It is another weekend of fantasy baseball, and this one is the hottest of the year here in New York as the temperature was north of 100 degrees for the second straight day with no break in sight! While the weather continues to be hot, the standings in your fantasy baseball leagues are likely the same. So, we give you the news of the night that you need to know including an injured closer on the way back, a top prospect who won't help you this season, and a handful of pitchers who are completely going in the tank. We have a hero in Boston who is completely outperforming expectations, and a first baseman in America's Heartland who broke his owner's hearts. And of course don't forget the pitching streamer for Sunday when you need it to win your matchup all in this version of Rounding The Bases.
Brad Lidge has been activated from the Disabled List from every arm injury possible. LIdge hasn't pitched this season at all, and I don't expect him to be placed in the closer's role right away. Look for him to be eased back into it for now, but in the next week to 10 days Lidge will be back in his customary role. How will he do? Well, on that one, your guess is as good as mine, but I would say he will be what he always has been.....mostly solid, but when he blows up, he blows up big time. He will be a guy that should get you a good ten saves between now and the end of the season.
Mike Trout had probably his best game in the majors since his call up on Friday as he had two hits and raised his batting average to .182. I didn't expect a whole lot from Trout in this call up considering he is just 19 years old, although he is getting more of a look than most prospects normally do for the Angels. But there are two things that are concerning me about his time with the big club and that is the fact that he is striking out like crazy, and the kid with all of the speed in the world hasn't swiped a single bag yet. Trout likely has a very bright future in the major leagues some day, but if you are counting on anything in 2011, you are not likely to be satisfied.
It was an ugly night of pitching in the Bronx as neither pitcher got out of the fifth inning. In fact, the starter for Oakland, Trevor Cahill only could get through two innings as he gave up a whopping ten runs. Well, he started the third, but didn't get anyone out. Cahill has been completely horrendous the past two months, and while I still wouldn't drop him yet, there is no way I would let him be in my lineup the next time he pitches, or perhaps the next few times that he pitches. I might give Cahill two or three more starts and if he doesn't get his butt into shape then I might cut him.
Phil Hughes wasn't too much better for the Yanks as he allowed seven runs over 4.1 innings, walked four and struck out three. I still have faith that Hughes is going to have a good second half of the season, but I can't say that I have undying confidence. I like Hughes and his makeup, but it has been such an up and down year for him that I wouldn't be surprised if he totally went into the tank either. Give Hughes a few more starts to see how he does before making any sort of decision on his future on your team.
He might not have taken the loss, but this was another not so nice start for Atlanta's Jair Jurrjens. After allowing six runs his last time out, Jurrjens was touched up for four runs against the Cincinnati Reds in just six innings. In his defense, he is still racking up the strikeouts as he tallied nine on Friday, but he is still not the guy he was all season lately. I have long been on record thinking that Jurrjens wouldn't finish the season as strong as he started it, and while I don't think he is going to completely go off the map, Jurrjens days of shutout start after shutout start might be coming to a close.
Who is this power hitter in the body of Jacoby Ellsbury? The guy whose previous career high in home runs was nine clubbed his 16th of the year on Friday, and coupling that with his 28 steals and the .317 batting average and you have the biggest steals in fantasy drafts this season. Ellsbury fell in drafts this spring after being injured for a lot of last season, but he is paying off in a huge way. I wouldn't be surprised to see his power wane a little down the stretch but Ellsbury will finish with an amazing season. He will likely be incredibly over valued in drafts in 2012.
A guy who was much of a mess for much of the last three seasons is all of a sudden one of the hottest pitchers in baseball. Would you laugh at me if I told you that guy was John Lackey? I know, I thought it was funny too, but he won his third straight decision tonight by giving up one run over seven innings while striking out four. Lackey has given up just four runs in his last three outings, and has evened his record to 8-8. I do think that this is just a nice run and a smoke screen though, and don't put much faith in Lackey going forward. I might use him as a streamer on his next start, but I don't expect this win streak to last much longer.
Billy Butler is going to have another disappointing season for those of us who hoped that this was the year that the power would get better and he would be a viable option at first base for fantasy baseball. Butler did have a home run on Friday, but it was just his seventh of the season, and he has driven in only 40 runs on the year. What happened to the guy who was supposed to hit 25 homers and drive in 100 runs on a regular basis? Not sure that his minor league power numbers will ever translate to the majors, but I am still hopeful that in the near future we will at least see him get to the 20 bomb plateau, but it ain't gonna be this year.
Tyler Chatwood vs. Jeremy Guthrie (BAL) -- I have used Chatwood a number of times in this part of the column and he has come through for me more times than not. The Angels are playing better than they were in the beginning of the season, and I am not sure how Guthrie isn't in a mop up role in the Orioles bullpen.
Want to read more? Check out our Fantasy Alarm in-season fantasy baseball coverage complete with nightly fantasy baseball recaps, two start pitchers, best waiver pickups, injury reports and in-depth minor league baseball coverage.
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