I told you two days ago to own Justin Smoak in his series in Texas. Three straight games, three homers. To paraphrase Young MC from We’re All In The Same Gang, “I try my best to set an example, talkin’ up hyped players over hip-hop samples.” (BTW, the M’s lost yesterday when the catcher went to complete a strikeout by throwing the ball to first for the final out in the ninth but the ball sailed into right field and allowed the runner on first to score. Ha-HA!) Now the question is should you own Smoak the rest of the year… Sure, but that’s not the question. Tricked you! The question is about next year. He hasn’t reached his potential yet, but he is only 23-years-old. Some have compared him to Te(i)x. He definitely slumped for half a season like him. I think those ‘some’ were using that as a compliment though. Next year, Smoak should have the starting job out of spring training and could provide 25 homers with a decent average. In AL-Only keeper leagues and dynasty leagues, I’d make sure Smoak’s owned. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:
Chone Figgins – 4-for-4 as Chode tries to make his season numbers seem a whole lot better than they were. Never trust a guy that spells Sean ‘Chone.’
David Murphy – Out with a strained groin. Sounds like an injury that would sideline a porn actress.
Jeff Francoeur – 2-for-5 and hitting over .300 in the last week with 2 homers. With the Rangers playing their B lineup and Hamilton and Murphy hurting, I grabbed Frenchy in a few arrondissements.
Josh Hamilton – Says his rehab went well and, assuming there’s no relapses, he’ll return on Friday. What, bad choice of words?
P.J. Walters – 7 IP, 0 ER, 4 baserunners, 4 Ks. He sounds like the star of an 80’s detective show where he solves all the cases in his pajamas. P.J. Walters: The Groggy Eye. On yesterday’s episode, The Groggy Eye nabbed the cat burglar with nothing but his cunning and nightcap. Afterwards, he put the Pirates to sleep.
Yovani Gallardo – 3 1/3 IP, 7 ER. Now has an ERA of 3.84 and 1.37 WHIP on the year. In the preseason when I announced I was avoiding YoGa, ironically, for fear of stress, I said, “We had a good run (in 2009), but it went on too long and wasn’t that pretty towards the end. I could see my avoidance of Gallardo biting me in the ass because he is an extreme strikeout pitcher, which I like, but the innings jump from 2008 to 2009 raises too many questions for me.” And that’s me quoting me! I was right and wrong. Right to avoid him, wrong saying it would bite me in the ass.
John Axford – Recorded his 23rd save yesterday. Rudy and I were talking yesterday (we talk, ya’ll!) and he mentioned to me how Axford was one of the top free agent grabs this year. Rudy’s got a point. 8 Wins, 2.53 ERA, 23 Saves, 74 Ks in only 57 IP. That’s donkeycornlicious.
Javier Vazquez – 4 2/3 IP, 7 ER. In the preseason, Vazquez was in a group of pitchers I said NOT to draft. Along with Gallardo, Peavy, Hanson, Scherzer, Shields, Brandon Webb, Jurrjens, Edwin Jackson, Kazmir and Lackey. You’re welcome.
John Buck – Now has two homers in the last three games and is playing every day. Nothing fancy, but might be able to help.
Travis Snider – 2-for-5 with his third homer this week. Seriously, pick him up right now.
Angel Pagan – 4-for-9 with two steals in the doubleheader. Don’t forget to say thank you to Pagan on Sunday. He gave you what you were hoping you’d get from Victorino.
Jonathon Niese – 2 2/3 IP, 6 ER. Jonathon (no relation to Dickie Thon) ended the season with a 4.20 ERA and decent Ks. I could see him being a fifth fantasy starter sleeper next year.
Lucas Duda – Hit his 3rd homer. Zip-a-dee-Duda, zip-a-dee-ay. My, oh my, what a Duda day.
Carlos Beltran – Shut down for the year. Backdate this to May, 2009.
Ryan Raburn – 4-for-8 with a homer in the doubleheader. I may not need the 2nd base eligibility to get excited about Raburn next year. He may be one of my upside 5th outfielder picks.
Matt Kemp – Wrapped up in a deuce, he hit two homers in two games, which isn’t too late for H2H leagues.
Hong-Chih Kuo – Of course Torre brought Kuo into a save situation in the 8th and gave the save to Belisario. Of course he did! Maybe Torre lost track of the inning because he was working on his next tell-all exposing Tommy Lasorda’s penchant for calling tomato sauce ‘gravy.’
Clayton Kershaw – The news confirmed he’s been shut down. Then the news confirmed the last confirmation was wrong and he’s not being shut down. Then the news reconfirmed the early confirmation and unconfirmed the latter confirmation. Paddle through the verbiage and you’ll find Kershaw is getting shut down.
Jhoulys Chacin – 5 IP, 2 ER, 7 baserunners, 7 Ks and 5 unearned runs for the always ulcer-inducing ticker shock!
Matt Thornton – Recorded another save. While Ozzie says Sale is the closer, Thornton’s obviously getting the saves.
Erick Aybar – 1-for-4 with his 21st steal. He’s hitting .253 with 68 Runs and 29 RBIs, which are soul-crushing numbers. In the preseason, I said, “I get a utility man vibe from Aybar. If you draft him, there’s a 95% chance of you dropping him before May.” I hope you did just that if you drafted him.
Joe Mauer – Will return and DH today. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him sit another day or two in the final four days.
Kila Ka’aihue – Hit his 4th homer in the last week and third in two days. If you want to read my Ka’aihue fantasy, it’s under that clickie-link thingamabob.
James McDonald – 6 IP, 1 ER, 5 baserunners, 7 Ks. Deserved a better fate than a loss against a Cards team that was featuring Mark Hamilton at first. Don’t worry, McDonald, January Grey won’t forget you. January Grey, “That’s more on February Grey. Oh, and could you wire me some money? Turns out asking a female if she needs a ride is ‘solicitation.’ Who knew?”