Welcome to the All-Star Week edition of Gearing Up. This week is a tough week for fantasy owners, particularly in streaming leagues and daily transaction leagues. Just a reminder – check the proposed pitching match-ups, as they change drastically this week. Hopefully, some of the injury updates below will help you decide whether to activate certain players for the end of the week.
News and Notes.
Ivan Rodriguez. Pudge is about to hit the disabled list with a strained oblique, though, with the All-Star break coming, do not believe everything you read. Since oblique injuries are generally three-week injuries, however, I think it is safe to bench Pudge (if you have not already) and find room for Wilson Ramos.
Nick Hundley. Remember when third base was decimated by injuries earlier in the season? Well, add catcher to that list. Hundley will undergo surgery on his elbow today, and be out four to six weeks. This is now officially a lost season for Hundley. If either Rod Barajas or Humberto Quintero were dropped in your league, you may want to look to one as a replacement, as Quintero is now active and as Barajas will be back right after the All-Star break.
Players to Watch.
Dillon Gee. Gee appears to be headed the wrong way into the All-Star Game. He has given up 16 earned runs in his last 22 and 2/3 innings, and seems to be running out of steam. He has provided quite a boost to his owners thus far, however, so it would be difficult to cut him loose at this point.
Barry Zito. Zito is 3-0 in his return to the Giants, and Jonathan Sanchez could be put on the back burner for awhile. Keep in mind, however, that Zito’s seven strikeouts came against a weak Padres team – he had four total in his previous two starts. I would be wary.
Cory Luebke. Luebke now has a 64/18 K/BB in 56 innings to go along with a stellar 2.57 ERA and .89 WHIP. The peripherals match up pretty well: the 15% LD rate supports the .240 BABIP, while his very low home run rate (.32) does suggest a bit of regression. On the flip side, Luebke pitches in Petco. The Padres will find it very difficult to leave him out of the rotation when Aaron Harang returns.
David Hernandez. Hernandez has filled in for J.J. Putz well, earning his sixth save last night. Putz is almost ready to return, however, and (at least for the short term) will be handed the closer role back. Keep an eye on Hernandez in the meantime.
Brad Hand. Hand’s short stay in the majors, which I wrote about back in June has now lasted five starts, and he has impressed with a 2.77 ERA and 1.15 WHIP. Last night, Jack McKeon did him a solid, letting him go out for one pitch in the eighth inning so he could walk off to a standing ovation from the 17 Marlins fans in attendance. Before we all get to excited, however, let me throw out a couple of numbers: 4.85 (K/9); 5.17 (BB/9); .129 (BABIP); 92.6% (LOB %); 6.60 (FIP); 5.49 (xFIP). While Hand will stay in the Marlins’ rotation until Josh Johnson’s return, you do not want him in yours.
Chien Ming Wang. Wang just completed another solid rehabilitation outing, and is hitting the low 90s consistently with his fastball. He could wind up in either the Nationals rotation or another rotation come mid-July, and you should keep an eye on him. If he is healthy, he could potentially help your rotation in the right situation.
Charles Blackmon. It appears that Blackmon’s rookie campaign could be over if he needs surgery on his broken foot (and who says you cannot get injured on a pop-up slide versus a head-first slide). His .578 OPS will not long be remembered, but he showed flashes of being a solid major league player.
Zack Cozart. Cozart is finally a member of the major league club. I wrote about him at some length http://rotothinktank.blogspot.com/2011/05/minor-league-survey-national-league_18.html. I stand by what I said then. He certainly improved his game since the middle of May, coming to the majors with a 7/32/9/.310 line. Cozart is, however, about to turn 26 years old. His MLE is 5/25/8/.263, with a .305 OBP. I do not believe he is the solution to the Reds’ shortstop issue – yet.
Edinson Volquez. One player comes up and another player heads down. Volquez has been truly terrible this year, and there seems to be no hope for improvement. As an aside, keep an eye on Dontrelle Willis. There is a chance he will be in the rotation by the end of the All-Star break, if not sooner.
Jose Reyes. The word on the street says Reyes has been instructed to rest for three weeks. That sounds a bit more serious than the initial reports. And once again, Reyes owners, you are forced to live without Reyes for a month. Perhaps this will be factored in to his bloated contract this off-season.