Fantasy Notes: Halo Resurgence
You think it’s time to reconsider Garret Anderson as a viable fantasy outfielder? Thursday, he went 4-for-5 for the second straight game to run his hitting streak to eight games. After hitting .188 with just one dinger and eight measly RBI in June, the vet looked pretty damned washed up. Well, Anderson’s recent streak helped him finish July at .384 with five homers, 16 runs and 22 RBI. Clearly, we weren’t that bullish on Anderson’s prospects for 2008 in our pre-season rankings, but he’s sure an asset right now.
Okay, no, he’s hardly dominating, but Joe Saunders just keeps friggin’ winning. Wednesday, he tossed another quality start to earn his 14th win of the season, leaving him — in only 21 starts — just one behind his career total that took 35 starts to achieve. Saunders’s command has been less than inspiring, making me wonder how the hell he’s achieving an ERA in the low 3.00 range, but you can’t argue with the results. Trade high? It’s something we talked about when we gave Saunders kudos in our Mid-Season Awards special, and it’s not a bad idea. Play up the wins, and target yourself a pitcher with a higher ERA that’s on its way down, but one with better strikeout potential, and see if you can land a bat in the deal.
By the way, have you noticed the Angels have enjoyed three-game sweeps over the BoSox twice in the past two weeks and then followed that up by destroying New York at Yankee Stadium Thursday? The best team in baseball keeps rolling, and clearly is not intimidated playing the super powers of the AL.
Of course, Boston has been reeling, losing five of six. Thankfully, the Sox got a day off Thursday to regroup before starting a series against the equally floundering A’s at Fenway. It will be fascinating to see how the BoSox regroup in the post-Manny Ramirez era.
So how will Manny be affected by the move away from Boston? Fenway has clearly been good to his BA, and generally for his power (although this year, he’s slugging 50 points higher on the road). But before you get excited about a move to LA, consider that Dodger Stadium is the absolute worst hitter’s park in the majors this season. Man-Ram may be revitalized by the deal to an extent (although, frankly, he’s been playing his best ball of the season leading up to the trade), but the sad fact is that he’s going to suffer both in the average and power departments by playing half his games in Dodger Stadium. If you can cash in his awesome (.361) July to someone seeking some offense, go for it.
Carlos Quentin is showing no signs of slowing down. In the past two games, he’s gone 5-for-9 with four RBI, two runs, two doubles and a homer. Okay, so he only hit .265 in July. Who cares? The dude smacked a season-high nine homers last month, while scoring 21 runs and driving in 22. I am just so impressed by his power explosion this year; combined with his new-found on-base skills, he’s become a real stud. Hell, Quentin is even swiping a few bases here and there. He’ll be 26 later this month, and is just scraping the surface on his prime power years.
Gavin Floyd has been a bit inconsistent lately, but he sure looked good Wednesday, limiting the Twinkies to five hits and a run over 7 2/3 IP, fanning four and walking just one. Floyd had a 3.34 ERA in July despite some command issues, but the fact that he has not been hit harder than .241 in any one month this season speaks volumes about his progress. We’re talking about a guy who was battered in his last season in Philly (no, I don’t think Brett Myers was involved), and who was hit to the tune of .299 last season with the ChiSox. Yeah, I’d like to see more Ks, but it’s hard not to be impressed by Floyd’s development this year.
If you haven’t already jumped on the Alexei Ramirez bandwagon, you’ve probably missed your chance. We hyped him in pre-season, but then he made us look like idiots (not a difficult task) by hitting .138 in April. Check out the dude’s numbers since: .295 with ten runs in May; .355 with 11 runs and 17 RBI in June; and .356 with 16 runs, four homers and four steals in July. There are too many kids slugging the ball well and pitching superbly for him to be a serious candidate, but Ramirez deserves to at least have his name in the mix for AL ROY.
Despite Jim Thome and Jermaine Dye both going yard Thursday, the Sox got whipped by the Twins to see their AL Central lead shrink back to half a game. How strange is that? Well, before Thursday, Chicago was 34-11 when hitting two or more dingers in one game. Even when they homer just once, they’ve gone 55-23.
Carlos Pena looks like he’s heating up after a mostly moribund season. During the first two months of the year, he looked nothing like the man who exploded in 2007. He got off to a great start in June, batting .304, before a busted digit knocked him out. I’m really encouraged by the power he’s shown since coming back. His home run Wednesday was his seventh of July, capping his most productive month of the year, including 17 runs and 18 RBI. Okay, after 2007, Pena’s runs and RBI production are huge disappointments this year, but with a strong finish he can certainly help you recoup some of that investment you made, likely with a fifth round pick.