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Friday, May 31, 2013

FANTASY BASEBALL STATUS REPORT: DOMONIC BROWN OUTFIELDER PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES

The post-hype sleeper strikes again!!!!  Those who are long time readers of yours truly know that one of my most preached fantasy baseball commandments when it comes to drafting hitters is to always take advantage of the discounted rate that post-hype sleepers present.  In almost all of these cases, a red hot sleeper who everyone just had to have one season falls flat on their face and than the following year sees their draft stock plummet as those same owners who killed each other in trying to get their hands on him, in turn swear off his name forever so as not to get burned again.  Thus a potential big time value could be at hand as eventually the talent rises to the surface and that one time hyped prospect makes good on his potential.  Recent examples of this are Matt Wieters, Adam Jones, Alex Gordon, Homer Bailey, and Matt Moore.  And now joining that prestigious group is the Philadelphia Phillies' Domonic Brown who has been one of the biggest bustout stories of the season as he enters Friday night's games with 13 home runs and 3 stolen bases while hitting .267.  After being a much-hyped prospect in coming up the Phillies system, Brown stumbled badly in his first three cracks at being an everyday player for the team, as a massive K rate and underwhelming home runs/stolen base production which was a shock given how athletically gifted he was.  Thus the 2013 season was seen as the last chance for Brown to carve an everyday role for himself on the team and he seemed to realize the gravity of the situation in spring training when he was one of the more productive players in the Grapefruit and Cactus Leagues with a bunch of home runs as he showed off power he had never portrayed before. 

However despite the big spring, Brown once again failed to carry his production into games that count as he got off to a very shaky April when he hit only .233 with 3 home runs and 0 steals.  The terms "Quad-A Player" began to circulate around Brown as his high K rate showed no signs of getting any better.  Once the calendar flipped to May however, the proverbial light bulb went off for Brown who began to spray baseballs all over the field and eventually over the outfield walls.  Brown would go on to be one of the most productive players in all of baseball in May as he slammed 10 big home runs with 21 RBI while stealing 3 bases and hitting .295.  Brown thus has the look of a guy who finally figured things out at the major league level and there is a great bit of excitement about where he could be going from this point on.

Looking a bit deeper into Brown's stats, there is still some cause for concern however.  For one, Brown is still striking out at a very high level, with only modest improvement from April to May.  Also Brown is still showing a severe lack of patience at the plate with an unbelievable ZERO walks for May despite all the home runs.  It is amazing that Brown got as many pitches to hit as he did but rest assured that opposing starters will be seeing that doughnut in the walk column and in turn become more stingy in their deliveries to him.  Also, Brown's .295 average in May was blown up by a very generous BABIP that will regress before too long, bringing that number down with it.  So when you put things all together, Brown's rampaging May is not as good as it appears. 

So in essence even though Brown has shown some clear improvement in his overall batting line, the luck with his BABIP and poor plate discipline is just as likely to throw him into a month-long tailspin as well.  If you are a Brown owner, you might want to SELL HIGH before the numbers begin to correct themselves.  Again you always want to stay ahead of the advanced statistics curve and in the case of Brown, a wrong turn is on its way soon.


FANTASY BASEBALL BREAKING NEWS: BLUE JAYS SS JOSE REYES (ANKLE) A WEEK AWAY FROM REHAB ASSIGNMENT

                                                                          

Toronto Blue Jays SS Jose Reyes is about a week away from beginning a rehab assignment from the severely sprained ankle that had landed him on the DL only a weeks into the 2013 season.  Reyes is already running the bases at full speed and pronounced himself as feeling "great." 

Analysis:  Great news for Reyes and his fantasy baseball owners who have dealt with a sizable hole in their lineups without him.  The story remains the same for Reyes in that he can perform like a first round pick when healthy but health has been in short supply throughout his career with some major injuries under his belt.  Of course those like yours truly who picked up Jean Segura a a Reyes replacement now have a major trading piece at their disposal to take advantage of to improve another spot on your roster.


Thursday, May 30, 2013

FANTASY BASEBALL BREAKING NEWS: DODGERS TO HOLD OFF ON PROMOTING JOC PEDERSON

Updating an earlier item, the Los Angeles Dodgers will hold off initially on calling up super outfield prospect Joc Pederson from Double-A to take the placed of the injured Matt Kemp.  While manager Don Mattingly openly begged for Pederson or Yasiel Puig to be promoted, Tony Gwynn Jr. will most likely be summoned from Triple-A instead.

Analysis:  Ridiculous.  It likely comes down to the fact June 1st doesn't officially arrive until Saturday which would delay the whole arbitration clock a year.  Pederson has been insane in the minors this season and would be an instant impact player when he does get the call.

FANTASY BASEBALL WRAPUP: THURSDAY

Mitch Moreland:  1/4 with his 11th HR while hitting .286.  When you have raw power like Moreland does, you have a placed in every fantasy baseball league.  While his average has been more than sketchy in the past, he is staying afloat in the "good" territory at .286.

Travis Wood:  2 ER in 6 IP with an ERA of 2.75.  Nice rebound by Wood who worried his owners off his shelling in his last start.  Part of the ability to have staying power int he midst of a breakout season is to not put back-to-back ugly outings together and on that note, Wood continues to impress.

Nick Franklin:  2/4 with 2 home runs (2 for season) while hitting .250.  The biggest question mark on whether or not Franklin will be Dustin Ackley or something much more will be determined by his power.  A few days into his career Franklin is off to a nice start.  Obviously we need to see a whole lot more.

Kendrys Morales:  2/4 with his 7th HR while hitting .298.  It took a little longer than I thought it would but Morales is once again rewarding my blind loyalty to him with a recent power surge and his average approaching .300.  Pick him up immediately if he is sitting on the wire as he could hit 20 home runs the rest of the way.

Felix Hernandez:  8 IP 3 H 1 ER 3 BB 6 K with an ERA of 2.38.  Hernandez is just as good as Clayton Kershaw and Justin Verlander yet nobody ever mentions him  with that duo.  West Coast screen at its best.

Jacoby Ellsbury:  3/4 with 5!!!!! steals (21  for season) while hitting .268.  The average is down and the home runs are stuck on one as Ellsbury's 2011 32 homer season falls right in line with some of the bigger outlier seasons of recent memory.  Be that as it may we have always paid heavily for Ellsbury's steals and in that regard he has been tremendous.

David Ortiz:  1/2 with his 9th HR while hitting .336.  No slowing this big guy down as Ryan Howard sits by with a jealous look on his face from the other dugout.

Freddy Garia:  8 IP 3 H 0 ER 0 BB 6 K with an ERA of 3.57.  Don't even think about it.

Dillon Gee:  7.1 IP 4 H 1 ER 0 BB 12 K with an ERA of 5.68.  Whoah!  Gee emphatically told the Mets front office to "shove it" after talk surfaced he would be removed from the rotation.  The only actionable move is in NL-only formats but still props for where it is deserved.

Robinson Cano:  2/4 with his 14th HR while hitting .296.  Cano likely felt like he was playing by himself as the Yanks get swept in embarrassing fashion by the Mets.

Homer Bailey:  7 ER in 3.2 IP with an ERA of 3.84.  Call this the Homer Bailey 2008-2011 Special.

Freddie Freeman:  2/5 with his fourth HR while hitting .312.  If anyone dropped Freeman in your league, do yourself a favor and pick him up.  The potential is oozing out of his bat and despite the slow start that can be pinned on the early DL stint, Freeman is a capable 25-30 home run rate bat.

Mike Minor:  7 IP 6 H 2 ER 0 BB 5 K with an ERA of 2.48.  The only thing I got wrong possibly with Minor who NO ONE championed more than I did this past winter was not picking him for the Darkhorse Cy Young this season. 

Matt Joyce:  1/4 with his 9th HR while hitting .264.  Only one more month until everyone can cut Joyce who gets all panicky when the All Star Break arrives.

Carlos Gonzalez:  2/3 with 3 stolen bases (12 for season) while hitting .309.  CarGo is leaving no stone unturned in trying to push himself into the Ryan Braun-Mike Trout conversation.  Well to be a bit more accurate. you can say that Gonzalez has actually outproduced both.  30/30 anyone?  Yup.

Michael Wacha:  7 IP 2 H 1 ER 0 BB 6 K with a 1.29 ERA.  Spectacular debut for Wacha who got a nice boost when Billy Butler sat this one out.  He lived up to his profile in showing very solid control to go with a ground-ball heavy approach with some K's thrown in.  Think Adam Wainwright 2.0 and so Wacha needs to be added if he hasn't already.


FANTASY BASEBALL BREAKING NEWS: RED SOX' JACOBY ELLSBURY STEALS FIVE BASES THURSDAY

Boston Red Sox outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury stole five bases during Thursday's victory over the Philadelphia Phillies.  Ellsbury was the first player to swipe 5 bags since Carl Crawford in 2009.  He now leads the majors with 21.

Analysis:  The 32 home runs Ellsbury hit in 2011 are now looking like they are a clear outlier given that he has only 1 this season but at least he is rampaging on the bases again which he stopped doing the second half of that campaign.  As long as you grade him on what he currently is and not what he did in the past, than Ellsbury won't disappoint you.



FANTASY BASEBALL BREAKING NEWS: DODGERS PLAEC MATT KEMP ON 15-DAY DL WITH STRAINED HAMSTRING

The Los Angeles Dodgers as expected placed outfielder Matt Kemp on the 15-day DL Thursday with a strained right hamstring.  Kemp first injured the hamstring during Wednesday night's game and even though the team said it was "mild", there was no avoiding the DL.

Analysis:  No promotion yet of Joc Pederson as of this writing which is what everyone is waiting for at this point.  As far as Kemp is concerned, 2013 has been another frustraing season for the former first round pick who has seen his power vanish off shoulder surgery and now will likely see his steals impacted due to his third hamstring injury in two seasons. 

FANTASY BREAKING NEWS: MARLINS OUTFIELDER GIANCARLO STANTON SUFFERS SETBACK IN REHAB WITH SORE KNEES

                                                                         

Miami Marlins outfielder Giancarlo Stanton suffered somewhat of a setback in his rehab from a hamstring injury due to a bout of sore knees. Stanton has been forced to back off his rehab as a result and thus has increased the amount of time he will remain out. 

Analysis:  Unreal.  It has been an abomination of a season for Stanton and his fantasy baseball owners as the lack of protection in the awful Marlins lineup failed to get him any pitches to hit and now he is injured.  Just goes to show you how having no support at all in a lineup can bring down even the most talented hitters.


FANTASY BASEBALL BREAKING NEWS: METS SP JONATHAN NIESE TO BE SHUT DOWN 10 DAYS WITH SHOULDER TENDINITIS

                                                                        

New York Mets SP Jonathan Niese will be shut down for the next ten days due to a bout of left shoulder tendinitis.  Niese admitted he was dealing with the soreness over his last few starts but the hope is that he won't need a DL stint at this point.

Analysis:  Niese had turned his season around with very good outings his last two times out but now this.  Overall he has failed to build on the quietly very good 2012 season he put up for a terrible Mets team and if a DL stint is needed, cut him outright.


FANTASY BASEBALL UPDATED THIRD BASEMAN RANKINGS

Once again it is time to delve into the updated fantasy baseball third baseman rankings as injures and hot and cold play continue to muddle the tiers.

1.  Miguel Cabrera:  Duhh!
2.  David Wright:  Putting up power/speed numbers like he did as a first round pick in 2008.
3.  Evan Longoria:  Power binge has cooled the last week or so but if he continues to stay healthy than 30 homers a given.
4.  Manny Machado:  Could set the single-season record for doubles and supplying power/speed juice.  Scary that he is only 22.  Should be right behind Cabrera soon enough.
5.  Adrian Beltre:  Red hot May puts age-related questions to bed for the time being at least.
6.  Mark Trumbo:  Been the best power hitter on a team with Josh Hamilton and Albert Pujols.  Needs to keep it up in second half.
7.  Ryan Zimmerman:  Comes off monster three homer game but still up and down too much.
8.  Pablo Sandoval:  Power is up this season to go with his usual .300 average.
9.  Chase Headley:  Another guy who has cooled down lately after quick start upon return from DL. Has work to do to validate 2012 breakout.
10. Josh Donaldson:  Really like what I have seen thus far out of late bloomer.  Hitting .322 as of this writing with 6 homers and 2 steals.
11. Mark Reynolds:  Average typically fell fast but 13 home runs plays well in power-starved game.
14. Kyle Seager:  Quietly doing his thing again with no one paying attention.
15. Aramis Ramirez:  Injuries been a constant source of frustration this season.  Worried that at 35 the major dropoff could be at hand.
16. Martin Prado
17. Hanley Ramirez
18. Matt Carpenter:  Hitting .300 but lacks in the power/speed categories.
19. Yuniesky Betancourt:  Hasn't had a hit in like two weeks.  Average all the way down to .220 which takes much of the shine off early power streak.
20. Kevin Youkilis
21. David Freese
22. Chris Johnson
23. Will Middlebrooks:  Horrid average and injuries ruining what should be breakout season.
24. Mike Moustakas
25. Pedro Alvarez
26. Nolan Arenado
27. Jedd Gyorko


FANTASY BASEBALL BREAKING PROSPECT NEWS: JOC PEDERSON TO BE REPLACEMENT FOR MATT KEMP

According to a team source, the Los Angeles Dodgers will call up top outfielder prospect Joc Pederson from the minor leagues to take the place of injured Matt Kemp if the latter needs to go on the DL with a hamstring strain.  Peterson is batting .313 with 8 home runs and 15 steals at Double-A and has the versatility to play all over the outfield unlike fellow top prospect Yasiel Puig. 

Analysis:  Pederson as of this writing is still not listed in the Yahoo database so a fierce waiver battle will be at hand when he does get there once he gets promoted.  The outfielder has a ton of potential and category juice ability so he could be a big time play at least in the short-term and maybe longer.  Stay on top of this. 


FANTASY BASEBALL BREAKING NEWS: DODGERS' MATT KEMP (HAMSTRING) TO LAND ON DL

                                                                          

A frustrating season got even more difficult for Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp on Wednesday as he suffered a strained left hamstring that will likely land him on the DL Thursday.  Kemp went on the DL on two occasions last season for hamstring trouble in addition to offseason shoulder surgery.  An MRI will be conducted Wednesday to determine the severity.

Analysis:  Unreal.  A horrid season for Kemp and his fantasy baseball owners just got a whole lot worse.  While the shoulder surgery likely negatively impacted his power in 2013, the hamstring strain will now likely curb his stolen bases which was the only of his game that was somewhat productive.  Joc Pederson is likely to get the call up in his place which makes him the perfect replacement but either way Kemp is shaping up once again as a huge bust and his status as a top tier fantasy baseball outfielder is now finished for now.


FANTASY BASEBALL WRAPUP: WEDNESDAY

Joey Votto:  1/4 with his 10th HR while hitting .352.  Votto has been a monster over the last month as he firmly reestablishes himself into the batting champ-worthy stud he always has been.  While Votto clearly doesn't have the 40-homer pop to hang with Miguel Cabrera, he will continue to battle with Paul Goldschmidt to be the second first baseman off the board in drafts next season.

Mark Reynolds:  1/4 with his 13th HR while hitting .254.  Ahhh it seems like just yesterday Reynolds was hitting .300 with all those home runs.  Whatever.  The guy is who is he and the slide in his average was as big a given as the sun coming up in the morning.

Justin Masterson:  6 IP 4 H 1 ER 4 BB 7 K with an ERA of 3.07.  Masterson continues to hold onto is very impressive stats as the calendar gets ready to turn to June.  While I continue to remind you all of how big a critic I have been of Masterson in the past, he was still young enough and showed enough flashes of talent to be capable of this kind of breakthrough.

Adrian Gonzalez:  2/4 with his 7th HR while hitting .333.  There may not be a hotter hitter over the last two weeks than AGONE who is putting the GONE back in his name with his home runs lately.  While his days of 40 homers are likely a thing of the past due to shoulder surgery, 30 could be possible which when combined with is average and 100-plus RBI tally would make him a near first round pick again after he rumbled in drafts prior to this season.

Mark Trumbo:  1/2 with his 12th HR while hitting .272.  No truth to the rumors that Josh Hamilton was picking Trumbo's brain prior to the game regarding how to hit home runs. 

Jered Weaver:  6 IP 5 H 1 ER 0 BB 7 K with an ERA of 3.71.  Nice return from the DL for Weaver who showed some velocity improvement in this outing which is a nice sign to see.  It could be just adrenaline after missing so much time but there are still big time questions of whether or not he can maintain ace-like levels going forward.  Need to see a bunch more before I am convinced he is back there.

Chase Headley:  1/4 with his 5th HR while hitting .259.  Haven't heard much from Headley lately after his red hot return from the DL a few weeks ago.  Still needs to show over the course of the remainder of 2013 that his 2012 season was legit.

Ryan Zimmerman:  3/4 with 3 home runs (6 for season) while hitting .298.  I felt like coming into this game that I hardly mentioned Zimmerman at all and he probably felt the same way which is why he decided to go all Babe Ruth on the Orioles pitching staff.  Story remains the same for Zimmerman.  Very good fantasy baseball third baseman who is capable of big things but who in the end fails to reach his ceiling due to a large amount of injuries.

Chris Davis:  4/4 with 2 home runs (19 for season) while hitting .359.   Just to let you know but the number 2 overall fantasy baseball player at any position this season has been Chris Davis. 

Jordan Zimmerman:  7 ER in 6 IP with an ERA of 2.37.  Took two full months but Zimmerman finally showed that he does have red blood in his veins.

Scott Feldman:  6 IP 6 H 2 ER 0 BB 7 K with an ERA of 2.82.  What the heck.  I am not buying Feldman making it even into July holding these ratios but he is putting enough starts under his belt to earn some legitimacy in the short term at least.

Aaron Hicks:  1/3 with his sixth HR while hitting .165.  Second game in a row with a homer for Hicks who is starting to gain traction at the major league level.  While I wouldn't run out to pick him up just yet, he has now entered into the monitoring stage.

Troy Tulowitzki:  3/4 with 2 home runs (12 for season) while hitting .337.  Damn this guy is sick.  Tulo hits like slugging first baseman and he plays shortstop.  Just stay healthy dude.

Miguel Cabrera:  1/5 with his 15th HR while hitting .368.  Cabrera's average is now down to .368.  He is slumping badly I see.

Neil Walker:  2/4 with his fifth HR while hitting .266.  Ian Kinsler owners take note as Walker is starting to get going.  Quiet power/speed potential at hand with the veteran.

Domonic Brown:  2/4 with 2 home runs (13 for season) and third SB while hitting .262.  Just the latest example of what we like to call the post-hype sleeper made good.  Brown took awhile to get going like Alex Gordon or Adam Jones or Homer Bailey but now the results have caught up with his talent.  While never a threat to hit .300 unless he cuts down on the K's, Brown is looking like a future 30 home runs hitter with 15 steals.  That is third round territory.

Ryan Howard:  1/4 with his 7th HR while hitting .258.  Like with Mark Reynolds a month ago when he was hitting near .300, Howard has seen his average sink fast under a deluge of K's.  He is still standing upright which is half the battle but my mention three years ago that big guys like him decline fast looks right on cue.

David Phelps:  4 ER in .1 IP with an ERA of 4.65.  Lots of streamers took it on the chin in this one and really I can't blame you for taking a solid chance against a woeful Mets lineup.  Forget it and move on.  Just one of those bad breaks but Phelps at least shows he is not an every start guy by any means.

Carlos Beltran:  1/4 with his 12th HR while hitting .293.  We are getting close to that SELL HIGH time with Beltran who has been spotted recently with bags of ice all over his knees in the clubhouse.   Remember how badly he faded in the second half last season before you try to stretch this out more.

Matt Holliday:  1/4 with his 8th HR while hitting .258.  Holliday is still trying to hold onto his outfielder 2 status but was failing miserably there until back-to-back games of home runs.  At 33 however, the end is coming fast.




Wednesday, May 29, 2013

FANTASY BASEBALL BREAKING NEWS: RANGERS 2B IAN KINSLER HAS STRESS REACTION IN RIBCAGE, OUT AN ADDITIONAL 2 WEEKS

                                                                            

Texas Rangers second baseman Ian Kinsler is out an additional two weeks after it was discovered that he suffered a stress reaction in his injured ribcage that originally landed him on the DL.  Kinsler has been on the DL for a week and a half and will not have the two weeks tacked on to that total due to the latest discovery.  Jurickson Profar will continue to start in his place.

Analysis:  We had two full seasons of non-injuries from Kinsler so we can't get too worked up about him landing on the DL but his loss is still a major void that can't be filled by anyone other than Robinson Cano in the second baseman rankings.  Be that as it may, Profar owners will now get some additional games to take a look at the budding star who now has the chance to claim an everyday role even when Kinsler does return.


FANTASY BASEBALL WELCOME TO THE SHOW: MICHAEL WACHA SP ST. LOUIS CARDINALS

Another day and another top prospect gets the call to the big leagues as the St. Louis Cardinals summoned SP Michael Wacha to start Thursday night in a possible audition to permanently fill the vacancy left behind by the injury to Jaime Garcia.  Quite possibly the best organization in baseball in developing starters (Shelby Miller owners can attest to this), Wacha instantly carries immense fantasy baseball upside who can make a clear difference the rest of the way despite an innings limit that will surely be in place later on.  With all that said let's take a closer look at Wacha and what he could in fact provide his potential owners.

Right off the bat, it must be pointed out that Wacha is no Shelby Miller when it comes to having a power approach pitching.  While Miller racks up the K's behind his 99-mph fastball, Wacha instead relies on a sinker to generate a ton of outs on the ground, while possessing a lower K rate that garnered only 34 K's in 52.2 innings.  Be that as it may, Wacha was very successful this season on the farm as he compiled a miniscule 2.05 ERA and 0.95 WHIP so the rate stats are very attractive.  Again we reiterate the fact that the Cardinals continually push out gems from their minor league system and so that alone makes Wacha interesting.  Than when you check out Wacha's continued success at the minor league level, you can easily see why taking a chance on the kid is a very sound investment.  Just don't expect Miller strikeout rates and you likely won't be disappointed.


FANTASY BASEBAL BREAKING NEWS: BLUE JAYS PLACE 3B BRETT LAWRIE (ANKLE) ON DL WED.

                                                                        

Toronto Blue Jays third baseman Brett Lawrie landed on the DL for the second time in 2013 on Wednesday, this time due to a sprained left ankle.  Lawrie sprained the ankle in Monday's game and reported little improvement since.  Mark DeRosa is expected to take his place in the field and in the lineup.

Analysis:  Lawrie has been a colossal fantasy baseball bust this season as he batted only .209 in between his DL stints.  His power has been almost non-existent since he lit up the PCL in that category and one has to wonder if the fluke home runs ways of that league made Lawrie look like a better prospect than he truly was.


FANTASY BASEBALL BREAKING NEWS: RED SOX 2B DUSTIN PEDROIA PLAYING THROUGH TORN LEFT THUMB LIGAMENT

                                                                              
 Boston Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia admitted on Wednesday that he is playing through a torn left ulnar collateral ligament in his thumb since Opening Day.  Pedroia injured the ligament sliding into base against the New York Yankees and has not missed a game since.  An injury that at times can keep a player out for eight weeks, Pedroia plans to continue playing every day.

Analysis:  Well this explains the lack of power coming from Pedroia who has only a couple home runs to his name.  Be that as it may, Pedroia is still hitting .322 and stealing bases so the injury is not impacting him too much overall.  While the risk of further damage is legitimate, for now it seems like Pedroia will be fine barring any setbacks with just a drop in power to show for his troubles.


FANTASY BASEBALL WRAPUP: TUESDAY

Evan Gattis:  1/4 with his 12th HR while hitting .271.  Those who held onto Gattis will get a boost when the Braves are involved in interleague play which was the case in this series.  On a per game basis overall, Gattis' home run rate has been as good as any catcher in fantasy baseball but playing time issues will continue to undermine his overall value, especially with Brian McCann hitting well.

Brian McCann:  2/5 with 2 home runs (6 for season) while hitting .281.  McCann is off to his best start in years and it is encouraging to see him going the other way which was the biggest red flag that sank his average the last two seasons.  So far I am sold on his adjustment.

Jose Bautista:  2/4 with his 12th HR while hitting .299.  Bautista has concretely proven that the average issues he has in 2012 were BABIP-related and nothing more as evidenced by his current .299 mark.  A borderline first round guy even with the shoddy average under his belt coming into the season, Bautista is as good as anyone in the game when he can keep that number over .280.

Chris Davis:  2/4 with his 17th HR while hitting .344.  Amazing.  Not the home runs of course but the average as Davis must have read the Miguel Cabrera "How to Win A Batting Title When You Are Not Drunk Off Your Ass" novel.

J.J. Hardy:  3/4 with his 10th HR while hitting .250.  You can do a lot worse than Hardy who carries more value this season with top guns Jose Reyes and Hanley Ramirez injured and older veterans Jimmy Rollins and Alexei Ramirez not pulling their weight.  The same story hold true with any average-challenged slugger.  Buy in when the number hovers around .250 or leave alone otherwise.

Adam LaRoche:  2/3 with 2 home runs (10 for season) while hitting .243.  Listen we all know the best is yet to come with LaRoche as he heats up with the weather but in the meantime he will hit 15 or so home runs before the All Star Game which is nothing to sneeze at by any means for one of the more underrated hitters in the game.

Kevin Gausman:  7 ER in 4 IP with an ERA of 11.00.  Classic case of a kid who is not ready for the show.  More than a few got burned by Gausman, especially since I talked him up so much but again all we can go on is the underlying numbers which in his case were glowing with a ridiculous 47/5 K/BB ratio on the farm and the fact he dials it up to 99.  In time he will be awesome but he is hearing too much noise between the ears.  Nothing more or less.

Neil Walker:  3/5 with his third HR and first SB while hitting .259.  I hare talking about Walker since he is so boring but than I saw he had the Hit and Run Special which is a requirement for mention i the Wrapup.  There I did it.  Let's move on.

Jeremy Hellickson:  5 ER in 5.1 IP with an ERA of 5.61.  In the offseason prior to 2013, the BABIP gods printed up WANTED fliers with Hellickson and Matt Cain on them.

Domonic Brown:  1/4 with his 11th HR while hitting .257.  So if you would have listened to me when I included Brown in the ADDS section of the ADDS/DROPS three weeks ago, you would have had like 6 home runs added to your total.  Just saying.

Cliff Lee:  8 IP 4 H 0 ER 0 BB 8 K with an ERA of 2.34.  Lee is like the forgotten "STUD" ace which is a special fraternity of truly ridiculously dominant starters that is made up of Verlander, Kershaw, King Felix, Harvey, and yes Lee.  I have it more than a few times but other than Kershaw and now maybe Harvey, is there anyone who gives up so few hits on a more consistent basis than does Lee?

Matt Harvey:  8 IP 6 H 1 ER 0 BB 10 K with an ERA of 1.85.  I actually saw some other so-called Fantasy Baseball Experts calling Harvey a "sell guy" now that he has elevated himself so well and that small chorus ratcheted up their voices off his last start which was the first poor outing of his season.  Rubbish.  While there is no doubt Harvey will tire a bit when August and September arrive, Harvey's stuff and underlying numbers are more than legit and not luck aided.  You would be a fool to sell him for almost any player in fantasy baseball not named Mike Trout.

Carlos Beltran:  2/4 with his 11th HR while hitting .294.  Here is an interesting Q:  Beltran a Hall of Famer or no?

Josh Willingham:  1/5 with his 9th HR while hitting .212.  While I appreciated the pop and underrated value Willingham has supplied the last few seasons, the .212 average is a no-go until further notice.

Jean Segura:  6/7 while hitting .365.  I am totally going to nitpick here but when I saw 6 its out of 7 at-bats, I figured there would be at least 4 runs and 2 steals along with maybe a homer.  Oh well I still drool all over his picture.

Hunter Pence:  2/4 with his 8th HR while hitting .277.  What do you know Pence is hitting around .280 like he has since birth. 

Hyun-Jin Ryu:  9 IP 2 H 0 ER 0 BB 7 K with an ERA of 2.89.  Mr. Kuroda, Mr. Darvish, and Mr. Iwakuma have some competition for the title of being "Best Far East Pitcher In The Majors" this season.  Crazy stuff out of the kid who came into the year with little to no fanfare. 




Tuesday, May 28, 2013

FANTASY BASEBALL CLOSING TIME: CHRIS PEREZ CONTINUES TO TRY OWNERS' PATIENCE

Closing Time is upon us yet again so let's get to all the latest news coming out of the ninth inning.

-Cleveland Indians closer Chris Perez was a guy I told you all to avoid this past winter, even if draft price came cheap due to a number of red flags attached to his name.  The fact that he is among the more injury-prone closers in baseball has always called into question his status as even a middle tier guy but it wast his dramatic drop in his K rate during the 2012 season that was the most worrisome issue for yours truly.  Well the 2013 season has brought nothing but misery for his owners as Perez began spring training with a shoulder injury and now has hit the DL with a rotator cuff strain.  On top of that, Perez's ERA is more than a bit over 4.00 as he has become more hittable than ever.  Ongoing shoulder ailments are death for pitchers as it tends to cause a drop in velocity and thus make pitches more hittable which is what we have seen out of Perez to this point.  Now with Perez on the DL, up steps Vinny Pestano which is a change that many fantasy baseball players have been waiting to happen for the last few seasons given how dominant in setup the latter has been.  With an always high K rate, Pestano has the goods to be a classic closer but 2013 has been a bit rough for himself as well given his 5.25 ERA.  Be that as it may, Pestano got the official nod over Joe Smith and so he should be owned in all formats.  As far as Perez is concerned, he is slated to be out about three weeks due to the tendinitis in his rotator cuff but even when he does return, he is anything but a sure bet.  Thus if you were able to snag Pestano and he looks good over the next two weeks, don't cut him right away given the volatility that Perez showcases.

-How about the breakout seasons for the Chicago White Sox' Addison Reed (1.96 ERA) and the New York Mets' Bobby Parnell (1.93 ERA).  Both youngsters have been money all season, with Reed closing out 17 of 18 chances, while Parnell has finished off 8 out of 10 opportunities despite getting limited chances due to the lack of offense out of the Mets.  Reed was more than shaky once given the closer role during the second half of 2012, suffering a bloated ERA and blown saves along the way.  However in defense of Reed, it was his rookie year and fatigue was no doubt a factor once the summer arrived during his first major league season.  For Parnell, his formerly straight fastball was frustrating to watch given the fact he got hit way too much for a guy who can sling it 100-mph a la Kyle Farnsworth but a development of a knuckle curve this season has made Parnell a rock solid closer as the results have shown.  While we usually talk about closer in trouble of losing their jobs or who get hurt, it also is imperative to give credit where credit is due for success stories in this always volatile world.

-Jim Henderson was doing a fantastic job of firmly making the Milwaukee Brewers closing gig his own in place of John Axford who was pulled from the role only two weeks into April.  Putting up a 0.92 ERA while striking out 23 batters in 19.2 innings, Henderson was literally running with the job until landing on the DL with a strained hamstring.  Thus the door swung open to the ninth inning, with Francisco Rodriguez, Axford, and Mike Gonzalez all being mentioned as candidates to fill-in.  However Rodriguez got the first chance which he converted and whispers out of Milwaukee suggest he will be the one to handle the ninth going forward as Axford is not trusted.  It is a big turn of events for Rodriguez who didn't have a job in spring training and whose career has taken a steep curve downward under lost velocity.  However for the next two weeks Rodriguez will get the call and so 2-4 saves could be in the offing.  Of course there is MAJOR risk involved in taking Rodriguez on but those desperate for saves can't be choosy.

-Things continue to get worse for both Tampa Bay's Fernando Rodney and Baltimore's Jim Johnson who both are coming off a string of blown saves.  However amazingly both guys have gotten votes of confidence from their managers whereas the rest of us would have kicked them to the curb by now.  Joel Peralta is screaming to be owned, while the same holds true for Darren O'Day.  Being proactive with both guys and make the add as another blown save or two should finish the incumbents off for good,.

There you have it.  As always let us hears your thoughts.

FANTASY BASEBALL BREAKING CLOSER NEWS: INDIANS CLOSER CHRIS PEREZ HAS MILD TENDINITIS, SHUT DOWN 5-7 DAYS

                                                                            

Cleveland Indians closer Chris Perez will be shut down 5-7 days after being diagnosed with mild tendinitis in his right pitching rotator cuff.  Perez has been placed on the DL and it is expected he won't be ready to return when the first 15 days are up.  Vinny Pestano, shaky in his own right this season, will close in his place.

Analysis:  Perez has been a big time mess this season, both stat-wise and injury-wise and I don't blame his owners for losing patience.  Pestano has been among the best setup men in baseball the last two seasons so he should be able to do well despite his own struggles lately but it looks like Perez could be back in around 3 weeks to re-claim his job as closer.


FANTASY BASEBALL BREAKING NEWS: CARDS SUMMON TOP PITCHING PROSPECT MICHAEL WACHA

                                                                         

The St. Louis Cardinals finally made it official on Tuesday in calling up top pitching prospect Michael Wacha to start Thursday in place of injured Jaime Garcia.  A 2012 first round pick, Wacha has pitched to a splendid 1.71 ERA and 0.84 WHIP with 74 K's in 73 minor league innings. 

Analysis:  Go get him.  Wacha is just the latest minor league gem to come out of the Cardinals system as he joins fireballing Shelby Miller in the 2013 rotation.  Unlike Miller, Wacha is not a classic power pitcher, instead relying primarily on a sinker to generate outs on the ground to go with a decent haul of K's.  It has been said that Wacha needs to develop a third pitch to maximize his ability but his minor league stats to this point show pure dominance.  The Cardinals track record with pitchers is among the best in baseball so Wacha should be put in position to succeed right away so dive in.


Monday, May 27, 2013

FANTASY BASEBALL WELCOME TO THE SHOW: NICK FRANKLIN 2B/SS SEATTLE MARINERS

Historically speaking, the infield positions of second base and shortstop have been among the more shallow spots to fill in fantasy baseball, especially the latter.  This season has been no different, with injuries to Jose Reyes and Hanley Ramirez already taking out big chunks of a short list of starter-worthy options to being with.  Same goes for second base with Ian Kinsler's injury, Dan Uggla's fade, etc.  Any infusion of youth to these spots are always looked at with great interest which brings up to the news that the Seattle Mariners have summoned top minor league second baseman Nick Franklin to replace the perennially disappointing Dustin Ackley.  Already possessing shortstop eligibility in most leagues, Franklin's nice upside makes him attractive to either infield spot.  With that said let's take a closer look at what he could supply those owners who quickly grabbed him upon learning the news he was on his way.

Looking at Franklin's stats with the PCL's Triple-A Tacoma, there certainly is a lot to like.  Franklin was batting .323 with 30 walks and only 20 strikeouts.  Any time a hitter has more walks than K's, it indicates a very good understanding of the strike zone and pitch recognition which is not something you see usually from young hitters.  Thus Franklin can hit the ground running with a .300 average.  In addition, Frankling hit 4 home runs and 7 steals and has a 23/25 season under his belt.  So there could be some nice category juice for you to benefit from.  Of course we have to take some of those numbers with a grain of salt since they came in the PCL (Brett Lawrie owners can attest to this) and there is also the Ackley story as a failed prospect who also had a ton of pub coming up like Franklin has.  However Franklin's profile is impressive and the fact he will qualify both at shortstop and second base make him even more intriguing.  Like with all young players there is no guarantee he will succeed but the ability is there to be very helpful and your squad.



FANTASY BASEBALL WRAPUP: SUNDAY

Adam Jones:  3/5 with his 10th HR while hitting .322.  You can't get anything past Jones right now who is as hot as anyone in baseball with a home run in four straight games.  Yesterday I posed the question of whether you would pick Jones or Andrew McCutchen in a redraft.  Maybe I should be saying Jones or Matt Kemp?

Max Scherzer:  6 IP 3 H 1 ER 3 BB 6 K with an ERA of 3.42.  The true indicator that Scherzer has completely arrives as a fantasy baseball ace pitcher is his 0.92 WHIP which tells you that he no longer is beating himself with walks and high pitch counts.  Sometimes its as simple as that in order to unleash the power pitching beast which is what we are now completely seeing out of Scherzer.  In fact given the recent struggles of Justin Verlander, it is not a stretch to say he is the best starter in the Detroit rotation at this point.

Alfonso Soriano:  2/4 with his 5th HR while hitting .267.  Soriano's home run rate is down but he is actually showing some interest in stealing again which is a shock given his age.  Irregardless, the wheels have still not completely fallen off yet but Soriano remains a bit player at this stage of his career.

Jay Bruce:  1/5 with his 7th HR while hitting .271.  I can't imagine Bruce not finishing the season with 30 home runs given his natural strength so he has to get going quick with regards to his pace.  However that makes him a good BUY LOW before the fireworks in his bat inevitably go off soon.

Matt Garza:  4 IP 4 H 4 ER 4 BB 7 K with an ERA of 4.00.  Garza certainly had a thing for the number "4" in this one and even though it was clearly a crummy outing, the fact he has collected 12 K's in his first 9 innings shows you how explosive his stuff still is.  Pick him up off waivers if he is still rotting there as the strikeouts alone make him worth the add.

Cole Hamels:  6.1 IP 6 H 3 ER 1 BB 6 K with an ERA of 4.43.  Hamels is now an unbelievable 1-8 on the season in taking a page out of the 2012 Cliff Lee "I get no run support so my record sucks despite me being a top pitcher" book.  Again that record could help you BUY LOW on the proven Hamels who I reiterate does his best work the second half of the season. 

Stephen Strasburg:  8 IP 5 H 1 ER 0 BB 9 K with an ERA of 2.49.  Dominant outing for Strasburg who surprisingly has not had many of these type of starts this season.  Be that as it may, the ratios are all tremendous and health is the only worry going forward.  The NL version of Chris Sale.

Jason Kipnis:  2/4 with his 8th HR while hitting .248.  Since the beginning of May, Kipnis has been the best player OVERALL in fantasy baseball when it comes to guys who handle the bat.  Let that sink in a moment.

Chris Perez:  4 ER in .2 IP with an ERA of 4.32.  Perez complained of a sore shoulder afterward and could be headed to the DL.  Overall Perez has been an unmitigated disaster this season which shouldn't be a total shock since the signs were there the second half of 2012 when his K rate plummeted.  He has not looked crisp at all and injuries have been a constant theme.  Now we have to look at Vinny Pestano and Joe Smith (blown save with hit given up to only batter faced) to fill his shoes.  Pestano has been the heir apparent for years but has dealt with his own struggles, while Smith has pitched great in setup the last two seasons.  Give the slight nod to Smith who came in after Perez made a mess of things to get first shot if you had to make only one add.

Brett Gardner:  1/4 with his 5th HR while hitting .259.  Gardner can be very dynamic when he hit hitting home runs and in his career he has had the ability to threaten double digits.  Now finally entrenched at the top of the Yankees lineup, we could be seeing a career year out of Gardner.

C.C. Sabbathia:  7 ER in 7 IP with an ERA of 3.96.  We are clearly now in a different era with Sabbathia whose velocity has still not come back, while his hit rate is at an all-time high.  He is still collecting strikeouts but not to the tune of where he once was.  All in all, we are looking at a SP 2 and not the ace he always has been.  Everyone gets old.

Alex Cobb:  8.1 IP 5 H 2 ER 0 BB 8 K with an ERA of 2.66.  Truth be told I didn't see Cobb being nearly this good, as he continues to rack up a crazy amount of K's almost every time he goes out there.  While it would be tough to imagine him staying at this level the whole season, I have already been wrong once on the guy so take that with a grain of salt.

Bartolo Colon:  7 IP 9 H 0 ER 0 BB 9 K with an ERA of 3.82.  When you own Colon you don't have a care in the world that he is juiced up to the gills.  When you don't own him, you can start making cracks about how his head looks like it will pop if it gets any bigger.

Josh Hamilton:  1/4 with his 8th HR while hitting .223.  Hamilton is putting Mark Reynolds to shame when it comes to strikeouts which is the sole reason I called him a bust in the spring.  His K rate is headed drastically in the wrong direction and he is looking more Adam Dunn-ish every day.

Buster Posey:  2/4 with his 7th HR while hitting .317.  Posey is back to his usual awesome hitting self after a slow start where he got overshadowed some by Wilin Rosario and Carlos Santana.  Still his second round price tag was something I told you to avoid as no catcher is worth that high a pick not named Mike Piazza and so far he is producing below that draft area code.

Matt Cain:  5 IP 2 H 2 ER 5 BB 6 K with an ERA of 5.00.  The five walks are further proof that Cain doesn't have the feel for his pitches as his season-long struggles continue.  I continue to argue that all those years of Cain pitching better than his XFIP are coming back to bite him finally, along with the idea that his arm could be in "bounce" mode off all that heavy usage at such a young age.  With Tim Lincecum also having suffered that overuse effect, the Giants should start looking at alternative ways to bring along their young pitchers.

Jurickson Profar:  1/6 with his first HR while hitting .263.  I want to see a whole bunch more from Profar who has got my juices flowing as he bats in the leadoff spot.  Prediction:  by 2015 he will be a first round lock.

Kendrys Morales:  3/6 with his sixth HR while hitting .293.  I would take another shot with Morales who is starting to get the hang of hitting in his new Seattle home and has been red hot the last week.  This is a guy who has 30 home run potential in his bat and the best is yet to come this season.

Hisashi Iwakuma:  8 IP 5 H 2 ER 0 BB 8 K with and ERA of 2.35.  Iwakuma was so off the fantasy baseball radar that if he had a 3.35 ERA we would be shocked.

Adrian Gonzalez:  2/4 with his sixth HR while hitting .321.  AGONE is the rare Dodgers who is pulling his weight and home runs in back-to-back games is a nice sign for a guy whose power numbers are dropping off the last couple of seasons.



Sunday, May 26, 2013

FANTASY BASEBALL WEEK 9 ADDS/DROPS

Week 9 already in this rapidly moving fantasy baseball season.  Let's see how makes the cut in the latest edition of ADDS/DROPS.

WEEK 9 ADDS

Josh Donaldson:  No one is paying attention to the potentially sizable breakout season of the Oakland A's' Donaldson who is coming off a 4/4 game where he slugged his 7th HR and upped the average to .322.  Also blessed with the ability to steal a base on occasion, Donaldson is offering low scale across the board production for the cost of the time it takes you to click ADD on your mouse next to his name.

Kevin Gausman:  Yes he got hit a bit in his first start but it came against Toronto's power-packed lineup which can be forgiven somewhat.  Gausman hit 99 on the gun during the start which is what should be raising your eyebrows and his extreme control (only 5 walks in them minors this season before the call) points to a very high ceiling.

Francisco Rodriguez:  Earned the save in relief of Jim Henderson who hurt his hamstring Friday night.  With Henderson likely to land on the DL as soon as Sunday, Rodriguez could sneak in for some more saves the next two weeks.  Yes he is a clear shell of his former self but saves are saves.

Joel Peralta:  Yet another blown save by Fernando Rodney Saturday night will likely necessitate Peralta being out into the closing gig.  While lean on experience in the job, Peralta has been a very solid setup man the last few seasons which bodes well for his chances of doing well off the bat.

Jedd Gyorko:  Starting to heat up after an adjustment period in April.  Up to 5 home runs and a lot more where that came from could be at hand soon.

Kelly Johnson:  In one of those power streaks of his where he could crack 4 in a week.  Solid replacement for Ian Kinsler. 

WEEK 9 DROPS

Miguel Montero:  I surely can't explain this one as Montero has been AWOL from the dish all season with a .187 average and 3 home runs.  Still in his prime years, Montero has descended into waiver wire status given the infusion of some better catching alternatives.

Andre Ethier:  It is inexcusable for Ethier to be sitting on only 4 home runs and 12 RBI.  Pressure is mounting too as the Dodgers want to push him aside for top prospects Yasiel Puig and Joc Pederson.

Jesus Montero:  Yeah owning guys demoted to the minors is a not a good idea.

Evan Gattis:  Has hit some home runs in a pinch hitting role but idea of putting him in the outfield has not happened. 



FANTASY BASEBALL WRAPUP: SATURDAY

Adam Jones:  1/4 with his 9th HR while hitting .316.  Three home runs in three straight games for Jones who is bringing back memories of his April 2012 run.  Interesting Q:  if you had to choose today, Jones or Andrew McCutchen?

R.A. Dickey:  6 ER in 6.2 IP with an ERA of 4.85.  Dickey symbolizes how pathetic the Blue Jays are as they melt again under heightened expectations this season.  This one was obvious to anyone who had any sort of clue about fantasy baseball.  Knuckleballer + leaving Citi Field + going to AL East + going to home run haven in Toronto = feces all over your team ERA and WHIP.

Jim Johnson:  perfect scoreless ninth for his 15th save with an ERA of 3.86.  Was going to take a ton for Buck Showalter to even think about making a closer change, especially given the struggles of Pedro Strop.  One outing like this has made things moot as Johnson has earned enough cred to be given the chance to work his way out of things.

Josh Hamilton:  1/4 with his 7th HR while hitting .222.  So all of you who sent me hate mail in the spring for calling Hamilton a bust off a ridiculous 2012 season, have you seen the light?

Carlos Gonzalez:  3/5 with his 13th HR and 9th SB while hitting .315.  Life is grand for CarGo owners everywhere which counts yours truly.  His season is reminiscent of his 2010 bustout which still makes one smile when you look back on it.  30/30 is very much in the cards and at this point CarGo is the only one of the elite 5 tool players other than Mike Trout who can go there.

Troy Tulowitzki:  2/5 with his 10th HR while hitting .338.  Remember when we used to debate Tulowitzki and Hanley Ramirez?  That deserves a big ol' LOL.

Joe Mauer:  3/4 with his third HR while hitting .347.  Mauer hits so few home runs than when he does crack one you get reminded of how good his average is.  Truth be told I don't pay any attention to Mauer when he doesn't go yard so I was shocked to see he was hitting .347.  Not shocked because Mauer can't hit for a high average since he always does but just that it was so empty in nature.  That is the essence of Joe Mauer though.

Andrew McCutchen:  2/4 with his 7th HR while hitting .294.  Remember when everyone was all down on McCutchen back in April when he was hitting .230 with nothing in the way of pop?  Well McCutchen can't be criticized for being inconsistent since for the second time in two seasons he has gone wild in May after being a no-show in April.  Hope you bought low when I told you to do so.

Carlos Gomez:  2/3 with 2 home runs (8 for season) while hitting .331.  We haven't heard much from Gomez in the last two weeks until tonight when he used his bat to say "yup I am still killin' it for all of you who trusted in my 2012 second half.  Screw the rest of you."

Fernando Rodney:  5th blown save with 2 ER in ninth with an ERA of 6.05.  This has to be it for Rodney so go get Joel Peralta pronto.  Even the always patient Joe Maddon has surely seen enough here after his latest meltdown as Rodney has that classic look of a pitcher who is completely out of it.  Peralta is far from a proven commodity but years of being a good setup man should give him a fair chance to be decent.  Go get him.

Homer Bailey:  6 IP 5 H 2 ER 3 BB 8 K with an ERA of 3.08.  I am not reaping the benefits of Bailey finally figuring out how to harness his stuff as I just couldn't muster up the courage to try him out again after finally removing all the burn bandages from my body over the years.  So now even when Bailey is performing well, he is still pissing me off.

Adrian Gonzalez:  3/3 with his 5th HR while hitting .316.  The power is just not consistently there anymore for Gonzalez since his 2010 shoulder surgery and enough time has gone by that we have to start accepting the new version of his bat as is.  There is still a lot to like in that Gonzalez still hits for average and is almost a lock for 100 RBI.  No doubt however that the lack of 30 homers takes some of the shine off his outlook.

Jake Peavy:  9 IP 6 H 1 ER 2 BB 5 K with an ERA of 2.97.  Peavy has been locked in all season and has exceeded my modest expectations for him due to my thinking that he would "bounce" some off his innings total in 2012 and that he couldn't stay healthy.  While we can't guarantee his health, Peavy is showing good strength on his stuff and has surely figured out this pitching in the AL thing.

Mike Minor:  7.1 IP 3 H 0 ER 2 BB 10 K with an ERA of 2.47.  Perfect timing in that I did a Status Report on Minor before this game, which makes me look even more awesome for talking him up so much.  My biggest hit for the season for sure at this point.

Josh Donaldson:  4/4 with his 7th HR while hitting .322.  We are now almost into June and Donaldson continues to rake.  While no one is watching, since nobody ever pays attention to the A's, do yourself a favor and see where this goes.  We could be looking at a breakout season in the works.

Domonic Brown:  2/4 with his 9th HR while hitting .262.  Speaking of breakout seasons, I give you Mr. Brown who has been the hitting version of Homer Bailey with his stops and starts.  The home runs have been better than anticipated and there is more speed to be had.  His high K rate will never allow a .300 average but like I always say, talent always rises to the surface.

Everth Cabrera:  3/5 with his 4th HR and 19th SB while hitting .267.  Cabrera is now entering the "dynamic" zone given the small but very impactful home runs he is hitting to go with his ridiculous stolen base rate.  The icing on the cake too could be the fact he is not a complete liability in average either.  In a year where Jose Reyes and Hanley Ramirez has torpdoed the shortstop rankings, guys like Cabrera and Jean Segura are supplying much needed help.

Wade Miley:  7 ER in 3.2 IP with an ERA of 4.53.  Yes I included Miley in the DROPS section three weeks ago.  If you had just listened you could have avoided the recent mess that was destined to come given the crazy BABIP luck he was posting.

Nelson Cruz:  1/5 with his 12th HR while hitting .249.  Same story continues for Cruz who is hitting a bunch of home runs with a shoddy average.  The legs so far are holding up which is about the nicest thing I can say.



Saturday, May 25, 2013

FANTASY BASEBALL STATUS REPORT: MIKE MINOR SP ATLANTA BRAVES

"Talent always bubbles to the surface however and that surely was the case for Minor the second half of 2012 as he did a poor man’s version of Medlen by pitching to a 2.16 ERA and 0.87 WHIP with 67 K’s in 87.1 IP.  Minor has some solid strikeout stuff in his arsenal and if he carries over the momentum he generated in the second half, could serve as a major bargain with unlimited upside.  A sweet payoff could be on tap."

The above paragraph was penned by yours truly in the 2013 Fantasy Sports Boss Fantasy Baseball Draft Guide about Atlanta Braves SP Mike Minor heading into the season and needless to say, that "sweet payoff" has more than come to fruition in the form of a 5-2 record with a 2.78 ERA and 0.96 WHIP and 51 K's in 58.1 innings going into his Saturday start against the New York Mets.  In addition to that glowing recommendation, I also noted in a feature on the web site back in March that Minor could do a Kris Medlen second half 2012 impression given that his indicators suggested as much.  Put it all together and what we have here is arguably the best breakout story to this point among fantasy baseball starting pitchers and considering how good Minor was in the second half of 2012, there could be more fun on the way.

In looking a bit deeper at Minor's profile and why he is doing so well this season, it is easy to see the reasons for his breakout.  For starters, Minor has shown very good control with only 12 walks in his 58.1 innings.  Obviously pitchers who don't beat themselves with free passes stand a much better chance of succeeding than do those who are wild in nature.  In addition, Minor has a bit of a power game to his name, averaging nearly a K/IP.  When combined with the lack of walks, that almost always portends to good things when it comes to ERA and WHIP which Minor has shown us so far this season.  Finally, Minor has put up a hit rate that is among the lowest in the majors in 2013, having given up only 44 hits in those 58.1 innings.  In other words it is almost all good signs for Minor and it points to his success continuing.  The only red flag if you had to pick at one would be 7 home runs given up but we can live with that as long as his other digits hold true which I am confident that they will. 

All in all, the Mike Minor breakout prediction for 2013 has been one of my best predictions come true but honestly we all should have seen this coming given that he hinted at this kind of production in the second half of 2012.  In fact Minor has been even better than last year's sensation Medlen and altogether and his status as a SP 3 who could be a 2 before too long is getting cemented with every start.  Upward and onward we go.


FANTASY BASEBALL BREAKING NEWS: YANKS' CURTIS GRANDERSON OUT AT LEAST A MONTH WITH BROKEN KNUCKLE

New York Yankees outfielder Curtis Granderson is out at least a month with a broken right knuckle sustained in Friday night's game.  Granderson took a pitch off the knuckle and immediately left the game.  This is the second time he has suffered a break after getting hit by a pitch this season, having previously had his forearm broken in spring training.

Analysis:  Unreal.  No one has had it worse than Granderson other than maybe his fantasy baseball owners this season.  Obviously stick him on the bench and hope he gets back in a month.  Wow.

FANTASY BASEBALL BREAKING NEWS: BREWERS CLOSER JIM HENDERSON HEADING TO DL WITH STRAINED HAMSTRING

Milwaukee Brewers closer Jim Henderson will be placed on the DL Saturday after suffering a right hamstring injury during Friday night's game.  Henderson was removed from the game and Francisco Rodriguez closed it out for Milwaukee.  Manager Ron Roenicke said he would use a committee of Rodriguez, John Axford, and Mike Gonzalez in his absence.

Analysis:  Ugh.  Henderson was doing a great job closing games after taking over for Axford but now chaos reigns.  Good luck if you decide to try any of the three guys mentioned above. 

Friday, May 24, 2013

FANTASY BASEBALL WRAPUP: FRIDAY

Jordan Zimmerman:  7 IP 6 H 2 ER 0 BB 1 K with an ERA of 1.71.  It would obviously be nitpicking saying that Zimmerman's lack of K's are annoying but his approach is obviously a smashing success.  Easily the leading candidate for the NL Cy Young right now.  Amazing.

J.J. Hardy:  1/5 with his 9th HR while hitting .234.  Hardy has had a very nice and sometimes underrated career as a rare 25 home run hitter at a power-starved position.  Unfortunately the other shoe to drop through the years with Hardy has been the shaky average which will only become a bigger problem as he continues to age.  Strictly a guy who fits a need for your team if you need home runs and have a bunch of .300 average guys.

Adam Jones:  2/5 with his 8th HR while hitting .317.  Second game in a row with a home run for Jones who is capable of some big time power runs.  The safest 25 home runs/.300/15 SB outfielder in the game.

Chris Davis:  3/4 with his 16th HR while hitting .337.  Chris Davis is hitting .337 and is in the running for a battle title.  Let that sink in for a moment. 

Brett Lawrie:  1/2 with his 5th HR while hitting .195.  Damn this kid is frustrating.  The talent is there but Lawrie's blown up PCL minor league stats are not translating well to the majors. 

Anibal Sanchez:  9 IP 1 H 0 ER 3 BB 12 K with an ERA of 2.38.  Sanchez has been a great buy so far this season as he heads for his second 200-K season.  Yes he wears down in August but we are still two months away from that.  Imagine how great his numbers would be in the NL.

Brett Gardner:  1/4 with his fourth HR while hitting .254.  Gardner took awhile to get going but everything is coming together with his 10-12 home run pop and 40 steal speed.  People have forgotten how dynamic he could be so try to steal him if he is languishing on some owners' bench.

Joey Votto:  2/4 with his 8th HR while hitting .361.  Votto is an amazing hitter but it really puts in perspective how insane Miguel Cabrera is when he is batting almost 40 points higher.

Brandon Phillips:  2/4 with his 8th HR while hitting .289.  Phillips has traded all of his stolen bases away for an improved average as he ages.  On the surface he looks less dynamic without the 20/20 line but overall he remains the same second tier fantasy baseball second baseman he always has been.

Scott Feldman:  5 ER in 5 IP with an ERA of 2.80.  Hello Mr. Regression.  So very nice to meet you today.  I heard you are staying in town for awhile.

Marco Estrada:  7 IP 4 H 1 ER 0 BB 8 K with an ERA of 4.94.  This is what you get if Estrada keeps the ball in the park.  Seems simple enough.  Unfortunately he just can't be trusted despite how good he looks under the hood.

Everth Cabrera:  2/5 with his third HR while hitting .258.  Cabrera is quietly having a big season with 3 home runs and an awesome 18 stolen bases.  Could win you the stolen base category on his own and the home runs have been a nice surprise.

Allen Craig:  2/4 with his third HR while hitting .309.  Craig is capable of 20 home runs the rest of the way as his bat has a ton of hits and pop left in it after a slow start to this season.  BUY LOW!  BUY LOW!

David Freese:  2/3 with his second HR while hitting .236.  Freese is pretty much persona non grata in fantasy baseball terms given his injuries and slow bat this season.  Third base is deeper than ever so he is on the outside looking in right now as far as being a starter for the time being.

Lance Lynn:  6 IP 2 H 0 ER 1 BB 9 K with an ERA of 2.95.  If Lynn holds onto his stats the second half of the season, which he failed to do in spectacularly bad fashion in 2012, than he instantly cements his status as a clear number 2 starter.

Lance Berkman:  1/5 with his fourth HR while hitting .293.  Thought we would see more pop out of Berkman and really what Mitch Moreland is doing is about where I expected the former to be.  Watch Berkman though as he tends to get very hot.  Get ready to strike.

Carlos Gonzalez:  2/4 with his 12th HR while hitting .307.  Massive season in the works for CarGo who is making me look very smart for touting him over Andrew McCutchen.

Michael Cuddyer:  2/4 with his 8th HR while hitting .325.  Great return to the lineup for Cuddyer who just got off the DL.  Once again supplying underrated numbers when no one is watching.

Wilin Rosario:  0/3 while hitting .278.  Rosario has some holes in his swing which shows up once in awhile.  He is in one of those cold runs at the dish but the power will continue to be present.

FANTASY BASEBALL BREAKING NEWS: YANKS OUTFIELDER CURTIS GRANDERSON SUFFERS BROKEN KNUCKLE FRIDAY, DL IMMINENT

                                                                           

New York Yankees outfielder Curtis Granderson suffered a broken knuckle on his right pinkie finger Friday night and will be placed on the DL Saturday.  It is the second time this season Granderson has been injured by pitches, the first costing him nearly the first two months of the season with a broken forearm.  No word yet on how long Granderson will be out.

Analysis:  Amazing.  What did Granderson do to garner so much negativity from the fantasy baseball gods.  Yet another major injury blow for the Yankees as well.  Obviously we are talking weeks here since any break in the hand requires that kind of a stint on the DL and so Granderson owners have to be patient yet again.  No way to sugarcoat how crazy bad luck Granderson and his owners have had to say the least.

FANTASY BASEBALL BREAKING NEWS: RED SOX 3B WILL MIDDLEBROOKS PLACED ON DL WITH BACK SPASMS

                                                                         

On the same day they placed outfielder Shane Victorino on the DL, the Boston Red Sox also placed third baseman Will Middlebrooks on the list with lower back spasms.  Middlbrooks hurt his back during Wednesday's game and than re-injured it on Thursday which necessitated the DL stint.  Pedro Ciriaco will fill in during Middlebrooks' absence.

Analysis:  Middlebrooks has fallen well short from the expectations that he carried going into the season, with his average sinking quickly behind a massive K rate.  He still has time to turn his season around but the fact he is now injured is another monkey wrench into his outlook.


FANTASY BASEBALL BREAKING NEWS: RED SOX PLACE OUTFIELDER SHANE VICTORINO (HAMSTRING) TO DL

                                                                      

The Boston Red Sox placed outfielder Shane Victorino on the DL Friday with a strained left hamstring.  The move was backdated to May 21st.  Daniel Nava will play rightfield in Victorino's place.

Analysis:  The only expectation Victorino fulfilled this season for me was that he would be a bust which to this point he had been.  Aging outfielders who have increasing issues against righties are a terrible investment which Victorino has proven in spades this season.  Consider cutting him outright if your roster is packed out with injured players. 

FANTASY BASEBALL WRAPUP: THURSDAY

Adam Jones:  1/4 with his 7th HR while hitting .315.  When it comes to the top outfielders in fantasy baseball, Jones tends to fly somewhat under the radar for no good reason.  Yes he doesn't blow up any one stat but this is as dependable a hitter as you are going to get.  That counts for something right Matt Kemp owners?

Chris Davis:  1/4 with his 15th HR while hitting .327.  I was expecting another 4/4 game from Davis given that he turned into Miguel Cabrera overnight with the average. 

J.P. Arencibia:  2/5 with his 11th HR while hitting .230.  John Buck has been cast aside almost unanimously after his red hot April that was followed by a ice cold May.  Buck has 10 home runs and 31 RBI.  Arencibia has 14 RBI and one more home run yet he is owned in almost double the leagues Buck is.  Strange.

Edwin Encarnacion:  1/4 with his 13th HR while hitting .250.  Encarnacion still has not made a big push forward average-wise but the power is right there with the best of them in baseball.  It is the home runs that you paid for anyway so don't fret too much over the .250.  Encarnacion has had some poor BABIP luck and when that comes back to its normal levels, he will be just fine in that area.

Kevin Gausman:  4 ER in 5 IP with an ERA of 7.20.  Told you not to start Gausman against the Blue Jays given their thunderous bats and this is why.  Truth be told Gausman wasn't horrendous as he struck out five but give him another chance his next time out before you cut him.  His ceiling is that high.

Josh Willingham:  2/5 with 2 home runs (8 for season) while hitting .212.  Get him in the lineup now.  This is not brain science when it comes to Willingham.  When you see him swat some home runs, than get him in.  When he goes 0-for-forever like he seemingly has been all season, than you let him rot.

Miguel Cabrera:  2/3 with his 14th HR while hitting .393.  Would it be going out on a limb to say Cabrera will hit a home run today?

David Ortiz:  1/3 with his 8th HR while hitting .351.  No letup yet from Ortiz ever since he came back from his heel injury.

Ryan Dempster:  4 ER in 3 IP with an ERA of  4.69.  Dempster is making me look bad after singing his praises all through April and early May.  Four horrid outings later Dempster is filling my inbox with hate mail.

Mike Trout:  2/4 with his 10th HR and 10th SB while hitting .302.  Trout has some sort of obsession with having the same numbers of home runs as stolen bases. 

Albert Pujols:  1/4 with his 8th HR while hitting .253.  The 40-year-old who says he is 33 is having a spirited competition with Josh Hamilton as far as who has been the bigger financial bust for the Angels.

Mark Trumbo:  1/4 with his 11th HR while hitting .284.  How about someone telling you in the winter that Trumbo would be the most effective slugger for the Angels two months into the season.





Thursday, May 23, 2013

FANTASY BASEBALL BREAKING NEWS: METS TO DEMOTE IKE DAVIS MONDAY IF HE DOESN'T SHOWS SIGNS OVER WEEKEND

                                                                            

New York Mets 1B Ike Davis has the weekend to show the team any signs of life in his dormant bat or else face a demotion to the minors on Monday.  Davis has been in the midst of a truly horrific slump to begin the season, batting just .147 with 49 strikeouts in 42 games. 

Analysis:  Davis hit 32 home runs last season and was on an absolute tear the second half of 2012 after having a similar dry spell to the first half.  However Davis has run out of chances to fix his season and so the Mets are finally ready to pull the plug for a bit.  It is a startling fall from grace for what looked like one of the more promising power hitting first baseman to come along recently. 


FANTASY BASEBALL BREAKING NEWS: YANKS SP MICHAEL PINEDA (SHOULDER) GOES FIVE INNINGS IN REHAB THU.

                                                                         

New York Yankees SP Michael Pineda pitched five innings in his latest extended spring training outing on Thursday, with his fastball reaching 93 mph.  Pineda is slated to have possibly one more extended spring start and than head out on a rehab assignment.  If all goes well, Pineda could be activated in mid-June. 

Analysis:  Now is the time to go to your league's waiver wire to see if Pineda is available.  Remember he was considered one of top power pitching prospects in all of baseball and was an All Star during his first full season in 2011 before shoulder surgery cost him all of 2012.  A high K guy when he is healthy, Pineda carries immense second half upside. 


FANTASY BASEBALL STATUS REPORT: PATRICK CORBIN SP ARIZONA DIAMONDBACKS

7-0 1.44 ERA 0.98 WHIP

The above pitching line immediately conjures images of such stalwart aces like Clayton Kershaw, Justin Verlander, or Felix Hernandez.  However in reality the batch of stats listed above belongs to none other than.....Patrick Corbin????  What in the name of fantasy baseball is happening here?  Coming off a 2012 debut season that didn't impress anyone (6-8 4.54 ERA/1.33 WHIP), Corbin has began 2013 as one of the hottest pitchers in the game and has already served as a major value boost to his owners who believed in the numbers and didn't dismiss him outright at first glance.  So what is really going on here?  Has Corbin taken the next step to potential stardom or is he simply just on an unsustainable hot streak that will come to a thunderous end soon.  Let's take a closer look and find out.

Now in looking at Corbin's profile as a pitcher, we are not looking at a guy who can dial up a mid 90's fastball or blow opposing hitters away with his heater.  In reality, Corbin is a guy who uses movement and deception to generate outs.  However Corbin is not a complete zero in the K's department, having struck out 51 batters in 62.1 innings this season.  While that rate is not going to impress the Kershaws of the world, Corbin has added 2 miles on his fastball from 2012 to 2013 which one could immediately look at as a reason for his success. 

Looking a bit deeper into the numbers however reveals some major red flags.  For one, it doesn't take a genius to assume Corbin is benefiting from luck on the batter ball given how ridiculous his numbers are right now.  Thus Corbin's XFIP of 3.59 is much more in line with what he should be churning out as far as numbers are concerned.  When looking at him under those lens, it is easy to see just what kind of a regression he will be looking at shortly. 

Again this is not to say that Corbin has not been impressive and can't succeed when his stats normalize.  He doesn't give up home runs and his control is decent.  However the BABIP gods don't stay at bay for long ans Corbin's numbers are headed upward.  Now is the perfect time to try and sell high here before that does in fact occur.  The second half is not likely to be as kind to you as an owner like we have seen the first half this season.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

FANTASY BASEBALL BREAKING NEWS: ROCKIES SEND DOWN INFIELDER JOSH RUTLEGE

The Colorado Rockies demoted struggling infielder Josh Rutledge to Triple-A Wednesday after his bat failed to consistently produce.  Rutledge was batting .242 on the season and Rockies brass felt he would benefit from some time down on the farm in order to find his swing. 

Analysis:  This is a surprise given how much the team hyped Rutledge coming into the season and truth be told  the poor average overshadowed some decent power/speed numbers.  Be that as it may, Rutledge now needs his name sent to the waiver wire in all leagues.

FANTASY BASEBALL WRAPUP: WEDNESDAY

Evan Gattis:  1/3 with his 10th HR while hitting .256.  Despite Brian McCann returning and hitting for power in his own right, Gattis remains one of the more productive catcher-eligible players in the game.  While the plan to have him play leftfield has not taken shape, Gattis is still making the most of his opportunities.  Unfortunately he stays relevant only in two catcher formats until he finds more consistent action.

B.J. Upton:  1/4 with his fourth HR while hitting .155.  Wow.  That's all I have to say when it comes to how horrible the older Upton has been at the dish this season.  Hopefully this is a sign that he will snap out of his April-May funk but I am not holding my breath.

Paul Maholm:  7.1 IP 7 H 0 ER 1 BB 4 K with an ERA of 3.38.  Maholm has settled back into the solid but not flashy starter he always has been, with his K rate leveling off dramatically after his first few outings.  Classic SP 4.

Joey Votto:  2/3 with his 7th HR while hitting .358.  Votto is rediscovering his home run swing after it was absent the second half of 2012 and early this season.  The perennial batting champion contender is right on par with where he should be as a prime first round fantasy baseball hitter.

Matt Harvey:  6.1 IP 9 H 4 ER 3 BB 6 K with an ERA of 1.93.  Not a good week for 2013 bustout starting pitchers as both Hisashi Iwakuma and now Harvey spit the bit.  The Reds are a rough foe for any opponent and obviously Harvey can be forgiven for one bad start.  The only concern I have about Harvey for this season is whether or not he will tire in the summer and also if the Mets will place an innings limit on him later on.

Ryan Braun:  1/3 with his 9th HR while hitting .323.  Some are noting, including yours truly that Braun's numbers are down across the board off his latest steroids issue with Biogenesis.  Is he finally off the juice?  Is he still an idiot?  The first point is debatable at the very least, while the second one a layup.

Hyun-Jin Ryu:  7.1 IP 6 H 2 ER 2 BB 4 K with an ERA of 3.30.  Took some serious stones for me to put Ryu out there on the road against a solid hitting Brewers team.  Whew.

Adrian Beltre:  1/3 with his 10th HR while hitting .281.  Well look at what we got here.  Beltre is completely doing his best to refute old age critics as he ups his average above the .280 mark.  With the power as good as it was in 2012, the chances for an encore are looking better than ever.

David Murphy:  1/4 with his 6th HR while hitting .219.  Murphy is hitting for power but he is ruining his shot to play everyday by struggling to maintain a solid average.  He will be given more time to figure things out but so far he has not taken that step forward many thought he would in his first run as a starter.

Carlos Gonzalez:  2/4 with his 11th HR while hitting .302.  Big time season in progress for CarGo who is putting himself in MVP discussion in the early going with his terrific numbers across the board.  No longer strictly a home/road split guy, Gonzalez is tapping out entirely on his vast ability.

Bryce Harper:  2/5 with his 12th HR while hitting .288.  You got to love the way Harper misses a few games and than comes right back and slugs a home run.  It is like he realizes his owners were ticked off at his absence and so he tries extra hard that first game returning to the lineup to earn some goodwill back. 

Jose Bautista:  4/4 with 2 home runs (11 for season) and third SB while hitting .275.  Saying Bautista was locked in during this one is a gross understatement as he could have hit backwards and put one out of the park so in the zone was he.  While the power is no surprise, the nice average is a pleasant addition to his stat haul which enhances the overall value.  Bautista has been all over the map at times with the average so his owners no doubt will take the .275 and run with it.

Fernando Rodney:  fourth blown save with 1 earned run in .1 IP with an ERA of 5.40.  Ugh.  It is not getting any better for Rodney who you would think has run out of chances.  Now is the time to grab Joel Peralta who has rocked a 2.08 ERA all season in setup.  We are at the point now where Joe Maddon won't be able to look at his plaers eye-to-eye in continually putting Rodney out there to let games get away.

Francisco Liriano:  7 IP 2 H 0 ER 1 BB 9 K with an ERA of 1.00.  I am starting to think Pittsburgh is like Lourdes for fallen starting pitchers.  First A.J. Burnett and now Liriano finding their past dominance in western Pennsylvania.  Obviously we have seen enough evidence to make a play on Liriano as crazy as that is to say given all the carnage he has caused us over the last few seasons.  Go with it.

C.J. Wilson:  8 IP 6 H 1 ER 2 BB 10 K with an ERA of 3.39.  This is Wilson in a nutshell.  One start he is giving up 5 earned in 4 innings and the next he puts up double-digit K's and completely dominates his opponent.  The 1.43 WHIP speaks more to his volatility but he is earning back some trust as a SP 4 for now I guess.

Miguel Cabrera:  2/4 with his 13th HR while hitting .387.  There is red hot and than there is what Miguel Cabrera is at the moment at the dish.  Than again this is what we have to come to expect out of the monster slugger who continues to defy all convention in this pitching era.

Carlos Santana:  2/4 with his 8th HR while hitting .296.  Santana continues to mash and really has not let up all season.  Terrific comeback season after he let down somewhat in 2012.  And really that first half performance last season was the outlier as Santana is too much of a natural hitter to struggle like that again for that long.  Remember that when it comes to young hitters like this, the talent eventually takes over.

Justin Verlander:  5 ER in 5 IP with an ERA of 3.66.  Interesting.  Verlander's WHIP is now an ugly 1.37 and he has been rocked two starts in a row.  I have mentioned on more than one occasion that the massive workloads of Verlander in his still young career were a concern for his arm but he had never shown any kind of fatigue before.  I am not saying that is the problem here but he has been so dominant for so long that we have to at least wonder some.  Watch is next stat closely because 3 poor outings in a row is a noticeable trend.

Curtis Granderson:  3/3 with his first HR while hitting .269.  Yes that was Granderson batting leadoff Wednesday night as he cracked his first homer of the season.  The story remains the same here:  very good power to go with a mediocre average and declining steals due to age.

Chris Davis:  4/4 with his 14th HR while hitting .329.  This is Davis saying "suck it" to those who expect the average to fall.  Not looking likely folks.  It took awhile but Davis has clearly found something that works for him in that area. 

Matt Wieters:  2/4 with his third HR while hitting .240.  All Davis needs to do now is to pass along his new average wisdom to Wieters.

Hiroki Kuroda:  5 ER in 2 IP with an ERA of 2.67.  Chalk this under "one of those starts" as Kuroda has been too excellent to criticize.  My only worry is that he won't be able to hold up at 37 years old as far as his numbers are concerned  given the career high in innings he threw last season and his pace for this season.

Cliff Lee:  9 IP 3 H 0 ER 2 BB 5 K with an ERA of 2.48.  Typical Lee.  No one can completely shut you down to this effect like Lee can on a more consistent basis other than Clayton Kershaw.  Like a fine wine, Lee is aging well.

Clay Buchholz:  7 IP 5 H 1 ER 3 BB 4 K with an ERA of 1.73.  Second start out of last three that the K's were dramnatically down for Buchholz after sunscreen gate.  Just saying.

Hector Santiago:  6 IP 3 H 2 ER 4 BB 9 K with an ERA of 2.81.  Santiago is passing the eye test as the big time K numbers he put up in the bullpen have taken the trip to the starting rotation.  Worth a look given that aspect of his game but this is likely to be a two month rental at most given he will be in uncharted innings territory soon enough.







FANTASY BASEBALL BREAKING NEWS: ROCKIES CLOSER RAFAEL BETANCOURT (GROIN) WON'T NEED DL STINT

Updating a previous item, Colorado Rockies closer Rafael Betancourt will not be placed on the DL with his sore groin as was previously feared and he could return as soon as Friday. 

Anlaysis:  The Rex Brothers era is over before it had a chance to begin.  You can hold Brothers for a day or so but Betancourt is expected to be back by the weekend.



FANTASY BASEBALL BREAKING NEWS: DODGERS LOOKING INTO CALLING UP TOP PROSPECTS YASIEL PUIG AND/OR JOC PEDERSON

                                                                          

Struggling to stay afloat in 2013 after coming into the season with massive expectations, the Los Angeles Dodgers are now openly discussing bringing up top outfield prospects Yasiel Puig and/or Joc Pederson.  Puig is currently batting .314 with six home runs while Pederson is coming in at .327 with 8 home runs and 13 stolen bases.  However with Andre Ethier, Matt Kemp, and Carl Crawford all healthy at the moment, no word on how or where either guy would play.

Anlaysis:  Both Puig and Pederson are considered the top of the heap as far as hitting prospects ate concerned.  Pederson has been ridiculous this season in the minors, while Puig has been impressive in his own right.  Both guys have the ability to hit for power and steal bases and should be picked up immediately in all formats.  However on the surface there doesn't appear to be any room for either guy to play in the outfield unless Don Mattingly decides to sit Ethier.  Stay tuned.


FANTASY BASEBALL BREAKING NEWS: PHILS 2B CHASE UTLEY HEADED FOR MRI ON RIB CAGE

                                                                         

Philadelphia Phillies second baseman Chase Utley is headed for an MRI Wednesday on his rib cage after sitting out Tuesday's game with pain in the area.  Utley reported feeling a burning sensation in his rib cage after hurting it in batting practice. 

Analysis:  This is not looking so good here for Utley and his fantasy baseball owners as this could be yet another injury that lands him on the DL.  Utley was off to a nice comeback start to his 2013 season until this flared up on him and it is a reminder that he remains one of the more fragile players in the game.  Start looking for a replacement. 




FANTASY BASEBALL WELCOME TO THE SHOW: KEVIN GAUSMAN SP BALTIMORE ORIOLES

The big news of the day Tuesday was the report out of Baltimore that the Orioles would be calling up top pitching prospect Kevin Gausman from Double-A Bowie in order to start for the team Thursday against the Toronto Blue Jays in his big league debut.  The number four overall pick in last year's draft, Gausman has been opening eyes among Orioles brass through his first eight starts of the season which netted a 3.11 ERA while striking out 49 batters in only 46.1 innings. 

Now as far as how Gausman shapes up in terms of fantasy baseball, he is surely one to take a long look at in almost all formats given his profile.  Blessed with a solid four pitch repertoire, Gausman can get the fastball up to the mid-90's with good movement.  That has shown up in the strikeouts and should allow him to post a K rate above 7.00 at the major league level.  In addition, Gausman is the rare young pitcher who has good control, surrendering only 5 walks all season in those 46.1 innings.  Guys who don't beat themselves with walks and who can strike people out can be fantasy baseball gold so Gausman on that aspect of his game alone should be added in all leagues.  There is no definitive word on how long this promotion could last but Gausman att he very least has a shot to impress the Orioles and make a case to stay in the rotation.  While I would not start Gausman right off the bat Thursday given the tough oppponent in Toronto, I would absolutely take a shot in order to see how this plays out.

FANTASY BASEBALL BREAKING NEWS: ROCKIES CLOSER RAFAEL BETANCOURT (GROIN) COULD HIT DL

                                                                          

Colorado Rockies closer Rafael Betancourt could be placed on the DL Wednesday due to the groin strain he suffered in Wednesday night's game.  Betancourt will have an MRI done on the groin Thursday in order to determine the severity and if he does need to go no the DL, Rex Brothers is likely first in line to pick up saves in his absence.

Analysis:  Pick up Brothers if you need a saves boost as the indications are that Betancourt could sit for two weeks in order to get things in order.  Brothers has been mowing them down with a very high K rate thus far this season so he could make a solid short-term pickup. 


FANTASY BASEBALL WRAPUP: TUESDAY

Matt Garza:  5 IP 1 H 0 ER 3 BB 5 K with an ERA of 0.00.  Good value pickup to be had here with Garza who is likely sitting on your wire after missing all of 2013 with various spring training injuries until being activated Tuesday.  One of the tougher pitchers to hit who averages a K/IP, Garza can be a SP 3 that will cost you nothing but the minute it will take you to add him to your roster.

Nate McLouth:  2/5 with his 4th HR while hitting .282.  McLouth is not a .300 hitter so the recent drop in his average was to be expected.  However he also has cleared 20 home runs in the past so he was due to up the rate there as well. 

Miguel Cabrera:  1/4 with his 12th HR while hitting .384.  It is like Cabrera and Prince Fielder are taking turns going on home run tears.  Since Cabrera has already won the Triple Crown, let's see if he can take on the .400 challenge next.  Would you doubt him? 

Max Scherzer:  8 IP 2 H 1 ER 1 BB 7 K with an ERA of 3.61.  As long as Scherzer is not facing the Astros, dominance will be at hand. 

Desmond Jennings:  1/4 with his 5th HR while hitting .241.  I really are starting to think Jennings has a B.J. Upton poster on his wall.

Kelly Johnson:  1/3 with his 8th HR while hitting .273.  Never understood why so many people loved Dan Uggla in the past but not Johnson.  Johnson will hit for a better average (much better especially now) and can hit 20-25 home runs.  He is also the rare second baseman that can do the power hitter special as he clubs 5 homers in a week.

Alex Cobb:  6.1 IP 3 H 1 1 BB 2 K with an ERA of 2.73.  It's all good for Cobb and his fantasy baseball owners this season as the Rays churn out yet another big time starter.  His strikeouts are a bit volatile but otherwise Cobb is coming up smelling like roses.

Mike Leake:  7 IP 3 H 0 ER 2 BB 4 K with an ERA of 3.25.  All Tony Cingrani owners can now commence banging their own heads against the wall.

Yoenis Cespedes:  1/5 with his 9th HR while hitting .211.  Cespedes has to really stop with this whole Adam Dunn impression.  You know where the only hit he has each game is a home run.  Still waiting on that first stolen base too buddy.  Anytime now would be awesome.

Zack Greinke:  5 ER in 4 IP with an ERA of 3.48.  At this point Greinke owners would rather he just have stayed on the DL.

Troy Tulowitzki:  2/4 with his 9th HR while hitting .338.  This guy can be truly ridiculous at times and if he ever figured out how to stay in one piece for a whole season, they might give him two MVP's.

Mike Trout:  4/5 with his 9th HR and 9th SB while hitting .293.  Commence rapid jealously of all Mike Trout owners everywhere.

Josh Hamilton:  2/5 with his sixth HR while hitting .222.  What is really said is that Hamilton is a first half hitter.  Can't wait to see what is in store for the second half.

Howie Kendrick:  2/4 with his 7th HR while hitting .311.  Whatever Kendrick is doing differently this season, it is working well for him as he is in the midst of his best season ever.  Could be the classic case of being a late bloomer but so far Kendrick has been a big time asset for those who took another shot on the perenial disappointment.

Adam Wainwright:  7.1 IP 4 H 1 ER 1 BB 6 K with an ERA of 2.38.  That's right bro.  Bring home that Cy Young like I predicted.

Pablo Sandoval:  2/5 with his 8th HR while hitting .308.  Sandoval just needs to stop making that right into McDonald's on the way home from the ballpark in order for him to put up a career season.