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No worries, fantasy owners: Alejandro De Aza may not speak Swahili*, but this past month his numbers have been music to fantasy owners’ ears. With a .350/.418/.567 line in July, a strikeout rate that has decreased every month of this season, and already reaching a career high in home runs, there are many reasons for optimism. Yes, he struggled early on this season, but he seems to be rounding into form with an approach that attempts to hit for more power. And why not? After all, he plays in a park where Adam Dunn bunted for a home run** last year. I, for one (unless I can speak for more than one?), am embracing the slightly more homer-friendly De Aza. If he continues to steal bases, then he will add to the scarcity of players who steal bases, but don’t destroy your OPS (you know who you are). For the rest of the season, I believe that he will be able to maintain his current .278/.336/.444 line, which represents a slight dip in OBP with a nice bump in slugging. Anyway, here are some other guys I’m dreaming about in OPS leagues:

Jonathan Lucroy – He’s a beast. Maybe Ryan Braun switched jerseys with him to avoid getting caught? Oh, wait…

Justin Smoak – Sky just went over him as his creeper for this week and he’d be a great pick up in an OPS league. Consider yourself cited, Sky!

Kelly Johnson – Back in early May, I said, “I’ll admit that I was skeptical of him this year. Like Dan Uggla, his strikeout and contact issues were causing him major issues the past couple seasons. In 2013, his contact rate has increased, while his strikeout rate has held steady, resulting in a decent .244/.330/.427 line. He’s worth trusting as a second baseman or middle infielder, but I’m still going to keep an eye on that strikeout rate to make sure he maintains his current production.” Since then, he’s been up and down, but now he’s hot and worth seeing if he can maintain a good stretch. He could be available in your league after an owner lost patience with him.

Miguel Montero – He’s a good waiver wire grab if you need catching help. Once upon a time, he was productive. Maybe the story continues in the second half this year? There’s nothing more exciting than a sequel, right? Right?

David Freese – I keep going back to him, and he’s getting dropped in leagues despite being passable recently. How’s that for an endorsement? Why do I have so many questions in this post?

Brad Miller – Nothing to see here, people… Except a freaking awesome player! He’s been sent by the middle infielder gods and should really be owned in more leagues. He’s been better than I expected and should continue to be solid, even if his production slows.

Brandon Belt – I don’t really have anything else to say about him other than he’s hitting and is probably on your waiver wire. Time to fall back into his arms and let him drop us again.

Jedd Gyorko – He’s had a miserable start to the second half, but I believe that he’ll turn things around soon.

Paul Konerko – Well, he’s back, but is his back back? I thought he was finished earlier in the year, but it’s possible that his struggles were largely due to his injury. Since he’s widely available, I’d take a chance to see if he can turn Republican and summon the powers of David Ortiz’s patented Grand Old Party bat.

*He may, in fact, speak Swahili.

**Hawk says a lot of things. I mis-hear a lot of things. Either one of these could apply here.

Tom Jacks is sporadically on Twitter @votetomjacks

From Around The Web

  1. Sixto Lezcano says:
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    De Aza’s been my guy all year. He’s never been dominant but he’s never been a guy I even thought about dumping. Kind of a fantasy player’s dream in that way.

    • Tom Jacks

      Tom Jacks says:
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      @Sixto Lezcano: Agreed. And he’s low profile enough to where he should come at a reasonable price next year too.

  2. Rudacious says:
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    Do you see Braun as a top 15 player next year? Top 10?

    • Tom Jacks

      Tom Jacks says:
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      @Rudacious: I’d wait until the second round for him, so outside the top 10.

  3. yawnstipated in yelm says:
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    Tom,

    DeAza or Pence ROS?

    If I’m packaging Colon/Aaron Hill, what level of SP should I expect in return? Top 10? 20? 30?

    Thanks!

    • Tom Jacks

      Tom Jacks says:
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      @yawnstipated in yelm: It’s close, but I’d take De Aza, unless you don’t value steals at all.

      I’d aim for a top 20 pitcher from that package.

  4. Josh says:
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    Brett Gardner or EY Jr. for ROS?

    • Tom Jacks

      Tom Jacks says:
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      @Josh: In an OPS league, I’d go with Gardner. In a 5×5, I’d try EYJ.

  5. TheGoods says:
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    Hi Tom,

    I’m in a 12 team dynasty, is Ozuna worth keeping on my roster or dropping him and picking up someone like Ruf?

    • Tom Jacks

      Tom Jacks says:
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      @TheGoods: I’d rather hang on to Ozuna in a dynasty unless you absolutely need that spot.

  6. FMFBL says:
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    Drop Eaton for DeAza?
    Thanks!

    • Tom Jacks

      Tom Jacks says:
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      @FMFBL: Yes, in a redraft league, but not in a keeper.

      • Mike Mustachio says:
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        @Tom Jacks: Thanks – it is redraft. Curious about your bigger thoughts on Pujols and Grienke too if you have time to share them.

        • Mike Mustachio says:
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          @Mike Mustachio: Whoops – thought that response was for my comment below. Apologies to you both.

  7. Mike Mustachio says:
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    Grienke has been solid the last month… thoughts on how he performs ROS? What about Pujols… will he heat up for one of those monster second halfs? Or is what we see, what we now get with Albert?

    I’m trying to decide if I trade away Goldschmidt and Grienke, to get Pujols and Kershaw in return. I’m dominating the hitting stats, but last in ERA and Whip (in a pretty standard Yahoo 5×5, 10-team).

    I do have Cuddyer to play at 1st if needed, and Rizzo on the bench who may get hot, but I’d hate to party with my binkie of a first baseman. Considering however, for the upgrade to Kershaw.

    • Tom Jacks

      Tom Jacks says:
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      @Mike Mustachio: I still think Pujols is very capable of an elite stretch, but I think Goldy is more likely to have the better 2nd half, given Pujols’ nagging injury. I like Greinke a lot and think he’ll have a great 2nd half.

      I’d rather not do the deal. Even if you’re desperate for pitching, I’d try to get help from a different deal. It’s fair, but I think there’s a slightly higher chance that you’ll end up on the short end (Greinke being more likely to stay hot than Pujols to get hot).

  8. Jake says:
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    Long term keeper would you rather have Votto/Cespedes or Hosmer/MCCutchen? Thanks!

    • Tom Jacks

      Tom Jacks says:
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      @Jake: The Votto side. I feel like Votto is better than Cutch and Cespedes is better than Hosmer.

  9. Eddie says:
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    The problem with Johnson is his manager doesn’t trust him. He’s out of the lineup again today.

    • Tom Jacks

      Tom Jacks says:
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      @Eddie: How dare he pick on him because of his name!

  10. TobiasFunkeAnalRapist says:
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    6×6 h2h league with average, hr, r, rbi, obp, and sb. Who do you like better ROS? Kelly Johnson or Nick Franklin? Thanks.

  11. baby hippo says:
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    i have fernandez and chacin going against each other tonight. which one should i sit?

    • Tom Jacks

      Tom Jacks says:
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      @baby hippo: I’d sit Chacin.

      • baby hippo says:
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        @Tom Jacks: yep i sat chacin and fernandez pitched a gem!

        • Tom Jacks

          Tom Jacks says:
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          @baby hippo: Awesome!

  12. Justin says:
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    Tom talk some sense into me man.. 12 team keeper league where we keep 7. I was offered cespedes and jose fernandez for my j upton. I have to do this right?

    • Tom Jacks

      Tom Jacks says:
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      @Justin: Depends on whether they would both be keeper upgrades. I still think Upton is better than Cespedes, but Fernandez could be great for a long time. It’s a fair offer, but I’d have to see your keepers before making the call. Are you trying to win it this year?

      • Justin says:
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        @Tom Jacks: Here is the thing I had taken over this keeper team at the end of last year and have had to rebuild. This year starged out rough but I have made up ten games in the last three weeks. My current rosters is as follows.

        Lucroy Rizzo Utley Castro Fraizer Prado Jennings Upton Weiter Marskini(mia) Taveras DL Granderson.

        Ryu Parker A.Sanchez Iwakuma Lincy Peavy Cobb Soriano Jensen Jannsen Melancon

        • Tom Jacks

          Tom Jacks says:
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          @Justin: Then I’d do the deal. It will help you now and both are likely keepers, compared to your other guys, so it shouldn’t hurt you long-term.

  13. Fister Furbush says:
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    What’s up Tom. I just grabbed De Aza yesterday so I was glad to read you praise him in your post.

    I have a question!

    I have Stanton, someone’s offered me a lot of different trade combinations including these players:

    Alex Gordon
    Austin Jackson
    Manny Machado
    Shelby Miller
    Matt Garza

    Would you trade Stanton for any 3 player combo of these players? while having at least one pitcher or one hitter in that combo.

    I’ll need an OF to replace Stanton as well.

    Thanks!

    -FF

    • Fister Furbush says:
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      @Fister Furbush:

      H2h points league no keeper

      • Tom Jacks

        Tom Jacks says:
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        @Fister Furbush: Hey FF – Good timing with De Aza.

        It’s a tempting offer, but I’d rather hang on to Stanton unless it’s a deep league and you really need overall help that a 3 for 1 would provide. If I had to pick a combo, I’d prefer Machado/Gordon/Miller.

        I hope that helps!

  14. Justin says:
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    Here is the thing I had taken over this keeper team at the end of last year and have had to rebuild. This year starged out rough but I have made up ten games in the last three weeks. My current rosters is as follows.

    Lucroy Rizzo Utley Castro Fraizer Prado Jennings Upton Weiter Marskini(mia) Taveras DL Granderson.

    Ryu Parker A.Sanchez Iwakuma Lincy Peavy Cobb Soriano Jensen Jannsen Melancon

    • Tom Jacks

      Tom Jacks says:
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      @Justin: Then I’d do the deal. It will help you now and both are likely keepers, compared to your other guys, so it shouldn’t hurt you long-term.

  15. G says:
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    Based on ROS who wins in cargo for trout trade straight up?

    • Tom Jacks

      Tom Jacks says:
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      @G: I’d want Trout.

  16. JoeG414 says:
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    Cut either Montero(on the bench for Rosario), L.Scott,Moss or Ruf to pickup Urrutia as a bench / spot start bat. Non keeper mixed 6×6 daily roto.

    • JoeG414 says:
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      @JoeG414:
      It’s a 6×6 league, Thanks.

    • JoeG414 says:
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      @JoeG414:
      Looks like I’m going to cut Erasmo Ramirez !!

      • Tom Jacks

        Tom Jacks says:
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        @JoeG414: Yeah, they made your decision for you since it’s a non-keeper.

    • Tom Jacks

      Tom Jacks says:
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      @JoeG414: I would have cut Moss, since he’s been slumping lately.

  17. mike says:
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    Who wins? I have tulo also…
    .segura for matt holiday nd torii hunter

    • Tom Jacks

      Tom Jacks says:
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      @mike: Yes, I would trade Segura for those guys. It’s a solid haul, especially considering you also have Tulo.

      • mike says:
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        @Tom Jacks: thanks! I’m gonna pull the trigger

        • Tom Jacks

          Tom Jacks says:
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          @mike: Nice. No problem!

  18. Mike says:
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    Ian Kennedy or Edwin Jackson ROS?

    • Tom Jacks

      Tom Jacks says:
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      @Mike: I trust Jackson slightly more.

  19. Nick says:
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    Okay so I bit on Yelich and picked him up. I had to choose between dropping either Wheeler or Erasmo. I chose Wheeler. Hope you guys are right about Ramirez!

    • Tom Jacks

      Tom Jacks says:
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      @Nick: I hope so too. Good luck!

  20. Clint says:
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    I just lost Braun so I snatched up EYJ and Carlos Quentin as a hybrid solution but another owner just dropped Adam Eaton. Should I drop one of these guys for Eaton or stand pat with my wannabe-Braunabes? My other hitters are pretty stacked assuming Kemp gets on the field & performs the rest of the way and I’m at or near the top of the batting categories in my roto league so whichever 2 I end up with would ideally be rotating in and out for the rest of the year.

    • Tom Jacks

      Tom Jacks says:
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      @Clint: I’d drop EYJ for Eaton.

  21. Big League Choo says:
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    Ops league without hrs substitute total bases who would you rather have ROS Miguel montero, Martin, Ramos or gattis?

    • Tom Jacks

      Tom Jacks says:
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      @Big League Choo: I’d rather have Miguel Montero.

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