- Eric Karabell, ESPN.com Senior Writer
Pittsburgh Pirates outfielder Starling Marte homered on the first big league pitch he saw Thursday night in Houston, then later singled and was caught attempting to steal home. Fantasy owners will likely flock to the 23-year-old, who had 12 home runs and 21 steals at Triple-A Indianapolis, but plate discipline is an issue, and he's not likely to hit for average. He should run, though.
New York Mets right-hander Matt Harvey also enjoyed his major league debut, allowing three hits and striking out 11 in 5 1/3 scoreless innings to win at Arizona Thursday. Harvey also singled and doubled at the plate. The first-rounder from 2010 piled on the strikeouts in the minor leagues and is an appealing addition for his next two starts on the road trip in San Francisco and San Diego.
Not exactly old, Cleveland Indians catcher Carlos Santana homered Thursday, his third in nine games. While he's hitting only .238 on the season, note that his July batting average of .301 is certainly progress. Santana is a walk machine with power, but he didn't show much of those traits until this month. Now is a wise time to invest.
Oakland Athletics left-hander Tommy Milone allowed six runs (five earned) in seven innings Thursday, suffering his first loss of July. Milone had permitted five runs total in his previous six outings, making this result unexpected. Then again, Milone entered play with a 0.91 home ERA and 5.69 road mark, which rose a bit after the pounding in Canada. Milone just isn't safe for fantasy away from Oakland.
Similarly, Los Angeles Dodgers left-hander Chris Capuano was tuned up in St. Louis Thursday, allowing 11 hits and six runs over 4 1/3 innings. Capuano still has terrific season numbers, but fantasy owners should pay attention to how he's achieved them; in home games Capuano has a 1.64 ERA. On the road his ERA is 4.66. It's OK, if not recommended, to sit Capuano in future road outings.
Meanwhile, Capuano was bested by Cardinals right-hander Jake Westbrook, who won his ninth game Thursday and sports a 3.17 ERA in five July outings. Westbrook doesn't pile on the strikeouts, though his rate has risen lately and he's on pace for a career-high 138 whiffs. This might end up as Westbrook's best season, making his 30 percent ownership figure a little light.
Eric Karabell looks at the fantasy-noteworthy performances from Thursday, including fine debuts from Starling Marte and Matt Harvey.