It was a news-filled Friday in fantasy baseball as things are happening all over. There is some brand new injury news, a rookie's first home run, and of course Stephen Strasburg pitched again which is always exciting. We have some hot pitchers, and a few that you might want to cut bait on. Another weekend is upon us and you can never get enough Rounding The Bases.
Derrek Lee had what could be a breakout game in getting this season turned around for him, but I really don't think that you should look too much into it or expect him to be the kind of .310/30/100 hitter he used to be. Even with the two homers, his season total still sits at just ten as we approach July. Even more surprising than that is his batting average is just .232. Lee and the whole Cubs team are having down years, and while I expect his batting average to improve to the .275 range, I would be surprised if he hit more than 20-22 homers on the season.
Troy Tulowitzki is on the DL with a broken wrist after being hit by a pitch in last night's game. The damage from Alex Burnett's pitch won't require surgery, but Tulo will still be out for the next six weeks which is a devastating blow to both Colorado and his fantasy owners. Hopefully you have a decent backup, but given the landscape of the shortstop position that is unlikely. Feel free to email me if you are looking for a replacement.
J.D. Drew strained his hamstring running after a fly ball in the outfield, and although he made the catch, he left the game shortly after. Drew has a mile long list of injuries throughout his career, so my guess is this won't be a one day and back thing. I would take him out of your lineups for tomorrow if possible and put him on the pine until he is able to return for a couple of days.
Miguel Cabrera left his game on Friday with what the team is calling dizziness. He was able to bat twice in the game before going out and the Tigers are saying this is a day to day situation. Hopefully this is something minor and Miggy can go back to torturing AL pitching and get back on track to that MVP award.
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Who said the Phillies couldn't hit? Well Ryan Howard certainly remembers as he went OFF in the game against the Minnesota Twins. Howard homered twice and also had his second triple of the season as he drove in three runs and was just a SINGLE short of the cycle. You don't see that too often. He has now driven in 49 runs on the year and best of all he is batting .293. When this guy gets hot he can carry a fantasy team for a few weeks or a month, so jump on the Howard Express and figure that you are going places.
Lord Strasburg of Washington wowed the Nationals crowd again on Friday and his magical tour across the major leagues continues. Strasburg struck out ten guys over seven innings and gave up just the one run on an RBI groundout. While I am very happy to see him live up to the hype when so many athletes fail to do that, I have to admit that I am a little tired of writing about him already. He dominates every time and it is harder to praise this kid every time takes the mound with something new you haven't already said. The opinion on him is obvious, he is the real deal and is fantasy gold in keeper leagues, but in seasonal leagues watch for an innings limit come September.
Gavin Floyd won't get nearly the pub, but he competed pitch for pitch with Strasburg and nearly came away with a victory. One start after being in the dueling no-hitter with Ted Lilly, Floyd allowed just one run over eight innings and struck out five. This is three straight starts in which he has only given up one run, and things definitely look like they have turned around for Floyd. This kind of production is clearly not going to last the whole year, but I think the ugliness that was the first two months of the year will be more of an exception rather than the rule for him.
Javier Vasquez did everything he could to keep the Yankees in the game on Friday in the last incarnation of the Subway Series against the New York Mets, and he is another guy who has turned his early season swoon around big time. Vasquez allowed just one earned run over seven innings and struck out four. This is now five of the last seven starts he has surrendered two earned runs or less, and his ERA that was once near ten is now almost down to 5.00. His strikeout numbers are slightly down since coming back to the American League, but they are more than satisfactory with 62 whiffs in 70 innings. Keep throwing Vasquez out there and you could have a 15 game winner on your hands come September.
Ike Davis has a hit in seven of his last eight games, and has driven in a run in four straight games. He isn't going to be a superstar in 2010, but he is definitely worth having on your roster, and depending on how many teams are in your league he could be a nice corner infield or utility option. Davis does have eight home runs in 53 games, and I think he could develop more power in the future. I think he could finish the year hitting .285 with 21 homers and drive in 65-70 runs.
Carlos Santana is showing that he belongs in the major leagues in his first full week there as he had another two hit game and drove in his fifth run in just seven contests. Cleveland didn't try to put him into the pool slowly by just dipping his toes into the water, they threw him in the deep end as they have him batting third and expecting him to produce runs from his very first day. Well, so far Santana is responding to the tune of a .333 batting average. This kid is the real deal and could easily be your starting catcher for ten years in a keeper league.
Miguel Montero is hitting and hitting since coming off the Disabled List and connected on his first homer of the year on Friday. He has at least one hit in every game since coming back from injury and definitely looks like he could be similar to the guy who took fantasy baseball by storm in the second half of the year in 2009. I guess there is no way that he could be available in your league, but he should be starting for you unless you have a select other few backstops in baseball.
Mike Stanton bounced back from three hitless days hit his first homer of the season and he did it in GRAND style. Stanton cleared the bases with a grand slam and doubled his RBI total in one swing. He has struggled a little bit out of the box, but Stanton has big time capabilities and should start hitting for a better average any day. He needs to have a little more plate discipline as he has fanned 14 times in just nine games. It will be a transition period for him as he gets accustomed to the major leagues, but I believe that it won't be a long transition and he should be more consistent as the year goes on.
Matt Garza had one of the worst outings of his entire career on Friday as he couldn't get out of the second inning and he was hammered. Garza gave up seven earned runs over just 1.1 innings of work and has hit a rough patch where he has given up four earned runs or more in four of his last five starts. This to me is the perfect time to check in with his owner to see if he is frustrated and you might be able to buy low on Garza. This kid has a ton of talent and is sure to turn this thing around. If you can deal some hot pitcher with no track record for a struggling Garza, I would jump on that in a second. Be patient Garza owners, he will be back soon enough and he will be very good.
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David Ortiz homered for the third time in four days and he brought his RBI total to 45 on the year. Big Ploppy is starting to look a little more like the guy who was a fantasy All-Star earlier in the decade and not the slob that has slinked his way through the last two seasons. Ortiz has gotten his batting average back to .268, which is about 20 points higher than it was just ten days ago. I still don't want him as a starting first baseman, but now he is a guy that you can trust in your corner infield or utility spot.
The night for Wandy Rodriguez was over quickly and even the biggest Wandy fans have got to be ready to send him packing at this point. He gave up six runs over just three innings and walked four against a hot and potent lineup in Texas. That is no excuse, however, for a guy who has an ERA of over 6.00 and a WHIP of over 1.70. I might give him one more start to pull his head out of his butt, but I could hardly blame you for cutting him loose at this point. There is still a long way to go in the season and plenty of time to turn it around, but I understand how he has tested your patience.
Jason Hammel is as hot as any pitcher in baseball now as he has only given up one run in the entire month of June. However, I strongly caution you against putting too much faith in him for the long term. This is a guy who has been around the majors for a while, and not only has bounced between the starting rotation and the bullpen, but his career ERA is over 5.00.
Manny Parra has pitched better in his most recent stint as a starter, but even his effort tonight wasn't enough to get him a win. Parra gave up just two runs over six innings and struck out five and now hasn't allowed more than three earned runs in his three starts while striking out well over a batter an inning. Parra once was one of the better pitching prospects in the Brewers organization, so there is a chance that this could continue. I don't think it is a good chance and I wouldn't take the chance on him at this point, but if he is still pitching well on the fourth of July he would be worth the risk.
Brian Matusz has turned that rough patch around as he has now allowed two runs or less in three of his last four starts. On Friday he gave up just one run over six innings and struck out four. I can see you possibly keeping him on your bench and not starting him against some of the elite hitting teams in the American League, but this kid is talented and should be used on your team when he has two starts or if he has a weak matchup.
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