While the latest Biogenesis suspension news is prevalent on everyone’s minds, I’d rather not sit here and discuss it just yet. There’s nothing you can do right now but sit and wait. You’re not benching anyone until they’re actually suspended and trying to shop anyone such as Ryan Braun, Melky Cabrera, Gio Gonzalez or anyone else connected with it only makes you look like an ass in the eyes of your fellow fantasy owners. You’re just going to have to wait and see and make the necessary adjustments once the sh*t actually hits the fan. In the meantime, let’s look to bigger and brighter things happening in the game.
If the hype machine wasn’t already out in full force Monday afternoon when news broke that the Dodgers would be bringing up outfielder Yasiel Puig, it sure is now. Barely on most people’s radar heading into the spring, the Cuban-born Puig became a household fantasy name after batting .517 with five doubles, two triples, three home runs, 11 RBIO and four stolen bases in 58 spring time at-bats. Dodgers fans were left wondering if they even wanted to bother seeing Carl Crawford in left field, but with so much invested in the high-priced, high-profile outfield, there was no room for the young sensation. But now, with both Crawford and Matt Kemp on the disabled list and the Dodgers in need of some sort of a spark, both on the field and in the public eye, the former standout for the Cuban National team in the 2008 World Junior Championships has finally arrived.
His debut on Monday was a modest success as he went 2-for-4 against the Padres. Nothing special, nothing outlandish, just two solid hits. But Tuesday came and…oh baby! In fact, his performance was so strong, we’d be stupid to not make him our…
Fantasy Beast of the Day
|Yasiel Puig, OF LAD||3-4, 2 R, 2B, 2 HR, 5 RBI|
Now while some are ready to anoint Puig as the next coming of Mike Trout and Bryce Harper, I am not quite ready to jump onto that bandwagon. He’s a talent, for sure, but is he of that elite level yet? I’m not so sure. First of all, let’s put Tuesday into a bit of perspective. His leadoff double and three-run home run both came against Clayton Richard, a struggling lefty who had allowed 15 earned runs over his last 17.1 innings and then coughed up a total of six in just 4.1 innings this time around. Power slugger (insert sarcastic eye roll here) Tim Federowicz blasted a home run off him in the first and there’s a good chance that if my grandma stepped into the batter’s box against him, she too could have taken him deep. Puig’s other shot came off reliever Tyson Ross, a youngster who was actually bumped from the Padres rotation earlier in the season due to his ineffectiveness. So while Puig’s batting line was fierce, let’s not induct him into the Hall of Fame just yet.
That’s not to say that he isn’t a blossoming talent who could provide a major boost to any fantasy squad out there. I may not see him as the next Trout or Harper, but I can equate him to another fierce talent, that being fellow countryman Yoenis Cespedes. Both have a decent amount of power potential and a speed aspect to their games that makes fantasy owners drool. But like Cespedes, Puig is going to have to make a fair amount of adjustments as he continues to be a force in the game. Opposing pitchers will have more to study and a better chance to exploit some weaknesses. Much like they did with Cespedes, they will learn how to neutralize his power and it will be up to him to make the necessary counter-adjustments within the States-side game which plays slightly differently than it does in Cuba.
Debuting with a few strong games is one thing. Sustaining it throughout the remainder of the season is another – if he even gets the chance. Let’s not forget that both Kemp and Crawford will be returning from the disabled list and when they do, they are going to play. While Don Mattingly may be at odds with his team and would probably love to bench Kemp and even Andre Ethier with their crappy attitudes, he’s probably not going to be able to. And platooning any of them will only exasperate the situation. That leaves Puig as the odd man out. They could keep him up and try and squeeze him into the lineup here and there, but he’s probably better off making his first run at the Triple-A level. It will simply be the best way for him to work on consistently beating stronger competition while he waits for the big club’s eventual fire sale which should open up a spot for him soon enough. Sometimes it has nothing to do with talent and everything to do with circumstance.
Now let’s look at the rest of the highlights…
|John Mayberry, OF PHI||2-3, 2 R, 2 HR, 5 RBI|
|Yoenis Cespedes, OF OAK||3-5, 2 R, 2 HR, 3 RBI|
|Stephen Drew, SS BOS||4-5, 3 R, 2 2B, HR, 2 RBI|
|Anibal Sanchez, SP DET||W, 1.29 ERA, 0.71 WHIP, 9 K|
|David Phelps, SP NYY||W, 0.00 ERA, 0.83 WHIP, 7 K|
Still stuck in a platoon situation which limits his fantasy value, John Mayberry stepped up with his best game in weeks and his first home run(s) since April 27. And in the dramatic fashion which he did it, it makes it all the more exciting. Nothing better than a game-tying shot in the bottom of the 10th and then following it up with a walk-of grand slam the following inning. Solid value in NL-only leagues, but beyond that, he’s a stretch.
What a break for fantasy owners if this were the point where Yoenis Cespedes turns his season back around. This was his first career two-homer game and it couldn’t have come at a better time as it had been 12 games since the last time he went yard. He needs to cut down on the strikeouts and we need that .254 BABIP to start regressing to the mean finally. His swing rates show that he’s not just up there hacking away, so hopefully he just needs a few bounces to go his way before everything else just falls into place.
Stephen Drew is 6-for-13 (.462) with two home runs, three RBI and four runs scored over his last three games. We know he’s capable of producing. Now the question is, can he sustain it for more than three or four games at a time? And if he does, can he stay healthy doing it? I just shook my Magic 8-ball and got a reading of “Outlook Not Good”. That’s probably all the research you’ll need.
Nice to see Anibal Sanchez get back on track. After a tremendous start to the season, two of his last three outings have been…well….atrocious really as he coughed up a total of 10 runs combined. They sandwiched a complete-game, one-hit shutout with 12 strikeouts, but still, 10 runs are a lot to recover from. Tuesday’s outing thankfully lowered his ERA to 2.65 on the year, but still, what’s most impressive is the 98:19 K:BB over 78 innings this season.
And finally, how about another solid outing from David Phelps? He was cruising until a rough outing against the Mets that saw him leave with a forearm injury after allowing four runs and recording just one out. But he rebounded nicely against Cleveland here and is definitely worth another look when he faces Seattle, despite the fact that he’s matching up against Felix Hernandez.
|Jedd Gyorko, 2B SD||0-4, 3 K|
|Pete Kozma, SS STL||0-7, 3 K|
|Scooter Gennett, 2B MIL||0-3, 3 K|
|Matt Moore, SP TB||L, 27.00 ERA, 6.50 WHIP, 1 K|
|Jake Peavy, SP CHW||L, 23.14 ERA, 3.00 WHIP|
Everyone’s entitled to a day like this and I don’t see any reason to run down guys like Jedd Gyorko, Pete Kozma or Matt Moore who have been more than just solid in the games leading up to this. Scooter Gennett will have plenty more days like this as he learns the ropes in the majors, but the big….and not so surprising news here is another injury for Jake Peavy. The nature of the injury has not been disclosed, although ribs/oblique have been mentioned, but reports of diminished velocity while coughing up five runs on seven hits in 2.1 innings doesn’t exactly give you the warm, fuzzy feelings, does it?
Jacoby Ellsbury, OF BOS – groin (day to day)
Jake Peavy, SP CHW – ribs/oblique (day to day)
Brandon Phillips, 2B CIN – forearm (day to day)
Asdrubal Cabrera, SS CLE – quadriceps (15-day DL)
Zach McAllister, SP CLE – finger (out until mid-June)
Tyler Chatwood, SP COL – triceps (day to day)
Garrett Richards, RP LAA – ankle (day to day)
Chris Capuano, SP LAD – biceps (15-day DL)
Hyun-Jin Ryu, SP LAD – foot (day to day)
Marco Estrada, SP MIL – hamstring (questionable for June 8 start)
Yonder Alonso, 1B SD – hand (day to day)
Angel Pagan, OF SF – hamstring (day to day)
Michael Morse, OF SEA – quadriceps (day to day)
Jesus Sucre, C SEA – wrist (day to day)
Adrian Beltre, 3B TEX – hamstring (day to day)
Danny Espinosa, 2B WAS – wrist (15-day DL)
Stephen Strasburg, SP WAS – lat/oblique (day to day)
Howard Bender has been covering fantasy sports for over a decade on a variety of web sites. You can find his personal musings on RotobuzzGuy.com and for questions, thoughts or comments, you can follow him on Twitter at @rotobuzzguy or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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