by Will Overton
It seems as if there have been several big names coming off the DL lately, some back after a short trip and some a little bit longer. But there were a lot of them making a splash in last night’s games, and likely giving hope back to their owners.
Here is a rundown of last night’s fantasy baseball highlight and lowlights:
- Carl Crawford – OF, Boston Red Sox: It has only been two games back so far, but Crawford looks healthy and ready to make a splash in fantasy baseball. After going 1 – 3 Monday and scoring twice, Crawford went 3 – 4 last night and scored twice again, also knocking in a run. He also, most importantly, stole three bases. Last season was rough for Crawford, but I have to believe it was an aberration. Crawford is only 30 years old and certainly shouldn’t be on the downside of his career yet. Crawford is healthy and claims to be more comfortable, and hitting at the top of this lineup after Jacoby Ellsbury and before guys like David Ortiz and Adrian Gonzalez. Crawford could be in for a big finish, and hopefully it comes with a lot of steals, the way it should.
- Jonathon Niese – SP, New York Mets: Fantasy baseball owners can have a bad habit of overreacting to things, and they did it again last week. Jonathon Niese allowed seven runs over seven innings in his last start and between then and now he was dropped in 15% of leagues. Last night he made all 15% of those people regret their decision by going seven innings and allowing one run on three hits and striking out eight. Niese should be owned in all leagues at this point, and at 25 you have to start wondering how high his ceiling may be as a pitcher. Hopefully you were one of the owners who could take advantage of the 15%’s mistakes.
More Quick Thoughts
- Things did not go so well for Jacob Turner last night despite his recent strong showings in the minor leagues. Turner allowed seven runs in two innings, giving up three long balls. On the other side Garrett Richards bounced back from a couple shaky performances by not allowing a run in seven innings last night. Turner has a bright future, but the future might not be now. Meanwhile Richards could be a decent deep league pitcher.
- The one man hit parade that is Mike Trout kept on rolling last night with a 4 – 6 game including his 13th HR of the season. At this point all you can do is sit back and watch in amazement as Trout shows us what the future of baseball looks like.
- A little time on the DL hasn’t seemed to have phased CC Sabathia too much as he went six strong innings last night not allowing any runs and scattering four hits, also striking out six. Sabathia should clearly continue to be one of the best pitchers in the game going forward.
- You won’t get a lot of K’s, and you will get too many BB’s, but Barry Zito keeps having performances that make him at least rather useful in deep leagues. He had another of those games last night holding the Braves scoreless for seven innings and only surrendering three hits.
- He isn’t performing like he was earlier this season, but Gregor Blanco still holds some value as the Giants leadoff man and speedster. Blanco was 1 – 3 last night with a couple of runs scored and a steal. He’s mostly a deep league guy right now, but a standard league team that needs speed could have use for him.
- July continues to be a good month to be Alexei Ramirez as he picked up another two hits last night and scored two runs with a steal. Ramirez is hitting .367 this month with 6 R and 3 SB.
- Control continues to be a huge issue for Trevor Bauer at the major league level. Despite only allowing one hit, Bauer only lasted three innings, gave up four runs and walked five. Bauer has walked 13 batters in 16.1 IP so far. If he can’t figure it out he’s headed back to the minors in a hurry.
- Things are picking up for Carlos Lee in Miami as he’s on a marginal five game hit streak right now. Lee is 7 – 18 over the last five games and hit his first HR as a Marlin last night. Lee also has 7 RBI in these five games.
- Since the beginning of June Anibal Sanchez ERA has blossomed from 2.57 to 4.12 going into last night’s game. So it was good to see Sanchez give up just 1 ER over 7 IP with 7 K. After making a big splash last season Sanchez has been a bit of a fantasy bummer for his owners, but let’s hope he’s on the upswing now.
- The expectations for Dustin Ackley have been far from met so far this season, but hopefully he can put something together for the second half. Getting two hits last night Ackley now has three two hit games in his last five starts.
- In five games since coming off the DL Nick Markakis is 10 – 23 and has three hits in three different games, including last night’s. He’s not showing the same power he was early on this season, but if he’s getting on base like this from the leadoff spot good things will happen.
- Things might be settling down for Roy Oswalt now as he looked good for the second straight start. Last night he went 6.1 IP with 3 H, 1 R, 0 BB and 6 K. The key now is to work himself later into the games, but he’s on the right track it seems.
- In one start off the DL Roy Halladay already looks better than the Roy Halladay that we saw early this season. Halladay allowed two runs in five innings and struck out six batters. Halladay only threw 80 pitches, but that count should be a good bit higher for his next start. I wouldn’t have any reservations in plugging him back into your lineups.
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