Milone looking like Millions highlights this week’s Week That Was.
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Tommy Milone : Tommy Milone struck out 10 Yankees Friday night and looked impressive doing it. That the pen blew a win for him cannot take away from what the lefty has accomplished in 2012. Milone has a 3.34 ERA, 1.20 WHIP and a K/BB ratio of well over 3:1. While those numbers are good, check out these over the last 6 starts: 41 innings, 5 ER, 36 K, 3 BB. Yes, his strikeout/walk ratio in the last 6 starts is 12:1. Want more proof Milone is a guy to go get? Ok, here it is: during most of the first half Milone succeeded only at home. Of those sweet 6 starts, 3 were on the road. Milone is for real. Go get him now before others figure out he is not just a home start any more. [Note: Smart roto drafters saw that Milone had a 155/16 K:BB ratio in AAA in 2011 and grabbed him cheap. If you were one of those, well played!]
Ben Sheets: Speaking of hot pitchers, Ben Sheets put up another six shutout innings (with 6K) to beat the Nats Saturday. That is now 12 scoreless to start the season. Yes, there is a real risk that he will be bitten by the injury bug yet again, but until he does, why not ride the wave? After all, in his last full season of 2008, he tossed 198 innings of 3.09 ERA and 1.15 WHIP. Stated another way, we know he has the talent. With good pitching so hard to come by, this roll of the dice is an easy call. Play the line.
Brett Myers: In proof of why the T in SMART stands for Team, Brett Myers has been traded from Astro closer to White Sox set up guy. For those new to this column, Rick Wolf and I play by the SMART system. The T for Team means that players on better real major league teams should be valued higher -- they get more runs and RBI on the offensive side and more opportunities for wins and saves on the pitching side. More importantly for this blurb, closers on good teams do not get traded in July to become setup guys. The Astros are not good and now Myers is not a closer. Stay SMART!
Gavin Floyd: In more good news for the south siders, Gavin Floyd will come off the shelf and take the ball Monday against the Twins. This is an easy call. If you own him, start him. If you don’t, try and get him. In the short term, the Twins cannot hit, so this is a tasty matchup for his re-entry into the rotation. Second, Floyd has been reliably solid albeit not spectacular over the last three years. His three year averages are: 4.19 ERA; 1.25 WHIP; 155K/54BB. If you are in a 10 team mixed league, you probably can do better. However, if you are in a 15 team mixed or an AL-only, this is exactly the type of solid starter you need to lengthen your rotation. Buy.
Johan Santana: What many predicted after the 130+ pitch no-hitter has come to pass. Johan Santana landed on the 15-day disabled list. However, the lengthy history making performance is not likely to blame for the injury -- a sprained right ankle is. Not so fast. While the no-no did not likely cause the ankle injury, astute roto owners probably have noticed that since the no-no, Santana has been, well, bad. Over his last three outings, he has been downright awful: 12.6 innings, 28 hits, 19 earned runs. Yuck. Bottom line, Santana’s comeback has been impressive. His no-hitter was a shining moment of the 2012 season and of the Mets 50 year history. However, when we take emotion out of it, we see an aging pitcher who has not pitched in two years and thus we see a pitcher who quite predictably is sliding south in the second half. Sell if you still can.
Jonathan Sanchez: The newest Rockie, Jonathan Sanchez, will take the hill for his new team Monday against the Diamondbacks. Only if you are truly desperate will you risk rostering and starting Sanchez. In KC, not nearly a hitter haven like Colorado, Sanchez was 1-6 with a putrid 7.76 ERA and a hideously ugly 44BB against just 36K. Yes, Sanchez is young enough and has a live enough arm to bounce back from the nightmare of the last year and a half. Yes, just two years ago in 2010 he posted a 3.08 ERA, 1.23 WHIP and 205 K. So, if you want to stash him on reserve and hope, go ahead. He is simply too flammable to store on your active roster. [Note -- I cannot resist and I apologize in advance but I have to ask: do you think the MVP caliber Melky for the cut in three months Sanchez will go down in the annals of baseball history as one of the worst deals ever?].
Justin Upton: Justin Upton is one of the biggest questions of the second half and many a fantasy title will be won or lost depending on whether the real Justin Upton shows up. Friday, he did. Upton went yard and knocked in 3. J-UP has hit in six straight, so there is reason for optimism. If you find yourself in second or third place and need to take a chance to scale the mountain, a great talent like Justin Upton is a pretty good place to do it. For what it is worth, my gut says he has a strong second half. The nonsense about trades will end and he will settle in for the last two months and produce. Buy!
B.J. Upton: Sticking with the Uptons, J-Up’s brother B.J. also went yard Friday (and added a swipe). The numbers thus far are uninspiring: .252 with nine homers, 36 RBI and 16 steals on the season. However, he was hurt at the beginning of the year. Now, he is hitting leadoff where he can use his speed and has responded. In just the last two nights, he is 5-11 with 5 RBI. Yes, I know he is frustrating to own. However, his downside is 20 HR, 40 SB numbers. His upside is just sick. He is playing for a contract and this is where he puts the pedal to the metal. I believe.
Brett Gardner: In move that seemed more and more likely as time went on, the Yankees announced this week that Brett Gardner’s season is over. He will have elbow surgery next week. There are roto effects of this move big and small. First, I predict the Yankees will go out and get a speedy, small ball, good fielding OF. Thus, those in AL-only leagues should look out for a good place to park their FAAB (like maybe Shane Victorino?). Second, until a new player arrives, Eric Chavez and Jayson Nix will continue to get real time (one against RHP and one against LHP) and have value in AL-only leagues. Third, and this is more of a gripe than a real piece of analysis -- many leagues require players to be out for the year before they can reclaim the salary and convert it to FAAB. Many of those leagues also require that this reclaim happen before the All-Star break. Because the Gardner announcement came this late, his owners are out of luck.
Josh Beckett: Josh Beckett continues to confound. He really has become the girl with the curl. When he is good, he is really good (you get the point). Friday, Beckett was not good, giving up four runs on seven hits over his six innings. With his next outing coming in Texas, there is reason for concern. Bottom line -- for those in 10 or 12 team mixed leagues, he is a streaming spot start only. For those in AL only deep leagues, his 4.53, 1.25 is enough good to make it worth enduring the ugly outings. [Full disclosure, even though I am a diehard Yankee fan, I am a Beckett fan too. I have watched him pitch games where he looks like the best there is. So, Rick Wolf and I will stick with him in Tout Wars. Just so you know]
And last and but not least, this from the Baron of the Bottom of the Page -- Schultz says: “The headline that scrolled across the bottom of ESPN was arguably one of the least informative in the network's history: "Bartolo Colon traded to the Expos for Lee Stevens and three minor leaguers." As everyone likely knows by now, those three minor leaguers were Grady Sizemore, Brandon Phillips and Cliff Lee. A supposedly laughable trade turned out to be one the shrewdest of the decade. With this year's trading deadline looming on the horizon, there are going to be a handful of trades in which well-known names like Ryan Dempster, Zack Greinke and Matt Garza may change teams in exchange for players whose names make the majority of onlookers go "huh." Skilled roto-owners though take note - those minor leaguers tend to evolve into fine major leaguers a year or two down the road.
Just this winter, Mat Latos went from San Diego to Cincinnati for a package of players that included Yonder Alonso and Yasmani Grandal. While Alonso wasn't exactly an unknown, Grandal was mostly known to minor league junkies and uber-roto-geeks. The 23-year-old catcher has hit 5 home runs in his first 60 at bats and seems poised to become one of the elite roto-catchers sooner rather than later. While A.J. Cole and Brad Peacock have yet to make an impression, Tommy Milone, one of the other players the Nationals traded for Gio Gonzalez, has become an above-average starter that hardly walks a soul and just last night fanned 10 Yankees (savvy roto-owners have learned it's better to start Milone at home than on the road). The A's also don't need Colin Cowgill to become a star as Jarrod Parker alone seems to make their Trevor Cahill one a success.
Not every deadline deal reaps a Jeff Bagwell or John Smoltz in return for Larry Anderson or Doyle Alexander. Jason Knapp, the centerpiece of the Indians/Phillies trade for Cliff Lee, has had more shoulder surgeries (2) than major league games (0) and the Tribe's haul from the CC Sabathia trade may be remembered as Michael Brantley and not Matt LaPorta.
As superstars change uniforms over the next couple week, remember the lesser-known names going in the other direction. It just may give you an edge in winning your 2014 or 2015 roto-championship."
Response: This has been a Schultz mantra for years and for years he has been dead on. Those in keeper and dynasty leagues should pay attention now. Those in redraft leagues should remember to review the late July trades when looking for their diamonds in the rough.