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2012 Fantasy Baseball Round-Up: Edinson Volquez, Kevin Youkilis, Billy Hamilton and More

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Despite what I perceived to be the pitchers dual of the year in R.A. Dickey vs C.C. Sabathia falling through, Sunday June 24th was still a fantastic day and night in baseball.

In the most anticipated game of the day… 2shut down the scorching hot Mariners offense in Petco Park. Among the things I learned by watching this game was that Mark Kotsay is still in Major League Baseball! Despite getting 3 hits, Kotsay still didn’t help the Padres very much, as he decided to act out his best Billy Butler base running impression, and managed to get caught stealing once and picked off another time.

Jose Altuve strained his hamstring. Although it doesn’t appear to be serious, my heart did momentarily stop when I heard the news. In that same game, Jed Lowrie continued to produce, going 1 for 3 with 2 runs scored. Lowrie’s got a ton of value going forward, especially given his dual-eligibility at third base and shortstop.

The Greek God of Walks, Kevin Youkilis, was traded from the Boston Red Sox (my favorite team) to the Chicago White Sox. While I’m sad to see him go, I believe Youk will be served very well by a change of scenery, and immediately becomes an interesting pickup in all leagues. I’d give the guy at least a bench spot if it were at all possible.

The Royals vs Cardinals game was probably the most exciting game of the day, featuring 6 homers, 2 of which came from Mike Moustakas. What started out looking like a disappointing season for Mous has suddenly turned into a .280 average, .347 OBP, and 12 homers in 66 games. For a second year player, those are standout numbers, especially from third base.

Minor League Billy Hamilton Update Of The Day: Billy Hamilton somehow managed to steal 3 more bases last night, giving him 90 on the season in 71 games. If Hamilton were to keep that pace in the majors and play a full 162 game season, he would hypothetically steal 205 (!!!!!) bases. Last year, people were extremely excited when he stole 100 on the season; I wonder how people are going to feel when he steals 150.

Justin Verlander went the distance against the Pirates, earning 2 runs, striking out 7 and walking only one. In the game, Tigers outfielder Quintin Berry hit his first major league homer, as well as earned his first ‘combo meal’ in the majors as he added his 11th steal of the season. My fellow RotoAnalysis.com writer Matt Schwimmer has been touting Berry to me for weeks, but only now am I starting to believe in him. Berry reminds me of a Ben Revere with a little more power, but a worse average. In rotisserie leagues, that stat line could have huge value given his 50-steal upside in a full season.

As a Scott Downs owner in many leagues, I’m extremely frustrated by Ernesto Frieri’s success, but at this point even I think he’s a better pitcher than Downs, as well as the official closer of the Angels. He earned his 9th save of the season last night, striking out 2 in his 1 and 1/3rd innings of work, while letting nobody on base against the Dodgers.

Trevor Bauer was pulled after only 2 and 2/3rds innings yesterday, and it appears he will start for the Diamondbacks on Thursday. As excited as I am to watch him, I am much less bullish on Bauer than most, and I wouldn’t expect more than a middling number 3 type of pitcher at first with him. Bauer was really struggling with his control in the minors, and there’s really no reason to expect that to change while he is increasing his level of competition.

Wade Miley continued his dominance against the Cubs yesterday, earning one run, striking out 7, and walking 1 in his 8 innings of work. Yes, it is the Cubs, and they have basically one above average offensive player on their entire team, but I am starting to believe more and more in Miley’s skills, and especially his command and control. For more info on the young hurler, The Fix and RotoAnalysis writer Timothy Lee wrote a more in-depth player profile on Miley.

In the aforementioned ‘pitchers duel,’ R.A. Dickey and C.C. Sabathia each let up 5 runs, the difference being 4 of C.C.’s were unearned, whereas all of Dickey’s were earned. Going forward, I prefer the Yankee to the Met, but I still believe Dickey is a top 15 pitcher, and people should not overreact to this one bad start by saying he’s not top 20, just like they shouldn’t have overreacted to that 6 start stretch of greatness by calling him one of the few best pitchers in baseball.

Matchup of the Week: Will Venable, Cameron Maybin and the entire Padres lineup. What’s that you say? Why should you play anyone from arguably the worst hitting team in baseball? Well, next week, the Padres have a full 7-day week of games, playing 4 games at Houston, and then 3 games at Coors Field, avoiding Petco Park entirely. They are likely facing: Wandy Rodriguez (4.03 xFIP), Jordan Lyles (4.72 xFIP), Lucas Harrell (4.16 xFIP), and an unknown fourth Astros pitcher, possibly Dallas Keuchel (5.07 xFIP). The team is then going to Coors Field, and it doesn’t really matter who they’re facing, as the Rockies have exactly 0 good starters on their roster. This is a dream-hitting week for any team, and although usually most of the Padres will hurt your team, this week they should be among the most valuable in all of fantasy.

Link of the Day: One of my favorite writers is Mike Newman, who writes for his site ScoutingTheSally.com as well as Fangraphs. One of my favorite prospects in the minor leagues (despite being a Yankee) is Angelo Gumbs, thanks to his tools and beautiful swing. Now, when Mike Newman writes about Angelo Gumbs, well… it’s a recipe for an article I love! He writes a lot about Gumbs’ elite bat speed, gives video analysis, and overall, it’s an article well-worth reading. Check it out!

Happy Birthday To: Phil Hughes! Despite a 4.94 ERA, 5.13 FIP and 4.17 xFIP, I believe Hughes has taken huge steps forward this year with, sporting a career-best 3.85 K/BB rate. I would be happy to at least roster him in most leagues. Hughes has been preposterously unlucky this year with respect to home runs, letting up 2.18 homers per nine innings this season. Among qualified starters, only Bronson Arroyo finished last season over a 1.57 HR/9 rate, and Phil Hughes is much better than Arroyo to say the least.

By Moe Koltun, exclusively for TheFantasyFix.com. 

Read more of Moe's excellent fantasy insight over at RotoAnalysis.com

Have a fantasy related question? You can follow the site on Twitter @RotoAnalysis or Moe on twitter@moeproblems.

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