Hamilton has had an injury plagued season, and his July has been the worst month of his pro resurgence (a .542 OPS). If he turns it around, then I made a bad trade. But I recently grabbed Leo Nunez off of the free agent pile; he’s the young closer who has likely earned the job on a permanent basis with his July run while the regular Marlins closer Matt Lindstrom (and his 6.52 ERA) is out with an injury. In July, Nunez is 4 for 4 in save opportunities (3 saves this week) and an ERA of 2.00. The Marlins have another possible closer in lefty Dan Meyer, so am I rolling the dice here. My bet: I can give up Broxton’s top level production for a minimal decline, while upgrading Hamilton’s bat for Sandoval’s. For those of you who are looking for closer help, Nunez is available in 90% of ESPN leagues.
The other strategy here is to stock quality starting pitching–hence the acquisition of Duke. He’s not a top strike out guy, but does have a strong ERA and WHIP. I’ll be playing match-ups with Duke, but I hope to gain a few quality starts in the season’s final months. I still have Brian Fuentes and Ryan Franklin closing, so I should still see saves. I didn’t really want Cameron, and he will be cut as soon as Tori Hunter comes off the disabled list. Cameron is, in the short term, going to be more productive than Hamilton has for the past few weeks.
There’s back story here, since I drafted Sandoval, but released him during a slump in early May. He had a bad case of Nick Johnson–a first baseman hitting .300 with virtually no power and no one getting on base in front of him. In my defense, I picked up Todd Helton when I dropped Sandoval, and that worked out well. I also believe the Giants will add a bat this week–any addition to that lineup should either help set the table or get Sandoval more pitches to hit.
This is my first year as a fantasy baseball player (love it), and my team has had an up and down season. Jimmy Rollins’ and Jason Bay’s struggles combined with Tori Hunter’s and Jay Hamilton’s injuries have made for a topsy-turvy season (I was in first for a month and have slid back to third since the all-star break). But I have found a few gems to share. All the position eligibility and availability data below are for ESPN leagues.
- Martin Prado, 1B, 2B, 3B, Braves. Available in 85.2% of leagues. I praised Prado in a previous post for his performance his taking over a starting role in late June. This July: .361-.424-.506. He’s scored 18 runs this month with 8 batted in and 10 extra-base hits. He’s reached base safely in 13 straight games, and in 19 of the last 20. He’s fairly cemented into the number two spot of the Brave’s lineup between McLouth and Jones. That’s a pretty nice spot to be in these days.
- Gordon Beckham, 3B, SS, White Sox. Available in 82.1% of leagues . I know I am rolling the dice here, but I am trading in run scorer Skip Schumaker of St. Louis for Beckham, the White Sox young prospect. Beckham has only played two months at the MLB level, but his July was a big improvement over his June. Overall, he’s at .299-.370.-.445 with 20 runs and 23 RBI, strong production for a potential SS. My only complaint with Beckham is that he seems stuck at the bottom of the White Sox order, hitting between 7th and 9th on any given night.
- Garret Jones, OF, DH, Pirates. Available in 84.6% of leagues.Look, I get it. People have lives. They are busy. But, seriously, 84.6 (or something close to it) percent of owners need to have their teams revoked. This July, Jones has hit .313.-.378-.821 (1.199), with 9 home runs in 67 at bats. Of course, he won’t keep up that pace. But he will hit third for the Pirates for the rest of the season. With the speedy McCutchen and steady Sanchez (at least for now) in front of him, that will translate into production. Go grab him. Go grab him now.
In other news, Lugo is gone. Try not to lose any sleep.