Welcome back to another edition of the Tuesday Top Ten list of relevant and newsworthy fantasy baseball stories. After making a triumphant return last week, your appetite has been whetted again to the point where you need your weekly dose. Now, without further adieu, here is the Tuesday Top Ten fantasy baseball headlines for August 2, 2011.
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10. Johan is No-Han – From the Department of Too Good to be True, Mets ace pitcher Johan Santana has suffered a setback in his rehab assignment. After throwing three innings in a Single-A game several days ago, Santana is still experiencing pain in his surgically-repaired left shoulder and will visit the doctor in New York this week. It was a pipe dream that Santana would be able to pitch at some point this season, but things looked optimistic last week when he began his rehab. But reality has come crashing down on the Mets and it is highly likely Santana will be shut down, thus precluding any return to action in 2011. He should be kept in keeper leagues on the hopes that he begins spring training at close to 100%. But if you stashed him on your DL this season, chances are you will not be rewarded for such thinking.
9. The Marlins Have a Delicate Johnson – As a follow up to last week’s phallic reference to a Johnson, I thought I would reward you with more. Marlins ace pitcher Josh Johnson apparently will begin throwing again this week. It seemed all but certain that he was being shut down for good, but things change in a matter of a week. Johnson is scheduled to go through several throwing sessions before he begins any type of rehab assignment. The best case scenario is that he comes back and pitches for Florida in September. He should be stashed on your DL in case he does return. Even if he does not, keep him for next year so you can endure another season of intermittent injuries, missed starts, and poor run support.
8. Pineda is Delayed-a – I apologize for this caption but not many words rhyme with Pineda and I couldn’t think of a clever play on words with “piñata” in it. Mariners rookie sensation Michael Pineda will have his next start skipped meaning he will not have any starts this week. Seattle wants to limit his innings, which is a good idea considering he is a rookie and the Mariners have nothing to play for anymore. Pineda has been very impressive, including earning an All-Star nomination as a replacement for a replacement for a replacement. But his stamina is being tested with all the innings he has pitched, so be wary of relying on him down the stretch as Seattle plans on giving him sufficient rest.
7. Texas Fold ‘em – Not everything is bigger in Texas. For Chris Davis, the size of the baseball as it left the pitcher’s hand was likely as small as his batting average. He never materialized as a top prospect despite being given numerous opportunities with the Rangers. Perhaps he needed a change of scenery, and that is exactly what he got when he was traded to Baltimore in the Koji Uehara trade. Davis will get an opportunity to establish himself as the Orioles first baseman in the wake of their other trade sending Derrek Lee to Pittsburgh. Davis has a lot of potential as he succeeded in the minor leagues, but his failures in the big leagues have designated him a quad-A type player. He is worth taking a flyer on if you have the roster space as he may get hot and put on a power display at hitter-friendly Camden Yards.
6. The Curse of de la Rosa – Earlier this year, Rockies pitcher Jorge de la Rosa sustained a season-ending injury which required surgery. Now, Dodgers rookie pitcher Rubby de la Rosa has been diagnosed with a sprained UCL ligament in his elbow and will undergo season-ending Tommy John surgery. In a dreadful season for the Dodgers, de la Rosa was one of the bright spots as he pitched very well in his rookie campaign. Now he is likely out until the end of 2012 assuming his recovery and rehab go smoothly. If you have him in a keeper league, he is worth keeping for his long-term potential. In a non-keeper league, he is as useful to your team as Jason Bay.
5. Bay-bee Steps – Of course the Tuesday Top Ten list includes some hate language for Jason Bay. They go together like rama-lama-lama-dinga-da-dingee-dong. In all fairness, Bay has been extremely hot over the past week going 9 for 28 which is good for a .321 average. Well, that is hot for Bay which isn’t saying much. He even broke through with an extra base hit, which was his first in a month. Despite this recent “hot” streak, Bay is still a huge disappointment and a complete fantasy bust. Maybe you can find someone who is desperate for an outfielder and trade him. If not, he should continue riding your bench until he proves he can be productive over a more extended period of time. It would be nice if he could actually hit some homeruns and drive in a few runs as well. But that is asking a bit too much for the $66,000,000 man.
4. Philling the Pressure – Phil Hughes rejoined the Yankees rotation a month ago and has impressed no one. He has pitched so poorly that even Jason Bay could hit a homerun off of him (ok maybe he hasn’t been THAT bad). Regardless, the Yankees are considering moving Hughes back to the bullpen where he excelled in 2009. Hughes has been unable to maintain his velocity deep into games, so the thought is that he can expend his energy and resources in a truncated time frame. It also makes sense since the Yankees are getting maximum contributions from Freddy Garcia and Bartolo Colon, along with rookie Ivan Nova who was recently recalled from the minor leagues. Hughes presence in the bullpen will also provide some depth for that injury-plagued group. If Hughes is on your fantasy team, he is about to become irrelevant.
3. The Buchholz Stops Here – Red Sox pitcher Clay Buchholz is all but done for the year as he was diagnosed with a stress fracture in his lower back. Terry Francona refused to acknowledge that he was out for the season, but that is as believable as the Republicans denying George W. Bush’s role in the current financial debt crisis we are in. While Buchholz may return for the playoffs, it is likely the Red Sox will not rush him back, especially if Erik Bedard can step in and be a solid number three starter. Keep Buchholz stashed on your DL for now and definitely stick with him in a keeper league. But do not count on any further production for the 2011 season.
2. Six Pence All the Richer – the rich get richer as the perennial NL East champion Phillies have acquired Hunter Pence from the Astros for some high level prospects. Pence was acquired to fill the role that was vacated by Jayson Werth before he agreed to steal $140,000,000 from the Nationals. Pence is coming into his own as he hits his prime and is now hitting in a solid Phillies lineup behind Chase Utley and Ryan Howard. He was a valuable fantasy commodity before, but now his value increases even more hitting in the bandbox known as Citizens Bank Park. His acquisition also resulted in rookie Domonic Brown being sent back down to the minors to hone his skills.
1. Strasburg – right ahead! – Remember him? You know, the former #1 overall pick who took the league by storm upon his arrival in 2010? After undergoing Tommy John surgery last year, Stephen Strasburg is about to begin a rehab assignment and could be back with the Nationals by the end of August or early September. This could be a huge difference maker in your fantasy league assuming your season extends that long. Strasburg has reportedly been reaching the mid-90’s with his fastball, so he could come back and resume his status as an ace pitcher. If you are in a keeper league, chances are he is already on someone’s roster. But if he is still available as a free agent, pick him up now and stash him on your disabled list. Keep monitoring the situation to see if he suffers any setbacks. If he makes it through his rehab starts completely healthy, he could factor into your league championship in a big way.
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