St. Paddy’s Fantasy Report: Episode 2
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Welcome to St. Paddy’s Fantasy Report, where I’ll be keeping you abreast of the world of fantasy baseball through the inspection of hot and cold starters, exploration of closer situations, and examination of key injuries and position battles for each team around the league.
Let’s begin with everyone’s favorite bunch of teams. Numbers 1, 2, 3 and 4 of the top, like, 10 in your heart … the division of domination … the A! L! East!
Who’s Hot: J.J. Hardy has continued his midseason tear, hitting at a .346/.397/.673 clip with four homers over the past two weeks. He’s a must-own, and not just because shortstop is a weak position … Mark Reynolds also has four homers over the last two weeks, but is hitting .389 over that span. It may well be the first time that he’s seen a batting average that high next to his name since Little League, and he’s proven that he’s not a high average hitter. Once his BABIP — currently over .500 — drops, he’ll be the same Reynolds we know and whom some of us love. If you can stomach an average in the low .200s, he’s not a bad play … If you love good power, high average and few walks over a small sample size, then you’ll love any of Nick Markakis, Adam Jones and Luke Scott. I’m wary of their lack of plate discipline, but a flier on Markakis or Jones wouldn’t be the worst thing if you’ve a roster spot to fill … Sinkerballer Zach Britton has continued his rookie-season dominance, and appears to be no fluke. He might wear down as the season rolls along, but for now, it’s all systems go.
Who’s Not: Brian Matusz returned from an extended-DL stint only to suffer a hamstring injury and post an ERA near 11.00 in six innings. No need to waste a roster spot until Matusz proves he can be effective … Matt Wieters is hitting .205 with a homer in the last two weeks, doing nothing to quell the talk of him being a bust. He’s still got potential to be better than most of what’s on the catcher waiver wire, but he doesn’t appear to be worth a roster spot if you’ve confidence in someone else … Derrek Lee is hitting .324 in the last two weeks, but five of his 12 hits over that span came in one game. Combine that with no plate discipline or power, and I’d temper any hopes you have of him rebounding. Ditto Vladimir Guerrero, by the way.
Injury Watch: Brian Roberts is still out with lingering effects from a concussion sustained in May. He’s certainly out until at least the All-Star break, but it wouldn’t surprise me if we don’t see him until August at the earliest. Then again, I’m not exactly what doctors call “a Doctor.” Still, though … In other long-term injury news, Justin Duchscherer was pitching in an extended spring training game five days ago, and re-injured his surgically repaired hip while trying to field a ground ball. He could be a sneaky play in, like, September, and I’m not really even sure if that’s a joke or not.
Boston Red Sox
Who’s Hot: Adrian Gonzalez is doing Adrian Gonzalez things in Beantown, hitting .353/.406/.610 with 15 HR. He’s also the first hitter in the majors to top 100 hits on the season, and is hitting over .400 in the last two weeks. The BABIP is sky-high at .386, but he’s been making such solid contact that it’s hard to see hard regression … David Ortiz has continued his magnificent season by clubbing four more homers over the last two weeks while keeping his batting average over .300. Vintage season for the big fella, and he’s showing no signs of slowing (back) down … Marco Scutaro is hitting .364 over the last two weeks, but won’t provide you with any value other than that average. So if you jump on him while he’s hot, keep an eye on him so that you’ll know when to cut bait … if you were to average up Jon Lester, Clay Buchholz and Josh Beckett‘s stats over the last two weeks, you’d have a guy striking out about 7.5 per 9, walking about 2.5 per 9 and posting an ERA below 2.00.
Who’s Not: Slumps are in short supply for the streaking Sawx, but no team can have everybody hitting at once. But you can come really close; only J.D. Drew (.273/.342/.364, one HR) and Darnell McDonald — inasmuch as he qualifies — are Boston regulars that you’d describe as cold … Tim Wakefield had a nice return to the starting rotation awhile ago, but his ERA, even hovering around 4.00, has been on the lucky side … Andrew Miller wasn’t bad in his start last night, but until he shows that he can refrain from walking people, he’s not worth so much as a flier in the deepest leagues.
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