Royals closer Greg Holland surrendered four walks, four hits and four earned runs in his first two innings of work this season, prompting a waiver-wire rush for flamethrowing setup man Kelvin Herrera. But it’s probably time to dump Herrera in fantasy leagues that don’t count holds.
Holland enjoyed one of the best eight-hour blocks of his career on Sunday, collecting two saves as the Royals swept a day-night doubleheader at Fenway Park. Holland struck out five of the six Red Sox batters he faced and did not allow a hit or a walk. The 27-year-old right-hander dropped his ERA from 9.00 to 6.00 with the back-to-back perfect frames and his WHIP from 2.75 to 1.83. He has 13 strikeouts in six total innings this season and is 5-for-6 in save opportunities.
The Royals are sitting atop the American League Central standings with a 10-7 record and a respectable +11 run differential. This may be the year that the chronic rebuilders finally break through, and Holland owners should especially enjoy the ride.
Nationals Promote Top Infield Prospect
Desperate for a productive bat with Ryan Zimmerman heading to the 15-day disabled list, the Nationals decided to call up top infield prospect Anthony Rendon on Saturday evening from Double-A Harrisburg. The 22-year-old will serve as Washington’s starting third baseman for at least the next two weeks while Zimmerman recovers from a hamstring strain.
Rendon was the sixth overall pick in the 2011 MLB Amateur Draft and has posted promising minor league numbers when healthy. He was batting .292 with a .962 OPS, two home runs and seven RBI in 65 plate appearances for Harrisburg at the time of his promotion. Rendon is a mature, polished hitter with very good power and the upside of a potential superstar. Just ignore his 0-for-4 debut.
Zimmerman owners should feel confident using him as a fill-in. He’s worth a flier in most standard mixed leagues.
Good Start From Arizona’s Gregorius
The Diamondbacks have also turned recently to a young infield prospect. And are enjoying great results. Didi Gregorius, acquired this past winter from the Reds and added to Arizona’s active 25-man roster last Tuesday, is 6-for-11 with two home runs, a double and two RBI through his first three major league games this season. He was hitting .387/.424/.645 with two home runs in 33 plate appearances at Triple-A Reno when he got the call to the bigs.
But, as always, you have to be careful about celebrating big-time production over a small sample size. Gregorius is known more for his defense than his bat and owns a weak .267/.319/.375 career slash line in over 2,000 minor league plate appearances. Roll with it while he’s hot, but know that regression is undoubtedly imminent.
National League Quick Hits: Mets catcher John Buck launched his seventh home run of the season in Sunday’s win over the Nationals and now boasts 22 RBI in 17 games with his new team ... The Rockies placed starter Jhoulys Chacin on the 15-day disabled list Sunday with a lower back strain ... Brandon McCarthy allowed four runs over six innings Sunday against the Rockies and now has a 7.06 ERA through his first 21 2/3 innings with the Diamondbacks ... Kyle Blanks required stitches above his left eye after running into the outfield wall in Sunday’s game against the Giants and is considered day-to-day ... The Reds placed Ryan Hanigan on the 15-day disabled list Sunday with a strained left oblique and will start Devin Mesoraco behind the plate in his absence ... Dodgers closer Brandon League earned his fifth save of the season in Sunday’s win over the Orioles ... The Phillies will call up right-hander Jonathan Pettibone to make a spot start Monday against the Pirates ... Joey Votto hit his third home run of the season Sunday in the Reds’ defeat of the Marlins ... Dan Uggla is day-to-day with a strained left calf ... Dodgers starter Chad Billingsley was placed on the disabled list Sunday with renewed discomfort in his troublesome right elbow ... Freddie Freeman (oblique) is aiming to join the Braves for their series-opener Monday night in Colorado ... Reds shortstop Zack Cozart is day-to-day after getting hit in the hand by a pitch Saturday while trying to bunt.
American League Quick Hits: Red Sox outfielder Shane Victorino is day-to-day with mild back tightness ... J.P. Arencibia owns a .260 on-base percentage in 18 games this season but clubbed his seventh home run of the season in the Blue Jays’ defeat of the Yankees on Sunday ... The Indians placed Brett Myers on the 15-day disabled list Sunday morning with a right forearm injury ... Albert Pujols acknowledged to reporters Sunday that the plantar fasciitis in his left foot is “hurting real bad” ... The Mariners may place Franklin Gutierrez (groin) on the 15-day disabled list at some point this week ... Nick Tepesch expects to make his next start Thursday against the Twins despite taking a line drive off his throwing arm on Saturday ... Brett Anderson (ankle) is hoping to make his next scheduled start Wednesday against the Red Sox ... Tigers reliever Octavio Dotel is day-to-day with elbow inflammation ... Mariners starter Aaron Harang was shelled for eight runs over 4 2/3 innings on Sunday against the Rangers and now has a 10.24 ERA in two starts this season ... Rangers center fielder Leonys Martin launched his first home run of the year in Sunday’s win over the Mariners ... Rays starter Roberto Hernandez earned his first victory Sunday since dropping the fake name Fausto Carmona ... Jered Weaver (elbow) is planning to begin a throwing program Wednesday ... Indians shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera is day-to-day with a wrist contusion ... Yoenis Cespedes (hand) expects to return from the disabled list on April 28, the first day that he is eligible for activation ... John Lackey (biceps) could join the Red Sox after just one rehab start.