Welcome to the very special Hurricane Irene Edition of the Tuesday Top Ten. Just days after many in the northeast felt the rumble from the earthquake, we were subjected to Hurricane Irene and all of its aftermath. Before you start thinking the end of the world is near because of all these natural disasters, just remember that Adam Dunn and Mark Reynolds both struck out three times since you began reading this article, so all is right in the world again. Now, without further adieu, here is this week’s edition of the Tuesday Top Ten fantasy baseball headlines for August 30, 2011.
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10. Oh No, Morneau – Former AL MVP Justin Morneau just can’t catch a break as he is out again with concussion symptoms. After missing almost the entire second half of 2010 with a concussion, Morneau has already missed significant time in 2011 with other assorted injuries and now could be out indefinitely after only recently coming back. He has clearly entrenched himself with a label of “injury prone” with all this time missed. If you are relying on him for any type of consistent production, then chances are you are not competing for a playoff berth or monetary prize in your fantasy baseball league.
9. Won’t You Let Me Take You on a Sea Cruz – From the Department of What Else is New, Rangers outfielder Nelson Cruz has landed on the disabled list again after injuring his leg earlier this week. Cruz has quickly supplanted J.D. Drew as the most frequently injured player in baseball. He is more fragile than a teenage girl with self-esteem issues. While Cruz has developed into a solid power hitter, he has also developed a propensity for getting injured and missing significant time during the season. This newest injury could cost Cruz at least a few weeks, but the Rangers will want to be cautious because they need his bat for the playoffs (assuming they make it). David Murphy is likely going to get a chance to replace him, so he may once again be a viable outfield option if you need a bat.
8. See You In September – Despite originally being recorded by the Tempos, this song was made popular by the Happenings in the mid 1960’s. However, I don’t think they were referring to MLB roster expansion and September call-ups to the big leagues. Every year, teams call up rookies from the minor leagues to fill out an expanded roster due to the minor league season being taken over. In 2011, most of the top rate prospects have already been called up and are currently help the big league club. Rookies such as Desmond Jennings, Eric Hosmer, Mike Moustakas, Brett Lawrie and Dustin Ackley have been contributing to their parent teams since their respective arrivals. Keep an eye on some other rookies to get recalled with prominent roles as we head towards the playoffs such as Matt Moore, Devin Mesoraco, Jesus Montero, Jacob Turner, and Julio Teheran.
7. Getting the Cold Shoulder– For major league pitchers, hearing about a shoulder injury is much scarier than needing to undergo Tommy John surgery. Former Cy Young award winners Johan Santana and Brandon Webb each had major shoulder injuries requiring surgery, and neither has pitched in the big leagues since. Braves pitcher Tommy Hanson is currently sidelined with a shoulder injury. While test results do not show any significant damage, Dr. James Andrews informed Hanson that he has a minor rotator cuff tear that is common amongst 75% of all pitchers. Hanson has been cleared to resume exercising and stretching, and could begin throwing a baseball soon. But he has endured a long season, and the Braves would be insane to rush him back out there down the stretch and potentially risk a more severe injury. Keep him stashed on your bench as long as you can.
6. Send Me a Tex Message – Despite having a poor batting average during most of his tenure with the Yankees, first baseman Mark Teixeira joined some elite company earlier this week becoming just the fifth player in history with eight straight seasons of 30 homeruns and 100 RBI. Fantasy baseball players may be a little disappointed with Teixeira’s batting average and streaky statistics, but very few hitters such as him are so consistent in terms of their overall production from year to year. He hits in the middle of a very explosive lineup and gets on base via the base on balls quite frequently. Apparently Teixeira listened to my father’s advice in Little League when he would always tell us that “a walk is as good as a hit.” I guess my father was an advocate of Moneyball before it even became a word in the vernacular.
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5. I Hate You Jason Bay – Just when you thought Jason Bay proved you were wrong for thinking it couldn’t get any worse, he goes and proves you wrong again. Since last week’s article, Bay has gone 0 for his last 13 sinking his batting average down to .229. Overall he is 2 for his last 37 with a grand total of one RBI. I can’t even come up with a rational reason why he should even be on your fantasy team’s roster, let alone starting lineup. I suppose if you needed an outfielder just to prevent forfeiting or being disqualified for having an improper roster or lineup, then he might be worth having. Otherwise, he is a bigger waste of space than Congress. If it wasn’t for Adam Dunn, Bay might get more attention for being such a bust. Never so quickly have I seen a star player in his prime lose his skills so dramatically. This has got to be Canada’s fault somehow. Jason Bay, you suck. This concludes my weekly rant about Jason Bay.
4. Hold on Hanley – Fantasy bust of the year candidate Hanley Ramirez could be out longer than expected as he suffered a setback during a rehab game with the Marlins’ class-A affiliate in Florida. Ramirez’ left shoulder has been causing him problems for quite some time now, which is unfortunate because he really started to hit well once Jack McKeon took over as manager. Now it is questionable when, or if, Ramirez will be back before the end of the season. He has been a major disappointment all season long, and now he will be rotting away on the sidelines with this injury.
3. I’m Smart Because I Stayed in a Halladay Inn Express – Phillies ace pitcher Roy Halladay made it look easy again in winning his 16th game against the powerful Reds lineup. Halladay is the true definition of an ace and is still arguably the best pitcher in the National League despite what Clayton Kershaw and Ian Kennedy have done this year. At some point we will start wondering if time and age will ever catch up with him, but not right now. He is truly the safest bet in terms of what to expect from him every start. In a year dominated by some tremendous pitching performances, do not underestimate or take for granted how impressive Halladay is in every aspect of the game.
2. Sweet and Sober – Former MVP and drug addict Josh Hamilton has been challenged by his manager to step up and start hitting for some power. After sustaining a stupid shoulder injury earlier in the season, Hamilton has come back without his notorious power stroke. With the Rangers in a tight pennant race, Ron Washington has called upon Hamilton to work on better consistency in his swing which could lead to an increase in power production. Thus far, Hamilton has responded well showing some signs that his power has come back.
1. Don’t Stop Believin’ in Stephen – Nationals manager Davey Johnson made it official that future ace Stephen Strasburg is on schedule to make his season debut on September 6 after throwing one more rehab start this Thursday. This is huge news in both real and fantasy baseball because Strasburg, the #1 pick in the 2010 draft, is considered to be one of the biggest pitching prospects in recent memory. He underwent Tommy John surgery last summer and is now ready to make his return. Grab him immediately if for some reason he is available in your fantasy league. It makes no difference whether your league is keeper or non-keeper because he could be a difference maker as your league’s playoffs begin in the next couple weeks.
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