Bloomberg Sports Anchor Rob Shaw discusses the injuries and set return dates of seven players who could have an impact on your fantasy team in the second half of the season.
Carl Crawford, LF, Red Sox
Crawford has not played this season due to left wrist surgery in March and a partial UCL tear in his elbow in April. In 2011, he had a .255 average with 11 home runs and 56 RBI. Crawford is set to return to the Red Sox lineup on Monday against the White Sox.
Jacoby Ellsbury, OF, Red Sox
Ellsbury played in just seven games before being sidelined by a separated shoulder in mid-April. In 2011, he had an incredible season with a .321 batting average, 32 home runs and 105 RBI. Ellsbury should return Friday against the Tampa Bay Rays.
Brandon Morrow, SP, Blue Jays
Morrow had a great start to the season. In 13 starts, he had a 3.01 ERA, 1.00 WHIP and 67 strikeouts. He was placed on the 15-day disabled list on June 13 due to a strained left oblique. The Blue Jays are hoping that he will return to the rotation this month.
Roy Halladay, SP, Phillies
Halladay has been sidelined since May 28 with a strained right lat. In 11 starts this season, he had a 3.98 ERA, 1.15 WHIP and 56 strikeouts. He is set to return to the mound Tuesday against the Dodgers.
Giancarlo Stanton, RF, Marlins
Stanton had surgery on July 8 to remove loose bodies from his right knee. This is a big loss for the Marlins, as he was hitting .284 with 19 home runs and 50 RBI. Stanton likely won’t return until late August.
Matt Kemp, RF, Dodgers
Kemp had an incredible start to the season, hitting .355 with 12 home runs and 28 RBI in just 36 games. However, he has battled a hamstring injury and was placed on the disabled list on May 31. He is set to return Friday against the San Diego Padres.
Troy Tulowitzki, SS, Rockies
Tulowitzki recently had surgery on his left groin muscle. He was batting .287 this season with eight home runs and 27 RBI. He likely won’t return to the Rockies’ lineup until mid-August.
For more fantasy insight, visit BloombergSports.com.
BY ROB SHAW
Kyle Drabek was a top prospect when the Blue Jays acquired him from the Phillies for perennial Cy Young contender Roy Halladay. The Blue Jays fan base was hoping that Drabek would be able to make an immediate impact, but that did not occur at all in 2010, as the son of former Pirates All-Star Doug Drabek found some success at Double-A, while also walking four batters per nine innings. That is a statistic that Drabek could get away with in the minor leagues, but a different story in the Majors. Drabek lost all three starts in 2010.
Last season, it was assumed that Drabek would hold a spot in the starting rotation, and sure enough he did open the season with the Blue Jays. The stay did not last long as he ended the season with just 14 starts and a 6.06 ERA. The main issue was his lack of control, as he ranked as the worst in the Major Leagues in BB/9 as well as BB/K.
Now 24 years old, Drabek is getting another opportunity this season and he shined bright in the first two games. In fact, Drabek walked just one batter in his second start as he pitched into the eighth inning and surrendered just one earned run to a solid Orioles offense. Suddenly, Drabek was again en vogue and was a hot pickup in fantasy baseball.
Alas, doubt has returned to the mind of this fantasy expert. Even though Drabek remains undefeated with a 2-0 record and the Blue Jays have won all three of his starts, his control was lost in his last start, as he issued six walks in 5.1 innings. The fact that the Royals did not capitalize has a lot to do with Drabek’s ability to miss bats (he boasts 15 K’s in 18 innings) and a little bit of luck.
On Thursday, the Orioles face Drabek for the second time this season. In many ways, Drabek remains a wild card as he has great stuff, including a 94 MPH heater with movement, but if his control is lost the numbers could take a hit. I’d expect a bit of regression for the next few months of the season. I see Drabek offering up an ERA closer to four and could end up on a career path similar to fellow Blue Jays hurler Brandon Morrow. In other words, Drabek is not for the risk adverse. He will have moments of glory, but also fits of frustration.
By Jonah Keri //
Biggest Surprise: Shaun Marcum
Ricky Romero‘s very close, with a 13-9 record, 3.79 ERA, and
7.5 strikeouts per nine innings. But we’re giving the nod to Marcum,
given his great comeback from injuries. The 13-8 record, 3.63 ERA and
7.7 K/9 IP rate are nearly identical to Romero’s line. But the 2.1 BB/9
IP points to a pitcher with a much better WHIP than Romero (for 2010
fantasy purposes) and generally better command. At any rate, if you
drafted either of these guys this year, you’re happy.
Biggest Bust: None
The pitching staff overachieved en masse. In fact, looking at the seasons put up by Jose Bautista and Vernon Wells,
and the terrific performances by several young starters, it’s a wonder
the Jays didn’t make a bigger run at the postseason. Goes to show what
a killer division the AL East is.
2011 Keeper Alert: Brandon Morrow
No one can figure out why the Mariners gave up so early on Morrow,
the hard-throwing number-one pick. But the Jays are happy they did.
Morrow’s 178 strikeouts in just 146.1 IP yield an off-the-charts
strikeout rate for a starting pitcher. His 17 K, one-hitter against the
Rays marked the single best game by any pitcher this season, according
to Bill James’ Game Score stat. Morrow has real ace potential, but you
won’t have to pay nearly that much given the modest 10-7 record and
4.49 ERA. Keep him if you can, or draft him at a discount next season.
2011 Regression Alert: Kevin Gregg
The 36 saves are great, but Gregg’s success was purely a function of
opportunity. He was his usual wild self this season, walking a batter
every other inning and working in and out of trouble far more
frequently than a pitcher usually tasked with pitching ahead and with
the bases empty ever should. We recommend buying skills when shopping
for relief pitchers, because skills-challenged closers like Gregg
become nearly useless the moment they lose their job. And it’ll happen
sooner or later.
For more on Shaun Marcum, Brandon Morrow and the Toronto Blue Jays pitching staff, check out Bloomberg Sports’ Fantasy Kits.
By R.J. Anderson //
Almost every aspect of Brandon Morrow’s career has resembled a roller coaster ride. So is there any surprise that Morrow’s 2010 season is replicating that model?
Drafted by the Seattle Mariners as the fifth overall pick in the 2006 draft ahead of hometown hero Tim Lincecum, Morrow failed to live up to expectations in the great northwest. Struggles with command and health restrictions that kept him in the bullpen for most of his Mariner career marked his downfall. Over the off-season he was dealt to the Blue Jays for reliever Brandon League.
The Jays placed Morrow in the rotation, hoping to squeeze the most value possible out of the right-hander. He’s since made five starts, yielding a 5.46 ERA. Morrow has allowed 17 earned runs, but seven came in one start and 12 came in the first two starts. In his last three starts he’s posted the following line: 19 IP, 25 SO, 10 BB, and a 2.37 ERA.
As always. Morrow features an explosive fastball at
upwards of 96 miles per hour. That velocity, combined with his draft
status, helped Morrow secure an annual position on numerous breakthrough
lists in the past two seasons. The hype makes hot stretches like the
one Morrow is now in difficult to evaluate without bias.
There is reason
to believe this is just a hot stretch, though, and not the new
Morrow has shown short stretches of success in the past, without following through. In September 2008, Morrow made a pair of starts against the New York Yankees and Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. He pitched quite well, striking out a batter per inning and posting a 2.13 ERA. In July 2009 Morrow made four starts in which he struck out 21 and walked nine.
The only change in Morrow’s per nine ratios this season is his strikeout rate and a slight deflation in his home run rate – although he’s allowing the same number of home runs per fly balls hit. That increase in strikeout rate just screams unsustainable. Morrow’s swinging strike rate is up one whiff per 100 pitches – from 10% to 11% — and the only change in pitch approach is the strong implementation of a curveball. It’s interesting to see that Morrow is throwing his curve the most on 0-1, 0-2, and 1-2 counts per data from FanGraphs, suggesting the key to his success has been an increase in strikes looking, rather than of the swinging variety.
Reality and history suggest Morrow simply will not continue to strike out more than a batter per inning. Consider that Morrow has only faced two American League East opponents this season (Baltimore and Tampa Bay) and those starts combined to see him walk 11. Also note that he’s yet to face the Red Sox or Yankees.
There’s a chance Morrow can post a sub-4 ERA, but don’t bet on it. If you can sell high, do it.
For more on Brandon Morrow, check out Bloomberg Sports Fantasy Tools.
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