Fantasy Baseball Around the Majors, July 3: Jimenez, Strasburg, and More

Eric StashinSenior Writer IJuly 4, 2010

SAN FRANCISCO - MAY 31:  Ubaldo Jimenez #38 of the Colorado Rockies pitches against the San Francisco Giants during an MLB game at AT&T Park on May 31, 2010 in San Francisco, California.  (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)
Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

The struggles of Ubaldo Jimenez continue, but will he be able to rebound?  Could Wade Davis’s time in the major leagues be in jeopardy?  Is Matt LaPorta now a usable option in all formats since returning from the minor leagues?  Let’s look at these questions and all the rest from yesterday’s games:

Pitchers:

Ubaldo Jimenez (6.0 IP, 7 ER, 5 H, 4 BB, 5 K) - Colorado Rockies -  He was almost bound to hit a rough patch, though this has gotten worse then any of us could have imagined.  Over his last three starts he’s allowed 17 ER over 17.2 IP.  Still, things are going to get better once again.  Is he going to be as dominant as he was earlier in the season?  Probably not, but he’s going to be an elite starting pitcher.

Stephen Strasburg (5.0 IP, 2 ER, 4 H, 3 BB, 5 K) - Washington Nationals -   Not his most dominant outing and a pitch limit (he threw 96 pitches) cost him a chance to go back out there for the sixth.  Unfortunately, this could become the norm for the majority of this season, so owners need to keep that in mind.  Yes, he’s quickly developing into one of the elite pitchers in the game, but pitch counts and inning limits are going to handcuff his 2010 value.

Wade Davis (4.1 IP, 4 ER, 8 H, 0 BB, 1 K) - Tampa Bay Rays -
 
I spoke about him earlier in the week (click here to view), so I’m not going to spend a lot of time on him again.  The bottom line is that he continues to struggle and with Jeremy Hellickson waiting in the wings, seeing the Rays make a move is not unthinkable.

Johnny Cueto (5.0 IP, 0 ER, 7 H, 5 BB, 2 K) - Cincinnati Reds - 
It’s amazing that he got through the five innings without giving up a run, considering the number of baserunners allowed.  While that’s concerning by itself, the fact that he has just 11 Ks over his last 25.2 innings could be even more troubling. 

Then again, he’s allowed just 2 ER over that span, but I wouldn’t expect that to continue unless he can get the strikeouts up.  With his next start coming in Philadelphia, I would consider him a risky play, despite his recent success.

Tommy Hanson (6.2 IP, 0 ER, 5 H, 2 BB, 8 K, W) - Atlanta Braves -
After his last two starts (14 ER over 7.1 IP), this is something fantasy owners needed to see.  Hanson appeared to be back to his dominant ways, but we all knew that should happen sooner rather then later.  He’s one of the best pitchers in the game, so don’t panic when he hits a little bump in the road.

Francisco Rodriguez (0.1 IP, 3 ER, 3 H, 3 BB, 0 K) - New York Mets -
Just an incredibly ugly performance from K-Rod, which he unfortunately is prone to.  He’s one of the elite closers in the game, but you have to take the good with the bad.

Justin Verlander (7.0 IP, 1 ER, 7 H, 1 BB, 10 K, W) - Detroit Tigers -
It was a dominant performance for one of the best in the game, something that owners dearly needed.  He had allowed nine earned runs over nine innings pitched in his last two starts (though one was rain shortened).  Still, we all know he is one pitcher not to panic about when he hits a little bump in the road.

Chris Carpenter (3.0 IP, 7 ER, 9 H, 2 BB, 5 K) - St. Louis Cardinals -
Everyone is allowed a bad start now and then.  I wouldn’t panic, though you have to wonder if getting hit in his last time out played a role in this one.  Keep a close eye on the news, in case the team opts to give him a few extra days off.

Jon Lester (7.0 IP, 1 ER, 5 H, 1 BB, 7 K, W) - Boston Red Sox -
 His dominance of the Orioles continued (12-0, 2.00 ERA for his career), as does his dominance in general.  Over his last four starts he’s allowed five earned runs over 29 innings pitched with a WHIP below 1.00.  What is there not to like?  He emerged last season as a top option and has just reinforced it in 2010 while going 10-3 with a 2.76 ERA.

Tommy Hunter (7.0 IP, 1 ER, 9 H, 1 BB, 3 K, W) - Texas Rangers -
He’s made six starts and hasn’t allowed more than two earned runs in any of them (though, one was just 2.1 innings).  He’s currently 5-0 with a 1.98 ERA and 1.16 WHIP, all impressive numbers.  He has great control (2.2 BB/9), but doesn’t strikeout many (5.0 K/9).  He should continue to hold value, but without the strikeouts he’s far from a top option.


    Hitters:

    Brett Gardner (2-3, 1 HR, 4 RBI, 2 R) - New York Yankees -  Not owned for his power, Gardner muscled up for his fourth home run of the year.  Even in the new Yankee Stadium, we all know that it shouldn’t be expected.  It’s his speed, with 24 stolen bases and 51 runs, to go along with a .316 average that draws owners’ interest. 

    As long as he continues to hit for average he should continue to thrive.  His BABIP entered the day at .360, though with his speed, that’s not completely unbelievable.  In other words, he should continue to have value in all formats.

    Jim Thome (3-4, 2 HR, 3 RBI, 3 R) - Minnesota Twins -
     This is the reason the team has opted to start using Michael Cuddyer at 3B, even now that they are back playing AL games.  They needed the pop and, even at his advanced ago, Thome can provide that.  He’s hitting .258 with 10 home runs and 25 RBI on the year and now with more regular playing time, could be considered for those in deeper formats.  He’s not a must-use, but he should help provide a little extra power.

    Jim Edmonds (4-6, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 3 R, 1 SB) - Milwaukee Brewers -
    While he may have lost a step defensively, if he can hit like this the Brewers are going to continue putting him in the lineup over Carlos Gomez.  He had been 3-for-24 with no home runs, 0 RBI, and two runs since june 23.  In fact, he hadn’t had an RBI since May 14.  One game won’t be enough, so don’t go out and buy him quite yet.

    Jimmy Rollins (3-4, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 3 R) - Philadelphia Phillies - 
    He made a splash when he first returned from the DL, before falling into a 2-20 slump over his previous five games.  Now this is the way to erupt.  Along with Shane Victorino (3-5, 1 RBI, 3 R), the Phillies could have a dynamic one-two punch atop the order, something they will need to survive with Chase Utley on the DL.

    Matt LaPorta (3-5, 2 RBI) - Cleveland Indians -
     He’s now on a six-game hitting streak, going 9-for-21 with 3 HR, 7 RBI, and 3 R.  Clearly, his time in the minor leagues helped him get things going and we are finally starting to see the potential we’ve heard about for years.  In deeper formats, he’s certainly worth using right now.

    Scott Podsednik (2-4, 1 SB) - Kansas City Royals - 
    He’s on a six-game hitting streak, going 11-for-26 with 2 RBI, 4 R, and 4 SB.  We all would like to see more runs scored from him, especially with the way he’s getting on base, but the speed does make him usable.  The Royals don’t have an elite offense, so it’s hard to say that the runs are going to get significantly better (he has 39 on the season).

    Matt Kemp (2-6, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 1 R) - Los Angeles Dodgers -
     Over his last four games he’s gone 7-for-18 with 2 HR, 5 RBI, and 3 R.  I think it’s safe to say that he received Joe Torre’s message loud and clear, wouldn’t you?

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

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