Man, I have not watched a Braves game in a frog’s leap, but lemme tell you, Freddie Freeman takes batting seriously. It is no joke when he steps to the plate. First off, Too Close by Alex Clare is his walkup song. Not a bad choice to set a dramatic tone. What happens is Freeman enters the batter box, takes a quick glance back at the catcher and umpire, as if he’s making sure they’re still there. Then he swivels his head around ever-so-slowly until it faces the pitcher directly, coming to a dramatic stop. After a quick smirk like he knows something you don’t, he assumes his batting stance and awaits to clobber the heck out of whatever you’re about to throw. Since breaking out big in 2012, Freeman has mostly repeated those numbers this year, albeit with a small amount of regression involved. Without an injury history to speak of, Freeman’s the kind of high-floor player that may not be able to win your league outright, but won’t prevent you from winning either.
With that epithet on Freeman aside (I did literally just watch an at-bat of his and spur of the moment wrote about it), let’s see who’s available and who’s retailable in this edition of Lineup Maximizer.
# 34 Cody Ross (R) – Ari– OF – @Col (Morales-L) – 8:40 PM – 0% owned
Ross has probably faded from memory as a useful blahtoon option since he’s had all of 188 at-bats this year. But if you remember, Ross was one of the first guys people would utilize in platoons due to his lefty-slaying abilities. “Dude, I’ve gotten a .310 average and 22 homers by platooning Ross and Seth Smith. What has Jose Tabata done for you lately?” was a statement the hippie in your league might have said back in 2012. Fast forward two years and the hippie’s neck skin might have distended a couple inches, but Thursday night he could be saying the same things about Ross and Smith.
#139 Justin Turner (R) – LAD– 1B/2B/SS/3B – @CHN (Wada-L) – 8:05 PM – 40% owned
It’s probably because Turner got his start with the Mets that I’ve always been a little skeptical of his ability to hit baseballs. At this point, I’ve got to do a 180 and admit he’s carved out a niche in the Dodgers lineup and has un sacco di talent. The Dodgers are riding on the Southpaw Express this week, facing lefties in five of seven, none of whom are particularly fearsome. Last night Turner had a two-RBI double and figuring he sits tonight, I’d expect to see his golden locks fly around the bases Thursday in that Chicago wind. Consider Juan Uribe if also available.
Michael McKenry (R) – Col– C – vs Ari (Nuno-L) – 8:40 PM – 1% owned
Quick! Which catcher leads all catchers with a .915 OPS this year? No, three girl readers, the answer is not Buster Posey. “Who is Michael McKenry?” is the correct response. (I’m pissed I missed the finale of the Jeopardy! Battles of the Decade, does anyone know who won that?) Anyways, I expect McKenry to draw the start Thursday. In one catcher leagues you better have a stud or be willing to stream.
#108 Yangervis Solarte (R) – SDP– 2B/SS/3B – vs Ari (Nuno-L) – 8:40 PM – 1% owned
PSA regarding Yangervis, whose name I’m still getting used to, he should be picked up again in all leagues. The Gerv was worth owning at the start of the year then cooled off. Then he was traded to the Padres and worth owning until he cooled off again. Now riding a six game hitting streak, he’s back on that horse and makes your roster that much more flexible. Hot!
#164 Brad Miller (L) – Sea– 2B/SS – @LAA (Weaver-R) – 10:05 PM – 45% owned
Yup, another middle infielder for you. Over the last two weeks, Miller’s been playing like Grey fantasizes about batting .310 with a homer and steal. Weaver’s not a great matchup, in particular because he’s coming off a 12(!) strikeout performance in his last start, but within the confines of Grey’s head anything is possible.
Best of luck over the final two weeks of the season for those still in contention. May your closers not give up three run homers with two run leads with two outs in the ninth like mine do.