Oh man. The All-Star break couldn’t be coming at a better time for many fantasy owners as some of the top players in the game are getting waxed by the injury bug and we’ve only just begun the supposed dog days of summer. Throughout this week we’ve seen the likes of Jason Heyward and Matt Holliday go down with hamstring injuries, Yu Darvish hit the DL with an issue in his trapezius muscle, Matt Harvey lose a start this weekend with a finger blister, and both Aramis Ramirez and Matt Kemp make a return to the disabled list thanks to a knee and a shoulder, respectively. Brutal, right? Well, it doesn’t end there.
Friday night saw a few more marquee names go down as both Upton brothers and Yasiel Puig all left their games with injuries. B.J. Upton left the game in the first inning with a right adductor muscle strain (basically a groin strain) while brother Justin was forced from action later on with a strained calf muscle. Neither of them has been incredibly productive as of late and it’s hard to say that their current numbers couldn’t be replaced rather easily in your fantasy lineup, but losing guys whom you drafted fairly early throws your whole game off as you know you’re simply not getting the numbers you thought you were going to get. Not to mention that this late in the season, the chances of you finding a strong, productive, everyday outfielder are pretty slim.
As for Puig, well, it that hip injury he suffered back in late June. He’s stayed in the lineup despite the deep bruise, but perhaps a little time off is what’s best. Since the injury, he’s had just one home run over a 17-game span, zero RBI in his last eight, and he’s lost about 30 points off his batting average. He left Thursday’s game in the middle and then again on Friday. The Dodgers said his removal Friday was strictly precautionary, but it wouldn’t surprise me to see him sit one if not both games this weekend.
Provided your banged-up players aren’t actually in the All-Star game or participating in the Home Run Derby, the time off should be both helpful and well-deserved.
Now let’s hit the Friday fantasy highlights…
Fantasy Beast of the Day
|Raul Ibanez, OF SEA||3-4, 2 R, 2B, 2 HR, 3 RBI|
Sing it with me – Old maaaan riveeeeeeeeeeer!
Holy Raul Ibanez! The 41-year old discovered the fountain of youth in his return to Seattle and the guy is just raking here in the first half. Over his last five games, he’s 7-for-18 (.389) with three home runs and five RBI and he’s now at 24 home runs and 54 RBI for the season. Considering Ibanez probably wasn’t even drafted in your league, he’s turned out to be one of the most valuable waiver pick-ups in waiver pick-up history. Who knows if he can keep it up, but even if he doesn’t and you end up dropping him, he’s already exceeded his draft value by ten-fold.
|Adam Jones, OF BAL||3-4, 3 R, 2B, HR, 3 RBI|
|Chris Davis, 1B BAL||2-4, 2 R, HR, 2 RBI|
|A.J. Pierzynski, C TEX||3-4, R, HR, RBI|
|Corey Kluber, SP CLE||W, 0.00 ERA, 0.78 WHIP, 8 K|
|Jarred Cosart, SP HOU||W, 0.00 ERA, 0.63 WHIP, 2 K|
I don’t know if there’s anything really to say about the Adam Jones-Chris Davis duo in Baltimore. Obviously, with 35 home runs, Davis is having the time of his life, but Jones is also dominating and getting close to repeating last year’s breakout totals. The fact that he’s doing it with a miniscule 2.5-percent walk rate and swinging at 58.5-percent of the pitches that come his way (league average is 46.3-percent) is mind-boggling, but it seems to be working for him. He’s always been a free-swinger and not the best taker of walks, but these numbers are a bit staggering.
It was a nice night for A.J. Pierzynski as he hit his eighth home run of the season, but he’s still way off-pace from what he did last year. Obviously he remains a great fantasy option and no one really expected him to repeat last season’s numbers, so if you own him, feel comfortable moving forward with him.
After getting roughed up in a couple of outings, Corey Kluber has bounced back nicely with his second consecutive quality start. He’s got 18 strikeouts over these two starts and while his walks are a bit high (three in each), he’s posting decent fantasy numbers for you. I still view him strictly as a streaming option though so pick and choose wisely.
And congratulations to Jarred Cosart who looked fantastic in his season debut against the Rays while out-dueling David Price. The plan all along for Houston though, was to send him down after his start so that they could activate Justin Maxwell, so he’s already back in Triple-A. But given the way he looked, he should be back a whole lot sooner than later.
|Jose Bautista, OF TOR||0-5, 4 K|
|Oswaldo Arcia, OF MIN||0-4, 4 K|
|Carlos Gomez, OF MIL||0-4, 4 K|
|Stephen Strasburg, SP WAS||L, 31.50 ERA, 4.50 WHIP, 2 K|
|Justin Grimm, SP TEX||L, 18.90 ERA, 3.60 WHIP, 3 K|
Days like this don’t happen too often for Stephen Strasburg or even Jose Bautista, so if you’re sweating the lack of production on Tuesday, stop. Both should rebound to be just fine. But as for the other guys, lemme tell how bad it looks for them right now.
Oswaldo Arcia is 0-for-18 with 12 strikeouts over his last four games and could be looking at some bench time soon because of it.
Carlos Gomez is now 1-for-24 over his last seven games and while that one hit is a home run and he also has three stolen bases, the average is getting thumped along with the depression caused by a general absence of RBI.
Eric Chavez, 3B ARI – hip (day to day)
Jason Heyward, OF ATL – hamstring (day to day)
B.J. Upton, OF ATL – groin (day to day)
Justin Upton, OF ATL – calf (day to day)
Chris Dickerson, OF BAL – shoulder (day to day)
Ronny Cedeno, SS HOU – toe (day to day)
Carl Crawford, OF LAD – back (day to day)
Yasiel Puig, OF LAD – hip (day to day)
Travis Hafner, DH NYY – foot (day to day)
Derek Jeter, SS NYY – quad (out until after All-Star break)
Kyle Blanks, OF SD – Achilles (15-day DL)
Nick Franklin, 2B SEA – knee (day to day)
Matt Holliday, OF STL – hamstring (day to day)
Justin Grimm, SP TEX – forearm (day to day)
Howard Bender has been covering fantasy sports for over a decade on a variety of web sites. You can find his personal musings on RotobuzzGuy.com and for questions, thoughts or comments, you can follow him on Twitter at @rotobuzzguy or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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