It is the start of the fourth month of the fantasy baseball schedule and of course there is plenty to talk about on a Friday night. One of the leagues closers has been put on the shelf, while a fill in is showing his worth. A Cardinal is really hitting well, while we have a strange occurrence in Chicago. A newly acquired player in Colorado belts out his first for the team, and we also have pitching news from all over the map. So, enjoy whatever it is you are doing tonight and soak in all that is Rounding The Bases.
After leaving his start early, the back troubles of Carlos Zambrano has now landed him on the Disabled List. Big Z will be eligible to come off the DL a few days after the All-Star Break, but he did have similar troubles a couple of years back and it took just over three weeks for him to be able to return. The other "news" from this story is that Zambrano fulfilled a commitment after being put on the DL where he threw out a first pitch at a softball tournament, and he is getting flack about it in Chicago. I have to say (and I hate Zambrano), BRAVO! It is easy for an athlete to cheese out on a responsibility for something like that, but Zambrano still did it and I have to applaud him for it.
J.J. Putz has been placed on the Disabled List with elbow tendonitis, and this could last a little while. Putz was one of the best closers over the first 10 weeks of the season, but the wheels have started to come off recently. Manager Kirk Gibson said they are going to let him rest it "for a while" which doesn't help us with a timetable, but it doesn't seem like this is going to be just two weeks. David Hernandez is supposed to get the first shot at saves, although he isn't someone that I have a ton of faith in. But if you are in dire need of saves, that is who should be in line for the chances.
Colby Rasmus homered for the third time in four games and four times in the last seven. That still only gives him nine one the year, even with this sudden burst. I have been disappointed with Colby for exactly this reason, he hadn't been hitting for the power that I expected from him with the year started. I am not sure that this is going to be the start of a huge second half for Rasmus, but he has a ton of talent and could certainly ride this wave to finishing the season with more than 20 bombs and also steal 12-15 bags. One of these days he is going to put it all together and be a huge player in fantasy baseball. Is it now? I can't say I'm sure of that yet.
Wade Davis was a popular late round pitcher in drafts this Spring, but he has struggled much more often than he has been successful, but all of a sudden it seems that Davis has found a little groove as he has been great his last three times out, including Friday. He may have taken the loss against the Cardinals, but Davis only allowed two earned runs over seven innings, and struck out just three. Davis isn't going to give you many whiffs (hasn't had more than four in his last ten starts, but if Davis has two ore three more good starts I would pick him up.
Filling in admirably at closer for Philadelphia, Antonio Bastardo collected his fourth save of the season as the injuries in the City of Brotherly Love have put him at the back end of the bullpen and I think the Bastard will excel. Bastardo didn't allow a hit and struck out one, and I believe as long as he has this job he will be very successful. Bastardo's ERA is now just 0.90 on the year and is a must pick up really in any league.
In the battle for the Windy City I noticed that both Alexei Ramirez and Aramis Ramirez both homered in the game for their respective teams. Made me wonder if it was the first game where two guys with the names A. Ramirez both homered. C'mon Elias Sports Bureau, see if you can figure that one out!
I told you at least a month ago (and I say it in the newest intro to The Fantasy Alarm Show on Sirius/XM Fantasy Sports Radio) that I didn't believe that Atlanta's Jair Jurrjens would be able to continue the success that he has had in the first couple months of the season. Well, we are now on July 1st and he nearly threw his first career ho hitter as he blanked the Orioles, striking out eight and lowering his season ERA to 1.89. So, this might make me sound like an even bigger idiot, but I am telling you to trade him now and sell high on Jurrjens. I am no longer saying that he isn't good enough to have a great season, but does ANYONE here believe that Jurrjens will finish the season with an ERA under 2.00? I sure don't. You have maxed out his production, move him on before it is too late.
Hey! All of you who gave up on Madison Bumgarner, how are you feeling right now? After the dude had one of the worst starts of all time in which he gave up hits to the first eight batters he faced, Bum has now put up two great outings in a row as he gave up just one run over 7.1 innings against the Tigers and struck out nine. Bumgarner was a total victim of no run support and that explained his horrendous win/loss record. This kid isn't an elite fantasy pitcher but he is damn good and should be in line for a huge second half. If Bumgarner is available I would run to pick him up right now!
Another thing I said before the season was not to trust any Pirates pitcher and obviously I have already gone back on that statement. The same thing can be said about Washington Nationals' starters, however, I still am not buying into the start that Tom Gorzellany had on Friday. Gorzellany didn't allow an earned run over seven innings and struck out eight. Gorzellany has had some good starts in his career, but isn't someone I trust in fantasy. Don't fall victim to one hot start and don't bother with Gorzellany.
Alexi Ogando had been bad his last three times out and his fantasy owners were starting to wonder if the guy that had been leading them in the first half of the season was either hitting the wall, or had been figured out by major league hitters. I can't say that either of those aren't the case, but the guy finally looked good again on Friday as he gave up just two earned runs over 6.2 innings and struck out eight. When Ogando is on he is capable of these type of numbers. Personallly I am kind of worried that the league has either figured him out or he is starting to tire, and might use this opportunity to shop him to see if you can get something good. If not though, continue to ride the wave and see where it goes.
Mark Ellis was acquired by the Colorado Rockies a couple of days ago and he has started paying dividends as he hit his first National League home run on Friday night. Now, I do have to say that Ellis has good power for the second base position and I believe that he has had more than one season where he has hit 20 home runs. However, it does come at a cost as he doesn't drive in as many runs as you would think someone who hits 20 home runs would, and he is never going to hit for a high batting average. NL-only leagues he is a must pickup, and in mixed leagues he could be worth it depending on your situation. I am not a huge fan of Ellis by any stretch but I do understand he has some value.
Jason Vargas threw his second shutout in his last three starts and I know a lot of you are thinking about running to the waiver wire to pick him up, but I warn you against this. He is having a very good season, but this shutout was against the Padres who aren't exactly the best offensive team in baseball, and for his career his record is just 23-31 and his ERA is 4.50. This guy is an average pitcher at best and should only be used as a pitching streamer and I rarely ever use him for that. Perhaps I undervalue Vargas, but he hasn't done anything in his career to thrill me.
My Fantasy Alarm Show co-host Jeff Mans has been telling you people about Wily Mo Pena since about three weeks before he was called to the majors. Hopefully you all listened to him, because Pena has been making the most of his latest opportunity in the majors and on Friday hit his fourth home run since June 21st. Now, with that being said, Pena has just three other hits and is batting just .233. Funny thing is his on base percentage is also .233 because the guy hasn't taken a walk yet. So, in closing you pretty much know what you are getting with Pena. Basically it is a home run or nothing, but if you are in need of power, Pena could be your guy on the short term. He has also struck out 14 times in 30 at bats, so it is truly all or nothing. If you need just home runs and can afford the hit in batting average, Wily Mo could be your guy. Just be ready for him to be sent back to the minors before too long.
Rich Harden pitched for the first time in a long time, and actually won the game as he gave up just two earned runs over six innings and struck out six without walking a batter. Don't get me wrong, Harden has all of the talent in the world, but his injury history is so long and he has burned me so many times that I can't trust him for any stretch of time. I would not add him unless I was so short on pitching that I was desperate. Harden can rack up the strikeouts but it isn't worth it as he is likely to be on the DL in the next few weeks.
Juan Nicasio has struggled mightily since being called to the majors, even though he has shown small flashes of brilliance even though he has had trouble making it through an entire start without getting blown up. But Friday was his best start as he pitched eight shutout innings, allowing just three hits and striking out four. Nicasio has great stuff and is capable of getting more strikeouts than this, but he still needs some work to earn that regular fantasy job. He is still very inconsistent, but overall I still like this kid. Right now he is best served as a pitching streamer, but has the talent to be much more.
Rodrigo Lopez (CHC) vs. Gavin Floyd (CWS) -- Lopez put together a decent part of a season last year for the Diamondbacks, and while he hasn't been good in 2011 for the Cubs, this seems to be a decent matchup. The White Sox are hitting better as of late, but this cross town rivarly is always close. I am not a firm believer in Gavin Floyd, and Lopez should be available in almost all leagues.
Friday's Result -- Tyler Chatwood (LAA) -- 5 IP, 12 H, 4 ER, 2 BB, 1 K (L) Ouch!
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.
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