Tony Bosch to be Formally Charged
Finally! The man behind one of the worst scandals in MLB history will be charged with a crime in court. Tony Bosch, head of the infamous Biogenesis clinic in Florida, surrendered this morning and will be charged with distributing steroids between 2008 and 2012 in a court hearing this afternoon. The charge carries a maximum sentence of 10 years, though he is expected to plea out for a lesser sentence.
There were dozens of major league players tied to Bosch’s clinic, including Ryan Braun and Alex Rodriguez. Several players served long suspensions for their actions in the Biogenesis scandal after Bosch cooperated with MLB investigators and provided documents that implicated them, none longer than Rodriguez, who is still serving his 200-plus game suspension. MLB agreed to “put in a good word” for Bosch if he ever had to appear in court for his actions. That was the bargain struck when Bosch gave his testimony to MLB. Now it’s his turn in court, and it will be interesting to see whether MLB makes any kind of difference in Bosch’s fate.
Just days after Fantasy owners absorbed the loss of first round stud Paul Goldschmidt for the rest of the season, they got some more bad news, this time concerning OF Andrew McCutchen. He’s been diagnosed with a strained oblique that will sideline him for at least 3-4 weeks. The Pirates will probably activate Starling Marte and insert him in centerfield with McCutchen heading to the DL. McCutchen is batting .311 with a .947 OPS. He leads the team with 17 home runs and 67 RBIs and he’s stolen 17 bases this season.
Ubaldo Jimenez threw 94 pitches over six innings, allowing just one run in his second rehab start for Triple-A Norfolk. He’s just about ready to return from the sprained ankle that’s sidelined him since July 5. The Orioles haven’t made their intentions known just yet but Jimenez will likely return to the starting rotation at Kevin Gausman’s expense. Gausman has pitched fairly well recently but the team is watching his innings; he’s already pitched 150 innings this season. He threw 162 last year and will likely be capped at 190 or so.
Brett Lawrie should be activated today and probably slotted back at third base, with Munenori Kawasaki and Steve Tolleson heading back to the bench. Lawrie was slashing .244/.299/.419 before the injury with 12 homers in 281 PA, so there’s plenty of upside for the stretch run in all formats.
The Yankees placed SP David Phelps on the disabled list with tendonitis in his pitching elbow. He managed just two innings against the Red Sox on Sunday and said that some residual soreness never loosened up during his warmups. An MRI study revealed no damage in the elbow but he’ll be shut down for two weeks before starting his way back. Don’t expect him back on the mound until September.
The Nationals placed OF Nate McLouth on the DL with shoulder inflammation. McLouth has played sparingly since Bryce Harper returned to action, so Fantasy owners won’t be hurt by this loss. Since I mentioned him, it’s worth noting that Harper is batting .223/.330/.319 since returning on June 30 with just two homers and five RBIs.
Matt Cain will have elbow surgery to remove the bone spurs that have bothered him for more than two years. The injury likely messed with Cain’s mechanics, so there’s some hope here that he can get back to what he once was. However, he’ll be 30 years old next season and he’s thrown 1,811 innings over his 10 year career, including 1,095 innings through his age-25 season. That’s a lot of innings for a young arm and we could just be seeing the effect of that abuse rather than something driven by injury. A cautious approach is warranted with Cain next season.
The Dodgers placed relief pitcher Chris Perez on the 15-day disabled list Monday with bone spurs in his right ankle. Perez wasn’t exactly sharp this season, with a 5.03 ERA in 42 appearances. The Dodgers bullpen has thinned considerably this week; they lost Paul Maholm to a torn ACL just a few days ago.
The Cubs’ youth movement is in full swing now with the promotion of Javier Baez, who will join the team in Colorado and play second base today. Baez raked at Triple-A Iowa, with a slash line of .260/.323/.510 and 23 HRs, 80 RBIs, 64 runs and 16 steals in 434 PA. Baez strikes out often (130 Ks) so he’s a bit of a free swinger, which will take its toll at the major league level. However, the upside is clear, as he has legitimate power and speed that will play great in Fantasy at second base. Arismendy Alcantara will move to centerfield now that Baez is with the big club. Now all we need is for the Cubs to bring up slugging third baseman Kris Bryant.
When the Indians traded Asdrubal Cabrera, the general consensus was that Francisco Lindor would be promoted to play SS. However, it looks like Jose Ramirez will be the choice at SS for Cleveland, as he’s started four of the five games since the trade. Ramirez hasn’t shown much stick in majors thus far with a .214/.257/.257 line in 78 PA over parts of two seasons in the majors. However, earlier this year at Triple-A Columbus, Ramirez batted .320/.360/.441 with five HRs and 19 stolen bases in 277 PA on the heels of an impressive season at Double-A Akron last year. I can’t help but get the feeling that Ramirez is just keeping SS warm for Lindor’s impending arrival, though, because Ramirez profiles as more of a utility type of player. Right now, Ramirez’ Fantasy value is limited to deep AL-only play, as he doesn’t really have the stick to be a mixed league option. However, if he continues to play regularly and starts getting the green light to steal, that may change.
Just when it looked like J.P Arencibia might be worth adding in mixed leagues, the Rangers went and ruined the party by claiming Mike Carp off waivers from the Red Sox, who couldn’t find any takers for the 28-year-old first baseman. Carp played first base last night and could now end up being on the long end of a platoon with Arencibia, who is batting a respectable (for him) .232 with five HRs and 16 RBIs since his return to the majors on July 18. Carp, who has struggled this season, actually has reverse splits over his career; he’s hit lefties at a .277 clip with a .744 OPS while batting .254 with a .766 OPS against right-handers. However, he’s shown much more power against righties with 22 of his 27 career HRs coming against them. He’ll get roughly 70 percent of the starts at first base if the platoon holds and there’s enough power upside there for up to 10 HRs down the stretch from Carp, who should benefit from the hitter-friendly environment in Arlington, Texas. Arencibia’s Fantasy value plummets to the point that he can be waived in all but the very deepest AL-only leagues with daily lineup moves.
Alfredo Simon didn’t produce a quality start yesterday for the third time in his last four starts, allowing five runs in five innings to boost his ERA to 3.07 in the process. Simon has been a nice surprise for Fantasy owners this season, posting a 12-7 record with a 1.12 WHIP as a starter after two seasons of working solely in relief. However, the innings appear to be taking their toll on Simon, who is up to 138 IP after only throwing 87 innings last year and 61 innings in 2012. Over his last six starts, Simon has allowed five HRs and his K:BB ratio is just 21:11 in 35 innings of work. The low strikeout rate he’s had all season (5.54 K/9 IP) limits his upside anyway, and his 4.47 FIP portends more bad things to come. If you’ve been clinging to Simon and hoping for more of his early season good fortune, now is the time to trade him for whatever you can get – before his value plummets to nothing.
Things have certainly turned around in a big way for Denard Span. On May 15, Span was batting just .235/.286/.331 with four stolen bases. Since then, he’s slashing .325/.385/.431 with 19 steals and 50 runs scored. Overall, he’s raised his averages to .296/.345/.399 with 23 steals and 70 runs scored, mainly on the strength of his last 30 games, where much of his production has occurred. Any chance to buy low on him is long gone, but if you need steals and runs down the stretch, the man hitting atop the Nationals lineup is in a position to help you. Just think of what his numbers could be like if Bryce Harper actually starts to hit.
Tonight in Baseball
David Price makes his Detroit Tigers debut on the big stage in NY against the Yankees. Price owns a 10-5 record with an ERA of 3.66 in 24 career starts against the Yankees. The only current Yankees hitter who’s been effective against him is now punchless Derek Jeter, who owns a .347 career average against him in 49 at bats. Price has been on a tear recently; over his last 11 starts he has an ERA of 1.98 and a 99:14 K:BB ratio over 86 innings with the opposition hitting just .208 off him. At Yankee Stadium this season, Price is 1-0 with a 1.29 ERA in 14.1 IP and 17 strikeouts.
Another interesting starter to watch tonight is Jesse Hahn of the Padres, who looks to continue his perfection on the road in Minnesota. The rookie is a perfect 4-0 in four road starts with an ERA of 1.50 and a 0.92 WHIP with 25 strikeouts in 24 IP. While his 9.1 K/9 has been quite nice for Fantasy owners, his 3.5 BB/9 is a bit of a concern, and his 2.90 FIP and 3.16 xFIP tell us that his current 2.01 overall ERA may not hold. Minnesota’s offense has weakened considerably without Joe Mauer in the lineup, though they have surged over the last three games, mainly on the strength of timely hitting from Danny Santana and Oswaldo Arcia. Hahn could offer mixed league Fantasy players some help down the stretch given his excellent numbers outside of Petco Park.
Photo Credit: Keith Allison