The Chef's table: Is It Josh's Time?
See Why the Fantasy Chef Thinks It Is Safe To Put Your Trust Back in Josh Rutledge
If you made it big in the restaurant business, you got a Chef’s Table.
At Fantasy Alarm we have one too. Expect here you don’t need a reservation. Or a fat stack to pay for it.
The best part about the Chef’s Table is that you get to watch the preparation of your food from start to finish. Seeing every intricate detail that goes into your dish while enjoying the company of family and friends. Well, that’s what I’m gonna give you here.
Each week I will profile a player based on increased street cred throughout the industry. Whether because of a recent hot streak, increased playing time or a promotion because of an injury. From there I will break down the recipe for that player’s success and determine if he is just a flash in the pan or someone who is gonna bring home the bacon.
Today’s Special: Josh Rutledge
The Rockies may be one of the worst teams in all of baseball, and now without Troy Tulowitzki, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t fantasy value to be found in the Mile High City. Just two seasons ago it was almost certain that Rutledge was going to be the team’s future in the middle-infield, however a terrible 2013 season landed him back at Triple-A where he was forced to work on his game being becoming a staple at the top level. Although there was much doubt, Rutledge has been able to turn things around when given playing time and should once again start to gain interest in all formats alike.
Since finding himself in the everyday lineup, Rutledge is slashing .371/.371/.629 with six extra-base hits (1 HR), nine RBI and five runs scored over his last 35 at-bats. Although the sample size is rather small, it should not be overlooked. He is hitting both left-handed pitchers (.378 BA) and right-handed (.278 BA) alike, while owning a rather similar home/away split, .313/.300, which is unlikely coming from a hitter in the Rockies lineup. However, there are a few things that should be addressed before going all in on Rutledge just yet.
For starters, he is a career .265 hitter, so the likelihood of him being about to support an average north of .300 is unlikely the rest of the way. Especially when his .408 BABIP starts to drop after logging more at-bats. He is striking out at a rather high clip, currently at 27.8 percent, which wouldn’t be so bad if he drew more than eight walks through 140 at-bats. Although what he does at the plate is the most important to consider when trying to analyze someone’s fantasy value, one has to consider his playing time.
With Tulowitzki slated to make his return to the Rockies lineup by mid-August, it is hard to believe that Rutledge is going to receive regular playing time the rest of the way, unless the team’s top hitter was to be dealt prior to the trade deadline. Both Nolan Arenado and D.J. LeMahieu are better defensively than Rutledge at second and third base respectively, so if Tulo returns healthy Rutledge is going to find himself back on the bench regardless of how he is hitting.
Despite the negative side to Rutledge, his current production is worth monitoring although it could be short-lived. Barring a mammoth deal that would land Tulowitzki with a new team before Friday’s trade deadline, Rutledge’s fantasy value is going to last for just a few weeks at best. However, that doesn’t mean prospective owners should not ride the wave while he is still relevant. The fact that he qualifies at both shortstop and second base is a huge asset to have on your fantasy team, considering the amount of injuries that have been endured up to this point in the season.
He is currently owned in less than 40 percent of leagues throughout the major providers (ESPN, Yahoo! And CBS) which is a crime when considering both his home ballpark and the fact he is hitting in the top third of the Rockies lineup. Not to mention there is always a chance that the injury-prone Tulowitzki may need more time to recover than originally anticipated. Those in deep league formats will want to stake their claim as soon as possible, because if his hot hitting continues, he is going to be virtually owned in all formats, at least for the next few weeks.