Jarrod Saltalamacchia, C, Red Sox
After a slow start to the season Jarrod Saltalamacchia is red-hot for the Red Sox. He is batting .400 this month with a home run, two doubles, and a triple. His season average is now a respectable .252 with five home runs. Remember, as bad as he was early in the season, Salty was once a mega prospect who was traded for Mark Teixiera. He may never reach that potential, but if he can hit .280 with 15 home runs in Boston, the run production will pile up. My only warning is that his defense is still not very good, so it will remain a platoon with Jason Varitek.
Charlie Blackmon, OF, Rockies
Lost in the rookie rush a few days ago was the call-up of Rockies outfielder Charlie Blackmon. A former second round pick out of Georgia Tech, the 24-year old has the highly sought combination of power and speed. He was hitting .337 in Colorado Springs with 10 home runs and 12 steals. With Dexter Fowler injured, Blackmon will enjoy a shot at playing everyday. If he contributes, look for him to become an everyday player, which means tons of fantasy value.
Carlos Carrasco, SP, Indians
Before the season began we asked Jay Levine from LetsgoTribe.com who was the top hurler on the staff and he surprised us with Carlos Carrasco. At first we questioned his call since Carrasco was just 1-2 with a 5.29 ERA through six starts into the season, but since then, Carrasco has gone 5-1 while lowering his ERA to 4.09. He has not allowed a run in either of his two starts while fanning season highs six and then seven batters. What was most impressive about his last win was that it came in Yankee Stadium against the hot-hotting Bombers. At just 24 years old, Carrasco is a great long-term investment.
Ryan Zimmerman, 3B, Nationals
After more than a month on the DL, Ryan Zimmerman will be activated to play tonight. Zimmerman was batting .357 through eight games when he got hurt. His presence should help the entire lineup that has struggled to replace their third baseman as well as their injured first baseman Adam LaRoche.
Johan Santana, SP, Mets
The idea was for the Mets to simply be competitive for the next few weeks until David Wright, Ike Davis, and Johan Santana returned. Well it looks like Johan is not on the path to recovery as fast as we all thought. He has been dealing with soreness and now at the earliest, the Mets ace will not make it back until August. By then, a lot of his teammates could be traded.
Derek Jeter, SS, Yankees
What does it mean that Derek Jeter is nearing 3,000 hits. Sure, he’s an all-time great, but he is also really old at 36-years old. Well age may have gotten the better of him this week as he strained his calf. This makes the guessing game even harder to play about when he will hit number 3,000. My guess is that because of his age the Yankees will be conservative and place him on the DL, though this could end up being just a day-to-day issue. My guess is that the New York media will keep you updated on his status.
By Eno Sarris //
We’re all searching for strikeouts. We know that the batting average on a strikeout is zero. We know that a pitcher with a high strikeout rate is likely to help in pitching categories across the board. We all love the strikeout.
But a couple pitchers showed us last night that there is value in pitchers that don’t rack up the Ks.
Well, Tim Stauffer did actually manage eight strikeouts in eight innings of shutout ball against the Rockies Tuesday night, but that’s not his norm. For the year, he has a strikeout rate that’s just above average (7.27 K/9, 6.97 is average this year). This mediocre rate is supported by a below-average swinging strike rate (7.6%, 8.4% is average), so it’s not likely to change much going forward. It’s also tempting to say that he’s a creation of his home park, but he has a 1.35 WHIP at home, and a 1.26 WHIP on the road. He’s been solid at home or away.
What does prop up his production is his walk rate and his groundball rate. Stauffer is only walking 2.31 batters per nine this year. He only walked 2.61 per nine last year, and has a 3.12 rate for his career. All of those numbers are comfortably above average (this year, 3.22 BB/9 is average). Stauffer also keeps the ball on the ground. The last couple of years, 44% of all contact has gathered dirt – and Stauffer has shown a 53.4% groundball rate. Among pitchers with more than 150 innings pitched since the beginning of 2009, that rate places 13th. He’s a worm-burner with great control that deserves to be on most mixed-league rosters even if he won’t rack up the strikeouts.
Most of the same things can be said about Carlos Carrasco in Cleveland, but to a lesser extent. The paradox is that this makes him more likely to be available in your leagues, and also more of a risk.
Carrasco pitched well last night, but not as well as Stauffer. He got six strikeouts in eight and a third innings to Stauffer’s eight. He did hold a team scoreless, but it was the punchless Twins. Carrasco also fails to rack up the strikeouts, but his rate is more poor (5.21 K/9) than mediocre. Carrasco also has shown good control (2.60 BB/9 this year), but his groundball rate (49%) is not as strong. Call him Stauffer-lite – even his home park helps suppress the home run to a lesser extent (3% fewer home runs to lefties, 12% fewer to righties).
There is one note of upside left in Carrasco’s profile. While Stauffer has a below-average swinging strike rate, Carrasco’s is barely above average (8.5%). By using his strong curveball and changeup, he actually managed a strikeout rate above eight per nine ever since he hit Double-A in the Phillies’ organization. His strikeout rates have been better than Stauffer’s at every minor league level.
So there’s your wrinkle. Neither Carrasco nor Stauffer will headline your staff because they are unlikely to be strong plusses in the strikeout category. But by limiting the walks and keeping the ball on the ground, both will be useful this year. Consider picking them up in your leagues if you are looking for good ratios.
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