With Travis Hafner likely on the DL for a while with a pronked shoulder, the Indians called up Matt LaPorta – their prize from sending Sabathia to Bratwurstland. He’s been tearing it up at AAA with a .333 AVG and 5 HRs in 75 AB. So could we be looking at Hafner Jr? Maybe, but it’s more likely we’re looking at a less K-friendly Jack Cust. He only has about a full season above AA and CHONE and ZIPS projections have him hitting .240-.250 with solid power (think 25 HRs if he got 500 ABs). Currently, he has OF eligibility in ESPN and 1B/OF in Yahoo. If you’ve got an extra hitting slot in a 12 team or greater league, he’s worth taking a flier on in case he starts off hot. Just don’t expect him to be el capitán – be happy if he provides marinero stats. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:
Psyche! (Not the TV show.) First I want to mention two trades I did in two separate leagues. First trade was Elvis Andrus/LaTroy Hawkins for Julio Lugo/Ian Stewart. This league is 16 teams deep so trading guys you usually find on waivers is actually a necessity. I had Kelly Johnson at 2nd and Omar Baby was playing over him in Hot Atlanta, so I needed to look elsewhere. It’s no secret; I’m a fan of Ian Stewart. As for Andrus to Lugo, they’re more or less tomato-tomahto, but the owner I was trading with is collecting Rangers (he owns 11).
The 2nd trade was a bit bigger. In a 15 team league, I traded Heath Bell/Huston Street for Dan Haren/David Aardsma. If you look at the trade, it helps both teams. But the moral is that closers are like Japanese and German cars – they have excellent trade-in value. Sure, you’ll get some lemons when you draft them in lower rounds but all you need are a few to hit and you can usually package them for picks from higher rounds. (On the flip side, speed-only guys seem to have the lowest trade-in value.) Anyway, let’s get down to bidness:
Carlos Zambrano – Hamstring strain from trying to beat out an infield single. Typical Zambrano injury. Actually, typical Zambrano injury would be him straining his forearm from punching his fist at the sky. Sometime during the 2nd season of an inflated WHIP, I wiped my hands of Zambrano.
Carl Crawford – 6 steals yesterday. Alien who just landed on Earth, “First Dexter with 5 steals, now Carl with 6. Wow, these dorky white guys are fast.”
Michael Wuertz – Collecting saves while Ziegler’s out with undisclosed “flu-like” symptons. Maybe judging the wet-tee contest in Cancun wasn’t the best idea.
Cliff Lee – 7 IP, 3 ER, 4 Ks, has a 3.92 ERA on the year. This actually seems exactly like what we should get this season from Lee.
Justin Verlander – 7 IP, 1 ER, 11 Ks. As I said the last time out when he had a quality start, Verlander’s a 4.00 ERA pitcher. So he can have some awful games, but he’ll also have some solid ones.
Ian Kinsler – 9th homer yesterday. The hot first half is nothing new. Staying healthy all year would be. If he can stay healthy, he could have a season that makes him a top 5 pick next year. Though in three seasons, he’s never played in more than 130 games.
Scott Richmond – 7 IP, 2 ER, 6 Ks. In 30 and a 1/3 innings on the season, Richmond has a 2.67 ERA, 1.22 WHIP, 26 Ks and a 4-0 record. As I said a week or two ago, I picked up Richmond in a deep league. Do I trust him to continue this pitching version of Ludwick coming out of nowhere at the age of 29? Oh, hellz no. Pitchers don’t slide through that long without being discovered. There’s too much of a need for them in the majors. So will he get exploited at some point and end up a Poormond? Yup, but I’m riding the lightning until it happens.
Ryan Braun - Missed two consecutive games as he nurses a stiff back. Ryan Braun’s owner, “If he wanted to nurse something, couldn’t it be a baby giraffe?” I’m legitimately concerned. This stiff back seems to be connected to the rib cage injury that killed his power last September. But, in the end, 75% of Ryan Braun (or Ryan Bra, for purists) is still better than 100% of most other players.
Oliver Perez -Headed to the minors or the Disgraceful List. Here’s the world’s smallest violin. Here’s the world’s smallest violin walking seven straight hitters.
Scott Baker – 6 IP, 5 ER. Honestly, didn’t like him coming into this year, but I didn’t think it would be this bad. Seems to be headed for the Disgraceful List.
Derrek Lee – Grand slam and homers in back-to-back games. I don’t think we’re ever going to see the Lee of 46 homers again, but the talk of his demise was prematurely reported.
Milton Bradley – 0-for-4 and now batting .116 on the season. Doode may seriously get killed by a Cubbie fan by the All-Star Break if he doesn’t get his shizz together.
LaTroy Hawkins – 1 1/3 IP, 0 ER. As I mentioned above, I just traded him (after picking him up on waivers) and if you think you’re going to get out alive with a sparkling month of Hawkins, you’re mistaken.
Michael Bourn – 2 SBs, .301 on the season. In a 16 team league, I actually own this schmohawk, and remarkably don’t regret it.
Justin Upton – 4th home run in 9 games. Can hit 25 HRs and .250. Love to see him steal some bases because otherwise he’s Jose Guillen. Nice thing about Upton is the perception of him, making him a commodity that can fetch more in a trade than he might be worth.
Mike Cameron – Another homer, bringing him to 6. I think it’s fair to say at some point the bottom will fall out. If you can get a solid piece for him in a trade, I’d explore it.
Barry Zito – 7 IP, 0 ER, 4 Ks, 3 baserunners and possibly 2 owners in the entire world enjoyed it — Sabean and Bochy.
Chad Gaudin – 5 2/3 IP, 6 ER. Well, he’s no Zito obviously! In all fairness, Gaudin wasn’t terrible for 5 innings. Okay, forget fairness. The final line is ugly. But the idea is to start him at Petco. So I’m giving him two more home starts. We shall see.
Johnny Cueto – 8 IP, 0 ER, 9 Ks. Cueto was a higher touted prospect than Volquez going into last year. Cust kayin’.
Homer Bailey – Keep him on radars in deep leagues and keepers, he’s still only 23 and won’t be in the minors for long.
Carlos Delgado -Hip problems that might not alleviate anytime soon. Maybe he should put two baseballs on the bottom of his walker.
Jay Bruce – Hit his 6th homer yesterday. Wasn’t it like two weeks ago you were thinking about trading him for Bonifacio? I’m silently judging you.
Pablo Sandoval – Stole a base yesterday. Gotta blame the pitcher when he lets the runner get an eighty-nine foot lead.