Trevor Plouffe demands your attention. It’s becoming comical at this point. With his 2-4, 2 home runs line, the Minnesota Twins’ slugger adds to his June totals. His monthly line so far: .396, 9 HRs, 16 RBIs, and a 1.462 OPS. Those are unreal numbers. With 7 (count them) HRs in his last 7 games, it’s going to be a disappointment when he doesn’t hit one out of the park. Thanks to all the various injured Twins, Plouffe qualifies for 2B/3B/SS/OF in most leagues. He’s your new cult fantasy star and I, for one, hope he continues this magical run.
There were plenty of potential headlines for last Friday’s full deck of games. There were no real wrong answers for such an action-packed day.
The Citrus Not So Sweet for Miami
Hanley Ramirez was a scratch from the game after he was struck on the nose by a batted ball that bounced off a batting cage. The early news from trainers is that he will be fine. The Citrus Series got off to a poor start for the Miami Marlins. SP Carlos Zambrano suffered his second straight poor start. With 6 walks, he couldn’t make it out of the third inning again. The team, overall, amassed 1 measly hit against SP Matt Moore and the Tampa Bay Rays’ pen. Finally, Moore’s living up to some of that preseason hype – that’s 4 QS out of his last 6 GS.
Battle of Fantasy Aces: Masterson vs. McDonald, Kershaw vs. Sale
Not all battles end up well. The big SP matchup of Friday night, Clayton Kershaw vs. Chris Sale, ended with neither pitcher in the decision. Kershaw (6 IP, 4 ER) and Sale (5 IP, 5 ER) were uncharacteristically off despite throwing most of their pitches in the zone. Dodger closer, Kenley Jansen did seal the game off and may have forced himself into the elite tiers of RPs.
In a lesser hyped game, Pittsburg Pirates SP James McDonald faced off against Cleveland Indians SP Justin Masterson. Although, Masterson started the season slowly, his start could prove to be a turning point: 7 IP, 0 ER, 3 BB, 9 Ks. His opponent, McDonald turned in another QS in the loss and continues to reward owners who took the risk or picked him up.
“Papa Grande” just plain sucks. The Detroit closer was the sell-however candidate leading up to the year and proved it again. He’s just awful in non-save situations. While the Tigers’ defense will never be mistaken for gold glove quality, the 8 runs scored by the Rockies were preventable. OF Austin Jackson continues his breakout year and remains a relatively cheap source of everything. Rockies C Wilin Rosario continues to rake when he gets the At-bats. Of course, OF Carlos Gonzalez continues to be one of the hottest hitters, period.
Another Blue Jay Bites the Dust
This is the part where I commend the Toronto Blue Jays on a great collective bullpen effort. Another Jays' SP is hurt (that makes three, now) and it’s anyone guess who will be called up to fill in the shoes. This time, it was rookie SP Drew Hutchinson. The lone fantasy note in this is 3B Brett Lawrie. Don’t buy-low just yet. He ripped off two doubles in this game, but his amazingly awful base-running “skills” got another CS (7 out of 15 tries). The green light is about to change colors.
Nice to See You Again
Los Angeles Angels of California, USA, and World SP Dan Haren pitched poorly against his former club. Don’t panic. The Snakes are just starting to hit better. Arizona is quietly providing a lot of fantasy players to pick from. OF Jason Kubel continues to give quiet production with his 39th RBI and .294 avg. 2B Aaron Hill is a top 5 2B by default. He also is hitting pretty well, too. The player to really target is SP Trevor Cahill. Not for the 3.08 ERA, but for the resurgent K/9. With another 8 Ks against the Angels, he’s up to 20 in 23.1 June innings (7.71 K/9).
Not a Dempster
Don’t look now, but the soon-to-be traded SP Ryan Dempster extended his scoreless innings streak to 22. The Cub lowered his ridiculously low ERA to 2.11 after a dominating performance against the Boston Red Sox. Speaking of dominating, everyone’s favorite closer, Carlos Marmol is back! He ended up closing the door for his third save, but not without his usual fireworks. He worked around a single, an error, and a walk to finish the game. The Red Sox bats are ice-cold. With only the corpse of OF Scott Podsednik and DH “Big Papi” hitting, this team needs to wake up. The panic button isn’t being pushed yet, but it is getting really close. It’s definitely a great time to buy-low on guys like 2B Dustin Pedroia or 3B Kevin Youkilis (if you like that sort of thing).
More Futility for the ‘Stros
Can anyone escape the SP Yu Darvish fever? The Houston Astros found out that they couldn’t even catch it. Another 11 whiffs from the team and a big fat L sealed one of the saddest weeks for this “offense.” At least they weren’t no-hit, perfected, or shut out. The Texas Rangers proved that they didn’t need OF Josh Hamilton to put up runs, either. They did fine against SP Jordan Lyles. It isn’t a bad time to try to buy low on 2B Ian Kinsler, either. He’s known to be a BA albatross, anyway – just take comfort in knowing the numbers will come.
Matchup of the day for June 16, 2012:
NYY @ WAS
The pitching matchup is stellar, SP Jordan Zimmerman vs. SP Andy Pettitte. The storyline is media-worthy and the stakes are high. Both teams are first-place; it’s a young guard vs. the old. Zimmerman will try to limit the homeruns and right the ship for his Nationals. Pettitte, on the other hand, is in vintage form and pitching like he was in Houston. It will come down to how much Natitude the home team can exhibit in order to steal one from the Bombers.
Written by Tim Lee exclusively for TheFantasyFix.com.
For more fantasy baseball advice, follow Tim on Twitter @SHBL_Tim.