his on-base streak, which is now at 36 games, the longest active run in the majors. He was 1-for-4 with a double, a run scored and an RBI, and he has hit safely in seven in a row. Choo is 10-for-28 (.357) with seven runs scored and six RBI during the seven-game hitting streak. While he didn’t light up the fantasy scoreboard, Jurickson Profar was able to reach base three times, all hit by pitch. He tied the team record he just set a couple of weeks ago. The Rangers were very angry on the third hit by pitch, and it might have been a message after he stole second base after reaching base earlier in a 9-2 game. It will be something to watch in Sunday’s series finale. Yovani Gallardo finally looked like a major league-caliber pitcher again, allowing four earned runs, six hits and two walks with three strikeouts over 5 1/3 innings. While he posted the win, he still has work to do with an ugly 7.84 ERA.
It was a pretty decent day to have some Twins on your fantasy roster, too, as long as you didn’t start Jake Odorizzi. He was touched up for six earned runs, six hits and a walk with three strikeouts over just 1 2/3 innings, as his ERA shot up to 4.97 while falling to 3-5 on the season. Eddie Rosario did his best to try and help the home team overcome the poor pitching, going 2-for-5 with his 21st double and his 17th home run, finishing with four RBI. He is rolling along with a .341 average (27-for-79) with six doubles, eight home runs and 17 RBI in the month of June. Mitch Garver stepped up with a three-hit game while adding a run scored in four at-bats. Like Garver, Ryan LaMarre wasn’t likely on very many fantasy rosters. If he keeps hitting he could eventually be someone to consider, as he finished 2-for-4 with a double and a run scored. He has hit safely in four of the past five outings while reaching in each of the contests. Logan Morrison belted his eighth homer of the season, but he still has work to do in the average department. He is hitting just .190 overall, but LoMo can still be somewhat valuable for cheap power as a corner infielder.
American League Quick Hits: Blake Treinen continues to build up his trade stock, just in case the A’s decide to move him at the trade deadline. He worked 1 2/3 scoreless innings to pick up his 17th save while lowering his ERA to 0.98. … Stephen Piscotty went 2-for-3 with a double, a home run, a walk, two runs and two RBI in a win against the White Sox, helping to erase an early 5-0 deficit. … Tim Anderson finished 2-for-4 with a three-run homer and two runs scored, but he is still hitting just .239. … Mark Trumbo continues to make his presence felt, belting a grand slam in the first inning of Saturday’s interleague road win in Atlanta. He is slowly coming around, popping four homers with nine RBI over the past six outings. … Dylan Bundy was outstanding, allowing just two earned runs while scattering seven hits with eight strikeouts over 6 1/3 innings to move to 6-7. … Wilmer Font was surprisingly effective, allowing no runs with three hits, a walk and four strikeouts over 5 2/3 innings with a win against the Yankees. … Willy Adames was helping the Rays from the nine spot, going 2-for-4 with a homer and two RBI, providing half of the offense in a 4-0 win. It was impressive considering the amount of money and talent in the other dugout. … Jeimer Candelario had a huge game in the middle of the week, but he was wearing the golden sombrero in Cleveland. … Francisco Lindor cracked his 18th home run of the season, as Mr. Smiles continues to produce. … Cody Allen nailed down his 16th save in 17 chances. … Mitch Haniger collected a pair of doubles with three RBI across five at-bats in a road win in Boston. … Nelson Cruz was good for three hits in the win at Fenway, too. He has hit safely in seven straight, and he has multi-hit games in three straight outings. … Whit Merrifield was also sporting the golden sombrero in a road loss in Houston. … Yuli Gurriel swatted his third homer of the season in a win against the Royals. … Ian Kennedy was sharp for K.C. in a no-decision, allowing two earned runs, four hits and a walk with five strikeouts over seven frames. … Dee Gordon went just 1-for-6, but it was good enough to push his hitting streak to 11 games, longest active run in the AL.
National League Quick Hits: Trevor Richards had a surprisingly effective outing at Coors Field, allowing just one earned run, three hits and two walks with eight strikeouts over six innings in a win. … Zack Greinke had it going on in Pittsburgh, allowing just two hits and no walks with seven strikeouts over six scoreless innings to move to 7-5 and lower his ERA to 3.66. … David Peralta went 2-for-4 with a double, a triple, a walk, a run scored and two RBI. … Paul Goldschmidt continues to make up for lost time, belting his 17th home run. He entered the month with just seven homers, 19 RBI and a .209 batting average. In June, he is 33-for-84 (.393) with six doubles, a triple, 10 home runs and 22 RBI. It’s no surprise Arizona has responded with a 15-6 record in 21 outings in the month. … A.J. Ellis collected three hits in three at-bats with a walk and a run scored. … Manuel Margot continues to pick up plenty of hits, going 2-for-4 with a double and a run scored in San Francisco. He now has four consecutive multi-hit games. … Maikel Franco had four hits in four at-bats, finishing 4-for-4 with a double, two runs and an RBI. … Carlos Santana cracked his 13th homer, as he continues to get acclimated in Philly. … Miles Mikolas yielded two runs, three hits and two walks with five strikeouts over 6 2/3 innings in a win at Milwaukee to run his record to 8-2. … Bud Norris rebounded for his 14th save of the season. … Anthony DeSclafani allowed two earned runs, three hits and four walks with three strikeouts over 6 1/3 innings to shut down the Cubs and move to 3-1. … Matt Kemp had a pinch-hit grand slam in L.A.’s 8-3 win against the Mets. The Dodgers posted six RBI from pinch hitters, as Chris Taylor also had a two-run double replacing Clayton Kershaw in the fourth inning. … Speaking of Kershaw, he was back from the DL, but exhibited a little bit of rust. He allowed two runs, five hits and a walk with four strikeouts over three innings in the return. … Jacob deGrom continues to have very little in the way of support. He allowed three earned runs, five hits and three walks with six strikeouts over six innings. However, he lost again, dropping to 5-3 despite an amazing 1.69 ERA.