While living a block off the ocean has very little drawback for me, there are moments where it seems to get in the way of my relationship with you, the readers. Especially when the high winds and the salty mist that envelops my neighborhood join forces to thrash my internet connection and, quite often, overall power. It’s not that I didn’t want to spend my time recapping with all you the other day because you know I did. It’s that I couldn’t. Trapped somewhere in the Dark Ages wondering how in the world we got along so well over the years without internets and laptops and RSS feeds and Twitter and all that stuff.
Well, we’ve been repaired, for the time being I suppose and that brings you to a midday Friday bonus blog entry here. Normally I’ll take the Thursday night games off, especially when there’s only a handful to report on, but since yesterday was such a bust and I know you were feeling slighted, I opted to kick something in here on Friday. So without further fanfare, because I know you’re sitting there feeling all bad for me living so close to the ocean, let’s talk about Thursday night’s games, shall we?
|James McDonald, PIT||9.0||6||1||1||0||5||0||1.00||0.67|
All too often, through mostly ill-founded pre-conceived notions, we tend to forget about a number of pitchers who consequently fly under the radar in most leagues. It’s not that they’re sitting on the waiver wire racking up killer stats. It’s that they land on someone’s team and no one really pays them any mind. Sure, the owner is appreciative of what he’s getting, but there are few people interested on the trade market and the guy really just becomes an afterthought. James McDonald, to me, is one of those guys.
McDonald made some nice advancements early on, showing gradual improvements in most of his peripherals as he was making his way up through the Dodgers farm system. When he landed with the Pirates, he stayed up in the bigs and looked as if he was going to continue his ascension. Obviously, the innings increase last season had an adverse effect as he faded down the stretch, but if you looked at his numbers from May, June and July, you’ll see that he was definitely major league-worthy and had outstanding potential. This year, he’s taken all of that and spun it into a 6-2 record with a 2.19 ERA, 8.27 K/9 and a 3.26 K/BB ratio. Thursday was the first complete game of his career and it looks as if he is on his way to his best season yet. With the combination of his talents and the Pirates playing competitive ball, he makes for an outstanding addition to your fantasy team, even though no one knows it yet. If you can swoop in on an unsuspecting owner, then maybe you can pry him away for cheap.
|Will Middlebrooks, 3B BOS||3-4, R, HR, 4 RBI|
|Giancarlo Stanton, OF MIA||2-3, 2 R, HR, RBI, BB, SB|
|Andrew McCutchen, OF PIT||3-4, 2 R, 2B, 3B, 3 RBI|
|Travis Blackley, SP OAK||ND, 1.13 ERA, 0.38 WHIP, 6 K|
|Clayton Kershaw, SP LAD||ND, 1.13 ERA, 0.63 WHIP, 7 K|
OK, so let’s start with Will Middlebrooks here, because he’s actually been a fairly hot topic in my email recently. On the whole, I like him. I don’t think he takes enough walks, his strikeout rate has little to be desired and he could stand to make more contact at the plate. But when he does make clean contact…oh baby!! His isolated power numbers tell the story here as his .235 ISO mark isn’t really so far out of whack with his minor league totals. He’s a strong hitter, just a bit undisciplined at the plate. As for fantasy value, it’s all really tied to his playing time. The Red Sox have Kevin Youkilis and Adrian Gonzalez manning the corners in the infield and while the mini-experiment of AGone in right field is still in play, it won’t be for long with the impending returns of Jacoby Ellsbury and Carl Crawford. Once that happens and the Sox are fielding the crew that they intended to field throughout the spring, there won’t be any room for Middlebrooks. Unless, of course, a trade looms. Plenty of talk about the possibility of trading Youkilis, but nothing that has picked up any steam really. If Youk goes, then Middlebrooks plays and has solid fantasy value. If he stays, then it’s Ride-the-Pine city for the kid for another year.
It’s nice to see Giancarlo Stanton find his way back into this section, but his inconsistencies this year are causing a lot of grief amongst his owners. After starting off the season on the totally wrong foot, Stanton had a month of May for the ages -- .343-12-30 with 16 walks, 23 runs scored and three stolen bases? Boo-yah! A month like that will certainly help ease the pain of the current .194 he is hitting here in June. His ROS (rest of season) projections still put him at 35+ HR, but unless his July opens the way May did, I’m starting to have some doubts.
Clayton Kershaw and Andrew McCutchen have found their way into this section before so there’s no reason for me to start hyping what they’ve done or what they will do in the future, is there? Undoubtedly two of the most coveted players in fantasy, year in and year out.
But Travis Blackley, on the other hand, he gets his first appearance here for his work in dismantling the Dodgers on Thursday. Now granted, without Matt Kemp in the lineup, the Dodgers batting order has more holes than Jack Elliot’s swing, but Blackley looked both sharp and efficient as he went eight innings and only needed 87 pitches to do so. He threw 67 of his 87 pitches for strikes and induced 13 ground-ball outs. Now I know I’m all about the sun shining on a dog’s ass once metaphor in cases like this, but I would actually stream him into my lineup when he faces the Mariners for his next start. Weekly leaguers be careful though, because while he’s got a favorable matchup in Seattle on Tuesday, the Rangers loom on Sunday and that, my friends, could be troublesome.
|Allen Craig, OF STL||0-5, 2 K|
|Juan Uribe, 3B LAD||0-3, 2 K|
|Michael Martinez, 3B PHI||0-3, 2 K|
|Michael Cuddyer, OF COL||0-4, K|
|Liam Hendriks, SP MIN||L, 5.40 ERA, 1.60 WHIP, 3 K|
Yeah, well, they can’t all be winners, can they?
Brandon Beachy, SP ATL – elbow (confirmed out for season)
Jose Valverde, RP DET – wrist (doubtful)
Justin Maxwell, OF HOU – ankle (questionable)
Felipe Paulino, SP KC – elbow (out for season; Tommy John surgery expected)
James Loney, 1B LAD – illness (questionable)
Shaun Marcum, Sp MIL – elbow (questionable)
Matt Capps, RP MIN – shoulder (questionable)
Joe Mauer, C MIN – quad (doubtful)
Lucas Duda, OF NYM – hamstring (questionable)
Anthony Bass, SP SD – shoulder (questionable)
Justin Smoak, 1B SEA – knee (questionable)
Matt Joyce, OF TB – back (doubtful)
Mitch Moreland, 1B TEX – hamstring (doubtful)
Brett Lawrie, 3B TOR – knee (questionable)
Stephen Drew, SS ARI – ankle (expected to return July 26)
Drew Stubbs, OF CIN – oblique (expected to begin Class-A rehab assignment June 22)
Bud Norris, SP HOU – knee (expected to start Triple-A rehab assignment June 23)
Salvador Perez, C KC – knee (reinstated from 60-day DL on Friday)
Lorenzo Cain, OF KC – hip (currently on Double-A rehab assignment)
Chase Utley, 2B PHI – knee (currently on Class-A rehab assignment)
Evan Longoria, 3B TB – hamstring (still on Triple-A rehab assignment after slight setback)
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.
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