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.
I have Geovany Soto on the DH right now, so I am temporarily able to keep two of the three (and subsequently have only Miguel Olivio at catcher). Once Soto comes back, I will likely cut one of these three players (depending on the next few weeks, Marco Scutaro or Colby Rasmus could become cuttable). So, here’s the question, which one do I keep: Martin Prado, Skip Schumaker, or Orlando Hudson?
First, a little context: I am in a basic ESPN league that only tracks five offensive stats–BA, RS, HR, RBI, and SB. My team is built primarily on pitching; offensively, I focus on two categories: runs scored and stolen bases. I have suffered through the struggles of Soto, Jimmy Rollins, Josh Hamilton, Vernon Wells, and Alexei Ramirez, and thus, have come to completely ignore batting average. While I occasionally compete in Home Runs and RBI, my general approach is to “out run” my opposition offensively and let my pitching do its job.
Since becoming an everyday player on June 25th, Prado has been quite productive. Over his last 67 ABs, Prado has 27 hits (including 8 2Bs and 1 HR), 13 runs scored, and 9 RBIs. That translates into a .402-.467-.687. Of course, I don’t expect him to sustain a 1.154 OPS for the entire second half. But Atlanta is hurting offensively, and Prado is likely to keep his spot hitting second in the order. Plus, in my ESPN league, he has eligibility at 1B, 2B, and 3B, making him quite flexible.
Skip is completely a one trick pony–he’s going to score runs. He already has 52 this season, and that includes some partial playing time in April. He seems to be becoming more comfortable in the leadoff role as the season goes on–scoring 19 runs in June and 10 in July and improving his BB-K ration. He’s a .300 hitter, but, given some of the blackholes of BA on my team, that doesn’t really do much for me. He’s not going to hit HRs, and he’s not stealing any bases; but, put simply, Pujols has to knock somebody in. And Schumaker has 2B and OF eligibility.
Writing this post has led me to definitively answer my own question (at least in the short-term), Hudson is the guy on the outside looking in. What made the question difficult is how productive he was for me earlier this season. But June was terrible (a .612 OPS) and July not much better (.631). With Manny’s return and his struggles, Hudson finds himself hitting 7th in the order. He has scored only 15 runs since June 1st, only two more than Prado has scored since June 25th. Still, this is a bit of a difficult move given Hudson’s history–one has to think that, barring injury, he’ll be able to turn it around and offer something in the neighborhood of his .800 career OPS. Further hurting Hudson: he has eligibility only at 2B.
In the short term, I have claimed Schumaker off wavers (decision pending Wednesday) and am holding on to Prado until Soto comes off the DH. Cutting Hudson isn’t too hard. I’ll have to face this decision again soon, so hopefully they’ll be some kind of distinction in their play that makes it easier to decide. Or, perhaps, one of you can point me toward what I am missing?