Don't look now, but Gordon Beckham might be ready to take-off. Plus, Jedd Gyorko awaits a call-up in this week's VP.
As the weather warms up in July, so does Erick Aybar(Yahoo! 39%, ESPN 41%, CBS 53%). He hit a home run in his final game before the All-Star break and has hit one in two-of-three games after the break. The power has been an unexpected addition to his juicy batting average. Gamers across all three major fantasy baseball providers have taken notice, with his ownership going up in all. Expect his homer binge to push his ownership above levels that are Value Pick friendly soon.
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In the spirit of the Future's Game, Wil Myers and Grant Green join VP this week.
Rockies backstop Wilin Rosario(Yahoo! 29%, ESPN 21%, CBS 60%) has been tremendous, and his strong play has finally lifted his ownership to a level that warrants a feature in the departures section. He continues to hit for power, smacking another home run in the last week. Ramon Hernandez began a rehab assignment with Triple-A Colorado Springs on July 4, and he should return shortly after the All-Star break. He'll likely cut into Rosario's time more than Wil Nieves did, but the Rockies are terrible, and Rosario is the future at the position. There is also the possibility that Hernandez is traded. Adam Rubin of ESPN New York reported that the Mets have interest in acquiring the veteran catcher. Such a deal would be great news for Rosario owners.
Overlooked backstop Ryan Doumit and hot-hitting rookie Andrelton Simmons crack this week's VP.
As promised last week, Zack Cozart(Yahoo! 26%, ESPN 27%, CBS 64%) is making his departure from Value Picks this week. His performance has been lacking over the last two weeks and his strikeout rate is up a tick, but his overall skill set remains unchanged. Cozart still packs some punch, and he has a prime lineup slot hitting atop the Reds order. As long as his strikeout rate doesn't spiral out of control—which there are no indications it is going to—Cozart will remain a useful middle infielder in large mixed leagues and a good option in NL-only leagues all year.
A look at Soto, Aybar, Norris, and Everth in this week's VP
The Pirates backstop, Rod Barajas(Yahoo! 4%, ESPN 0%, CBS 17%), has felt regression, and it has been swift and unkind. At this point in the year, though, his slash is similar to his career line. What you see is what you get.
What will nine hits, five of which were home runs, in 22 at-bats get you? In Trevor Plouffe's (Yahoo! 59%, ESPN 91%, CBS 74%) case, a spot in the departures section of this article. In one week, his ownership has risen 50 percent or more at each of the major fantasy host sites. Adios, Plouffe.
Plouffe, Barajas, and Drew join the VP ranks this week.
It brings a tear to my eye to bid adieu to my first two Value Pick graduates, Jarrod Saltalamacchia(Yahoo! 59%, ESPN 51.7%, CBS 79%) and Gordon Beckham(Yahoo! 23%, ESPN 50.2%, CBS 72%). Their continued strong play has pushed their ownership above the self-imposed soft cap for inclusion. May both turn into fantasy roster mainstays.
Josh Shepardson joins the BP Fantasy crew to examine up-the-middle fantasy options
BP Readers, I’m very happy to introduce you to BP’s newest fantasy writer, Josh Shepardson. Josh is a talented fantasy player who used to write for me when I was with The Hardball Times, and I’m excited to have him join us now at Baseball Prospectus to handle up-the-middle VP duties. Welcome, Josh! —Derek Carty, Fantasy Manager