The D’backs demoted Trevor Bauer and his 6.06 ERA and 7.16 K/BB ratio to the minors. It was the right move. Bauer dominated at times, he did strike out 17 batters in 16.1 innings, but just like I wrote about on these very pages a month ago, Bauer’s undoing was his lack of control. Bauer’s outlook is the same as it was a month ago though, he’s likely to be a strikeout arm for a long time at the big league level, but his 2012 prospects aren’t overly exciting. Who will the D’backs turn to in Bauer’s stead? Unfortunately it won’t be Tyler Skaggs. Instead it will be Josh Collmenter. On the year Collmenter’s numbers are solid highlighted by a 3.90 ERA and 1.28 WHIP, but he’s not an exciting option as a starting pitcher. As a starter this season, seven games, he has a 6.03 ERA and 1.37 WHIP. It’s only his work out of the bullpen that has saved his numbers (1.05 ERA, 1.17 WHIP in 11 appearances covering 25.2 innings). Only pay attention to Collmenter if you’re in an NL-only league or if you are streaming hurlers in a mixed league.
Starling Castro is working on a solid season hitting .286 with eight homers, 45 RBIs, 43 runs and 16 steals. Still, there are a ton of concerns with the Cubs young shortstop. (1) He’s hitting a mere .245 over his last 40 games. (2) He’s still not developed a power stroke. He has only four homers in 42 games after going deep four times in May. (3) He’s not producing runs. After 32 RBIs over his first 50 games Castro has knocked in a mere 13 runners over 40 games. (4) Even though he has 16 steals, it’s been a pretty brutal campaign for him in that measure. I know that sounds like an odd statement to make, but consider the following. (A) Castro has been caught 10 times giving him a 62 percent steal percentage. If you aren’t successful 67 percent of the time you are hurting your teams ability to score runs. Again, you are hurting your teams chances. (B) The last time Castro stole a base was June 10th, that’s thirty games ago. Castro still has a bright future given his performance to date and his age (he’s just 22), but this guy has a lot of holes in his game, and I didn’t even address the fact that Castro has had all kinds of issues with his focus and mental game.
It’s hard to tell for some given all the starts and stops due to injury, but Yoenis Cespedes has been everything he was advertized to be. If you prorate his production over 150 games, he’s appeared in 59 games this season, we’d be looking at a fantasy line of .288-28-107-61-15. Not bad at all for a â€śrookie.â€ť
Freddie Freeman has had an up and down season both in terms of his performance and his health. Still, he’s been mighty productive for the Braves with 12 homers, 54 RBIs and 52 run scored in 77 games. Double that effort giving him 154 games (three less than he appeared in last season), and we’d be talking about a second year player who moved from 21 homers, 76 RBIs and 67 runs scored to 24 homers, 108 RBIs and 104 runs scored. Freeman isn’t likely to make the leap into Joey Votto territory, but he’s on the cusp of being a rock you can count on year after year for some impressive production.
Josh Johnson has been healthy this year, always a huge issue with him, as he’s taken the hill 19 times for the Marlins. Unfortunately, the results have not been impressive. Not only is he just 5-7 in the win-loss column, JJ is also sporting a set of ratios that look like they should belong to Ricky Nolasco; over the 113.2 innings that Johnson has thrown his ERA is 4.35 and his WHIP is 1.40. He’s been under 3.65 and 1.36 each of the past four seasons. Also, after seeing batters fail to hit even .240 off him the last three years, this year the opposition has hit .284 off Johnson. In addition to all of that, Johnson also has a 7.60 K/9 mark, and that would be his lowest mark since a 12.1 inning season way back in 2005. So is it time to bail on the big righty? Not necessarily. Johnson is still sporting a 2.74 K/BB ratio, an exact match for his career rate. Johnson has a 0.55 HR/9 mark, one hundredth below his his career rate. His 1.65 GB/FB would be the second best mark of his career. The main issue for Johnson to this point is the fact that batters are just teeing off on him with a 25.3 percent line drive rate. Given that so much of his overall pitching line is pretty much in line with expectations, it’s pretty difficult to explain how batters would be beating him around to the tune of a line drive rate that might end up as the worst in baseball for a starting pitcher. When that number regresses, and it should, his BABIP should also dip (it’s at .345 right now, .042 points above his career average). Given the disappointing fantasy numbers that he has posted, I’d suggest investigating if you can acquire the services of Johnson on the cheap.
Jeff Samardzija had a rough go of it from June 9th through the end of last month allowing a whopping 25 earned runs in 18.1 innings and we all started to worry if the innings were starting to catch up to the hard throwing Cub who had never been a starter at the big league level. Consider those concerns somewhat alleviated. Over his last three outings J-S has permitted just five runs over 19 innings as he has punched out 24 batters to give him 109 Ks in 106.1 innings on the year. He’s only got six victories, and his ratios don’t impress (4.57 ERA, 1.38 WHIP), but he’s still been a pretty solid arm in NL-only leagues given all those punchouts.
Delmon Young is never going to be the hitter people thought he would be when he was taken first overall in 2003. He lacks power, doesn’t steal bases, and he never met a pitch he didn’t like to swing at (he has 32 walks since the start of last season). Still, the man has hit .287 for his career, and if you haven’t noticed he’s been pretty productive of late with six homers, 21 RBIs an a .291 batting average over his last 39 games for the Tigers. He’s the epitome of a solid 5th outfield option in the fantasy game.
Ray Flowers can be heard daily on Sirius/XM Radio on The Fantasy Drive on Sirius 210 and XM 87 from 5-8 PM EDT, Monday through Friday. Ray’s baseball analysis can be found at BaseballGuys.com and his minute to minute musings can be located at the BaseballGuys’ Twitter account.