If these players are on your league's waiver wire, they might be worth a look, depending on the format in which you play.
Welcome back to our weekly walk through some of the players who may want to keep an extra eye on in your leagues. Mike and I will be tackling this topic on Thursdays again and focusing on a singular hitter and pitcher in four of the more popular formats: shallow mixed, deep mixed, NL-only and AL-only. These are certainly not the only players who are worth pickups, but it gives us a nice opportunity to write about players we have close tabs on in our leagues.
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Franklin Morales commits the most obvious balk in the history of obvious balks.
There are rules in baseball that are somewhat imprecise in nature. The check swing, for example. Did he go? Could be! I don’t know! Another one along those lines is the balk. Sometimes the umpire sees a pitcher commit a balk, but no amount of slow motion video can make it clear whether he did or didn’t do it. Half the time it seems balks are imperceptible to even those calling them. If you look at a pitcher closely enough, you’re bound to see something.
Mike Petriello looks at hidden gems in San Diego and Colorado, and who to avoid in Houston.
You don’t need me to tell you that Heath Bell is an elite closer, since he’s currently owned in 100% of ESPN.com fantasy leagues. But what makes this situation different is that unlike other top closers, Bell’s not likely to end the season with his current team, the dreadful Padres. So not only is San Diego a prime place to see an open closer’s role this season, his potential replacements are valuable enough that they may be able to help you right now - if you can spare the roster spot - rather than waiting for Bell to be moved and for your fellow owners to join you in trying to feast on a new closer.
If and when Bell moves on, Padre relievers Luke Gregerson and Mike Adams would be in line to get the save opportunities, according to Heater expert David Golebiewski. Each of them actually beat Bell in K/9 rate last season and had slightly lower HR/9 rates as well. PECOTA looks for more of the same in 2010, suggesting that they could easily step in for Bell should the need arise.
Lee Panas covers the bullpens in Minnesota, Arizona, and Colorado
Now that Joe Nathan has decided to undergo Tommy John surgery and is officially out for the season, the Twins need to find a replacement for one of the game’s most dominant closers. Many analysts, including Heater Twins writer Nick Nelson, believe that Jon Rauch has the inside track. Rauch had no trouble with the switch to the American League compiling a 1.72 ERA in 17 appearances after being acquired from Arizona for the stretch drive last year. The towering right-hander has closing experience in his favor having saved 24 games for the Diamondbacks and Nationals from 2007-2009.
The durable Matt Guerrier, who led the league in appearances in 2008 and 2009, is another ninth- inning option. The veteran right-hander has no closing experience but pitched well in high leverage situations as a set-up man in 2009 posting a 3.51 WXRL. Guerrier has been his usual steady self this spring allowing no walks and no runs in seven innings.
A rematch from the '07 postseason makes for a great showdown of two teams with very different virtues.
Well, here we are again, with the Phillies and Rockies set to battle one another in the National League Division Series for the second time in three seasons. Just as it was in 2007, the Phillies enter the fray with a division title while the Rockies used an incredibly strong second half to win the NL Wild Card. Unlike that entertaining 2007 season, however, in which the Phillies ousted the Mets from the top spot of the NL East on the final day of the season, only to have their spotlight stolen soon thereafter by a Rockies team that won a controversial play-in game, this year's Phillies controlled their division practically all season. In addition, the Rockies' second-half surge proved so strong that they actually gave the division-leading Dodgers a run for their money in the final week. A good chunk of the 2007 cast of characters remains intact for each team, but enough has changed to merit a new writeup instead of a recycled version of the prior Phillies/Rockies preview.
Who's likely to be hamstrung in the middle or late frames come October?
The more you watch the likely post-season teams close out their seasons, the more you think we might be in for some very long nights next month. The number of teams with questions about their bullpens seems to be awfully close to the number of teams who will get to play in October.
Players who have been hot of late who you might want to add in making your own title run.
With the last two months of the season upon us, as of tomorrow it may be time to reassess your offense for your last set of major changes. To lend you a hand in that endeavor, we're taking a look at some the best hitters of the past two months to see who is capable of keeping it up, and who you may want to ditch by the wayside or deal so that someone else gets stuck with the check. This isn't a comprehensive, ranked list, but will instead of focus on some of the more surprising names at or near the top.