The calendar changes again as we enter June and fantasy baseball is in full swing. It is prospect season now as many of the minors' best will be discussed in front offices as teams decide whether or not to bring their players up. You will likely see many over the next week or so, including Brett Lawrie even though he is resting a few days after being hit on the hand. You will likely really have to make some tough choices with these kids coming up as you can't have all of them so you have to hedge your bets on which one or two might be able to help your team. But there is plenty of other news and games happening each and every day so never miss a night of Rounding The Bases.
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After giving up at least one run in his last three outings, it was good to see Drew Storen come in today and just pick up the save without any real drama. He did allow one hit, but that was all as he closed out the Phillies to earn his tenth save of the season. Fantasy owners were starting to sweat a bit as he had a rough week, but Storen has good stuff and I don't see any reason that he coughs this job up any time in the near future. Continue to start him with confidence and he will reward you more often than not.
Matt Holliday will make his second stay on the Disabled List this season with a quadriceps injury that has had him in and out of the lineup for the past week or so. There is no timetable for his return, but given the fact that he has been able to get in a few games here and there, I would say that this should be just the maximum of the 15 games and he should be back in the lineup.
Holliday's teammate, Kyle McClellan is also going on the shelf for two weeks as he is suffering from a hip injury. There isn't much news about the severity of this injury, but from the sounds of it the Cardinals don't expect him to miss and great length of time. They have called up former first round pick, Lance Lynn, to take his place and start on Thursday. Lynn is a decent pitcher who doesn't give up many home runs, but he also doesn't get an over abundance of strikeouts, so he isn't someone that I would grab in anticipation of this start on Thursday, but perhaps if he does do well he could have value in at least NL-only leagues.
Speaking of a closer who needed a confidence boost, Neftali Feliz had gotten so bad that the manager actually had to give him a vote of confidence, which is the sure sign a guy is struggling. However, Texas had no desire to want to remove him from the role, and he should have quieted a lot of concerns on Wednesday as he picked up save number eleven, although he did not strike anyone out. Feliz is still an elite guy, and while his recent struggles are a bit of a concern, there is no reason to think that he won't continue his dominance into the future.
Colby Lewis is showing that last year was no fluke, even though with his win today he only evened his record to 5-5. He is not getting quite the strikeouts that he was last season, but he is still posting a respectable ERA and a very nice WHIP. I know that Lewis has been frustrating some of you at different points this season, but don't worry, he will be fine and should win 14 games or better with 165 whiffs, and keep his ERA at least below 3.75.
Don't look now, but here comes Nick Swisher starting to heat up! After an atrocious first two months of the season, all of a sudden Swisher has doubled his home run total in the past four days. He homered on Sunday and then went yard again today to bring his season total to four. I know that isn't very impressive, but the guy does have some good power and you knew he would come around at some point. I think he is a lock to get to 20, so he should have a pretty decent number of long balls still in that bat. His batting average is never going to heat up so don't look for that to get over .240, but if you need power and someone got frustrated enough to drop him, go ahead and scoop up their garbage, it will be your reward.
Brian Matusz made his season debut today for the Baltimore Orioles after missing the first two months with an intercostal muscle strain (it's in your side somewhere!) and I have to say that I am encouraged by his outing. Matusz gave up just four hits and one run over 5.2 innings, didn't walk a batter and struck out three. Matusz landed on the fantasy map in his rookie year and I really think he has the stuff to continue to succeed at the major league level. I would assume he is available in a decent number of leagues and if you need any pitching help at all go out and get this guy and hope he continues his progression and maturity as a pitcher.
I can't believe that I am about to use Brent Lillibridge and fantasy value in the same sentence, but here we go. If you are in a deep enough league, say 14-20 teams, I think right now Brent Lillibridge could have some fantasy value. The light hitting White Sox utility man pumped out his sixth home run of the season today and he is also hitting over .300 and has stolen five bases. I know that you are thinking that these are not impressive numbers, but considering he has done this with just 65 at bats you might be forced to change your tune. But the Sox have been getting him into the lineup more and more whether it be at second base or in the outfield and if you are in a bind he could help you out, at least in the short term.
After a rough start to his season, Anaheim's Tyler Chatwood is starting to turn things around, and should at least be viewed as a pitch streaming option now, if not a full time spot on your roster. He didn't get the decision on Wednesday, but he did throw seven shutout innings against the Royals although he struck out just two. That is now three straight starts that Chatwood has given up fewer than three earned runs, but he will need to get more whiffs before fantasy owners really start to take notice of him. Right now I would use him just as a possible option if he has two starts, or else as a streaming option if he has a favorable matchup like he did today.
I have to take a minute to give a shout out to how awesome Jay Bruce is! I know he was the National League Player of the Week last week, but he has continued that tirade into June as he belted his 17th homer of the year and now has driven in 46 runs. One knock on Bruce was always his batting average, but right now he even has that at .292 on the season. Since a day off on May 18th, Bruce has hit nine home runs and has driven in 22 runs. Obviously at some point this has to calm down, but don't look for Bruce to fall off a cliff here. He is one of the more talented young hitters in baseball, and is obviously realizing that potential now.
After getting himself in trouble by giving up two runs in the first inning, Reds' pitcher Mike Leake settled down and then ended up having a pretty decent outing. Leake ended up giving up three runs over six innings and striking out three. Of course you can't just remove that first inning, but I do like that he was able to put it behind him and have success for the rest of the night. With a good start in his first one back out of the minors and this one, I think that Leake could be worth a look in deeper leagues, and if 12 teamers he is at least worth using as a streamer.
Allen Craig came off the bench for the Cardinals and hit a pinch-hit two run homer off of Tim Lincecum at Busch Stadium tonight. Craig has really started heating up with the bat lately, and with the aforementioned injury to Matt Holliday, I have to figure that Craig will be looking at every day at bats for the time being. The Cardinals had already been trying to find ways to get him into the lineup more often as he had been used at second base a handful of times recently also. Craig has shown some great power potential, and with regular playing time, he really could be useful for your team, even if it isn't for the long term.
Want to read more? Check out our Fantasy Alarm in-season fantasy baseball coverage complete with nightly fantasy baseball recaps, two start pitchers, best waiver pickups, injury reports and in-depth minor league baseball coverage.
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