Troy TulowitzkiÂ is likely headed to the DL because of a groin issue. This is exactly why I cautioned everyone to think long and hard about whether or not they really wanted to take Tulo in the first round of drafts this year.
Oh Matt Kemp. As we often see, players push themselves to return to action only to suffer an aggravation of a previous injury (take the case of Doug Fister who injured his side yet again and now might be looking at a lengthy stay on the DL to make sure he is finally healthy). In his first game back after a stint on the disabled list because of a hamstring issue, Kemp re-injured his leg in the same spot, had to be pulled from the game, is a near lock to return to the DL, and whispers are floating around that he could miss a month of time this go round. An MRI will be taken Thursday to paint a better picture of what is going on in the back of his leg, but it certainly seems like gloom and doom time with Kemp. This just goes to show you, yet again, that just cause any player has a great month doesn’t guarantee you anything in the fantasy game. Baseball is a loooooong season, and people who give up to quickly, or who count their eggs before they are hatched, are often left holding nan incomplete picture that either fosters victory or defeat artificially.
Neftali Feliz is out with an issue in the UCL of his throwing arm. The team is hopeful that Feliz won’t be out of action for an extended period of time (no surgery is recommended at this time) though it could be the second half before we see him on the bump again in game action. To cover themselves the Rangers went out and signed Roy Oswalt to bolster their rotation (to hear my thoughts on that move see Around the Horn: May 30, 2012). Now comes word that the Rangers likely plan is for Feliz to return as a bullpen arm in the second half, not as a starting pitcher. Who could have foreseen that? Why of course I did when I mentioned the possibility more than a wee ago in Around the Horn: May 23, 2012.
The Mariners seem likely to call up Stephen Pryor Friday to take the roster spot of Steve Delabar. Pryor is a righty that thrown hard while tossing a passable slider. He’s used those pitches, plus a middling change up, to great effect this year dominating hitters at the Double-A level (1.13 ERA, 0.75 WHIP, 13.50 K/9 in 16 innings) before doing the same thing at Triple-A (0.00 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, 11.25 K/9 in 12 innings). AL-only leaguers should take notice. Still, we’re a long ways from Pryor working the ninth inning, so don’t go crazy if you’re in a mixed league even though the Mariners are currently searching for answers in the games last frame. Speaking of that, what’s the deal with Brandon League? The truth of the matter is that he just hasn’t been any good this year. Operating more than a batter below his career K/9 rate at 5.48, League has seen his walk rate explode as he has added two batters to his career rate at 5.06 per nine. That’s nearly a 1:1 ratio folks. He’s also seen his ground ball rate evaporate. The owner of a massive 60 percent GB-rate for his career, League is currently generating just 46 percent of batted balls into the turf. Given that he’s never, not once in a career that began in 2004, had a number below 55.7 percent there clearly is a lot going wrong here with League right now.
Manny Ramirez has finished serving his 50-game suspension and is eligible to return to the big leagues whenever the Athletics deem him ready to go. Unfortunately for Manny, that time isn’t at hand yet. In nine games in Triple-A Manny has hit just .250 without a single base hit. Reports suggest that he is having trouble getting around on 91-92 mph fastballs as his bat looks a wee bit slow. Given his immense track record of success I’m not going to doubt that he will be able to figure something out to compensate for diminished bat speed, but this is yet another reminder that Manny may be best served as being waiver-wire fodder in mixed leagues until he proves he can be a viable middle of the order bat again. After all, the guy did turn 40 years old yesterday.
It looks like David Robertson will be spending at least two more weeks on the DL. Out with an oblique issue the team wants to make sure their dart throwing righty will avoid any setbacks when he returns. “Robertson, I would shoot for not earlier than mid-June,” GM Brian Cashman said. Ugh if you are a Robertson owner. More time on the shelf will only allow Soriano to strengthen his hold on the closers role with the Yankees. He’s converted all six of his save chances this year and currently owns a 1.96 ERA. At the same time he’s also walked nine batters in 18.1 innings and has been saddled with a 1.53 WHIP through 19 appearances, so there might still be a sliver of hope that Robertson will be able to reclaim his 9th inning gig.
Justin Smoak is finally hitting â€“ an odd statement to read. I know it makes no sense given that he has hit .225 in his career and just .220 this season, but look deeper by focusing on his recent work. Over his last 17 games he has hit .299 and he’s powered five balls into the seats leading to 15 RBI and eight runs scored over his last 10 games. Wow is right. Could he perhaps be starting to live up to expectations after struggling to even be a big league average hitter? It’s way too early to make that claim, but this is wonderful news, his recent production I mean, especially for many of you who are in shallow leagues that might be able to find him on the waiver-wire.
Troy Tulowitzki is likely headed to the DL because of a groin issue. This is exactly why I cautioned everyone to think long and hard about whether or not they really wanted to take Tulo in the first round of drafts this year. I’m not disputing the talent, but the guy is an injury waiting to happen. Troy has appeared in fewer than 125 games in two of the past four seasons, and he appears pretty darn likely to at least fail to record 150 games played for the fourth time in five years. Immense talent, but if it’s not on the field his value is obviously diminished to the point that spending a first round draft pick on him is a risk that I’m likely not going to take moving forward.
How in the world is Rickie Weeks hitting .156 through 173 at-bats. I’m shocked that is even possible. I’m not a huge Weeks backer mind you, I think he is continually over-drafted based on potential when the results rarely match expectations (less than 480 at-bats ever season but one in his career), but this is flipping ridiculous. It certainly hasn’t helped that he just isn’t making any contact as his 30.8 percent K-rate dwarfs his previous career worst of 24.4 percent. Oddly though, he’s walking at the second best rate of his career at 14.9 percent leaving him with a 0.48 BB/K mark that is smack dab on his career 0.47 mark. His GB/FB ratio is also the same at 1.24 (career 1.27), leaving us to look at that old BABIP column, and boy is it a doozy. The owner of a career mark of .304 that includes 3-straight years of at least .310, Weeks’ currently is sporting a .210 mark. Come on now. He’s never finished lower than .277 in a season, so one would have to figure that, barring something unpredictable, that he’s bound to start legging out some hits in pretty short order here.
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.