Clearing The Bases
I was supposed to write this column last week, but ended up spending way to much time on another project, so I apologize, but here we are with news and notes from the National League.
New York Mets: Well, 1B Ike Davis may have awoken from his season long slump. His average is close to getting off the interstate, and he did hit a grand slam Monday. Jason Bay could be out long term after suffering another concussion. Johan Santana has had a couple of rough starts since throwing his no-hitter, but as of this writing has a shutout going against Baltimore halfway through. RA Dickey has been ridiculous, just about unhittable. Not only should he start the All-Star game for the National League, but should be the leader for the CY Young as well, just incredible.
Miami Marlins: Where do we start with this team? Manager Ozzie Guillen has been quiet ever since his blowup over supporting Fidel Castro. Hanley Ramirez is in the middle of a terrible slump. Jose Reyes has yet to hit his stride so far this season. I still have no idea what that thing is supposed to be in left-center field, but Giancarlo Stanton is going to break it one of these days. Emilio Bonifacio may not be back until after the ASG. The time to buy low on Josh Johnson is over, he’s looking more and more like his former self every time he steps on the mound. Anibal Sanchez is going to make a nice chunk of change this off-season.
Atlanta Braves: Shortstop Andrelton Simmons have been everything the Braves could’ve hoped for since they called him up from AAA to replace Tyler Pastornicky. We always knew he could field, but he’s been good with the bat as well. Anyone else surprised that Jair Jurrjens was called up to replace Brandon Beachy in the starting rotation? He wasn’t pitching all that well in AAA, and wasn’t the reason they sent Kris Medlen down to AAA so that he could get his arm stretched out to join said rotation? Strange.
Washington Nationals: Should be interesting to see how the Nats react to being swept by the Yankees at home last weekend. Still think they are the best team in the National League East, but some doubts may start to creep in. Have to wonder if the front office is starting to wonder if they made a huge mistake in handing out that monstrous contract to 3B Ryan Zimmerman. Not only has he been hurt again this season but has performed miserably at the plate. Phenom Bryce Harper was schooled over the weekend by Yankees veteran left-hander Andy Pettitte, but he’s still going to be a great one.
Philadelphia Phillies: Each day that goes by, the season seems to slip further and further away from the Phils. Have to think they are going to be sellers at the deadline. Especially if they know they can’t re-sign SP Cole Hamels and OF Shane Victorino. Freddy Galvis was suspended for 50 games today for violating the PED policy. That explains some things now don’t it. Anyone realize SP Cliff Lee still hasn’t won a game yet this season?
Chicago Cubs: Bad timing for the Cubs that they had to put SP Ryan Dempster on the DL. It looked like he could be traded any minute. He still will get dealt, but one has to wonder if the price just went down a bit. Matt Garza is also going to be dealt, and depending upon how much money Chicago is willing to eat, Alfonso Soriano could be going bye bye as well. The Cubs are now playing Bryan LaHair in the outfield, guess what that means? Anthony Rizzo will be making his debut sooner rather than later.
Pittsburgh Pirates: Not sure if the Pirates can play this well all season, but here’s hoping another play at the plate doesn’t derail it like last year. AJ Burnett is proving once again that you put him in a non pressure situation and he will excel. Pretty much a must start in fantasy leagues right now. Pedro Alvarez is hot once again and should be started, but it’s time to realize that this will come to an end soon and you won’t want him on your team anymore.
Cincinnati Reds: Joey Votto could be your leader right now for National League MVP, he has my vote. Mat Latos is finding out that pitching any place other than Petco is not really all that easy. Brandon Phillips can make the ridiculous look routine at second base, he’s fun to watch. Scott Rolen was activated off the DL this week, but Todd Frazier is still going to see his share of playing time.
St. Louis Cardinals: Funny with all the injuries that the Cards have suffered this season (Lance Berkman, Chris Carpenter, Jon Jay, Jaime Garcia), that 3B David Freese has remained relatively healthy all season. Rafael Furcal has come back down to Earth of late, that shouldn’t come as much of a surprise. Guess that big contract St. Louis handed out to C Yadier Molina was worth it, he has been there MVP so far this season.
Houston Astros: Closer Brett Myers gave up eight straight singles last night, that’s hard to do. Myers will be traded, it’s just a matter of time, and he won’t close for his new team to prevent his option from kicking in. You may want to deal him in fantasy leagues before it’s to late. You have to love 2B Jose Altuve, hard not to root for a player that is vertically challenged.
Milwaukee Brewers: MVP voters are going to have a tough decision this season. Will they vote for OF Ryan Braun? He’s having another great season, but his reputation has been tainted with his failed test for PEDs last year. We know these players won’t get into the Hall of Fame as of now, and since many of those voters also vote for MVP, it’s an interesting dilemma. Could the Brewers be sellers at the deadline, Zach Greinke and Shaun Marcum are also free agents at the end of the season.
Los Angeles Dodgers: How is it possible that the Dodgers have the best record in baseball? Simply amazing, especially when you consider that OF Matt Kemp has missed a good chunk of the season, SP Clayton Kershaw has not been his normal dominating self because of plantar fasciitis, and the team as a whole has used the disabled list more often than I change radio stations while driving. Look for the Dodgers to be big buyers at the deadline.
Arizona Diamondbacks: What is wrong with OF Justin Upton? He’s certainly not having the type of season many have predicted of him coming into 2012. Is he feeling the pressure of high expectations? Is the thumb injury he suffered early this season still bothering him? Possible, as far as fantasy owners go, I’d rather buy low on Upton right now than sell him. Just have to think he turns it around shortly. As for OF Chris Young, he was off to a sizzling start to the season before an injury derailed his campaign, and he just hasn’t been the same since. Actually he has been terrible. Even manager Kirk Gibson admitted they probably brought him back to soon.
San Francisco Giants: Tim Lincecum should be on the bench in most fantasy leagues, at least until he puts together a decent start or two. The Giants keep insisting that nothing is wrong physically, well that would seem to mean that it is a mental block. Perhaps Tim is afraid of letting it loose for fear that he will blow his shoulder or elbow out. Will manager Bruce Bochy and the Giants finally come to their senses and start Brandon Belt. Melky Cabrera has been great, and I wish I could say that I saw this coming, but when he was with the Yankees (I’m a Yankee fan), I did not shed a tear when he was traded away.
San Diego Padres: Where will OF Carlos Quentin end up? That’s pretty much the only question to be answered by the Padres. Will they keep him and try to sign him to a long term deal or trade him and try to reap the benefits of a weak market for power hitting outfielders.
Colorado Rockies: The Rockies announced today that SP Jeremy Guthrie will head to the bullpen for the immediate future and they will go with a four-man rotation. This should be interesting. Carlos Gonzalez, who is having an MVP type season, is day to day with a leg injury. Rockies are hoping he returns tomorrow.
You can reach me on twitter, @georgekurtz.