June 20 - June 26
The red-hot Tampa Bay Rays were the top performers in week 12 of the Major League Baseball season. They won five of their last six games, including a three-game sweep of the Astros in Houston. The streaky Rays have moved within two games of the AL East-leading Yankees and are only half a game behind No. 2 Boston. Perhaps most perplexing is that the Rays are 10 games above .500 on the road but are only 18-18 in the friendly confines of Tropicana Field.
The No. 4 Dodgers finished the week on a strong note by beating the visiting Angels on a walk-off hit by Tony Gwynn. The joy in L.A did not last long after news broke that the Dodger ownership filed for bankruptcy. Hopefully the ownership mess with the Bums will be resolved soon and Bud Selig and the MLB brass will find a new owner to bring stability to the once-proud franchise.
Offensive Player of the Week: Evan Longoria
.370 4 HR, 14 RBI, 8 R, 0 SB
Longoria entered week 12 as one of the biggest disappointments of the 2011 fantasy baseball season, failing to give owners the first round production they expected when they picked the third baseman in fantasy drafts this spring.
Longo and the Rays have tried everything to pull the star out of his lengthy slump, including moving him around the batting order. He even hit without batting gloves. The latter might have been the magic touch, as the gloveless Longoria hit .370 with four home runs and 14 RBI this past week.
- Honorable Mention: Michael Young, BJ Upton and Ty Wiggington
Pitcher of the Week: Clayton Kershaw
18.0 IP, 2 wins, 22 k, 1.00 ERA, 0.50 WHIP
Kershaw is the top fantasy performer for the second time this season after out dueling fellow ace Jered Weaver on Sunday at Dodger stadium.The crafty southpaw threw 18 strong innings for the Dodgers last week, striking out 22 batters while posting an excellent 1.00 ERA and .050 WHIP.
At the ripe old age of 21, Kershaw is making a strong case for the NL CY Young award, along with Roy Halladay and Cole Hamels of the Philadelphia Phillies. It is a shame that Dodger fans cannot enjoy the strong pitching performance of their young ace, with the ownership situation hovering over the organization like a dark cloud.
- Honorable Mention: Tim Hudson, Justin Verlander and Mariano Rivera
Colorado Rockies utility man Ty Wiggington has been red hot as of late, making him one of the top free agent acquisitions of the week. Wiggington appears to be the top option for Jim Tracy at third base and should continue to see starts at the hot corner. Perhaps the most appealing thing about Wigginton is that he has 1b, 2b, 3b and OF eligibility in most formats.
Brandon Beachy returned from the DL on June 22 to pitch an excellent 11-strikeout performance against the visiting Blue Jays. Beachy is an excellent pick-up in all formats, and is available in 48 percent of Yahoo Leagues.
Other Players to Target
1) Jemille Weeks (2B OAK)
2) Seth Smith (OF COL)
3) JJ Hardy (SS BAL)
4) Tim Stauffer (SP SD)
Notable Two Start Pitchers For Week 13
1) Josh Beckett vs. Phillies & Astros
2) Chad Billingsley vs. Twins & Angels
3) Jhoulys Chacin vs. Cubs & Royals
4) Johnny Cueto vs. Rays & Indians
5) Gio Gonzalez vs. Rockies & Diamondbacks
6) Zack Greinky vs. Yankees & Twins
7) Cliff Lee vs. Red Sox & Blue Jays
8) Max Scherzer vs. Blue Jays & Giants
9) CJ Wilson vs. Astros & Marlins
Shin-Soo Choo suffered a broken thumb after being hit in the hand by Jonathan Sanchez. Choo will likely miss up to six weeks with the injury and may require surgery. On a related note, the Giants placed Sanchez on the DL with bicep tendinitis. We believe that Sanchez was placed on the DL to give the struggling southpaw time to clear his head after leading the league with 59 walks.
Other Notable Injuries:
• Pablo Sanoval (Quad – Day to Day)
• Jose Tabada (Quad – TBD)
• Roy Oswalt (Back – 15 Day DL)
• Justin Morneau (Neck – TBD)
There is little news to report on the Closer Carousel this week. However, it should be noted that Jordan Walden blew his fifth save of the season on Sunday, leading to speculation that he may be on a short leash going forward.
In Toronto, Frank Francisco converted all three save opportunities over the past week, while fellow closer Jon Rouch was not given a save chance.
Andrew Bailey has locked up the closer spot in Oakland over veteran Brian Fuentes, closing five of his last five save chances for the A’s.
Fantasy Dud: Ryan Zimmerman
.077, 0 HR, 2 RBI, 1 R, 0 SB
Zimmerman owners must be feeling a bit of buyers remorse this season as the all-star third baseman has been an injury-plagued disappointment in 2011. After returning from the disabled list last week, Zimmerman has batted .232 with only two home runs in 82 plate appearances this season.
- Honorable Mention: Ian Kinsler, Jon Lester, Neftali Feliz