Fantasy Notes: Not-So-Great Scott
When Scott Rolen was dealt from the Cards to the Jays in the offseason, we were bullish on this trade from Toronto’s perspective, assuming that if Rolen could overcome his shoulder problems, the potential for him to bounce back was greater than that of Troy Glaus. While Rolen has made a modest recovery, the shoulder has again been an issue, rendering him a virtual non-factor from a fantasy perspective. He’s eligible to come off the DL Tuesday, but it’s unlikely he’ll be back immediately. Glaus, on the other hand, has stayed healthy, and he’s been a must-own fantasy third baseman as a result. Not only has he enjoyed a very productive season, sparked by the best plate discipline of his career, but he’s also never fielded better at the hot corner. Glaus got off to a weak start, but has been superb since a sluggish few weeks to open the campaign.
The Cards, meanwhile, have been one of the surprise stories of the year, turning things around after bottoming out in 2007. Sunday, the team took the rubber match of its series against the Braves, 6-3, to move to a season-high tying 14 games over .500, the fourth time they’ve reach this height. For the year, St. Louis won five of seven against the Braves, helping to turn Atlanta’s season into an ongoing nightmare. The Cards have been pecking away at Wild Card leading Brewers, and with a crucial three-game series starting against them Tuesday night, all eyes will be on these teams as Manager Tony La Russa tries to orchestrate one of the most remarkable miracles of his career to date.
Need some pitching help? Try Todd Wellemeyer, still underappreciated despite his superb performance lately. Wednesday, he earned his 11th win of the season (not bad for a guy with nine career wins heading into the season), pitching decently, although only lasting five innings with a high pitch count. Check out Wellemeyer’s last six starts: his ERA is under 2.50 thanks to a .230 BAA. He lost a lot of believers after a rough June and even worse July, but in August, Wellemeyer has been all that, and you need to reconsider him right now. No, he won’t be a big help in strikeout leagues, but in a 4×4 league, Wellemeyer is gold.
Wellemeyer’s opposing starter Monday is the formidable Ben Sheets, but perhaps he’s catching the Milwaukee ace at the right time, as Sheets has shown some cracks in his armour of late. The strange thing is, since the Brew Crew brought in C.C. Sabathia, Sheets hasn’t seemed himself. He looked like a serious horse, going at least seven innings in eight of his first 16 starts this year; since then, he’s done so just twice in nine tries. In his eight starts since Sabathia arrived, Sheets has earned just one win, and Milwaukee has gone 3-5 in those games. It’s not as if he’s getting slapped around (just ten hits allowed in 12 2/3 IP in his last two starts, both losses), but considering the wonderful start he had to the season (10-3, 2.85 prior to the break), Sheets’ 1-4 record with an ERA of 4.00 since the All-Star break looks awful. He’s not exactly living up to our mid-season Cy Young talk, is he?
Speaking of Sabathia, uh, can I just say ‘wow?’ He somehow was denied a win Sunday despite a solid six-inning effort in which he gave up just one run. With an 8-0 record and 1.59 ERA, plus 74 strikeouts and just 15 walks in 79 IP and ten starts since joining Milwaukee, it no longer seems ridiculous to put him into the Cy Young picture despite him pitching just a partial season in the NL. Remember that April he had? Man, does that ever seem like a lifetime ago. In the meantime, if the Yanks are serious about taking a run at C.C. this offseason, that price tag just keeps going up. How’d you like to be Sabathia’s agent this winter?
Those of you who gambled that Chris Carpenter would provide a nice second-half addition to your rotation must be getting frustrated – and with good reason. He said his throwing session on Sunday went well, and that he felt stronger than during his last session, but he still isn’t exactly airing it out. So if you’re thinking that the shoulder soreness won’t keep him out long, think again. Carpenter is scheduled for another throwing session Wednesday, but I don’t expect to see him back on the mound until the middle of September, so if you’ve got your eye on another hurler (say, Wellemeyer), go ahead and dump this Carp back in the water.