Chance are, by now you’ve done the majority of your trading work and major roster adjustments, getting ready for your stretch run. Your team is set, all the pieces of the puzzle are together and now it’s time to watch your guys surge to the finish line. But obviously it’s never that smooth a run at the end and as you can see with what’s going on in the news, depth sometimes plays as much a part in winning your league title as having the right starters in your lineup. The season is long and your studs are likely to need a breather or two as their teams gear up for the playoffs, especially when the dings and dents start becoming a little more prevalent. It doesn’t matter if it’s a finger or a toe, a sprain or a strain, teams aren’t going to risk losing their best producers for longer than they have to so better to miss a week now than a month in September. Who you use to replace them could mean all the difference.
Take Carlos Gonzalez right now. The sprained finger has kept him in and out of the lineup over the past week and the latest reports have him hitting the DL in the next day or so after watching him try to play through it. While the Rockies sit 10.5 games out of first in the NL West and are 9.5 games behind in the Wild Card race, with two months of baseball left, they are, by no means, out of the hunt. Their chances may be slim, but we’ve seen bigger leads crumble in the past. So they’re going to want CarGo back in form, at least for the final month and a half. But you, as a fantasy owner, now have to deal with his absence.
Fishing through the Rockies back-ups – Charlie Blackmon, Chris Dickerson, or maybe they even bring back Tyler Colvin – could be a disaster as the need for consistent at-bats at this time is the key. Who knows how these guys will rotate in and out of the lineup? You have to find someone with some consistency. You may not be able to find someone who plays every day (especially in deeper leagues), but you can certainly find someone who gets the lion’s share of at-bats in a platoon situation. Someone like Cody Ross, perhaps.
The Diamondbacks outfielder may not be an everyday player, but he’s certainly seeing the majority of at-bats in what appears to be a crowded outfield. He’s played even more regularly recently with Arizona making a run in some AL parks, but even without the interleague play, he’s still seeing enough time and has enough pop in his bat, to make him worth your while. He won’t get you speed numbers like CarGo will, but you can’t expect it all from a replacement player.
So take a good look around the league and start tracking some situations where guys may be getting a little more playing time and can replace some aspect. Check the Biogenesis suspensions lists and see who is going down and who might be replacing them in the lineup. Depth is a key component to your end-of-season run. Make sure you’re covered in the best possible way.
Now let’s take a look at the stat highlights from Sunday…
Fantasy Beast of the Day
|Rajai Davis, OF TOR||3-5, 3 R, RBI, 3 SB|
|David Freese, 3B STL||3-4, 3 R, 2B, HR, 2 RBI|
|Adam Dunn, 1B CHW||4-5, R, HR, RBI|
|Derek Holland, SP TEX||W, 0.00 ERA, 0.75 WHIP, 10 K|
|Lance Lynn, SP STL||W, 2.25 ERA, 0.75 WHIP, 11 K|
July was lean on wins for Pirates ace A.J. Burnett but he got things started on the right foot here in August with a complete-game victory over the Rockies on Sunday. The veteran right-hander had everything working for him and threw a total of 110 pitches in this one as he gave up eight hits but whiffed nine. He’s now allowed a total of just three runs over his last three starts (23 innings) and has a 23:5 K:BB over that span. His next start comes at Coors Field against these same Rockies, and while he’s made just one career start there, an ugly start that may as well have been eons ago, he’s still one to keep in the rotation. Besides, as you saw from above, their biggest bat won’t even be in the lineup.
Seriously, if Rajai Davis is sitting on your waiver wire, do yourself a favor and pick him up. The advantage you can gain in stolen bases is huge, even if he’s not in the starting lineup every game. He’s got eight stolen bases in his last seven games, and while you may have to endure an unproductive game here and there, the rate at which he steals makes it all the worthwhile. With 31 steals on the year right now, you know he’s going to kick in at least 15 to 20 more between now and the end of the year. Add that tto your team’s total and see where that would leave you in the standings.
While the season has hardly been a productive one for David Freese, you have to like what he’s done recently. He’s now hit safely in five straight games, batting .421 (8-for-19) with one home run, seven RBI and six runs scored. If he can keep even some of that momentum rolling forward, he might just earn some positive value this year after all.
How is such a big guy, with such a big bat and nicknamed the Big Donkey so quiet in the news. The .217 average? Yeah, probably. It was one thing when he was mashing 40 bombs and hitting .240 but the average has dropped so much recently that the drop in overall power has become even more cumbersome. But wait…could it be that the Big Donkey has turned things around recently? How about the fact that since July 2, Dunn is batting .300 with a .490 slugging percentage and .881 OPS in his last 28 games? His batting average has increased from .198 to .226 in that span and he also has four doubles, five home runs and 15 RBI in his last 28 games. Interesting, no?
Am I alone in thinking that Derek Holland’s Harry Carey impression is a little too much Donald Duck and not enough drunken buffoonery with a speech impediment? It still get s a laugh from Joe Buck and Tim McCarver, but I’m not a fan. What I am a fan of is eight shutout innings and double-digit strikeouts. Holland has now tossed seven quality starts in his last eight outings with a 55:19 K:BB over a total of 58 innings. He’s a must-start most of the time, but even more so this week with a match-up against the lowly Astros.
Those early to mid-July struggles for Lance Lynn were a horror show for his owners, but he seems to have fixed the problems, posting three consecutive quality starts with only four runs allowed over 21 innings. He also did it with a 24:8 K:BB over 21 innings so you have to love that strikeout rate. He should be more than just good to go for a start against the Cubs next.
|Delmon Young, OF PHI||0-4, 4 K|
|Dan Uggla, 2B ATL||0-4, 3 K|
|Mike Napoli, C BOS||0-5, 3 K|
|Phil Hughes, SP NYY||L, 16.88 ERA, 3.38 WHIP, 1 K|
|Mike Leake, SP CIN||L, 12.60 ERA, 2.00 WHIP, 3 K|
We’ve got the usual fare here, including more inconsistency from Phil Hughes and Mike Leake. While many have been high on each of these guys at varying parts of the season, keep in mind that they are nothing more than guys to stream when the match-up is super tasty. Don’t be fooled by good start here and there. They’ll blow up before you know it and wipe away any good they may have done. Keep it limited to the weak-hitting teams.
Cliff Pennington, SS ARI – foot (day to day)
Matt Thornton, RP BOS – oblique (day to day)
Carlos Gonzalez, OF COL – finger (expected to be placed on 15-day DL)
Miguel Cabrera, 3B DET – abdominal (day to day)
David Lough, OF KC – quadriceps (day to day)
Yasiel Puig, OF LAD – thumb (day to day)
Hanley Ramirez, SS LAD – shoulder (day to day)
Pedro Florimon, SS MIN – wrist (day to day)
Bobbby Parnell, RP NYM – neck (day to day)
Derek Jeter, SS NYY – calf (day to day)
Carlos Quentin, OF SD – knee (day to day)
Desmond Jennings, OF TB – finger (day to day)
Steve Delabar, RP TOR – shoulder (day to day)
Jayson Werth, OF WAS – hand (day to day)
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