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June 18, 2012

Resident Fantasy Genius

Seven Magnificent Player Recommendations

by Derek Carty

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  • After a couple of rough starts against the Yankees and White Sox, fellow BP Fantasy writer Paul Sporer speculated that Alex Cobb could be in danger of being replaced in Tampa’s rotation by Wade Davis. My man Cobb dominated the Marlins yesterday, however, to the tune of seven innings, no runs, 10 strikeouts, and just one walk. I’ve covered him before, but I see more good things in his future.
  • I guested on SiriusXM Fantasy Baseball with Craig Mish on Saturday, and I was asked whether I was buying into Adam Dunn’s resurgence this year. My answer: yes. Dunn is looking very much like the hitter he was prior to his disastrous 2011. While he’s still striking out more than he used to, he is hitting the ball further than he was last year. He may not hit any higher than .220, but his power is back. He seems to be hitting fastballs much better this year (one of his big issues last year) after spending some time in the batting cages working on his swing over the offseason (something he didn’t do the winter before).
  • After a rocky start to the season, to say the least (a .121/.275/.242 April), Trevor Plouffe has been the hottest player in baseball over the past few weeks, batting .310 with 13 home runs since May 16 and .388 with nine homers since the start of June. It’s hard to expect that kind of performance to continue, especially from a player with just a modest track record for power in the minor leagues, but Plouffe does come with a good pedigree (he’s a former first-round pick) and has a nice, quick, compact swing. Obviously we’d like to see more before we deem him a true breakout, but there is a lot to like with Plouffe.
  • The injuries keep piling up for the Red Sox outfield; this time it’s Ryan Sweeney headed to the disabled list. That ushers in Ryan Kalish, who recently came off the DL himself and was hitting .394/.487/.818 in 39 plate appearances at Triple-A. Kalish should see a lot of starts in the short term, with the chance to run with it if he plays well. A must-add in AL-only leagues, Kalish could have deep-mixed league value with everyday starts. Scouts have expressed concerns about his bat and approach in the past, but Kalish has moderately appetizing upside to hit for a decent average with a little power and speed, and batting in Boston’s lineup will help pad his counting stats.
  • Carlos Marmol is once again closing for the Chicago Cubs. While that statement will make many a fantasy player cringe, Marmol is well worth a flier in all leagues in which he was dropped. The once-lights-out flamethrower struggled mightily to start the year, having trouble finding the zone, falling behind on batters, and ultimately walking one out of every five he faced. If his disabled list sabbatical has improved his control even to the 5.8 BB/9 level he was at last season, he’ll be plenty effective and a very valuable fantasy commodity closing games for Chicago.
  • It’s a shame Jake Arrieta has been shifted to bullpen and spot-start duties. I really like his stuff, and his peripherals this year have been great: 8.3 K/9, 2.7 BB/9, 3.59 xFIP. He’s merely had some bad luck with sequencing (59 percent LOB%) and the long-ball (14 percent HR/FB) and deserves better than this. The move to the bullpen may make his owners more willing to sell him, even if he understands how good his peripherals have been. Chances are a spot will open back up in the O’s rotation at some point, and once Arrieta’s luck evens out, he should be given another crack at it. That chance could come sooner rather than later; after a dominating start in place of an ailing Brian Matusz, manager Buck Showalter has said that Arrieta will be given another start soon. Let’s hope he makes the most of it.
  • Why does Mitch Moreland still get so little love? Go check his player card; I’ll wait until you get back. He’s hitting .276 with 10 home runs in 171 plate appearances this season. I’ve said that this is a guy with 25 home run power and solid batting average skills, and that’s exactly what he’s displaying this year. His value is limited a bit in weekly-transaction mixed leagues because he sits against lefties, but in daily-transaction mixed or AL-only leagues, he has a lot of value. I just hope the Rangers realize that they have a quality player on their hands and keep playing him.

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<< Previous Article
The Week in Quotes: Ju... (06/18)
<< Previous Column
Fantasy Article Resident Fantasy Geniu... (06/14)
Next Column >>
Fantasy Article Resident Fantasy Geniu... (06/22)
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Fantasy Article Value Picks: Second, S... (06/18)

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