Bloomberg Sports Anchors Julie Alexandria and Rob Shaw break down four players worth picking up right now in your fantasy league.
Jordany Valdespin, 2B/LF, Mets
Valdespin is a middle infielder at heart, but the Mets have a need in left field with Jason Bay clearly a fragment of the slugger that he once was. While Bay is batting .179 with four home runs, Valdespin is now hitting .269 with five home runs and has a .354 average since June 10. Valdespin is far from perfect, as he does not draw many walks, but he does have an electric bat. In the minor leagues last season, he boasted 17 home runs with 38 steals.
Adam Lind, 1B, Blue Jays
Lind is hitting .339 with five home runs and 15 RBI in 18 games since his return from the minor leagues on June 25. He will suffer with Jose Bautista out of the lineup but he is swinging a hot bat and should be picked up by anyone in need of some power in their fantasy leagues.
Andruw Jones, LF, Yankees
Jones is now something of a one-trick pony, as he offers power but very little of anything else. He is batting .239 on the season but boasts 12 home runs in just 134 at-bats. Now that word has come out that the Yankees will likely be without Brett Gardner for the remainder of the season, Jones should get some decent playing time.
Michael Brantley, OF, Indians
On Tuesday, Michael Brantley was batting cleanup for the Indians. This was a major surprise for a batter with a .384 slugging percentage last season. However, Brantley is just 25 years old, and he is starting to hit with some power. In 28 fewer games played than last season, Brantley already has just one fewer extra base hit than a year ago, which places his slugging better than .430. He also has 10 stolen bases so far this season.
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By R.J. Anderson //
As far as non-Cleveland Indians fans are concerned, Shin-Soo Choo’s trip to the disabled list comes at a pretty horrible time. Beyond the fantasy implications, Choo’s sprained thumb means he’ll miss the All-Star game, weakening the American League roster and watching experience alike. In his place, Fausto Carmona will represent the Indians in the mid-summer classic and Michael Brantley will be recalled to replace Choo on the Indians roster. Since the Indians are replacing Choo with Brantley, does it mean fantasy owners can do the same?
Short answer: no. The 23 year old acquired in the CC Sabathia trade of 2008 has 157 major league plate appearances with the Indians with a line of .278/.329/.313. His minor league statistics shed some more light on what Brantley’s roof might be: .284/.364/.377 in 806 Triple-A plate appearances with 57 stolen bases on 67 attempts. That is to say: Brantley is a speedster without much pop, but a decent ability to reach base and promptly take a few others by force.
Choo was hitting .286/.390/.475 with 13 blasts in a little over 350 plate appearances this season. Meanwhile Brantley has hit 13 home runs in the minors since the 2008 season began. The similarities outside of team and position between Choo and Brantley are few and far between, which means if replicating Choo’s strengths is your main goal then Brantley isn’t much of an option whatsoever.
The Cleveland player who may stand to benefit the most from Choo’s absence is Shelley Duncan. The former Yankee farmhand has racked up 68 plate appearances this year while hitting .267/.353/.500. He won’t continue to hit quite that well, as his Triple-A career line is only .275/.370/.529, but his skill set is far more similar to Choo’s than Brantley’s. Odds are, you aren’t finding someone like Brennan Boesch on the open market to grab for no cost; so while Duncan is hardly optimal he might make more sense after doing opportunity cost analysis. A roster spot at this point in the season is less valuable than a productive player.
For more on Shin-Soo Choo and other injured stars, check out Bloomberg Sports Fantasy Tools