Fantasy Notes: Youk Dodges Bullet
Owners of Red Sox first baseman Kevin Youkilis have to be breathing a sigh of relief with news that he should be able to play Friday after having to come out of Wednesday’s game when he was nailed by a pitch in the thumb. X-rays were negative, so it’s quite possible he’ll be back in the lineup as Boston opens up a series in Chicago against the White Sox. What crappy timing a serious injury to Youkilis would have been considering how scorching he’s been so far this month. He had hit in 12 straight games before leaving after getting plunked in his first at bat of the game Wednesday. In four of his five games this month prior to Wednesday, Youkilis had recorded at least two hits, going 10-for-23 overall. Last month, we talked about how as his walks have gone down, his BA has gone up. Sure enough, Youk has drawn just two walks so far in August, opting instead to swing away with great results (.435 BA). He’s steadily increased his power the last three seasons to the point where he has become one of the 25 most valuable position players in fantasy ball.
We’ve had an Adam Stern sighting, as the former Red Sox and Brave has shown up on the Canadian Olympic Baseball team. Stern, who was in the running for a bench job with the O’s last season, only wound up appearing in two games for Baltimore, but enjoyed a decent season at Triple-A Norfolk. This year, he’s really struggled, batting just .221 for Norfork, so let’s hope some Olympic exposure can help turn his season around. Stern’s chances of making it back to majors appear grim at this point.
One of the great early-season stories was the job Gabe Kapler did while filling in for the suspended Mike Cameron. Of course, once Cameron returned, Kapler went to the weak side of the platoon, so his value has steadily decreased to the point where he is only of use in the deepest of NL-only leagues. He’s the ideal platoon partner for Cameron, who torches righties (1010 OPS), but sucks vs. lefties (.209 BA). Kapler, meanwhile, molests southpaws at a 970 OPS clip, but his mark against righties (.284) suggests to me that he’d be a valuable player given a full-time position. Still, with a .310 BA and more power than he’s ever shown before, it’s been a tremendous comeback for Kapler, who was retired last season.