Not only was it the first of July Yesterday, it was also the first time the Dodgers scored 8 runs since June 10th.
In last night’s Dodgers game against the Mets, one of my personal favorite pitchers, Dillon Gee, let up 4 runs in 5 innings, the good news being that only two of them were earned. The bad news, of course, is that he let up 2 earned runs to the Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier-less Los Angeles Dodgers, who lead off a guy with an OBP under .280, and batted Bobby Abreu in the 3-hole. I still really like Gee, and going forward, I believe he’s a top 60-starting pitcher, as he appeared in the RotoAnalysis.com Starting Pitcher Top 100 Rankings.
Dustin Pedroia finally hit a homer (in Seattle, I might add), his first since May 10th. I ranked Pedroia first among second basemen a few weeks ago, and while he’s struggled since and I’d probably put him behind Robinson Cano if I were re-ranking today, I still think Pedroia is going to turn it around. I know this is cliché, but there is nobody who works harder than Pedroia to succeed, and I honestly believe that no matter what is ailing him, he will stop at nothing to figure it out and fix it. As Jay Bilas said during the NBA draft coverage about Michael Kidd-Gilchrist: you can’t teach relentless. And Pedroia has it.
The good news: Brandon Moss hit another homer today, giving him 8 on the season in 22 games. The bad news: Brandon Moss is not very good at baseball, and he’s not a good pickup for your fantasy team. Moss is going to struggle to hit .230 unless he gets some serious BABIP luck (actually, in that case, he’d make the all-star team! Sorry, I’m just still a little bitter about Bryan LaHair…) and cuts down enormously on his strikeouts. So even if he was an elite home run hitter (which he isn’t), Moss plays in Oakland, and will have little to no value in mixed leagues shallower than 16 teams.
“He has to regress, right? He just has too. I think.” These are the thoughts that flood through my head every time I watch Mike Trout, or look at his full-season numbers. Last night, he knocked out his 9th homer of the season, going 2 for 4 and raising his average up to .339. Trout is definitely going to regress, but he’s good enough that it might not be all that much. He may just go from hitting .339 to hitting .315. Next season, there is a very good chance that, at age 21, Mike Trout is a top 10 fantasy pick.
In the same game against the Angels, Colby Rasmus hit his fifteenth homer of the season, and raised his average up to .259. On the surface, those are great fantasy numbers, but they actually belie just how good he’s actually been this last month. As was noted in Matt Schwimmer’s player profile of Colby Rasmus, he worked on and completely changed his swing on May 19th, and since then he’s been absolutely destroying the ball. Rasmus is a top 30 outfielder going forward, and would be higher if not for his complete lack of speed.
In a battle of the Towers of Power Fantasy Hour Podcast hosts, Jason Collette’s Rays fell short against Paul Sporer’s Tigers. There were many things of note in this game, but none more so than Ben Zobrist going 2 for 4, and raising his average all the way up to .256. What at first seemed like a disappointing season for Zobrist has turned into a very solid one, as he now has 10 homers and 7 steals in 74 games with that average, and is walking more than he strikes out. Zobrist might be better for real life, but even in fantasy he’s a top 10 second basemen going forward, who will be a solid contributor across the board, and absolutely kill it in OBP leagues.
Also of note from that game: Hideki Matsui is in the major leagues? I’m in an 11-team AL Only league, and I just found that out. Interesting.
Yadier Molina hit his 13th homer last night. Outside of 2011, Molina had never hit more than 8 homers in a season. Now he has followed up last season’s 14 with 13 so far, and although it is exceedingly rare to have a player develop power in their 30’s, I see little reason to doubt Molina’s done just that. I’m buying into Yadier 100%, and think his power / average combination with an under-talked about amount of steals (7 so far) on a great offense will make him a top 2 or 3 catcher the rest of the way.
I still don’t like Trevor Plouffe, but he hit another 2 homers last night. The guy has a ton of power, but he’s going to contribute in 0 other categories. Here’s my endorsement: If you want a glorified Pedro Alvarez, go grab Trevor Plouffe!
Matchup of the Week: A.J. Burnett. To me at least, Burnett is a near must-start no matter where he pitches, unless it’s at Coors Field. This week, Burnett has a two-start week where he is at home twice, once against Houston and once against the Giants. It really doesn’t get much better than that. Somehow, Burnett is still available in 9% of CBS leagues, and is not being started in 22% of leagues. Get Burnett in your lineup, and pick him up if he’s somehow still available.
Link of the Week: I know a lot of you have been having closer issues, and Howard Bender wrote a really good piece for RotoGraphs called ‘Kicking Rocks: Trading For Saves’. The article discusses at what point it is worth it to just punt saves, if trading for a closer at this point is a good idea, and whether or not it may be prudent to invest in a premium closer next year, defying the ‘don’t pay for saves’ mantra.
Happy Birthday To: Chris Perez and Nelson Cruz! They turned 27 and 32 respectively, and both of them started the year slowly, but have since turned it around to play much better.
By Moe Koltun, exclusively for TheFantasyFix.com.
Read more of Moe's excellent fantasy insight over at RotoAnalysis.com.
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