2012 Fantasy Baseball Round-Up: Albert Pujols, C.J. Wilson, Derek Jeter, Carlos Ruiz and More

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Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim at Baltimore Orioles: Albert Pujols hit a homer, drove in two and doubled – he’s slowly climbing the ladder back to respectable slash line land. He did most of his damage against Brian Matusz who has the toughest case of gopheritis I’ve ever seen. Boy those glowing Spring Training reports seem so long ago. Is there any optimism for Matusz being a sub-5.00 ERA pitcher? Not really, he should probably be dropped everywhere outside of the deepest keeper/dynasty leagues. Tommy Hunter, pitching in relief, also managed to give up a homer – yeesh, learn a new trick. C.J. Wilson shut down the Orioles, as only Wilson Betemit and Steve Pearce managed multi-hit efforts – of course both homered. Pearce is becoming a legit candidate in (real) deep leagues as the Orioles keep running him out there. Reimoldddddddddddddddddd. Nooooooooooooo(lan).

Cleveland Indians at New York Yankees: While he has gotten little love this year, AROD hit his 13th HR of the year and his sitting on a .265/.355/.436 line – draft day value from a Yankee? What world is this? Derek Jeter also chipped in two hits as he fights to maintain a .300+ average. Most of the damage was done against the bullpens in this one. Jose Lopez took Corey Wade deep in ninth and made the game close enough for Rafael Soriano’s services to be needed in a save opportunity. Johnny Damon had two hits and the Indians keep running him out there. That said, he’s starting to look a tad intriguing (especially in OBP leagues):  he has a double digit walk rate and isn’t swinging and missing much, yet the results aren’t there (hello .224 BABIP). I’m pegging Damon as a .265 hitter ROTW with eight HRs and seven steals.

Pittsburgh Pirates at Philadelphia Phillies: Last week, the Pirates boasted a starting line-up with only one player having an OBP over .330. They outdid themselves in this one with only one player starting with an OBP over .317. Vance Worley should have come off with a better line against this sorry bunch of scrubs, but, hey, he did get the win (Jack Morris’d it). Worley looks a lot like he did last year although he is getting a ton more GBs (perhaps because he learned/started throwing a cutter?). Erik Bedard wasn’t quite as good as Worley, as Pence tripled off him and Ty Wigginton homered. Carlos Ruiz sell high, what? He homered again.

Toronto Blue Jays at Boston Red Sox: A solid outing from Dice-K couldn’t secure the W as Aaron Laffey (yeah, I know) somehow shut down the Sox. However, once the Sox got into the pen the gloves came off (Adrian Gonzalez and David Ortiz doubled twice each and Dustin Pedroia drove in two). The Jays managed just one run, in the first inning no less, as Brett Lawrie doubled and Edwin Encarnacion knocked him in. The Sox got some good news as Jacoby Ellsburyis set to begin his minor league rehab on Friday.

Arizona Diamondbacks at Atlanta Braves: a Jason Kubel solo shot was all the offense the d‘Backs could muster (why didn’t you pick him up after his slow start) and it wasn’t nearly enough as the Braves got to Dan Hudson early and then a smattering of relievers late. Michael Bourn hit his seventh homer – I don’t know what to say. I liked him this year, but not because of the power…Andrelton Simmons collected his fifth double and added a single, an RBI and a run. Dude is hitting .338/.375/.514 with a .354 BABIP. He hasn’t posted a BABIP this high in the minors and is only 22, so you kind of have to expect some regression here. That said a .275 average doesn’t seem outlandish ROTW and he might chip in 12-15 SBs if he can stay in the majors.

Milwaukee Brewers at Cincinnati Reds: Welcome back Marco Estrada: he went six, gave up three runs but K’ed 12. John Axford wasn’t as effective as he gave up the go-ahead homer in a tie game in the eighth to Drew Stubbs. Axford is getting hammered by a mean-spirited HR/FB rate (18.2%) and is walking too many batters. However, there’s no reason to suggest those won’t correct themselves. The unfortunate thing is they might get corrected after he’s removed from the role.

St. Louis Cardinals at Miami Marlins: Carlos Zambrano walked five, struck out five and allowed five runs – although none of them were earned. Meanwhile smoke-n-mirrors Kyle Lohse was at it again (two runs in 7.1 IPs) and now sports a 2.82 ERA. Lohse has really cut down on his walks and is getting ahead of hitters (68% first strike). He does have a .261 BABIP, but last year it was .269. That said it is .299 for his career. It’s hard to buy this version of Lohse, especially as there isn’t a side basket of fried K’s with it, but a 3.75 ERA ROTW isn’t crazy. While Jose Reyes collected two hits, Giancarlo Stanton was almost all the offense for the fish. He doubled and homered. The Marlins had just five hits.

Detroit Tigers at Texas Rangers: Yu Darvish was darn good, as he K’ed 10, walked one and gave up only four hits. But those hits counted (a double and homer by Prince Fielder) as he gave up four runs. It was still good enough for the win as Drew Smyly got shelled. Ian Kinsler and Josh Hamilton homered. To date, Kinsler hasn’t quite had the season we’d expect, as his HR/FB rate is in single digits (it happens every other year it seems). If I were trying to acquire someone who could go on a tear, I’d grab Kinsler. At minimum, he’s got 13 HRs and 16 SBs in him. He also tends to do a lot of damage once the calendar hits July.

New York Mets at Chicago Cubs: Dillon Gee wasn’t so good in this one:  11 base runners in five IPs.  It was more a death by a thousand cuts, as the Cubs mustered just two extra base hits against him. Anthony Rizzo, in his season debut, went 2/4 with an RBI. I’m not buying Rizzo in many mixed leagues, as I’d peg him for a .260 average and 12 HRs at the end of the year. Carlos Marmol walked only one batter in the ninth en route to his fifth save.

San Diego Padres at Houston Astros: It was nice to see Jordan Lyles put together a solid outing (one run, four K’s in 6.1 IPs) against a poor hitting team; however, he did walk four batters and threw 61 of his 103 pitches for strikes. Brett Myers secured the win for Lyles with a decent frame (two hits but no runs).

Tampa Bay Rays at Kansas City Royals: Bruce Chen shut down the rays, while Chris Archer racked up the K’s but gave up a few runs. That said, he threw 55 of his 94 pitches for strikes and only walked one batter – incredibly positive signs for the promising young hurler. The Royals also got four runs in the eighth, capped by a Jeff Francoeur homer. Francoeur has started the slow climb to hitting .275 and should more than double his HR output. Unfortunately, it seems like last year’s 22 SBs are not going to continue. He’s just 1/4 this season (was a not good 22/32 last year).

Chicago White Sox at Minnesota Twins: Alex Rios provided the bulk of the offense in this one, going 2/4 with two runs and two RBIs, including a homer. Gavin Floyd dominated the hapless Twins, striking out nine over seven shut-out innings. Addison Reed was shaky in the ninth (two hits, a walk and two runs allowed), but secured the save – nothing to see here.

Washington Nationals at Colorado Rockies: Gio Gonzalez wasn’t great, but the Nationals scored 12 runs to get him the win. Ryan Zimmerman went 3/5 with three runs and a homer and Michael Morse went 4/5 with two runs and two RBIs. Dexter Fowler hit his 10th HR and is 7/8 in SB attempts. Fowler looks like a good candidate to go 15-15, however you probably shouldn’t start him on the road. For his career, he his .288/.390/.489 at home and just .240/.324/.364 on the road.

Oakland Athletics at Seattle Mariners: The Nats and Rockies box score was an explosion of extra base hits; this contest? Not so much. Franklin Gutierrez doubled and is hitting .282/.33/.487 on the young year. Gutierrez put pretty solid seasons together in 2009 and 2010, but hasn’t played much since then. He’s also going to be getting rest periodically throughout the remainder of this season. He clearly isn’t much of a mixed league option; however he has value for deeper leagues. He’ll get the bulk of his starts against lefties and he torches south paws (.287/.346/.465). Jason Vargas pitched well for the win, as only a Yoenis Cespedes did much damage against him and his 10 K’s. Love starting him at home.

Los Angeles Dodgers at San Francisco Giants: A low-scoring affair as Ryan Vogelsong and Clayton Kershaw locked horns. Vogelsong came away the winner, as he allowed no runs, while Kershaw gave up a homer to Melky Cabrera and doubles to Brandon Belt and Buster Posey, making the Giants the Beltin' Busters? I just wanted to include Arrested Development videos. Santiago Casilla walked a guy but otherwise was perfect in collecting his 21st save – man that’s a lot. Crazy.

For those in pitching starved leagues, Andrew Cashner is being promoted to start tomorrow, via Hardball Talk: http://hardballtalk.nbcsports.com/2012/06/26/padres-promoting-andrew-cashner-for-thursday-start/

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Written by Albert Lang exclusively for TheFantasyFix.com

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