- MARQUEE STREAM for tonight: The Kansas City Royals have called up starting pitcher Yordano Ventura, who racked up a 3.14 ERA and 1.28 WHIP over 134-2/3 innings in Triple-A. He struck out well more than a batter per inning but also walked too many guys. Control may always be an issue, considering Ventura’s fastball frequently exceeds 100 mph, but the strikeout potential is there as well as a possible win if he’s not held to a strict pitch count.
- For Monday, Sept. 23: Chicago White Sox rookie pitcher Erik Johnson finally had the kind of outing I’ve been waiting for: 6 IP, 0 ER, 4 H, 2 BB, 8 K. Johnson doesn’t have the same strikeout potential as Ventura, but he has been a remarkably better pitcher, notching a 1.57 ERA, 1.08 WHIP and 8.9 K/9 in 57-1/3 innings in Triple-A — in line with his career minor-league line of 2.24 ERA, 1.08 WHIP and 8.4 K/9. I may consider slotting him next Monday against the Blue Jays; if I don’t, I’m certainly watching his start to see how he fares as I consider dynasty options.
- For Saturday, Sept. 21: San Diego Padres pitcher Burch Smith hurled a gem in Atlanta on Sunday, striking out 10 across seven innings and allowing only three hits. He has 17 strikeouts through two starts (12 IP) with a 1.08 WHIP since his recall (although he has allowed six walks). He has a ghastly 6.57 ERA and 1.67 WHIP because of a horrendous string of outings when he debuted, but if you look past it, you have a rookie pitcher with strikeout potential and good control who appears to have turned a corner.
- For Thursday, Sept. 19: Don’t quit on Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Ricky Nolasco — and if you’re in a league where an owner has abandoned ship like I am, throw down a waiver claim. I acknowledged Nolasco’s quietly-good season on one of my league’s message boards and how a move to L.A. could greatly impact his value (I wish I had this blog at the time to back it up). He plays Arizona and San Francisco his next two starts, although I understand if you’re hesitant to start him against the Giants, who caused owners to jump ship in the first place.