It is another scorching Saturday here in Upstate New York as the thermometer pushed past 95 degrees again today. Hopefully we are supposed to get a reprive from this madness tomorrow, but the madness of fantasy baseball is still in full swing. Tonight we will celebrate the callup of one of the last great prospects we were watching before the season started, a former top prospect who suddenly has found his way, and another uber prospect who isn't doing what we hoped in 2011. There is always pitching news, and one of fantasy's finest third sackers hits the Disabled List. There is just over two months to go in the fantasy season as we continue to go Rounding The Bases.
Adrian Beltre has been placed on the 15 day DL by the Texas Rangers for a hamstring injury he suffered running the bases in Friday's game against the Toronto Blue Jays. The injury has been deemed a Grade 1 strain, which is the least serious of the three, so hopefully this will be something that only costs Beltre the required two weeks. He claimed that he was in a pretty good deal of pain, but overall I don't expect him to be out long. Chris Davis has been recalled from the minor leagues, but there is no reason to consider picking him up for fantasy purposes at this time.
Chase Utley had a huge game on Saturday as he popped two home runs and also added a single as he drove in four runs on the night. Utley hasn't hit for a ton of power this season, as he still has just six bombs after this outburst, but he is hitting .286 and has stolen a few bases. The fact that he came back before he was expected to and is doing as well as he is leads me to believe that his knee is in pretty good shape, and barring any unforeseen issues in the near future, should go back to being a top five second baseman in 2012.
Welcome to the major leagues, Desmond Jennings! After what seems like months of waiting (oh wait, it was months of waiting), Jennings got the call to the big club and started the game in left field and led off for the Rays. Does this mean that B.J. Upton or some other outfielder will be traded, opening the door for Jennings? It is a good possibility. Like with Alex Presley, the fact that the team put him in the leadoff spot in his first game and didn't try to protect him by hitting him in the bottom of the lineup says a lot to me, and I would venture to say that Jennings could be in the majors to stay. If you need any help in the outfield, are in a keeper league, or are looking for some stolen bases, Jennings is your guy. He already had two hits, two walks, an RBI, and a stolen base in his first game!
Speaking of prospects, Mike Moustakas has certainly cooled way down in his first trip to the major leagues, but he showed a flash of what we are all hoping he will become on Saturday as he belted out two hits and drove in three runs in his game against the Rays. Moustakas has a bunch of holes in his swing, and while some day soon he will likely be an impressive power hitter in the majors, I really see 2011 being a pretty big struggle for him, possibly much of 2012 as well unless he makes adjustments to how pitchers are trying to get him out. Moustakas will put a lot of balls in bleachers around Major League Baseball, but he will also go down swinging an awful lot as well. Buyer beware on the big Royals prospect.
I know that Vernon Wells has been hitting for a bunch more power in the last five or six weeks, but can someone please tell me why everyone is so excited about him? He hit his 16th homer of the year today, his second consecutive day with a jack, but he is still hitting in th e.220s! If you can trade him right now while his numbers look sorta good I would jump on the opportunity. Wells' best days are certainly behind him, and is likely to start struggling again before too long to hit home runs and then he isn't bringing anything to your fantasy team besides misery.
Holy Cow! Cameron Maybin is freakin' HOT! With his two knocks on Saturday, he now has 17 hits in his last ten games and he has also stolen nine bases in the last eight games. Maybin was always supposed to have this kind of talent, and in spacious PetCo Park it appears that he is finally living up to his lofty expectations. He is an absolute must add at this point if it isn't already too late, and could be a huge late season find in keeper leagues. In fact, I am going to pause now to see if I can find him in any of my leagues......I'll be right back. Damn, gone already. Hopefully you have better luck than I do.
I have struggled to answer the many questions I have gotten about what to expect from Rich Harden this year. And I have often just said that I expect him to get injured at some point, but after tonight I have a second answer. I still expect him to get hurt at some point, but if you are looking at what kind of production you are going to get out of him, tonight's pitching line is pretty much typical of what you can expect. Harden lasted 5.1 innings, allowed two runs, walked four and struck out six. Of course there will be a few gems, and a few bombs, but other than that he won't go deep into games because of walks and strikeouts taking a lot of pitches up, and he won't give up too many runs. And of course, before too long, the injury bug will come biting.
A.J. Burnett's 2011 season can be summed up in one word I think......"eh". Burnett has been better than he was in 2011, there is no doubt about that, but there is still very little to look at from his season that is worth getting excited about. On Saturday, Burnett pitched fairly well despite taking the loss as he allowed three runs over 5.2 innings, walking three and striking out six. He is now 8-8 on the season, and perhaps he wouldn't get so much grief about his pitching if it wasn't for his enormous contract, but nevertheless, a pitcher like him on the Yankees should have lower than a 4.21 ERA and at least 10 wins. He does have 110 strikeouts in 130 innings, so he is still bringing you some value, but I was hoping for more of a bounce back. when the season began.
Nick Blackburn (MIN) vs. Derek Holland (TEX) -- Wow, this was a really hard one for me to pick because I really don't like Blackburn and I really do like Holland. However, Blackburn was good his last time out, Holland was a trainwreck, and the Twins have played better of late. I can't say that I am choosing this one with the utmost confidence, but if you are looking for a streamer this one looks good to me.
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