Archive for May 31, 2011

Sell High Or Hold: Can Alex Avila Continue To Produce?

It has been a stunning start to the year for Alex Avila, who has seemingly come out of nowhere to emerge as a usable catcher in all formats.  Yes, he had 12 HR in329 AB in ’09 at Double-A, but did anyone see this type of production coming:

143 At Bats
.280 Batting Average (39 Hits)
8 Home Runs
29 RBI
17 Runs
2 Stolen Bases
.350 On Base Percentage
.531 Slugging Percentage
.337 Batting Average on Balls in Play

It is an extremely impressive line and places him among the leaders in catchers in all major categories: Second in HR (Russell Martin has 9); Tied for the lead RBI (with Brian McCann); Fifth in Average (Yadier Molina is hitting .311).

The real question is if he can maintain this production? Read more

Potential June 1 Callups – Infielders Edition

June 1 is the magical date where some of the top prospects can be recalled without concerns of Super Two status coming into effect.  Let’s take a look at some of the names that fantasy owners can be anticipate seeing in the next few weeks:

Brett Lawrie – Toronto Blue Jays – Third Baseman
Gregor Chisholm of mlb.com (click here for the article) posted an unbelievable stat on May 28, saying “Toronto’s third basemen entered Saturday afternoon’s game against Chicago having gone 0-for-39 during the club’s past 12 games.”  To make matters worse, on May 28 Jayson Nix, Edwin Encarnacion & Mike McCoy combined to go 0-6 in the team’s 14-inning game.  Nix finally snapped the streak on Sunday, going 2-4 with 2 RBI and 1 R against the Chicago White Sox, though the team had 18 hits so it can be taken with a bit of a grain of salt.

Lawrie, meanwhile, has raked at Triple-A hitting .352 with 15 HR, 47 RBI, 51 R and 11 SB.  All along the talk was that he was going to spend more time in the minors to work on his defense, and while reports have been positive sooner or later offense will win out anyways.

Of course, you have to put some of his power in perspective, considering it came in the Pacific Coast League.  He had just 21 career home runs in 978 AB heading into the season, though at 21-years old it is possible that he has simply gained strength.  He did have 36 doubles and 16 triples in ’10, so there certainly were signs. Read more

Injury Report: May 31: Hanley Ramirez, Francisco Liriano & More

Let’s take a look at this morning’s injury news and notes:

Hanley Ramirez – Florida Marlins – According to Clark Spencer (via Twitter), “Hanley Ramirez says stiff back is worst pain he’s ever felt in his life, stood the entire flight to Phoenix”.  The certainly is not exactly what fantasy owners want to hear and a stint on the DL is now an extreme possibility.  The Marlins may give him a few days, but fantasy owners need to plan accordingly and prepare for the worst.

Francisco Liriano – Minnesota Twins – According to Joe Christensen of the Minnesota Star-Tribune (click here for the article), “Twins lefthander Francisco Liriano said his left shoulder did not feel well when he played catch before today’s game against the Tigers, so he will likely miss one more start, at least.  The Twins had hoped he’d be able to test the shoulder in a bullpen session Tuesday, but that probably won’t happen now, and Anthony Swarzak will likely make Thursday’s start against the Royals.”  Rhett Bollinger of mlb.com (click here for the article) has a further update saying, “The Twins placed left-hander Francisco Liriano on the disabled list, retroactive to May 23 with left shoulder inflammation after Monday’s 6-5 loss to the Tigers.”  The hope is that he’ll only miss one more turn through the rotation, as he’s eligible to return on June 7, though we’ll have to wait and see at this point.  Fantasy owners should shift him to their bench for now. Read more

Around the Majors: May 30: Joakim Soria, Jon Lester, Jay Bruce & More

Let’s take a look at this morning’s injury news and notes:

  • The demise of Joakim Soria took another shot, blowing his fifth save (and third in his last four outings), allowing 3 ER on 4 H and 0 BB, striking out 3, over his 1.0 inning of work.  The struggles are puzzling, but for now it appears that the Royals have seen enough.  Bob Dutton (via Twitter) has reported that he has been removed as the closer, being replaced by Aaron Crowe.  How long that lasts remains to be seen, but the Royals gave him plenty of rope, he just continued to fail to deliver.  Soria should be reinstated sooner rather than later, but Crowe is now a must own option in all formats.
  • Jay Bruce went 3-4 with 1 HR, 3 RBI and 2 R.  Since May 15 he has gone 27-64 (.422) with 8 HR, 22 RBI and 14 R.  Has he earned OF1 status yet?  He’s now hitting .294 with 16 HR, 43 RBI and 38 R on the season.
  • Just like in 2010 Brennan Boesch got off to a quick start, but has fallen off rather quickly (Remember, he did hit .163 in 221 AB after the All-Star Break in ’10).  After going 0-4 with 1 RBI yesterday he is now 15-82 (.183) in the month of May.  You have to at least start to wonder when the Tigers may start looking to replace him in the lineup, though that doesn’t appear to yet be the case.  Read more

Closer’s Report: American League East Edition

(all stats are through Saturday, May 28)

Baltimore Orioles
Closer – Kevin Gregg
Next in Line – Koji Uehara

Gregg has gone 8-for-11 in save opportunities and appears to be skating on thin ice.  He’s been walking batters at an alarming pace, with a current BB/9 of 6.98.  In three of the previous four seasons he had posted BB/9 of 4.29 or worse, so it’s not like he has had elite control in recent years.  The problem is, when you couple the walks with a reduced strikeout rate (currently at 6.98 K/9), it looks that much worse.  He’s never been considered one of the elite closers in the league and right now it feels like he has one foot out the door.  With Koji Uehara picking up right where he left off in ’10, he could easily step in and run with the closer’s role.  While Gregg is walking too many and striking out too few, Uehara is sporting an 11.12 K/9 vs. a 1.99 BB/9.  He’s not overpowering (88.5 mph fastball average), but it’s the same stuff he used to produce an 11.25 K/9 in ’10.  Sure, you can point to a .216 BABIP and 90.3% strand rate for some of his success, but the bottom line is that he has proven that he can produce at the Major League level.  If you are looking for saves, stashing him makes a lot of sense. Read more

Injury Report: May 30: Hanley Ramirez, Albert Pujols & More

Let’s take a look at this morning’s injury news and notes:

Hanley Ramirez – Florida Marlins – According to Joe Capoizzi (via Twitter), “Lower back stiffness is why Hanley left game”.  Clark Spence of the Miami Herald (click here for the article) has one word quote from Ramirez about his back, “Bad”.  At this point it appears unlikely that Ramirez plays on Monday and he is a big risk for the coming week.  With a player of his ability, it really just depends on the other options you have available to you on if you want to roll the dice with him or not.  Three games of Ramirez could be better than a full week of your alternative, but monitor the news up until your roster deadline before deciding.

Albert Pujols – St. Louis Cardinals – According to Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch (click here for the post), “Cardinals’ first baseman Albert Pujols rolled into some shoulder discomfort while trying to make a diving play Saturday evening against the Colorado Rockies. Manager Tony La Russa said he removed Pujols in part because of the rout and in part because of the soreness Pujols experienced in his left shoulder late in the game.”  It appears to be nothing, as Pujols was in the Cardinals lineup yesterday, but it certainly is worth monitoring just in case. Read more