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Oh no, well oh yes if your 33-year-old Josh Becket who nailed down his first career no hitter against the Phillies to finish off week 8 in style. Before the Dodgers veteran righty spun his no hit gem, Henderson Alvarez of the Miami Marlins was the last player to achieve the feat, while Hideo Nomo was the last Dodger to throw a no-no in 1996. Sandy Koufax remains the only Dodgers pitcher with a perfect game, a 1-0 win over the Chicago Cubs at home on September 9th, 1965. The Phillies have been no hit 19 times in team history, on the flip side Ben Revere finally cashed in his first career home run after 1,500 plus big league at bats. The American League East has a clear favorite at the moment in the form of the Toronto Blue Jays have won nine of ten, behind solid pitching and Edwin Encarnacion’s scorching hot month of May. David Price has not been the dominant pitcher we are used too however he sports an unparalleled 84:8 K:BB ratio, without question helping fantasy owners in those categories. Boston ended there losing skid with four straight victories over the Atlanta Braves but still face a tough road ahead with Shane Victorino and Mike Napoli now shelved with injuries. The best offensive force in baseball suffered a huge blow when Nolan Arenado slide into second base and injured his hand, the young hot corner man will miss 4-6 weeks. The Houston Astros may not be a contender this year but they have a very bright future, which includes right fielder George Springer, who is absolutely on fire. After a slow April the top ranked prospect has shown his five tool skill set in May, Springer is batting .322 with 10 home runs, 25 RBI’s and 22 runs scored during the month. If you waited for him to come around knowing the talent was there the benefits are certainly rolling in recently as he trails only Nelson Cruz and Victor Martinez in OPS for the month of May. The Brewers have been in 1st place since April 9th but the Cardinals have been playing better as of late and are on Milwaukee’s heels for the division lead. Oakland is 20-3 when scoring first as Josh Donaldson continued his all star worthy campaign with a walk off 3 run homer against Joe Nathan on Wednesday night to spoil an Anibal Sanchez gem. In this weeks addition I will discuss the value of catchers around the league including Jonathan Lucroy, Buster Posey, and Yan Gomes. Also I will talk about injured aces that could be returning soon like Mat Latos, Gio Gonzalez, and Andrew Cashner. Finally, sticking with the pitching discussion I will get into the future aces of baseball highlighted by Atlanta’s Julio Teheran and Oakland’s Sonny Gray.

Jonathan Lucroy (C – MIL) – The Brewers 27-year-old backstop has been one of the biggest contributors to Milwaukee’s solid start to 2014. Drafted on average just out of the top 100 players Lucroy sports a .326 batting average, which leads all catchers in baseball. He has not hit for much power massing only two home runs thus far, but has made up for it with an excellent average and on base percentage to go with 22 RBI’s and 20 runs scored. For those who passed over the likes of Buster Posey, Yadier Molina, and Joe Mauer you are certainly not disappointed with the season Lucroy has turned in thus far as Molina is the only one of that group batting over .280. Continue to plug this backstop into your squad on a daily bases, while the power may come in time enjoy the solid average and counting stats he is supplying.

buster_poseyBuster Posey (C – SF) – Excuse me if I sound extremely disappointed when discussing one of my favorite players in all of baseball, but the reality is Posey has been a overvalued fantasy asset the last two seasons. After his MVP campaign and two World Series championships Posey was deemed to be the best backstop in all of baseball, at least offensively. After a 2013 season in which Buster hit only 15 home runs and batted at a .294 chip owners were all aboard the rebound train for the talented young catcher. However that has not been the case in 2014 as Posey sports a mediocre .254 average to go along with seven long balls and ten extra base hits. The Florida State product is a career .303 hitter so there is a solid chance he will see his batting average rise as the season progresses, making him a prime buy low candidate. If you can swindle away the prized backstop from whoever has him in your league for a reasonable price, it may be worth making the move and reaping the benefits in the second half of 2014.

Yan Gomes (C – CLE) – With Carlos Santana shifting to the hot corner to begin the 2014 season, Gomes found himself in the role of primary backstop for the Indians. A statistic that may surprise you, the Brazil native is tied for second amongst all catchers in runs scored with 23, trailing only Minnesota’s Joe Mauer. Gomes has also chipped in six homers, 15 extra base hits and 19 runs batted in making him a solid option in most leagues. Despite the good numbers he has produced the 2-year player is only owned in 42% of ESPN standard leagues, a number that is much to low. As an owner I would prefer to have Gomes at my backstop compared to the likes of Jason Castro, Derek Norris and Miguel Montero who are all owned in more leagues than the Cleveland game caller.

Injured aces
Mat Latos (SP – CIN) – Drafted in the range of the 8th-9th round in ESPN leagues, the Reds ace has disappointed owners thus far having still not progressed far enough to get on a big league mound in 2014. Latos threw four innings for Triple-A Louisville during his Sunday rehab outing, putting him on track to return to the Cincinnati rotation after a couple more rehab starts. He is still just 77% owned in ESPN leagues and at this point is a must add based on his past performances and average draft position, go get him from the wire if he is still available as he will be a valued arm on your pitching staff.

gio_gonzalezGio Gonzalez (SP – WSH) – Many fantasy owners were beginning to become frustrated with the Nationals lefty after two poor starts against his former team in Oakland & in D.C. against the lite hitting Mets. Gonzalez gave up 16 hits to go along with 12 earned runs while failing to make it out of the 4th inning in either start. Shortly after his second consecutive implosion Gio was sent to the disabled list with shoulder inflammation, which helps clarify his recent struggles. The 28-year-old southpaw remains one of the best lefties in all of baseball and should be owned in every league, as his absence is not expected to continue for much longer. The Nationals are targeting June 11th as a return to the hill for Gonzalez.

Cliff Lee (SP – PHI) – Despite two horrid starts against the stacked Rangers and Blue Jays line ups the 35-year-old veteran has been extremely good in 2014, however an elbow issue has him currently stuck on the DL. Reports indicated that Lee is around one week away from beginning a throwing program but the Phillies are being careful with their ace. The best advice regarding the former Arkansas Razorback is too hold tight for now and wait out the return of one of baseballs most dominant pitchers over the past decade.

Andrew Cashner (SP – SD) – A guy who could easily have been on the next segment in the group with ascending aces, unfortunately he finds himself in the injured aces discussion. After notching 19 quality starts in 175 innings last year for the lowly Padres the 6’6” 219 pound Cashner had high expectations heading into 2014. He compares favorably to Cubs ace Jeff Samardzija due to the fact that his team doesn’t do him many favors when he’s on the bump. The San Diego ace had been pitching well early into the 2014 campaign with seven quality starts to go along with a 47:17 K:BB ratio and a 2.35 earned run average. A return date has yet to be determined but if you have extra space on your roster or a DL spot there are not many guys out there worth stashing over Cashner.

Ascending aces
Sonny Gray (SP – OAK) – The young Oakland righty is one of my favorite pitchers in all of baseball and his performances this season have not disappointed those expecting a solid 2014. Another arm in the sophomore class that we saw flashes of brilliance from in 2013, Gray sits at 5-1 with a 2.31 ERA & 1.12 WHIP. After out dueling Justin Verlander in the post season last year Gray was expected to be a large part of the A’s rotation for years to come and the baby-faced 24-year-old has not disappointed. Continue to deploy him as usual despite his worst outing of the year in his last start against Detroit, a very tough match up for any pitcher leaving little cause for concern with Sonny.

Michael Wacha (SP – STL) – Wacha! Wacha! Pitching in one of, if not the best rotations in all of baseball Wacha is often overshadowed by his own teammate Adam Wainwirght. Despite being the under study of baseballs best right hander Wacha is tied for the team lead with Waino notching nine quality starts in 2014 thus far. The former Texas A&M hurler has yet to allow more than three runs in any of his starts through the first few months of the season. If you rolled with Wacha in your draft after an impressive stint in the Cards rotation last year you are certainly reaping the benefits thus far in 2014.

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Julio Teheran (SP – ATL) – Arguably one of the best pitchers in the majors this season Teheran is in line for his first mid summer classic appearance. The Braves ace has not gotten much run support from the hit or miss Atlanta line up leaving him with a 4-3 record despite an ERA under 2.00. The Columbian native has racked up 60 punch-outs along with a microscopic WHIP that sits at 0.94 currently. In keeper leagues Teheran is making a case for being someone to hang onto for the future, as his upside seems unlimited at just 23 years of age.

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About Greg Benson

Follow me on Twitter at @Greg_Benson24. For all the latest news and best advice out there, like us on Facebook, Google+ and Instagram.

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