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Week That Was

Week That Was: Joc Jams

by Nick Nelson
Updated On: October 4, 2018, 4:04 pm ET

How about that Joc Pederson? The rookie enjoyed an excellent month of April and is now off to an explosive start in May, with five home runs and nine RBI in eight games. The outfielder entered this season ranked as the eighth best prospect in the game by Baseball America, coming off a Triple-A campaign where he blasted 33 homers with a 1017 OPS.

In other words, this doesn't look like much of a fluke.

The biggest thing Pederson has going against him is his strikeout rate -- eighth-highest in baseball at 33.3 percent. That limits his upside in the batting average category, but with his outstanding power and patience, he can still be an elite offensive outfielder.

The Dodgers have found themselves a good one.

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* Adam Ottavino's reign as closer in Colorado was impressive but short. The righty converted all three of his chances after usurping the job from LaTroy Hawkins in mid-April, but began complaining of soreness in the triceps and elbow soon after. This week, his worst fears were realized: the 29-year-old reliever underwent Tommy John surgery on Thursday, ending his season.

Ottavino's heralded slider is flat-out nasty, but evidently it was too much for his elbow to handle.

Next in the line of closer succession for the Rockies is John Axford, who has plenty of experience in the role after his years in Milwaukee. He's a strikeout machine and needs to be owned in all leagues.

* Alex Cobb, who hasn't pitched this year, is headed for the same fate as Ottavino. The righty was diagnosed with a partially torn ligament in his right arm this week, and after considering platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injection and rest as a first resort, he quickly opted for Tommy John.

Cobb is expected be out until the second half of 2016. That's a real shame, because the 27-year-old was poised to be one of the better starters in the American League this year. Over the past two seasons with Tampa, he has posted a 2.82 ERA and 283-to-92 K/BB ratio in 309 innings, with only 262 hits and 24 homers allowed.

* The hits just keep on coming for the Rays, who also placed southpaw Drew Smyly on the disabled list with soreness in his left shoulder. Smyly was off to a brilliant start this season, with a 2.70 ERA and 21-to-3 K/BB ratio in 16 2/3 innings, but this is already his second trip to the DL. A painful left shoulder has been the culprit on both occasions, so we're monitoring him with much concern.

Smyly was due to start on Sunday, and Tampa has not yet announced his replacement, but they'll have to dig deep with Matt Andriese already filling in for Jake Odorizzi (flu) on Saturday.

* Following a season in which he posted an 800 OPS with 40 doubles and 14 homers for the Red Sox, Miami signed Jarrod Saltalamacchia to a three-year, $21 million contract in December of 2013. The deal ended up being a disaster for the Marlins, who released the 30-year-old catcher this week and ate about $15 million in the process.

Some regression was expected coming off a career year in his final season with Boston, but no one could have foreseen Salty falling off quite this hard. Last year he batted .220 with a 681 OPS and this year he was hitting .069 before being designated for assignment in late April. It speaks volumes that the Fish couldn't find a trade partner even if it meant eating almost all of the backstop's salary.

Saltalamacchia did land fairly quickly, inking a minor-league deal with the Diamondbacks on Thursday. He'll have a chance to gain his footing in Arizona, where Tuffy Gosewisch has failed to impress as the regular catcher.

As ugly as his time in Miami was, Salty remains too young and talented to be written off.

* Sidelined for the first month of the season with a shoulder strain, J.J. Hardy made his season debut for the Orioles on Thursday, finishing 0-for-4 at Yankee Stadium. He's owned in only 35 percent of Yahoo! leagues so if you have a need at shortstop there's a chance you can grab him.

Hardy has been one of the best power hitters in the league at his position since coming over to Baltimore; his total of 86 home runs from 2011 through 2014 led all shortstops. However, last year he tallied just nine with a .372 slugging percentage that ranked as his lowest since '09. Meanwhile, his strikeout rate rose to a career-high 18.3 percent.

He's still worth rostering in most leagues, but at age 32 Hardy's bat appears to be slowing down. It's possible his days of hitting 20-plus dingers per year are behind him.

* When the Dodgers acquired Yasmani Grandal during the offseason, it seemed that the plan was to have him split time behind the plate with A.J. Ellis, the defensive specialist who got the nod on Opening Day. However, Grandal's offensive superiority has quickly established him as the regular, and he solidified his standing on Thursday with an incredible day at the plate.

Facing the Brewers, Grandal went 4-for-4 with two homers and eight RBI. True to form, he also drew a pair of walks.

As of right now, he's still available in more than 50 percent of leagues. That needs to change quickly.

* Tim Lincecum had a heck of a week. Between Sunday's start against the Angels and Friday's against the Marlins, he hurled 14 innings of scoreless ball, allowing just six hits. Though his fastball velocity continues to decline into the mid-80s, Lincecum has adapted with heavier reliance on his changeup and curveball, and that has reflected well in his results.

* The biggest baseball news of the week was the firing of Ron Roenicke in Milwaukee following a 7-18 start for the Brewers. Craig Counsell was announced as his replacement shortly after. We don't expect any dramatic fantasy implications, although perhaps the club will be a little more aggressive on the base paths under Counsell. The Brew Crew has attempted just 15 steals this year, third-fewest of any NL team.

Nick Nelson
Nick Nelson is a frequent contributor to Rotoworld's baseball coverage and regularly blogs about the Minnesota Twins at Twins Daily. Follow him on Twitter @NickNelsonMN.