Eno Sarris

Baseball Daily Dose

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Jeter Back? Hosmer Up!

Monday, May 09, 2011


We all love weekends, and this particular weekend brought some redemption to under-performing veterans around the league. So they probably loved the weekend despite having to work.

Derek Jeter, most notably, had a two-home-run day on Sunday. He also stole his first base, two days after sitting for a hip injury that he thought was not so serious. Sometimes we go too far when when we declare a veteran done. He's obviously an exceptional player that can at least hit for an okay batting average, steal some bases, and rack up runs on that great offense. As long as you buy with your sights set lower, he could make an underrated acquisition.

But Jeter wasn't alone. Anibal Sanchez is not as old, but he's been through some ups and downs over his career. He struck out 11 and walked none while keeping the Nationals scoreless over seven innings, and his swinging strike rate is the best of his career. He should be universally owned. Carl Crawford had a good weekend, with four hits in three games, and is now 12 for 31 in May. His manager announced that he will be moving up in the batting order shortly, which means that the opportunity to buy him low is quickly passing. The same could be said for fellow Red Sock Kevin Youkilis, who had two hits Sunday, his second-straight multi-hit game and fourth in six May games. Vernon Wells doesn't have the upside of those named here, but he should be able to hit at least .260 going forward. He hit a home run Saturday!

* We all love youth, though, because of the beauty of upside. Eric Hosmer came up Friday and Hozapalooza was on. He collected three hits in his first nine at-bats, with a stolen base, a double, and three walks against two strikeouts. His plate discipline will make him an immediate boon in all OBP leagues, but the question of when his power will show up (not if) is what separates him from being a great keeper acquisition and an iffy mixed-league re-draft pickup. Sure, if you have him, hold on to him. But it's unlikely that a prospect, even one as sweet as Hosmer, comes up and immediately mashes all year. In deeper leagues, he's of course a pickup because he'll play every day and push Mike Aviles, Chris Getz and Wilson Betemit into a scrum for playing time.

Julio Teheran, perhaps the best pitching prospect in the minor leagues, came up for a spot start on Saturday for the Braves, highlighting the insane depth they have on that staff. Teheran struggled a little with his control, and gave up a home run to Ryan Howard, but he's 20 and has a bright future. Those in non-keepers can perhaps pass, though, because the other top prospect, Mike Minor, will probably get the next shot at the Braves rotation. Another pass in most non-keeper leagues is shortstop Jose Iglesias, who was called up by the Red Sox. Even in keeper leagues, the 21-year-old slick fielder has a glove that is way ahead of his bat and he may never be a great fantasy shortstop. He should be a backup, too, while he's up. Also, Marco Scutaro, the man he's replacing, thinks he'll be out the minimum with his oblique issues.

Freddie Freeman has taken his time getting going, but he had three hits - one a home run off Cole Hamels - and is an interesting play in OBP leagues. His plate discipline has always been ahead of his power, so know that if you go get him. Tyson Ross is in a similar position - he has the tools to eventually be a good pitcher - but right now he's not really harnessing it completely. He held the Royals to two runs in six innings, but only struck out four and walked three. Spot-start him against the White Sox at home next week, but he's not necessarily an own in re-draft leagues.

* Injury comings and goings made a mark on the weekend as well. Perhaps most notable is the fact that Chase Utley hit two home runs in an extended spring training game - the first good news for him in a long time. He still has a way to go. What stiff neck? Jose Bautista hit a home run off of Brad Penny Sunday in his return after missing a week. Johnny Cueto was welcomed back into the fold with the Reds on Sunday. He promptly threw six scoreless innings with four strikeouts, one walk, and five hits, and is relevant in most leagues immediately. Grady Sizemore has been back for a little bit, but he looks like he's not going away. Even without the steals, his three his and a home run on Sunday prove he's a worthy outfielder. Aaron Hill (hamstring) is back and isn't a terrible add if power on the MI is all you need. Delmon Young (oblique) could begin his rehab Tuesday, and could be a buy-low even if his upside is not huge. Andres Torres (Achilles), though, has better upside to produce in multiple categories. And he'll be back Tuesday in the majors. Chris Johnson (wrist) returned to the Astros lineup but there's nothing to like in his peripherals, really. Even with better luck on batted balls, he *might* hit.260. Jake Peavy (shoulder) should be activated this week, and his manager swears that Philip Humber will remain in the rotation despite that news. Something has to happen here, but Peavy's injury and surgery history suggests that he might not be around long.

Nelson Cruz, also no stranger to the DL, is on the schneid again with a right quad problem. While he's out, Mitch Moreland will play the outfield and Chris Davis will take his all-or-nothing ways to a regular job at first base. His power upside might make him interesting in some AL-only leagues. Chris Young, the pitcher, was a good story, but an MRI Sunday revealed that he may have re-aggravated his 2009 shoulder injury and his general manager doubts he'll be ready to be activated when eligible. Dillon Gee, who has some injury issues of his own and doesn't really have the fastball to be a great option, will fill in. Pedro Alvarez won't hit the DL, but he also hasn't played since Tuesday because of his quad injury. He should be back soon. Jason Bourgeois hit the 15-Day with a strained left oblique, which is tough because the speedster was playing regularly and was a great pickup in deeper leagues. Joe Inglett, his replacement, doesn't have much that makes him interesting in fantasy.

* Let's look at some fringe starters! Hey, they can't all be no-hitter throwing Justin Verlander types. Daniel Hudson threw seven shut-out innings Saturday and the time to buy low is now. Ryan Dempster gave up only two runs to the Reds, striking out four and walking none in seven innings. He's been unlucky on home runs and is an ownable pitcher. Obviously, he's a risky start away from home, but Aaron Harang looks pretty solid at home. He gave up two earned in seven in San Diego against the Diamondbacks. Erik Bedard only gave up one earned against the White Sox and could be a decent spot-start going forward - at least at home. He hasn't quite got his swing-and-miss stuff back though. Fausto Carmona got the groundballs (13 to three fly balls), but also struck out seven Angels against one walk Sunday. He's a good start against he Mariners next time, but a risky own. Chris Narveson held the Cardinals to two earned and struck out five against one walk Sunday. He's a flyable pitcher in a hitter's park, but he's also got strong peripherals otherwise and is interesting in deeper leagues. Bud Norris could always revert to his old control, and throwing so many sliders is detrimental to his health. But, even in his losses, like Saturday's three earned runs in seven innings toe the Pirates, he'll strike batters out (nine Saturday).

Some guys are just not good starters, like ever. Maybe Daisuke Matsuzaka's elbow was tight as he said, but his six-inning, four-run effort against the Twins looked too much like his regular work to excuse the start. Jeff Francis only gave up two earned runs against the A's in six-plus, but he only struck out two. That sort of mediocre punch is worth avoiding. Kyle McClellan improved to 5-0 by keeping the Brewers to one run in eight innings, but he walked three and struck out three. Even while getting all those groundballs, he was about an average reliever and can't be expected to be better as a starter. Carl Pavano gave up seven runs in five innings Sunday. Though it was the Red Sox, Pavano has lost his groundball rate and is not a great option for the foreseeable future. Livan Hernandez gave up six runs in five innings to the Marlins on Sunday, which is what a pitcher that only strikes out four batters per nine will do more often than not. Especially when he's a fly-ball pitcher. Doug Fister gave up 14 hits and five runs to the White Sox - and since it was at home, he's just not a good start at any time really. He doesn't strike people out, his control is strong, but he's also a fly-baller. That's only one skill if you're counting at home.

* Time for the bullpen update. Everyone's least favorite bullpen manipulator Tony La Russa pulled nominal closer Eduardo Sanchez from Sunday's game after he walked two Brewers and allowed a hit. Fernando Salas got the save, and along with Mitchell Boggs looks ownable now. Their GM even said that Ryan Franklin should get back into the mix eventually. Brandon League tried to go an extra inning when Sunday's game went into overtime but gave up three runs. He's safe until David Aardsma (hip) returns sometime this month. Sergio Santos, on the other hand, was able to go two (dominant) innings and earned the win against the Mariners. Heath Bell blew a save (my word!) but then got right back on track Sunday. Jordan Walden did the same, but obviously it was a little more worrisome. He still seems solid. Frank Francisco is a risky closer, and his manager indicated that Jon Rauch will be an option going forward even if Frankie Frank is the main guy. Francisco Cordero blew a save Saturday against the Cubs by allowing a Carlos Pena home run and three other hits. He's been very hittable and is in a three-year decline according to his peripherals, but seems safe anyway. Brad Lidge reported that he might be back in mid-June since he's rehab has been going well. Another update that's so positive, and Jose Contreras becomes a dropper.

National League Quick Hits: Jair Jurrjens only struck out two but gave up a sole run to win against the Phils and should be owned, mostly … Against the Giants, Jorge De La Rosa walked five (which happens with him) and struck out seven (also normal) in six three-run innings that ended in a loss … Madison Bumgarner shut the Rockies down Saturday (one earned, five strikeouts, two walks) and has now been strong in three straight; He should be universally owned … Yovani Gallardo also returned to form with eight one-hit shutout innings against the Cardinals Saturday, and he's a good buy-low … Andre Ethier lost his hit streak Saturday but got right back on the horse with a home run Sunday … Gaby Sanchez is smoking hot - he went four-for-four with a home run and two doubles Sunday and is a great utility bat in all leagues … Stephen Drew (groin) left Saturday's game but might not miss much time … Rafael Furcal (thumb) thinks he might begin his rehab sometime mid-week … Miguel Montero halted a slide with three hits in Sunday's loss and is an excellent option in any league … Chris Iannetta had two hits but power is his game … Fellow catcher Carlos Ruiz (back) is on the DL now … James McDonald has turned in three straight strong starts, and his eight strikeouts against two walks against the Astros makes him interesting in deeper leagues … J.A. Happ is owned more often, but after walking four and striking out three against the Pirates, it's obvious he's just as difficult to own … Charlie Morton threw seven-plus one-run innings against the Astros Saturday, and his groundball rate makes those five strikeouts more interesting … Knuckleballers are risky to own, and though R.A. Dickey is RAD, he's no different - he gave up ten hits and three earned to the Dodgers Sunday … Justin Turner started that game after getting the game-winning RBI Saturday night (he got a hit and a stolen base) but it was his first start in a week … Mike Fontenot hit a game-winning sac fly Saturday night and is playing better at shortstop than Miguel Tejada did, deep leaguers … After homering Sunday, Ryan Doumit has gone deep in back-back starts, which is nice, but his last start was last Wednesday … Ian Stewart's manager said he has to play his way onto the team, which isn't good news since he's 1-for-12 since his return … Paul Janish (ankle) could be back Monday … Alex Gonzalez left Sunday's game in the eighth with a slight groin strain and may miss a game or two … Gregor Blanco was traded to the Nationals, and he may be a short-term fill-in with Rick Ankiel (wrist) on the mend, but Roger Bernadina will be the primary center fielder.

American League Quick Hits: Curtis Granderson hit a home run and went three-for-four; his batting average is currently so nice because of his power surge, not because of a change in strikeout rate or great luck … Kendrys Morales (ankle, foot) is going for a second opinion … Peter Bourjos got two hits but no stolen base; His owners would like to see him take more chances on the basepaths … Elvis Andrus collected three hits off of the Yankees and is doing just about what was expected of him … Paul Konerko was lifted early from Saturdays game because of his wrist and then racked up five hits on Sunday (he's okay) … Ricky Romero gave up six runs to the Tigers in 3 1/3 innings Saturday; Let's hope his oblique troubles were the cause … Ben Zobrist is back (four for five on Saturday), and his batting average is more a result of his power returning than great batted ball luck … Chone Figgins missed Sunday after fouling a ball off his knee Saturday … Alexi Ogando (blister) missed his start Sunday but should make his next one Friday … It might be pumpkin time for Bartolo Colon, who gave up five earned in 4 1/3 Saturday … The Red Sox have made contact with Bengie Molina's agent, but by all accounts are giving Jarrod Saltalamacchia another couple of weeks before moving on … Adam Lind missed Sunday with some pain in his back but hopes to be back Monday … Kevin Slowey was pressed into service and held the Red Sox to one run in 4 1/3, so Nick Blackburn is on notice … Jeremy Hellickson walked five in five scoreless innings against the Orioles Saturday; since his strikeout punch has been there, and his control has always been excellent, it's reasonable to think he'll get better as the season progresses … Daric Barton is still getting on base, but needs more efforts like Sunday's two-hit game to be relevant in most leagues … Teammate Dallas Braden (shoulder) is headed for a second opinion (from Dr. James Andrews no less), and a third one after that, so that setback he had last week seems serious … Danny Valencia hit a home run and stole a base Sunday and is a decent injury fill-in at a tough position in deeper leagues … Brad Penny allowed only two runs to the Blue Jays on Sunday, but only struck out one batter … Mark Reynolds struck out again and went hitless, dropping his batting average to .187 … Carlos Carrasco (elbow) should be activated this week but he's a risky play still … Teammate and rookie Alex White has a little more pedigree and looked good striking out six in six three-run innings against the Angles Saturday; He'll survive until Mitch Talbot returns at least … Wade Davis allowed three runs and nine base runners to the Orioles and his K/BB ratio (20/19) says volumes about the risk of using him in the future … Rajai Davis was moved to the bottom of the Jays lineup because of his struggles, but he still can contribute in at least one category wherever he hits … Trevor Plouffe left Sunday's game with a hamstring injury and Matt Tolbert took over for the Twins at shortstop.


Eno Sarris is an editor and writer at FanGraphs.com. You can find his work gathered in one place at and enosarris.com. Follow his misadventures in writing on Twitter as well.
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