Author Archive

Bloomberg Sports Fantasy Baseball 2012 Recap: Shortstops

Twitter: @RobShawSports and @BloombergSports

Bloomberg Sports Anchor Rob Shaw and Analyst Alex Burwasser recap the top five shortstops this fantasy season as well as the top three busts.

 

TOP FIVE PERFORMERS

 

5. Starlin Castro, SS, Cubs

After a fantastic sophomore campaign in the big leagues which saw him lead the league in hits (207) and make the All-Star team, Starlin Castro put together another solid year for the Cubs. He did not hit .300 this year but he hit a very respectable .283 while stealing a career-high 25 bases. A good sign going forward for him is his consistency against left and right-handed pitching, hitting over .280 against both this year. However, an area where Castro needs work is his plate discipline, where for the third straight year he drew less than 40 walks (36).

4. Jose Reyes, SS, Marlins

It would have been really difficult for Jose Reyes to duplicate his 2011 season when he won the NL batting title. A season that turned out to be his last with the Mets when he signed as a free agent with the new-look Marlins. A lot was expected of Reyes and the Miami team as a whole moving into a brand new ballpark and it seemed both were wilting under those expectations. Unlike the team, however, Reyes redeemed himself by hitting .312 after the All-Star break and ending the season with his standard double-digit triples (12) and 40 steals. In fact, he was hitting in the three hole for the Marlins by the end of the year, so if that continues in 2013, expect even more production for Reyes.

3. Ian Desmond, SS, Nationals

One of the best stories in baseball this year was the Washington Nationals, and one of the leading characters in that story was 26 year old shortstop Ian Desmond taking the next step and becoming an All-Star player. Not only did his batting average drastically improve from last year moving from .253 to .292 but he had an enormous spike in power hitting 25 home runs this year as compared to only 8 in 2011. Added with his speed, swiping over 20 bases for the second year in a row (21), Desmond looks like he is a player on the rise for the Nationals and possibly for your fantasy leaderboards next year.

2. Derek Jeter, SS, Yankees

Derek Jeter has been around the top of this list for basically the past fifteen years, so why would 2012 be any different? He had 216 hits this season, which was his most since 1999, as well as 47 extra base hits which was his most since 2007. He also hit over .300 (.316) for amazingly the twelfth time in his sure-to-be Hall of Fame career. The only question with Jeter is how long he can possibly keep this up, especially given his unfortunate ankle injury in the ALCS against Detroit, but it would be hard to start counting him out now.

1. Jimmy Rollins, SS, Phillies

Jimmy Rollins, much like Derek Jeter, has been at the top of this list for over a decade now, but Rollins went mostly under-the-radar this season because his team was such a huge disappointment. Obviously, Rollins was not the reason why, blasting his most home runs since his MVP season of 2007 (23) as well as knocking in a solid 68 RBI. A very underrated part of Rollins game has always been his speed, and that was certainly on display this year when he stole 30 bases for the second year in a row and added over a hundred runs scored (102). Rollins is only 33 years old, so there could be a few more years of these type of numbers coming from a premium fantasy position like shortstop.

 

TOP THREE BUSTS

 

3. Jhonny Peralta, SS, Tigers

A first time All-Star in 2011, Jhonny Peralta had his best season as a pro for Detroit hitting just under .300 (.299) while providing some serious power with 21 home runs and driving in 86 runs as his Tigers won the AL Central. Detroit again won the AL Central again in 2012 but Peralta was not nearly as big a factor seeing his batting average dip 60 points to .239 as well as his home runs (13) and RBI (63). Peralta needs to hit for power and drive in runs to provide any fantasy value whatsoever because he does not steal bases or hit for a high average.

2. Yunel Escobar, SS, Jays

In a somewhat surprising move given his potential, the Braves traded Yunel Escobar to the Jays after a disappointing start to the 2010 season. It was looking like a steal of a trade for Toronto after a 2011 season that saw him hit .290 with 11 home runs and 77 runs scored. However, he really declined this past season when his average dropped 37 points to .253, but what was most alarming were his walks almost being cut in half from 61 to 35 which left his on-base percentage at a measly .300. For a player expected to be at the top of the lineup for years to come, getting on base three out of ten times will just not cut it for the Jays and for your fantasy team.

1. Dee Gordon, SS, Dodgers

Every year fantasy owners seem to fall into the trap of falling in love with a player who comes up from the minors and excels at a particular statistical category whether it is home runs or strikeouts. In Dee Gordon’s case, it was stolen bases. After being called up in June 2011, he burst onto the scene by hitting .304 and stealing 24 bases in 56 games for the Dodgers. In 2012, he was the opening day starter at shortstop for the Dodgers but he never really got off the ground getting sent to the minors in early July after hitting only .228. He still has a ton of speed — he stole 32 bases — but he cannot provide any value if he cannot get on base in the future.

 

For more fantasy insight, visit BloombergSports.com.

Bloomberg Sports Fantasy Baseball 2012 Recap: Second Basemen

Twitter: @RobShawSports and @BloombergSports

Bloomberg Sports Anchor Rob Shaw and Analyst Alex Burwasser recap the top five second basemen this fantasy season as well as the top three busts.

 

TOP FIVE PERFORMERS

5. Martin Prado, 2B, Braves

Prior to 2011, Martin Prado had hit over .300 for the Braves in three consecutive years including the last of those in 2010 when he not only made his lone All-Star appearance but even garnered some MVP votes. The success might have gotten to his head because in 2011 he had his worst season batting only .260. The good news is that after this season in 2012, 2011 will just be a blip on the radar because Prado was back to hitting over .300 again while providing some pop for the Braves with ten home runs and 70 RBI. Prado has become very valuable to Atlanta and to fantasy owners as a super-utility player, playing all four infield positions this year.

4. Brandon Phillips, 2B, Reds

Ever since becoming a Red in 2006, Brandon Phillips has been the mark of consistency for Cincinnati hitting at least 17 home runs and swiping at least 14 bags in each of his last seven seasons. He also certainly played a key role in helping the Reds win their second NL Central crown in the past three seasons. Though they were not able to exit the Division Series again, it was no fault of Phillips who this postseason against the Giants hit .375. The only place where Phillips struggled this year was with his plate discipline, only drawing 28 walks, negatively affecting his on-base percentage. Hopefully, for him and the Reds this is not a downward trend and he continues to get on-base at a high rate.

3. Ian Kinsler, 2B, Rangers

One of the most insturmental members of the Rangers team that went to back-to-back World Series in 2010 and 2011, Ian Kinsler might have had his best year last year when he had his second career 30-30 season (the other being in 2009). However, this season he could not even manage to get to 20-20 with only 19 home runs. That being said, Kinsler is still one of the most productive players at his position given that he scores a ton of runs (105), with players like Josh Hamilton and Adrian Beltre behind him in the lineup, and he still provides more pop than most for a middle infielder.

2. Aaron Hill, 2B, Diamondbacks

Aaron Hill finally wore out his welcome in Toronto after hitting .225 for them mid-way through the 2011 season. He was soon traded to the desert in Arizona where he regained his stroke finishing the rest of the year hitting .315 and helping lead the Diamondbacks to the NL West title. He did not cool off in 2012 either hitting over .300 with 26 home runs and 85 RBI. Though his home ballpark is very hitter-friendly, Hill was remarkably consistent hitting half his homers at home, and half on the road this year. If he can keep this play up next year at a premium fantasy position like second base, Arizona and fantasy owners alike will certainly not complain.

1. Robinson Cano, 2B, Yankees

Robinson Cano has really had quite the run for the Yankees over the past three seasons, making the All-Star game in all three years, and finishing in the top six in the MVP vote in 2010 and 2011. This year should see that trend continue given that he ended the season with a career-high 33 home runs while again hitting over .300 at .313 for the AL East champions. Though he still remains a bit vulnerable against southpaws in his career, he remains a very difficult out, his postseason withstanding, and he is still in the prime of his career at 29 years old with no signs of slowing down.

 

TOP THREE BUSTS

 

3. Michael Young, 2B, Rangers

2011 may have been the best season of his career when he hit .338 and had 106 RBI for the pennant-winnng Rangers, all while making his seventh all-star game and earning several MVP votes. It seemed at the moment he had beaten Father Time until this year when his batting average dropped to below .280 and his RBI total plummeted to 67, both lows since 2002 for Young. Though he still hit lefties with a force at a .327 clip, he may continue to see a drop in playing time going forward for the Rangers with prospects like Jurickson Profar and Mike Olt being possibly more deserving of his at-bats.

2. Dan Uggla, 2B, Braves

Fantasy owners always knew what they were going to get out of Dan Uggla. He was going to hit you 30 home runs and knock in at least 88 RBI, which he did for five straight years (2007-11) but that was pretty much it. He has very negligible speed and does not hit for a high average at all, batting around .250 over that same span, so it is safe to say he is a one-tool player. However, this season he did not even hit twenty home runs, finishing the year with only 19. Though he surprisingly led the league in walks which helped his on-base percentage, Uggla does not serve much fantasy value if he is not hitting the ball out of the ballpark.

1. Jemile Weeks, 2B, Athletics

Jemile Weeks was high on many people’s draft boards heading into the season given his rookie year in 2011 when he came up for Oakland and hit an impressive .303 (led the team) while swiping 22 bases in 97 games. As anyone who may have drafted him in March knows, he had a rough go of it this year, hitting just .221 and getting benched by Bob Melvin as his team took the baseball world by storm in the second half by winning the AL West. Though he definitely has a definable skill with his speed, recording eight triples for the second year in a row, he will need to get on base more to be a high fantasy draft pick for years to come.

 

For more fantasy insight, visit BloombergSports.com.

Bloomberg Sports Fantasy Baseball 2012 Recap: First Basemen

Twitter: @RobShawSports and @BloombergSports

Bloomberg Sports Anchor Rob Shaw and Analyst Alex Burwasser recap the top five first basemen this fantasy season as well as the top three busts.

TOP FIVE PERFORMERS

5. Albert Pujols, 1B, Angels

In an offseason move that shocked many, Albert Pujols decided to leave St. Louis, his home for a decade where he won two championships, for the bright lights of Los Angeles in Anaheim. To the delight of jilted Cardinals fans, Pujols got off to a rough start for the Angels, even hearing some cat calls in his home park, but he more than made up for it over his final 105 games where he hit .319 with 26 home runs and 86 RBI. You can make a case that he may not be as dominant a hitter as he once was but he still put up his typical 30-HR, 100-RBI season, which always has fantasy value.

4. Billy Butler, 1B, Royals

Billy Butler has always been a very productive hitter throughout his career for the Royals but has consistently flown under the radar because he plays in relative obscurity in Kansas City. However, this year he was the subject of a national controversy when Robinson Cano decided not to pick him for the Home Run Derby in front of his home fans at Kauffman Stadium. Butler took the high road and did the talking with his bat the rest of the year when he finished with 29 home runs and 106 RBI, both career highs, all while hitting above .300 at .313.

3. Prince Fielder, 1B, Tigers

Much like Albert Pujols, Prince Fielder moved from the top of the NL Central to the opposite league in the offseason. Fielder signed a massive nine-year contract which left many worrying about the long-term injury risk of signing a man of his size, but his performance in the first year of that deal quieted all the critics when he blasted 30 home runs and knocked in 108 RBI leading the Tigers to their second consecutive AL Central crown. Though Prince has had more powerful years, he hit over .300 for the first time in his career, checking in at a very impressive .313 on the season.

2. Edwin Encarnacion, 1B/3B, Jays

Encarnacion had been a solid player for Toronto since acquiring him from the Reds in 2009, putting up seasons of 20 home runs and a little more than 50 RBI on average in 2010 and 2011. This season, however, he completely obliterated those numbers with 42 home runs and 110 RBI, more in each category than the previous two years combined. In addition, Encarnacion also improved in other categories, setting career highs in stolen bases (13) and walks (84). What makes this rapid improvement all the more impressive is that he did it without Jose Bautista in the lineup who missed about half the year injured. Next year could be very intriguing for the Jays with those two bats healthy and producing in the middle of that lineup.

1. Miguel Cabrera, 1B/3B, Tigers

There really is not much else you can say about the year Miguel Cabrera had for the American League champion Tigers. He was the first Triple Crown winner since 1967 (led the AL in batting average, home runs and RBI) and he did it before the age of 30! In fact, Miguel Cabrera leads all active major leaguers under the age of 30 in hits (1802), home runs (321), and RBI (1123). We are not sure Cabrera is on his way to his second championship ring this year, but it sure looks like he will be on his way to Cooperstown one day.

TOP THREE BUSTS

3. Mark Teixiera, 1B, Yankees

Every year in his career besides his rookie campaign in 2003, Mark Teixiera has had at least 30 home runs and 100 RBI, but not in 2012 when he hit only 24 home runs and knocked in only 84 RBI. Even more alarming for Teixiera is that he has seen his normally stellar batting average drop season after season. A perennial .280, and some years .300, hitter has not reached those numbers since 2009 when he hit .292. The last three seasons he has not hit above .256 including this year when he hit .251 and had a dreadful on-base percentage of .332. For the Yankees, he provides a lot of value with his defense at first base, but for fantasy owners, his value seems to be slipping fast.

2. Gaby Sanchez, 1B, Pirates

At the beginning of the year, many picked the Marlins and their revamped team with the acquisitions of Jose Reyes and Heath Bell among others to possibly win the NL East. Gaby Sanchez was one of the players set to contribute in the middle of that lineup, but much like the entire team, he was a gigantic disappointment. After the first 55 games of the season while hitting just above the Mendoza line at .202, Sanchez was sent down to the minors and subsequently traded to Pittsburgh. Though he fared better for the Pirates than for the Marlins, he still finished the year with a .217 average and only seven home runs, a huge dropoff from back-to-back 19 home run seasons in 2010 and 2011.

1. Eric Hosmer, 1B, Royals

During Spring Training, there was a lot of buzz around the Royals that they may be the team on the rise given their farm system and dearth of young talent. One of the centerpieces of this renewed hope was Eric Hosmer, and after his rookie campaign in 2011, it was easy to believe given that he hit .293 with 19 HR and 78 RBI in only 128 games. Much like his team, Hosmer severely underperformed his expectations this year hitting .232 in his first full season in the majors with less home runs (14) and less RBI (60). You would hope that this is just your classic sophomore slump for the third overall pick in the 2008 draft and 2013 is a year he can replicate or even outperform his 2011 numbers.

For more fantasy insight, visit BloombergSports.com.

Bloomberg Sports Ballpark Figures: World Series Preview

Twitter: @RobShawSports and @BloombergSports

Bloomberg Sports Anchors Rob Shaw and Julie Alexandria preview this year’s edition of the Fall Classic between the Detroit Tigers and San Francisco Giants.

 

TOP OFFENSIVE PLAYERS

 

Buster Posey, C, Giants

The clear frontrunner for the NL MVP this season has gotten off to a slow start in the playoffs hitting only .178 so far in 12 games. That being said, Posey did have perhaps the biggest hit of the year for the Giants when he took Mat Latos deep for a Grand Slam in the winner-take-all Game 5 in Cincinnati. San Francisco will be looking for more of that clutch hitting against Detroit in this series.

 

Miguel Cabrera, 3B, Tigers

For Miguel Cabrera, earning the first Triple Crown since 1967, and most likely an AL MVP award, was just not enough. He has now led his team to the Fall Classic as well. After hitting 44 home runs in the regular season, he has only hit one in nine games so far in the postseason, but that could change rather quickly given his prodigious power. Cabrera is back in the World Series for the first time since his rookie season in 2003 with the Marlins, and he is trying to add to his tremendous individual year with the highest team honor, a World Series ring.

 

OFFENSIVE SLEEPERS

 

Marco Scutaro, 2B, Giants

Scutaro has to be at the top of the list of best midseason acquisitions this year when he came from Colorado to San Francisco in late July. He was hitting .272 while he was with the Rockies, but he started out hot with the Giants and never cooled down, hitting .362 over the final 61 games of the season. It seems he is even hotter now heading into the World Series after a NLCS that saw him hit .500 (14 for 28) over the seven-game series against St. Louis, earning him MVP honors.

 

Delmon Young, DH, Tigers

It sure seems like Delmon Young enjoys playing in October. In the last two postseasons for Detroit, a total of 18 games, Young has seven home runs, which is a franchise record. Coming up as a prospect in the Tampa Bay system, Young was considered a five-tool player, but that notion is long gone since he has been the Tigers DH all season. However, it does appear that Young will need to channel his minor league days when he plays left field for the Tigers when they are in an NL ballpark in at least Games 1 and 2.

 

PITCHING STAFFS

 

Detroit

By only allowing two runs in their four starts, the only adjective that you could use to describe the starting pitchers for the Tigers against the Yankees in the ALCS was dominant. It will obviously be tough to keep that up against a hot hitting team in the Giants, but you would not put it past the rotation of Justin Verlander, Doug Fister, Anibal Sanchez and Max Scherzer, who all had great numbers all season. The Giants will most likely try to get to the Tigers bullpen where they have struggled, most notably their closer Jose Valverde, who was replaced by Phil Coke after a blown save in Game 1 of the ALCS.

 

San Francisco

The starting pitching for the Giants was supposed to be their strength heading into the postseason, but it has been the offense and bullpen that has carried them through to this point. Madison Bumgarner, a 16-game winner this year, really struggled in his two postseason starts and has since been sent to the bullpen. On the other side of the coin, Barry Zito, has been a pleasant surprise for the Giants, last seen pitching 7 2/3 shutout innings with Giants facing elimination in Game 5 of the NLCS against the Cardinals. That being said, the goal for the Giants is clear. They want to get the game to their dominant bullpen for a chance to lock down four more wins.

 

For more fantasy insight, visit BloombergSports.com

Bloomberg Sports Fantasy Baseball 2012 Recap: Catchers

Twitter: @RobShawSports and @BloombergSports

Bloomberg Sports Anchor Rob Shaw and Analyst Alex Burwasser recap the top five catchers this fantasy season as well as the top three busts.

TOP FIVE FANTASY PERFORMERS

A.J. Pierzynski, C, White Sox

The 35 year-old never hit more than 18 home runs in his career until this season when he exploded for 27 dingers for the White Sox, who contended in the AL Central all year long until the last week of the season. He also maintained a solid batting average of .278 with 77 RBI. The veteran seems to have new life and now looks like a lock to get the 355 hits he needs for 2,000 in the next two or three seasons.

Wilin Rosario, C, Rockies

The rookie catcher for Colorado impressively led all NL catchers in the power department this year, bashing 28 home runs while adding 71 RBI. Where Rosario really excelled was against southpaws, who he hit to the tune of a .348 batting average and 14 home runs in only 112 AB.

Yadier Molina, C, Cardinals

Yadier Molina is not only the MVP on his Cardinals team this year, he may garner some votes for the MVP of the entire National League. He established career highs across the board with his .315 batting average to go along with 22 home runs and 76 RBI. Even though it is meaningless in the fantasy world, it should be mentioned that Molina is the best defensive catcher in baseball, as well as one of the most durable, and has been for several years for St. Louis.

Joe Mauer, C, Twins

After a year in which he struggled in 2011, Joe Mauer responded in a big way in 2012 by regaining his typical stroke hitting for a great average at .319 with 85 RBI. His .415 on-base percentage is very impressive and right up there with his stellar career average of .406. At 29 years old, Mauer is clearly still in his prime and back to being the franchise player the Twins expect to be in the middle of their order for years to come.

Buster Posey, C, Giants

Buster Posey missed most of last season after a gruesome collision at home plate, and with him out of the lineup and not calling pitches, the Giants struggled. With him healthy in 2012, the Giants cruised to a NL West division title. With his league-leading .336 average, 24 home runs, and 105 RBI, he is clearly the frontrunner for the NL MVP and clearly the number one fantasy catcher this season.

TOP THREE BUSTS

Alex Avila, C, Tigers

Though he provides decent defense and handles a great pitching staff, Avila struggled with the bat this season. He ended the year with ten less home runs (9) and a 47 point drop in batting average all the way down to .243. He did remain valuable in being able to get on base with a respectable .356 on-base percentage.

Brian McCann, C, Braves

The Braves 28 year-old catcher blasted 20 home runs again, but he did at a career worst .230 batting average to go along with a sub-.400 slugging percentage. He did not even start the Braves wild-card game against St. Louis. His years of catching may be taking its toll on his offensive performance.

Geovany Soto, C, Rangers

A very inconsistent player for the Cubs was finally traded to a contender in Texas this season, but the 29 year-old did not do much better in Arlington hitting below the Mendoza line at .198 for the season. He has a good eye at the plate but needs to really improve in all other facets in 2013.

For more fantasy insight, visit BloombergSports.com

Bloomberg Sports Ballpark Figures: Pennant Chase Players to Watch

Twitter: @RobShawSports and @BloombergSports

Bloomberg Sports Anchor Rob Shaw discusses both the American and National League playoff picture as we head towards the last few weeks of the regular season, while highlighting some of the possible key players that may help their team get into October.

 

Mark Reynolds, 3B, Orioles

He is trying to maintain his hot early start to September where he hit nine home runs and had 17 RBIs in only nine games. Though he still strikes out a ton, Buck Showalter will find a place for him in the lineup because of his prodigious power.

 

B.J. Upton, OF, Rays

In his all-important contract year, Upton has gotten very hot over his last 30 games up to Wednesday, where he has hit .292 with 12 home runs and 24 RBIs.

 

Torii Hunter, OF, Angels

At 37 years old, you would think Hunter would be slowing down, but he is having actually a career year hitting .309 with 15 home runs, nine stolen bases, 76 RBIs and 72 runs scored despite missing half of May with an injury. He is trying to hit over .300 for the first time in his career.

 

Josh Donaldson, 3B, Athletics

After starting out miserably this season with the major league ballclub, Donaldson was sent down to the minors on June 13th where he reaffirmed his potential by hitting .335 with 13 home runs in just 51 games. He quickly earned a call-up back with the A’s where he is now hitting .324 with six home runs and 17 RBIs through 28 games.

 

Kris Medlen, SP, Braves

This 26 year-old former top prospect missed all of last season while recovering from Tommy John surgery, but has re-emerged this year as one of the Braves best starting pitchers. He has been especially hot as of late, winning seven straight starts since July 31st.

For more fantasy insight, visit BloombergSports.com.

Bloomberg Sports’ Ballpark Figures: Brett Anderson, Andrew Bailey, Jhoulys Chacin

Twitter: @RobShawSports and @BloombergSports

Bloomberg Sports Anchor Rob Shaw discusses three playeres to pick up this week for your fantasy baseball team.

 

Brett Anderson, SP, Athletics

 
In his 2012 debut, Anderson had a strong performance with 7 IP, 4 H, 0 BB, 6 K, and the win. This 24 year-old southpaw had a good 2010 as well, going 7-6 with a 2.80 ERA and 1.19 WHIP

 

Andrew Bailey, RP, Red Sox

 

In only six appearances this season, Bailey has gone 4.1 IP, 1 SV, 2.08 ERA, 1.15 WHIP. In his first three years, he has convered 75 of 84 save opportunities. In his career he has a 2.07 ERA and a 0.96 WHIP.

 

Jhoulys Chacin, SP, Rockies

 

In his first start since May 1, Chacin went 6 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 2 K against the Mets. In his second start on Sunday, he went 5 IP, 1 ER, 5 H, 2 BB, 3 K against the Cubs. He had 11 wins last year with a 3.62 ERA and .231 OPP AVG

 

Players to watch for

 

Troy Tulowitzki and Lucas Duda are both returning for their respective teams, so look for them to possibly make an impact if you pick them up for your fantasy team.

 

For more fantasy insight, visit BloombergSports.com

Ballpark Figures Fantasy Panic: Perez, Wright, Darvish, Axford

Twitter: @RobShawSports and @BloombergSports

Bloomberg Sports Anchor Rob Shaw discusses fantasy players on the decline.

Chris Perez, RP, Indians

He has allowed nine runs, five of which were earned, seven hits, and three walks in 1.1 innings in his past two games, leading to back-to-back blown saves. Indians set-up man Vinnie Pestano has not surrendered a run in the past 19 innings pitched, giving him a 1.29 ERA and .94 WHIP on the season. He could be the next closer for the team.

David Wright, 3B, Mets

After hitting .351 in the first half of the season, he has batted .231 since the All-Star break. He had 47 strikeouts in the first half, but already has 29 in the 24 games since the break. His fantasy value is getting lower, but still could bat .300 on the season.

Yu Darvish, SP, Rangers

In his last seven starts, he is 2-4 with a 6.75 ERA. He has 58 strikeouts in 45.1 IP during that stretch, but also has issued 25 walks. The hot Texas summer may be affecting his play in the second half.

John Axford, RP, Brewers

Since June 7, Axford has a 7.03 ERA in 25 games. Prior to this, he had a 3.22 ERA. He is not only giving up walks, but is also getting hit hard. Axford picked up the save on Monday, but it was Jim Henderson who got the save Tuesday night. Henderson throws heat, and has dominated as a closer in the minors this year. Look to him to be a possible new closing option for the Brewers.

For more fantasy insight, visit BloombergSports.com.

Fantasy Baseball Waiver Wire Report: Michael McKenry, Grant Balfour, Josh Vitters, and Erik Kratz

 

Twitter: @RobShawSports and @BloombergSports

 

Bloomberg Sports Anchor Rob Shaw breaks down four players who fantasy managers may want to pick up off the waiver wire this week.

 

Michael McKenry, C, Pirates

The Pirates are trying to stay in contention for the playoffs and they have gotten some help on offense from an unlikely source in McKenry. In 47 games, he’s batting .285 with 11 home runs and 28 RBI. He has eight homers in his last 21 games alone. If you need a catcher and McKenry is available, he is a good pickup, though it’s unlikely that he will sustain these numbers.

 

Grant Balfour, RP, Athletics

The A’s have had some issues in the bullpen as rookie Ryan Cook has struggled recently. This opens the door for Balfour, who last gave up a run on June 29. He is 2-2 with seven saves, a 2.60 ERA and a 1.02 WHIP. The coaching staff has acknowledged that it has to consider moves within the bullpen as the team is in contention, and Balfour is a likely option for the closer role.

 

Josh Vitters, 3B, Cubs

Vitters was the third pick of the 2007 draft, selected ahead of Matt Wieters, Madison Bumgarner and Jason Heyward. The top prospect made his debut for the Cubs on Sunday. In 110 games at Triple-A, he had a .304 average, 17 home runs and 68 RBI.

 

Erik Kratz, C, Phillies

Kratz played seven years at Triple-A and had a .288 average with 15 homers last season. He’s making the most of his opportunity with the Phillies, batting .379 with four home runs and four doubles in 15 games. Kratz should do well as a backup while Carlos Ruiz is on the disabled list.

 

For more fantasy insight, visit BloombergSports.com.

Ballpark Figures: Top Five Fantasy Baseball Players Over the Past Two Weeks

 

Twitter: @RobShawSports and @BloombergSports

 

Bloomberg Sports Anchor Rob Shaw breaks down the five baseball players who have been making a huge fantasy impact over the past two weeks.

 

5) Alex Rios, OF, White Sox

Rios struggled with the White Sox in 2011, batting just .227. However, he has bounced back this season with a .316 AVG, 18 HR and 67 RBI. In the past two weeks alone, he hit .353 with 14 runs, five home runs, 15 RBI and one stolen base. He is a five-tool talent and his hot streak could continue, especially considering that he plays at hitter-friendly U.S. Cellular Field. Be aware, however, that Rios is known for his inconsistency.

 

4) Adam LaRoche, 1B, Nationals

Like Rios, LaRoche has struggled with inconsistency. Last year was a disaster for him, as he only played in 43 games and had just a .172 average. He is known for getting hot in the second half of the season and he is living up to that right now. In the past two weeks, LaRoche has a .429 average, 10 runs, seven home runs and 14 RBI.

 

3) Carlos Gomez, OF, Brewers

Gomez is a solid outfielder defensively but is not known for his offense. He hasn’t been able to play every day in the past but he’s been given a chance in Milwaukee and is putting up huge numbers. Over the last two weeks, Gomez is batting .348 with 14 runs, four home runs, 10 RBI and six stolen bases. At 26 years old, he could get a chance to play full time next season.

 

2) Drew Stubbs, OF, Reds

Stubbs is known to be unpredictable at the plate. He steals a lot of bases and has some power but he kills your batting average. His currently has a .239 season average, but in the last two weeks, he has a .362 average with 17 runs, four homers, 11 RBI and five steals. Stubbs is a streaky hitter, so ride out this hot streak while you can.

 

1) Albert Pujols, 1B, Angels

Pujols had a slow start to the season but he’s been on fire recently, and it couldn’t come at a better time for the Angels. Over the past two weeks, he has a .365 average, 11 runs, seven home runs, 19 RBI and two stolen bases.

 

For more fantasy insight, visit BloombergSports.com.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.