Archive for the ‘ Baseball ’ Category

Fantasy Baseball Injury Report: Kyle Drabek, Brandon Beachy, Evan Longoria, and Chris Carpenter

Twitter: @RobShawSports and @BloombergSports

Bloomberg Sports Anchor Rob Shaw discusses four players dealing with injuries that may affect your fantasy team. Shaw brings in Dr. Oz to provide some insight on these injuries.

Kyle Drabek, SP, Blue Jays

After a hot start, Drabek cooled off considerably in his last eight starts, going 2-5 with a 6.31 ERA. During a start against the Washington Nationals last week, he suffered a torn UCL, forcing him to undergo Tommy John surgery.

Drabek will go under the knife this week with hopes of returning next season in July.  This is his second Tommy John surgery. Brett Cecil and Carlos Villanueva have been thrown into the Blue Jays starting rotation due to the loss of Drabek, Brandon Morrow and Drew Hutchinson to injury.

Brandon Beachy, SP, Braves

Though Beachy is just 5-5 this season, he has been dominant with a 2.00 ERA and .171 average against. His first major league season will be cut short, however, as he has suffered a partial tear of the UCL and could need Tommy John surgery.

Evan Longoria, 3B, Rays

Evan Longoria’s comeback from a partially torn hamstring has been put on hold as he dealt with some pain Monday night in a rehab game. This is an ugly, nagging injury.  We saw it with Jose Reyes for many years with the Mets.  Longoria’s fantasy value is in question this season as his return date remains uncertain.

Chris Carpenter, SP, Cardinals

After a heck of a workload last season that included heroics in the World Series, Chris Carpenter may be nearing a return from his shoulder soreness.  The Cardinals veteran resorted to rest and physical therapy to get his arm back in motion and now he could be a week or two from returning to the mound.  Everything has been positive so far in his recovery and the fantasy implications are huge.

Shaw also responds to comments from Twitter about some trending players.

Mark Trumbo, OF, Angels

Trumbo hit his 16th home run of the season Monday against Matt Cain in the 2nd inning. He is hitting .319 with four steals and 42 RBI.

Wade Miley, SP, Diamondbacks  

C.C. Sabathia was a no-brainer to pick up and I liked Dickey early for his ERA, WHIP and more than 10 expected wins. Miley, however, may be the biggest surprise of the season. The southpaw is 8-3 with a 2.30 ERA and 1.06 WHIP.

Ike Davis, 1B, Mets

Davis hit his first career grand slam Monday and now has seven home runs and 32 RBI. He’s riding a nine-game hit streak that has raised his average by 38 points, from .158 to .196.

For more fantasy baseball insight, visit BloombergSports.com.

Fantasy Baseball Hot Performers: Hammel, Moss, Harrison, and Roberts

 

Twitter: @RobShawSports and @BloombergSports

 

Bloomberg Sports Anchor Rob Shaw breaks down four players who are hot right now and worth scooping up for your fantasy team.

 

Jason Hammel, SP, Orioles

At 29 years old, Jason Hammel is a rare hurler who is enjoying his best season this late in his career. Hammel has never before surpassed 180 innings of work in a season, and though he reached 10 wins in 2009 and 2010, his career 4.78 ERA suggests that he’s little more than an innings eater.

However, this season it’s been a sudden turn of events as he returned to the American League from Colorado and has already matched last year’s total with seven wins. His ERA is way down while the K’s are way up, and he has not allowed more than four runs to score in a start this season. Most recently, Hammel hurled a one-hitter against a solid Braves squad. Hammel starts against the Nationals at home on Friday.

 

Brandon Moss, OF, Athletics

A prospect with the Red Sox in the mid-2000s, Brandon Moss has enjoyed a shocking resurrection with the A’s. Called up to replace Kila Ka’aihue on the roster on June 6, Moss blasted six home runs with three doubles and 11 RBI over his first 10 games with the A’s.

The big question is whether the sudden production is sustainable by the 28-year-old outfielder. The answer is complicated. Moss did blast 15 home runs in 51 games at Triple-A this season, so he has been smashing. On the other hand, his recent tear included six games at Arizona and Colorado, two of the most homer-friendly ballparks in baseball. Things are at the opposite end in Oakland. Moss could end up with more than 15 home runs this season, but there is little speed or high-end potential involved.

 

Matt Harrison, SP, Rangers

The Rangers haven’t had many things go their way so far this season and yet they sit comfortably in first place. A large part of the reason has to be the play of Matt Harrison, a southpaw with an 8-3 record and 3.54 ERA. Harrison had some success a year ago with 14 wins and a 3.39 ERA, but he is not the best in fantasy circles because of his low strikeout total.

However, Harrison is a winner, now 16 games over .500 through 60 decisions. He has not allowed a run to score in either of his last two starts, and with left-handed batters hitting just .160 against him this season, the 26-year-old makes for a fine start against all teams with a heavy left-handed lineup.

 

Brian Roberts, 2B, Orioles

Welcome back Brian Roberts. The veteran second baseman who has made two All-Star games returns after two injury-ravaged seasons. He has now offered hits in four of his five games and has a .318 average while driving in four RBI. At 34 years old, Roberts may not be the speedster who once swiped 50 bases, but he is a leadoff batter with a high on-base percentage who can rack up a lot of runs in a solid Orioles lineup.

 

For more fantasy baseball insight, visit BloombergSports.com.

Fantasy Baseball Trends: Cain, Beltran, Lynn, Plouffe, and Dickey

 

Twitter: @RobShawSports and @BloombergSports

 

Bloomberg Sports Anchor Rob Shaw discusses five players who are making an impact in fantasy baseball.

 

Matt Cain, SP, Giants

Coming into the season, it was already clear that Matt Cain was the best starting pitcher in baseball to never reach 15 wins in a season.  He averaged 13 wins over the last three seasons despite having an ERA less than three over that period.  This year it looks like Cain is finally going to get the overdue respect he’s earned. 

Whether it’s because of Tim Lincecum’s struggles, the 8-2 record, or the absurd 0.85 WHIP, Cain has shined bright this season and has become the clear ace for the Giants.  Wednesday night was simply a celebration of that as he was not only perfect, but the accompanying 14 strikeouts tells you that he struck out the majority of the batters he faced.  Best of all, his past tells us that Cain usually gets better in the second half of the season. 

 

Carlos Beltran, OF, Cardinals

Year after year we see veteran players find their second winds in St. Louis.  Well, you can add Carlos Beltran to the list that already includes such names as Larry Walker, Will Clark, Jim Edmonds, and more recently Lance Berkman.  Beltran offered three hits on Wednesday including a solo shot, which would end up being the only run of the game.

His average is now at .298, which is not the biggest surprise, but the shock comes with the 19 home runs.  The 35-year-old is on pace for a career high in home runs, perhaps up to 45.  However, his pace is probably not sustainable because of the biggest threat of all: injuries. 

 

Lance Lynn, SP, Cardinals

Not many people have heard of Lance Lynn, but he is the lone reason that the Cardinals are competing despite the slow start from Adam Wainwright, who is rebounding from a missed season, plus the loss of Chris Carpenter due to an injury of his own.  Lynn is a former first-round pick who showed some life in the bullpen a season ago, but no one predicted his performance this season.  He is now 10-2 with a 2.42 ERA and has 23 strikeouts over the last two starts.  Will he keep it up? The odds are against him.  He is approaching 82 innings of work, which is a big boost from a season in which his innings were limited. 

 

Trevor Plouffe, OF, Twins

In his first two seasons, Trevor Plouffe was a disappointment with the Twins, but now he’s one of the hottest sluggers in baseball.  Plouffe blasted his 11th home run on Wednesday, which was his sixth over the last 10 games.  His average remains low, less than .240, but his power has more than made up for that. So is it sustainble? Probably not. We have never seen this type of power in the minor leagues and there isn’t really much else that he offers to fantasy managers. 

 

R.A. Dickey, SP, Mets

The Mets have protested the official scoring of Dickey’s start on Wednesday night against the Rays with hopes that the one hit he surrendered will be called an error on David Wright. While it was Johan Santana who picked up the no-no a little while ago, the ace on this team is very much R.A. Dickey.  Not only is he incredibly durable, which is often the case for knuckleballers, but he is also changing speeds from the 50s to the 80s and throwing strikes with his knuckleball, which is very rarely seen. 

The big story this season is that Dickey has recently turned into a strikeout artist, and he did so again on Wednesday with 12 K’s.  He is now 10-1 with a 2.20 ERA and 0.94 WHIP, and is looking like Roy Halladay at his best with the numbers that he’s posting.  So is he really this good? Yes, he is very good and I do think he may be a top-five pitcher for the remainder of the season.  His ERA has always been splendid with the Mets, as in sub-3, and now with the run support, he’s getting the much deserved wins.  The only question is whether he will keep racking up the K’s, and so far, so good!

 

For more fantasy baseball insight, visit BloombergSports.com.

Fantasy Baseball Top Canadian Hitters: Martin, Morneau, Lawrie, Saunders, and Votto

 

Twitter: @RobShawSports and @BloombergSports

 

Bloomberg Sports Anchor Rob Shaw counts down the top five Canadian hitters who could help your fantasy team.

 

5) Russell Martin, C, Yankees

Russell Martin only had two hits in the Subway Series against the Mets, but the Yankees backstop made them count with two home runs. After belting 18 home runs a season ago, Martin is again offering some pop with eight home runs this season. On the other hand, his batting average continues to sink, as it is down to .208 after Martin hit just .237 last season. Regardless, the combination of power and plate discipline with fine defense makes Martin a key component of the Yankees success.

 

4) Justin Morneau, 1B, Twins

Twins fans have to be thrilled with what we’ve seen from Justin Morneau so far this season. After missing time and struggling due to a concussion and wrist issues, Morneau has blasted 11 home runs for a Twins offense desperate for power. He is still far from his peak form, as his average is down to .247, but we’ve seen enough progress to think that the 31-year-old veteran still has some nice production left in the tank.

 

3) Brett Lawrie, 3B, Blue Jays

The biggest Canadian prospect in quite some time, Brett Lawrie has struggled to meet expectations so far this season. Though his .275 average, 30 runs, and eight steals aren’t anything to complain about, his power has been lacking. Lawrie’s on-base percentage has suffered as well. The Blue Jays are trying to jumpstart Lawrie by placing him at the top of the lineup. It seemed to work on Sunday, as he blasted a home run and scored two runs.

 

2) Michael Saunders, OF, Mariners

The Mariners improvement this season comes from a few surprising sources including rising hitter Michael Saunders. The Mariners centerfielder has provided some pop with six home runs, and also some speed, as he already has a career-high nine stolen bases. Most importantly, Saunders is reaching base more often with a .272 batting clip that is significantly higher than his .216 career average. Though he still strikes out a bit too often, his .341 on-base percentage makes it much more tolerable.

 

1) Joey Votto, 1B, Reds

Joey Votto is making his case for a second NL MVP Award. On Tuesday he blasted his 11th home run of the season while driving in three RBI and increasing his batting average to .357. Despite the Reds impressive collection of sluggers including Jay Bruce and Brandon Phillips batting behind him, the opposition is again opting to issue walks to Votto. His on-base percentage is near 50%, which in itself reflects the dominance of Votto this season. Forget calling Votto the best player in Canada, so far this year he is making a case to be the best in the world.

 

For more fantasy baseball insight, visit BloombergSports.com.

Fantasy Baseball Waiver Wire Report: Frazier, Maxwell, Aoki, and Wallace

 

Twitter: @RobShawSports and @BloombergSports

 

Bloomberg Sports Anchor Rob Shaw discusses four low-cost hitters worth adding to your fantasy roster this week.

 

Todd Frazier, 3B, Reds

At first Todd Frazier looked a lot like an all-or-nothing guy. He has some pop, but his average has been low and he does not draw many walks. However, over the last few weeks he has enjoyed the chance to play everyday and have confidence that he will not be pulled. Ever since, Frazier has found a comfort zone, hitting both right-handers and southpaws alike.

After blasting five home runs last month, Frazier is hitting .296 in June and the strikeouts are in decline while the walks are increasing in frequency. The power is legitimate and his minor league record suggests there could be many more stolen bases coming. Frazier is an excellent buy-low option who may have secured the starting third base gig for the long-term in Cincinnati.

 

Justin Maxwell, OF, Astros

Justin Maxwell is a name from the past for Nationals fans. He contributed in bits and parts of seasons, but never offered the consistency needed to stick. Last season he played with the New York Yankees Triple-A affiliate and in just 176 at-bats, he sent 16 bombs over the fence. Now he’s getting a shot with the Astros and he has shined with six home runs in 93 at-bats.

On the other hand, his .237 average has kept him on the bench a bit too often to contribute in fantasy circles. All of that could change, as Maxwell is showing some signs that he has something to offer. He has three home runs in nine games this month and is hitting .277 at Minute Maid. Odds are his low average will limit his playing time, but Maxwell does have the power potential that may make you roll the dice.

 

Norichika Aoki, OF, Brewers

In Japan, Aoki once hit 20 home runs and in another year surpassed 30 bases. However, the Brewers were not expecting a five-tool talent when they signed the 30-year-old to a two-year deal with $2.5 million guaranteed. However, in a disappointing season for the Brewers, Aoki has been excellent. He is batting a clean .300 with three home runs and five steals. He is currently riding a five-game hit streak with nine hits, two home runs, and three steals over that stretch.

 

Brett Wallace, 1B, Astros

The 13th pick of the 2008 draft, Brett Wallace has seen it all. He’s been drafted twice, traded three times, and after being a pleasant surprise with a .388 average in the first month of the season, his numbers took a serious downturn, resulting in a demotion to the minor leagues.

After opening the season at Triple-A with the main goal of developing some power, he was called up to the Astros. Through seven games he is hitting .400 with two home runs. The odds are against Wallace sustaining these numbers. He did not offer much of an average in the minors and still must prove that the power is legitimate. Regardless, he will have every chance to succeed with the Astros and should be in their lineup on a daily basis.

 

Shaw also responds to a question about what fantasy managers should do about Cliff Lee in the Bloomberg Sports Twitter Stumper of the Day.

Question: I’m considering trading Cliff Lee right now. He has 10 starts and zero wins. Is anyone in the same boat? Do you think I’m crazy?

Answer: Yes, you are crazy! Wins are just one category, and Lee has been astounding at the other three: he has a 3.18 ERA, more than a strikeout per inning, and a dominant 1.05 WHIP. Plus, he’s expecting to eventually get Ryan Howard and Chase Utley back. He will get his wins and you’ll be happy you kept him.

 

For more fantasy baseball insight, visit BloombergSports.com.

Fantasy Baseball Waiver Wire Report: Collins, Richards, Alvarez, and Eovaldi

 

Twitter: @RobShawSports and @BloombergSports

 

Bloomberg Sports Anchor Rob Shaw discusses four pitchers who could help you in fantasy baseball this week.

 

Tim Collins, RP, Royals

There have been several relief pitchers this season who have so dominated in their role that they deserved being scooped up off the waiver wire, even before they were picking up saves. Three that come to mind are Aroldis Chapman, Ernesto Frieri, and Tyler Clippard. Next in line is Tim Collins, a 22-year-old southpaw who has dominated in the Royals bullpen this season.

While Jonathan Broxton has been a dominant reliever, Collins is a perfect 2-0 with a 2.17 ERA and 1.00 WHIP. He is striking out about 1.5 batters per inning, which ranks amongst the leaders in baseball. Perhaps if Broxton is traded at the deadline or ends up injured, Collins would end up getting some save opportunities. This is an arm fantasy baseball managers should target.

 

Garrett Richards, SP, Angels 

The Angels seem to always have a nice group of spot starters and this year is no different, as Garrett Richards provided a stellar seven innings last week against the Mariners. This time around, Richards, who is filling in for the injured Jered Weaver, takes on the Dodgers.

The former first-round pick did not dominate in the minors, but most big league clubs struggle against rookies in their first few starts because of a lack of a scouting report. Richards did show an ability to strikeout the opposition in the minor leagues and it carried out similarly in his first start this season in the majors. Expect big things in his second start as Matt Kemp remains on the DL for the Dodgers and the game comes at LA’s National League park.

 

Henderson Alvarez, SP, Blue Jays

As long as you are not looking for many strikeouts, Henderson Alvarez is a fine start, first against the Nationals this week and then against the Brewers next week. The 23-year-old boasts a solid 3.76 ERA and 1.28 WHIP despite pitching in a hitter-friendly ballpark in the brutal AL East.

Alavrez had a mini slump in the last few weeks, but it came against impressive offenses such as the Rangers, White Sox, and Red Sox. The Nationals should not be such an issue, even with a designated hitter at their use. The Brewers will be the next foe and that comes at Milwaukee, which means Alvarez gets the benefit of throwing to the opposing pitcher. A pitcher with great command, Alvarez is a safe bet this week.

 

Nathan Eovaldi, SP, Dodgers

This 22-year-old has been a pleasant surprise for the Dodgers since he was drafted in the 11th round in 2008. Eovaldi has picked up plenty of K’s in both the minors and big leagues and calls home one of the more pitcher-friendly ballparks in baseball. Though his record shows at 0-2, Eovaldi has pitched quite well with a .209 opposing average and 1.93 ERA. Amongst his three starts are one at Colorado and most recently, six shutout innings against the Mariners. Eovaldi is turning into a hot prospect and this may be your last chance to pick him up off the waiver wire.

 

For more fantasy baseball insight, visit BloombergSports.com. 

Fantasy Baseball: @BloombergSports Twitter Talk June 8

 

Twitter: @RobShawSports and @BloombergSports

 

Bloomberg Sports Anchor Rob Shaw answers your questions from Twitter about potential fantasy roster changes.

 

Question: Do I trade Bryce Harper to get Tim Lincecum?

Answer: This is an easy one: No Way! Bryce Harper is not just good for his age (19 years old), he is very good in general. As I always say, I would rather have a hitter who contributes in five categories than a starter who contributes in at four at the most. The only starters that I would consider investing such a hefty price in are sure things and Tim Lincecum is not a sure thing. The Giants star has surrendered four or more runs in five of his last six starts. Harper is a five-tool talent primed to win Rookie of the Year.

 

Question: I’m looking for steals without breaking the bank. Should I trade for Bonifacio, Austin Jackson, or someone else?

Answer: You have a few options for stolen bases. Blue Jays outfielder Rajai Davis is a bit too feast or famine but he does rack up the steals. With Eric Thames demoted, he will play regularly until another prospect such as Travis Snider is promoted. Davis does not reach base often enough and lacks much pop, but he will steal 25-plus bases and score some runs.

Dodgers outfielder Tony Gwynn Jr., is another option. He is solid on defense, which buys him some at-bats. On the basepaths he had already swiped eight bases and his average is respectable. Just don’t expect any power.

Tigers centerfielder Austin Jackson is returning from injury but is now reaching base more often and hitting for power. Then there is the Prince and Miguel who make sure to drive him in. This is a player to trade for.

 

Question: Avila hitting the DL hurts in my two-catcher league. Only options seem to be Thole, Laird, or Jaso. Thoughts?

Answer: Josh Thole is the safe bet. He will at least offer you a high average and high on-base percentage and will perhaps score some runs. On the other hand, he has the least home runs of any active catcher with 700 at-bats dating back to 2009. Chris Iannetta will be coming off the disabled list soon and I recommend picking him up and riding out Thole in the short-term.

 

Question: I have four Mets on my fantasy baseball team (Murphy, Nieuwenhuis, Byrdak, and Niese) but I think I might bench them this weekend during the Subway Series. Thoughts?

Answer: You definitely don’t want to bench all your Mets this weekend against the Yankees. They are playing at the more hitter-friendly Yankee Stadium, and Daniel Murphy finally showed some life on Thursday with the bat while Kirk Nieuwenhuis is a line drive machine. You can consider benching some of the pitchers such as Niese if it’s the Yankees offense that scares you, but the Mets should put up some runs.

 

For more fantasy baseball insight, visit BloombergSports.com.

Fantasy Baseball: The Numbers Don’t Lie

 

Twitter: @RobShawSports and @BloombergSports

 

Bloomberg Sports Anchor Rob Shaw breaks down the numbers of four players to explain why they are performing at the level that they are this season.

 

Sergio Romo, RP, Giants

With Santiago Casilla out due to injury, Romo finally got some glory, picking up two saves. Romo has been as good as anybody, with two two wins, two saves, and just one run allowed through 15+ innings of work. Casilla is bound to return as closer, but Romo is the rare middle reliever whose numbers are so dominant that he is worthy of a spot on your fantasy team. To gain a sense of his dominance, consider that the National League Whiff% average for relievers is 23%. Romo is by far the best in baseball with double that, a Whiff% of 46%.

 

Andrew Cashner, RP, Padres

Though there has not been much good this season for the San Diego Padres, Andrew Cashner has been exciting and there is now talk that the Padres may want to extend him into a starter. Cashner has been the hardest thrower in baseball this season with an average fastball of 98.8 MPH, which is faster than Henry Rodriguez and Aroldis Chapman. He remains a bit wild, so I would avoid Cashner as an investment as his 1.52 WHIP is one of the worst for a regular pitcher in baseball this season.

 

Chris Capuano, SP, Dodgers

After a fine bounce-back season for the Mets last year, Chris Capuano is now making the most out of his time with the Los Angeles Dodgers. Capuano is a former 18-game winner, so this is not exactly an unproven commodity. However, perhaps the cause for the southpaw’s success this season has been his control of the strike zone, particularly with first-pitch strikes. He currently ranks third in baseball in that statistic among starters with 67% of his pitches thrown for strikes on a 0-0 count. That ranks just behind Cliff Lee and Jordan Zimmerman, two of the better hurlers in baseball.

 

Melky Cabrera, OF, Giants

A late bloomer first with the Royals and now with the Giants, Melky Cabrera has become a legitimate star. One area in which he has shined brightest is against the off-speed pitch. After all, this is a hitter who bats .340, compared to the usual .223 average in the National League. In total, Cabrera is hitting .364 this season with a bit of pop, and don’t let the four home runs confuse you. He boasts a .538 slugging percentage with 24 extra-base hits along with nine stolen bases.


 

Fantasy Baseball: @BloombergSports Twitter Talk

 

Twitter: @RobShawSports and @BloombergSports

 

Bloomberg Sports Anchor Rob Shaw answers questions from Twitter about managing fantasy baseball roster changes:

 

Question: I need to free up a roster spot. Should I drop Colby Lewis or Mat Latos? Who has better potential of bouncing back?

Answer: Colby Lewis doesn’t really need to bounce back. He is 4-4 with a 3.50 ERA and 1.13 WHIP, which so far is beating expectations. He will give you a solid WHIP, comparatively high ERA due to the ballpark, and more than 12 wins for the Rangers. His weakness is that he gives up a lot of bombs. He has already allowed 14 home runs this season, including five in one game. 

On the other hand, Reds hurler Mat Latoshas struggled a bit despite a 4-2 record.  His 4.91 ERA and 1.40 WHIP suggest it’s been a tough transition to Cincinnati. Like Lewis, he has given up a ton of home runs — 12 so far this year. Each year, Latos’ walks and hits have gone up, but he now has to pitch in the hitter-friendly Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati rather than in the pitcher haven Petco Park. 

Ultimately, Colby Lewis is the safe bet since he does not allow many runners on base and has an incredible offense behind him, but Latos has greater potential because of his youth and past numbers. I’d try to trade Latos and keep Lewis. 

 

Question: I really need a new backup catcher on my fantasy teams. Suzuki is struggling and Mauer is day-to-day right now. Do you have any suggestions?

Answer: Rockies catcher Wilin Rosario has been an excellent pickup. He hit his ninth home run Monday night and now has three in his last seven games with nine RBI during that stretch.  If he’s still available, he’s the hitter to target.  If he’s already been taken, Chris Iannetta will return soon for the Angels and is another good option.  He offers a low average but solid on-base percentage and power.  Finally, for the Nationals, Jesus Flores has some pop and also hits for the highest average of the bunch.  

 

Question: Is it worth keeping Bryan LaHair in my outfield anymore? Dexter Fowler is available.  

Answer: I would rather have Dexter Fowler than Bryan LaHair.  However, dropping LaHair would be a mistake.  Look to package the Cubs .300 power hitter for your roster’s weakness.  Fowler is the complete package in mind, with more power than the speed you expect from him.  LaHair is a fine hitter, but not nearly as well-rounded a fantasy performer. 

 

For more fantasy baseball insight visit BloombergSports.com.

Fantasy Baseball Waiver Wire Report: Hefner, Young, and Smyly

 

Twitter: @RobShawSports and @BloombergSports

 

Bloomberg Sports Anchor Rob Shaw discusses three pitchers who you can look to for some production in fantasy baseball this week.

 

Jeremy Hefner, SP, Mets

 

The New York Mets are one of the hottest teams in baseball right now and the excellent pitching has been contagious, so much so that even little known rookie Jeremy Hefner has gotten into the action as a replacement for the injured Miguel Batista.

 

If you’re wondering whether Hefner will be able to take care of business this week, what you should pay attention to are two statistics.  First the BB/9, because so far in Major League Baseball of all pitchers with at least 15 innings of work, Hefner has the best command walking just one batter in 17 innings of work.  Next, a key difference between his struggles in the rain delay loss to the lowly Padres compared to the win over the rival Phillies was his ability to finish off batters with two strikes.  The Padres went 6-12 against Hefner with two strikes while the Phillies were just 1-10.  Hefner will be pitching for a spot in the Big Leagues, as Batista is returning from the DL and Chris Young is slotted to return to the Mets as well.

 

Chris Young, SP, Mets

 

One thing to note about Chris Young, the 6’9 hurler, is that when healthy he is effective.  After a successful tenure with the Rangers and the Padres, Young got off to a fine start with the Mets last season, offering a 1-0 record with four starts with a 1.88 ERA.  Young may have to be a little better this season, as the fly ball pitcher will have to respond to the fences being drawn in at Citi Field.  However, there is cause for optimism as he’s enjoyed success even in Texas, and his first start comes at Washington, one of the more pitcher-friendly ballparks in baseball.  On the other hand, his second start may come at Yankee Stadium, so buyer beware.

 

Drew Smyly, SP, Tigers

 

Drew Smyly looks like a good bet this week as he gets two starts, the first coming at home against the Cleveland Indians.  Smyly has come back to reality a bit in recent weeks, but the control is real, he just has to learn to keep the ball within the park.  Also, after making four of his last five starts on the road, Smyly returns to the pitcher-friendly Comerica Park.  The Indians are also coming back to earth, losing seven of their last nine games.  Smyly’s second start this week comes at the pitcher-friendly Great American Ballpark, but at least there won’t be designated hitters involved.

 

For more fantasy baseball insight visit BloombergSports.com

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