Greetings and salutations to the fantasy baseball universe. It is everybody’s favorite day of the week (and by everybody I mean nobody), so that means it is time for the Tuesday Night Top Ten list of newsworthy fantasy baseball happenings. We are now in Week 11 of the season which is hard to believe because it feels like just last week was Week 10. So without further adieu, here are your headlines for this Tuesday night.
10. Captain Crunch – For Yankees fans, the news that Derek Jeter was placed on the disabled list just six hits shy of 3,000 was akin to telling Ashton Kutcher that Twitter has been destroyed by Skynet. For everyone else, no one really cares unless Jeter was your starting shortstop on your fantasy team. Nonetheless, it is newsworthy that Jeter will be out for at least two weeks as he closes in on 3,000 hits for his career. He has regressed in terms of offensive production, which is not surprising given his age and the position he plays. However, Jeter is still a valuable fantasy player at a weak position so his injury could be significant in your league. His replacement, Eduardo Nunez, is only worth a pickup if you get points for at bats or throwing errors.
9. Happy Holliday – The Cardinals are expected to activate Matt Holliday in time for Thursday’s game this week. Holliday has been sidelined since the end of May with a left quadriceps tear, which came only six weeks after he returned from an emergency appendectomy. It has been a frustrating season for fantasy owners of Holliday who has put up huge numbers in the limited time he has played. With Albert Pujols finally heating up and Lance Berkman still producing, Holliday should fit right in the middle of that and continue to maintain a batting average well above .300 along with impressive power numbers and run production. He is an elite outfield option in any fantasy format, but he is an injury risk this year so be cautious and keep Allen Craig and Jon Jay close by in case Holliday suffers a relapse.
8. No More Morneau – As if it can’t get any worse for the Minnesota Twins, now Justin Morneau has landed back on the disabled list with a left wrist injury. The former MVP has not been the same player since he sustained a concussion in July 2010 that ended his season and clearly still affects him today. The Twins are hopeful that this will resolve itself within the 15 days that Morneau is out. However, even if Morneau does come back quickly, what exactly are you getting from him in fantasy baseball at a premium power position. Morneau is only batting .225 with 4 homeruns and 22 RBI, so his value has already plummeted. Stash him on the disabled list if you have the room, but look for other options at first base under the assumption you won’t start Morneau even when he comes back. The guy is too talented to struggle this bad, so once he is able to heal from all of his injuries, then Morneau will be More-Yes.
7. Yo Adrian! – When the Red Sox acquired Adrian Gonzalez from San Diego this past winter, the general consensus was that we would finally get to see how truly great A-Gone is when hitting in a potent lineup and a hitter-friendly ballpark. What we have seen thus far from Gonzalez goes beyond any of those expectations. Gonzalez currently leads the American League in batting at .347 as well as RBI with 60. He has anchored Boston’s lineup and thrived hitting behind Jacoby Ellsbury and Dustin Pedroia who both always seem to be on base for him. Gonzalez hasn’t homered as much as one would have predicted, but that shouldn’t matter because as hot as he has been, some of those flyballs and laser beams will start finding their way over the fence. Right now, Gonzalez is the best first base option in fantasy baseball.
6. Niese to Meet You – In a shocking turn of events, there is actually a reason to covet a Mets starting pitcher on your fantasy team. Jonathon Niese has quietly put together a very solid season thus far in earning the right to be owned in mixed fantasy leagues. Niese won his sixth game of the year tonight against the Braves making this the sixth straight start where he has allowed two earned runs or less. He is commanding his deadly curveball which has led to an increase in strikeouts and a decrease in walks. If he is available, you should add him immediately and ride the wave of his success.
5. Sitting on the Dock of the Bay - Jason Bay has been one of the most disappointing players in all of baseball for the last year and a half. After signing with the Mets for huge dollars prior to the 2010 season, Bay has produced as much offense as a backup middle infielder. He has essentially become an automatic out at the plate with his poor pitch selection, lack of discipline, and inability to have a good at bat. Mets manager Terry Collins has finally seen enough to make the decision that Bay was hurting the team by being in the lineup. As a result, he has ridden the bench several times over the past 10 days. This does not appear to be a permanent thing, or even a strict platoon. However, it is apparent that Bay will not be playing every day unless and until he starts hitting the ball like a $16 million/year player should. If Bay is in your fantasy team’s starting lineup, then you might as well start Henry Blanco too.
4. Philling Better – Amidst all of the Yankees injury problems lately, they actually have received some good news. Phil Hughes, on the disabled list since early April, threw 49 pitches during an intrasquad game where he consistently hit 92 mph with his fastball. The plan going forward is to have Hughes slowly extend himself and build back his endurance before he inevitably returns to the rotation sometime in July. Fantasy owners who have stashed him on the disabled list will be rewarded when he returns and likely assumes the #2 spot in the Yankees rotation. If for some reason Hughes is floating around your league’s waiver wire, grab him…but not in THAT way, sicko.
3. Return of the Zimm – Nationals star third baseman Ryan Zimmerman finally made his return to the lineup after missing over two months due to surgery repairing an abdominal tear. Zimmerman was thought to be the second or third best option at third base heading into this fantasy baseball season, so owners have been anxious to receive a return on their investment. Zimmerman’s return should also help the production of Jayson Werth who has struggled mightily to anchor Washington’s lineup in his absence. When healthy, Zimmerman is a solid candidate for .290, 25 HR, and 90 RBI. He will need some time to readjust, but your patience will be rewarded.
2. Good News for the Steals Category – Those of you who drafted Hanley Ramirez have been sorely disappointed by his .210 batting average, 4 homeruns, 17 RBI and multiple week stint on the disabled list. Now not only is he back in the lineup, but he is back in his old leadoff spot in the Marlins lineup. This is good news for Hanley owners who have been craving that deadly combination of power and speed. Not that Hanley was doing much when he was healthy, but batting third in the order severely limited his stolen base attempts. Now that he is leading off again, look for him to start doing a Mike Leake impression and stealing quite a bit. There is still time to justify why you drafted him second overall.
1. The Justin Verlander School for Pitchers Who Aren’t Good – Justin Verlander was already in the upper echelon of pitchers in both real and fantasy baseball. With two no-hitters already on his resume, Verlander nearly tossed his third tonight against the Indians. He would have been the first pitcher since Nolan Ryan in 1973 to throw two no-hitters in the same regular season, but it wasn’t meant to be. Instead, Verlander had to settle for a two-hit, complete game shutout compiling 12 strikeouts on his way to his eighth win of the season. Verlander has firmly entrenched his position as one of the elite pitchers in the game and can be relied on as the anchor of your fantasy team’s pitching staff.
Don’t adjust your calendars and put down that phone before you make an appointment with your in-network eye doctor. It is not Tuesday, but that doesn’t mean we can’t compile a special list of fantasy baseball headlines and newsworthy events on other days of the week. Please join me for a special edition of my featured lists. Because I know how much you and everyone else loves alliteration, this edition will be slightly truncated to due to the alphabet. So without further adieu, here is a Special Saturday Night Spectacular Six fantasy baseball headlines.
6. Hall of an Opportunity – The San Francisco Giants suffered another devastating injury to one of their starters. This time, second baseman Freddy Sanchez sustained a serious shoulder injury which created an immediate need. Enter veteran Bill Hall, who was released by the Astros earlier this season. Hall should not be mistaken for anything resembling the Hall of Fame, or even Mel Hall for that matter. But in terms of fantasy value, Hall could provide some power to a relatively weak and shallow position. He will get most of the at bats going forward, and the Giants do have a history of plucking discarded veterans off the waiver wire and rejuvenating their careers (see Pat Burrell and Cody Ross in 2010). If you have issues at 2B or MI and need a quick fix, Hall could be your man.
5. Colon Cleansing – The New York Yankees are dropping like flies. Just after it was announced that Joba Chamberlain is scheduled to undergo Tommy John surgery next Thursday, Yankees’ starter Bartolo Colon had to be removed from Saturday’s game due to tightness in his left hamstring sustained when he was running to cover first base. He was pitching a shutout at the time and has been one of baseball’s great comeback stories of the year thus far. MRI results are forthcoming, but the Yankees will likely be cautious with the portly veteran. He could still be a valuable pickup in your fantasy league, so monitor the situation and his prognosis.
4. Final-Lee - After signing a huge contract to rejoin the Philadelphia Phillies, Cliff Lee was expected to be the 1A of the Phillies star-studded pitching staff. He was also considered a lock as a stud fantasy pitcher due to his contributions in all relevant categories. However, Lee has not produced the results that were anticipated thus far. Not all of it was his fault as the Phillies struggled to score runs due to several injuries to key offensive players. But he had failed to pitch in a manner that was commensurate with such a free agent contract – until this week. In a two start Week 10, Lee dominated the Nationals and Cubs allowing a total of one run in 15 innings while striking out 17. He is now above.500 at 6-5 and he leads the majors in total strikeouts with 107. If you can still manage to buy low on him, do it now because that train is about to leave the station.
3. Six Pence All the Richer – After being removed from Friday’s game for cautionary reasons, Astros’ outfielder Hunter Pence was back in the lineup on Saturday and extended his hitting streak to 22 games. In those 22 games, Pence is batting .391 with 3 homeruns and 15 RBI. He has literally carried Houston’s lineup by himself this year as he has emerged into one of the elite outfielders in baseball. His overall average is up to .318 which is unfamiliar territory for the free-swinger. With his ability to keep a good batting average, Pence now becomes even more valuable in roto leagues due to his contributions in all categories.
2. Happy Anniversary, Mike Stanton – Earlier this week, Marlins’ young stud outfielder Mike Stanton celebrated the one year anniversary of his call-up to the big leagues. In the 365 days since he arrived in Florida, Stanton has hit 37 homeruns which is the 7th most in the majors, and 97 RBI which is 25th overall in that time span. Stanton is emerging as a true power threat, which could likely affect his batting average and total strikeouts. But there is no denying his homerun and RBI output as he remains someone to actively target in all fantasy baseball formats. Just make sure you don’t mistaken him for the retired white, left-handed relief pitcher
1. Boston Tea Party – After a horrendous 0-6 and 2-8 start to the season, the Boston Red Sox have finally clicked and are the hottest team in all of baseball lately. They sit two games ahead of the Yankees in 1st place in the AL East thanks in part to their tremendous lineup and starting pitching. The recommendation at this point is to acquire anyone you can from the Red Sox’s lineup or roster because everyone is hitting. Adrian Gonzalez and Carl Crawford have begun living up to expectations and proving why they were worth $148 million. Jacoby Ellsbury, Dustin Pedroia, and David Ortiz have been locked in for quite some time and should be targeted via trade in your fantasy league. As for the pitching, the top 3 of Lester, Beckett and Buccholz should have plenty of run support this year and will contribute in all categories except saves
It is hard to believe, but Tuesday has once again come and gone which means it is time for the Top Ten list of newsworthy fantasy baseball happenings. The calendar has turned to June and the fantasy baseball season has entered its tenth week. Time seems to fly by when you are having fun or checking the waiver wire to fill the void left by an injured player. That being said, let’s dive right into the June 7, 2011 edition of the Tuesday Top Ten list and see what is crack-a-lacking.
10. On the Mark – The Yankees and Red Sox have one of the most storied and dramatic rivalries in all of sports. The two AL East powerhouses are at it once again as they battle for first place in a mid-week series at Yankee Stadium. Sure enough, it didn’t take very long for the drama to rear its ugly head again as Jon Lester hit Mark Teixeira in the knee with a pitch in the first inning. Teixeira would ultimately leave the game and will undergo x-rays and tests during the night. This could be devastating for Teixeira owners if he has to miss any significant time. After an uncharacteristic hot start to the season, Teixeira has been pedestrian at best through most of May but started showing signs of hearing up on the Yankees’ recent west coast road trip. The Yankees will be cautious with Teixeira no matter what, so carefully monitor the situation and have some backup plans in place.
9. It Burns When I Peavy – Ok I will admit that I did not come up with that slogan. It is actually my friend’s team name in one of my fantasy baseball leagues, and arguably one of the funniest ones I have seen over the years. Speaking of funny, it is hilarious to think that Jake Peavy could last more than five games in the major leagues without a stint on the disabled list. Well, after missing the beginning of the season recovering from an arm injury, Peavy returned to Chicago which then employed a six-man starting rotation. Peavy went 2-1 with a 4.66 ERA in five starts since coming back. Sure enough, he injured his groin which will likely land him on the disabled list. If you want to send a “Get Well Soon” card to him, please send it to Jake Peavy c/o The Disabled List since that seems to be his primary residence. If you are looking for a headline about this, it can read “Peavy lands on DL with another injury. In other news, man invented fire.”
8. Future Jackass of the Year – This doesn’t necessarily affect much in terms of current fantasy baseball, but it has to be included in today’s update. Nationals’ prospect Bryce Harper, the #1 overall pick in the 2010 draft, continues to prove why he has a reputation of being an assclown. In a game against the Greensboro Grasshoppers, Harper hit a homerun off Zachary Neal who glared at him as he rounded the bases. Cameras caught on film Harper blowing a kiss at Neal before he crossed home plate. While some may interpret this as a harmless romantic gesture, others are probably insulted. Harper may be a very talented player and will likely end up a successful major league hitter. But his reputation and antics are going to attract a lot of fastballs heading between the numbers on his back.
7. Wright is Still Not Alright – Mets third baseman David Wright got some bad news from doctors saying that the stress fracture in his lower back hasn’t healed as quickly as they thought and have prescribed another three weeks of doing nothing. This means that the earliest Wright could start resuming some form of baseball activity is the end of June, which puts him in line for a return around the All-Star break. Wright was having an abysmal year before the injury anyway, but historically he was going to end up with his standard numbers (.285, 25 HR, 90 RBI). There are not many great options on the waiver wire for third base. You will need a stop-gap option that is dispensable once Wright comes back later on.
6. Paying for Failure – There are no guarantees in the game of baseball or fantasy baseball. Players commonly sign ludacris free agent contracts with teams desperately looking to rebuild and contend for the playoffs with high priced talent. However, things don’t always work out that way. Some glaring examples are Jason Bay, Adam Dunn and Jayson Werth. In terms of fantasy baseball, these players probably cost a middle round draft pick or a decent amount of auction dollars. And all you have gotten in return is absolute crap. At some point, you will have to consider benching these players because they are essentially a waste of a roster spot. Of course these veterans may turn things around, but for over two months these three players have been guilty of stealing a salary for pretending to be a baseball player.
5. Know Your Role, Jabroni – Brad Lidge, who is still waiting for Albert Pujols homerun from six years ago to land, is currently rehabbing and working his way back to the Phillies. The former closer had graciously indicated that he has no expectations to close games when he does make his return. The success that Ryan Madson has had since being anointed the closer in April is no longer considered a fluke. Lidge’s addition to the bullpen should provide added depth and insurance should Madson falter at some point. But kudos must be given to Lidge who understands the nature of the business. Not such great news for those of you who drafted Lidge on the cheap and have stashed him away. But great news for those of you who have Madson (and a special kudos to those of you who have Madson as a result of my closer profile on him from two weeks ago).
4.Uh oh for Brett Anderson – Not that many people have a burning desire to go to Birmingham, Alabama, but there is especially one reason why Major League Baseball pitchers do not enjoy going there. Of course, that would be Dr. James Andrews, the noted surgeon who specializes in performing Tommy John surgery. A’s young pitcher Brett Anderson will be visiting with Dr. Andrews to get an opinion on his elbow, which has currently landed him on the disabled list. If you can stash him on the DL, do it in case he doesn’t need surgery. If he does have to go under the knife, he will be gone the rest of this year and likely most of next season as well.
3. Edinson’s Light Bulb Went On – Reds starting pitcher Edinson Volquez made his return from the minor leagues to defeat the Cubs 8-2. He threw seven innings and allowed only one run on seven hits while walking two and striking out seven. This is a step in the right direction for the former ace of the staff who was sent to the minors to work on the command of his pitches. He may be available in some leagues, so grab him if he is. Rumor has it that Tigers’ legend Billy Chapel taught Volquez how to “clear the mechanism.” Get the reference???
2. Summer Lovin’ in San Diego – Padres prospect Anthony Rizzo is expected to be recalled very shortly once he receives a clean bill of health on this thumb. Rizzo is a strong first baseman who will be immediately be relied upon to inject some power in the middle of San Diego’s lineup. He is one of the top prospects in baseball and should be added if he is available.
1. Flash 2.0 – Dee Gordon, the son of former major league pitcher Tom “Flash” Gordon, made his big league debut on Monday night as a pinch runner. On Tuesday, he made his first start and proceeded to go 3-5 with a run scored and a stolen base. With Rafael Furcal back on the DL and likely out a month, Gordon should get plenty of playing time to show off his skills. He could be a big boost to your roto team if you need stolen bases from the weak middle infield position. If he plays especially well and doesn’t seem overmatched, it would not be surprising to see Gordon supplant Furcal as the starter when he comes back. For now, keep an eye on his playing time and definitely add him if available.
It’s Tuesday which means it is time for another edition of the Top Ten list. Without further adieu, let’s dive right into the Top Ten fantasy baseball headlines for this last day of May.
10. Better Late Than Never – Ryan Vogelsong of the San Francisco Giants has come full circle in his career to finally fulfill the expectations placed on him almost a decade ago. Vogelsong, initially drafted by the Giants, was the top prospect included in the trade that brought Jason Schmidt to San Francisco from Pittsburgh. The Pirates, who seem to always be in the business of providing other teams with key pieces to their puzzles, were in one of their rebuilding modes and traded away their ace pitcher who was facing free agency. The Bucs acquired Vogelsong with the hopes that he would become the anchor of their rotation for many years. However, Vogelsong sustained an injury and underwent Tommy John surgery in 2002. He would never attain any success with Pittsburgh through the 2006 season. He then kicked around Japan and had minor league stints with the Phillies and Angels until the Giants re-signed him before the 2011 season. After Barry Zito got injured, Vogelsong got the call to replace him and has been tremendous. He is currently 3-1 with a sparkling 1.77 ERA, 1.05 WHIP, and 32 strikeouts in 40 innings. The Giants will be hard-pressed to take him out of the rotation when Zito returns. He has done enough to warrant a pickup in your league, either NL-only or mixed, but monitor the situation in case he hits a wall or gets bumped when Zito returns.
9. Un-bereavable! – Jose Reyes was placed on the Bereavement List on Monday after the passing of his grandmother. Initial reports were that Reyes might miss the entire week to be with his family. It is now being reported by the Mets that they expect him back by Thursday, which is good news for fantasy owners. The announcement that he was going to be out was made on Monday morning, which may not have been enough notice for owners to replace him in their lineups. At least now it looks like the Mets and fantasy owners will get four games out of Reyes for the week. He has been extremely hot lately, so hopefully this family situation does not throw him off track.
8. Another Soriano Gets Hurt – Last week, the New York Yankees announced that relief pitcher Rafael Soriano would be out another 6-8 weeks with an arm injury that apparently does not require surgery. Now, Cubs outfielder Alfonso Soriano has been placed on the disabled list with an injury to his left leg. The Cubs outfield has already been depleted with Marlon Byrd’s injury stemming from his beaning against the Red Sox. Tyler Colvin has been recalled to replace Soriano on the roster. Colvin played very well in 2010 and should have an opportunity to contribute while Soriano and Byrd are out. Other outfield options such as Reed Johnson and Kosuke Fukudome do not provide much in terms of power or run production. Colvin is the guy to add if you are looking for a temporary fix.
7. Mauer’s Not Moving – Twins manager Ron Gardenhire has said that when Joe Mauer returns from the disabled list, he will go right back behind the plate as the team’s primary catcher. This decision was made for the purposes of 2011, but going forward, it would be foolish for Minnesota not to start planning ahead for Mauer to find another position. His draft value was completely overrated, as with all other catchers, simply because of their tendencies to get hurt and the fact they cannot play everyday. If you own him on your fantasy team, see what you can get for him in a trade. Relying on Mauer for the remainder of the season will only leave you with disappointment and heartache – much like your 8th grade dance.
6. It’s a Bird, It’s a Plane, It’s Zimmerman! – Nationals star third baseman Ryan Zimmerman is set to play in some extended spring training games as he begins his journey back to the big leagues. Zimmerman has missed most of the season and will be a welcome addition to both the Nationals’ lineup and fantasy owners’ rosters. In a year when third base has been as weak a position as there is in fantasy baseball, Zimmerman was arguably the second or third best option. He was drafted quite early in many drafts, so his injury put a lot of owners in a pinch. When healthy, Zimmerman will contribute in all roto categories. His presence in the lineup should also help Jayson Werth who has struggled mightily to carry the Nationals’ offense and justify his ridiculous contract.
5. Saved by the Bell – Padres’ closer Heath Bell had a frustrating start to the season with very few save opportunities through the middle of May. This was because the Padres didn’t have many leads in games, or when they won games it was by a very large margin. Now Bell has picked up three saves in the last four games and appears to be on track, along with the Padres’ propensity for playing in very close games. Bell is playing for a contract this year, and could be a potential trade candidate. He would obviously like to remain a closer, but it is distinctly possible he gets dealt to a team needing 8th inning help. Continue to ride Bell’s wave as he accumulates saves, but I would recommend you explore trade options for him in case he is traded out of his closer’s role.
4. Ike…Yikes – Mets’ first baseman Ike Davis has been on the disabled list for several weeks with a bone bruise and calf strain as a result of a collision with David Wright in Colorado. Initially the Mets thought Davis would be back relatively quickly, but a recent MRI has shown that the bone bruise has not healed as quickly or as well as they would have liked. The Mets anticipate Davis being in a walking boot for another three weeks, which means he will not be doing any rehab or baseball activities until the end of June at the earliest. This is not good news for the Mets or fantasy owners who have come to rely on Davis as a viable option at first base in both NL-only and mixed leagues. His replacement, Daniel Murphy, is too inconsistent to consider as a worthwhile replacement on your fantasy team.
3. Mo’ Injuries, Mo’ Problems for Morneau – Twins first baseman Justin Morneau said that he has been playing with a pinched nerve in his left shoulder and neck that will likely linger for the rest of the season. He clearly hasn’t been the same since he suffered a concussion in July 2010, and most people attributed his struggles and lack of power to the effects of his head injury. However, this revelation of a pinched nerve could easily be the reason why Morneau looks like a shell of his former self. Either way, this does not bode well for fantasy owners who were relying on power production from him. I would recommend exploring trade options for an upgrade at first base because it is questionable what kind of production you can expect from Morneau for the rest of the year. With the Twins so far out of playoff contention, Ron Gardenhire is smart enough not to unnecessarily expose Morneau to any additional risks or injuries.
2. Nothing Worse Than an Injured Johnson – Marlins’ ace pitcher Josh Johnson is eligible to come off the disabled list on June 1, but manager Fredi Gonzalez does not believe that is likely. Johnson is still not 100% but is scheduled to throw a bullpen session later this week. He will need sevetal bullpen sessions and possibly some minor league rehab starts before he comes back. The Marlins don’t need another starter until June 7, but it is not likely that Johnson can be relied on for his return on that day. Fantasy owners should keep him stashed on the DL and try and ride this out until he comes back. He has a history of injuries so this is not all that surprising. But if he misses any extended period of time beyond June 7, it may be wise to start exploring some trade opportunities for a starting pitcher.
1. Bruce is The Boss – Jay Bruce of the Cincinnati Reds is the hottest player in baseball right now. Manager Dusty Baker moved him into the cleanup spot for today’s game against the Brewers. Bruce was named National League player of the week after batting .354 with four home runs and 13 RBI over a seven game stretch from May 23-29. During the entire month of May, Bruce is batting .346 with 12 homers and 32 RBI. I was very high on him coming into the season as I thought he would put it all together after a few years of learning how to hit big league pitching. Bruce has tremendous power and could be a 40-homerun guy. He hits in a loaded lineup and in a great hitter’s park. While he will not likely maintain this torrid pace for the entire season, he is arguably one of the top fantasy players in the entire league and someone that you should target in trade discussions. Lock him up in all keeper leagues.
For the May 24, 2011 list of newsworthy fantasy baseball events and happenings, I have truncated it down to five for this week. Before I delve into this week’s list, I must disclose something to you loyal readers. I am a lifelong Mets fan (hold your laughter and tears). This week has been even more embarassing to admit that, even after the last few years of collapses, disappointments and failures. If you haven’t heard, Mets’ owner Fred Wilpon was recently quoted in an article written by Jeffrey Toobin for the New Yorker where he essentially threw his three best players under the bus. He said Jose Reyes will never get Carl Crawford-type money in free agency, David Wright is not a superstar, and that he was a schmuck for signing Carlos Beltran to the 7 year/$119 million contract solely based on the 2004 playoffs (oh and that Beltran is now only 65-70% the player he once was). The disclosure I want to share with you is that Wilpon also said that my writing skills are mediocre at best and that I am as humorous as the German Funnybot from South Park. Thanks Mr. Wilpon. Onto the news.
5. No Way Jorge – Rockies starting pitcher Jorge de la Rosa suffered a tear of his ulnar collateral ligament in his left elbow which means he is likely headed for season-ending Tommy John surgery. De la Rosa felt discomfort early in his start tonight in the first game of a double-header against the Diamondbacks. The Rockies received the news no organization wants to to hear, especially when it comes to a valuable and successful left-handed starter. De la Rosa was already having a solid 2011 campaign as he was 5-2 with a 3.51 ERA and 52 strikeouts. Now he is headed for the DL and will likely miss the remainder of the season assuming he does go for the surgery. If you are in a keeper league and have the space, hold onto him as he should be back by the July 4 holiday in 2012 (assuming he has surgery in the very near future).
4. Concussion Discussion – Orioles second baseman Brian Roberts will be out at least several more weeks due to experiencing concussion-like symptoms as a result of a head-first slide he made. Head injuries are difficult to evaluate in terms of severity and ability to overcome. But this is just the next injury in a long line of injuries suffered by Roberts. Once considered one of the top options at second base in fantasy baseball leagues, Roberts has fallen into oblivion due to missing so much time over the past few years. His days of 50 stolen bases and 100 runs scored appear to be over, mostly because he cannot stay healthy. If you have DL spots on your roster, you should stash him. In all likelihood, Roberts will be back at some point unless his symptoms persist. If he is available on the waiver wire, he is definitely worth a pick up.
3. The Grandy Man Can – Yankees’ outfielder Curtis Granderson is having an MVP-type season as he has carried the Yankees through the first quarter of the season. After a four-hit night on Tuesday, Granderson is batting .275, 16 homeruns, 35 RBI, 37 runs scored, 6 stolen bases, an OPS hovering around .950, and a sudden ability to hit left-handed pitchers. He has been a fantasy stud thus far, and hitting in between Derek Jeter and Mark Teixeira should provide him with great protection, lots of strikes to hit, and plenty of RBI chances. He will likely slow down his insane homerun pace, but in the end he should end up with 30-35 homeruns and 90 RBI depending on where he is in the lineup.
2. Go Back to Canada – Mets’ outfielder Jason Bay is the highest paid Canadian baseball player…ever. After putting up huge numbers for years with the Pirates and Red Sox, Bay signed a lucrative 4 year/$66 million contract.with the Mets prior to the 2010 season. In the year+ that he has been in the Mets organization, he has been nothing short of horrendous. Of course there was going to be a learning curve for him to readjust to National League pitching and deal with the unfriendly confines of Citi Field. Generally speaking people were patient with Bay in 2010, which ended early due to a concussion. Now in his second year with the Mets, Bay has been injured and unproductive the entire season. He left tonight’s game with a stiff right calf and a lingering .230 batting average, two homeruns, and under ten RBI. Keep an eye on Bay when and if he returns. He is quickly reaching the point where dropping him is a viable consideration.
1. Catcher in the Rye – Twins superstar catcher Joe Mauer should be starting to play in live games this week as he works his way back from bilateral leg weakness. Mauer is clearly a great hitter and someone the Twins will be banking on for many years to come. In order to preserve Mauer’s bat and career, he may be given a shot at a new position as the Twins start the process of getting him out from behind the plate. This makes sense on all levels. The rumors are that Mauer will be slowly transitioned to third base. If that is the case in 2011, then next year Mauer could actually be worth spending an early round pick on because he will still qualify at catcher yet be at a position that can keep him healthy and on the field everyday.
Tuesday Night Top Ten – May 3, 2011
According to reliable sources such as the internet and high school students, Tuesday is the least popular day of the week. In an effort to bring some respect, credibility and entertainment back to Tuesdays, I will be paying homage to David Letterman and provide a weekly Top 10 list for newsworthy fantasy baseball events that take place. Each event will have a brief description including what, if any, impact it has on fantasy baseball. The ranking is completely subjective so do not even think of challenging my authority. In fact, in the words of Eric Cartman, you will respect my authority! Without further adieu, here is the debut of the new Tuesday Top Ten List (as of 10:15 PM EST):
10. Phil is ill, but with what? – Yankees pitcher Phil Hughes apparently doesn’t have thoracic outlet syndrome, which is good news, but it also leaves many questions unanswered. Doctors and experts are still trying to figure out what is ailing the Yankees’ young hurler. Regardless, it doesn’t look like Hughes is going to contribute much to the Yankees or fantasy owners this year. His velocity is down and his stuff is flat. There is very likely a physical reason why, but thus far no one can provide an answer. For now, stash him on the DL if you have the room. But don’t expect anything from him in 2011. On a side note, going back to all of the trade discussions between the Mets, Yankees and Twins for Johan Santana in 2008, it is sadly bizarre and ironic that former Mets prospect and current White Sox starter Philip Humber is likely to be the best pitcher of them all this season.
9. D-Choo-I – Yet another major league baseball player has been arrested for driving while under the influence. Indians outfielder Shin Soo Choo is the most recent drunk driver pulled over in what seems like a weekly occurrence. Choo had one too many Cheongju before he got behind the wheel. No one ever accused baseball players of being smart, but come on…this is getting a little ridonculous. Assuming his situation is like every other offender, he shouldn’t miss any time so there will not likely be any effect on his fantasy status. That is, unless, he shows up drunk at a game and starts referring to himself as Kim Jong Il.
8. Oh Jenrry – Mets prospect Jenrry Mejia will likely need to undergo Tommy John surgery to repair an injured ligament in his elbow. Mejia was being groomed to become a starter in the Mets rotation of the future, but this will have to be put on hold for at least a year assuming he goes under the knife soon. Mejia has electric stuff and is a popular keeper in roto fantasy leagues due to his potential to either start or relieve. If recent history is any indication, there is no reason Mejia can’t come back and be an effective pitcher within 18 months of the operation. He is only 22 so there is still plenty of time for him to make an impact. But those of you who are stashing him in keepe leagues, you might as well clear the roster space.
7. Not Werth the Money – Jayson Werth made his long awaited return to Philadelphia in a Nationals’ uniform and was met with a mixture of ovations and boos. This is not surprising because Werth’s decision to sign with Washington is understandable, but his comments after he left were unnecessary. No one could argue with Werth agreeing to that ludacris contract, because let’s be honest, any one of us would take the money and run. But when Werth later came out and made some disparaging remarks about the Phillies and their lack of attempts to bring him back, it soured the fans’ feelings towards him. Werth should thank the Phillies for giving him the opportunity to put up great numbers as the team’s fourth offensive weapon. Now he is the focal point of the Nationals’ lineup and will soon realize Adam LaRoche is not Ryan Howard and Danny Espinosa is not Chase Utley.
6. Goose Eggs and Hamels – It is common knowledge at this point that the Phillies have the greatest starting pitching in baseball, and arguably one of the greatest staffs in the history of baseball (the 2005 Mets are in that conversation as well with Victor Zambrano and Kris Benson). Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee seem to get most of the attention, and deservingly so. But Cole Hamels is on the brink of becoming truly an elite pitcher in real and fantasy baseball. There has never been an issue with his talent. The biggest question mark with Hamels has always been his maturity and mental strength. After what he pulled in the 2009 World Series, he has clearly grown up and emerged as a potential Cy Young candidate. He threw a complete game gem against the Washington Nationals and continues to make people vomit at the thought he is the Phillies number three or four starter.
5. Pain in the Neck – Blue Jays slugger Jose Bautista will miss some time this week with an injured neck. He must have strained it from looking up at all the homeruns he has hit since the beginning of 2010. I will admit that I was wrong about him being a fluke. He will probably not come close to hitting 54 homeruns again, but he is clearly an established slugger who knows how to hit. It seems as though he is consistently befelled by nagging injuries. I recently had a nagging injury. My wife wouldn’t stop nagging me, so I hit my head against the wall and sustained a laceration to my forehead. I looked like Ric Flair in a steel cage match.
4. Bay-bee Daddy – Mets outfielder Jason Bay is on paternity leave for a couple days to be with his wife who is expected to give birth to the couple’s third child. Bay sustained a concussion in July 2010 and missed the rest of the season. Then, just days before Opening Day, he sustained a strain to his oblique muscle requiring him to miss the first three weeks of the 2011 season. After playing in 10 games, it was clear he needed some time off. Oh calm down, I am kidding. It is great the MLB has implemented a new paternity leave program for players so they can be with their wives when children are born. Given the baby is due in the beginning of May, that means it was likely conceived in July or August 2010. Hmmm, didn’t Bay sustain his concussion around that time? I guess he wasn’t injured enough to knock up his wife when he clearly couldn’t knock any balls over the fence.
3. Celebrity Rehab – American League MVP Josh Hamilton is in rehab once again. No silly, not for smoking crack or building meth labs. Hamilton is recovering from a fractured arm when he inexplicably was sent home to score on a foul popup and dove into home plate. On Wednesday, he is scheduled to swing a bat for the first time since the injury which means he is at least one week ahead of schedule in his recovery. It was originally anticipated that Hamilton would miss 6-8 weeks and not swing a bat for the first four weeks. He was injured three weeks ago, so do the math. What? You were told there would be no math? Just use a calculator. In fact, type the number 55378008 and turn your calculator upside down. The result answers the question “How would you describe Gwyneth Paltrow?”
2. Battle of Wounded Knee – Chase Utley may not be far from returning to the Phillies. The all star second baseman has been bothered by an ailing knee for months and has yet to see any game time in spring training, the minor leagues, or the major leagues. Reports out of Philadelphia are that Utley may be sent to Clearwater to play in some extended spring training games which would enable him to face live pitching for the first time since 2010. This bodes well for fantasy owners who drafted Utley and have stashed him on the DL in the hopes he would return sooner than later. If he is healthy, the Phillies should look into possibly trading him because they clearly can win with the “talented” duo of Wilson Valdez and Pete Orr playing second base. Just FYI, the quotation marks were meant to indicate sarcasm font.
1. LIRIANOOOOOO! - Twins starting pitcher Francisco Liriano pitched a no-hitter against the White Sox in Chicago tonight. There is no debating Liriano’s talent, but he has been atrocious thus far in 2011 and his starting job was in jeopardy with Kevin Slowey being considered to take his place in the Twins’ rotation. That debate has been quelled for now as Liriano threw his first career complete game in the no-hit effort. He walked six and only struck out two which indicates he relied on his defense instead of trying to strike every batter out. Perhaps this is a sign that he has turned the corner and is on his way to reclaiming his status as a top tier fantasy pitcher. Or it could just be a fluke and he will get bombed in three innings next time out. That is the problem with Liriano – he is so inconsistent and almost impossible to predict. Those of you in points leagues where no-hitters are credited had a good night if Liriano was in your lineup.