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MLB Today: James McCann Picking up the Pace

August 26, 2016 | by RotoRob | Comments Comments Off on MLB Today: James McCann Picking up the Pace
Jocko Thompson spent four seasons with the Philadelphia Phillies.
Jocko Thompson was a far better soldier than a pitcher. (

Remember Tyler Matzek? Colorado’s first round pick in 2009 continues to flounder in the minors, now pitching exclusively out of the bullpen. He recently moved back up to Double-A, but is giving up too many hits and — as always — too many walks to be successful.

Strange but true, at Baseball-Reference, Matzek shows up in the similar pitchers list for Jocko Thompson, who spent four years with the Phillies (1948-1951), mostly as a rather mediocre starter. At least Thompson was a very well decorated war hero, winning several prestigious medals. All Matzek has earned is eight career MLB wins, and even though he’s still only 25, he’s a long shot to ever get a chance to add to that total unless he finally figures out where the strike zone is (28 walks in 25 1/3 innings this season).

So what happened around the diamond on Thursday to catch our eye?

Need a catcher? It may be time to take another look at Detroit’s James McCann, as he’s been a much better player in the second half. After a four-hit performance which included a three-run jack on Thursday, he’s now hit safely in four straight games and is batting .500 over the past week. McCann already has as many runs in August as he scored in July and is batting a robust .306 this month. Better yet, the power and production are really picking up. An ankle injury cost McCann most of April, so his counting cat numbers are down, but the bigger concern is that his contact rate has really suffered this year after he enjoyed a nice rookie campaign in 2015. A strong finish is just what this kid needs.

How good has Tampa Bay RP Enny Romero been lately? On Wednesday, he struck out David Ortiz to earn his first career save and record his 11th straight scoreless outing. Since a rough patch at the end of June and beginning of July, Romero has been lights out, although as a lefty specialist he doesn’t see enough action to be truly valuable. Still, he’s proven he can get righties out as well (see video below), so there’s no reason for this dude to not earn a more responsible bullpen role in the future. If Romero can get enough innings, and perhaps improve his control a bit, he could slide into a setup role that would provide value. Failing that, he’s a decent option in very deep AL-only leagues as a LOOGY.

Max Scherzer shook off back-to-back poor outings with an eight shutout innings, two hits and no walks allowed gem. Man, that was a welcome sight not only for his Fantasy owners but for the Nats, who had lost four straight games. The fact that Scherzer made red-hot Baltimore look so inept is even more impressive. He’s actually never been harder to hit than he’s been this year, but his walk and homer rate have both risen, the latter of which probably the result of a groundball rate that keeps dipping. The upshot is that Scherzer’s xFIP is at its highest level since 2011 despite the fact he’s been so unhittable.

Now it’s your turn. Let us know in the comments below how you think James McCann will finish up the rest of this season.

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