Blanco keeps proving the Wolfman right and much more in this week’s Week That Was.
Don’t forget to tune in to hear Rick Wolf and me on Colton and the Wolfman on SiriusXM fantasy sports radio (XM 87, Sirius 210) Tuesday nights from 8-11pm eastern time. It’s a fun three hours of sports, fantasy and good natured (mostly) humor.
Gregor Blanco: Gregor Blanco had a strong game to help his Giants win the battle of the bay Friday. For fantasy purposes, his three SBs are what will excite owners. Thus far this year, Blanco is hitting .259 with 12 SB and 37 runs. This is a fair expectation of what Blanco will do. He has never really hit for average. Indeed, his last .300 season anywhere was over ten years ago in rookie ball. That said, he is entrenched atop the giants lineup, has a .350+ OBP (so the runs will be there hitting in front of Melky) and the SBs have always been there. Don't get too excited, but in NL-only leagues, Gregor is a great find (something listeners heard the Wolfman predict on the air -- just saying).
Bobby Abreu: Bobby Abreu continues to provide value to his "new" LA team. Friday, Abreu launched a three run homer against his former teammates. Through Friday, he was hitting .297 with a .409 OBP in 111 at-bats for the Dodgers. If you are in an NL-only league (or have Bobby in an AL-only having drafted him there), you have a good cheap value. Prognosis: Abreu appears to have transformed himself into a contact/patient hitter only (not trying to reach the 20 homer level any more). So, if you need average, runs scored and occasional speed, Abreu could be cheap value. It is the $2-3 guys at the end of drafts that win deep leagues. If someone thinks Abreu won't play once Matt Kemp gets back, make the move now.
Jair Jurrjens: Jair Jurrjens returned from the minors in a big way, tossing 7 2/3 innings of 3 hit ball against the Red Sox. That is the good news. The bad news is that Jurrjens was just plain awful earlier in the year and has an ERA of 6.75. Yes, Jair has put up good numbers in the past (mostly his big 2009 season) but I am not a fan for roto purposes. He does not strike out many and has trouble staying healthy. Bottom Line: Sell! Talk up his prior successes and his dominance of the Sox and get out while the getting is good.
Jason Hammel: Jason Hammel was great Friday, giving up no earned runs and striking out 10 over eight to lead the O's to a win over the rival Nats. Hammel's ERA sits at a special 2.61 with a 3/1 K/BB ratio and basically a K per inning. Was this breakout foreseeable? Actually, yes. First, pitchers who escape Coors often see a bump in their production (even if they end up in another hitter's park). Second, Hammel is 29 and often pitchers learn how to pitch (rather than throw) in their late twenties. If you can grab up Hammel, do it. The Wolfman and I just traded for him in the LABR-AL expert league and were rewarded last night for doing so. He is not CC, Price, King Felix, etc., but he is a solid middle rotation roto pitcher that can make all the difference.
A.J. Burnett: A.J. Burnett continued to thrill Pirate fans and frustrate Yankee fans, winning his eighth Friday. Burnett, who has always had the talent, has numbers that this writer does not believe he can sustain: 3.24 ERA and 1.24 WHIP. The last time AJ saw an ERA that low over any real number of innings was single A Kane County 14 years ago. The last time he saw a WHIP of 1.24 was not that long ago, but it was 5 years ago when he was in his 20's. Bottom line: AJ will continue to be a solid NL only back of the rotation guy but now is the time to SELL, SELL, SELL.
Evan Longoria: Evan Longoria continues to destroy dreams of fantasy titles all over the land. The latest news is that he will be shut down without timetable because of continued hammy problems. There is no questioning the talent, but as the Wolfman says: "Injury prone players get . . . injured." Longoria is becoming that guy. He is now right there with Aramis Ramirez, Adrian Beltre, Nelson Cruz, Troy Tulowitzki, and Josh Hamilton -- talented players for whom you must reduce your bid by 20-30 percent because they are likely to miss that much time. Longoria has never posted 600 AB and with only 82 on June 24, this will not be the year.
Nolan Reimold: According to reports, Nolan Reimold will undergo surgery to remove a bulging cervical disk (neck area for those of you who skipped anatomy class). I think it is fair to say that his season is either over, or at least over for fantasy purposes. This is a tough break for Reimold and the O's but it does open the door for Steven Pearce to continue to play. The former Bucs "can't miss" prospect is finally not missing. Thus far, Pearce is hitting .279 with 10 RBI in just 43 AB. My view -- BUY. Pearce hit .300 or more in most minor league stops. He simply never got a full chance to play in the big leagues and now may get one.
Salvador Perez: The Royals had good and bad injury news this week. The good is that Salvador Perez returned from the DL and knee surgery and promptly went 2-4 with a dinger and two RBI. Last year, Perez hit .331 over 39 games. It is obvious that those in keeper and re-draft leagues should grab Sal if he is still around.
Felipe Paulino: Now for the Royals bad news. According to reports, Felipe Paulino has a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow and will likely need Tommy John surgery. Ouch! Paulino appeared to have finally harnessed all that talent with a 1.67 ERA, a 1.22 WHIP and 39K over 37 innings. If you own Paulino in a deep AL league, there is little you can do. Luis Mendoza, Vin Mazzaro and crew are just not suitable replacements for the Royals or your fantasy roster. [One note -- perhaps you can trade for Luke Hochevar. He has talent and last year, this is around the time he turned his season around].
Matt Adams: In what came as a surprise to this author, the Cardinals sent Matt Adams to AAA. Adams was not great, but really was not that bad either, hitting .244 with two homers and 13 RBI over 86 at-bats. Don’t cut bait yet. Remember Adams will be back if any of these iron men get hurt -- Allen Craig, David Freese, Carlos Beltran (yes, that is sarcasm). One final note here, Matt Carpenter is back from the disabled list. He should get enough ABs to make him worthwhile in a deep NL league.
And last and but not least, this from the Baron of the Bottom of the Page -- Schultz says: “In columns like these, an inordinate amount of time is spent discussing those that can hit for average and those that can hit for power. An even greater amount of print (or whatever these cybercolumns contain) is spent discussing saves as we dissect bullpens, ratios and pitch counts to discern who might vulture a save or two in an attempt to gain an advantage in the saves category. Despite all this, it feels that too often we neglect those that steal bases, an oversight that's more glaring as it is a category all its own and the need for speed is as relevant to roto-owners as it is to Goose and Maverick.
You are likely well versed on Jason Kipnis (of the FIRST PLACE CLEVELAND INDIANS) and Mike Trout's proficiency on the basepaths as their bats have given everyone reason to take notice of their skills. You might find it curious to know that the major league leader in steals is Tony Campana, a somewhat part-time outfielder that the Cubs called up a few weeks back. While his .275 average isn't toxic, his zero home runs, 5 RBIs and the fact that he plays for the low-scoring Cubs are the green stuff dripping from the pipes of the Springfield Power Plant. By that same token, while no one was paying attention in Minnesota, Ben Revere returned from the minors and has been stealing bases at a nice clip (14 since his return). He's hitting a nice .320 but displaying no power. Revere's average won't remain that high but his legs will remain that quick. Revere and Campana may serve as poster boys for the players of the first dimension but, just like the saves category, one statistical freak can make a world of difference.
Finally, with respect to the Overlord's question concerning Justin Masterson, I rejoice in adopting the Point/Counterpoint framework. So, as to Masterson's ability to get out lefties, let me retort: Glenn you ignorant slut. (If that survives editing, Colton will verify I've been waiting a decade to use that line). I recall a few years back that everyone was told to stay away from Ryan Howard because he couldn't hit lefties. Like the great number of ball players that find success in the Major Leagues, they learn to adapt and overcome. Those that ignored the prevailing wisdom about Howard received phenomenal rewards when he started rattling off 40+ homer seasons. While Masterson's splits will likely always skew unfavorably towards lefties, his main problem is walks, not lefties. In his last five starts, Masterson has regained control of his Nintendo pitches, striking out 35 against 6 walks (in Interleague play, he's struck out 25 against 3 walks and hornswoggled Joey Votto, a pretty good lefty hitter). As long he has control over his pitches, he is the master of his domain.”
Response: Well, Schultzie watches the Indians more than I do, so there is reason to trust him on Masterson. Of course, he is so biased, it is his view that may be skewed. Time will tell!