Fantasy Baseball: Charlie Morton On The Rise

  • Adam Ronis

There doesn’t seem to be much interest in Pirates right-hander Charlie Morton. Is it the 5-9 record? Is it the lack of strikeouts, which are actually up this season? Is it because when you see the name you envision Dave Chappelle saying, “Charlie Murphyyyyy!!” and then you laugh incessantly?

Whatever the reasons, too many owners are shying away from Morton considering he is owned in just 29 percent of Yahoo! Leagues. Forget the record, which can easily flip in the opposite direction with the Pirates playing better and Morton pitching well.

Morton has a 3.10 ERA and 1.18 WHIP and is getting more strikeouts; he went from 17.2 percent in 2013 to 19.7 percent this year, while maintaining solid control with an 8.4 walk percentage. Morton gets a lot of ground balls with a 55.4 percent GB rate and he limits the fly balls with a 23.6 percent FB rate. Morton, who has a 0.48 HR/9, keeps the ball in the ballpark.

After posting a 4.35 ERA in April, Morton had a 2.41 ERA in May, 3.66 in June and a 0.66 over 13 innings in July. Morton had a great June with a 10.97 K/9, 2.53 BB/9 and 1.09 WHIP.

Morton should be owned in more leagues.

Corey Dickerson’s Role Going Forward

Many people are worried about the playing time of Rockies outfielder Corey Dickerson when Carlos Gonzalez gets activated from the disabled list on Friday. Do not drop him yet. I think Dickerson will get most of the playing time with Drew Stubbs getting some as well. Dickerson is playing too well to be sent to a reserve role.

Dickerson is batting .327 with 37 runs, 11 home runs, 34 RBI, six stolen bases and a .981 OPS. Even if there is a platoon, since Dickerson hits right-handers better while Stubbs hits left-handers better, Dickerson will be on the better side of the platoon.

Dillon Gee Back from Injury

Mets right-hander Dillon Gee isn’t going to litter the stat sheet with strikeouts, but he can be an asset to your Fantasy team. Gee was likely dropped in many leagues after missing almost two months with a lat strain.

If he was, consider adding him. He pitched seven innings against the Braves in his return on Wednesday and allowed six hits, one earned run, one walk, and he struck out four. In 59 2/3 innings, Gee has a 2.56 ERA, a 1.06 WHIP, a 15.6 strikeout percentage and a 6.8 walk percentage.

Gee had a 3.62 ERA and a 1.28 ERA last season, which was impressive considering he allowed 36 earned runs in his first 57 innings with a 1.44 WHIP and a 4.32 ERA in the first half.

Speculating for Potential Closers

The Phillies should be looking to shop several veterans since they aren’t in contention, and closer Jonathan Papelbon is one of them. He’ll make $13 million this season and next season and has a vesting option of $13 million in 2016. Papelbon has saved 22 of 24 games and could certainly help a contending team. If Papelbon does get traded, look for Ken Giles to close. In 12 2/3 innings, Giles has allowed six hits, one earned run, and three walks while striking out 17. He averages 97.1 miles per hour with his fastball.

Meanwhile, Arizona Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson continues to give closer Addison Reed a vote of confidence. Reed has saved 20 of 25 and has a 42:9 K:BB ratio in 36 2/3 innings, but he also has a 4.42 ERA and allowed nine home runs. Reed has blown three of his last six save opportunities, and at some point, he has to be removed for at least a period if he continues to blow saves.

If you’re searching for saves and hoping to stash someone, consider adding Brad Ziegler, who is one of the more underrated relievers in baseball, plus he has experience as a closer. He saved 13 games last season for the Diamondbacks and has ERAs of 2.16, 2.49 and 2.22 over the previous three years. Ziegler has a 2.47 ERA, a 1.08 WHIP and he gets a lot of ground balls with a career GB rate of 66.4 percent.

Justin Ruggiano Heating Up

Cubs’ outfielder Justin Ruggiano was a player I considered late in drafts this season. He has power and speed. He had 13 home runs and 14 stolen bases in 91 games in 2012, and 18 home runs and 15 stolen bases in 128 games last season.

Ruggiano wasn’t playing every day to start the season and then he landed on the disabled list with a hamstring injury. In nine July games, Ruggiano is batting .417 with four runs, two home runs, seven RBI and one stolen base, which was his first of the season and might be a sign he’s over the hamstring injury.

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