Fantasy Baseball: Justin Upton Headlines Wednesday Revelations
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Here are some baseball-themed revelations off Wednesday's full slate of interleague play (and one National League game, for which we won't discuss).
1. Leave it to the Diamondbacks and Mariners to score 24 runs...and not attempt one steal
Is that the response you were expecting, off a game that produced the most home runs (eight) of any single MLB event this season? Well, this is how my warped mind works sometimes: I take the positive from horrible performances...and nitpick the surreal ones.
Incredibly, eight different players (Justin Upton, Miguel Montero, Ryan Roberts, John McDonald, Aaron Hill, Jason Kubel, Kyle Seager, Franklin Gutierrez) accounted for homers in Wednesday's power explosion. From that diversity, Montero (four RBI) was one of four players to tally three or more RBI for the night.
Combing through the box score of Arizona's 14-10 win, a few thoughts come to mind:
Forget about the eight homers.
Forget about Ryan Roberts' thrilling inside-the-park round-tripper.
Forget about Arizona racking up its first double-digit effort in extra-base hits since 2009 (16 against Colorado).
Forget about Aaron Hill matching Evan Longoria's three-year-old mark of belting a homer and a double in three straight games.
Forget about Diamondbacks pitcher Trevor Cahill (4-1, 2.83 ERA, 1.26 WHIP, 36/13 K-BB ratio since May 22) collecting his fourth straight victory...and what else do you have?
A back-and-forth classic between two West Coast clubs that will be largely forgotten by the elite East Coast fantasy media in four, maybe five days.
All because Paul Goldschmidt refused to steal his fifth base of the season.
2. The Angels might have the best 1-2-3 punch in fantasy baseball right now
OK, so this revelation might have been more timely if conceived on Wednesday morning, just hours after Albert Pujols (one homer, two runs, four RBI), Mark Trumbo (two runs, three hits, five RBI) and Mike Trout (four runs, four hits) collectively walloped Giants pitching on Tuesday night.
But in my defense, I was unavoidably preoccupied by which round Redskins tailback Evan Royster might fall to in the August fantasy football drafts.
Plus, I needed an extra day to find out if Trumbo (one homer on Wednesday) was the real deal. Kidding!
On Wednesday, Pujols and Trumbo both earned top-six rankings for the 20 best 1B-eligible assets from this point forward.
A day later, I'm ready to concede Pujols (eight homers, 25 RBI, .327 batting since May 22), Trout (six homers, 28 RBI, 40 runs, 19 steals, .338 batting) and Trumbo (17 homers, 48 RBI, 33 runs, four steals, .324 batting) as fantasy baseball's best offensive trio.
And it may not even be close.
3. I would rather stick a fork in my eye than recommend Ricky Nolasco when pitching at Fenway Park again
Loyal readers of The Fantasy Blog may recall that I heartily endorsed Marlins pitcher Ricky Nolasco as an emergency waiver-wire consideration for Wednesday against the Red Sox. Well, on the heels of a maddeningly symmetrical performance of one strikeout, one walk, nine hits and nine runs allowed against Boston...I finally understand why Nolasco had been a free agent in nearly 55 percent of MLB fantasy leagues.
Simply put, he's a formidable fantasy asset in name only—at least for those with vivid memories of his 2008 numbers (15 wins, 3.52 ERA, 1.10 WHIP, 186 strikeouts).
Sad but true. Nolasco (6.62 ERA, 1.47 WHIP, .297 opponents' batting average) has reached the icy depths of mediocrity, where three- and four-run outings are now being supplemented by nine-run meltdowns—not eight-strikeout, one-run gems.
As a result, there's no way I can recommend Nolasco for the foreseeable future, in any scoring format. Fantasy owners might be better off picking up a top-notch setup reliever (like Brayan Villarreal, Joaquin Benoit, Greg Holland or David Robertson).
Jay Clemons can be reached on Twitter, day or night, at @ATL_JayClemons.
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