The Wire Troll: Great Scott!
Felipe Lopez has come off the DL and needs to be added to your team.
It is now time for some tough decisions regarding those underachievers in your league play. I was finally forced to give up the dream and cut Nick Markakis last week in a no-bench format. You can only live with the dead wood and underachievers for so long before it becomes prudent to make changes and we’re very quickly approaching that time. Address your specific needs, make the moves that are needed, and don’t look back.
Moving forward, let’s take a look at some of the options that can provide relief heading into the last week of May.
Luke Scott, OF, Baltimore Orioles: After a terrible start to the 2010 campaign, Scott has caught fire. In his past ten games, he’s slugged four homers with ten RBI, scored nine runs and has gone 17-for-38 for an incredible .447 BA. Get Scott active in all formats while he’s on a roll.
Felipe Lopez, 2B, St. Louis Cardinals: Lopez was activated off the DL Monday and in six games since returning has hit two homers with five RBI and scored five runs hitting at the top of the order for the Cards. The combination of Brendan Ryan struggling and Lopez having the ability to play all over the infield should be a huge asset for both Tony La Russa and your Fantasy squad. Lopez managed to score 88 runs for Milwaukee in 2009 and hitting in front of Albert Pujols is not going to hurt his chances for some serious production over the summer as RotoRob prophetically suggested Friday, the very afternoon before he went yard that evening.
Corey Hart, OF, Milwaukee Brewers: Hart has seemingly found his power stroke and has now mashed five homers and driven in nine runs in his past ten games. He’s hitting the long ball, but with 10 strikeouts in his last 39 at-bats there is still cause for concern. Get Hart active and on your roster and enjoy the power surge while he’s producing because in all probability it won’t be sustained.
Carlos Gomez, OF, Milwaukee Brewers: In two games since being activated from the DL, Gomez has gone 4-for-10 with a homer and four RBI. His strike zone judgment is what it is — terrible at best, but the stolen base potential simply can’t be ignored. If you have the need for speed, get Gomez rostered and hope he gets on base enough to get the stolen base opportunities.
Carlos Villanueva, RP, Milwaukee Brewers: Villanueva is the current flavour of the week as the ninth inning man in Milwaukee as Trevor Hoffman attempts to straighten out his mechanics. Villanueva earned his first save Thursday, pitching a perfect inning against the Pirates, and followed it up by blowing the save Saturday against a real offense, the Twins. If you’re totally desperate for saves, he does appear to be the favourite at this time, just keep your expectations very low. The Brewers could be turning to Triple-A Nashville very quickly for bullpen help.
Corey Patterson, OF, Baltimore Orioles: Patterson got the call from Triple-A Norfolk to replace the ineffective Nolan Reimold and the Orioles immediately inserted him at the top of their lineup. Patterson still strikes out way too much and doesn’t take a walk, but in 45 at-bats has managed two homers, nine runs scored and has swiped three bags. Some things never change, but as long as he’s hitting in the lead-off slot he does have value, especially in AL-only formats.
P.J. Walters, SP, St. Louis Cardinals: With that grand slam Friday, Brad Penny managed to slug his way onto a 15-day DL stint with a strained right lat. The 24-year-old Walters was enjoying an outstanding campaign at Triple-A Memphis and in three starts over 18 2/3 IP had allowed only one earned run, nine hits and three walks while striking out 23. He struggled in 2009 with the Redbirds but until “Babe” Penny returns, he is likely the benefactor of at least a couple starts and worthy of adding in NL-only leagues.
Hisanori Takahashi, RP, New York Mets: The 35-year-old has exceeded all expectations in his first MLB season. The former Yomiuri Giant took the hill Friday against the Yankees for his first major league start and went six strong innings. Just be wary that Takahashi’s current strikeout rate (38 in 32 IP) are way in excess of his career history in Japan and are more than likely to regress — especially in a starting role. He should be rostered in NL-only and deeper formats.
Jeff Francis, SP, Colorado Rockies: On Saturday, in his second start since returning from shoulder surgery, Francis pitched 6 1/3 IP, limiting the Royals to five hits and two walks while fanning three to gain his first victory since 2008. When healthy, he has demonstrated ace starter potential as evidenced by that 17-win season back in 2007. The Rockies can certainly use him with Jorge De La Rosa still out for another three weeks or so. Get Francis active in all formats in anticipation of more positive results.
Jason Donald, SS, Cleveland Indians: Donald, a player we’ve been watching all season, got the call this week to replace Asdrubal Cabrera who hit the DL for the next 8-to-10 weeks with a fractured left forearm. In 137 at-bats at Triple-A Columbus, he managed two homers, 17 RBI, 10 thefts and 27 runs hitting at the top of the order, a place he could find himself in with the Tribe in short order. Spend some of that FAAB cash in AL-only leagues this week and keep Donald on the radar in all formats. Shortstop is not a position filled with quality depth in 2010.
Coco Crisp, OF, Oakland Athletics: Crisp finally made his 2010 debut with the Athletics’ Friday and had an immediate impact, going 2-for-3 with two RBI. It has been a long time since those two solid seasons back in Cleveland in 2004 and 2005, but a healthy Crisp could prove to be an asset in all formats as he’s batting leadoff for the A’s, an area they’ve struggled with the early part of this season.
Laynce Nix, OF, Cincinnati Reds: The 29-year-old journeyman outfielder has certainly taken advantage of interleague play this weekend. Since returning to the Reds lineup Thursday after taking a week off to deal with back spasms, Nix has now hit homers in three consecutive games and driven in seven runs. The Cincy outfield is very crowded, but Dusty Baker will go with the hot hand, making Nix a solid buy in NL-only leagues for at least the short term.
Chris Iannetta, C, Colorado Rockies: In January, the Rockies signed Iannetta to a three-year, $8.35-million extension and then proceed to give him 30 at-bats before shipping him off to Triple-A Colorado Springs. Why has Colorado soured on a player that just a scant five months ago was considered its catcher of the future? What is this organization thinking? Iannetta is currently tearing the cover off the ball with five homers, 21 RBI and a .349 BA in 63 at-bats down on the farm. Don’t expect him to remain at Triple-A indefinitely as the trading deadline approaches; in fact, one rumour suggests that the Red Sox are looking at him as a potential long-term solution at catcher. Imagine how much Iannetta’s stock would soar if that happened.
Trevor Crowe, OF, Cleveland Indians: With both Asdrubal Cabrera and Grady Sizemore hitting the DL last week, the Tribe has turned to Crowe to help pick up the slack at the top of the order. The 26-year-old has responded by going 10-for-33 with one homer, seven RBI, and a pair of thefts. Crowe should remain a fixture in the Tribe lineup until the injury woes sort themselves out, making him a solid acquisition in AL-only leagues.
Jeremy Bonderman, SP, Detroit Tigers: Amazingly, the poster child for young pitcher abuse is starting to look like a valued asset once again. He has now amassed 16 strikeouts in his last 14 IP while allowing only three earned runs. Bonderman is worth a flier in both AL-only and deeper formats.
Edwin Jackson, SP, Arizona Diamondbacks: Jackson now has 36 strikeouts in his past four starts. He still walks too many and is prone to the big inning, but if you need Ks, you should give him a look-see. The woeful Arizona bullpen guarantees that Jackson will pitch deep into games.