Prior to the start of the season, I was not as high on Jacoby Ellsbury as others in the fantasy industry, and one of my reasons for feeling that way was based on his injury track record. It appears I was right by ranking him outside of the top 10 and not drafting him in any of my fantasy leagues because with this latest injury there is really no way that he will be able to return first round value after missing what is expected to be two months.
The good news for those fantasy owners who drafted Ellsbury is that the shoulder injury will not require surgery. The bad news is that this is a case by case injury with some players healing faster than others, and with the injuries that he has gone through in the past I would guess that he will not be a quick healer.
With Ellsbury slated to miss at least two months of action, the Red Sox will turn to Cody Ross to man center field, but more importantly they will need him to become the batter he once was two years ago for the Giants when they made their run into the World Series. Since taking over for Ellsbury in center field Ross has connected for two home runs and seven RBIs and has yet to have a game in which he hasnâ€™t recorded a hit including two multi-hit games.
If you turn the clocks back to 2008 and 2009, Ross hit 46 home runs in those two seasons combined for the Marlins, and that was playing in a pitcher friendly ballpark. Now in the American League East Ross could potentially reach numbers similar to those career-best numbers, especially considering the lineup he is hitting in.
Even when Ellbury and Carl Crawford return to action Ross should still be a solid fantasy contributor since he will likely be the teamâ€™s starting right fielder at that point. So if you are hurting in your outfielder you really donâ€™t need to look any further than Ross in mixed and AL-Only leagues.
In case you missed out on Ross, here are a few other outfielders that are worth taking a look at in mixed leagues:
Nolan Reimold, OF (BAL)–Reimold is hitting the cover off the ball right now and does not appear to be slowing down at any point. He has connected for four home runs so far this season and has hit safely in eight straight games, including four multi-hit games. The biggest problem with Reimold over the last few seasons has been his inability to stay healthy, but as long as he can stay off of the disabled-list he will be a solid contributor in all fantasy formats.
Jon Jay, OF (STL)–Jay is off to a nice start to the 2012 season with a .333 batting average to go along with two home runs and four RBIs. He has been given the everyday duties in center field and hasnâ€™t done much wrong since. Even when Allen Craig returns to action jay is expected to continue to play center field with Craig moving to second base. So feel free to picking him up now as he continues to put it altogether, before itâ€™s too late.
Raul Ibanez, OF (NYY)–Despite his poor .222 batting average, Ibanez still have nine RBIs to go along with two home runs through the first few weeks of the season. His swing is perfect for Yankees Stadium, and in due time he will hit plenty of home runs out of that ballpark. The only concern that an inquiring fantasy owner may have about Ibanez is his playing time, but so far he has played in the majority of the Yankees games and in that lineup, he should be able to turn the clocks back to his good years in Philadelphia.
Bryan LaHair, 1B, OF (CHC)–LaHair has hit safely in all but one of the games in which he has started for the Cubs this season and is sporting a .360 batting average with two home runs and six RBIs. He is being benched against left-handed pitchers, but his ability to hit right-handers keeps him on the fantasy radar for the foreseeable future. As long as you are in a daily lineup league LaHair is an excellent investment right now, just make sure you have some else to put in when the Cubs are facing a left-handed pitcher.
Luke Scott, 1B, OF (TB)–Over the weekend Scott started to swing a hot bat against the Red Sox, connecting for two home runs and five RBIs in the series. He has been used as the teamâ€™s designated hitter thus far in 2012, but he still has first base and outfield eligibility form his days with the Orioles. While
Matthew Beck is a Fantasy Sports Columnist for Rotoinfo.com. If you have any questions or comments feel free to e-mail him atÂ firstname.lastname@example.org.Â Also follow him on Twitter @MatthewRBeck for up-to-date Q&A and fantasy information.
The Giants have won just three of their last 10 games to fall three games behind the Diamondbacks (luckily the Diamondbacks are only 4-6 in their last 10 or the gap might be a nearly out of reach). As embarrassing as their record is of late, it might even be more painful for the Giants when you realize that the worst team in baseball the Houston Astros, who have literally won 27 fewer games than the Giants, have beaten the Giants three times in four meetings over the past week. Flat out embarrassing.
The Giants deal for Heath Bell turned out to be much ado about nothing. In the end no deal was worked out between the Padres and Giants meaning Bell will remain with the Padres for the rest of the season (this is the scenario I favored when I wrote about the potential deal in Going for Broke).
What that leaves the Giants with is a huge question mark in the bullpen. Sergio Romo will throw an inning in the minors today, an if that goes as hoped he will return from the disabled list on Sunday. However, Brian Wilson, who threw for seven minutes Thursday, doesn’t appear likely to be ready to go when eligible on August 31st as hoped. He hasn’t suffered a setback, he’s simply not ready to go. The Giants are hopefully he will be able to return in shortly after August 31st, but the situation is a precarious one at the moment.
Orlando Cabrera has 10 RBI in 22 games with the Giants, but that is all that he has done well. O-Cab is hitting .256 with two walks leading to a .268 OBP. He’s also scored an anemic two runs in his time with the Giants as he has posted a .563 OPS. Great addition Mr. Sabean.
Tim Lincecum has a 1.13 ERA and 1.02 WHIP over his last eight starts as he has held batters to a .168 average. Thanks to the Giants’ offensive offense he is just 5-3.
Cody Ross has been an unmitigated disaster since the All-Star break. In 34 games he’s driving in a solid 17 runs, but he’s hit .161 with a .541 OPS making Orlando Cabrera look like an offensive force, and that ain’t easy to do.
Ryan Vogelsong has a 2.54 ERA for the Giants, a phenomenal number for a man who wasn’t even thought to be a true big league option this season. He hasn’t pitched great since the All-Star break, but a 3.20 and 1.36 WHIP are still plenty good enough for a 4th starter. However, he seems to be wearing down, hardly a shock, or his numbers are just regressing to the mean. Hey, what did you expect?
Carlos Beltran has gone 3-for9 with a homer since returning from his wrist issue. In 14 games with the Giants he has failed to deliver anything whatsoever with the bat as he has hit .239 with a .273 OBP, .680 OPS and just three RBI in 14 games. Unless he can get going, the club has no chance to catch the D’backs.
Eli Whiteside (concussion) is back off the DL and ready to rock. Yippee.
Â In one of the more anticipated series of the season the first place Phillies, owners of the best record in baseball, come to San Francisco to take on the NL West leading Giants (with the victory yesterday, I will discuss that in a moment, the Giants are now a game ahead of the D’backs). The rematch of last years NLCS should be a great test for each club to prove to the other that they are the team to beat in the National League.
The Giant scored three runs in dropping back-to-back games to the D’backs before they busted out for eight runs and 12 hits Wednesday. How bad has the offense been? Wednesday’s game was the first time the club scored more than four runs in 13 games. Moreover, during their five game losing streak the club scored a total of eight runs. Part of the reason for the uptick in offense may have been the decision to switch around the batting order. Andres Torres returned to the leadoff spot. Carlos Beltran was dropped to the cleanup spot while Pablo Sandoval was elevated to the third hold. Cody Ross was dropped to seventh while noted power hitter (wink, wink), Orlando Cabrera was moved up to fifth. We’ll see if the changes stick, and if they will help the club continue to produce a the dish.
Speaking of Cabrera, were you aware that he has made the playoffs each of the past four years… on four different teams? Can he make it 5-for-5?
Nate Schierholtz has really struggled since Beltran showed up. The former right fielder who is now in left has only four hits in 34 at-bats (.118). From June 25th through July 23rd he lead the NL with a .370 mark.
Ryan Vogelsong has a 2.19 ERA on the year, the best mark in the Senior Circuit. He also has a 1.30 ERA at home and that is the lowest mark in the major leagues. Vogelsong has also avoided blowups as well as any hurler in the game as he’s made 10 straight starts at home in which he has allowed two or fewer earned runs. The last time a Giants hurler had a longer streak at home was when Scott Garrelts pulled off the trick in the late 80′s (his streak got up to 12 games).
Barry Zito has been placed on the DL with a â€śreoccurenceâ€ť of his foot sprain. Many will accept that position, though the conspiracy minded folks in the crowd will see that as nothing more than an admission that Zito isn’t getting it done, and with Jonathan Sanchez (biceps tendinitis) ready to return, why not make the move? It should be pointed out that Zito did foul a ball off his foot Sunday, so it could easily be a real issue. Regardless, Zito started out hot and looked great in his first three outings, but the last three times he has taken the hill he has been beaten around for 19 runs in 15.2 innings. Zito, who is owned $39 million the next two seasons (he will almost certainly be bought of his contract for another $7 million in 2014), could end up being released because no one thinks he can have long term success pitching out of the pen, and he’s just been killing the club. The Giants have given him every chance to live up to his contract but the fact of that matter is that he has failed, and miserably isn’t a strong enough word, to live up to his seven year, $126 million contract.
The Giants have gone 4-6 in their last 10 contests, including losing five in a row, and now find themselves in a dead heat for the NL West lead with the Diamondbacks (both clubs are 61-49). In the most recent loss the offense, again, failed to come through scoring only one against the D’backs. Tim Lincecum allowed three hits and two runs in the outing and the loss dropped him to 9-9 (in the losing effort he picked up K number 1,067 to pass Jason Schmidt and move into 3rd place in San Francisco Giants history). Lest you think that The Freak has had a disappointing season, Lincecum has been given 15 runs of support in his nine loses. Great job guys.
Carlos Beltran hasn’t offered much since joining the Giants (he’s hit .200 with one RBI in six games), but the same cannot be said of Pablo Sandoval who has hit .400 since Beltran showed up (10-for-25). Don’t get me wrong Beltran will eventually hit, it’s just that his slump has come at an inopportune time for a team that simply can’t get going on offense.
Trying to kick-start the offense, Cody Ross has been inserted in to the leadoff spot. â€śI see Cody as a very good candidate to get time out there, along with Aaron (Rowand) and (Andres) Torres,â€ť manager Bruce Bochy said. There are so many problems with that statement I donâ€™t even know where to begin. (1) Ross has no business being a leadoff hitter. His career OBP is .325, below league average, and he is far from fleet of foot. (2) Since the start of the 2009 season Rowand has a .301 OBP meaning he’s even less equipped to fill the role than Ross. (3) Torres just can’t get going (Beltran is working with him â€“ the two have known each other for a decade dating back to playing ball in Puerto Rico). Torres has a .319 OBP the year, and even though he has been â€śbetterâ€ť since the All-Star game that includes a mere .259 average and a sickly .662 OPS. Unless Torres returns to a semblance of the player that he was last year the simple fact of the matter is that the Giants just don’t have a leadoff hitter on the squad.
Freddy Sanchez finally had surgery to repair the labrum issue in his shoulder. He’ll miss the rest of the 2011 season, but should be ready for the start of next season. A substantial disappointment since he joined the Giants in 2009, Sanchez has hit .290 when on the field but he played only 171 games the last two years. Jeff Keppinger, who is hitting .267 since joining the club, should continue to see all the work at second base.
Ryan Vogelsong is 8-1 with a 2.23 ERA. The last time he allowed more than three earned runs was May 3rd. Over his last 10 starts he has gone at least six innings eight times (the other two times he went five). All that sounds great but over his last five outings he has only 16 strikeouts in 31.1 innings while he has issued 14 free passes. If he keeps up those ratios moving forward his ERA is going to rise, substantially. Keep that in mind Giants fans, many who have seemingly forgotten that prior to this season that Vogelsong was just praying that someone would give him a spot as a middle reliever in the big leagues.
Nate Schierholtz had his best game as a Giant Wednesday. Not only did he blast a game winning homer in the 14th inning against the Padres, he also hit another bomb earlier in the game giving him his first multi-homer game as a Giant. “Never had a walk-off home run before. I was excited,” Schierholtz said. Wednesday was the fifth time in nine games that Nate produced at least two hits, and in that at time his average has gone up .022 points to .278. With the effort yesterday he’s also reached a career best in homers â€“ six â€“ and is just two off his RBI high of 29 (from 2009). Nate has also tossed in a career best five thefts as well as he’s finally becoming the player that scouts have long predicted he could be. Before we fall all over ourselves though it should be pointed out that his .278/.330/.440 slash line is solid but nothing more. Still, on a team that is searching desperately for offense, the Giants will take it.
Cody Ross pinch hit Wednesday, so apparently his hamstring injury is OK and he won’t need a trip to the DL. That’s great news for the club since Ross has finally started to hit. Over his last eight starts he has two hits four times, and on the year he’s finally gotten his average up to .271. Though his average hasn’t been great, and his power output has been poor (six homers and 25 RBI in 221 at-bats), Ross has done a solid job getting on base with a .359 OBP, some .033 points above his career rate.
So where does this leave the Giants outfield? Ross appears to be OK and performing well. Pat Burrell is dealing with a foot issue that has kept him out of the starting lineup. Aaron Rowand is hitting .198 against right-handed pitching. Andres Torres is batting .226 overall and has just two hits in 26 at-bats against left-handed pitching (.077). Add all that up and it would seem like Schierholtz is a good bet to be out in right field more days than not.
Jonathan Sanchez has graduated to throwing off the mound as he works his way back from biceps tendinitis (a phantom injury according to most). What will the team do when he’s ready to return from the DL shortly after the All-Star break? I’ve maintained all along that the Giants are a better team with Sanchez in the rotation. Still, with Ryan Vogelsong making the All-Star team (2.13 ERA, 1.15) and Barry Zito looking terrific since his return (1.38 ERA, 1.00 WHIP in two starts) where does Sanchez fit? I, for one, hope the Giants resist the temptation to deal Sanchez unless than can get an elite talent back, but dealing the power lefty has to be something their thinking about since (a) there’s no way they could move Zito and his massive contract and (b) how could they move Vogelsong after his magnificent first half?
Have you taken note of the fact that Pablo Sandoval has pushed his hitting streak up to 17 games? His season average is up to .303 thanks to hitting .324 over his last 74 at-bats.