Thursday, June 30, 2011


Trending Up

Brandon Morrow:  Morrow is starting to make good on all the promise he had coming into the season.  He is coming off two strong outings in a row littered with strikeouts and so maybe he wont be a complete bust after all.

Gio Gonzalez:  We haven't heard much about Gonzalez since he plays on the West Coast but this kid is dealing and has been most of the season.  He is walking too many guys but he combines that with one of the lowest hit rates in the game. Also the strikeouts are among the highest in the league as well and so Gonzalez is making good on all the hype he had.

CC Sabbathia:  Sabbathia is coming off a 13-K annihilation of the Milwaukee Brewers as he ratchets up his performance heading close to the break.  The resurgence in K's is key since Sabbathia was lacking a bit in that department early on.  No such worries now. 

Trending Down

Zach Britton:  Britton is looking for oxygen as the innings are starting to pile up on his young arm.  Britton doesn't have the K stuff to keep putting out there as a starting pitcher option so its best to cut and run.

Clay Buchholz:  Buchholz is not coming off the DL anytime soon as his back still is bothering him and his numbers were not that great to begin with.  He got very lucky last season and is dealing with a rapid regression.

Shaun Marcum:  Marcum has not been good ever since he hurt his hip and the health questions dominate discussion when it comes to his name.  He was awesome until the injury but for now his future is cloudy until this clears up.

Fantasy Baseball Starting Pitching Buys and Sells

About a month ago I brought to you a list of starting pitchers who I felt made good buys and good sells in fantasy baseball.  Some names on that list as Buys were Jordan Zimmerman (he of the 0.85 ERA in June) along with Francisco Liriano (mostly good since coming off the DL).  Some sells were Trevor Cahill (yet more evidence of his downturn in a rough outing on Thursday), along with Josh Beckett who is coming off getting hit hard his last start.  As always these suggestions are made with a heavy emphasis on advanced stats and so without further delay, here are some new Buys and Sells for the next few weeks.

Fantasy Baseball Starting Pitcher Buys

Tim Stauffer:  Stauffer has made himself into more than just a play at home as he has strung together a nice run of outings with a high K rate being front and center.  Stauffer was a bit lagging in that department until recently but its showing up in bunches.  You cant beat the ballpark as we all know but Stauffer has carried over his stuff onto the road which cements the arrival of this former top draft pick.

Scott Baker:  We have been teased by Baker many times before, only to be letdown by injury and gopheritis.  He has looked like an ace starter this season however by averaging almost a K/IP and he too has a great ballpark to minimize his home run tendencies   Go heavy here in trying to get a hold of this quiet ace.

Jon Niese:  Few have spoken about how good Niese has been lately and like the two guys mentioned above, his K rate has risen to go along with support from a huge ballpark.  Niese has nice pedigree like with Baker and Stauffer and with the Mets winning games, is a solid bet all around.

Fantasy Baseball Starting Pitching Sells

Chris Carpenter:  In a word, what Tony LaRussa did to Carpenter in allowing him to throw for over 130 pitches Wednesday was criminal.  Surely the aging Carpenter will feel the effects of that soon and we all know how injury prone he is as well.  Get out now before the floor falls out.

Jhoulys Chacin:  Chacin is a kid pitcher with a lot of talent but he was putting up too good to be true stats through the first two-plus months of the season.  Chacin has gotten hit around his last two outings as the BABIP correction is in full swing.  He will never have more value than he does now so move him if you can.

Alexei Ogando:  Another BABIP beneficiary who is now paying the price, Ogando is dealing with the correction like Chacin is.  The weather is warming up and so his fly ball tendencies will turn his outings into a mess before you know it.  It will get ugly soon.


It was a scary moment for Phillies SP Cole Hamels who was forced out of Thursday's start after getting hit in the hand by a comebacker.  X-rays on the hand were negative and he should be good to go for his next start. 

Analysis:  Big sigh of relief as Hamels was once again on his way to a great outing with four scoreless innings which goes with his tremendous season.  He stands a good chance of making his next start so its all good. 


BJ Upton:  1/3 with his 12th HR while hitting .223.  At this point we have to accept Upton for what he is and thats a solid power hitting, 40-steal, average liability, fantasy baseball option.  In other words noty bad but not the superstar we thought he would be.

James Shields:  7 IP 7 H 4 ER 2 BB 10 K with an ERA of 2.54.  You know you are having an awesome campaign when you dont pitch well but still look great.

Scott Baker:  7.1 IP 6 H 0 ER 1 BB 9 K with an ERA of 3.15.  We have seen glimpses of greatness from Baker before but this season he seems to be figuring things out.  Jump aboard.

Tim Stauffer:  7 IP 4 H 1 ER 2 BB 6 K with an ERA of 2.97.  See an inch above.

Stephen Drew:  1/4 with his 5th HR while hitting .266.  I cant believe that people still own this bum.  After all he is a Drew.

Justin Upton:  1/4 with his 13th HR while hitting .304.  Upton has done everything we expected from his LAST season.  Upward and onward.

Carlos Carrasco:  7 IP 4 H 2 ER 0 BB 7 K with an ERA of 3.54.  This guy has been something else the last month.  Once upon a time while in the Philly farm system, Carrasco was considered a jewel of a prospect.  Yes the post-hype sleeper is at work.

Dustin Ackley:  1/3 with his 2nd HR and first SB while hitting .300.  The first Hit and Run for Ackley who is already looking very comfortable up with the big club.  If you ned help, than you can do a lot worse and the upside is enticing.

Felix Hernandez:  5 ER in 7.2 IP with an ERA of 3.35.  Was a rough outing for sure but King Felix is still the man.  Dont be silly and sell him off. 

Antonio Bastardo:  perfect ninth for his third save and first since Ryan Madson went on the DL.  Saves! 

Colby Rasmus:  1/3 with his 8th HR while hitting .262.  Still has a ways to go before we look to him again to fill a 3-OF fantasy baseball lineup.

Chris Carpenter:  9 IP 7 H 1 ER 1 BB 5 K with an ERA of 4.00.  Why on earth Tony LaRussa would allos an aging hurler like Carpenter to throw for more than 130 pitches is ridiculous.  If you are an owner, its imperative you get out now before that injurt cuts him down again.

Miguel Cabrera:  2/4 with 2 home runs (17 for season) while hitting .336.  Huge game for the big guy as Detroit played like Coors Field back in the pre-humidor era.

Jhonny Peralta:  2/4 with his 13th HR while hitting .313.  There have seen some nice shortstop bargains this season with Peralta being one of them.  Who told you there was no depth?  Oh yeah right.  Anyway lets move on.

Dan Haren:  7.1 IP 2 H 0 ER 1 BB 6 K with an ERA of 2.85.  Haren gets back on track after a mini-slump.  Dont worry about so-called second half fade.  Consider the defense behind him and the woeful offenses in his division and hold tight.

Jordan Zimmerman:  8 IP 4 H 0 ER 1 BB 4 K with an ERA of 2.63.  Zimmerman finished the month of June with an ERA under 1.00.  In other words the month after I told you all to pick him up cheap.

Shaun Marcum:  5 H 5 H 4 ER 3 BB 6 K with an ERA of 3.16.  You wont convince me that Marcum is not hurting.  I would be very leery of the guy the rest of the season. 

Jorge Posada:  2/3 with his 9th HR while hitting .240.  Posada's power has been there all season and his average is now not so scary.  At catcher thats fantastic. 

Russell Martin:  1/3 with his 10th HR while hitting .230.  Yeah Martin's average is now below Posada's.  How about that after the starts they had?  Its a marathon people.

Brandon Morrow:  7 IP 4 H 1 ER 3 BB 10 K with an ERA of 4.56.  Yeah he is on his way back after a horrible start to the season.  Seems similar to last season.  Be very afraid Tampa Bay.

Ian Kinsler:  2/4 with 2 home runs (11 for season) while hitting .243.  Kinsler is one of those guys who I sink or swim with every season and I was riding the waves last night.  See what happens when he stays healthy?

Colby Lewis:  6.2 IP 6 H 2 ER 0 BB 6 K with an ERA of 4.32.  The pitching Colby had a good night like the hitting Colby did. 

Wednesday, June 29, 2011


Florida Marlins SP Josh Johnson got through his appointment with Dr. James Andrews without hearing the worst as there was no structural damage found in his pitching shoulder.  Johnson has been on the DL for over a month with shoulder soreness and he just had begun rehabbing for a return.  He was given a cortisone shot and will be shut down for 10 days.  Look for him to return in late July. 

Analysis:   Great news that Johnson is not done for the season but he still has a long way to go to get back as well.  Any other setback could finish him for the season.


Boston Red Sox 1B Adrian Gonzalez, who is clearly the fantasy baseball hitting MVP thus far, will make his second career start in the outfield tonight in order to get David Ortiz into the lineup at first base. 

Analysis:  This could potentially be HUGE news in fantasy baseball as some leagues only require between 1-5 starts at a position in order to gain eligibility.  Gonzalez and his all-world numbers would play ever better in the outfield so hope he stays in the outfield through Sunday. 


The Seattle Mariners placed SP Erik Bedard on the DL on Wednesday with a sprained left knee.  The move is retoractive to June 28th. 

Analysis:  This is surely a surprise as we didnt hear of Bedard having any physical issue after his last start.  The good news is that it has nothing to do with his arm and so he should be good to go when the stint is up.  Bedard has been one of the better values in fantasy baseball this season with his high strikeout pitching. 


Trending Up

Carlos Pena:  Pena is on one of his typical long ball runs and so you got to get him in there while he is on.  Yes the average stinks but this is not a guy you will be playing most of the time anyway.  Use only when in a zone.

Evan Longoria:  We knew this was coming as Longoria was much too good to continue struggling the way he was.  He has found his power stroke and so upward and onward we go to a big season.

JJ Hardy:  Hardy has done nothing but hit home runs since coming off the DL and he is looking like the 25-homer asset he was back in the day.  Baltimore's home park is playing small right now and so more home runs oculd very well be in his future.  Play him and forget about the tough recent seasons he has had.

Trending Down

Alexei Ramirez:  Ramirez has supplied very little in the way of impact plays like steals or home runs lately.  His overall numbers are solid but the total package leaves a lot of be desired.

Adam Dunn:  What a fall this guy has had.  He continues to show up here as Dunn keeps going lower and lower in his season struggles.  Its really inconceivable how bad he has been but there is no escaping it.  A complete bust this season.

Ryan Roberts:  Once April finished up, Roberts has been pretty bad with a nondescript May and June.  The storybook has not had a good ending so far with this guy.

The First Base Shuffle

First base is no doubt the deepest hitting position in fantasy baseball but when 2010 drafts came around this past spring, there was a clear hierarchy regarding where the top guys stood.  At the head of the class was the wondrous Albert Pujols of the Cardinals who unmdoubtedly was the top pick in the majority of drafts.  The next tier not far below him contained both Miguel Cabrera and Joey Votto.  On their heels was a very even foursome of Mark Texeira, Ryan Howard, Adrian Gonzalez, and Prince Fielder.  And there was your consensus top six.

As we have gone through the first half of the season, we have seen most of these guys put up their customary top notch numbers.  However there is also some letdown as well when it comes to some of them as well and so with that said, its entirely possible that this group will find itself shuffled up as far as draft position for next season, with even Pujols possibly not being selected first like he has for years.  So with that said, lets take a closer look at each guy and what he has done so far in 2010 and determine where he currently sits in the order.

Albert Pujols:  Its been a maddening season for Pujols and his fantasy baseball owners as he first dealt with a decent-sized slump to start the season and than he would up breaking his wrist in a first base collision.  Pujols' batting average was done along with the rest of his numbers as he looked human for the first time in his career.  He is no longer a spring chicken at 32 years old (despite my firm belief he is even older than that) and so injuries and some more erosion from his numbers is likely.  It is now not a crazy argument to say that he wont be the top pick in 2011.  He still can fill up the stats better than anyone in the game but that is no longer a given and he could start going the way of AROD in being a top notch player without the video game numbers anymore.

Miguel Cabrera:  Things started off bad for Cabrera as he dealt with another alcohol-related issue but its been business as usual this season with is .320-ish average and top level pop.  He still has not hit the 40 home run mark in his career but Cabrera is still only 28 years old which means he is just now entering into his prime years.  He is a much safer investment on the field than is Pujols for 2011 in my book.

Joey Votto:  Votto has his customarily high batting average as usual but the power was hit or miss until his two-homer game the other day.  His fly ball rate was a tad out of whack last season which could be the reason for the drop in home runs this season so far but again you are talking about a guy just entering his prime years and unlike the rest of the guys on this list, Votto has the ability to swipe 10 bases which is more valuable than you think. 

Ryan Howard:  Out of everyone on this list, Howard has been probably the biggest letdown with his sinking average and drop in home run rate.  We saw this the second half of last season which made the first half this season key in determining whether that struggle was real or a mirage.  Well Howard continues on a slow drop in numbers and I have said many times before that a guy with a big body like Howard declines quicker than a more slim hitter.  He will still hit for power since he is so incredibly strong but Howard's days as a late first round pick are over its looking like.

Prince Fielder:  Show me the money.  That's what Fielder's performance this season has elicited from those who are admiring his big time power season.  His drop in home runs last season was attributed to him being worried about his contract but that doesn't seem to be a problem now.  Fielder dropped to the late second round last season which actually made him a value play for 2010 and he has made good on that in outproducing every other first baseman not named Adrian Gonzalez.  Back to the late first round we go in 2011. 

Mark Texeira:  Its been a strange season for Texeira as has hit for power all season at a very high level which included his worst month of April.  The problem is hit sub-.250 batting average which marks the second season in a row he has had a mediocre average.  I really am starting to think that Tex is paying too much attention to the short porch in right at Yankee Stadium and its messing up his average.  He is becoming a pure swing for the fences hitter which is great for your home run output but not for the average.  This will surely drop him behind Fielder and Gonzalez next season in addition to Pujols, Votto, and Cabrera and so its on to the second round for Texeira.

Adrian Gonzalez:  Flat out Adrian Gonzalez has been the MVP hitter of fantasy baseball so far this season as he is on pace to sail past 40 homers with a crazy 140 RBI total.  He has completely adapted to the much easier ballpark in Boston and is fulfilling all of the expectations that we when we tried to predict what he could do if he ever got out of San Diego.  He very well could be the first first baseman drafted next season and battle Jose Bautista and Ryan Braun for the top spot overall. 

So in conclusion this is how I see these 7 guys being drafted next season.

1.  Pujols
2.  Gonzalez
3.  Cabrera
4.  Votto
5.  Fielder
6.  Texeira
7.  Howard

You cant do wrong with any of these guys and all but Howard are bets to supply first to second round value for next season.  The craziest thing is the fact that Pujols may not longer be the number one guy in the game.  We all get old.


Carlos Pena:  1/4 with his 17th HR while hitting .221.  I might as well leave Pena's name in the wrapup everyday and just update the home run tally since he hits one everyday. 

Ryan Voglesong:  5 IP 6 H 3 ER 4 BB 6 K with an ERA of 2.09.  We all know this is a fairy tale that will have some very rocky moments the rest of the way.  As they say on Wall Street:  Sell Sell Sell.

Aramis Ramirez:  1/4 with his 9th HR while hitting .291.  In other words his eighth home run since I traded this piece of crap.

Jose Reyes:  4/4 with his 29th SB while hitting .349.  Back in the spring when I said to be aggressive in obtaining Reyes due to his contract year motivtion, I never imagined it would be THIS good.  Damn.  Hanley and Tulo who?

Carlos Beltran:  2/5 with his 11th HR while hitting .281.  The only person happier than Beltran about his comeback season is management since they will trade him in about three weeks.

Jason Bay:  1/5 with his 4th HR while hitting .234.  Bay has been one of the bigger mysteries in the game since he went all Nick Markakis and started sucking overnight.  The whole team is hitting so in deeper formats take a shot.

Mark Texeira:  1/5 with his 24th HR while hitting .246.  Texeira has been doing the Pena shuffle (1/4 with a HR) the last few days and for a lot of this season. 

Nick Swisher:  2/4 with his 10th HR while hitting .249.  Swisher is the perfect example of a player who goes through wild swings in production but who always ends up where he should be. 

Zack Greinke:  2 IP 5 H 7 ER 3 BB 0 K with an ERA of 5.63.  Unreal.  I took a lot of abuse last night over this outing since I told everyone and their mother to go out and trade for him.  I still am bullish since his K/BB ratio is in Cliff Lee territory and the WHIP is 1.23 which tells the story of how he is actually pitching well.  No I am serious.  Stop laughing.  Oh I give up.  I will sink or swim with the guy so you cant say I didnt put my money where my mouth was. 

Shane Victorino:  1/4 with his 9th HR while hitting .291.  Havent mentioned him much since he really hasnt done much lately.  Thats about it.

Josh Beckett:  6 IP 5 ER with an ERA of 2.20.  Becket has one of the lowest BABIP in baseball and soon that bubble will burst.  Its just a matter of how mad it will be.  Trust me it will happen.  I would capitalize on the first half and get out before the floor falls through.

Cliff Lee:  9 IP 2 H 0 ER 2 BB 5 K with an ERA of 2.66.  Lee is absolutely ridiculous right now.  He still would be getting people out by throwing a beach ball.  As beautiful a display of pitching as I have ever seen over the last month.  Yes I used the word beautiful. 

Matt Holliday:  2/5 with his 10th HR while hitting .332.  The ultimate batting average boost guy.  Holliday has been realy stepping up since Mr. Pujols went down.  Now if only he can show Mr. Berkman how to respond accordingly.

Colby Rasmus:  1/3 with his 7th HR while hitting .261.  The kid has stalled out since a hot start.  At least he and Tony LaRussa are no longer reprising the War Of The Roses in the clubhouse.

JJ Hardy:  1/4 with his 11th HR while hitting .303.  Was seeing red when I realized I had Hardy in my lineup and not Alexei Ramirez in Colorado who promptly went out and homered in his first at-bat.  I was seeing for three hours until I saw Hardy responded with a dinger late.  All is right with the world.

Zack Britton:  4 ER in 5.2 IP with an ERA of 3.38.  I NEED OXYGEN!!!!!

Alex Presley:  2/5 with 1 HR  out of the leadoff spot in his debut.  Pick up Presley who will hit for average and run all day with a bit of pop.  Sounds good to me.

Andrew McCutchen:  1/5 with his 11th HR while hitting .283.  Love this guy. Even though he screwed everyone in April, the rest of the package has been stupendous.

Jose Bautista:  1/3 with his 24th HR while hitting .328.  He is good.

Jay Bruce:  1/4 with his 18th HR while hitting .274.  A much better version of Luke Scott, Bruce very well could hit 7 homers in the next 7 days.

Johnny Damon:  2/4 with his 9th HR while hitting .273.  I miss seeing Damon in New York just for the fact that his gorgeous wife no longer graces the local gossip pages. 

Evan Longoria:  1/4 with his 10th HR while hitting .249.  Yup the first round stud we all drooled over is present and accounted for.

David Price:  7.2 IP 6 H 2 ER 1 BB 12 K with an ERA of 3.43.  Damn Price has been firing gems lately.  Great start but the bagel in the win column takes a bit of the luster off in my view.  I know nitpicking.

Ian Kinsler:  2/3 with his 9th HR while hitting .240.  I have both Kinsler and Dustin Pedroia on one of my teams and guess who I started last night?  Yup not this one.

Josh Hamilton:  2/5 with his 10th HR while hitting .297.  Yes it was nightime. 

Mitch Moreland:  2/4 with his 11th HR while hitting .289.  He has been better than people have thought but he seems to be falling into the bin of the extreme first base depth. 

Ted Lilly:  6 ER in 4.2 IP with an ERA of 4.97.  Cut the chord.

Carlos Santana:  1/4 with his 11th HR while hitting .225.  The Carlos Pena special.

Kelly Johnson:  2/4 with his 13th HR while hitting .213.  Johnson could very well be on his way to another power run.  That average is frightening though.

Gio Gonzalez:  8 IP 1 H 0 ER 3 BB 9 K with an ERA of 2.38.  If the guy pitched in Boston or New York, the fantasy baseball world would be going ga-ga.  Being on the West Coast though desprives about half the country from seeing how dominant he has been.

Michael Pineda:  6.1 IP 4 H 4 ER 5 BB 5 K with an ERA of 2.65.  I hope he is not getting tired but that is a real possibility.  He wont be shut down however so dont automatically go out and try to sell him.  Watch his next start so you can see which way to proceed.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011


The Los Angeles Dodgers have shut down rehabbing closer Jonathan Broxton for three weeks as a recent MRI apparently revealed something concerning to the team.  Some in the upper reaches of the team even wonde if he will pitch again this season as Broxton clearly has something going on in that elbow.  Javy Guerra remains the closer in the meantime as the team is not in contention and currently in banckruptcy which means no trade for a Heath Bell. 

Analysis:  Someone dropped Guerra in one of my leagues today where I have the top waiver claim.  I am depserate for saves so I will bite despite me not being thrilled with the guy.  On the other side of the ledger, you can pretty much assume Broxton is kaput for this season as he continues to fall all the way down the RP rankings from being the top guy going into the 2010 season.  What a drop it is. 


As I have stated on countless occasions this season, the third base position in fantasy baseball has been aboslutely wracked with injuries.  David Wright, Pablo Sandoval, Evan Longoria, Ryan Zimmerman. etc. have all landed on the list and so fantasy baseball owners have had to scramble all season in an effort to fill out their hot corner spot.  Another guy who got injured early on was the St. Louis Cardinals' David Freese who suffered a broken hand after hitting over .360 with a couple of home runs to start the season.  Freese had shown in that short time period that he could hit major league pitching and his high ceiling at a shallow position made him a major stock to keep track of in the early going.  Unfortunately it was out of sight/out of mind with Freese after he got hurt and he wound up dropped in almost all the leagues he was employed in. Fast forward to present day and Freese is set to come off the DL on Tuesday and so he once again should be front and center in the view of deep league owenrs.  This is especially true of the David Wright owners out there.  Freese is a proven .300-plus hitter who has developing power.  He could be a very nice asset the rest of the way so dont let this nice opportunity pass you by.

With that said, here are some other deep league names to zone in on for this week.

Ty Wigginton:  Kudos who picked up Wigginton five days ago as he has gone nuts at the dish over that time period.  Playing in Colorado certainly makes his bat perk up some and his crazy versatility make him even more valuable. 

Geovany Soto:  Chances are Soto was dropped fatre floundering at the plate and having an injury as well.  He is starting to heat up though and is one of the few backstops in the game who can threaten 20 homers. 

Chris Heisey:  Heisey came to our attention after a three homer game last week and DUsty Baker is thinking of using him as the leadoff hitter.  He has decent pop but not much else to talk about.

Jake Peavy:  He is healthy again and is coming off a nice outing in long relief.  You know the drill with the guy as he is useful when pitching until the next injury cut him down again.

Matt Downs:  Downs has surprised with his 6 home runs and solid average.  He has both second and third base eligibility to boot.

Jordan Schafer:  Schafer is not a batting average help but he is stealing bases which we all could use.  Strictly a steals guy.  The rest of his game has failed to show up for us. 

Thats all for this week.  Check back every Tuesday for the latest edition of fantasy baseball Deep Looks.


The Pittsburgh Pirates placed injured outfielder Jose Tabata on the DL Tuesday due to the quad strain he suffered over the past weekend.  Tabata was taken off the field on a cart when he tried to let out a hit and he reported not much iimprovement since than. 

Analysis:  Tabata really wasnt supplying much outside of the beginning of the season anyway so this is not such big news.  Cut him loose if you have a thin bench. 


Cleveland Indians outfielder Shin-Soo Choo underwent surgery on his broken thumb and its possible he will miss the rest of the season.  Original estimates had Choo missing 6 weeks but both he and the team confirm the surgery could very well wipe out the season overall.  If so, it would be a very harsh ending to an underachieving season for the high draft pick.

Analysis:  Not a surprise as Choo was facing an uphil battle to play again.  There is no other way to cut it than to say Choo was a monster fantasy baseball bust.


The Philadelphia Phillies have placed closer Ryan Madson on the DL with a sore hand, joining Jose Contreras and Brad Lidge as the Philly stoppers who are injured.  The move was backdtaed to June 19 so Madson could return relatively quickly but in the meantime Antonio Bastardo will close in his place.

Analysis:  Run out and grab Bastardo wherever you can.  He has been completely dominant in a setup role for the team this season and his high K rate is suited to the gig.  No word on how severe the hand issue is but the Phillies will have to settle on a firm closer and stop with the revolving door. 


Carlos Gonzalez:  2/4 with 2 home runs (12 for season) while hitting .283.  Gonzalez has rebounded nicely from his hideous start and is doing what he is supposed to do now which is to hit for power and swipe bases with an average sitting where it should have last season.

Aramis Ramirez:  3/4 with 2 home runs (8 for season) while hitting .289.  This schmuck can go rot for all I care.  Still cant believe I sat with this bum for almost two months and got one grand home run, than trade him and see him pop off for 7 in a span of a month.  Torture.

Carlos Pena:  2/4 with 2 home runs (16 for season) while hitting .226.  Boy Pena doesnt fool around.  When he hits it, it goes out.  Simple as that.  He is insanely hot right now so plant his sizeable ass in your lineup pronto. 

Jhoulys Chacin:  6 ER in 5 IP.  There was a lot of favorable BABIP at work going into today and so the wheels were bound to come off soon.  I would sell here if someone in your league just has to have him.

Matt Garza:  7.1 IP 5 H 3 ER 0 BB 6 K with an ERA of 4.07.  Its no secret that Garza has gotten very unlucky so far but examine this start deeper to see some trouble beneath the surface.  He gave up two home runs today in a game where the winds were carrying everything out of Wrigley.  This meterological phenomenon will only get worse as the summer gets into full swing so things may not be so pretty, even when his luck turns around.

Adam Lind:  1/3 with his 16th HR while hittng .317.  Adam Lind and Danny Espinosa are my two favorite players this season.

Max Scherzer:  7 IP 6 H 2 ER 1 BB 9 K with an ERA of 4.47.  This was Scherzer's way to convincing you to start him his next time up so he can crap all over your team stats.  You just watch.  It will happen.

Jeremy Hellickson: 6 H 3 ER 1 BB 9 K with an ERA of 3.18.  Hellickson has had a great season but like with Chacin, he has had a great deal of fortunate bounces this season.  Also innings will play a role soon so get out off of this nice start in non-keeper setups.

Matt Kemp:  4/5 with his 22nd HR while hitting .336.  Kemp is hitting like he wants to be the first overall pick in fastasy baseball next season.  If he gets to 40/40, he just might be.

Chad Billingsley:  6 IP 4 H 0 ER 2 BB 4 K with an ERA of 4.22.  Being truthful, I have never been a Billinglsye fan because his massive inconcsistency makes me wants to poke my eyes out.  Howevere he does make for a solid pickup if anyone dropped him since he was dealing with poor luck the first half.  Thats about the last positive thing I will say about the guy for a bit.

Asdrubal Cabrera:  2/4 with his 13th HR while hitting .295.  This is Cabrera reminding us that he is not going to fall off a cliff and come back to life just yet.

Mike Morse:  2/4 with his 15th HR while hitting .303.  I just traded Morse for Francisco Cordero in a league I was desperate for saves.  I was very sad about this and felt like a parent sending their kid off to college and leaving the nest.  Still I have him in my other money league team so its all good.  Morse is a beast.

Danny Espinosa:  1/3 with his 15th HR while hitting .243.  See Lind, Adam above.

Jordan Walden:  sixth BS with 1 ER in ninth.  Scott Downs got the win behind him.  Just wanted to mention that tidbit.

Freddie Freeman:  1/4 with his 9th HR while hitting .268.  During the spring I mentioned that I thought Freeman wouldbt be useful until around the All-Star break when he got his feet on the ground.  Yup.

Brian McCann:  3/4 with his 14th HR while hitting .307.  Maybe that 30-HR season we all thought was possible is here.

Brandon Beachy:  6 IP 3 H 1 ER 1 BB 9 K with an ERA of 3.04.  Live's a Beach when you own Beachy.

Erik Bedard:  7 IP 4 H 3 ER 1 BB 5 K with an ERA of 3.00.  Just stay on the field bro.  Its that simple. 

Monday, June 27, 2011


The Cleveland Indians look like they are close to calling up third base prospect Lonnie Chisenhall to the big leagues as they designated Adam Everett for assignment.  Chisenhall is the 25th-ranked prospect in the minors and will likely start immediately. 

Analysis:  Chisenhall has had only a so-so minor league season so far but he profiles as a solid hitting prospect.  Use him only in AL-leagues until we see more of whether or not he can hit enough to help more league setups.


Things got a little more newsworthy in the world of the fantasy baseball closer as this week's Closing Time feature will attest.  Lets get right to it.

-Big news out of LA as rehabbing Dodgers closer Jonathan Broxton was shut down due to tightness in his pitching elbow. Brotxton was only a few days away from being activated from the DL where he stayed for the last month due to elbow soreness and so its likely he will be out of action for awhile longer.  Surgery could also be a possibility now.  Javy Guerra has pitched well recently and got the last save chance for the team.  If the Dodgers were in contention for a playoff spot, you had to think they would be in on Heath Bell but thats not going to happen.  So Guerra will get the chance to run with it and we'll see where it goes from here on out. I am not opitmistic he will be anything but a mediocre closer.

-Speaking of Heath Bell, the Cardinals and Phillies have been the two teams mentioned the most recently about adding the Padres closer.  Phillies closer Ryan Madson is out 3-4 days with a numb pitching hand and he is far from proven as a ninth inning guy despite the success he has had this season.  Bell would see many more save chances in Philly so keep a close eye here as it will have massive ramifications for both teams.  Mike Adams would inherit the San Diego job where he would instantly be a top tier guy due to his continuously dominant campaigns the last few seasons. 

-Keep an eye on Mark Melancon in Houston as he completely melted down on Sunday with 5 ER in 1.1 IP.  Thats downright hideous and it marked the third straight outing he was scored on.  Wilton Lopez would be the add and it could come soon.  

-Jordan Walden blew his fifth save of the season on Sunday but he has built up enough credibility to be safe for the time being.  Plus with Fernando Rodney on the DL, there is not much behind him other that Scott Downs who is their main lefty bullpen asset.  You know how that goes. 

-Things have turned around nicely for Sergio Santos in Chicago.  He is back on safe ground.

Thats all for now.  As always keep it tuned here for all the latest in closer news in fantasy baseball.


Pittsburgh Pirates outfielder Jose Tabata has been diagnosed with a left quad strain and at this point has not been placed on the DL.  Tabata injured the quad during Monday's game when he tried to leg out a hit and he was removed on a cart.  Its likely he will get a few days to show improvement before he is placed on the DL.

Analysis:  Tabata is not big news after a big start and really only those in deeper formats have to be conerned here.  He will likely hit the DL this week so plan accordingly. 


The Seattle Mariners have decided not to shut down phenom starting pitcher Michael Pineda at the end of the season.  Pineda is coming off a season where he threw 125 innings which he is approaching soon but the team will not end his season early due to their place in a pennant race.  The team said they will only remove him early from outings if the team is up big.

Analysis:  This is great news for Pineda and his fantasy baseball owners.  As a Pineda owner, this issue has been on mind a lot recently but now I can breath a little easier.  He could very well feel the effects next season so be aware of this.


Jhonny Peralta:  3/4 with his 12th HR while hitting .308.  About 10 years ago I reached for Peralts early in a draft coming off a 20-plus HR season with the Indians expecting numbers like these.  Ten years too late buddy.

Roy Halladay:  9 IP 8 H 1 ER 0 BB 4 K with an ERA of 2.40.  Take that Cole Hamels.

Brandon Phillips:  2/4 with his 6th HR while hitting .291.  Yes you guessed it.  I traded Phillips the other day for CJ Wilson.  Hence the home run.  I hate this game.

Ramon Hernandez:  2/5 with his 8th HR while hitting .316.  As unbelievable as this sounds, Hernandez has been a top 8 catcher in fantasy baseball this season.  Sort of as crazy as saying Lance Berkman would be putting up MVP numbers midway through the season.  Wait a second.

Luke Scott:  1/3 with his 9th HR while hitting .237.  You know how this goes.  Look for Scott to hit a home run in every game this week and than take a nap for a month.

Mark Reynolds:  1/3 with his 14th HR while hitting .227.  The .227 average is actually progress for Reynolds this season. 

Homer Bailey:  5 ER in 5 IP with an ERA of 3.86.  I am concluding I wont have to write any more "Homer Bailey is a sleeper" posts anymore.  Moving right along.

Ty Wigginton:  2/4 with 2 home runs (12 for season) while hitting .275.  Everytime I see his name I always think of that annoying guy from that Home Makeover Show.  Anyway this Ty is a lot less loud and is once again proving he is not dead yet.  The fact he qualifies for everything including Bat Boy makes him extra valuable.

Chris Iannetta:  2/4 with his 10th HR while hitting .234.  This is who he is.  At catcher that a decent mid-tier fantasy baseball backstop.  This position sucks.

Mark Texeira:  1/4 with his 23rd HR while hitting .247.  I still cant figure out this guy and his piss poor average.  Either way he is hitting the ball a long way but with just a lot less line drives. 

Nick Swisher:  1/4 with his 9th HR while hitting .245.  Swisher is making good on me telling you to pick him up a month ago.  The power was bound to come around sooner or later. 

Jorge Posada:  1/2 with his 8th HR while hitting .234.  I took a lot of crap when I suggested last month to pick him up to since his BABIP was among the worst in the majors.  He went from hitting .175 to now .234 and the power has remained constant.  At catcher thats a nice value.

Evan Longoria:  4/6 with 2 home runs (9 for season) while hitting .253.  We all knew this was coming.  He will be sick the rest of the season.  Just watch.

BJ Upton:  2/5 with his 11th HR while hitting .228.  He now has 11 homers with 20 steals.  Its time to realize he will never hit for even a decent average but  isnt that what Drew Stubbs is and people cant stop drooling over the guy.

Mark Melancon:  5 ER in 1.1 IP with an ERA of 3.11.  This was one of those outings where you to run to the wire to see who the eighth inning guy is.  Thats three outings in a row now of giving up runs which is a concern.  Wilton Lopez you are on watch.

Geovany Soto:  3/3 with his 7th HR while hitting .225.  There were a lot of catchers to make the list today and Soto pretty much has the same description.  In other words not very exciting.

Danny Espinosa:  1/3 with his 14th HR while hitting .242.  Love this kid.  I know I usually tell you to avoid piss poor average guys but this is the exception due to the top flight power and nice speed.

Ryan Braun:  1/4 with his 16th HR and 17th SB while hitting .308.  Braun or Matt Kemp next season?  Interesting.

JP Arencibia:  1/3 with his 11th HR while hitting .228.  I wish the guy was playing more but Mike Napoli's twin is more like him that we like.

Ricky Romero:  9 IP 4 H 0 ER 2 BB 4 K with an ERA of 2.74.  Its amazing he actually has a 7-7 record but Romero is getting close to that exclusive "starting pitcher I will use in fantasy baseball from the AL East Beast that includes Mr. Lester and Mr. Sabbathia and afew others." 

Jose Reyes:  4/5 with his 28th SB while hitting .341.  MVP of the NL if he stays on the field.  And can you honestly say he hasnt been better than Tulowitzki and prima donna Ramirez?  I didnt think so.

Michael Young:  2/5 with his 7th HR while hitting .323.  I was starting to wonder if Young would hit the 20 homer mark again this season and so he decided to get there in one week with 4 bombs in five games.

Vernon Wells:  1/3 with his 9th HR while hitting .205.  Power is scarce.  Thats about all I want to write about the guy.

Clayton Kershaw:  9 IP 6 H 2 ER 0 BB 11 K with an ERA of 2.93.  There is not a pitcher in fantasy baseball I dont own who I wish I had more than this gem of a starter.

Sunday, June 26, 2011


Rehabbing Los Angeles Dodgers closer Jonathan Broxton was scratched from is scheduled outing Sunday due to the joint tightening up on him just a few days after he was shown to have a dip in velocity.  Broxton was on the DL for more than a month with a bum elbow and so this can be considered a setback.  More on this as test results come out.

Analysis:  Terrible timing as it looked like Broxton would be making his way back in a few days.  Javy Guerra just got a longer leash as the team's closer although he is anything but a sure thing.  Stay tuned as this could be bad. 


Pittsburgh Pirates outfielder Jose Tabata was taken off the field Sunday on a cart after severely injuring his quad while running out a grounder.  Tabata was in a great deal of pain as he was taken off the field and to this point there is no word yet on the severeity of the injury. 

Analysis:  It doesnt look good for Tabata who has been pretty mediocre since his hot start.  Count on him hitting the DL and so he is waiver fodder in all but the deepest leagues

Saturday, June 25, 2011


Minnesota Twins 1B Justin Morneau will undergo neck surgery next week and be out for six weeks after the procedure.  Morneau has suffered through a dreadful season as he came back from last season's awful concussion and he struggled at the plate before the neck issue.  He will return in late August.

Analysis:  I warned you all about the guy.  Everything I said about him came true and so Morneau continues to drop in value in fanatsy baseball from a top notch slugger to someone who is waiver fodder.  Sad. 


The nightmarish season for Cleveland Indians outfielder Shin-Soo Choo just got worse as he suffered a broken thumb during Friday night's game and was placed immediately on the DL.  This on the heels of an earleir DUI issue and massive struggles at the plate which made him a far cry from the early round pick he was in all leagues.  There is no word on how long he will be out at this point and further tests will be taken soon to determine the severity of the damage.

Analysis:  Unreal.  Just when Choo started to come around we get this.  Stash him away because you cant cut him and its likely he will return at some point. 


Texas Rangers SS Elvis Andrus is day-to-day with a sprained left wrist which he suffered while stealing a base during Friday night's game.  Andrus came out after the inning was over and subsequent tests revealed so structural issues. 

Analysis:  Andrus is doing what I thought he would this season.  Scoring runs and stealing bases while not being a help anywhere else.  Look for him to sit Saturday and maybe Sunday as well. 


The maddening Jonathan Sanchez could very well be yanked from the Giants starting rotation as Barry Zito is getting close to rejoining the team.  Sanchez has the worst walk rate in the majors as far as starters are concerned and it appears as though management is getting tired of watching his wild ways. 

Analysis:  I haev seen Sanchez dropped in many leagues and rightfully so.  As tantalizing as all of those strikeouts are, the walks are doing major damage to his bottom line.  Cut him loose if you havent done so already.



The Phillies have some more bullpen woes as closer Ryan Madson will miss 3-4 days with numbness in his pitching hand.  Madson got treatement for the ailment but he will sit until Tuesday at the earliest.  Michael Stutes and Antonio Bastardo will fill in as far as save chances are conerned.

Analysis:  The team is saying he wont go on the DL but this is the second time Madson has dealt with this this season.  My money is on Barstardo being the interim closer since Stutes has some control issues but both guys have the stuff to succeed in the ninth inning.  Keep close watch on this to see if Madson will be out longer. 

Friday, June 24, 2011


The Philadelphia Phillies wasted no time in putting SP Roy Oswalt on the DL for the second time this season with a bad back.  Oswalt removed himself from Thursday night's start after he began experiencing spasms and after the game talked about even thinking of retiring.  He will undergo further testing to determine the severity in the next few days.

Analysis:  Its looking like Oswalt's season is going to be one big bust.  I was among those hollering not to draft him since he had nowhere to go but down off his comeback 2010 season.  I didnt think it would be this bad however so all around its a shock whats happening. 


It appears as if all of the strikeouts by Cincinnatti Reds outfielder Drew Stubbs has finally caught up with him as he is slated to bat seventh in tonight's game which followed a recent batch of games where he was out of the leadoff spot.  Manager Dusty Baker had grown increasingly vocal in the last few days about how Stubbs' ridiculously high strikeout rate has hurt the lineup and that he was looking for a more traditional leadoff hitter.  Chris Heisey is looking like he will get the chance to run with the gig for now as Stubbs drops all the way to seventh.  So what does this mean for his fantasy baseball value?  In a word:  not good.

Obviously hitting in the leadoff spot maximizes the amount of plate appearances a given hitter can have and so the counting stats are positively reinforced.  Also someone with as much speed as Stubbs benefits greatly by hitting leadoff due to the many more opportunities to steal a base.  Getting on in the first at-bat ensures there is no one else on base to clog up second for the steal and so that is another negative for his drop in the order.  Also his runs will be affected in a negative way since he wont be on base in front of the big boppers in the lineup.

Put altogether and this move is a very bad one for Stubbs and his fantasy baseball value.  He was a batting average liability before this season and now with the drop in the order, his calling card of steals will also be negatively impacted.  He will still be very useful but the drop in runs and steals combined with the poor average make him look a lot worse in the eyes of his owners from the start of the season.


Very light day in fantasy baseball but as always, there are some tidbits to discuss.

Michael Pineda:  7 IP 4 H 0 ER 1 BB 9 K with an ERA of 2.45.  The Pineda Express continued to chug on with no sign of a letup.  Innings caps will enter the discussion soon enough and I still advise you to trade him in non-keeper legues for that reason.  I wouldnt blame you though if you cant part with such a talent.  The kid is beyond legit as a future star.

Jermeil Weeks:  1/3 with 2 SB's (6 for season) while hitting .321.  So far so good for Rickie's little brother.  What nice is that there has been no hint of wrist issues.

Chris Capuano:  6 IP 5 H 0 ER 0 BB 7 K with an ERA of 3.99.  I said in the spring that Capuano was a deep sleeper as his numbers have been very useful.  A few more of these and he will go beyond the deep league only realm.

Tim Lincecum:  7 IP 3 H 0 ER 2 BB 12 K with an ERA of 3.16.  The next time Lincecum goes through a stretch of bad starts, just remember thats it nothing but a rough patch.  No injuries or nothing since The Freak is indomitable.

Miguel Montero:  1/4 with his 9th HR while hitting .277.  Pay close attention to who I recommend to you for catcher next season.  Two years running now with hitting it big with under the radar guys.

Daniel Hudson:  7 IP 6 H 3 ER 1 BB 1 K with an ERA of 3.58.  Yeah I toouted him too after his rough early patch that was BABIP fueled.  The use of advanced stats hits gold again.

Lance Berkman:  2/5 with his 18th HR while hitting .309.  This guy is sick.  Nothing more to say than that.  Best value in fantasy baseball this season.

Chris Carpenter:  7 IP 5 H 1 ER 1 BB 7 K with an ERA of 4.26.  He is healthy for now and pitching solidly so enjoy it while it lasts.  He is still scary in my book.

Thursday, June 23, 2011


Trending Up

Cole Hamels:  Hamels has pitched just as well if not better than all-world SP teammate Roy Halladay.  He has cut into his gopher balls while also consistently keeping his K rate among the best in the league.  It could be that Halladay's biggest competition for the NL Cy Young will come from his rotation mate.

David Price:  Price's WHIP is minuscule at 1.06 and that tells you he is not beating himself.  His K rate has also ticked up this season and so upward we go in the growth of this stud pitcher.

Francisco Liriano:  Since Liriano came off the DL, he has been excellent.  He is as up and down as they come but those who got to pick him up off the waiver wire like I did, really lucked out so far.

Trending Down

Dillon Gee:  Gee was awful in his last start and it will be interesting to see where he goes from here.  He has pitched way over his head so far so the bottom could be close to falling out.

Roy Oswalt:  Oswalt continues to pitch poorly as he was removed after only two innings in a rough start against the Cardinals.  He has lost some bite on his fastball which is evident in his declining K rate and now he is getting hit as well.  Not good.

Max Scherzer:  Scherzer has been disgusting this season and those who thought he was ready to take that next step realize how foolish that thinking was. 

A Look At The Rookie Starters For 2011

In the last Hit and Run column, I examined all of the hotshot rookie hitters this season and how they performed.  Today we turn to the pitchers and no doubt there have been some very big time hurlers this season that have helped their fantasy baseball owners.  So lets see how they shake out.

Brandon Beachy:  We start with Beachy who comes off an 11-K masterpiece in his first start off the DL for an oblique strain.  Beachy has mowed down opposing hitters this season without giving up walks and that's tremendous poise for someone so young.  The DL stint will allow Beachy to pitch deeper into the season and thus be of use to his owners down the stretch.

Michael Pineda:  If you didn't know any better, you would think that Pineda was really Felix Hernandez.  Pineda has been everything that King Felix is in terms of a high K rate and a very low hit rate.  Walks have come and gone but that's just because his stuff is so great.  It moves that much and thus is tough for hitters to get good wood on the pitch.  An innings limit has already been discussed but with the Mariners in a playoff push, we might see that stretched some.  Either way this guy in my view is the best young pitcher out there.

Jordan Lyles:  Lyles is incredibly young but so far he has shown he has what it takes to pitch in the big leagues.  His last few outings have seen him strike out almost a batter per inning and his control has been impeccable.  The sky is the limit here and he can even be of help the next few months before he gets shut down due to the innings limit.

Zach Britton:  The Orioles are already monitoring Britton's innings but so far he has pitched well in a very tough division.  Britton is not a strikeout guy like the others on this list but he too has tremendous control and he reminds many of a young Tom Glavine.  He wont be of much use after August so be aware of that when you make plans with your starters and innings.

These guys all make up the future aces of fantasy baseball and in the cases of Pineda and Beachy, will find themselves as early round draft picks next season.  As always there is the threat of a bounce the next season due to the innings jump but overall they all profile as huge starting options going forward.  They are all on schedule with this.


Rehabbing New York Mets 3B David Wright was cleared for full baseball activities as he gets closer to returning to the lineup.  Wright has been out for a month and a half with a back fracture and its likely he can return in about two weeks. 

Analysis:  This is good news as Wright is really missed by his fantasy baseball owners.  Wright was struggling before he got hurut but clearly the back was some of the reasons for it.  Gets ready to get him back out there.


So in one of my fantasy baseball money leagues, I have the fortune of both Dustin Pedroia and Ian Kinsler for second base.  I began the season with Kinsler but was blown away with a trade offer that included Pedroia and so I pounced.  Since I was more of a Pedroia fan going into the season, I felt I had a big time trade chip in Kinsler as a guy who already had 8 homers with 15 steals on the season.  Yes he had a poor batting average but surely those in my leagues would realize how great a value he is just a few years past a 30/30 season.  This was two weeks ago when Pedroia first arrived on my team and during that time, no sooner did all of my trade offers including Kinsler were rejected.  Now do realize that it got to the point where I was offering Kinsler straight up for a closer which was my desperation to replace the closers I had traded along the way.  Well those offers were rejected too which was astounding to me.  And let this be a lesson for all of you:  if someone offers you a big time fantasy baseball bat like an Ian Kinsler for only a measly  closer, YOU DO IT!  I don't care if its your last closer you do it.  Closers reveal themselves all season along and someone with Kinsler's ability is a must add. 

This brings me to my second point.  Why is it I cant find a bite for Kinsler?  Doesn't anyone want someone who plays a historically shallow fantasy baseball position like second base who can hit home runs and steal bases?  Also he hits at the top of an explosive lineup which ensures big time runs totals.  I don't get it.  When looking at it a little closer, I soon realized though that Kinsler's mediocre average has much to do with it.  I have said this before and I will say it again, fantasy baseball owners concentrate more on batting average than just about any stat in the game.  The batting average is a black and white stat that screams out attention every single day while steals or homers don't get swayed as often and can go unnoticed for a bit.  A hitter's average thus is thus looked like closely since its easy to see just how good or bad a player is going.  No doubt these naive owners don't take into account bad luck with the BABIP or other advanced stats.  This is infuriating to me and is beyond silly.  I cant give Ian Kinsler away because he is hitting .240.  Despite being on pace for 20 homers and 30 steals.  Just stupid. 

So that was my rant for the day.  Thank you for listening and be sure to do the right thing when a chance like getting Kinsler for a song comes around.  You will be better for it.


So this guy named Chris Heisey for the Reds hit not one, not two, but three freakin' home runs in game 2 of the team's doubleheader against the Yankees.  That brings him to 8 homers on the season in a campaign that not needed veteran fantasy player are aware of.  Yeah you can pick him up in deep leagues but don't go nutty here despite the nutty game.

Jorge Posada:  1/2 with his 7th HR while hitting .226 in game 1.  Its been a lost season for the ancient one and really he is not a fantasy baseball option in anything but two catcher leagues. 

Freddy Garcia:  7 IP 3 H 0 ER 1 BB 4 K with an ERA of 3.30.  Choosing to start to Freddy Garcia is the fantasy baseball version of Russian Roulette. 

Nick Swisher:  1/3 with his 8th HR while hitting .235.  Yeah Swisher is on his way back after I told you to pick him up.  Do what I tell you!

Jose Bautista:  1/3 with his 22nd HR while hitting .325.  Top pick next year off Albert's busted season?  Just wondering out loud. 

Brian McCann:  2/4 with his 13th HR while hitting .305.  One position where we already know the top pick next season is catcher with McCann being the top dog which he should have been this season. 

Dan Uggla:  1/4 with his 10th HR while hitting .177.  Uggla closed his eyes and swung.  That's pretty much the only way he is getting hits now.

Brandon Beachy:  6 IP 4 H 1 ER 2 BB 11 K with an ERA of 3.22.  I almost didn't start Beachy as I am usually leery of throwing young guys back out there off an injury.  I put him in there anyway and thus saved myself a raging ulcer. 

David Price:  8 IP 5 H 2 ER 1 BB 10 K with an ERA of 3.51.  His ERA is where it should be since he got lucky with the BABIP last season but all in all he has been the true ace we all envisioned. 

Miguel Cabrea:  2/3 with his 15th HR while hitting .327.  Cabrera is rampaging like usual despite me complaining about his production.  Silly impatient fantasy baseball owner.  It happens to all of us. 

Magglio Ordonez:  1/3 with his 2nd HR while hitting .176.  DONE!

Ted Lilly:  6 ER in 4.2 IP with an ERA of 4.63.  I imagine most Lilly owners have motion sickness from this human roller coaster.

Ty Wigginton:  2/4 with 2 home runs (9 for season) while hitting .266.  I don't think there has been a more mediocre fantasy baseball hitter over the last ten years that continually finds his way onto rosters than Wiggy. 

Erik Bedard:  6 IP 3 H 0 ER 2 BB 10 K with an ERA of 2.93.  I said early on that Bedard's issues are not stuff related.  Hence the ace numbers.

Ryan Vogelsong:  7 IP 4 H 1 ER 1 BB 3 K with an ERA of 1.86.  I haven't mentioned him much since I keep expecting the wheels to come off but his mechanics have been top notch as he continues to cruise.  You have the green light to drive this corvette until he goes through a stop sign and wrecks your ERA.

Bobby Abreu:  2/4 with his third HR and 11th SB while hitting .292.  The fade is in full bloom but those in five outfielder formats surely can do worse. 

Gio Gonzalez:  7 IP 4 H 1 ER 1 BB 8 K with an ERA of 2.59.  Gonzalez has been among the toughest pitchers to hit this season but those damn walks.  They weren't an issue here but they surely will rear their ugly head real soon.

Nelson Cruz:  2/4 with his 17th HR while hitting .241.  Yeah scroll down and see the Nelson Cruz Buy Low post I put up.  Enough said.

Neftali Feliz:  4 ER in .2 IP in blowing his fourth save.  So that plan to try and convert Feliz into a starter in the spring is not looking so good right now.  Just ask Joba how that ends up as far as your arm is concerned.

Carlos Pena:  1/5 with his 14th HR while hitting .220.  When you see Pena has hit a home run, you don't even have to look at the boxscore to see that it was his only hit of the game.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011


New York Mets 1B Ike Davis could be in line for season ending ankle surgery as there still is very little imrpovement in the injured area.  Davis has been on the DL for a month and a half with the ankle injury which he first hurt in a collision with 3B David Wright.  The New York Post reported that a decision will come soon as to whether or not he will undergo the surgery which will finish his 2011 campaign.

Analysis:  Just awful new for Davis and his fantasy baseball owners who continue to wait for him to come back.  Right now it looks like that surgery will be needed and so his promising season will come to an abrupt halt. 


Los Angeles Dodgers closer Jonathan Broxton will get his closer job back eventually according to manager Don Mattingly.  Broxton is currently rehabbing an elbow injury and his velocity reportedly is back to his old levels.  He will likely pitch in a setup role his first few times back but than be moved back to the ninth.

Analysis:  This is an easy call as no one in the Dodger bullpen stepped up and ran with the job in his place.  He was pitching poorly when he was healthy so he is anything but a sure thing when he returns.


Milwaukee Brewers SP Shaun Marcum was forced from his start on Wednesday with a recurrence of his hip flexor injury.  Marcum had hurt the hip in his last start but a follow up MRI revealed no damage and thus he was able to make the Wednesday start.  He will be reevaluated tomorrow.

Analysis:  Get ready for Marcum to hit the DL as obviously the ailment wasnt better.  This what you get with Marcum who pitches great when he is out there but deals with injuries every season.


Trending Up

Danny Espinosa:  Espinosa continues to pummel the baseball in June and his power/speed combo is putting him very close to the upper echelon of fantasy baseball second baseman.  Yes the average is low but the rest of the numbers are so impressive that it has to be overlooked.

Mark Reynolds:  Love him or hate him, Reynolds surely has the knack for hitting home runs.  In an era where the dinger is becoming extinct, Reynolds has a place on a fantasy baseaball roster.  He can carry a club when he goes on a tear like he is currently but the hideous average has to be covered by your other players if you bring him onto your squad.

Paul Konerko:  Konerko is just ridiculous right now as he has homered almost everday while hitting well over .300.  Its amazing what he is doing at his age and once again he is among the biggest values in the game.

Trending Down

Hanley Ramirez:  First the guy cant hit a beach ball to start the season and than he gets hurt.  Upon being activated from the DL, he ticks off new manager Jack McKeon and gets benched.  Its been as big of a disaster as you can get relative to draft spot and so Ramirez has a lot of work to do before he even brings a fraction of the value he was expected to provide.

Ian Kinsler:  As great a start as Kinsler had, he has struggled mightily on May and now well into June.  The power/speed combo is actually pretty good but his average is a liability.  Once again the guy drives you crazy.

Grady Sizemore:  Sizemore was on a nice homer run when he first came off the DL but his speed is non-existent and his average has now plummeted.  Seems like the Sizemore from last season.

Early Report Card On Minor League Call-Ups

So call up season is prety much finished for this season until September.  Most or all of the big time hyped prospects have made their way to the majors and in turn fantasy baseball rosters.  Some have already started providing numbers for their owners while others have gone kaput.  With that in mind, lets take a look at some of their early work and determine who is worth holding onto.  As always its boom or bust with these guys.

Brandon Belt:  Belt has been up twice with the Giants so far and both times have been big disappointments.  Belt couldnt hit his first time around and his second time around he got hurt.  This is one of the better hitting prospects in the minors who will undoubtedly be a force in due time but its looking like 2011 wont be anything to talk about. 

Mike Moustakas:  Moustakas hasnt been up lomg but so far he has one homer and an all right average.  Moustakas is one to keep around due to the dearth of fantasy baseball third baseman this season and his power is something that we all could use.

Eric Hosmer:  Hosmer was one of the first call ups this season and his advanced hitting approach was lauded.  He has shown that off so far in his first few months in the league as his average is solid and he has contributed across the board.  He is a sure fire UTIL or CI option in fantasy baseball leagues and in a few years he could be a Joey Votto clone.

Jermeil Weeks:  Weeks is up to three steals on the seaason while hitting well over .300 for the A's out of the leadoff spot.  He has the ability to be a nice base stealer and runs source but the power wont show for awhile.  He is not anything near his brother yet.

Anthony Rizzo:  Rizzo has struggled since his promotion with a very low average and only one home run and his ballpark is not going to be a help for sure.  He really only has usage in the deepest of formats due to the fact he plays the very deep 1B spot.

Dustin Ackley:  Ackley already looks right at home in Seattle and his very good approach at the plate will allow him to hit around .300.  The power and speed could be sporadic and I feel Ackley will be Chris Coghlan clone at this point.  Another guy who is only for deep leaguers. 

In a few years, some of these guys will be first and second round picks.  They can surely help this season as well but be sure not to rely on them too much.  Every once in awhile you can catch lightning in a bottle which I cant see from any of these guys.  However it wont stop us from running to the wire to pick them up in the hopes of uncovering the next stud hitter.


JJ Hardy:  2/5 with his 9th HR while hitting .303.  Most valuable shortstop outside of Tulo and Reyes?  Dont laugh.

Adam Jones:  1/3 with his 11th HR while hitting .297.  Jones is finally living up to all the hype but no one seems to care.  This is the part of fantasy baseball that always puzzles me.  You get big time hyped guys like Jones who everyone has to have and than he falls on his face and we swear off him forever.  When he finally does come around, we yawn and pick up Dustin Ackley.  On and on it goes.

Seth Smith:  3/4 with 2 home runs (8 for season) while hitting .313.  Smith seems to erupt once a month and than goes back into hiding.  That my friends is a deeper format stock.

Jason Bay:  3/3 with his 3rd HR while hitting .236.  Yes that was Bay who actually did something positive on the baseball field.  You dont need to hae your eyes checked.

Dillon Gee:  4 IP 3 H 4 ER 6 BB 1 K with an ERA of 3.21.  Well the trap was set and the bomb went off for those who went out and picked him up after his last start.  Yes that means you and you and you over there in the corner. 

Brian McCann:  2/3 with his 12th HR while hitting .301.  McCann just keeps chugging along with little fanfare.  Somehere Mr. Pence is saying "Yup."

Mike Minor:  7 IP 5 H 1 ER 1 BB 8 K with an ERA of 4.59.  I really like Minor's arm but just look up Gee, Dillon above for why I fear the guy also.

Gaby Sanchez:  1/4 with his 13th HR while hitting .304.  Yes Sanchez will make the All-I-Missed-On-This-Guy-This-Past-Spring-Team.

Alex Gordon:  3/4 with his 9th HR while hitting .287.  Thats two home runs since I cut Gordon in one league and traded him in a package for the quiet Jose Bautista in the last week.  Commence banging head against the wall.

Chris Young:  1/5 with his 15th HR while hitting .253.  I clicked into Young's stats and was impressed by what I discovered.  I wasnt paying as much attention as I should have since I have never been a big fan due to the average bit credit needs to be given.  Good stuff.

Willie Mo Pena:  1/4 with his first HR while hitting .250.  The new suck average/power hitter special promotion.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011


The Boston Red Sox are humming along after a rough start to the season but they are being challenged lately by injuries that have taken out parts of their roster.  SP Clay Buchholz has a bad back, Carl Crawford landed on the DL with a bum hamstring, and Jed Lowrie hit the infirmary with a left shoulder injury.  Enter the replacements.  Long forgotten Marco Scutaro gets to play out the final year of his contract at shrotstop in Lowrie's place, while Tim Wakefield goes back into the rotation in place of Buchholz if he does in fact need to miss time.  As always, in deeper formats you make the move and ask questions later.  Give Scutaro a try if need be and Wakefield only in the right matchup.  Anyway here are some of the other names to look at in the lastest Fantasy Baseball Deep Looks.

Tsyhoshi Nishioka:  Nishioka has been activated from the DL and is eligible at both shortstop and second base.  You wont get much in the way of power but some help in steals and runs are likely.



First we started with the QB's and today we move onto the first look at the 2011 Fantasy Football running back rankings.  Here is where they stand with a great deal of time to go before the season starts.

1.  Chris Johnson
2.  Adrian Peterson
3.  Arian Foster
4.  Maurice Jones-Drew
5.  Ray Rice
6.  Jamaal Charles
7.  LeSean McCoy
8.  Michael Turner
9.  Frank Gore
10. Darren McFadden
11. Rashard Mendenhall
12. Ahmad Bradshaw
13. Peyton Hillis
15. Steven Jackson
15. Knowshon Moreno
16. Ryan Grant
17. Matt Forte
18. DeAngelo Williams
19. Jahvid Best
20. Ryan Matthews
21. Fred Jackson
22. Cedric Benson
23. Ben-Jarvis Green-Ellis
24. Felix Jones
25. Jonathan Stewart

-Chris Johnson gets the nod again at the top spot as he is the most complete fantasy football back in the game.  He is equally excellent at running and catching the ball and plays well in both TD heavy and PPR formats.  I gave consderation to both Adrian Peterson and Arian Foster but Peterson doesnt catch as many passes as Johnson and Foster needs to do it again to earn the top spot.  All three are big time options who will likely lead all players in scoring. 
-Ray Rice is doubly intruging this season due to the fact that Willis McGahee is likely not to be back with the team.  That means Rice will get the full load of carries and likely goal line chances.  He was already a top five pick last season with McGahee around and with him out of the way, he deserves to be back there again.
-Jamaal Charles was huge for me last season and helped me win my league but the presence of Thomas Jones once agian calls into question his TD numbers.  He is much more valuable in PPR as a result but based on pure running, he is right up there with Chris Johnson as a true game breaker who can score on any touch.
-LeSean McCoy is a huge PPR weapon with the best pass catching numbers for a top running back.  His TD's are an issue as well just like with Charles.  Drop him behind Michael Turner in TD formats.
-Steven Jackson is getting a bit up there and he could hit that cliff season soon.  He hasnt been a big TD scorer going on a few seasons now and his pass catching always been a bit of a letdown after some big early career outputs.  Leave him for someone else to worry about.
-Frank Gore was on his way to a fantasy football MVP season before get was lost with injury.  He is a decent injury risk but the top level of play could win you a title at a nice discount. 
-Ryan Matthews stiil has Mike Tolbert to steal TD's on the goal line and he was not overly impressive running the ball when he got the chance as a rookie.  He is better than what he showed last season but I would suggest avoiding this potential playing time headache again.
-Jahvid Best struggled badly running the ball as well as a rookie last season and he is strictly for PPR usage this season.  He is also prone to injury so you have been warned.
-Once again I will praise the potential of Knowshon Moreno for Denver.  When he finally got on the field last season, he performed like a top back.  He can catch the ball and run with authority so the tools are there for a huhe campaign if he can stay on the field.  This is one of those boom or bust options that will test your risk taking.
-Be sure not to forget about Ryan Grant who missed all of last seaoson with injury.  He is completely healthy and ready to resume his role as the top back on the Packers.  The price will be cheap and so take advanatge.
-Rashard Mendenhall is a bull of a runner who wont catch many passes.  He is very similar to Turner so draft according to the settings your league decided to have.

Thats how I see it.  Lets hear what you have to say about this.


Its been an unusually quiet week in the realms of closers in fantasy baseball but there are still some tidbits and news to get to.  Lets take a quick look around the league at the ninth inning issues.

-Dodgers closer Jonathan Broxton continues to pitch in rehab games as he gets closer to returning to the team.  Right now its a big mess as far as who is currently the team's closer right now.  In other words Broxton figures to get the job back right away upon activation.  As bad as he struggled before going on the DL, Broxton has actually been better than almost everyone else the team has tried in his place.  If somehow Broxton is sitting on your league's free agent wire, pick him up.

-Joakim Soria has settled in nicely now that he is back in his ninth inning role.  He has been perfect since his exile a few weeks back and so Aaron Crow we hardly knew ya.

-It sure does look like Frank Francisco is back for better or worse as the Blue Jays' closer.  Jon Rauch had a rough week while Francisco converted both of his ninth inning save chances.  Here we go again with Frankie.  It wont be a smooth ride as we have seen this season.

-Strange situation in Atlanta as Jonny Venters looked to be on the verge of getting the closer's job from the struggling Craig Kimbrel until he threw in a clunker in a setup appearance a few days ago.  The next save chance will be telling here but right now this is looking like an annoying time share situation.

-Trade season is just around the corner and that means more ninth inning chaos as closers get traded to other teams to close for them or become setup men. That means the job they leave goes to a newbie and hence another chance to add saves reveals itself.  With that said, some guys who could be on the move are Matt Capps, JJ Putz, Francisco Rodriguez. Kevin Gregg, and of course Heath Bell.  Keep an eye on all of these situations and get ready to add their replacements.

That's all for now.  As always check back often for the latest closer news as it occurs.

Monday, June 20, 2011


By now the news is in and its not good concerning St. Louis Cardinals slugging 1B Albert Pujols.  After first saying that he had only suffered a sprained wrist in a first base collision during Sunday's game, it was soon learned that Pujols had suffered a break that according to the team will keep him out from 4-6 weeks.  Some are accusing the Cards already of downplaying the injury and believe he will be out even longer but for now we have to go with the notion that he will be out for more than a month.  So with that said, the arduous process begins for Pujols fantasy baseball owners to somehow hey by without the best player in the game.  As always with big injuries, we take a look at some guys who might be available on the free agent wire who could be a help to try and buffer his absence until he gets back.  Lets take a peek.

Adam Dunn:  Dunn has actually been cut in more than a few leagues due to his horrible start but he has started coming around a bit in the last few weeks.  The power is as good as it gets in baseball and if he does got hot, it could hopefully take you close enough to when Pujols returns.  Even if he is not available on the free agent wire, I am sure you can easily pull a trade off for him since his owners will want to get rid of him for something at least.

Mike Morse:  This guy is still more available than he should be as he has turned into Adam Lind lite the last month plus.  He has dual eligibility at first base and the outfield and so I wouldn't hesitate in the least to pick him up.

Mark Trumbo:  After a big start to the season, Trumbo has slumped badly in June.  He does have top end power and some speed as well so again we are just talking about keeping the seat warm for a month.  Power is power as they say.

Carlos Pena:  Power is the name of the game here as well as Pena can go yard at a rate similar to Pujols.  The average of course is awful but you cant be choosy here.  Just hope Pena hits a hot spell going forward and you win.

Mitch Moreland:  Moreland has been pretty decent for the Rangers.  He still doesn't hit lefties and sits most of the time when they are on the hill but Moreland has the pop needed to sit in Pujols' spot.

Justin Smoak:  Smoak has made great strides in his second season in the majors.  His home rate has been very solid and up until recently, his average was also.  Yes his ballpark stinks but the raw power will still allow him to post decent home run and RBI numbers.  I would pick him over all the others on this list.

So there is no way to really replace Pujols in your lineup.  His absence is just too huge to get by on.  However these guys can help keep you afloat somewhat until he gets back, specifically in the power department.  Stop with the mourning and move on as there is still season to be played.


The Florida Marlins have benched shortstop Hanley Ramirez for Monday's game due to the view of new manager Jack McKeon that he wasnt running with effort in pregame.  This is just the latest chapter in the petulant attitude of Ramirez who has been awful at the plate this season along with his behavior issues. 

Analysis:  Ramirez has missed so much time with injuries and bad behavior lately that you need a caddy shortstop on your roster if you are an owner.  Its looking more and more like a change of scenery is needed here and Ramirez is also looking like he will never achieve his potential due to his terrible attitude. 


Going into the 2011 fantasy baseball season, I was zoned in on Texas Rangers outfielder Nelson Cruz who annually is one guy I always seemed to own on my teams every season.  The reason for this is the tantalizing combination of awesome power and decent speed that have always hinted at big time numbers.  The caveat of course was health and in that department, Cruz had always been a bit of a liability due to his annual stints on the DL.  Cruz spent three separate stints on the DL last season, all for hamstring issues and so the hope was that he would be able to finally kick the injury bug and give the 40 homer/20 steal stat line he always seems capable of doing.  Be that as it may, I am here to tell you why Cruz makes for a very good BUY LOW candidate for you to try and get a hold of for the rest of the season.

Looking at Cruz' 2011 season so far, it has been mostly a letdown as Cruz has spent a stint on the DL with more leg problems and he has also seen his batting average drop to .225.  Cruz has seen a spike in his strikeout rate which was never great to begin with.  He is whiffing at over a 30 percent clip which is way too high and is  the main  reason for  his terrible average.  On top of the issue with strikeouts, Cruz has also dealt with some bad luck with a .234 BABIP which is quite below the league average of .300.  Hits  are not falling in  for him so far this season  and so that number will  start to turn soon enough.  His average will than rise as a result and his  overall numbers will improve with it.

As far as the rest of  Cruz' game is concerned, the home runs have been solid as usual with 15 along with 37 RBI.  Hitting in the Texas ballpark and anchored in sixth spot in the order, the power and RBI's will continue to present themselves all season.  Cruz' fly ball and home run rates are all in line with what he did  last season and so a run  at 35 is entirely possible if he stays on the field.  Unfortunately the steals have been lagging with only 3 so far so the most we  can expect will be around 15 and even that is asking a bit much as far as his current pace is concerned. 

All in all, Nelson Cruz has the  look of a guy who will turn a nice profit from now until the season's completion.  His average will rise, his power will continue being above average, and the steals could inch up as well.  That's a nice stat haul at a price that wont be nearly as steep as what it was on draft day.  Make the offer to the Cruz owner in your league  and you might be surprised just how cheap he might come.  He is well worth whatever you have to give up to grab his powerful bat.


Ouch.  After it seemed like Cardinals 1B Albert Pujols had avoided the worst when he was diagnosed with a fractures forearm after a collison at first base during Sunday's game.  Further tests revealed a fracture in his wrist and so the number 1 player in fantasy baseball will be on the shelf for awhile.

Analysis:  As big an injury as you can get since Pujols is the top dog in fantasy baseball.  Luckily he plays the very deep first base position and so the replacements would be better than at any other position.  Still this hurts bad.


So Albert Pujols avoided disaster which obviously was the big news of the day.  In our sick world of competitive fantasy baseball, I guarantee many of you hoped he would be out for the season with a broken wrist in that it would have severely crippled someone in your league.  So with that out of the way, lets see what else took place in fantasy baseball on Sunday.  Pitching dominated the day but that is par for the course.  If Rory McIllroye placed fantasy baseball, it would havae been a birdie for the course.

Carlos Santana:  2/3 with his 9th HR while hitting .228.  Yeah Santana has been miserable this season but he still has 9 home runs and there is plenty of time for him to turn in a solid campaign.  The amount of rope given to catchers as far as hitting is concerned is much mroe than at any other spot on the field and Santana is looking good lately.  Stay the course with this talent.

Shin-Soo Choo:  3/5 with his 11th SB while hitting .244.  Choo is also showing signs of life lately and he isrunning much more aggressively lately.  I just cant see him being this bad for the rest of the season and so a big second half could be in store.

Aaron Hill:  1/4 with his third HR while hitting .245.  Hill is annoying as Hell to own with his miserable average and choice to become a stolen base one week and a home run hitter the next.  There is much more depth in second base than in seasons past so dont waste your time here if someone like a Danny Espinosa is another option you can add.

Vernon Wells:  2/4 with his 7th HR while hitting .202.  Wells is hitting since coming off the DL and in deeper formats, I would try to take advantage of his hot stretch while it lasts.  You know until the next injury slaps him back on the DL.

Craig Kimbrel:  scoreless ninth for his 19th save.  Jonny Venters it was nice knowing you as a closer.  Check back with you when the next Kimbrel rough patch hits. 

Prince Fielder:  1/3 with his 20th HR while hitting .301.  To think I compared him closely with Ryan Howard in the spring.  With all that dough out there to be earned, I should have been better with that comparison.

Dustin Pedroia:  3/4 with his 6th HR while hitting .269.  Pedroia is coming along and getting closer to his usual .300 mark.  He hasnt been physically right in awhile now but he still is a top three guy.

Kevin Youkilis:  1/4 with his 11th HR while hitting .261.  In a year where third base has been ravaged by injury, Youkilis has been stellar.  Another benefit to Adrian Gonzalez hooking up with Boston.

Yovani Gallardo:  3 IP 9 H 5 ER 2 BB 4 K with an ERA of 4.11 Now you all know why I am so hard on Gallardo.

JJ Hardy:  2/4 with his 8th HR while hitting .293.  Imagine someone telling you in the spring that JJ Hardy would outproduce Hanley Ramirez by a mile.  Yup the end of times are coming quick.

Mark Reynolds:  3/4 with his 13th HR while hitting .217.  I never understand why fantasy baseball owners subject themselves to the average destruction that Reynolds provides just for the home runs.  People the positves from the bombs are negated by the .200 average.  Your smarter than this.

Roger Bernadina:  3/4 with his 4th HR while hitting .281.  Yup it was me who told you to pick the guy up the day he was promoted.  Go back and check.  Thats now 4 homers with 10 steals and useful average.

Danny Espinosa:  2/4 with his 13th HR while hitting .237.  Its amazing to me that people are still throwing out useless Dan Uggla in your lineups while someone like this guy sits on the wire.  I picked him up and benched Brandon Phillips and at this point I dont see the latter coming off the pine anytime soon. 

James Shields:  9 IP 4 H 0 ER 0 BB 10 K with an ERA of 2.40.  Shields is making everyone look silly for not drafting him or even for not picking him up when he came out of the gates strong.  That includes me. 

Albert Pujols:  3/3 with his 17th HR while hitting .279.  Just a wrist sprain.  Exhale Pujols owners. 

Daniel Duffy:  3.2 IP 6 H 2 ER 1 BB 9 K with an ERA of 5.03.  What???  Ummm....WHAT??? 

Fernando Salas:  second blown save with 1 ER in ninth but got the win.  Watch this closely as Salas has been pretty bad lately.

Brennan Boesch:  3/4 with his 10th HR while hitting .295.  He is doing his first half thing again but owners are not getting on board for some reason.  It oculd be due to the tank job in last season's second half but he was a rookie.  Give the kid a break. 

Miguel Cabrera:  2/4 with his 14th HR while hitting .328.  I still have the feeling that Cabrera is not having a great season and than I look down as see .328 with the 14 bombs.  You know what I mean Joey Votto owners?

Justin Verlander:  9 IP 4 H 1 ER 0 BB 5 K with an ERA of 2.54.  I am an %&*%* for trading the guy.  We all make mistakes including myself.  Let the self flogging begin and not end until Verlander hoists the Cy Young award. 

Paul Konerko:  1/3 with his 19th HR while hitting .327.  Konerko must have a Jose Bautista poster on his wall at home.

Alex Rios:  1/4 with his 6th HR while hitting .209.  Still trying to crawl out of the average ditch he dug me in one of my fantasy baseball money league teams.  He is sitting on the free agent wire now thank you very much.  Good riddance.

Jason Vargas:  9 IP 3 H 0 ER 2 BB 6 K with an ERA of 3.75.  Vargas has been pretty good the last year or so.  Start him at home only though.