Recap: Tyler Greene likes playing for the Astros, apparently, and post-recommendation, appropriately homered, stole a base, and got seven hits in a span of a week… The speculative recs of John Lannan, Javier Lopez and Rudy Owens have hardly paid off yet, but stash those names as potential helpers down the stretch… Jean Segura is holding his own thus far, riding a six-game hitting streak into Friday at this writing; the stolen bases will soon follow… My prediction of a 40 percent strikeout rate for Brett Jackson so far looks conservative, what with his toxic 51.4 percent rate at the moment….
And the Pick of the Week goes to the Eric Young Jr. call, as he lit the world on fire in San Fran and forgot to turn it off in a home series versus the Brewers: 12 hits in five games, two homers, a stolen base, and six runs.
Travis Snider | Pirates | OF | 5 percent Yahoo ownership | 2.3 percent ESPN ownership
YTD: .299 / .341 / .519
Oliver ROS: .261 / .314 / .426
Snider probably has universal ownership in competitive NL-only leagues. But hey, he’s recommended here in case your among the 0.9 percent of ESPN leaguers who inexplicably dropped Snider. He lost nearly a percent on his ownership rates despite pretty numbers as a Pirate: he’s hit a homer, stolen a base, driven in five, scored eight times, and hit for a .341 clip in his 41 at-bats. Snider will take the outfield on a near-daily basis, and has 15/10 potential next year according to Oliver.
To name a few with outfield eligibility that I’d ditch for Snider: Gerardo Parra (owned in 6.3 percent of ESPN leagues), Juan Pierre (18.1 percent ESPN), Alexei Amarista (7.2 percent ESPN), Tyler Colvin (11.7 percent ESPN), Bryan LaHair (22.1 percent ESPN), Carlos Quentin (35.2 percent ESPN), and Chris Young (41.7 percent ESPN). Now is the time for a shakeup, and if you own one of the above and Snider is available in your league, make the swap.
Recommendation: Worth an add on most teams for his all-around offensive contributions. Replace Melky Cabrera with him where possible.
Gregor Blanco | Giants | OF | 3 percent Yahoo ownership | 2 percent ESPN ownership
YTD: .236 / .331 / .346
Oliver ROS: .246 / .337 / .351
More scarcely owned than Snider, Blanco is nonetheless a deplorable NL-only commodity in light of Cabrera’s PED suspension. Blanco fizzled after some sizzle to start to the year, but most importantly, provided speed even when his batting average hovered around .220. In May, he stole five bases with a .315 batting clip; in June, he stole eight bases with a .218 clip. So the lesson is: When he gets on-base as a leadoff man (a role he’ll have to wrestle from the hot Angel Pagan), he’ll run. Nate Schierholtz forced his way out of town, Cabrera is now rendered to nothing, and Blanco slips into an everyday role. His stolen bases can hardly be found in abundance elsewhere, so add Blanco, shoot up the standings if you’re within strike, and count your blessings.
Recommendation: Worth an add if eight or so steals and a hefty runs scored total can help your team.
Kameron Loe | Brewers | RP | 1 percent Yahoo ownership | 0.1 percent ESPN ownership
YTD: 3.86 ERA / 1.37 WHIP / 7.2 K/9
Oliver ROS: 3.64 ERA / 1.17 WHIP / 6.8 K/9
It’s a shame Loe is having an off year in high leverage situations, or he might have already assumed ninth-inning duties for your Barnum & Bailey Brewers bullpen.
Everyone who’s been given a brief bit of slack on the closer’s role has quickly ceded his grip: John Axford blew up too consistently and too extravagantly to hand it back easily, Francisco Rodriguez never once flashed his dominant former self, and Jim Henderson (this year’s Axford), survived on deception for less than a week it seems.
So despite Loe’s suspect performance in high leverage situations in his career (6.10 FIP), it’s hard to imagine he won’t get the next save chance after a glorious, unexpected clean ninth inning on Aug. 12. Loe flashed new high leverage chops, generating a ground ball and two strikeouts. Granted, it was against the Astros offense, but he did generate four swinging strikes on his sinker. If he can channel the nastiness in that pitch on an every-night basis, he may just succeed.
Recommendation: Worth a speculative add in case he runs away with the closer’s role in Milwaukee.
Fernando Martinez | Astros | OF | 0 percent Yahoo ownership | 0.0 percent ESPN ownership
YTD: .121 / .121 / .242 (33 at-bats)
Oliver ROS: .243 / .294 / .409 (2012 forecast)
–Former top prospect
-.314/.367/.507 in his healthiest healthy minor league season since 2008 (92 games).
-Reasonably good power
-Playing time for a crappy team is still playing time
-Hardly ever healthy (from our player forecasts on Oliver: “has had severe hamstring strains on both sides, knee surgery, hip strains, and now has arthritic knees at age 23”)
-Strikes out a lot
-Has failed to impress in 57 major league games
-Might get depressed playing for Astros
The verdict/recommendation: Why not take a chance on him? Will probably score a good number of runs playing every day, and has flashed new level of power (mid teen level) in Triple-A this year.
Eric Stults | Padres | SP| 2 percent Yahoo ownership | 1.1 percent ESPN ownership
YTD: 3.02 ERA / 1.18 WHIP / 4.3 K/9
Oliver ROS: 4.25 ERA / 1.31 WHIP / 6.4 K/9
Before I begin with a Stults recommendation, take a look at this hastily made table of the home stats of Padres pitchers with 30+ innings at PETCO Park this year:
Pitcher K/9 K/BB WHIP ERA FIP xFIP Luke Gregerson 8.33 3.22 0.89 1.44 2.2 3.33 Edinson Volquez 8.69 1.79 1.22 3.24 3.29 3.91 Anthony Bass 7.44 2.19 1.28 3.4 3.5 3.66 Clayton Richard 5.05 3.07 1.12 3.05 3.92 3.93 Jason Marquis 8.42 4.25 1.32 3.72 4.03 3.3
What do you notice? Every pitcher found above is worth deploying on any fantasy team in his home starts. Edinson Volquez may own a 5.60 ERA and a 1.69 WHIP on the road… ignore it. Pretend as though you only own him half the time. The newest PETCO product worth owning is ragged old Eric Stults, a minor league journeyman who failed to find a friendly home at Dodger Stadium or Coors Field. In his 200+ major league innings, he’s struggled with the very thing PETCO suppresses—the home run ball—surrendering 1.13 per nine innings. His small sample size returns in his home park don’t add up—three homers in 19 innings—but Hit Tracker Online confirms that all three homers allowed had “Just Enough” juice to make it into the outfield stands. Stults is like most any past PETCO recommendation: a Quad-A talent level, at best, in an opportune situation.
Recommendation: Worth an add on practically any team: as a home-only stream, he won’t blow up your ratio stats and might fetch you a few wins.