Monday, July 23, 2012
This week in (fantasy) baseball 7/16-7/22Posted by Karl de Vries at 5:03am
It’s hard enough following one’s own fantasy team without having to keep track of an entire sport’s daily transactions. To assist you, here’s a column dedicated to recapping the most notable trades, signings, promotions, demotions and role changes across the majors over the past week as they relate to fantasy. We'll do this on a weekly basis. If you feel I've missed anything important, please don't hesitate to keep the conversation going in the comments below.
• A left wrist strain landed Jose Bautista on the DL last week, sidelining the slugger until at least August. That opens up a spot in Toronto’s outfield and could translate to regular playing time for promising 21-year-old prospect Anthony Gose, who was called up in Bautista’s absence.
Gose, who was batting .292/.375/.432 in the hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League at the time of his call-up, probably figures to contribute more defensively than offensively, especially in the near term, though he’s an immediate stolen-base threat, having swiped 223 bags in his minor league career.
In his quest for playing time, the biggest problem facing Gose is Travis Snider, who was also called up last week after shredding Triple-A pitching to the tune of a .335 average and 1.021 OPS in 56 games. Both players are worth a look in AL-only leagues while Bautista recovers, though I suspect Snider will secure more at-bats over the next week or so as Gose is used as a late-inning defensive replacement/pinch runner.
• Joey Votto underwent arthroscopic knee surgery last week, giving Todd Frazier a chance to pick up at-bats at first base for the Reds. Early reports suggest Votto is making progress ahead of schedule, but he’s probably going to miss the next couple of weeks.
• Ian Desmond’s oblique injury is more serious than previously realized, as an MRI revealed late last week that he suffered a tear, which will keep him out for at least a few weeks. Danny Espinosa will continue to see starts at shortstop, while Steve Lombardozzi will continue to anchor second base.
• After getting rocked over his last three appearances, Johan Santana landed on the DL late last week with a sore ankle, opening up another wound in the Mets’ already thin rotation. But after being passed over for a promotion earlier in the month, it now looks as if prospect Matt Harvey will make his major league debut on Thursday, even though he was lit up in his last Triple-A start. The Mets have been reluctant to push their second-best pitching prospect, but one imagines they'll give him an opportunity to stick around given the loss of Gee and Santana's absence. Harvey is worth a flier in all NL-only leagues and someone worth considering in deeper mixed leagues.
Meanwhile, rookie Jeremy Hefner (1-3, 5.85 ERA, 1.360 WHIP, 5.01 K/9) will pick up a start on Wednesday.
• Injuries have limited Matt Capps to just 28.1 innings this season, and that number is not going to get any higher for a while, as rotator cuff irritation has placed the Twins’ closer on the DL until at least September. Glen Perkins and Jared Burton are the obvious choices to pick up saves in Capps’ absence, and both players closed games this week.
• Luke Scott was placed on the DL for the second time in a month after straining his right oblique, giving both Hideki Matsui and Jeff Keppinger more playing time.
Other bumps and bruises
• It’s bad enough that Hanley Ramirez sliced up a finger on his right hand after punching a fan in the dugout a few weeks ago (fan as in mechanical object, not paying customer, for what it’s worth). But now, we’re learning that Ramirez failed to take his medication one day last week, leading him to an infection which will cost him at least the upcoming series against Atlanta, Ozzie Guillen said. Greg Dobbs picked up some starts at third base over the weekend, so it’s fair to assume he’ll keep Han-Ram’s seat warm until he returns.
• Lower back tightness will force Roy Oswalt to miss Monday’s start against the Red Sox, giving Scott Feldman a chance to pitch, the team announced Sunday. Also, it seems as if Colby Lewis will miss Tuesday’s start with forearm stiffness, which could result in Martin Perez getting promoted to the majors for the second time this season.
• Matt Garza left his start on Saturday after just three innings due to a triceps cramp, which could land the Cubs’ veteran on the DL. It will be interesting to see what, if any, impact the injury has on Garza’s trade value as the deadline nears.
• It sounds as if a left hip flexor strain will torpedo Nick Swisher in week 17, as he’s not expected to be back in the lineup until Friday.
• Drew Pomeranz will miss his next start with arm soreness, the Rockies announced Sunday. In his place, Carlos Torres (1-0, 2.19 ERA, 1.054 WHIP, 5.8 K/9 in 12.1 relief innings) could take the ball on Tuesday, or the team could dip into the minors to call up a replacement, manager Jim Tracy said.
• Erick Aybar suffered a toe contusion after fouling a ball off his right foot over the weekend, and he could miss playing time in week 16. In response, the Angels called up infielder Jean Segura, who was hitting .294/.346/.404 in 414 Double-A plate appearances this year. Segura, 22, was listed as Baseball America’s 55th rated prospect entering this season, but it’s unclear whether he’ll gather enough at-bats to make a fantasy impact, or whether Aybar’s injury is significant enough to open up a spot in the starting lineup.
• Wilin Rosario could land on the disabled list after spraining his ankle trying to block a pitch last week.
Road to recovery
• Although he doesn’t yet have a timetable for his return to the majors, Jayson Werth (wrist) made his first rehab appearance over the weekend.
• After missing nearly two months with a right Achilles injury, Andy Dirks was assigned to Triple-A Toledo on Sunday to begin his rehab assignment.
• It looks as if Gavin Floyd will make the start today after missing a few weeks with right elbow tendinitis.
• Phenom Trevor Bauer was demoted to Triple-A after struggling in a start last week against the Reds. One imagines he’ll be back with the club before long, but owners in shallower redraft leagues might consider cutting him, as he won’t be a fantasy factor in the immediate future.
• After torching Triple-A pitching this year (.351/.388/.572) and leading the minors in RBIs, third baseman Ryan Wheeler was called up to the Diamondbacks over the weekend. Unfortunately, it’s not clear how much playing time he’ll garner, as the team still plans to use Ryan Roberts and Willie Bloomquist at the hot corner for the time being. But if Wheeler can get off to a fast start, he’s definitely someone to watch in mixed leagues, since the power is legit, and he could force his way into regular playing time to finish out the season.
Commodities on the move
• Remember when people actually debated which team got the better end of the Melky Cabrera-Jonathan Sanchez trade? Me neither. Ditto goes for the Jeremy Guthrie-Jason Hammel trade that also went down over the offseason between the Rockies and the Orioles, as Hammel enjoyed a breakout season while Guthrie wallowed in a 3-9 record with a 6.35 ERA and 1.688 WHIP. So last week’s deal was a classic change-of-scenery opportunity, as the teams swapped Guthrie and Sanchez.
For Sanchez, a once-formidable strikeout pitcher with a no-hitter under his belt, the chronic control problems that have plagued his career came roaring back in an ugly way this season thanks to a 7.4 BB/9, and somehow I don’t think Colorado will grant him any favors, even if a return to the National League can only help him.
As for Guthrie, he’ll be joining a team that features a bullpen with a better ERA and strand rate, and a guy suffering from a 18.6 percent HR/FB rate will almost certainly keep more balls in the park, despite facing a designated hitter every time through the batting order.
• The White Sox solidified their bullpen in a big way last week when they acquired Brett Myers from Houston, dealing the Astros two minor leaguers and a player to be named later. Myers, 31, has put together a solid season in his return to closing duties, compiling 19 saves, a 1.340 WHIP and a 54.3 percent ground ball rate, though his 5.87 K/9 was well below expectations, considering he was a strikeout-per-inning pitcher during his 2007 campaign as the Phillies closer.
No matter; he brings credibility to the back end of the White Sox bullpen, and while Robin Ventura insists that Addison Reed will continue to get the ball in the ninth inning, Reed’s recent inconsistency—and the White Sox need to perform during the stretch run—leads me to believe Myers could emerge as the man in Chicago before long.
As for Houston, Francisco Cordero will take over as Myers’ replacement, though the 38-year-old will only have NL-only value until he can prove to be a reliably daily option, as well as fending off advances from Wilton Lopez, who’s had a solid season thus far.
Karl de Vries is a New Jersey-based writer and journalist who prefers following fantasy baseball to watching his hapless Mets embarrass themselves on TV every night. He can be reached at karl[dot]rotodiamond[at]gmail.com or followed on Twitter at @Karl_de_Vries.