Happy Friday everyone as we are in the dead center of both the NFL free agency and closing in on the Major League Baseball trading deadline, it has never been more fun to be a fan of team sports here in America, and we have you covered like a blanket here at Fantasy Alarm. The fantasy baseball news comes in fast and furious as another superstar player that no one pays attention to was dealt to a World Series contender, a pitcher that no one should believe in finally came off the DL, and one that perhaps we forgot about is trying to get back into the fantasy player's mind. A first baseman in Kansas City is red hot, as is a second baseman in Atlanta that many wrote off. I know you are all enjoying your weekend, but take a few minutes out to enjoy Rounding The Bases.
Hunter Pence was traded from the Houston Astros to the Philadelphia Phillies for a package of four prospects, none of which were their two best prospects in Vance Worley and Domonic Brown. Pence goes to probably a better hitters park in Citizens Bank ballpark, but the thing that works in this deal for Pence is that he is now in a million times better lineup. With the protection of a hot Chase Utley, Ryan Howard, Domonic Brown, etc. Pence doesn't have to be the big producer, but he will be, and if anything, this makes him more valuable. He should hit fifth in the batting order behind Howard, and his numbers should only improve.
Erik Bedard has been activated from the Disabled List by the Seattle Mariners after missing a month with a sprained knee and got absolutely rocked by the Tampa Bay Rays as he allowed five earned runs in 1.1 innings, walked four and struck out two. C'mon people! Really? Are we really still thinking about Bedard???? Don't even give him a second thought for the rest of the year. The guy can't stay healthy and he isn't that good when he is out there.
Dan Uggla now is the proud owner of a 20 game hitting streak and somehow, pathetically, his average for the season is still just .206. His 19th home run of the season was his only hit of the game, but those of you who have been bitterly disappointed with Uggla in 2011, are finally starting to reap the rewards of your patience. I can definitely see him having a superb last two months of the seaosn and getting close to, if not surpassing, 30 home runs on the season, which is probably all that we expected from him to start the year anyway. Sure, his batting average is a terrible disappointment, but considering the guy was hitting .176 when the month started, .206 isn't that bad.
Brandon Beachy was sharp yet again for the Atlanta Braves, and somehow, this guy who has made 15 starts this season, won just his fourth decision of the year. Beachy threw 7.1 shutout innings against the Florida Marlins and struck out six. Granted that Florida isn't the greatest offensive club in the league, but Beahy definitely has been good much more than he has been bad. He seems like a solid option for the rest of the season, and in 10 team leagues he is a great guy to stream, while in 12 or more team leagues there is no doubt he is already on rosters. Beachy appears to have a very bright future, and while he isn't a keeper, he is certainly a guy to keep on your radar during drafts in 2012.
Jon Rauch collected his second save in three days for the Toronto Blue Jays, but I have to warn those of you who are jumping on the Rauch bandwagon to grab saves over the past two seasons. He has given up home runs the past two nights as well, and isn't exactly locking down these saves. With neither Rauch or Frank Francisco lighting the world on fire from a closing perspective, I can't say with any confidence that either guy will hold the job over the last two months. Rauch is a decent pitcher, but not a lock down closer, and Francisco puts too many guys on base. Only deal with Rauch if you absolutely have to have the saves and there are no other options in your league. And be ready for if/when they give the job back to Francisco.
Edwin Jackson made a successful debut for the St. Louis Cardinals on Friday as he allowed just one run over seven innings, walked two and struck out four. Jackson, I guess, was the main haul that St. Louis got back in the Colby Rasmus trade, and they as well as Jackson's fantasy owners are hoping that pitching coach Dave Duncan can work his magic on another average pitcher. So far, so good for the newest Cardinal, but in all honesty I don't expect Jackson to light it up down the stretch, and expect him to be an A.J. Burnett type for the Redbirds. I wouldn't go running to the waiver wire to grab this guy, unless you really like to roll the dice.
Another retread NL Central pitcher had success tonight, as Dontrelle Willis continued to roll as he allowed just two runs over six innings, walked two, and struck out three. The D-Train didn't pick up the win, but he really hasn't had a bad start since being recalled from the minors. I think that I am starting to believe again, and while he will never be a Cy Young candidate or a guy who will strikeout 200 batters, Willis seems to be worth putting on your roster full time, and as one of your last guys will bring you solid value in the weeks ahead.
Billy Butler homered for the fourth straight game and I guess Friday night he figured he would go extra special and hit two home runs, bringing his season total to 12. I wrote about him when this streak started and told you it wouldn't last long, and I do have to say that I didn't see him going on this sort of run, and while it might last a few more days, or maybe even another week but I guess it could be Butler's power finally coming into play, but I can't say that I am comfortable making that statement. This will be a guy that I will be keeping a close eye on for the rest of the season to see how he finishes in the power department to see if it will carry over into next season.
Gavin Floyd is going to be sad to see July go as he has been one of baseball's best pitchers, and showed it again on Friday in impressive fashion. Floyd allowed just one earned run over 7.1 innings against the mighty Red Sox, walking two, and striking out six. Outside of one start where he allowed seven runs, Floyd gave up just four earned runs in his other four July starts. He is an incredibly inconsistent starting pitcher and in my opinion should only be used as a streaming option unless you are in a 14-16 team league. Floyd makes you a believer every so often, but overall he is just an average pitcher at best.
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