As we approach the All-Star Break in Major League Baseball, it's all roses today. No PED talk. No 'my guy was jobbed when he wasn't named to the All-Star team' talk. You know me well enough to know that I can't write a piece without tearing someone down though, so there will be some of that in what follows. OK, I don't always do that, I prefer to think that I keep things real, but you're entitled to disagree and call me a curmudgeon if you want.
Chris Davis blasted his 34th homer to set a career best Thursday (he also drove in run 86, one more than he had last season in 47 more games). Since June 28th he's hit six home runs, an impressive mark by any measure. However, he's only had a total of seven hits in those 44 at-bats (.159). Davis has also seen his punchout mark skyrocket as he's struck out 57 times in the last 38 games. By the by, his average is down to .310.
Freddie Freeman is a deserving All-Star. H's only driven in 19 runs in 39 road games, but in 40 games at home he's knocked in 42 runs. Overall Freeman has nine homer, 60 RBIs and is batting .313 in 79 games played. Some more power would be nice, his fly ball rate is at a four year low of 34 percent, but there's no room for complaining given his overall performance.
Edwin Jackson... a name that deserves some attention in mixed leagues. I know the overall numbers are awful, a 5.11 ERA and 1.44 WHIP say danger, but he's pitched much better of late. It's more than the three wins in three outings, it's the fact that he's walked a total of three batters over those three games while allowing a total of four earned runs. It might take some guts to roster him, and even more to actually start him given his overall work this season, but if you're looking for a boost on the hill this hard throwing righty might be able to get it done for you.
Brett Lawrie is closing in on a return to the big leagues, and it could happen this weekend in fact. What makes his return especially intriguing is that he has been playing second base in the minors leagues, and there's a chance that he could fill that spot in the bigs as well. In that scenario, IF it plays out (there is no guarantee it will), Edwin Encarnacion would take over at the hot corner and Maicer Izturis would hit the bench. You might be saying who cares when it comes to Maicer, but Izturis has been quite the player of late: over his last 26 games Izturis has hit .308 with 15 RBIs and 13 runs scored. He's not a great hitter though so a bench role on an elite team makes sense. As for Lawrie, people seem to have forgotten just how talented he is given the injuries and poor performance he has put out there of late. Lawrie has the talent that if he stays healthy he could still be a top-10 third sacker the rest of the way. Don't sleep on him if he's on waivers.
Josh Phegley blasted his third homer in five games for the White Sox, and he is the hot add behind the dish in fantasy leagues. Since one of the bombs was a salami, he now has eight RBIs in five games. He's also failed to draw a walk while striking out six times. In fact, his .200 batting average is above his .190 OBP. It's obviously too early to draw meaningful conclusions, but it would be wise not to think you've got Mike Napoli or Matt Wieters on your hands here.
Yasiel Puig tweaked his hip Thursday after going 2-for-4 (of course). For now, he's considered day-to-day. He's be amazing this season, flat out historic, but there are some interesting factoids that I felt I should lay out for you. Over the last 30 days teammates Hanley Ramirez (seven) and Adrian Gonzalez (six) have more homers than Puig (four). Over the last 30 days Puig has nine RBIs. Ryan Zimmerman has 23. Heck, Jason Castro has 11. The last 30 days Puig has hit a tremendous .375 but teammate HanRam is the one who leads baseball with a .412 average.
By Ray Flowers
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The co-host of The Drive on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio (Sirius 210, XM 87: Mon-Thurs 7 PM, Fri. 9 PM EDT), Ray also hosts a show Sunday night (7-10 PM EDT). Ray has spent years squirreled away studying the inner workings of the fantasy game to the detriment of his personal life. Specializing in baseball, football and hockey, some consider him an expert in all three.
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