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The Week That Was: “Just-in Time”
Justin Upton’s potential to carry a fantasy team highlights this week’s Week That Was.
Justin Upton: Justin Upton went 3-4 in the 3-2 loss to the Marlins Thursday. In the last week, the younger Upton has hit a ridiculous .409 with a dinger, 6 runs, 3 RBI and an even more ridiculous OPS of 1,146. This is a player that often does not get enough love in fantasy circles. He is only 26 and from ages 22-25 averaged 24 HR and 100+ runs per year. I sense a big last two months for J-UP. Pick him up now from an unsuspecting owner and you will be Justin time to reap the rewards. Do it! Now!
Dillon Gee: From pick him up to sit him down. Dillon Gee was subpar again this week, giving up six runs over five innings against the Brewers. So, since coming off the shelf, Gee is making his owners say Oh Gee! Yup, the Mets righty has given up 10 runs and 3 big flys in his last 10 innings. The good news is that Gee has a 3.49 ERA and 1.09 WHIP for the year. However, warning signs abound. Gee has an unsustainable .252 BABIP against and is barely averaging 89 on his fastball. At this point, he is not an every week fantasy starter but rather a spot starter. Be careful, there is a lot of risk here . . . a lot.
Corey Kluber: I know I have written a bunch about Corey Kluber but he just keeps on keeping on and justifying the faith Ray Flowers and I have had in him since last year. This week, Kluber was just awesome. He went a full nine innings, giving up no earned runs, no walks, and only two hits while mowing down an even 10. Kluber is now 10-6 with a 2.77 ERA and 1.13 WHIP and a sweet 162:33 K:BB rate through 149.1 innings. If there is a doubter in your league, pounce. Kluber is the real deal and just keeps on proving it.
Will Venable: Will Venable had a strong game Thursday, going 3-5 with two RBI and a run scored in a win over the Cubs. After an awful start to the year that had many, this writer included, speculating as to whether he was hurt, Venable has come back to life. Over the last two weeks, the Padre OF has hit .353 with 3SB and a dinger. While he will not hit .350 for the rest of the year, I think you can count on Venable to produce in the counting categories. Call the Venable owner in your league, carp about his sorry .213 average for the year and catch a player in the rise.
Tyson Ross: Tyson Ross was dealing Thursday, giving up just one run on five hits while striking out 11. Ross now owns some pretty year-long numbers: 2.65 ERA, 1.16 WHIP and an impressive 143:47 K:BB rate. However, those numbers pale in comparison to how dominant he has been over the last 30 days: 1.47 ERA, 0.86 WHIP and a 53/7 K/BB. Given that his velo is solid, his BABIP shows he has not been lucky and he pitches his home games in Petco, there is no reason to think Ross will slow down. At this point, he is as reliable as they come in fantasy. Buy!
Austin Jackson: Like his speedy counterpart Will Venable in SD, Austin Jackson has not had a banner year but also like Venable, he is heating up. Thursday, Ajax went 2-5 with an RBI and a run scored. His year-long stats do not jump off the page: .268 with 4 HR and 9 SB. However, over the last 14 days, Ajax is well over .400 and has scored a silly 15 runs in that span. He is not that good but he is far better than his year-long stats show. You know what that means – buying opportunity!
Henderson Alvarez: Henderson Alvarez was darn good this week, giving up just two runs, six hits, and one walk over 8 innings while striking out 4. With a 54+% ground ball rate a miniscule 1.58 BB/9 and an average FB velo of 93.6 MPH, Alvarez is a very good bet to continue to produce. Some are down on the Marlin hurler because his K rate of 5.44 per 9 just should be better. If you can get Alvarez from that “glass half empty” owner, you will enjoy the last two months of the season.
And last and but not least, this from the Baron of the Bottom of the Page. Schultz says: “Greetings from Newport, Rhode Island. Thanks to the wonders of this newfangled technology, Schultz is saying things from a ferry on what he thinks is Narragansett Bay en route to the Newport Folk Festival.
This year’s folk festival comes on the eve of MLB's trading deadline, which should roughly correlate with the trading deadline in most roto-leagues. For those that play in AL-only or NL-only leagues, this can be a harrowing time. Especially for those with "death penalty" rules for Interleague swaps. Surely, all NL-only Jeff Samardzija roto-owners would love to return to the days when their biggest complaint was his lack of wins. Chase Headley owners in NL-only leagues though may be relieved by the mercy killing of his dreadful stat lines.
For those in keeper leagues, be very very aware of the players on the other side of the real life dump deals. In return for Samardzija and the illusion that was Jason Hammel, the Cubs received Addison Russell, a wonderful shortstop prospect. He's too young to nab at this point but keep him on your radar for future seasons as Theo Epstein knows what he's doing and generally doesn't act rashly or foolishly. This also means the clock is ticking on Starlin Castro's time in Wrigleyville.
Cliff Lee, Alex Rios and A.J. Burnett may all change teams in the near future. (I thought it was comical that Burnett essentially had a 21st team on his no-trade list by agreeing to be freely traded back to the Bronx). Pay attention to the players coming back, For Pete's Sake, it may pay dividends in the near future.”
Response: Schultz going the extra mile! Nicely done! However, I am left to wonder why anyone would have a rule that says you lose a player if he gets traded to the other league. Mind boggling indeed!
Important Final Thought: I know that while you read this column for fantasy baseball, you are also starting to get ready for your fantasy football drafts next month. Without the truly amazing Fantasy Alarm Fantasy Football Draft Guide, well … wait, draft without the guide? Who would do that?