Matthew Pouliot

Strike Zone

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NL Team-by-Team Notes

Monday, June 15, 2009


The announcement that Jake Peavy had a torn tendon in his ankle came with a four-week timetable for his return. However, if the ankle fails to mend as hoped, it's quite possible we won't see Peavy again until August or even September. It was a terribly unlucky break for the Padres, who had Peavy reject a trade to the White Sox last month. It's going to be very difficult to move him unless he rejoins the rotation immediately after the All-Star break.

With Peavy out, the Padres are looking at a rotation of Chris Young, Kevin Correia, Chad Gaudin, Josh Geer and perhaps Walter Silva, who threw seven scoreless innings for Triple-A Portland on Friday. Will Inman is off to something of a rough start since a promotion to Triple-A and isn't currently an option, and top prospect Mat Latos, who has a 0.79 ERA in four starts in Double-A, is a long shot to see the majors before September. Wade LeBlanc would seem to be the primary alternative to Silva. Besides Young, no one in the group is an every-week option in NL-only leagues, even with Petco helping out.

The chances of an Adrian Gonzalez or Young trade would seem to be on the way up with Peavy down. The Padres still want to cut payroll, but Peavy and Brian Giles might be unmovable prior to the July 31 deadline. Gonzalez could bring an outstanding return, possibly from the Angels. Young's trade value isn't what it was, but if he could put a run together over the next month, he could still bring back a couple of quality pieces. The Padres badly need a shortstop of the future and could certainly use more young pitching. Given that a Gonzalez-led group may not become a serious contender before the first baseman becomes a free agent after 2011, blowing things up wouldn't be a bad idea.

National League Notes

Arizona - Not that he's been the game's best player or anything like that, but Mark Reynolds is having a season for the ages. He's on pace for 225 strikeouts, yet he's batting .281 anyway. He's also on pace for 43 homers, 106 R, 114 RBI and 33 steals. There just shouldn't be anyway for him to maintain such a respectable average if he stays on this strikeout pace, and the average seems to be the more likely of the two to drop. It's time to start viewing him as a sell-high candidate. … While he went hitless on Sunday, Chris Young likely bought himself some additional time by collecting two homers, three doubles and two walks from Thursday through Saturday. Eric Byrnes will continue to take a backseat. … Tony Clark (wrist) is just 1-for-12 on his rehab assignment, but he still might return as the Diamondbacks' primary DH this week. If not, then Byrnes will likely be in line for increased playing time.

Atlanta - As much of a problem as Jeff Francoeur is, it's well worth noting that Garret Anderson has practically the same line as the Braves' primary left fielder while also hurting the team defensively. The Braves still need another outfielder, and if they go get one, releasing Anderson would make at least as much sense as giving Francoeur away. … Can't Bobby Cox be a little more flexible? First it was his refusal to give Omar Infante any time in the outfield during the first couple of months, and now he's declined to give David Ross a look at first base with Casey Kotchman out. Ross, who homered twice off the bench Sunday, has batted .296/.405/.577 in 71 at-bats this season. Kotchman (shin) is set to return Tuesday, but Ross could still be helpful as an occasional first baseman against left-handers.

Chicago - Kosuke Fukudome has already fanned 14 times this month and is 5-for-41. He struck out a total of 28 times while hitting .309/.439/.507 through the end of May. He's struggling to handle inside pitches again, and there's no telling whether he'll be able to make in-season adjustments after failing miserably in that area last year. The Cubs are right to be concerned, and mixed leaguers will probably want to look elsewhere for now. … Rich Harden impressed in his first start back Saturday, showing one of his better fastballs of the year. He's not through getting hurt, but maybe he'll be better now than he was during the first six weeks of the season. … Ryan Theriot's fantasy value will take a hit if the Cubs keep batting him seventh after moving him down to that spot Sunday. The Cubs haven't been generating any offense in the bottom half of the order, so Theriot figures to be a bust in runs scored until he moves back up.

Cincinnati - The Reds completely blew it by letting Willy Taveras play through his hamstring injury. It's remarkable that anyone who had ever seen him play could have believed that Taveras would be useful while running at less than 100 percent. Taveras, who is in an 0-for-32 slump, did get Sunday off, but he'll likely be right back out there on Tuesday. Is it really any wonder that I can't take the Reds seriously as a contender? … Edinson Volquez (elbow) and Edwin Encarnacion (wrist) appear to be out through the end of the month. Unfortunately for the Reds, Jerry Hairston Jr.'s play has dropped off considerably as the replacement at third base and Adam Rosales hasn't done much of anything in a month. Dusty Baker is inclined to stick with Hairston, but maybe the Reds will resume looking for outside help after Hairston's defensive woes cost Johnny Cueto on Sunday. Mark DeRosa would be a fantastic fit. ... Joey Votto (anxiety) seems likely to beat the other DL players back, but there's yet to be any indication that it will happen this week.

Colorado - Sunday's win marked the Rockies' 11th straight, as the firing of Clint Hurdle has rallied the club. The benching of Garrett Atkins has also worked wonders, though Atkins did get a start Sunday and went 3-for-4. The Rockies are still a week away from playing in AL parks, so Atkins likely will continue to log time on the bench for now. While Ian Stewart has cooled off some, he's still hitting .327 with five homers this month. … The Rockies' surge probably means that Huston Street will stick around, at least until the second half of July. Manny Corpas is still a pretty good bet to close for the Rockies during the final two months. … Jason Hammel's recent success caused the Rockies to option Franklin Morales to Triple-A rather than return the lefty to the rotation, but Hammel, who improved to 4-0 in his last five starts by beating the Mariners on Sunday, isn't recommended in NL-only leagues. He's still giving up a lot of hits and he's pretty lucky more of them haven't gone for homers.


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Matthew Pouliot is the Executive Editor of RotoWorld.com and has been doing the site's baseball projections for the last 10 years. Follow him on Twitter @matthewpouliot.
Email :Matthew Pouliot



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