Josh Beckett has officially caught fire. He has now won six of his last seven decisions, and with the complete game shutout tonight, has not allowed even a run in four of his last six starts. He now also has 88 strikeouts in 91 innings, so he is really helping you in that category as well. Beckett is really prone to wild streaks, so this could turn around and he could get cold again. However, he is one of the more talented pitchers in baseball, so continue to start him with confidence.
I was going to write about Luis Valbuena yesterday, but decided against it at the last minute. Apparently, he didn't like that so he went out and got my attention today. He had three hits on Saturday, including two home runs, his third in the last two games. In the last four games he has eight hits and has driven in seven runs. Yahoo lists Valbuena at 5'10" and 190 pounds, but I have also seen him listed at 165 pounds. Those are not the kind of dimensions that scream power hitter to me, so you shouldn't be expecting this to continue. In a short term injury situation, or if you have a spot where you just pick up the hot guy, I think Valbuena qualifies. He is not the second coming of Hanley Ramirez however.
Jhonny Peralta had his third consecutive two hit game, and his first homer in over two weeks. All of you know I came into the season with big hopes for Peralta, and they have now switched to high hopes for Peralta after the All-Star Break. He has only had small spurts of production this season, so if he is out there, I couldn't say that I would send you running to the waiver wire. I do think that he will outperform Mr. Valbuena above, so if they are both out there I would consider him first, unless you just want to play the hot guy.
James Shields had one of the better starts of his season on Saturday against the Mets, but it was interrupted by rain. He had only thrown 87 pitches through seven innings when the game was delayed, and likely would have kept going. But he did allow only one run, didn't walk a batter and struck out four. I have been down on Shields this year, as he hasn't seemed like the same pitcher he had been the past couple of years. You can say that about the entire Rays rotation. But he is definitely capable of having an outing like this most times he goes to the mound. He should be better than he has been this year, perhaps this is the start of a nice roll.
Mat Gamel has started to get regular playing time, and he is showing what his bat is capable of. He hasn't been knocking the ball out of the park, but he is definitely hitting. He was 2/3 today with a triple and two walks, and has seven hits in the last five days. I would definitely like to see him start to drive the ball over the fence, and drive in some runs, but it is good to see him making contact. The power will be arriving shortly if they keep him out there.
Delmon Young is starting to grab my interest just a little. The former elite prospect who has yet to get anywhere near his expectations. But he does have three hits in the last two games, and hit his second homer of the season on Saturday. Now don't take this as advice to run out and grab him. However, sometimes rookies struggle to find their way when they initially come up to the majors. Perhaps this is the start of Delmon settling in and he will start to be productive.
Congratulations to Gordon Beckham on his first major league home run. The kid is hitting more and more, and has started to sneak into my thoughts of actually starting him in the two leagues I own him in. In daily transactions I would likely try to find a spot for him, but I don't think I trust him enough yet for those of you who only set your rosters once a week. That could possibly change in recent times.
Scott Podsednik is back with the White Sox, back to the top of the lineup and back to hitting and stealing again. He has spent the past few seasons mostly in the trainer's room, but right now he is healthy and back to his old ways. This is a guy who stole 212 bases over a four year span from 2003-2006. However, it wasn't just injury that limited his playing time in recent years; he wasn't effective much when he was in there. If you need speed or have a rotating spot he might be worth a shot, but I am not drinking the Kool-Aid on Podsednik just yet.
FINALLY!!!!! Russell Martin got that goose egg out of his home run category, now if he can only get his batting average out of the .240s perhaps he could be worth the draft pick you spent on him. I'd say hopefully he will improve when Manny comes back into the lineup, but it wasn't like he was doing good then either. Keep him in your lineups though, Martin is better than this, there should be a hot streak in his future.
Frank Francisco will be activated from the Disabled List, and hopefully this time it is for good. However, Manager Ron Washington did say that he wouldn't use Francisco as a closer right out of the chute. So, if you see him in the seventh or eighth inning in his first couple of outings, don't freak out or think he's lost his job.
Diasuke Matsuzaka will be skipped his next time through the rotation I guess to give him a little more rest to see if he can get straight again. Matsuzaka will also be examined by team doctors to be sure that nothing is wrong with him. Hold your breath Dice-K owners. I'm not saying something is wrong, but he's been unusually bad. He could just need a rest, or could be something worse.
Coco Crisp could be facing season ending surgery if he has a torn labrum in his shoulder. It could be a rotator cuff injury, but he will be examined in the next couple of days to pinpoint exactly what the injury is. While Crisp is no great fantasy player, he was useful from time to time this season.
I’m not going to stop bringing up the mailing list until I get a day where I don’t get a request to join it. For those of you who haven’t seen it yet, when I find news earlier in the day I will send an email to you about whatever it might be. If you were on the mailing list you would have found out about the callups of Matt Wieters, Fernando Martinez, Nolan Reimold and others. The trade of Nate McLouth, and injuries to Jose Reyes, etc. This mailing list is your way to get a step up on your competition. Anyone who is on the list, please leave a comment below on whether you think that you have benefitted from the list. Send an email to either firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com and put Mailing List in the subject line.
As always, your comments and questions are welcome at firstname.lastname@example.org. I guarantee a response within 18 hours. Also, don’t miss the “Fantasy Baseball Tonight” podcast four nights a week from Monday-Thursday. The Big Show on Wednesday is co-hosted by Todd Farino of fantasybaseballsearch.com, RC Rizza of junkyardjake.com and myself, Ryan Hallam at fightingchancefantasy.com. To hear the show go to www.blogtalkradio.com/the_true_guru. You can also hear me weekly on the Tuesday Night show. Join me with Jeff Mans every Tuesday night at 10pm EST for all the the info and craziness we can pack into one hour. A can’t miss if you plan on winning your league.