Eno Sarris

Baseball Daily Dose

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Bad News for Ike Davis?

Thursday, June 23, 2011


Mets General Manager Sandy Alderson gave an update on the condition of Ike Davis yesterday and the news was not good. Not only is the cartilage damage Davis suffered while spraining his ankle not healing, but neither is the bone bruise. To make matters worse, season-ending surgery was mentioned as a possibility if he doesn't show more healing over the next three weeks. Season-ending microfracture surgery.

His long-term prognosis would still be fine - he's young and doesn't play a speed position. Rehab would take three months and he'd be good to go next year. But microfracture is the boogeyman of American sports, and performing the surgery on the ankle can be even more delicate than working on the knee. Good luck to Davis in avoiding the ugly surgery.

Some other injury news from around the league probably won't be as devastating but still deserves mention. Shaun Marcum left Wednesday's start after three innings. He apparently aggravated his strained hip. Going into the season, the move to the NL meant he'd probably be excellent and he'd probably miss some time with injury. So far so good on both, but the pitcher said he intends to make his next start. Even when going well, Darwin Barney was mostly an empty batting average. Well, he should begin his rehab assignment Saturday, so that empty average should be back soon. Jim Thome, a cheap source of power in deeper leagues, will be back with the team Friday, so it's there's some good news for you. Even David Freese is finally playing baseball and should be up after the weekend. Oh, and Jake Peavy returned to hold the Cubs to three runs in five and a third innings. He was a little rusty, gets Coors Field next, and once had groundbreaking surgery to reconnect tendons in his back. Don't depend on him.

* How about some surprise pitching to lighten the mood! Brandon Beachy has been excellent this year, but his ownership rates dwindled as he was out with an oblique injury. Well, go get him if he's out there for you. He struck out 11 Blue Jays and allowed only one run in six innings. Suddenly Johnny Cueto has added ground balls to his arsenal, which includes some strikeouts and strong control. He can't keep these numbers up, but holding the Yankees to one run on six strikeouts and three walks in seven innings practically demands that he be picked up. Erik Bedard has quietly been great. He struck out ten against the Nationals and still lost when he gave up two unearned runs. While healthy, he's an every-starter. When R.A. Dickey has the fast knuckler going, he's RAD. He struck out nine Athletics and allowed only one run, but is still a little hard to depend on from start to start. Gio Gonzalez struck out eight, walked one, allowed one run in seven innings and is slightly more dependable. Ryan Vogelsong has never had control like this in his career (counting Japan even), is getting lucky in three key statistics, and should turn into a pumpkin any day. That day wasn't yesterday, as he held the Twins to one unearned run with three strikeouts and only one walk. You could say similar things about Nick Blackburn, who allowed two earned runs to the Giants on four strikeouts and three walks. The only difference is that Blackburn gets grounders and hasn't been lucky on fly balls this year. Still, he strikes out less that five per nine. Go there if you have to, not because you want to.

Let's look at the deep league relevant starters. Clayton Richard is a decent deep league spot start at home, but there probably weren't many managers starting him in Boston against that juggernaut lineup. Well, Richard held the Sawx to one run in five innings and won the rain-shortened game. Still, he allowed ten baserunners and this doesn't change much about his use going forward. Freddy Garcia holding the Reds to two unearned runs in seven innings might not be a surprise in the context of his work so far this year, but his overall production has to be rated as a pleasant gift to his owners. He won't continue pitching this well - he's getting lucky in a couple categories - but if he stays healthy he'll have some use all year. Brett Myers was dead in the water earlier this month. Then he threw a complete game against the Dodgers, and then he only allowed two runs on six strikeouts against the Rangers. He's interesting in deeper leagues, but still doesn't get the swinging strikes or the ground balls to be dependable. Despite being an extreme fly-ball guy, his opponent Colby Lewis does get the whiffs to pair with his excellent control and can be a reliable spot start away from home - even in mixed leagues. This time, the park didn't matter, as he he threw seven scoreless with eight strikeouts and one walk against the Astros. Josh Tomlin has control and nothing else. Accordingly, he struck out three and walked none while allowing three runs in 6 1/3 innings against the Rockies. He's a meh starter for deep leaguers. His opponent Jason Hammel used to have strikeouts, but they've disappeared and now his four-ish ERA pretty much tells the story. He gave up four runs with four strikeouts and five walks in six innings.

* Could some struggling veterans be turning things around? Nick Markakis has a thirteen-game hitting streak now after his three hits on Wednesday. His batting average is back up to respectability, and despite his waning power and speed, he might make for a good pickup in at least one or two categories in most leagues. Dan Uggla hit a home run against the Jays and that's three in his last eleven games - maybe the 31-year-old is finally heating up too? Magglio Ordonez hit a home run, but that might have been more about the opposing pitcher. Ted Lilly didn't have it and allowed home runs to Maggs, Miguel Cabrera and Casper Wells. Don't pick him up for power anyway. James Loney collected three hits against the Tigers and is hitting .348 in June but he still has middle infield power at a power position. Delmon Young collected two hits and is hitting over .300 for the month. He still only has about .280-ish 10-homer upside the rest of the way and is a pass in most mixed leagues.

* Flawed players can still be useful in NL- and AL-only leagues. Jorge Posada has fallen far over the last couple of years as the years of catching have 'caught' up to him. He hit a home run and walked while starting at first base in an NL park, and he could hit about .250 with power going forward. That works in plenty of leagues. Ty Wigginton homered twice and plays most every day if you can handle the bad batting average. Another example, Will Venable, has had a power outage and has failed to capitalize on some incremental improvements he had made the year before. But he still has plenty of tools, as his first home run of the season and bases-loaded walk against the Red Sox showed Wednesday. Brent Lillibridge strikes out too much to keep even this mediocre batting average going, and his power is not real. On the other hand, he's better against lefties and usually has some nice eligibilities in deeper leagues. He singled twice against lefty Doug Davis on Wednesday, for instance.

* Rounding up the bullpen information is always useful. Reports had it that the Phillies and Cardinals checked in with the Padres about the availability of Heath Bell and Chad Qualls. It seems likely that Bell will be traded, meaning Mike Adams is a strong speculative pickup. Neftali Feliz blew up against the Astros Wednesday, and this after he'd been settling down. Maybe it's just a bump in the road. Brandon Lyon is undergoing season-ending right biceps surgery on Thursday, which has been in the works for a while. Mark Melancon should be owned in all saves leagues and is fairly comfortable going forward. Jonathan Broxton (elbow) will eventually regain his job as the closer says his manager. He's probably a couple days away from returning and was hitting 94-97 MPH in the minor leagues. If someone dropped him, pick him up. Joe Nathan pitched in back-to-back days on his rehab assignment and will be back Friday. Brandon League took a liner off his right calf but should be available going forward. After the inning of death Tuesday, the Cardinals released Miguel Batista and called up Lance Lynn. That shouldn't factor in too much at the end of the bullpen, as Lynn will be a long reliever and spot starter.

National League Quick Hits: Hunter Pence (elbow) missed Wednesday's game and is still day-to-day with that sprain; Jason Bourgeois will continue to start for him in the meantime … Jay Bruce did not have a good day game against the Yankees, as he struck out twice and was picked off; He's still good … Tommy Hanson (shoulder) felt good after a bullpen session … Ian Kennedy is no longer a surprise; He gave up one run to the Royals with four strikeouts and two walks and is built mostly upon strong control and enough strikeouts to make it work … Chris Heisey homered three times (!) against the Yankees and is looking more and more like the Reds' primary left fielder … Carlos Gomez went hitless against David Price and may not even get at-bats against lefties going forward, meaning Nyjer Morgan (Tony Plush) is safer every day … Drew Stubbs was moved off of the leadoff spot, which impact his runs and steals totals in a negative (but slight) way … The Phillies, Reds and Mariners all checked in on the availability of Ryan Ludwick so he has a 2/3 shot of landing in a nicer home park shortly … Kyle Lohse only really has control going for him, and he didn't walk anyone in giving up three runs in eight innings to the Phillies - too bad he didn't strike anyone out (and also went up against Cliff Lee's complete-game shutout) … Aroldis Chapman (shoulder) will soon be activated from the DL and optioned to Triple-A … Homer Bailey (shoulder) struck out three, walked one, and most importantly went six innings and is ready to rejoin the rotation in place of the optioned Travis Wood Sunday … John Lannan allowed only one run to the Mariners but he's still an avoid for most starts … Justin Turner achieved a game-winning HBP Wednesday, but is best used for an okay batting average (and little else) at MI spots in deeper leagues … Unsurprisingly, Mike Leake wasn't up for the challenge the Yankees provided, giving up four runs in six innings - at least he struck out four … Eli Whiteside collected two hits and three RBI Wednesday but is not a play outside of two-catcher NL-only league where living, breathing regulars are all you seek.

American League Quick Hits: David Price held the Brewers to two runs and struck out ten, which might have been predictable given his matchup … Josh Beckett (stomach illness) might miss his start Saturday against the Pirates, which would be a shame for his owners … John Lackey came back from the rain delay and walked two batters and hit two with a wet ball, so maybe his five runs in 3 1/3 innings against the Padres doesn't mean that much … Jemile Weeks held on to his starting spot despite Mark Ellis' return, which is nice for those looking for speed on the middle infield … Alex Avila sat out Wednesday's game after fouling a ball off his leg … Jason Kubel (foot) still isn't running the bases … Eric Hosmer is still an excellent young hitter despite his June slump, and his RBI triple Wednesday was a nice sign … Rick Porcello hd been useful with his ground-ball ways despite his poor strikeout rate, but after giving up five runs to the Dodgers (in 4 2/3 innings), he's hard to start in any league right now … If you've punted your batting average, look for Mark Trumbo, who has lots of power and some speed and collected three hits in the Angels' win … Torii Hunter made a leaping catch and is day-to-day with a rib contusion … David DeJesus couldn't make the lineup with Josh Willingham (Achilles) out and the team in an NL park, so he's a miss in most leagues for now … Jeff Francis was decent against Arizona (three runs in seven innings) but doesn't do enough other than have nice control (two strikeouts and no walks) and is really too close to league average to be interesting … The Rangers are thinking about moving Tommy Hunter to the bullpen … Laynce Nix (Achilles) should return Thursday to the lineup … Jo-Jo Reyes allows to many home runs to be rostered in most leagues; He lost to his old team Wednesday … Kelly Shoppach hit a two-run home run off a right-hander, but Shaun Marcum's changeup acts like it comes from a lefty and Shoppach is still only a play against lefties in deeper leagues.


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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