C.C. Sabathia definitely looks like he is in.....well, midseason form as he took care of the cross town Mets in fairly easy fashion, scattering four hits over eight innings and striking out six. This is now back to back wins for him against Roy Halladay and the Phillies and then Johan Santana and the Mets. He hasn't faced a real American League team since Boston on May 18th(he faced Baltimore twice and Cleveland the last three starts against the AL) so I will be interested to see what he does his next time out, but I believe in Sabathia and think he will be a top five fantasy pitcher in the second half of the season.
Max Scherzer has been nearly impossible to figure out this year as he has had some dominating starts, a trip to the minors, and a lot of in between. Scherzer always gets fantasy love because of his ability to strike batters out, which hasn't gone away this year as shown by his 67 Ks in 73 innings. However, if it is consistency you crave, for now I would go in a different direction than Scherzer. He is going to be up and down throughout the season and I understand the lure is there because when he is good he is really good. Like Sunday for example when he allowed one run over seven innings and struck out eight. If you have the all or nothing approach to pitching, Scherzer is your guy. If you take a more conservative approach and would rather have a guy who is consistently decent but not wow you, then you should look in another direction.
Chipper Jones decided to actually play in a game today, and for once he actually contributed to his ball club as well. After contemplating retirement out loud a few days ago, Jones had two doubles, walked twice, drove in three runs and actually stole a base. I would try my hardest to try to trade him away after this outing hopefully selling that he will be trying his hardest in his last go around the league before he drives off into the sunset. Truth is I don't believe that at all and have little faith in his ability to stay healthy or desire to play. But it is the only way that you might be able to get something for the aging Braves third sacker.
Pay attention folks because you are witnessing a star in the making in Cleveland's Carlos Santana. The young catcher is ripping through Interleague play right now and hopefully he will continue when he faces the American League. Santana had three more hits on Sunday, including his fifth double and second home run in just nine games. He is currently batting .393 and has driven in eight runs already. It is great to see a guy that you have waited to get called up come to the majors and succeed. It is even more fulfilling when it is a 24 year old catcher with power. Unless you have one of the top three guys, Santana looks like a viable fantasy starter right out of the gate.
After pitching for nearly an entire year without collecting a win, all of a sudden Justin Masterson is starting to look like he might be a viable fantasy starter. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying he is a top 25 pitcher, but in 12 team leagues he is someone that you can at worst play when he has two starts. The bullpen couldn't hold the lead for him on Sunday, but Masterson was pretty good as he gave up just two runs over six innings and struck out seven against the Pirates. Outside of his hiccup against the Mets where he got blasted, Masterson hasn't given up more than three earned runs since the middle of May, and has a couple of wins to show for it. AL-only or deeper than 12 team leagues I think he is someone that should definitely be owned, and in those traditional formats he should at least be someone you keep your eye on for when he has a weak matchup, of course since he is on the Indians, I am not sure what constitutes a weak matchup but you know what I mean.
Apparently nobody told me, but today must have been the day that all the heavens, the planets, and the moons were all in alignment, because how else can you explain the fact that the Twins' Carl Pavano threw a complete game and only allowed one run? This is a guy who will never be able to set foot back in the Bronx after the way he completely stole money from the Yankees with his big time contract in which he rarely pitched in the four years. He has resurrected his career in Minnesota somewhat, but a complete game gem? Pavano? Seriously? He did only strikeout two batters so it wasn't like this was a totally dominating performance, but he did outduel Roy Halladay and the mighty Phillies who have all of a sudden found their power stroke again. To me Pavano is at best a pitch and ditch option, and this great outing does nothing to change what I think of him.
The White Sox have decided that it is time for Cuban Dayan Viciedo to prove that he deserved that $10 million contract they gave him in the major leagues. He already had more homers (14) this year at AAA than he had all of last season at AA (12). He isn't going to hit for a ridiculous average in the major leagues as he has been about a .285 guy in the minors, and he has only stolen 13 bases in the last year and a half in the minors, so he isn't going to burn up the basepaths. Right now I probably wouldn't make a move on him unless you were desperate for SOMEONE to give you production, or if you were in an AL-only league. Manager Ozzie Guillen has said that he could share time at third with Omar Visquel, but Viciedo could spell some other infielders when they need a day off, or perhaps DH some. As of right now it doesn't seem like he is going to have a monster fantasy impact, but I would keep him on my watch list if I were you. I will be keeping an eye on him for future Rounding The Bases articles.
Matt Holliday is absolutely scorching right now. With his two homer game on Sunday (the only two runs that St. Louis scored) he now has four home runs in the last three games to go with eight hits and eight RBI. Holliday is still a top 10-15 fantasy outfielder and is capable of a tear like this at any time. Ride the wave while it lasts, and hopefully on the other side he will be a bit more consistent on a day by day basis.
Carlos Zambrano looks like perhaps he may have worked out whatever troubles he was having on the mound when he went down to the minor leagues because he has had four pretty decent starts since returning including Sunday's which was very good. Zambrano gave up just one run over seven innings and struck out seven against Joe Saunders and the Angels. Right now he is on a hot streak, but I am not sure that I am buying into the fact that he has it all figured out. He is an incredibly emotional guy who is capable of having incredibly good or incredibly bad things happen because of those emotions. A bad call by an ump, an error by a teammate, or just a bad break can set Zambrano off on a bat throwing, water cooler bashing, umpire berating tirade.
Rick Porcello was sent down to the minor leagues after another rough outing on Saturday, and he might be there for a while. After a very good rookie season, Porcello has struggled almost the entire season and has a record of 4-7 with an ERA north of 6.00. I would say in a keeper league I would even let Porcello go at this point. He will almost definitely be a quality starter in the major leagues at some point, but it certainly isn't going to be 2010, and I can't say that I am confident it will be 2011 either. He has a world of talent, but lacks the experience to know how to get major league hitters out.
Rounding The Bases - Todd Zola Looks At The First 10 Rounds of a Likely 2014 Fantasy Baseball Draft
Master Fantasy Baseball Notes From Todd Zola - Looking Ahead To The 2014 Fantasy Baseball Season
Rounding The Bases - Master Fantasy Baseball Notes From Todd Zola
The Farm Report: Minor League Baseball Coverage From A Fantasy Perspective (20 Prospects for '14)
2013 Fantasy Baseball Waiver Pickups: Week 24
The Farm Report: Minor League Baseball Coverage From A Fantasy Perspective (September Call-Ups)
2013 Fantasy Baseball Waiver Pickups: Week 23
Rounding the Bases: A Day For the Little Man
Rounding The Bases: Morse, Willingham On the Move?
The Farm Report: Minor League Baseball Coverage From A Fantasy Perspective (Roster Expansion)
2013 Fantasy Baseball Waiver Pickups: Week 22
Rounding the Bases: Five Surging Pitchers & Hitters
Rounding the Bases: Rookies, Veterans & Roster Movement
The Farm Report: Minor League Baseball Coverage From A Fantasy Perspective (Pitching Help On The Way!)
2013 Fantasy Baseball Waiver Pickups: Week 21
Master Notes From Todd Zola - Taking A Look at Starting Pitching In Keeper Leagues
Rounding the Bases: Small Names, Big Production?
Rounding the Bases: A First for Stephen Strasburg and the (Near) Final Round-Up
The Farm Report: Minor League Baseball Coverage From A Fantasy Perspective (Hitting Help On The Way!)
2013 Fantasy Baseball Waiver Pickups: Week Twenty