'Jose Bautista' photo (c) 2012, Keith Allison - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/ Fantasy baseball is a whirlwind of emotions. Today, we'll explore some of the up's and down's of the players you've been counting on.

Jose Bautista has been placed on the 15 day DL with a left hip bone bruise. That is not good news. Well, it's not catastrophic or anything like that, but the early returns are that he will likely be shut down for about two weeks before being evaluated. If that turns out to be accurate, then we're likely looking at a mid-Septemberish return. Bautista hits the shelf batting .259, and there is that terrible average again (he's hit better than .261 just one time in his career). He has 28 homers, 73 RBIs and 82 runs scored, strong levels of production without a doubt. His total of seven steals is also a nice addition to his game. Still I'm having a hard time understanding why everyone continues to think a guy who is a career .254 hitter should be a top-20 selection in fantasy, even if he is a fantastic run producer.

Starlin Castro is a total mess. He's a punk. He doesn't pay attention, and it seems like he just doesn't care at times. Been that way for years. Folks didn't seem to care much when he was hitting, but now, big problem. Castro keeps regressing as the season wears one. Almost seems like he's already looking forward to the holidays. Over the last 30 days he's hitting .207 with a .511 OPS. He's been flat out pathetic. No end in sight either.

Prince Fielder hit 30 homers with 108 RBIs and 83 runs scored last season. This year he's on pace for 26 homers, 111 RBIs and 80 runs scored. Pretty much the same thing, right? However, there are a few cracks in the old foundation. After batting .299 and .313 the past two seasons, he's slumped down to .260. He's also going to lose a rather impressive streak of 4-straight years with an OBP of at least .400 (he's sitting at .348). The old SLG percentage is also at a career worst .441, light years removed from his .528 career mark. Some are blaming his off the field situation, he's going through a divorce, while others are just talking about a good old fashioned down year. He's still been very productive, even in a down season.

The last 30 days Paul Goldschmidt has 10 bombs to lead baseball. That's the same total as the following the following 10 guys combined – Hunter Pence, Starling Marte, Chase Headley, Michael Cuddyer, Jean Segura, Ian Kinsler, Dexter Fowler, David Freese, Allen Craig and Raul Ibanez.

Lance Lynn came out of nowhere last season to produce a fantastic season of 18-7. When you get that off the wavier-wire you do a little dance. When that record is accompanied by 180 Ks, you break dance. His ratios were league average stuff (3.78 ERA, 1.32 WHIP), but that was perfectly fine. However, he really slowed in the second half with a 4.32 ERA and 1.44 WHIP. Flash forward to this season and he's been the exactly same guy. His ratios are nearly identical at 3.97 and 1.27, and he's pounded out 153 Ks in 161 innings while going 13-7. He's given up eight earned runs and 20 base runners over his last two starts (11.1 innings) as his owners are holding their collective breaths in the hope that he doesn't have another late season fade.

Been listening to a lot of 80's music. Did I just date myself?

Rick Porcello is still on the lips of some as an answer on the hill. My question for those of you that believe that is – why? We're 827 innings into his career and he's got a 4.55 ERA and 1.40 WHIP. This season? Try 4.52 and 1.32. He's upped his K-rate a bit, but so what, the results just haven't been there. I know he's allowed three or fewer earned runs over eight of his last nine outings, but again, so what?

Zack Wheeler has allowed five runs over his last three starts as he's lowered his ERA from 3.91 to 3.49. One of the biggest keys has been that he has walked just four batters over those three starts while punching out 21 batters (he's thrown 19 innings). That 1.38 WHIP isn't doing anyone any good, but nearly a K per inning (62 in 69.2 frames) and a 6-2 record have got his rookie season a rocking. Speaking of Mets arms, we all know how good Matt Harvey has been, but do we? The guy has a 2.25 ERA and 0.89 WHIP folks. That's shades of Pedro Martinez.


By Ray Flowers


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About Ray Flowers

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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