It feels like forever ago that we started interleague play this year and finally, it is coming to an end. This is the final week of the cross-league match-ups and then these players won’t see each other until the All Star Game and then the World Series. I couldn’t be happier. Aside from the baseball purist inside of me that cringes every time he hears MLB try to hype one of these match-ups, the fantasy player in me gets aggravated by the unnecessary wrinkles that it causes in our game. If you’re in an AL-only or mixed league and rely on designated hitters like Billy Butler or David Ortiz, you suddenly lose them for a few games a week and in some cases, either have to take a zero for the day, or use up a waiver claim to get a (probable) subpar replacement for a pair of two-week stints. Why should I lose out on either player’s power because MLB wants to make a few extra bucks?
Then, of course, there’s the skewed pitching match-ups that allow mediocre hurlers such as Jose Quintana or Garrett Richards to pad their stats and help some lucky fool who decides that streaming pitchers all year long is the best way to play. Every so often a blind squirrel will find a nut, but with interleague, it can be like putting that squirrel into a barrel full of acorns. Sure, other people can do it, but what happens when you’ve assembled a staff that you’re confident in and don’t have anyone that you would consider dropping for some of the crap that sits on the waiver wire. Obviously they’re not going to hit with everyone they use, but it sure feels like there’s better overall pitching during interleague than the rest of the season.
But regardless of which side of the fence you sit on, it’s all coming to a close this week. Tuck it away until early July when we’re inundated with more rhetoric citing that “this one [the All Star Game] counts.” No more limited scouting reports, no more horrifically small sample sizes for match-up data, and no more watching your guys sit for no other reason than the fact that owners can’t seem to agree on the use of a DH versus a pitcher batting. We’ll put it to bed now and thankfully get on with the rest of our season.
Now onto the highlights…
|Pedro Alvarez, 3B PIT||3-4, 2 R, 2B, 2 HR, 6 RBI|
Well, well well….look who’s back on another one of his mini-tears this season. How long will Pedro Alvarez last this time? A week? Two Weeks? A month? OK, so a month is just being silly, but if we recall what happened earlier in the season, we know that these little bursts of power are hardly sustainable. Back on April 18, Alvarez started a run for himself in which he hit six home runs over a 13-game span. Before that it was one home run over eight games and after that burst of power, he went another 21 games before going deep again. Then it was another thirteen games before he had his two-homer day on Saturday and followed it up with another pair on Sunday. All the while, he struggled to keep his batting average just above the Mendoza line and right now sits at .207 through 57 games. So before you get enamored with these multi-home performances, understand that they come at a very steep price. It would be one thing if he was crushing the ball like Adam Dunn…then the average is tolerable. But 12 dingers and a batting average that cripples a fantasy team is not something you really want to have to deal with all season long.
|Jason Kipnis, 2B CLE||3-5, 2 R, HR, RBI, SB|
|Colby Rasmus, OF TOR||3-4, 2 R, 2B, HR, 3 RBI|
|Quintin Berry, OF DET||5-5, R, SB|
|Alex Cobb, SP TB||W, 0.00 ERA, 0.43 WHIP, 10 K|
|Max Scherzer, SP DET||W, 0.00 ERA, 0.88 WHIP, 12 K|
Well how about Jason Kipnis? People that own him love him. People that don’t are doing everything they can to trade for him. Whichever end you’re on, there’s a deep admiration for what this guy is doing right now for Cleveland. Again, I’m not a huge fan of quoting “on-pace” numbers because very few players can sustain the level on which they are playing that would cause an owner to start quoting what he is on pace to do this season, but nevertheless, I’m going to do it anyway. With a current .284 average, 11 home runs, 41 RBI, 46 runs scored and 17 stolen bases, Kipnis is on pace to hit .283 with 27 home runs, 103 RBI, 116 runs scored and 43 stolen bases. Do I expect him to actually finish with those totals? No. But certainly working in his favor is the fact that his peripheral numbers indicate that this is pure talent and not just dumb luck. He’s got a respectable 7.2% walk rate, an impressive 15.5% strikeout rate, and his BABIP is sitting at .304 right now which is just slightly above league average, but not above enough to think that what he’s doing is a fluke. Pitchers will undoubtedly do what they can to adjust, but he’s smart enough to counter the same way. If you’re like me and you own him, then enjoy the ride. I do not recommend trading him, unless, of course, someone makes you an offer you can’t refuse. But keep in mind his on-pace totals when negotiating as I don’t feel like they’re going to be that far off.
Colby Rasmus looks like he’s trying to show the world that he can finally sustain a high level of production here. Similarly to Alvarez, Rasmus’ power was coming in spurts and with a low average and no consistency, he had been falling out of favor with most. But others have stood by him and just might be reaping some serious benefits if he can keep things going. He’s hit safely in six of his last seven games, batting .355 with three home runs and eight RBI. His average is sitting at just .255 right now, but it usually hovers in the .230 range most of the time.
Quintin Berry’s playing time has greatly diminished with the return of Austin Jackson, but he could still be of some value as a part-timer/pinch runner with respect to stolen bases. However, I will say this….5-for-5 and only one steal? I didn’t get the chance to actually watch this game so I don’t know the exact situations, but being on base five times would make it seem like there was opportunity to do more.
And as for Alex Cobb and Max Scherzer, you can take another look at my intro up above. Let’s see what these guys do over their next three starts against AL opponents.
|Tyler Flowers, C CHW||0-4, 4 K|
|Josh Willingham, OF MIN||0-6, 4 K, BB|
|Giancarlo Stanton, OF MIA||0-4, 3 K|
|Dexter Fowler, OF COL||0-4, 3 K|
|Addison Reed, RP CHW||BS, 9.00 ERA, 3.00 WHIP, K|
I’d say to keep moving…that there’s nothing left to see here, but I will say that those of you asking whether or not they should cut Dexter Fowler, I would say that the evidence suggests that you do so. He finished off May with a nine-game hit streak and is now batting .204 for the month of June. Maybe he goes on another tear at some point, but it’s not likely to be so amazing that you should be taking up valuable roster space right now.
Freddie Freeman, 1B ATL – thumb (questionable)
Brandon Beachy, SP ATL – elbow (15-day DL)
Josh Beckett, SP BOS – shoulder (15-day DL)
Daniel Nava, OF BOS – hand (questionable)
Scott Podsednik, OF BOS – groin (questionable)
Kevin Youkilis, 3B BOS – toe (questionable)
Carlos Gonzalez, OF COL – knee (questionable)
Chris Getz, 2B KC – leg (questionable)
Joe Mauer, C MIN – quad (questionable)
Matt Capps, RP MIN – shoulder (out until at least June 19)
Jason Bay, OF NYM – concussion (7-day DL)
Russell Martin, C NYY – foot (questionable)
Nick Swisher, OF NYY – quads (questionable)
Yoenis Cespedes, OF OAK – hamstring (out until at least June 19)
Bartolo Colon, SP OAK – oblique (questionable)
Matt Holliday, OF STL – hip (questionable)
Matt Joyce, OF TB – flu (questionable)
Josh Hamilton, OF TEX – illness (questionable)
Stephen Drew, SS ARI – ankle (on Triple-A rehab assignment)
Cody Ross, OF BOS – foot (expected to return June 19)
Geovany Soto, C CHC – knee (on Triple-A rehab assignment)
John Danks, SP CHW – shoulder (on Triple-A rehab assignment)
Alex Avila, C DET – hamstring (expected to start Triple-A rehab assignment June 18)
Jon Jay, OF STL – shoulder (beginning rehab assignment on June 19)
Evan Longoria, 3B TB – hamstring (on Triple-A rehab assignment)
Howard Bender has been covering fantasy sports for over ten years on a variety of web sites including his own, The Fantasy Baseball Buzz. You can follow him on Twitter at @rotobuzzguy or email him at email@example.com.
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