I know the Home Run Derby has some extra jazz this week because we all want to see how far Giancarlo Stanton and Aaron Judge can hit the ball. I wouldn’t mind seeing either player knock down that thing in left-center but still, next week will be a difficult week for me. I mean, no games that count for a majority of the week. I also worry about my players. While a four-day break could be good for some players who have gone cold; what will it do to the players who are hot? Just so much to worry about. Well, at least I have three Fantasy Football drafts starting Monday.
- Jedd Gyorko, St. Louis Cardinals: Gyorko had a breakout season in 2016 with 30 HRs but that only came with 59 RBIs and a .243 batting average. That may have not been enough to guarantee him an everyday job going into this season. Well, due to injury (Kolten Wong) and poor performance (Aledmys Diaz), Gyorko is once again playing every day and the power numbers are starting to rise once again but this time, so are the RBIs and average. He’s a solid MI option.
- Michael Taylor, Washington Nationals: I originally thought that the Nationals might try and upgrade at centerfield from Taylor after the Adam Eaton He’s not perfect but he does give Fantasy owners a solid combination of speed and power along with a batting average that won’t hurt you. The Nationals originally may have been leaning towards acquiring a more proven centerfielder but with their bullpen in shambles, there is little doubt that the organization will have to make that position the focus of any trade deadline upgrades. Taylor was placed on the disabled list Friday but this doesn’t change my outlook for him.
- Jacob Faria, Tampa Bay Rays: We can get this out of the way early; Faria is a must add in all leagues and not just because he outdueled Chris Sale on Thursday. In six starts since being called up he has a 2.11 ERA, a 0.97 WHIP and is striking out about a better per inning. Faria has become what the Rays thought Blake Snell would be. This may enable them to trade Alex Cobb or Chris Archer for cheaper options. Sure, adjustments may need to be made eventually, but right now the league has yet to catch up to him.
- Marwin Gonzalez, Houston Astros: Not every player who deserves to make the game will get selected. Gonzalez is one of those players. Does anyone realize that he is on pace to hit 30 HRs and he has multi-position eligibility? Plus, he has a .319 batting average. Fantasy-wise he’s more than an All-Star; he might be the Fantasy MVP. He’s someone who you either drafted late or maybe even picked up off the waiver wire after the draft. It’s players like Gonzalez that win you leagues.
- Alex Wood, Los Angeles Dodgers: Wood is another player who got snubbed from the All-Star selectors but that wrong looks to have been righted, as Wood has been chosen as the replacement for Clayton Kershaw (will start Sunday) and will attend Tuesday’s game in Miami. I know wins can be tough to gauge in Fantasy and are somewhat lucky, but Wood is still 10-0 and even if you don’t buy the wins, how about the 1.67 ERA and 0.89 WHIP? It does seem that Wood has been around forever but he’s only 26-years old and looks to have put it all together this season for a Dodger’s team that, if not the best, is one of the best in MLB.
- Lance McCullers, Houston Astros: I like McCullers and I’m not dropping him, but there are two things to remember here with his recent slump. First, McCullers hasn’t proven to be the most durable of starting pitchers in the past. Second, he is returning from a back injury that saw him placed on the disabled list last month. Perhaps he is still working his way back to the pitcher he was in the first half, but in his last three starts he has a 5.52 ERA and 1.57 WHIP. Is the long season catching up to him? The big lead the Astros have in the division will also allow them to play it safe with McCullers, as their next important game isn’t until October.
- Josh Donaldson, Toronto Blue Jays: We talked about a possible Fantasy MVP earlier; well, now we have to do a 180 and discuss the Fantasy LVP. Has anyone disappointed more than Donaldson? He’s added nothing to your Fantasy team. He only has 8 HRs and 22 RBIs. He’s batting .245 and doesn’t run. It would seem obvious that the calf injury from last season is still bothering him and this may not change anytime soon. Remember, an entire offseason didn’t heal it and neither did time off this season. He’s on my bench until I see some kind of sign that he’s ready to break out, and I wonder if that doesn’t come until 2018.
- Nomar Mazara, Texas Rangers: Mazara started the season on fire and still has 11 HRs and 52 RBIs, so the production, as far as final numbers, are there, but he’s also batting .198 over his last 30 games, .103 over his last 14, and .150 over his last seven. Hopefully, the All-Star break will give him a chance to breathe and make the necessary adjustments to pick up these numbers over the second half of the season, or he will see his everyday playing status called into question.
- Luis Severino, New York Yankees: Severino has given up 16 earned runs over his last four starts covering 24.3 IP. These numbers aren’t terrible but they’re certainly a sign pointing in the wrong direction. Severino has had an up and down career to date. In 2015, he burst on the scene and looked like a possible top of the rotation starter, then last season, he was a bust. This year, he made the All-Star team but is now struggling. Once again, he just might need a break, or perhaps those scouts that doubted his ability to be a productive starter all season long are about to be proven correct.
- Dylan Bundy, Baltimore Orioles: It’s only July, just barely past the mid-way point of the season, but Bundy just looks like a player who has nothing left in the gas tank. We saw this last season as well, as he seemed to be running on fumes in September. His ERA (4.33) has been steadily rising for well over a month now and if you can find someone in your league that still believes in him, I’d move him, quickly. Those numbers may continue to rise as the weather heats up and the ball flies out of Camden Yards.
As always feel free to follow me on Twitter and ask any questions you like, @georgekurtz.