Results tagged ‘ MLB ’
Bloomberg Sports Anchors Rob Shaw and Julie Alexandria discuss the top five stories in baseball after the All-Star break.
Will R.A. Dickey win 20 games?
Baseball fans are trying to figure out if R.A. Dickey is Tom Candiotti or Phil Niekro. At 12-1, Dickey is enjoying a banner season and arguably would be the NL Cy Young award winner if the season ended today. The problem for Dickey is that the season does not end today and he still has about 15 starts to go. Can he possibly continue his dominance and nab another eight wins for an even 20?
Hall of Fame knuckleballer Phil Niekro attained three different seasons with 20 or more wins. On the other hand, Dickey might only win another 3-5 games this season and finish with a solid, but more expected total that is more in line with a solid hurler, such as knuckleballer Tom Candiotti, who won 14, 15 and 16 games in his career.
What becomes of Tim Lincecum?
The good news is that Tim Lincecum is on pace to strikeout 200 batters. The bad news is that he is also approaching 100 walks, which could lead to some time in the bullpen. We’ve had some surprises this year that fill the bust category. As of now both Jose Reyes and Albert Pujols join a recent trend of major free agents struggling with new franchises.
Lincecum is pitching for the very franchise he came up with and has dominated for the last five seasons. However, he is getting hit often and hard, and with a 3-10 record and 6.42 ERA you have to wonder if he will stick in the starting rotation all season long. Lincecum hasn’t made it out of the fourth inning in back-to-back outings.
Where will Zack Greinke end up?
The Brewers have had their struggles and perhaps for that reason, Zack Greinke’s performance has gone under the radar. He is 9-3 with 111 K’s and a 3.32 ERA. With the Brewers five games out of first place, the team will be in sell mode especially if Greinke does not indicate that he wants to stick there.
So what teams could be interested? How about the Baltimore Orioles, or the St. Louis Cardinals? Greinke’s presence could make a world of difference in how this ost-season shapes up.
Are the Phillies buyers or sellers?
The Phillies are in dead last place in the National League East. They opened the season without Chase Utley and Ryan Howard, and now that they are coming back, the pitchers have been out: Cliff Lee and Roy Halladay.
The big question for the Phillies is figuring out whether or not Cole Hamels will stay as a free agent. There have been rumblings that he could be destined to the Dodgers, which would leave the Phillies in a bind if they do not get anything in return for his services aside from draft picks. Hamels, by the way, is 10-4 with a 3.20 ERA with 118 K’s and a 1.10 WHIP. He has been the ace for the Phillies this season.
Are the Pirates playoff bound?
The Pirates are in first place late in the season for a second straight year. The question is whether they can stick this time and if they learned from last year’s collapse. It looks like they could actually stick this time for a couple of reasons. Firstly, they have an ace with James McDonald boasting a 2.37 ERA with much better control this season. Next, their gamble with AJ Burnett seems to be paying off as he’s been a solid number two. Though the starting rotation lacks depth, the bullpen is strong enough to let leads stick.
Finally, on offense there are several solid players, then an MVP candidate in Andrew McCutchen and a potential star in Pedro Alvarez. The Pirates lack some depth, but so far they have been good enough, and with extra wild card spots available, this team could advance.
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Bloomberg Sports Anchors Julie Alexandria and Rob Shaw discuss whether the fans’ selections for the National League All-Star team were right and who should be starting the All-Star Game in Kansas City on July 10.
Buster Posey was not the right choice for the All-Star team. Phillies backstop Carlos Ruiz is having a sensational season, hitting .357 with 13 home runs, 46 RBI and a surprising three stolen bases. He has definitely been the best catcher in baseball this season.
The fans got this one right by selecting Reds first baseman Joey Votto, who is probably the MVP of the first half of the season. He’s batting .350 with 14 home runs and 47 RBI.
Brandon Phillips of the Reds should be starting rather than Dan Uggla. Phillips has a .279 average, 10 home runs and 47 RBI. He is also a good defensive player, which Uggla is not.
The fans made the wrong choice by selecting Pablo Sandoval, who has missed plenty of time this season due to injury. David Wright of the Mets should have been the pick, as he has been an MVP candidate so far this year with a .350 average, 10 home runs, 55 RBI and eight stolen bases.
Cubs shortstop Starlin Castro should be starting in place of Rafael Furcal. Castro is batting .291 with six home runs, 40 RBI and 16 stolen bases. Despite those numbers, he can be frustrating because he makes a lot of boneheaded plays but he is young and will hopefully grow out of that.
Not one of the three outfielders chosen by the fans was the right pick. Carlos Gonzalez of the Rockies should be starting instead of Melky Cabrera. Gonzalez is batting .340 with 17 home runs, 58 RBI and 10 stolen bases, though he is helped out by playing at Coors Field.
Brewers left fielder Ryan Braun should have been selected over Matt Kemp. Braun is once again putting up MVP numbers with a .309 average, 23 home runs, 59 RBI and 13 stolen bases.
Finally, Pirates centerfielder Andrew McCutchen should have been chosen rather than Carlos Beltran. McCutchen is batting .360 with 16 home runs, 54 RBI and 14 stolen bases. Beltran would have been a good selection if the National League had a designated hitter. He has a .304 average, 20 home runs, 63 RBI and eight stolen bases this season.
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Bloomberg Sports Anchors Julie Alexandria and Rob Shaw discuss whether or not the fans’ selections for the American League All-Star team were right and who should be starting the All-Star Game in Kansas City on July 10.
Mike Napoli of the Rangers was the fan choice, but White Sox backstop A.J. Pierzynski should be starting in the All-Star Game. Pierzynski is not one of the more popular players in baseball and was actually expected to lose his job coming into this season. However, he is hitting .285 this year with 14 home runs and 45 RBI.
Edwin Encarnacion of the Blue Jays should be starting instead of Prince Fielder. Encarnacion has always had great potential but has been inconsistent in the past. This season, however, he is deserving of a starting spot in Kansas City with a .291 average, 22 home runs, 55 RBI and eight stolen bases.
The fans got this one right, voting in Robinson Cano of the Yankees. He’s batting .310 with 20 home runs and 46 RBI. Not only is he an All-Star but he is clearly the Yankees’ MVP.
The fans chose Adrian Beltre of the Rangers, which is a good pick because he is one of the best defensive players in baseball. Miguel Cabrera, however, is the best third baseman in the American League with a .314 average, 16 home runs and 62 RBI.
Derek Jeter is having a good season, but Elvis Andrus of the Rangers is the best shortstop in the American League right now. He is not a power hitter with just one home run but he’s batting .307 with 32 RBI and 16 stolen bases. The fans should have voted in Andrus instead of Jeter.
Of the three outfielders voted in, only one was the right pick by the fans. It wasn’t a surprise that Josh Hamilton was selected, and he is the right choice. He’s on pace for more than 50 home runs and 140 RBI this season.
Angels rookie Mike Trout should be starting in place of Curtis Granderson. Trout is batting .339 with nine home runs, 33 RBI and 22 stolen bases, and keep in mind that he started this season in the minor leagues.
Adam Jones of the Orioles should have been selected in place of Jose Bautista. Jones has a .302 average, 19 home runs, 42 RBI and 11 stolen bases. He has a bright future and is likely one of the next big stars in baseball.
David Ortiz was the right pick by the fans. He continues to put up big numbers with a .302 average, 21 home runs and 54 RBI this season. This is Ortiz’s eighth All-Star selection.
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Bloomberg Sports Anchor Rob Shaw breaks down the weekend in baseball and how it affects your fantasy team.
Martin Perez, SP, Rangers
Perez made his major league debut Saturday night against Oakland. The 21-year-old southpaw had five strikeouts and gave up six hits, one walk and two earned runs in 5.1 innings pitched. He had struggled in the minor leagues this season with a 1.29 K/BB ratio at AAA. However, he has been better in the past and there is reason to be excited about his future.
Chris Young, SP, Mets
Young has only started 13 games since 2010, but his numbers during that stretch are among the best in baseball. He has a 2.19 ERA and 1.16 WHIP, compared to Roy Halladay’s 2.60 ERA and 1.05 WHIP and Cliff Lee’s 3.00 ERA and 1.05 WHIP. This season, he has started five games, his greatest workload since 2009. The last time he made 20 starts was in 2007.
Jim Thome, Orioles
Thome spent his first 12 seasons with the Cleveland Indians and has since been on seven teams over the last 10 years. Moving to Baltimore allows him to play more regularly as a designated hitter. He has had 40 home runs in 553 at-bats over the last two years and could bring some power to the Orioles’ lineup and your fantasy team.
Shaw also discusses three players whose slumps have ended and who are putting up big numbers in recent weeks. First is Mets first baseman Ike Davis, who has six home runs, 24 RBI and a .333 average in 19 games since June 9th. Second, Pirates third baseman Pedro Alvarez has seven home runs, 19 RBI and a .377 average in 15 games since June 16th. Finally, Royals first baseman Eric Hosmer has a .423 average, one home run and three RBI in his last seven games.
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Bloomberg Sports Anchors Julie Alexandria and Rob Shaw discuss players who may be on the road to the Hall of Fame.
Rangers third baseman Adrian Beltre may be a surprise on this list for some people, but the longeivty of his career could land him in the Hall of Fame. The 33-year-old currently has 2,113 hits and 322 home runs. In order to get to 3,000 hits and 500 home runs, he would need to average 127 hits and 25 home runs per season until the age of 40. Beltre has a good chance to reach those benchmarks, as he plays in one of the most homer-friendly stadiums in baseball and could benefit from the designated hitter position in the American League down the road.
Paul Konerko is certainly a surprise when it comes to potential Hall of Fame candidacy. The White Sox first baseman, who is 36 years old, has 409 career home runs, and 500 homers is definitely in reach. He would need to average 22 home runs per year until he is 40 to get to 500. That would put him in a good position to get into the Hall of Fame, as he also won a World Series in 2005.
Andy Pettitte has 243 wins and 2,297 strikeouts in his career. He has the most postseason wins in history with 19, including four World Series wins. If he can get another seven wins and 203 K’s in the next two seasons, he would have 250 wins and 2,500 K’s, good for 47th and 31st all-time. That should give him a good shot at the Hall of Fame.
Roy Halladay has 192 career wins and 1,990 strikeouts. The 35-year-old would need 21 wins per season until he is 40 to reach 300 wins. Though he has dominated during certain parts of his career, he doesn’t have the longevity to get the numbers he needs to make it into the Hall of Fame, especially as he is battling a shoulder injury this season that should keep him out for six to eight weeks.
The odds are against Johan Santana making it into the Hall of Fame, as he is 33 years old and only has 137 wins and 1,956 strikeouts. He would need another five standout years to rack up the numbers to earn a spot in Cooperstown. He has had major surgery and it is uncertain how many more dominant years he has left in the tank.
C.C. Sabathia is as durable as they come and he should definitely make the Hall of Fame. He has 185 wins and is already 58th all-time in strikeouts with 2,119. If he finishes this season with another 90 strikeouts and averages 170 K’s for the next four years, he will have 2,889 K’s by the age of 36, good for 17th all-time. He would be well on his way to 3,000 K’s, a feat which only 16 pitchers have accomplished, all of them in the Hall of Fame aside from ineligible players.
Adam Dunn is 32 years old and has 388 career home runs. He should get into the Hall of Fame if he can reach 500 homers, which is certainly in striking distance. He has 23 home runs in 289 plate appearances this season. If he can hit another 17 home runs this year and enter the 2013 season with 405 in his career, he would need to average just 19 home runs for the next five seasons to reach 500.
Miguel Cabrera‘s home-run total of 277 through age 28 was the 13th-highest of any player at that age. If he hits 19 more home runs this season, he will enter his age-30 season with 310 career homers. From there, it would take him less than six seasons to get to 500 at his career rate of 33 home runs per 162 games. If he keeps playing the way he is now, he’s a certain Hall of Famer.
Ryan Braun joins Willie Mays and Darryl Strawberry as the only players to hit at least 180 home runs and steal at least 100 bases in their first six seasons. If Braun can hit 20 more homers this season, he will be one of two players to hit at least 200 home runs and bat at least .310 in his first six seasons, joining Albert Pujols. Braun is definitely on his way to becoming a Hall of Famer but he may need to prove himself more than others after testing positive for PEDs, even though his suspension was overturned.
Matt Holliday‘s Hall of Fame candidacy is iffy right now. If the 32-year-old can keep his average above .300 and record 1,032 more hits and 136 more home runs, he will be one of only 12 players with a .300 average, at least 350 homers and at least 2,500 hits, joining eight Hall of Famers as well as Alex Rodriguez, Manny Ramirez, Chipper Jones and Vladimir Guerrero. He is a very solid player, but not necessarily a player worthy of the Hall of Fame.
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Bloomberg Sports Anchors Julie Alexandria and Rob Shaw discuss players who they think will definitely be inducted into the Hall of Fame and players who are debatable.
Based on his statistics, Manny Ramirez should be a Hall of Famer. He has 2574 hits, 1831 RBI and 555 home runs in his career. He is a 12-time All-Star and has two World Series rings (’04, ’07) and nine Silver Slugger awards. However, his use of PEDs has tarnished his statistics and will keep him out of the Hall of Fame.
Though Albert Pujols is struggling a bit this season with the Angels, he has already cemented a spot in the Hall of Fame. He has 2,142 hits, 456 home runs and a .325 batting average in his career. He is a three-time MVP (’05, ’08, ’09) and a nine-time All-Star and has won two World Series (’06, ’11), six Silver Slugger awards and two Gold Glove awards.
Like Pujols, Ichiro Suzuki‘s numbers are down this season, but he deserves induction into the Hall of Fame based on his past performances. He has 2,504 hits, 432 stolen bases and a .323 average in his career. The 10-time All-Star also won MVP and Rookie of the Year honors in 2001 and has earned 10 Gold Gloves and three Silver Sluggers.
Derek Jeter is another player who is a shoe-in for the Hall of Fame. The 12-time All-Star has 3,177 career hits, 344 stolen bases and a .313 career average, as well as five Gold Gloves and four Silver Sluggers. Above all, he is a big-time winner with five World Series rings.
Chipper Jones, set to retire at the end of this year after 19 seasons, is certainly Hall of Fame-bound. He has 2,650 hits, 459 home runs and a .304 average in his career, in addition to an MVP award (’99), seven All-Star selections and two Silver Sluggers.
Alex Rodriguez, a 14-time All-Star and three-time MVP, is another player whose Hall of Fame candidacy is in question due to PEDs. However, it can be argued that after the steroid era ended, A-Rod still put up good enough numbers to warrant induction. He has 2,841 career hits and 640 home runs, and is 76 RBI away from 2000 for his career. He has one World Series ring (’09), 10 Silver Sluggers and two Gold Gloves.
Jim Thome is headed for the Hall of Fame with his 608 career HR. The five-time All-Star has had 12 seasons of 30+ HR and 100+ RBI but he is not just a home-run hitter. He has 1,710 walks, ranking 10th all-time.
Mariano Rivera is another player already in the Hall of Fame. He is the all-time saves leader with 608 and has a 2.21 career ERA, good for 13th all-time. He is the greatest closer of all time and one of the most clutch performers in sports. Despite being 42 years old, Rivera was as good as ever before his season was cut short by a torn ACL.
Jamie Moyer sits at 269 wins as he is currently pitching in AAA and trying to make another comeback, this time with the Baltimore Orioles. If he returns shortly and assuming he pitches every fifth day, he could potentially start 19 games and could pick up the six wins he needs to reach 275 for his career. If the 49-year-old can somehow keep pitching into his fifties, he could have a shot at 300 wins and the Hall of Fame.
Johnny Damon‘s easiest path to the Hall of Fame is to get another 254 hits to reach 3,000 for his career. If he gets just 54 more hits and 17 more home runs, he would join Rickey Henderson, Barry Bonds and Craig Biggio as the only players to have 2,800 hits, 250 home runs and 400 stolen bases. At the moment, he is one of five players to have 230 home runs, 400 stolen bases and 2,700 hits.
Scott Rolen is one of three third basemen to hit above .280 and hit 300 or more home runs, and one of four third basemen to have 8,000 or more plate appearances and an OPS of .850 or better. At 37 years old, if Rolen can collect 77 hits the rest of this season and average 100 hits over the next four years or 133 hits over the next 3 years, he would reach 2,500 hits. In addition to his defense, position and more than 300 HR, he would have a very strong candidacy.
Todd Helton‘s chances to make it into the Hall of Fame may be hurt by playing at Coors Field. However, if the 38-year-old can hit 46 more home runs over the next five years, he’d reach 400 home runs and have a strong case with 2,500 hits and 400+ home runs, a feat only 25 Major Leaguers have accomplished. He has hit 227 home runs at home and just 138 home runs on the road, so he may need to do more than most for people to believe in his Coors-tainted candidacy.
Vladimir Guerrero needs just 51 home runs to reach 500 for his career. Among players with at least 8,000 career plate appearances since 1950, his average of .318 ranks sixth behind Tony Gwynn, Wade Boggs, Rod Carew, Ichiro Suzuki and Todd Helton. he is one of only seven players in history with at least 350 home runs, a batting average of at least .310 and at least 2,500 career hits. Among the six others, only Manny Ramirez is not already in the Hall of Fame.
If Lance Berkman stays healthy and plays into his early 40s, he has a shot at reaching 500 home runs. If he can hit nine home runs the rest of this season, he’ll have 132 to go, which would mean four full seasons at his career pace of 33 per 162 games.
Tim Hudson has one of the 10 lowest ERAs of any pitcher with at least 2,000 innings pitched since 1990 and is tied for the fourth-most wins among active pitchers with 185. He also has the lowest home-run rate of any pitcher with at least 2,000 innings pitched since 1950.
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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.
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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!
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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.
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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.
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