Evan Longoria- Tampa Bay Rayz
Vs. Florida Marlins
3-for-5, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 2 R
Of all the Longoria’s not married to Tony Parker, Evan might just be my favorite.
Justin Morneau- Minnesota Twins
Vs. San Diego Giants
3-for-4, 1 HR, 1 R, 3 RBI, 1 BB
Why does every great Minnesota athlete end up in Boston? First David Ortiz, then Randy Moss and KG. Morneau and OJ Mayo will fit right in three years from now.
Aubrey Huff- Baltimore Orioles
Vs. Chicago Cubs
4-for-5, 3 R, 2 RBI
As for as Cub killers go, Huff ranks somewhere between Mike Caruso and Jeff Blauser. And yes, I know, Blauser was a Cub. He was just that bad.
Matt Garza- Tampa Bay Rayz
Vs. Florida Marlins
Win: CG, 1 H, 1 R, 10 K
I think those Rayz did pretty well for themselves in their big offseason trade: Garza allowed the same number of hits in this game as Delmon Young has homers this season. Plus, you don’t have to worry about Garza maliciously throwing his bat at an umpire. That’s a plus too, I suppose.
Rich Harden- Oakland A’s
Vs. Philadelphia Phillies
Win: 8 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 11 K
I have a friend from school that is from Philadelphia and though we’ve never argued about whose hometown is superior, if we did, all I would need to say is this: Chicago has Lollapalooza, Phili has Wing Bowl. Case closed.
Jesse Litsch- Toronto Blue Jays
Vs. Cincinnati Reds
Win: 8 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 6 K
I’d add something funny here, but I don’t know who the hell Jesse Litsch is. Though some 29-year old third baseman named Joe Inglett leads the Blue Jays in OPS, so I guess that’s kind of funny.
Jay Bruce- Cincinnati Reds
Vs. Toronto Blue Jays
0-for-3, 2 K
I assure you I know who Jay Bruce is, and if this Jesse Litsch character can make Jay Bruce look this bad, maybe he’s someone we should keep an eye on.
Edison Volquez- Cincinnati Reds
Vs. Toronto Blue Jays
Loss: 4.1, 5 ER, 0 K, 3 BB
Yeah, it was a rough day at the ole’ ballpark for the Reds last night. Also: Dusty Baker is their manager. Coincidence?
Alex Rios- Toronto Blue Jays
Vs. Cincinnati Reds
4-for-6, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 3 R
The real reason the big Tim Lincecum-Alex Rios trade never went through this offseason? Height. Lincecum is 5-8, Rios is 6-5. In a related story, if John Paxson settles his little predicament by going with the taller guy, I’m giving up.
Kenji Johjima- Seattle Mariners (C)
Vs. New York Mets
3-for-4, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 2 R
The managers in this game were Jerry Manuel and Jim Riggleman. No joke required.
Was it divine intervention? We know the Rockies are into that sort of thing. How else can fantasy owners- and to a much lesser extent (obviously), the Colorado Rockies- explain a miraculously quick from one of baseball’s best young shortstops? Tulowitzki’s strained quad was supposed to sideline him until the All-Star break, but he returned Friday to take his rightful spot in the meaty part of Colorado’s order. He was struggling before the injury, but there is no reason to believe he won’t return to form. Tulo hit a double on Saturday and Sunday, which is a good sign for his power numbers. After hitting 24 homers and OPS’ing .838 as a rookie last season, Tulowitzki’s average is just .162 and he has hit only one home run. Still, he’s one of the top shortstops in the National League, and should provide a big boost to any fantasy team.
CC Sabathia has been a little better lately, but fantasy owners might be worried by Brandon Webb’s admission that his contract situation affected his performance on the field. Sabathia’s contract runs out after this season and teams are already lining up to get him. If he’s traded to a club with a high-powered offense- like, you know, the Cubs- Sabathia could be ready to go on a fantasy tear in the second half. Still, I’m not buying this business that the Indians are out of the AL Central, or that they won’t meet Sabathia’s contract demands.
- If you are in a keeper league, no doubt you’ve been keeping an eye on Rayz hurler David Price. The former number one overall pick just got promoted to Double A, he should start off next season in the rotation.
- Zoner Sports looks at Christian Guzman, baseball’s most unlikely league leader.
- Good news for Albert Pujols owners: your best player is coming back. He could come off the DL on Thursday.
- I know Cowley mentioned this in the paper a few days ago as well, but seriously guys, K-Fuk over Jermaine Dye on the All-City team is just wrong. Allegiances be damned. Dye has been on fire the last few weeks, and SI advises that he should be a must start until further notice.
Not that this has anything to do with fantasy baseball but…
- Blog war! Deadspin’s Will Leitch doesn’t agree with The Big Lead’s assertion in an LA Times article that sports blogs should appeal to a wider audience.
In Chase Utley and Carlos Quentin, we’ve seen guys with tremendous starts begin to cool off. That doesn’t mean you should ship those guys away though. Baseball is an impossibly long season, no player goes through 162 games without encountering a minor slump. That’s where Utley and Quentin sit right now.
But there are a lot of big name players who have gotten off to slow starts that you may be able to acquire for a reasonable price in a trade.
- ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick takes a look at some of baseball’s best utility men. Guys that can play multiple positions are extremely valuable in fantasy. It’s the reason I’ve kept Nick Swisher on my bench all season. Still, I’m not sure Darin Erstad helps anyone, unless you get points in your fantasy league for grinding. If so, that is awesome, and please invite me to play next year.
- If you’re in a fantasy league with a bunch of guys that stopped paying attention to baseball five years ago, now would be a great time to deal Richie Sexton to one of them.
- Daisuke Matsuzaka may be the hyped foreign baseball player of all-time, and so far, he’s lived up to the billing. Dice-K was pretty good last season in helping the Red Sox win their second World Series in four seasons. This year, however, he was unhittable before going down on May 27 with a rotator cuff sprain in his pitching arm. Now he's back, and he is expected to pitch on Saturday.
Dice-K has a lot of value in fantasy for two reasons: a) he strikes guys out, b) he pitches for a good team, so he accumulates a lot of wins. While his walk numbers were up before getting hurt, Dice-K still has an unblemished record (8-0) and boasts a 2.5 ERA .
With a slew of injuries around the majors the last two weeks, it’s great to be able to pull Matsuzaka off the DL.
- Lost in all the Clayton Kershaw mania has been the performance of Chad Billingsley, another young Dodgers starter with a cool name. While no one tops Clayton Kershaw in the name department (besides for maybe Lance Broadway), Billingsley has actually been more reliable so far. He picked up a win last night, only allowing one earned run and striking out nine. Since the NL West is so mediocre, Billingsley should be able to continue pitching well. If you need pitching help, try to swing a trade for him.
- Just like the White Sox' Carlos Quentin, Chase Utley now finds himself in a bit of a slump. While some fantasy owners may consider peddling off Quentin if the price is right, hang onto Utley at all costs. He’s already matched his home run total from last year, 22, in 59 fewer games.
Ryan Braun- Milwaukee Brewers
Vs. Toronto Blue Jays
3-for-4, 2 HR, 3 RBI, 3 R
Maybe Braun can convince his manger to give blogs a chance. Come on man, we’re not so bad!
Joe Crede- Chicago White Sox (3B)
Vs. Pittsburgh Pirates
2-for-4, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 2 R
Really, I could have chosen just about anyone from the Sox for this spot. I guess that’s what happens when you play the Pirates.
Ryan Sweeney- Oakland A’s (CF)
Vs. Arizona Diamondbacks
3-for-4, 4 R, 1 SB, 2 BB
Last night was so great that even ex-Sox got in on the fun! I heard Ron Karkovice even hit two grand slams in his 60-and over softball league. If Officer Karko raced Paul Konerko right now (strained oblique and all) but Konerko had to run backwards and ten yards farther, would anyone pick Kark? I’ve still never seen a slower athlete.
Andy Pettitte- New York Yankees
Vs. San Diego Padres
Win: 7 IP, 0 ER, 9 K, 1 BB
Andrew Miller- Florida Marlins
Vs. Seattle Mariners
Win: 7 IP, 1 ER, 2 K, 2 BB
Not only does he have filthy curveball, but Andrew Miller also was the governor of my favorite state, North Dakota, from 1909-1914. Somewhere, Cole Hamels is jealous.
Jair Jurrjens- Atlanta Braves
Vs. Colorado Rockies
Win: 7.2 IP, 0 ER, 7 K, 2 BB
Is it possible Jurrjens Surgeons is the worst named fan club of all-time? Probably, but only because I never went through with my grand idea to start The Shingo Squad in high school. Seriously, that frisbee pitch was nasty.
Now for the worst performances of Monday, sponsored by rhetorical questions...
Manny Ramirez- Boston Red Sox (RF)
Vs. Philadelphia Phillies
Quickly: how bad must David Ortiz be defensively at first base for Manny not to be the DH on that team?
Carlos Silva- Seattle Mariners
Vs. Florida Marlins
Loss: 4.2 IP, 3 ER, 4 K, 1 BB
At 3-8, can Silva challenge Mike Maroth's level of futility?
Darin Erstad- Houston Astros (CF)
Vs. Milwaukee Brewers
3-for-5, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 2 R
In high school, Erstad was dominant in baseball, hockey, football, and track. I found that kind of amazing until I realized he’s from North Dakota. I'm sure all 13 people that live there are had pretty good high school athletic careers. What else can you really do in North Dakota? To find out, I went on the state’s official tourism site. Here’s the first thing I saw:
You ask: "What is there to do in North Dakota?" And we answer: "What ISN'T there to do?" The options are as diverse as the imagination.
I imagine that place sucks.
Kevin Youkilis- Boston Red Sox (1B)
2-for-2, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 2 R, 2 BB
Did you know Youkilis had a small role in the 1994 romantic comedy Milk Money? Yeah, neither did I. But look, there he is! Even at a young age, the guy knew how to walk.
Adrian Gonzalez- San Diego Padres (1B)
Vs. LA Dodgers
2-for-3, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 2 R, 1 BB
For a number one overall draft pick, Gonzalez was kind of a late bloomer. Before becoming a fantasy stud and one of the NL’s top power hitters, Gonzalez was traded twice. Hey, at least he’s better than all these guys.
Ben Sheets- Milwaukee Brewers
Vs. Houston Astros
Win: 7 IP, 3 ER, 9 K, 2 BB
I’m confused. Shouldn’t Ben Sheets have sustained a season ending injury about two weeks ago?
Johan Santana- New York Mets
Vs. Arizona Diamondbacks
ND: 7 IP, 0 ER, 10 K, 3 BB
I’ve got to be honest, I enjoy watching Santana strikeout Conor Jackson a lot more than Paul Konerko.
Jake Peavy- San Diego Padres
Vs. Los Angeles Dodgers
Win: 6 IP, 4 K, 0 BB
Of all the awesome things Peavy has done as a pitcher in the majors, I’m not sure anything tops that time he celebrated a successful hunting trip at KAM’S.
Adam Dunn- Cincinnati Reds (LF)
Vs. St. Louis Cardinals
0-for-4, 3 K
Adam Dunn does three things: hit homers, walk, and strikeout. Yesterday, he forgot to do the two good ones. That being said, has anyone in the history of baseball ever been more productive while hitting under .230? Bill James must love this guy.
Livan Hernandez- Minnesota Twins
Vs. Cleveland Indians
Loss: 3 IP, 7 ER, 1 K
I gently refer to that type of pitching line as ‘Todd Ritchie-ian’.
Carlos Lee- Houston Astros (LF) Vs. Milwaukee Brewers 3-for-4, 2 R, 1 HR, 2 RBI
If Bud Selig really wanted to make people like him, he’d pass a rule that stated any player born in Panama had to come out to the Van Halen song. That would totally make everyone forget about the 2002 All-Star Game.
Carlos Beltran- New York Mets (CF) Vs. Arizona Diamondbacks 2-for-4, 2 R, 1 HR, 4 RBI, 2 BB
Not only did Beltran’s two-run homer in the bottom of the 13th inning lift the Mets to a much needed victory, it also secured his place as a Wednesday fantasy hero. Willie Randolph lives to get mercilessly criticized another day.
Kosuke Fukudome- Chicago Cubs (RF) Vs. Atlanta Braves 1-for-2, 2 R, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 2 BB
Ok, how funny is that the Cubs never told K-Fuk about that little 100-year World Series drought thing? Could this be the same reason Bernard Berrian signed with the Vikings? Maybe they never told him that Tarvaris Jackson is the quarterback.
Cole Hamels- Philadelphia Phillies (SP) Vs. Florida Marlins ND: 8 IP, 2 ER, 13 K, 1 BB
My all-time favorite athlete website is clearly this one, but Cole Hamels Facts may come in second. And everything on there is totally true. After all, they are facts. Duh.
The chief export of Cole Hamels is K's.
In a related story, the chief export of Shawn Kemp is children.
Ryan Dumpster- Chicago Cubs (SP) Vs. Atlanta Braves Win: 9 IP, 2 ER, 11 K, 0 BB
If Cubs fans would have known that Ryan Dempster would be their best pitcher midway through June, I don’t think they would have been very happy. But here he is, striking out everyone and leading the Cubbies in wins. Obviously, the only downside to his fantastic start is that I can no longer refer to him as ‘Dumpster’, which was probably the most perfect sports nickname of all-time.
Justin Verlander- Detroit Tigers (SP) Vs. Chicago White Sox Win: 9 IP, 1 ER, 3 K, 0 BB
Maybe Ozzie needs to start yelling at people again.
…as for the bums
Mark Teixeira- Atlanta Braves (1B) Vs. Chicago Cubs 0-for-4, 2 K
Don’t mess with Dumpster.
Darrell Rasner- New York Yankees Vs. Oakland Athletics Loss: 3.2 IP, 9 H, 6 ER, 4 K
- First David Ortiz, now Albert Pujols. It has been a tough couple of weeks if you own a slugging first baseman. How is a fantasy team to survive? Maybe A’s super-prospect Daric Barton can help out. He’s surging now after a terrible May.
- Rafael Furcal was tearing it up before he went down on May 6 with a back strain. Also: he’ll be a free agent this year. Funny how those things work out. Furcal says he doesn’t want to rush back until he’s fully healthy (why mess up a .366 batting average, right?), so don’t expect him to return before the All-Star Game.
- ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick takes a look at some players who aren’t hitting for power like they should be. It is kind of crazy that Victor Martinez still has no homers. If it’s any wonder why my fantasy team is struggling, I drafted three guys on this list. You’re killing me, Cano.
- SI’s Tom Verducci goes out on a limb and says Chipper Jones won’t hit .400. Gee, thanks Tom. Hitting .400 is kind of hard. I think we all knew that. Still, if anyone is going to do it, Chipper Jones has a great shot. He’s been one of the more underrated hitters of his generation. Just take a look at his career stats: not many guys can OPS over 1.000 two years in a row at his age. And those on-base percentages. As for as hitters who started in the mid 90s (correction: who were in their prime in the mid-90s?), I may only take Griffey, Bonds, and A-Rod over Jones.
- Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal reports the Dodgers, currently 3.5 games back in the underwhelming NL West, could deal the young and awesome Matt Kemp for a veteran power bat at the trade deadline. I can’t imagine Dodgers fans would be pleased with a Kemp for Jason Bay swap, but they are still too busy mocking Paul Peirce to pay attention.
- Finally…is it ever too early to start talking fantasy football? I say no. We’ll kick up the football coverage in about a month, but the fine people at RotoArcade already have their eyes on a sleeper running back, and, wouldn’t you know, it’s the Bears very own Matt Forte. Forte’s worth should be determined by whether or not the Bears bring in a veteran free agent to split carries with him. In today’s paper, Brad Biggs takes a look at who is available. Kevin Jones wouldn’t be bad, I suppose. But if it’s just Peterson and Wolfe, Forte could be a third round pick, and probably the second rookie selected after the Raiders’ Darren McFadden.
Ryan Ludwick- St. Louis Cardinals (RF/LF) Vs. Cincinnati Reds 4-for-5, 1 HR, 4 RBI, 1 R
What’s going on with the Cardinals? I don’t know if it’s more surprising that St. Louis is 12 games over .500 or that they haven’t had anyone arrested for a DUI yet this season. Just when you think you know somebody, right? Well I heard Cedric Benson’s got some time on his hands now. Did you know he used to be a pretty good baseball player!? True story.
Hanley Ramirez- Florida Marlins (SS) Vs. Philadelphia Phillies 2-for-3, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 R, 1 BB
Hanley Ramirez is awesome, awesome, awesome, awesome, awesome. Yeah, five awesome’s. He’s that good. Quickly: Was the Josh Beckett for Hanley Ramirez swap possibly the most fair trade in the history of baseball? The Red Sox won a World Series because of the excellence of JB, while the Marlins got the best young shortstop of my lifetime.
Lance Berkman- Houston Astros (1B) Vs. Milwaukee Brewers 3-for-4. 1 HR, 5 RBI, 1 3B, 1 R
I realized Berkman was mashing this season at a record rate, but how does the dude they call Fat Elvis already have 10 steals? That’s a career high and we’re not even half way through June.
Dustin McGowan- Toronto Blue Jays (SP) Vs. Seattle Mariners Win: 9 IP, 1 ER, 7 K, 2 BB
Seriously, how do you expect me to write jokes about Dustin McGowan? I'm just not that funny. Feel free to add your own in the comments section.
CC Sabathia- Cleveland Indians (SP) Vs. Minnesota Twins Win: 9 IP, 0 ER, 5 K, 0 BB
Ah, good ole’ CC Sabathia. It’s easy to make fun of him: he’s fat, you see. Last time Sabathia saw 90210, it was on the scale.
Roy Oswalt- Houston Astros (SP) Vs. Milwaukee Brewers Win: 7 IP, 1 ER, 10 K, 0 BB
Since this is the first day of our new fantasy sports blog, we need to get something out of the way: Jay Bruce. Now that we’ve mentioned him, this is all starting to feel official.
If you aren’t one of the lucky few that owns the Reds’ young slugger on your fantasy baseball team, you may want to take a look at acquiring Vernon Wells, who recently came off the disabled list for the Blue Jays. Wells is probably owned in most leagues, but could be a good trade target if you need help in center field.
Let’s make one thing clear: this isn’t the same Vernon Wells we saw last year. You know, the guy that looked like the position player counterpart of Barry Zito, after flaming out in the first season of a new seven-year, $126 million contract. With all the hate he received last year, you may have thought fantasy owners were talking about David Wells, not Vernon. But this wasn’t an obvious case of too many helpings of cheesecake: Wells seems to become a significantly worse player overnight for no apparent reason.
A stellar 2006 season made Wells arguably fantasy baseball’s premier center fielder. That year, he smacked 32 homers, stole a career-high 17 bases, and drove in 106 runs, all while hitting above .300. That type of production made Wells a second round pick in most drafts.
Then his OPS dropped nearly .200 points the next season, to a Corey Patterson like .706. He may have been fantasy baseball’s biggest bust.
Maybe it was the pressure of playing with such a big contract. Whatever the problem was, it seemed to disappear before Wells got hurt on May 9. On June 7, Wells came off the DL with a bang: in his first two games back, he went 5-for-7 with two runs, two RBI, and a homer.
Wells went hitless last night against the Mariners, but has some favorable series approaching with the Blue Jays drawing the NL Central in interleague play. Besides the Cubbies, no team in that division should scare anyone.