Matt Stroup

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Gomecoming Weekend

Thursday, September 17, 2009




David Murphy, OF, TEX (Yahoo: 4 percent owned; ESPN: 3 percent)

With Josh Hamilton's recovery taking a maddeningly long time, Murphy has made himself a significant beneficiary, hitting .320 (16-for-50) with four homers, eight RBI and 11 runs scored in 13 games this month. The Rangers have been in a massive offensive slump of late (one run in their last 27 innings entering Thursday), but that one run was a solo shot off Murphy's bat. He's now up to 16 homers and eight steals in 367 at-bats, and though those stats don't generate anything remarkable in the Wonderful Proration Machine, Murphy is hot enough right now to help mixed league squads.

Cliff Pennington, 2B/3B/SS, OAK (Yahoo: 4 percent owned; ESPN: 2 percent)

He had just three homers and a 712 OPS at Triple-A this season, but in the vein of another 2009 Oakland middle infield surprise (Adam Kennedy), Pennington has surprisingly been a rather productive individual in the majors. In his last 10 games, the 25-year-old has hit .447 (17-for-38) with two homers, two steals, eight runs and five RBI, giving him four bombs and seven steals in 150 at-bats. Though I'm not convinced he can keep up the power, the speed, at the very least, is legit – Pennington had 27 steals at Triple-A and represents a very cheap source of speed at a middle infield spot down the stretch.

Drew Stubbs, OF, CIN (Yahoo: 4 percent owned; ESPN: 3 percent)

The batting average (.252) and K/BB ratio (37/9 in 123 at-bats) remain somewhat alarming, but Stubbs continues to provide an impressive power-speed combo – with two homers and a steal in his last two games, he now has seven dingers and six steals for the season. The power remains a surprise given that he had just three homers in 411 Triple-A at-bats in 2009, but unexpected homers still count. If you're not too worried about your batting average, Stubbs could definitely be of use.

SPOT STARTER ROULETTE

Last week we went 1-for-3 (thank you once again, Vicente Padilla), but it wasn't a particularly painful 1-for-3, as neither Homer Bailey (three runs in 5.1 innings) nor Anibal Sanchez (two runs in 4.2 innings) truly got shellacked (though it was pretty brutal that Sanchez came within one out of recording a win in an 11-3 blowout).

But that was last week, and the good thing about this week is that it presents a fresh set of opportunities to give our pitching stats a critical boost, or drop a massive grenade on our ERA and WHIP. Here we go:

Jon Garland, LAD (Yahoo: 12 percent owned; ESPN: 8 percent) – starts Sat. vs. SF: The Dodgers are something of a S.S.R. gold mine these days, and this week we turn our attention to Garland, who has posted a 3.32 ERA and 1.26 WHIP in three starts since coming to LA, and has gone 4-0 with a 3.09 ERA in his last five starts overall. Hopefully he won't let Vicente Padilla down.

Robinson Tejeda, KC (Yahoo: 7 percent owned; ESPN: 4 percent) – starts Sun. @ CWS: He was bothered by a blister in his most recent outing, but aside from that finger malady Tejeda has been a very compelling option of late. In three starts since moving from the bullpen into the rotation, the 27-year-old has gone 2-0 with a 0.55 ERA, 0.86 WHIP and 19/8 K/BB ratio in 16.1 innings. For the season, Tejeda has allowed just 34 hits (and 38 walks) in 58.1 innings, with 74 K's and a .166 BAA. He's a spot-starter this week, but there's more upside than that here.

Tim Stauffer, SD (Yahoo: 6 percent owned; ESPN: 1 percent) – starts Fri. @ PIT: The Pirates have scored just 2.0 runs per game while losing five of their last six, and they've lost 12 out of 14 this month. Meanwhile, Stauffer is 3-0 with a 2.22 ERA in his last four starts, giving him a 3.31 ERA and 1.36 WHIP in 65.1 innings this season. No need to do the math yourself – I already punched it into my calculator. Start vs. Pirates = Win for Stauffer on Friday.

AL-ONLY

Jeff Fiorentino, OF, BAL (Yahoo: 0 percent owned; ESPN: 0 percent)

After hitting .312 with 12 homers, 67 RBI and 13 steals at Triple-A, the 26-year-old has come up and hit .296 in his first 27 at-bats for the Orioles. He has yet to hit a homer or notch a steal and the Orioles' outfield is a little bit crowded, so any excitement needs to be tempered (and I'm guessing that won't be an issue since we're talking about Jeff Fiorentino).

NL-ONLY

Ian Desmond, SS, WAS (Yahoo: 1 percent owned; ESPN: 0 percent)

After hitting .330 with seven homers and 21 steals in 348 at-bats between Double-A and Triple-A this season, Desmond has hit a scalding .588 (10-for-17) with four doubles, a homer and four RBI since his big league debut last Thursday. He hasn't been in the lineup every day, but that's going to have to change if he keeps hitting. Fans of the film High Fidelity will be pleased to know that the National League is no longer an Ian-less universe. Add Desmond in all NL-only leagues right now.

Addendum: as an astute reader points out, the National League was in fact not an Ian-less universe prior to the arrival of Monsieur Desmond thanks to the existence of a certain Colorado Rockie named Ian Stewart. You'll have to forgive me. I lost a few memories in the lobotomy, the existence of Ian Stewart being one of them.



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Matt Stroup covers basketball, baseball and football for Rotoworld.com. You can find him on Twitter here .
Email :Matt Stroup



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