Ricky Nolasco | FLA | SP – Nolasco is putting up a season that looks almost identical to his 2006 campaign. This is only good for a 4.41 ERA so far this year, but this is certainly serviceable in many leagues. He’s posting a league average strikeout rate and has the NL’s #4 offense (in terms of runs scored thus far) supporting him.
Recommendation – Should be owned in deep mixed leagues. Should be owned in 10-team NL-only leagues.
John Van Benschoten | PIT | SP – Van Benschoten has been called up to take one of the spots left vacant with Ian Snell and Phil Dumatrait on the DL. Van Benschoten is a failed one-time top prospect, but he has been pretty good at Triple-A this year with a 7.07 K/9, 2.89 BB/9, and 51 percent ground ball rate. He hasn’t put up numbers that good since 2003, but he might be worth a pickup to see if he can pitch up to that level in the majors.
Recommendation – Should be considered in deep mixed leagues, for now. Should be owned in 10-team NL-only leagues, for now.
Eric Stults | LAD | SP – Hiroki Kuroda will return this week, but Stults will stay on in the majors as part of a six-man rotation at least until Brad Penny comes back. He’s 26 years old and put up a 7.29 K/9 and 2.94 BB/9 in Triple-A this year and similarly good numbers last year (more Ks and more BBs). He could be a very solid pitcher for the next few weeks and possibly longer than that.
Recommendation – Should be considered in deep mixed leagues, for now. Should be strongly considered in 8-team and owned in 10-team NL-only leagues, for now.
Jorge Campillo | ATL | SP – Campillo has been very good since joining the Braves’ rotation. He has posted a TQS “Great” starts and three “Good” starts to go with a 7.09 K/9 and 1.38 BB/9 in 45.2 IP. He’s basically been a neutral groundball/flyball pitcher this year. Despite these numbers and his 2.54 ERA, he is owned in just 30 percent of ESPN leagues. He might not be able to keep it up, but he’s worth owning until we find out.
Recommendation – Should be owned in all leagues, for now.
Austin Kearns | WAS | OF – Kearns could be returning this week, and with Lastings Milledge hitting the DL, he will be assured of full playing time. He wasn’t very good to start the year, though he has shown pretty good power in recent memory and was striking out less frequently last year and earlier this year (80+ percent contact rates). He had a .212 BABIP to start the year, which should rise.
Still, Kearns might only hit .250 with a dozen or so homers (assuming 500 at-bats), though there is considerable home run upside here. I wouldn’t be surprised, though, to see him inserted into the middle of the order with guys like Aaron Boone, Jesus Flores, Ronnie Belliard, and Dmitri Young batting in the four, five, and six spots and Milledge (third) on the DL.
Recommendation – Should be considered in deep mixed leagues. Should be owned in 10-team NL-only leagues.
Jeff Keppinger | CIN | SS/3B – Keppinger is back from the DL but is still battling some knee soreness. There was talk he wouldn’t play every day because of this, but he seems to be okay and has played in all seven games since his return. He is capable of hitting over .300 but doesn’t have much power or speed. He’s also batting mostly sixth now with Adam Dunn batting second (though today Kepp is in the two spot), and if this continues he wouldn’t score as many runs and would essentially be a one-category guy. If you happen to need that one category, own him. Otherwise, he doesn’t have a whole lot of cumulative value.
Recommendation – Should be avoided in mixed leagues while batting sixth. Should be owned in 10-team NL-only leagues.
Jose Bautista | PIT | 3B – Bautista is owned in less than 3 percent of ESPN leagues, but he does have some value. He has very good power and could hit 20 homers given 500 at-bats. He might only hit .250, but he’s getting regular PT in Pittsburgh, though batting seventh is the most conducive spot to wracking up the RBIs and runs. More of an NL-only guy, but if you need power, he can be owned.
Recommendation – Should not be owned except in very deep mixed leagues. Should be owned in 10-team NL-only leagues.