Adam Lind is fantasy’s version of Michael Corleone in Godfather Part III: just when you think he’s out, he pulls himself back in. Lind has bounced in and out of fantasy relevance—and the minor leagues—tantalizing with just enough (occasional) productivity to keep him in a big league uniform (well, that, and the misbegotten four-year, $18 million deal he signed after his breakout 2009 season). It would be easy to call BABIPhis Joey Zasa, the nemesis who keeps him down, since Lind’s seasons since 2009 are paralleled by diminishing BABIP returns, but there’s more to the story than that:
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An unlikely team leads the American League in scoring in June: the Oakland Athletics.
The Tuesday Takeaway
The Athletics began the month of June by getting blanked twice in a three-game series against the Royals. Bob Melvin’s offense was described as “historically bad.” Oakland had lost 10 of 11, falling behind the Mariners and into the AL West cellar.
After last night’s 3-0 shutout over the Dodgers, though, the A’s have now won six of seven, improving to 32-36 on the year and jumping back into third place. Brandon McCarthy, on the mound for the first time since June 9, led the way for Oakland in the series opener, tossing seven scoreless innings before Grant Balfour and Ryan Cook finished off Los Angeles. But the offense, not the pitching staff, has actually done much of the heavy lifting of late.
The majority of Michael’s VP list turns over this week, but he’s got plenty of replacements lined up, including three who picked up their first home run of the year last week.
Statistically speaking, a single home run (like a single hit) is fairly meaningless. It’s the ultimate small sample, showing how one batter did against one pitcher (and one pitch) under one specific set of conditions. But psychologically speaking, when it’s the first home run of the season, it can mean so much more. The hitter feels confident in his swing or relieved at having gotten his first longball of the season out of the way, and it could mean a turnaround is coming. Look at Albert Pujols: in 27 plate appearances since his first jack of the season, he’s picked up 5 RBI—as many as he picked up in the 114 plate appearances before he finally went yard.
Ibanez, Reddick, and Dyson get the VP label this week
There was a common perception that Jayson Werth is injury prone, but he went almost four years between stints on the disabled list (his previous being May 23, 2008). His loss hurts fantasy owners, though not nearly as much as it is likely to hurt the on-base-challenged Nationals. Meanwhile, mixed-league afterthought Rick Ankiel becomes a much better risk; the team really needs his power, even if he brings little else to the table offensively. In the fantasy realm, however, owners can do a lot better when searching for a replacement in most league formats, which is where Value Picks comes in...
Indicators conflict about new VP-arrival J.D. Martinez, and Rob discusses the shake-ups in many major league outfields.
Rebounding from a rough week, the six Value Pick Outfielders hit a combined .299/.358/.557 this past week, led by Eric Thames at .389/.450/.944, and just-removed Nolan Reimold reminded fantasy owners why he was a Value Pick in the first place, hitting .286/.348/.571 for the week. Meanwhile, outfields all around the majors have been shaken up this week. Delmon Young switched allegiances in the AL Central, changing lineups in Detroit and Minnesota. Logan Morrison will be Tweeting from the minors, and two-thirds of the Giants starting outfield (Andres Torres and Carlos Beltran) head to the disabled list, as does Rajai Davis of the Blue Jays. Shin-Soo Choo and Jose Tabata returned to action, and former Value PicksWily Mo Pena, Brandon Allen, and Brandon Belt all seem to be in line for more playing time. All these changes have created opportunities for shrewd fantasy owners.
Usually home to some of the league's top prospects, shortstop is looking awfully thin this year.
Shortstop is normally the crown jewel of the prospect kingdom, but that doesn't seem to be the case this year. Making things worse is a 2007 draft class that was among the worst in years for the position. I know there's a lot of negativity in this introduction, and while I'm hoping outfielders and pitchers bring things up a bit, I'm getting the feeling that this just ain't a great year for prospects.
Sitting down to talk to the Twins' scouting director after the draft to talk about his organization's picks and overarching organizational philosophy.
The Twins have one of the best farm systems in baseball, and Mike Radcliff is a big reason why. The longest-tenured--and arguably the most respected--scouting director in the game, Radcliff has a long track record of successful drafts. The core of the Minnesota lineup--Justin Morneau, Joe Mauer, and Torii Hunter--are Radcliff picks, as are highly-touted pitching prospects Matt Garza, Glen Perkins, and Kevin Slowey. Radcliff joined the Twins organization in 1987, and has been the team's scouting director since 1994.