Fantasy Baseball Insiders Tonight 5/3: Red Sox' Mike Lowell Turns Back the Clock

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Fantasy Baseball Insiders Tonight 5/3: Red Sox' Mike Lowell Turns Back the Clock
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Game number 20 of 162 in the Fantasy Baseball Insiders Tonight summer-long journey featured a game that provided a whopping 25 runs on 32 hits between two struggling A.L. powerhouses.

Game No. 20 Anaheim Angels vs. Boston Red Sox

Mike Lowell was the most productive hitter in Monday night’s slug fest, going 4-for-4 with three doubles, a walk, two runs, and four RBI. In just his ninth start of the season, Lowell hit sixth as Boston’s DH while David Ortiz sat against Angels’ lefty Joe Saunders, who yielded seven runs on nine hits and four walks in four innings.

J.D. Drew also had four hits (three singles), scoring twice while driving in three. The 34-year-old right fielder is now 9-for-17 (.529) with six runs, three HRs and seven RBI in his last four games.

With 14 runs, five HRs, 17 RBI, and a .247 batting average on the season, Drew is making a case for fantasy relevance again in 2010. He’s still an injury risk, but his price tag is likely worth the 25-HR, .280-average capability.

Dustin Pedroia was one of two Red Sox starters who failed to record two or more hits, but the former A.L. MVP made up for it with a three-run shot in the seven-run sixth inning.

With 16 runs, seven HRs, 21 RBI, two steals, and a .288 batting average through 26 games, Pedroia is separating himself from the pack of second-tier second basemen.

• Boston starter Clay Buchholz cruised through the first three innings, but faltered in the fourth, an inning in which he allowed three runs on two walks and three hits. Though Boston’s bats assured him the win, Buchholz finished with his worst line of the young season: five and two thirds innings, eight hits, four runs, three walks, two strikeouts.

Through five starts, the 25-year-old owns a 2.97 ERA, a sign that his ace potential may finally surface in 2010. His 1.42 WHIP, however, is a slight cause for concern.

• Angels’ first baseman Kendry Morales collected three hits (all singles) and scored once while adding his 17th RBI of the season. With six HRs and a .323 average through 27 games, the 27-year-old appears determined to prove his 2009 campaign wasn’t a fluke.

Other notes from around the league:

 

HITTERS

Hitter of the day: Mike Lowell (4-for-4, BB, two R, four RBI–mentioned above)

David Freese continued his torrid hitting, going 2-for-5 with a run and three RBI Monday night. The Cardinals' third basemen is batting 14-for-27 (.519) with five runs, three HRs and a whopping 14 RBI during his current seven-game hitting streak.

The 27-year-old, who was acquired from San Diego for Jim Edmonds in 2007, has hit for a high average at each level, boasting a career .308 mark in the minors. Scouts remain unsure of his true power potential, though Freese did slug 26 HRs at the Triple-A level in 2008.

He’s not likely to top 20 dingers in his rookie season, but a solid average will improve his fantasy value. Batting in a potent St. Louis lineup, Freese has the opportunity to have a breakout season in 2010.

Chris Young continued his uncharacteristic ways Monday night, as he went 3-for-5 with three RBI, raising his average to .300. The Diamondbacks’ center fielder now has four HRs and 24 RBI through 25 games this season.

Young possesses one of the most exciting power/speed combos in the game, but his career .238 batting average over three-plus seasons will limit his fantasy value. He’s a great sell-high candidate.

Austin Jackson went 3-for-5 Monday night, raising his average to .377. The Tigers’ 23-year-old center fielder now has a six-game hitting streak and 14 multi-hit games through 26 contests this season. Jackson also has 22 runs and five steals a product of batting leadoff for Detroit.

Nobody expected this type of production out of Jackson this quickly, which signals a possible regression to the mean in the near future. Even so, he remains a valuable commodity in keeper and dynasty leagues.

Rangers’ rookie Justin Smoak went 1-for-4 with his second career HR Monday night. Despite his .176 average thus far, Smoak has the potential to be fantasy relevant in 2010 and beyond. (For more on Smoak, including a 2010 projection, click here .)

 

PITCHERS

Pitcher of the day: Ubaldo Jimenez (W, seven IP, four H, ER, two BB, 13 K)

• In case you’ve been living under a rock for the past four weeks, let me be the first to pass along this urgent message: Ubaldo Jimenez is good.

After his 13-strikeout performance against San Diego Monday night, the 26-year-old moved to 6-0 with a minuscule 0.87 ERA and 1.02 WHIP. He now boasts a ridiculous 44/16 K/BB ratio through 41.1 innings, and is quickly becoming one of the most valuable starting pitchers in all of fantasy baseball.

Jaime Garcia turned in his fifth consecutive quality start to begin the season Monday night, this one against the Phillies. The 23-year-old southpaw allowed just one run on three hits and four walks while striking out six. He exited the game on a high note, fanning Shane Victorino, Chase Utley, and Ryan Howard to end the sixth inning.

Garcia—the Cardinals’ No. 2 prospect before this season according to Baseball America —now sports a 1.12 ERA and 1.00 WHIP with a 23/13 K/BB ratio in 32 innings thus far. Like teammate David Freese , Garcia appears primed for a breakout campaign, though Garcia has a much higher upside. He should be owned in all leagues.

• In his third start since being promoted from Triple A earlier this season, Blue Jays’ starter Brett Cecil took a perfect game into the seventh against the run-starved Indians Monday night. The 23-year-old southpaw was lifted after eight innings, yielding one run on one hit and two walks, while striking out a career-high 10 batters.

Three years after being drafted as a first-round supplemental pick by Toronto, Cecil owns a 2.61 ERA and 0.77 WHIP through 20.2 innings. He also boasts an impressive 21/four K/BB ratio. Cecil’s fastball/slider combo has been aided by the development of his change-up, a pitch that’s led to his early success.

Cecil’s performance has almost certainly earned him a permanent spot in the rotation, a move that would force injured starter Brian Tallet to the bullpen upon his return from the DL. With effective outings against the White Sox and Rangers in his next two starts, Cecil will be a must-own in all leagues.

Reds’ rookie Mike Leake turned in his fourth quality start in five tries, allowing two runs (one earned) on four hits and one walk in six innings against the Mets Monday night. The 22-year-old, who was the eighth pick in last year’s draft, now boasts a 2.94 ERA through 33.2 innings. His 22/16 BB/K ratio is definitely concerning, though he’s issued just four free passes in his last three starts.

Leake has had the benefit of pitching against the likes of Chicago, Pittsburgh, and Houston, but given his pedigree and performance thus far, he’s a must-add in 12-team leagues.

Jake Peavy produced his best outing of the season by far Monday night, shutting out the Royals on four hits and one walk in seven innings. The soon-to-be 29 year old also struck out a season-high nine batters.

Despite this stellar outing, Peavy still owns a 6.31 ERA and 1.60 WHIP with a 31/20 K/BB ratio through 35.2 innings this season. His elevated walk rate and home ballpark factors are likely to prevent Peavy from returning to his former ace status in 2010.

Rich Harden went seven innings for the first time this season on Monday night, allowing no runs on two hits and no walks. He also fanned a season-high nine batters.

Through six starts this season, Harden owns a 3.52 ERA and 1.50 WHIP, with a 31/23 K/BB ratio in 30.2 innings. Much like the aforementioned Peavy, Harden’s elevated walk rate and home ballpark factors (in addition to a DL stint at some point this season) are likely to prevent him from reaching his full potential in 2010.

 

RELIEVERS

Joba Chamberlain picked up the save in relief of CC Sabathia Monday night against the Orioles, while Yankees’ closer Mariano Rivera was unavailable due to stiffness in his left side. Mo is listed as day-to-day.

Neftali Feliz recorded his sixth save of the season Monday night thanks to Frank Francisco , who allowed a two-run bomb to Kevin Kouzmanoff in the ninth, cutting the Texas lead to two. Feliz is clearly the favorite for saves at the moment, but this situation is likely to be a hot issue all season long.

Be sure to check back for more Fantasy Baseball Insiders Tonight updates all season long!

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