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Fantasy Baseball Around the Majors, July 2: Phillips, Scherzer, and More

Eric StashinSenior Writer IJuly 3, 2010

OAKLAND, CA - JUNE 23:  Brandon Phillips #4 of the Cincinnati Reds in action against the Oakland Athletics during an MLB game at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum on June 23, 2010 in Oakland, California.  (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)
Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

Mat Latos continues to roll on the mound.  Max Scherzer continues to put his early season struggles behind him.  

A.J. Burnett finally had a good outing.  Let’s look at these stories and all the rest from yesterday’s games:

 

Hitters:

Brandon Phillips (1-3, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 2 R) - Cincinnati Reds

He’s now hitting .309 with 10 HR, 27 RBI, 62 R, and 10 SB.  While the RBI aren’t quite where we’d want them to be, that comes at the expense of scoring a significant number of runs. 

In fact, he entered yesterday second in the league in runs scored (behind only Kevin Youkilis).  You couple that with being on pace to go 20/20 yet again, and you get a fantasy gem.



J.D. Drew (2-3, 2 HR, 2 RBI, 2 R) - Boston Red Sox

The team needs him to stay healthy and heat up, given the other injuries they’ve recently endured.

He’s going to be an important cog of their offense, so those in five-outfielder formats would be well-served to take the flyer on him if he happens to be available.

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Chris Young (3-5, 1 HR, 5 RBI, 3 R, 1 SB) - Arizona Diamondbacks

He’s now hitting .267 with 15 HR, 57 RBI, 44 R, and 14 SB.  The biggest fear with Young has always been his average, but he has his strikeouts back down (25.3 percent) after career worst in 2009 (30.7 percent). 

That drop, along with a return of his power, has allowed him to post a usable average with the threat of power and speed.  Exactly what is there not to like about his 2010 performance?



Pedro Alvarez (1-4) - Pittsburgh Pirates

It’s been some time since I’ve checked in on Alvarez, but I can’t hold back anymore.  He’s been moved to the second spot, yet he’s hitting just .167. 

On top of that, he has struck out at least once barring one appearance (he walked in his only plate appearance on June 27). 

So, in his 54 AB he has struck out 25 times.  That is terrible and makes it impossible for him to produce anything close to usable numbers. 

At this point, you can hang onto him if you want, but it has got to be on your bench and nothing more.

Bengie Molina (1-4) - Texas Rangers

It was his debut game and the team slotted him in the sixth hole, batting behind Vladimir Guerrero (1-4, 2 RBI) and Josh Hamilton (1-3, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 R).  If he hits consistently in that spot, the RBI are certainly going to come. 

As I’ve said before (click here for the article), he once again is worth owning in all formats.



Aubrey Huff (2-4, 2 HR, 3 RBI, 2 R) - San Francisco Giants 

So, Molina gets traded to free up the catching spot for Buster Posey (2-3) and what happens?  Huff is out in the outfield and Posey is at first base.  Go figure, right? 

I’m sure we’ll continue to see this alignment at times, but Posey should see significantly more time catching. 

As for Huff, all the Giants want to do is make sure his bat remains in the lineup.  He’s hitting .292 with 14 HR, 45 RBI, and 44 R on the season and has clearly proven that last year’s struggles were an aberration.



Matt Holliday (2-4, 1 RBI, 1 R) - St. Louis Cardinals

It’s his third two-hit game in his last four and is now hitting .305 with 11 HR, 39 RBI, 45 R, and 6 SB.

Is anyone still worried about him?  He’s proven that he remains one of the top outfielders in the game and it was his time in Oakland that was an aberration.


    Pitchers:

    A.J. Burnett (6.2 IP, 0 ER, 4 H, 3 BB, 6 K) - New York Yankees -

    The calendar turns to July and he suddenly learns how to pitch again?  In his five June starts he allowed 29 ER over 23 IP (11.35 ERA) en route to an 0-5 record. 

    We all know he’s a better pitcher than that, so don’t give up on him.  He showed yesterday that he has plenty more in the tank, so it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him heat up now.



    Max Scherzer (8.0 IP, 1 ER, 3 H, 2 BB, 7 K, W) - Detroit Tigers

    While he had a bad start his second time out after returning from the minors, in general owners just can’t complain about how he’s turned things around.  He has at least 7 Ks in each of his last five starts, allowing 8 ER over 34 IP (2.12 ERA). 

    His next start comes against the Orioles, a start you certainly don’t want to miss out on.  He should be active in all formats.

    Gio Gonzalez (6.2 IP, 0 ER, 5 H, 4 BB, 5 K, W) - Oakland Athletics

    He had a small bump in the road (10 ER over 10.1 IP), but he’s gotten things rolling again over his last three starts, allowing 1 ER over 19.2 IP. 

    Unfortunately, pitching for the A’s, that’s led to just one victory.  He entered the day with a 4.11 BB/9, and that continues to be the one problem that continues to plague him. 

    Still, he has strikeout potential (minor league career K/9 of 10.3), adding to his appeal.  There’s a lot to discuss on him, so I’ll cover him in more detail in the upcoming days.

    Jonathan Niese (7.0 IP, 1 ER, 6 H, 0 BB, 8 K, W) - New York Mets 

    If we could just ignore that rain-interrupted start against the Tigers (6 ER over 4.2 IP), Niese’s numbers since returning from the DL would be spectacular.  As it is, he is 5-0 while allowing 11 ER over 40.2 IP (2.46 ERA). 

    He is a good groundball pitcher (entered with a 51.3 percent groundball rate) with good control and the potential for Ks.  That’s the skill set of a pitcher who could consistently deliver, making him worth owning in all formats right now.



    Scott Baker (7.0 IP, 1 ER, 6 H, 0 BB, 8 K, W) - Minnesota Twins

    It didn’t look like he get the victory as David Price (8.0 IP, 2 ER, 4 H, 4 BB, 6 K) was every bit as good.  Baker’s had a bit of a mixed bag this season, having allowed four earned runs in four of his previous fives starts. 

    Of course, the one start he pitched well in he piled up 12 Ks.  He has struggled with a BABIP of .338, compared to a career mark of .310, so don’t give up on him yet.  He’s still flashing tremendous control (1.7 BB/9) and the best from him is yet to come.



    Joe Saunders (8.0 IP, 1 ER, 6 H, 2 BB, 4 K) - Los Angeles Angels 

    They asked him to start the ninth inning, but he walked Billy Butler, which ultimately cost him the game.  Brian Fuentes allowed that runner (Willie Bloomquist pinch-ran), tying the game. 

    It’s a shame, but Saunders has now been solid in his last two starts (3 ER over 15 IP) and may finally have turned the corner.  He’s not a top option, but a usable one depending on your format.


    Kris Medlen (6.1 IP, 1 ER, 6 H, 1 BB, 5 K) - Atlanta Braves

    He matched Josh Johnson (6.0 IP, 1 ER, 0 BB, 8 K) in a no-decision. 

    I talked about Medlen recently (click here to view), but he clearly has earned his rotation spot.  If he can continue limiting the walks (1.6 BB/9), he should be a solid option.



    Mat Latos (8.0 IP, 0 ER, 4 H, 0 BB, 7 K, W) - San Diego Padres

    He’s 9-4 with a 2.62 ERA and 0.96 WHIP.  It’s easy to argue that he’s been overly lucky this season (.243 BABIP, 80.8 percent strand rate), and it’s a valid point. 

    The thing is, he has a ton of potential and even if he were to regress, that doesn’t mean he’s going to fall off a cliff. 

    He generates strikeouts (8.2 K/9 vs. 10.6 in minor league career) and limits walks (2.4 BB/9 vs. 2.3 in minor league career).  If he can continue there, his success is going to continue.

      What are your thoughts from yesterday’s games?  Which ones caught your eye? And which ones did I miss?

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