If it hasn’t already happened yet, it will, so you’re going to want to make sure you stay prepared. But with yesterday’s news that Roy Halladay would miss six to eight weeks with a lat muscle problem and that he was being joined on the DL by Jered Weaver due to a back strain and that Roy Oswalt was signing with the Rangers likely bringing Neftali Feliz’ time as a starter to a close, your waiver wire should be a hotbed of action. Pitchers are going to start getting picked up at a rapid rate as owners begin to worry about the starters they stream and the apparent lack of depth available at this point in the season. Now obviously there’s no reason to panic, but would I grab an extra starter or two, someone half decent to stash away and leave on my bench? Absolutely. I wouldn’t do it if it came at the expense of a better offensive choice and I wasn’t in dire need, but if the league is fairly deep and you have the bench space, then I don’t think it would hurt to have an extra arm or two available – for your own use or even for trade. It’s just a matter of keeping up with the trends and keeping yourself covered. We’re only a third of the way through the season, so with so much baseball still to go, any little advantage helps.
Now let’s hit the highlights….
Now if you’ve been reading all season or if you’ve been following game for some time, you’ll know that it gives me immense pleasure to present to you Tuesday’s top performer. He’s this year’s biggest breakout right now, a staple on five of my seven fantasy teams (owners in two leagues actually did their homework and read up on who I was hyping this season), a guy I was telling you to draft back in February (and even earlier in some cases), and the proud recipient of a six year, $85.5M contract extension.
Ladies and gentlemen……your…
|Adam Jones, OF BAL||3-3, 3 R, 2 HR, 3 RBI, 2 BB|
I mean, really. Is there anything else that I can say about Adam Jones that hasn’t already been said? His .317/.362/.624 slash line is first-rate, he’s got 16 home runs with 34 RBI and 8 stolen bases, and if there was any concern that he was going to sit back and take it easy after signing such a lucrative extension, those thoughts can be put to rest. Oh yeah, and did I mention that Tuesday’s home runs helped extend his hit streak to 20 games? Um, yeah. They did. Now I don’t know whether to hug him or trade him. Imagine the bounty I could get.
|Yadier Molina, C STL||4-4, R, HR, 3 RBI|
|Dayan Viciedo, OF CHW||3-4, 3 R, HR, 2 RBI|
|Ryan Braun, OF MIL||2-3, R, HR, 2 RBI, BB, SB|
|David Ortiz, DH BOS||3-4, 2 R, 2 2B, HR, 2 RBI|
|Homer Bailey, SP CIN||W, CG, 1.00 ERA, 0.56 WHIP, 5 K|
We certainly expect to see the likes of Ryan Braun and David Ortiz in this section on a regular basis, so there’s really no reason for me to hype either one of them to you. Braun has rebounded nicely from his offseason nightmare and Big Papi is plugging away, as always, looking for his second 30-plus home run season in three years. Both are outstanding assets to any fantasy team, although personally, I like to have a little more lineup flexibility with my utility spot, but maybe that’s just me.
Perhaps not a regular in this section but still one of my favorites here is Yadier Molina. He was always a solid choice as your fantasy catcher, picking him up somewhere around the 10th round and getting modest production but a rock solid average often hovering around the .300 range. But last season he took a step forward with the power and this season, he’s showing that it was no fluke. With eight home runs and 32 RBI already, he should equal, if not surpass, last year’s power numbers.
Don’t you just love it when it all seems to click for a player suddenly? He struggles for a couple of seasons and then BAM! It just happens for him. That seems to be the way it is for Dayan Viciedo who is having himself a fantastic start to the year thanks to a .333-8-23 May that has pushed his overall totals to .280-11-27. He’s seen a recent increase to his walk rate (although it’s still tiny), a decrease in strikeouts, and his .338 BABIP for the month of May is certainly not so outlandish that you’d call the month a fluke for him. If you’re in need of power and are wondering if he’s be a good pick up for you, stop wondering and pick him up.
I can appreciate all the people who have stood behind Homer Bailey for all this time. Maybe a tad fanatical and not a player I particularly care for, but I can still appreciate it. Now the question is, has he really turned a corner this season? He’s 3-0 with a 2.25 ERA over his last four starts with a 0.93 WHIP and 21 strikeouts and has done it against some pretty stiff competition – twice against the Braves, once against the Yankees and then Tuesday vs the Pirates. He’ll take on the Buccos once again on Sunday, so it looks like he should continue the trend. There’s no doubt that I would continue to use him week in and week out, but just be wary of the 4.34 FIP which could indicate that he’s pitching a little over his head right now.
|Kelly Johnson, 2B TOR||0-5, 4 K|
|Wilson Betemit, 3B BAL||0-5, 3 K|
|Quintin Berry, OF DET||0-4, 3 K|
|Jeff Francoeur, OF KC||0-4, 3 K|
|Brian Fuentes, RP OAK||L, BS, 40.50 ERA, 4.50 WHIP|
Nothing unusual here, right? A closer with a blown save, Kelly Johnson and Wilson Betemit racking up the strikeouts? Typical stuff. Although it does bum me out to have to include Quintin Berry here, especially after recommending him as a nice pick-up for cheap speed. I’ll still stand by him, and the fact that Austin Jackson is likely to be out for longer than anticipated keeps his value up, but you always have that shred of doubt sitting in the back of your mind, hoping that an o-for-4 night with three strikeouts isn’t going to have some lingering effect on him in future at-bats. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see…
Willie Bloomquist, SS ARI – hamstring (questionable)
Freddie Freeman, 1B ATL – eyes (questionable)
Nick Markakis, OF BAL – wrist (questionable)
Dustin Pedroia, 2B BOS – thumb (questionable)
Jarrod Saltalamacchia, C BOS – illness (questionable)
Travis Hafner, DH CLE – knee (15-day DL)
Jered Weaver, SP LAA – back (15-day DL)
Roy Halladay, SP PHI – lat/shoulder (15-day DL)
Cameron Maybin, OF SD – wrist (questionable)
David Freese, 3B STL – wrist (questionable)
Jesus Flores, C WAS – hamstring (questionable)
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.
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