- Eric Karabell, ESPN.com Senior Writer
Seattle Mariners right-hander Felix Hernandez threw a perfect game against the Tampa Bay Rays Wednesday, striking out 12 to win for the 11th time in 2012. Hernandez began the day 10th among starting pitchers on the Player Rater, but moved up to fourth after. With his youth, consistency and strikeout potential, he's in the discussion for top overall pitcher in 2013 drafts. King Felix was fifth in ESPN average live drafts among starting pitchers this season. Now he might be second only to Justin Verlander.
A considerably softer tosser is Cincinnati Reds right-hander Mike Leake, who tossed a four-hitter against the New York Mets Wednesday, allowing one run and fanning four. Leake, who has only five wins in 23 starts, has regressed some from last season and doesn't figure to ever approach 200 strikeouts in a season but is mostly reliable and ownable in deeper formats.
Chicago Cubs outfielder David DeJesus smacked a pair of home runs and singled twice Wednesday, knocking in four and scoring three. DeJesus isn't a worthy fantasy option for standard leagues, as he's played regularly this season and his home runs plus stolen bases still don't equal 10. As a career .282 hitter whose 2012 batting average reached .270 Wednesday, there's a role for DeJesus in deeper formats.
Pittsburgh Pirates second baseman Neil Walker left Wednesday's game after dislocating a finger on a double play attempt. Walker ranks sixth at his position on the Player Rater, hitting a cool .290 with 14 home runs, but it's not clear yet whether he'll miss considerable time. The Pirates don't have a reasonable replacement; fantasy owners needing a middle infielder should look at Zack Cozart, Jeff Keppinger, Ruben Tejada and Yunel Escobar.
Cleveland Indians right-hander Roberto Hernandez, formerly known as Fausto Carmona, made his season debut Wednesday by allowing eight runs (five earned) in six innings against the Mike Trouts in Anaheim. Hernandez neither walked nor fanned any Angels. He was good in 2007 and usable in 2010, but even in AL-only formats today, look elsewhere.
Finally and sadly, San Francisco Giants outfielder Gregor Blanco started in place of suspended Melky Cabrera and singled twice in four at-bats Wednesday, knocking in a run. Blanco should see regular playing time, but as I blogged about Wednesday fantasy owners shouldn't expect more than a modest number of stolen bases, and little else.
Eric Karabell looks at the fantasy-noteworthy performances from Wednesday, highlighted by Felix Hernandez's perfect game.