Home run rates have risen yet again in Major League Baseball this season, and we are hearing rumors that the ball has been wound tighter this season or that seams are more depressed than usual. Perhaps this is just pitchers looking for an excuse, or perhaps this is Major League Baseball’s way to gather more eyeballs on the games. What does this mean for Fantasy owners? Well, with the weather heating up as summer begins, balls will travel further. You may want to give that struggling power hitter a little more time before you cut him. The problem is hotter weather won’t help that batting average much. Ba
- Ryan Haniger, Seattle Mariners: Haniger is 12 for 43 (.279) with two HRs and 5 RBIs since being activated off the disabled list (June 11) from his oblique injury. While it’s true that those aren’t quite the numbers he was putting up before the injury, he has proven himself to be 100-percent healthy and you may not have a better time buy low on him. You may be able to take advantage of an owner who has his doubts and wants to move on. I’m buying here, as I expect Haniger to pick up his play from this point on.
- Logan Morrison, Tampa Bay Rays: Does anyone realize that Morrison is tied for third (George Springer) in MLB with 21 HRs? No one saw that coming. His single season best is 23 homers, a mark he reached while playing for Miami in 2011. He will easily surpass that total. His 51 zRBIs have him tied with Albert Pujols, Travis Shaw, and Avisail Garcia for 13th place in MLB. He’s having a career season, but I wouldn’t mind moving him while the moving is good. I’m just not sure he can keep up this power display with an average (.249) that won’t kill you over an entire season.
- Jonathan Schoop, Baltimore Orioles: A few weeks ago, in my home league, I had a decision to make when Ian Kinsler landed on the DL. I could’ve taken Devon Travis, Dustin Pedroia, or Schoop. I made the wrong decision. At that time, Schoop was batting in the bottom third of the lineup and was having a solid, but not spectacular season. However, over his past 30 games he has done what Manny Machado owners have been waiting for. He has nine HRs, 26 RBIs, and is batting .324. I think the power is legit, although this pace isn’t sustainable, but he’s a player I would love as my middle infielder.
- Jordan Zimmermann, Detroit Tigers: I fully admit that so much would have to be wrong with my team to go to the waiver wire and claim Zimmermann. I don’t trust him one little bit but there is also no denying that he has pitched well of late. Over his last four starts (CWS, @BOS, ARI, @SEA) he has allowed only eight earned runs in 26.7 IP with 21 K. Yes, it’s a small sample size. No, I don’t trust him long-term, but if you need short-term starting pitching due to injuries or poor performance, you might want to look at Zimmermann. Just remember that he won’t solve all of your problems. He’s a short-term answer at the very best.
- Zack Godley, Arizona Diamondbacks: Someone sent me a question on Twitter earlier this week. Should I start Godley in Colorado? I thought this was a pretty easy question to answer. No. Why take the chance that a relatively unknown player will get blown up in Coors? We don’t even want to start trusted veterans there. His line versus the Rockies was impressive: three earned runs in seven IP. Is he a must start now? Well he’s pretty close to it. His ERA is 1.93 with a WHIP of 0.96. I’m no longer looking for an excuse to take him out of my lineup. Now, I’m looking for a reason to take another player out.
- Eric Thames, Milwaukee Brewers: The other shoe has dropped with Thames and most of us knew this was coming. You can feel free to blame Corey Parson, (host of Old School Fantasy on the Fantasy Sports Radio Network) as he put a jinx on him about a month ago. Since that time, Thames has seven HRs and 14 RBIs but he’s also batting .175. In other words, he’s all or nothing right now. If I’m good with power and don’t need HRs, then he will be on my bench for now so that I can protect my batting average.
- Troy Tulowitzki, Toronto Blue Jays: It’s truly a shame to see what Tulowitzki has become. He only has two home runs and 15 RBIs for the season. He’s batting .228. This is while playing in one of the best hitter’s ballparks in baseball xc. He was once one of the best players in the game, but those days are gone. If you haven’t already, you should move on.
- Max Kepler, Minnesota Twins: Kepler got off to a solid start this season but his numbers have taken a tumble over the past month. He has hit a single home run since June 13 and only has three in the month. He only has eight RBI this month and is batting .246 over this time period. He’s just not helping your Fantasy team. At the very least he has to be on your bench and if you need the roster spot and want to move on from him, I wouldn’t blame you one little bit.
- Rick Porcello, Boston Red Sox: Should we call this the curse of Kate Upton? She blasted the Cy Young voters last season when they selected Porcello over her boyfriend, Justin Verlander. Well, she is getting her revenge this season as Porcello has pretty much gone from the Cy Young of your Fantasy team to sayonara (Graig Nettles originally stated that quote regarding the NYY acquisition of Rich “Goose” Gossage during the offseason after Sparky Lyle won the Cy Young). You can’t start Porcello right now, as he is getting lit up on a regular basis. His K rate is similar to last season, but the BB rate and hits given up are both up significantly. He may have been just a one-year wonder.
- Carlos Gonzalez, Colorado Rockies: CarGo has always been a slow starter but we’re at the end of June now, that no longer applies. He’s only batting .221 with six HRs, 20 RBIs and a single stolen base. He’s not helping you in any Fantasy category. Sooner or later, when everyone is healthy, the Rockies are going to have a decision to make. Someone will have to sit. The Rockies are in contention for a playoff spot. They will have to play the players that give them the best chance to win and right now, Gonzalez is not one of those players.
As always feel free to follow me on Twitter and ask any questions you like, @georgekurtz.