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August 19, 2008

Kinsler's hernia forces DL stint

kinslermurphy.jpgDavid Murphy telling Ian Kinsler about the DL (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

Terrible news for Ian Kinsler and his fantasy owners yesterday. Hopefully the rest in the offseason will allow him to come back to play as he was in 2008. Kinsler fell off after a brilliant 1st half but still was on pace for a .320 average, 132 runs, 23 home runs, 92 RBI and 34 steals, arguably a better overall season than his rival at 2nd base Chase Utley.

Look for a 'stache by the name of Ramon Vazquez to replace Ian Kinsler at 2nd base. Vazquez has had a fine year playing multiple positions in the infield, mostly third base, and has put up a .309 average 44 runs 6 home runs 39 RBI in 269 at bats. Vazquez could be a useful 2nd baseman in fantasy leagues now that he will be guaranteed playing time and is already eligible at 2nd base, short stop and 3rd base.

Fantasy owners can take solace in the fact that Kinsler had fallen off greatly since the break, and surely most owners noticed this. Now they can play the hot hand at 2nd base (guys like Ian Stewart, Alexei Ramirez) or take a flier on Ramon Vazquez, and they will probably produce close to what Kinsler has in the last month (.277 average, 4 home runs, 18 runs, 13 RBI). Alexei in fact has a .308 average 6 home runs 13 runs 21 RBI in the same span (he is beginning to be owned in every league however).

Those who own Kinsler in a keeper league will have to stash him away on the DL or just absorb a roster spot if there is no DL or it's taken up. Kinsler is one of the very best young players at a scarce position, and he is right up there with Utley and ahead of other 2nd base fantasy studs like Brandon Phillips and BJ Upton.

August 9, 2008

Cards Wainwright : Closer Starter

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Adam Wainwright has recovered from his injury and is pitching in the minors. The bad news is, Wainwright has been told he will close the rest of the season but will be back starting in 2009. For Wainwright owners this is a downer, as he was a borderline #1 fantasy starter with a great whip, K / BB rate, ERA, and a 6-3 record. If you remember in late 2007, Wainwright was dominant as well.

However like John Smoltz in the past, we may be getting an elite closer out of the deal. Ryan Franklin has been inconsistent saving games for the Cardinals and Jason Isringhausen is in dire straights. Chris Perez has flashed some ability, but considering Adam Wainwright's closing performance in the 2006 Playoffs, it is quite likely he will get the finishing role. The Cardinals team is sliding a bit in the standings, but are still good enough to present Wainwright with ample chances to save games.

Wainwright is still a short while away from returning to the big league club. In the meantime you can choose between Franklin and Perez if you are hoping to find a save chance.

June 11, 2008

Mariners Closer Brandon Morrow

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Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

During an afternoon game on Wednesday June 11th, Seattle Mariners closer JJ Putz again has an injury flare up. Throughout the year J.J. Putz has been battling injuries, missing 18 games earlier in the year. Another DL trip and possibly an extended one could be coming up, with the Mariners going no where and Putz clearly not able to pitch.

Meanwhile for fantasy, this means one of the top closers is out. Hurry and rush to see if Brandon Morrow is available. Check out his numbers, as he has pitched superbly setting up Putz throughout the year, and just received his first career save coming in for Putz today who had already walked a batter.

A couple things about Brandon Morrow's situation in Seattle. For one, Seattle is pretty bad so they will not get many save opportunities. However like a lot of bad teams, the closers end up getting a lot of saves anyway because when the team is in a winning position, it is usually not in a blowout fashion so there are generally save opportunities to be had.

Meanwhile, teams that took Putz early in a draft will have to stick with him if a DL stint is coming up.

May 2, 2008

Arod, Phil Hughes on the DL

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Mr #1 overall fantasy stud Alex Rodriguez is not having a good start to his year. Even before the DL stint his power numbers weren't up to par to his normal stats (and of course not close to his monster 2007). Likely this was an indication that his quad needs to be rested. Hopefully this DL stint is all he needs to get back. I have him on a few teams and when you have a guy like that who is drafted #1 overall in every league, your expectations for him are understandably high since you don't get another pick for a long while! It is a long season and Arod is the most consistent fantasy performer around so those gaudy numbers will come eventually.

Not sure necessarily about that for Phil Hughes though. Hughes had an atrocious start before his impending DL time coming up. His first game against Toronto was okay, it ended in a no decision with 2 runs, 4 k's, 5 walks / hits in 6 innings. Not great but good enough. His next four full starts he went 3 innings, 2 innings, 5.1 innings and 3.2 innings, raising his ERA to 9.00 with an 0-4 record and a putrid 2+ whip. Far too many walks and not the electric stuff that was expected out of him. How could so many scouts be wrong about him? You will need to be patient until July when he comes back, and even then you may want to watch from afar to ensure the same things do not happen. A frustrating case but hopefully you have a DL slot or two in your league.

It is not surprising that the Yankees are struggling at 14-15, just getting swept by the Detroit Tigers. Another young pitcher got bombed in Ian Kennedy, a guy who looks like he just does not have the stuff to pitch well in the big leagues (though he had some nice games last year including a shutout). Also Jorge Posada who had a godlike 2007 is on the DL for the time being with a dead arm.

In Atlanta it looks like John Smoltz will be a relief pitcher / closer. We will see how long that lasts.