Jamie Moyer isn’t getting much run support these days.
In today’s Fantasy notes, we look at an old timer in Em City, a fine young Mariner prospect and an injury-prone hurler in Brooklyn.
- How hard luck has Jamie Moyer been? In his 17 starts, the club is just 8-9, thanks in great part to being shut out four times. In all, Seattle has been blanked nine times already — worst in the American League. Maybe the Mariners are trying to tell the old guy something. They might be telling their fans something, too. Seven of those shutouts have come at home (three when Moyer takes the mound). There’s an interesting marketing promotion in there somewhere, I’m sure. How about Mariners’ Goose Egg Day?
- With Jeremy Reed going down with a broken thumb, we’ll get another look at Mariner prospect Shin-Soo Choo. Signed out of Korea in 2000, Choo has a chance to be Ichiro-lite, bringing similar tools to the show. While he struggled in a 10-game trial with Seattle at the end of 2005 (1-for-18 with one run and one RBI), Choo was tearing up the PCL this year. His 104 hits and 60 runs both ranked second and he was batting over .325 at the time of his recall, including a .452 run over the past 24 games (is that Ichiro-like enough for you?). Choo is expected to platoon in centrefield with Willie Bloomquist, but with Reed out four-to-six weeks and very likely having to undergo surgery, Choo (who turns 24 in nine days) has a great opportunity to establish himself. Given that Reed has struggled in his sophomore season, he could get Wally Pipp-ed here.
- Pedro Martinez’s inflamed right hip, which has already cost him a start, forced him to move his side session up a day. He was scheduled to throw on the side Wednesday, but it’s been delayed until Thursday. I smell a DL stint. Martinez is supposed to pitch Saturday against the Marlins, and if that gets nixed, watch for top prospect Mike Pelfrey to get the call and make his major league debut. The 22-year-old, only drafted last year (ninth overall), is excelling at Double-A. He’s won four of six decisions with a stellar 2.71 ERA and an average of well over a strikeout per inning. However, Pelfrey has walked 26 in just 66 2/3 IP, so those control issues will need to be ironed out. As a dominant starter at Wichita State, Pelfrey exhibited excellent control.
- Where’s Bob Boone when you need him? The Phillies’ catching situation is out of control. Mike Lieberthal is still experiencing pain in his hip when trying to run the bases. He’s supposed to go out on a rehab assignment this weekend and could rejoin the club after the break. Sal Fasano has been the No. 1 man in Lieberthal’s absence, but now he’s hurt his knee and landed on the DL himself. Hmm… small wonder there. Have you seen this guy? Maybe if he spent more time in the workout room and less time doing who knows what, he’d be in a bit better shape. Carlos Ruiz was brought up to take Fasano’s spot and should get a good look, but Chris Coste, on an 8-for-18 roll to jack his BA up to .294, earns some extra PT as well. Keep an eye on Ruiz. He’s 26 years old and was racking up a very solid 851 OPS at Triple-A. He bears scrutiny.
- Marlins’ rookie righty Josh Johnson turned in a fantasic May, going 3-1, 1.96. So what does he do for an encore? How about a 3-1, 1.78 June? Yeah, I guess this 22-year-old kid is for real. Last month’s performance helped him bag a share of NL Rookie of the Month. The fact that he shared it with teammate Dan Uggla underscored how hot these young Marlins are. Note, however, that Johnson got touched up for four walks and three home runs by the BoSox on Sunday. Of course, the Red Sox have been doing that to everyone these days. Everyone but Scott Kazmir, that is.
- Tony Armas, Jr. is making progress with his strained right forearm. He made the first of his two scheduled rehab starts Wednesday, giving up three hits and two runs in 2 1/3 IP for Double-A Harrisburg. He will make one more rehab start and, barring complications (never a shock with Armas), he’ll be good to go for the Nats after the break. They could use the help, but the question is, are they getting the April version (2.76) or the June version (7.13)? Armas is available on the waivers of all but the deepest mixed leagues, so get ready to pounce on him if he looks like he’s back to his early-season form.
- If you’re one of the free spirited few that have retained the services of Chris Reitsma in the hopes he will generate a 2006 return for you, dump away. He is done for the year, scheduled to have surgery within a month. The question is, how long is gone for? Reitsma will see — gulp! — Dr. Andrews in a couple of weeks, the examination from which will determine whether he has a nerve transposition operation or the full Tommy John package. Option ‘A’ has him returning to the team for Spring Training 2007. Option ‘B’ will keep him out 12-to-18 months and likely mean we won’t see the Canadian hurler throw a pitch in anger again until the 2008 season. You’ve probably already missed the boat on new Braves’ closer Juan Sosa, but double check because he looks like a decent bet for saves from here on out.
- Jim Edmonds looks poised for a big second half. Held in check most of the first half, he is starting to show signs of life. Edmonds had a six-game hit streak snapped Wednesday, but drove in another run and drew a pair of walks. Don’t count out another 100-RBI season. A healthy and productive second half will have Edmonds knocking on the door of that milestone. He should at least top last year’s total of 89 RBI.
- Craig Monroe’s OPS is 121 points higher in the second half the past three years. His July so far (6-for-17 with three runs and five RBI), signals that he’s off to the races again. Monroe is a great player to target right now.
- The Yanks have been rumoured to be seeking outfield help for weeks now, and every available big-name flyhawk out there has been linked to the Pinstripers. However, Melky Cabrera has been doing his darndest lately to prove to the club that the solution is already in house. He’s been batting much better of late, hitting safely in 10 of the last 11 games, and tonight he flexed his muscles with a 3-for-4, two-run, career-high five-RBI game, including a grand salami.
- Carl Crawford is heating up in a big way. After a 2-for-3, two-RBI, three-stolen base (one of which was of home, to boot) effort Wednesday, he now has a seven-game hitting streak, but has recorded multiple hits in the last six games. He’s driven in eight runs and stolen six bases during the streak. Crawford has jacked his BA from .305 to .325 and with 45 RBI now is on pace to break his career best of 81. He’s now heading for 64 steals which would also be a career best. Hmm… average, swipes and run production? Right now, only Ichiro is more valuable among AL outfielders.