We’re just a week away from the July 31st non-waiver trade deadline, but as any baseball fan worth his/her salt knows, the trades don’t even come close to stopping there. The waiver trade deadline in August (trades where players must first clear waivers before being dealt) is also a hotbed of action as it usually involves several marquee players whose contracts can be burdensome to smaller market teams and therefore have little problem slipping through the waiver system. So the bottom line is that we’re looking at a few more weeks of potential player movement and subsequent fantasy unrest.
The best thing that you can do right now to stay prepared is to follow the rumor mill. It’s not like your office gossip pool that’s steeped in more fiction than fact. It’s filled with more half-truths and intelligent speculation for the most part. If reports are coming in that this team is shopping Player X, chances are that Player X will be on the move sooner than later. What you need to do is have the foresight to see the fantasy fallout of any rumor or potential deal that may have an effect on your team, whether it’s positive or negative.
As we discussed on the Fantasy Alarm Show on SiriusXM Radio on Sunday, if you own Jonathan Broxton, you need to prepare yourself for a potential trade. If he goes to another team and closes, then you should be ok, barring AL or NL-only league crossover. But if he goes to another team as bullpen support, then chances are you’re going to have to hit your waiver wire and come up with a contingency plan quick. It’s your job, as a successful fantasy owner, to know who’s closing for the Royals if Broxton goes and who the new team’s closer is that may or may not suddenly have a very short leash.
There’s no waiting for the actual move to happen either. You need a pre-emptive strike to stay ahead of the rest of the competition. Keep your ear to the ground and one finger on your computer’s mouse. These next few weeks are going to move fast, so get in tune with the rumor mill and be prepared to act. With just over two months to go in the season, you’re going to need to pull out all the stops if you want to win.
Now let’s get to the highlights…
|Ryan Doumit, C MIN||3-4, 3 R, 2 HR, 4 RBI|
Ryan Doumit has been one of the sneakiest fantasy players this season. There were concerns about his move to the Twins this season between the ballpark, the lineup, and even playing time and he became almost an afterthought to most owners sifting through the catcher pool on draft day. He had a relatively slow April which helped keep him off a lot of people’s radar, but then started to break out in May. When he hit .306 for June, a few heads were starting to turn, and now here in July, his surge has gone to another level. Over his last 26 games, Doumit is batting .354 with 10 multi-hit games in that span. His power, save for Sunday that is, hasn’t been massive by any means, but to be able to raise your average nearly 40 points at this time of the year is pretty impressive. So Doumit gets the nod here, not just for powering up on Sunday, but for yet another month of solid production and paying big dividends on what was likely a low-cost pick-up.
|Ryan Zimmerman, 3B WAS||3-5, 3 R, 2 HR, 3 RBI|
|Miguel Cabrera, 3B DET||2-4, 2 R, 2 HR, 2 RBI|
|John Mayberrry, OF PHI||2-4, 2 R, 2 HR, 2 RBI|
|Blake Beavan, SP SEA||W, 1.13 ERA, 0.50 WHIP, 5 K|
|Zach Britton, SP BAL||W, 0.00 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, 5 K|
Ryan Zimmerman seems to finally be breaking out after another disappointing first half of the season marred by injury. Just imagine what he could do with a full year. He’s currently on a six-game hitting streak where he is batting .632 with four home runs, six runs scored and seven RBI and helping lead the Nationals towards their first divisional title as the Nats. Yep, that’s right. Not a typo. Hitting .632 over the past week.
Miguel Cabrera, you expect this kind of performance from, but John Mayberry? And while he didn’t make the leaderboard so we could make room for a couple of arms here, how about Nate Schierholtz? Mayberry and Schierholtz, two part-timers for their respective teams, traded home runs on Sunday and provided nearly all of the offensive punch in that Phillies/Giants extra-inning affair. Neither is really worth a roster spot outside of the deepest of leagues, but each could end up a useful cog in the machine if you can make daily roster moves and are able to platoon outfielders. Sure, it clutters up a roster spot, but if you have them to spare, then you may s well, right?
As much as I like Zach Britton’s potential, I just can’t, with good conscience, recommend him on a weekly basis. Week to week decisions for streaming? Maybe. But with the injuries and the inconsistencies, I’m definitely gun-shy. I’d say the same about Blake Beavan, but I actually like Britton’s overall potential more. Give ‘em a try when the match-up is right, but only if you can afford a possible blow-up.
|Miguel Olivo, C SEA||0-4, 4 K|
|Brandon Hicks, 3B OAK||0-3, 3 K|
|Brandon Belt, 1B/OF||0-5, 3 K|
|Jon Lester, SP BOS||L, 24.75 ERA, 3.50 WHIP, 2 K|
|Jair Jurrjens, SP ATL||L, 23.14 ERA, 3.86 WHIP, 0 K|
No surprises with the hitters here and no real surprise that Jair Jurrjens was reverting back to being the ratio-killer he was before he got sent down. But, oh man, what’s up with Jon Lester? Lower K/9, more home runs allowed, an unfavorable .332 BABIP and an even worse looking 5.46 ERA. Was that really 11 runs he gave up on Sunday? 11? As in ‘these go to 11”? As in one more than 10? I’m mildly dumbfounded. Just mildly though. I suppose the handwriting was sort of on the wall last year when his K/9 dropped and his HR/9 was on the rise. But really? 11?
Matt Garza, SP CHC – triceps (questionable)
Wilin Rosario, C COL – ankle (questionable)
Jose Valverde, RP DET – back (questionable)
Erick Aybar, SS LAA – foot (doubtful)
Hanley Ramirez, 3B MIA – hand (doubtful)
Trevor Plouffe, 3B MIN – thumb (questionable)
Nick Swisher, OF NYY – hip (doubtful, may return July 27)
Cameron Maybin, OF SD – wrist (questionable)
Colby Lewis, SP TEX – forearm (questionable)
Roy Oswalt, SP TEX – back (out for July 23)
Jesus Flores, C WAS – back (questionable)
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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