Orlando Hudson | ARZ | 2B – Hudson will have season-ending surgery on Monday to fix the torn ligament in his left thumb. Was a Top 15 second baseman this year, so he will be missed by a few fantasy teams.
Recommendations – Can be safely dropped in all redraft leagues.
Alberto Callaspo | ARZ | 2B/3B/SS/OF – Hudson’s replacement doesn’t have second base-eligibility in all leagues yet, but he is plenty versatile. This probably won’t help much, though, due to his lack of power and speed. His contact skills aren’t entirely there yet either, although they have plenty of room to get better in the future. 91% contact rate is amazing and his .226 BABIP will improve. 6% walk rate is only decent, but it was 11% in AAA this year and 10% in AAA last year, so it has room to improve as well. His 18% line drive rate is also good. With his lack of power, though, a .280 BABIP would leave his batting average at just .256 for this year. Probably won’t get a good spot in the lineup, so he really doesn’t figure to help in any categories.
Recommendations – Should be avoided in mixed leagues. Should be owned in deep NL-only leagues.
Rick Ankiel | STL | OF – I’m sure you’ve all heard the recent news about Ankiel by now. From a fantasy perspective, I don’t think it hurts his value at all. First, HGH is different than steroids. Second, he allegedly took it back in 2004. Third, it wasn’t banned in 2004. Fourth, even if he is still taking it, Major League Baseball doesn’t test for it. That means, for the next three at weeks — at the very least — his skill level really shouldn’t drop off at all.
In fantasy, you need to keep your personal feelings about whatever is going on with a player out of the equation, and evaluate the situation completely objectively. When you do that here, you see that Ankiel has hit 5 of 9 home runs past 400 true feet (though none past 403, according to HitTracker), has a 10% walk rate, 21% line drive rate, and a .303 batting average when you adjust his BABIP to .305. His 28.1% HR/FB is still a little high, so if we move it down to 22%, Ankiel gets a .287 batting average.
With Juan Encarnacion out for the year, Ankiel will likely play full-time, batting second, and racking up the runs. His good power will also help with RBIs, making Ankiel a decent four-category player. A quick note: he only has 85 at-bats so far in the majors, so a regression is possible as that is a relatively small sample size.
Recommendations – Should be owned in 10, 12, and 14-team mixed leagues. Should be owned in all NL-only leagues.
Joey Votto | CIN | 1B – First home run: 430 true feet. Triple A HR/FB was only 15%, though, so don’t expect him to hit 10 homers this month. Still, he could hit 5 if he gets some playing time, which it seems like he will. It’ll be tough for the Reds to sit Scott Hatteberg, but Votto is likely better. However, you can never really trust the Reds to make the right decision, so we’ll have to see what they do.
Still, Votto had a 23% line drive, 12% walk, and 78% contact rate in Triple A and could hit .280-.285. Put him in a good spot in the lineup (which, again, you can’t count on the Reds doing) and he could be a very effective fantasy player. Know the best part? He stole 23 bases in AA last year and 17 in AAA this year. Steals are typically rare from a first baseman, and Votto could help you make up a little ground there.
Recommendations – Should be owned in 14-team mixed leagues. Should be owned in deep 10, 12, and 14-team all NL-only leagues.
Steve Trachsel | CHC | SP – I thought I already talked about Trachsel, but looking back it seems like I haven’t. Here’s what you need to know: he has been absolutely terrible this year. I have no idea how he still has a job. I’d have to think every team in baseball has a pitcher in the minors who could post better than an 0.69 K/BB with a below average xGB%. I like Trachsel, as a fan, but as a fantasy player he’s just not helpful. Know what his LIPS ERA was in 25 starts as an Oriole? 6.38. That’s good for dead last in baseball among guys with at least 8 starts. Stay far away in all leagues.
Recommendations – Should be avoided in all leagues.
Carlos Villanueva | MIL | SP – 4.00 LIPS ERA in 52 games this year, but just two of them have been starts. He will likely start the rest of the month, though, giving him some value. His problem has been his control (4.06 BB/9). His 8.32 K/9 will come down as a starter and will likely still be good, but he’ll have to improve the walks to be a effective. Showed excellent control last year (1.84 BB/9), but the 5.08 BB/9 since the All-Star break is worrisome. Might be able to pick up a couple of wins with a somewhat solid ERA and WHIP if he can figure things out.
Recommendations – Should be avoided in mixed leagues. Should be owned in 12 and 14-team all NL-only leagues.
Kevin Correia | SF | SP – Has won 3 of his 4 starts, but don’t expect that to continue with the Giants offense backing him. Also, a 4.46 LIPS ERA (in 51 relief appearances and 4 starts) isn’t exactly going to help him. Not a great option.
Recommendations – Should be avoided in mixed leagues. Should be owned only in very deep NL-only leagues.
The track record of pitchers getting out of the gate quickly after undergoing rotator cuff surgery is bleak. While he may show some flashes of his former self, typically recovering pitchers need more than three or four rehab starts to regain their control, command and confidence. Mulder will not be any different.
I know that I said Pedro could do well coming off rotator cuff surgery, but Mark Mulder is no Pedro Martinez. Never was. Even if he came back and pitched as well as he has the past few years, it still wouldn’t be very good. He hasn’t had a K/BB over 1.69 since 2003, and it’s been getting worse each year since.
Recommendations – Should be avoided in all leagues.