Another week is in the books in the 2011 fantasy baseball season, and the news just never stops. The heat might have finally broken here in the Northeast, but divisional races are still heating up, and likely so are the standings in your fantasy leagues. We have news about an injured Mets' star that actually is ending in good news, a pitcher in the Bronx who spun a good tale today, and a closer in Philly who is looking good for now. We have news on a number of prospects, some good, some not so good, and some doing some things for the first time. Finally, we have news on an old train who seems to have finally found a destination spot, and that could be on your fantasy teams as we roll in tonight's version of Rounding The Bases.
I would say that David Wright's injured back appears to be just fine. Wright has been absolutely raking since coming back from the stress fracture in his back as he had his second multi hit game in the three he has been back for and he hit his seventh homer of the season today. Considering the way the Mets have diagnosed and dealt with injuries in recent years, Wright owners have to be thrilled with his resurgence and although he has made you play the waiver wire to fill the hole while he was out, Wright certainly has the talent to carry you to a fantasy championship.
Bartolo Colon's big fat ass got back in the win column on Sunday as he allowed just two runs over seven innings and struck out four. I have been a huge critc of Colon's this season, and more often than not he has been good, but overall I think he is going to be very hit or miss for the rest of the season, and I still don't think that he will be as solid as he was to start the season. He has been proving me wrong all season, but the unbreakable armor has a few dents in it now.
As soon as I bash Mike Trout and say that he isn't doing anything, the guy goes out and has a heck of a weekend where he stole his first base of the year on Friday, and on Sunday he connects on his first major league home run. Peter Bourjos is back and the Angels have said that they will ease him back into the starting centerfield role. What that means to me is that Trout probably has another week or so in the majors before he gets sent back down. I like Trout's future, but right now he isn't going to push Bourjos, Vernon Wells or Torii Hunter out of the outfield, or Bobby Abreu out of the DH role, no matter how old and decrepit they are. Expect Trout to be back at Salt Lake before the calendar hits August.
When you are dealing with rookie pitchers you always have to remember that "Mama said there would be days like this" and Michael Pineda had one of those days. Pineda took one on the chin against the Boston Red Sox on Sunday as he allowed seven runs over just 4.1 innings, and struck out four. Pineda has been an absolute beast this season, and whether he gets shut down at the end of this season to limit his innings or not, he is keeper league GOLD! Pineda has a long future of success in front of him, and if your guy has to get blown up, at least he did it against a strong offensive team and didn't get taken behind the woodshed by a team like the Royals. Just chalk this one up to a loss and get ready for Pineda's next start.
You might have thought me crazy if I wrote this a year or two ago, but look out now Dontrelle Willis might be fantasy relevant again. The D-Train has simplified his delivery, done a great deal of work and made it back to the majors for the Cincinnati Reds and is turning a few heads. He hasn't been a dominant pitcher, but he is making great strides and is pitching effectively. Willis didn't get the win on Sunday, but he allowed just three runs over 6.1 innings, walked three, and struck out three. Willis has now allowed just seven earned runs in his three starts for the Reds, and is worth a grab in fantasy leagues if you need pitching help.
Colby Rasmus has a lot of fantasy players worried as he has made his yearly trip to manager Tony LaRussa's dog house, a move that has cost him a few starts in the last week. Rasmus responded to the start he was given today by hitting tenth homer of the season among his two hits. I can possibly see Jon Jay getting another start or two for LaRussa to fully get the message across to Rasmus, but LaRussa is no dummy and he knows that the team needs Colby's bat in the lineup every day if they hope to compete for the NL Central title. Look for Rasmus to get back to playing every day, and hopefully respond with a strong final two months.
Justin Masterson's skid continued as he took his seventh loss of the season, but this one was hardly his fault as he was did in by his defense as a dropped fly ball cost his team two runs, and ultimately the game. Masterson allowed four runs (one earned) over seven innings, walked just one, and struck out six. He has been a breakout player in 2011 and deserves much better than his 8-7 record as Masterson's ERA is still just 2.57 so you can imagine what kind of run support he has been getting. I still like Masterson a lot for the rest of this year, and again going into 2012 as I think he will continue to mature, master his pitches, and get mentally tougher as he could be a 13-15 game winner next season.
Antonio Bastardo might not hold the closer's job much longer with Brad Lidge coming off of the DL, but he certainly shown the ability to do the job. Bastardo collected his eighth save of the season on Sunday as he closed out the Pads without giving up a hit and striking out one. I expect Lidge to be eased back into the role, and by next weekend could have already collected his first save of the year. I would hold Bastardo at this point though, just in case Lidge suffers a setback or implodes in his first try or two.
Desmond Jennings was just as good in his second game as he was in his first as he had another two hits, including his second double in as many games and stole his second base this season. Jennings has to be to the top of the "must-have" list as far as waivers are concerned if you are looking for a guy to hit for a decent average, score a bunch of runs, and steal a lot of bags. There are sure to be some struggles with this kid, but he is ultra talented, leading off, and off to a great start.
If Justin Masterson deserves a better win-loss record this season, Madison Bumgarner DEFINITELY deserves even more as he was excellent again on Sunday as he picked up just his sixth win of the season by allowing just one run over 7.2 innings, not walking a batter, and striking out eight. The Giants have left this kid high and dry so many times this season when he didn't deserve it. True, the first month or six weeks of the season were very tough for him, but since then he has been pretty damn good and he will be a guy that I think will be overlooked in drafts next season because of his shoddy win total, but he will be someone that I will be targeting on every team. Be the savvy player, look beyond the numbers and remember that it was the Giants' fault that he only finished the season with nine or ten wins and that Bumgarner deserved at least 13.
Chris Narveson (MIL) vs. Ryan Dempster (CHC) -- The Cubs are one of the worst teams in the majors and although Dempster might be their best pitcher, they just aren't scoring runs right now, and Narveson has done well against the teams he should be beating, so if I was streaming Tuesday, I would take this one with confidence.
Sunday's Result -- Tyler Chatwood (LAA) -- 7 IP, 6 H, 2 ER, 0 BB, 5 K (W)
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