Fantasy Notes: Farnsworth Bags Rare Save
In the boxscore it looks pretty impressive: a perfect inning to save the Yankees’ 2-1 in Houston Friday night. But Kyle Farnsworth – only taking the final inning because Manager Joe Girardi was giving regular closer Mariano Rivera a much needed day off – earned his first save of the season in a rather lucky manner. He got the lead-off hitter in an 0-2 hole and then managed to allow the count to run full before hitting him with a pitch. A horrible bunt attempt resulted in a pop-up out, and then Ty Wigginton, on first with the HBP, stupidly tried to steal second, resulting in out number two. One whiff of Geoff Blum later and it was game over. Newsflash: even a blind squirrel can find a nut from time to time. Farnsworth remains useless in all but the very deepest of AL-only leagues.
Speaking of Mo, he had pitched in four straight games, so thank goodness Girardi was smart enough to give him a pass Friday. Rivera has shown himself to be human of late, getting scored upon in two of his past five outings. Regardless of the recent cracks in his armour, Rivera is enjoying a career year at the age of 38, which is really saying something considering how brilliant a career he’s had. If you enjoy having your mind blown, take a peek at his strikeout-to-walk ratio.
In his third start since moving into the rotation, Joba Chamberlain tossed a quality start, scattering just six hits and a run in six innings of work. Now up to a 95-pitch limit as his arm gets stretched out, Chamberlain struggled with his command for the second time in three tries, but on Friday it didn’t wind up hurting him. So far, he’s enjoyed a very impressive 2.84 ERA as a starter, but the peripherals don’t support such a low ERA. Just a word of warning to his owners here; watch those walks.
Shawn Chacon, who has largely been ignored as a fantasy commodity despite a strong start to the season, bounced back from two rough outings with an excellent start on Friday night. Okay, Chacon’s giving up too many homers, and his command has slipped, but surely you could do worse in a fair-sized NL-only league. Like I said, he’s trending down since a fine April, but perhaps last night’s solid outing against a very strong offense was the sign of a turnaround. I’d watch his next outing closely and get ready to put in a claim if it meets with your approval.
Could Yankee reliever Jose Veras move into a more prominent role in the New York pen? He’s tossed five straight scoreless outings, giving up just two hits and three walks in seven innings while fanning eight. It’s a small sample size, but if Veras continues to pitch with the excellent control he’s shown this season, he has a very good chance to work himself into a more responsible set-up role. If you tracks holds, I’d put this dude on your watch list.
Derek Jeter continues to scuffle through the worst season of his fantastic career, but believe it or not, his .280 BA for June represents his best mark of the season so far. He’s finally starting to show some pop, too, jacking his second blast of the month Friday, giving him four for the year. But unless Jeter picks up the pace and starts getting on base at his more customary clips, he may miss out on 100 runs for just the second time in 13 years.
Ty Wigginton is expected to see less PT at third in Houston, which is a shame because he’s actually played well lately (.310 in June). Thanks to his gap power, Wigginton is a solid NL-only asset, but if his at bats are reduced, I’d dump him pronto. Blum is supposed to start seeing more action, but so far, Wigginton has started every game since Manager Cecil Cooper suggested he wanted to get Blum in there more often. So keep an eye on this, but don’t make a move yet.
Michael Bourn is starting to pay dividends for his owners. Sure, the steals have been great, but those of you who were forced to suck up his .195 April and .214 May just to avail of those swipes can finally smile now. Bourn is batting .364 in June, lifting his season average to a less unsightly .230. Looking to buy low for some steals? I’d get on that now, because Bourn’s value is about to explode.
One struggling player who is still not turning it around is Robinson Cano, currently on an 0-for-15 skid. Cano appeared to be getting his act together last month, batting .295 after an embarrassingly ugly April. But whatever progress he made last month seems to have disappeared. For a guy many people (myself included) expect to bag a batting title or three before all is said and done, Cano has been an awful disappointment so far this year. It’s been so bad that in very shallow leagues, he’s even winding up on some waiver wires.
So, as discussed above, Blum is supposed to start seeing more action at third for the ‘Stros. Well, he’s only had one at bat in each of the past two games, and despite some solid play the past two months in limited action, I am not really sure he deserves more PT. Just how much freaking action can you give to a dude who is swinging a .167 bat against righties? I’d dismiss this report as idle talk and ignore Blum until he gives you reason not to.