Bloomberg Sports Anchor Rob Shaw breaks down four of the major stories in baseball right now that could impact your fantasy team.
Ichiro Suzuki Traded to the Yankees for Two Minor Leaguers
The Yankees added another legend to the fold in the form of right-fielder Ichiro Suzuki. The future Hall of Famer is in the midst of his second disappointing season, as his average dipped from .272 a year ago to .261 entering last night. He also isn’t drawing many walks, which explains the .288 on-base percentage.
The Yankees are hoping a move out of Safeco will do some good for Ichiro, who is hitting .297 on the road this season. Ichiro has also been great in his career at Yankee Stadium, with a .333 batting average and a.492 slugging percentage. The move is an absolute boon for fantasy managers.
Colby Lewis Out for the Season
The Rangers are in first place this season, which has as much to say about their pitching as their hitting. One of their top hurlers is Colby Lewis, who owns nearly a 7-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio. However, that ratio will not change as Lewis has been placed on the DL with an elbow injury and is lost for the season.
The loss of Lewis is a big blow, as he has been a star in the postseason with a 4-1 record and 2.34 ERA. The only good news is that Rangers fans will get a chance to see their top prospect Martin Perez again, but really, this is an injury that could force the Rangers hand to make a big deal.
Anibal Sanchez Going to Detroit
And just like that the Marlins are sellers again. Anibal Sanchez is just 28 years old, ranks among the top strikeout leaders and has really improved his control over the years. Regardless, the Marlins are not in the mood to pay him big this offseason, even though it did not stop them from acquiring Heath Bell last season.
A move to the American League is typically bad news for pitchers, but with the Tigers, Sanchez will have a lot of run support and play for a contender. Also dealt was Omar Infante, who offers some pop and speed from second base. Jacob Turner was moved to Miami but he is very much unproven, similar to a pitcher by the name of Andrew Miller, who never quite lived up to his hype despite being acquired for Miguel Cabrera from the Tigers several years ago.
Ryan Dempster Rumors
With a 2.11 ERA, Ryan Dempster is considered by many to be the best hired arm on the trading block. However, Dempster seems to enjoy Chicago and as a 10-5 player, he has the option of rejecting any trade. The Braves, meanwhile, see an opportunity to win an NL Wild Card spot and hope to acquire the veteran hurler. In the deal, Randall Delgado, who has mixed results, would be sent to Chicago. If Dempster does move to Atlanta, he is bound to do better than his current 5-4 record, while Delgado will see his value decrease even more.
For more fantasy insight, visit BloombergSports.com.
Follow us on Twitter: @BloombergSports @RobShawSports @MicheleSteele
Pedro Alvarez, 3B, Pirates
The fantasty season is not over for one of the biggest busts in the league Pedro Alvarez. The second overall pick of the 2008 draft, we expected big things out of the Vanderbilt alumnus, but instead, his average sits at just .211 with two home runs and 10 RBI. After an extended stay on the disabled list and then a month’s worth of at bats in the Minor Leagues, Alvarez is back. He will bat in the middle of the Pirates lineup and will have ever chance to succeed once again. The third base position is pretty shallow this season with talent, making fantasy managers quick to forgive players like Alvarez.
Jarrod Saltalamacchia, C, Red Sox
The man traded for Mark Teixeira a few years back is finally an everyday player in the Big Leagues. Just 26 years old, Salty is having his best season to date. His eight home runs are just one shy of his career-high and the same can be said of his 12 doubles. He is not the best defensive catcher in baseball, but he has been adequate and his respectable on base percentage with some pop makes him a dangerous bat in the Red Sox lineup.
Jeff Karstens, SP, Pirates
This former Yankees prospect is not just having a good season, he is having a Cy Young caliber season! At 28 years old, the right-handed finesse hurler boasts a 2.28 ERA with a stellar 1.04 WHIP. His lack of strikeouts may frustrate some fantasy managers, but Karstens has surrendered just 11 earned runs over his last 10 starts.
Dexter Fowler, OF, Rockies
You have to wonder how many chances this guy will get but because of injuries and the struggles of his peers, Dexter Fowler is getting another shot to leadoff for the Rockies. Fowler is batting .342 since the All-Star break with 10 runs in 11 games with three steals. Just 25 years old, Fowler is too young to turn the page on for now.
James McDonald, SP, Pirates
There is no question about it, of all of the Pirates hurlers, James McDonald has the best stuff. Sure, he has some control issues, but his 92 strikeouts, seven wins, and 3.95 ERA will get your attention. A former top prospect with the Dodgers, McDonald has gone 11-9 with a 3.79 ERA in 31 starts. At 26 years old, McDonald should still have his best years ahead of him.
Follow us on Twitter: @BloombergSports @RobShawSports @MicheleSteele
Daniel Murphy, Utility, Mets
I am not sure what the Mets will do once Ike Davis returns to the lineup be it this year or next. Daniel Murphy is simply a hired bat who can offer some serious offense. The problem is on the defensive side, as Murphy is at his best at third base, which happens to be the home for Mr. David Wright.
Murphy has his average up to .315 this season, with line drive power: 6 HR, 21 doubles and 2 triples. Murphy has hit .385 this month after hitting .330 in June.
Murphy is just 26 years old and bats left-handed, so this is a nice problem to have for the Mets.
Alex Gordon, OF, Royals
The second overall pick of the 2005 draft, Gordon has long been considered a bust due to the slow start to his career, but this season he has finally met expectations.
The 27-year old boasts 11 home runs with 24 doubles and 8 swipes. His average is up to .296 after batting just .215 last season. His plate discipline has been so impressive that the team opted to have him leadoff before pushing him down in the order to take advantage of his power.
Gordon is now considered a potential trade target for teams in need of offense.
Jeff Francoeur, OF, Royals
You would think Jeff Francoeur is 40 years old since he’s played for three teams over the last year. Though he has not been able to sustain the hot start to the season (after batting .316 in April, Francoeur hit just .233 and .235 the next two months), he has found a way to contribute to a fantasy roster. He’s doing this on the basepaths, as he has already swiped 15 bases, nearly double his previous high.
The .266 average still leaves something to be desired, but his 13 home runs and 58 RBI may be enough to force yet another trade.
Michael Morse, OF, Nationals
At 29 years old, Morse is a late bloomer, but he is also one of the better hitters in baseball right now with an even .300 average and 15 home runs. Morse has already matched his previous career-high in home runs, set last season. His OBP is a healthy .348 and while walks are hard to come by, Morse makes up for it with a .523 slugging percentage.
Jon Jay, OF, Cardinals
This 26-year old left-handed hitter was drafted in the second round of the 2006 draft out of Miami. However, Jay never quite earned top prospect status, and this year he has surprised people as a solid platoon option.
Jay is hurt by a lack of patience at the plate and limited power, but you can’t argue with the .310 average, which comes a season after hitting .300. In total, Jay boasts a .304 career average with 11 home runs in 516 at bats.
Jay has made a case to get regular at bats, considering he hits both lefties and righties for at least a .300 average throughout his career. However, with Lance Berkman leading the league in homers, Jay’s playing time will continue to be limited for the remainder of the season.